Was Your Hoboken Home or Condo Built in the 1800s?
It is widely assumed that a buyer does a home inspection once the property is under contract. Or at least when their offer has been accepted. Usually, that is correct. Many Hoboken buildings (and condos), however, were built in the late 1800s. That’s not a typo. Most of our brownstones and row houses are over 100 years old. Many have been converted to condos after having been rental units for a long time. In that case, there may be an advantage for the seller to have the condo unit or house inspected before putting it on the market for sale.
What’s In It For The Seller? Knowledge & Power
The seller can learn if there are any potential problems with the property. If there are, repairs can be made before the unit is listed. The buyer is going to do his own inspection and will discover these problems anyway. What do you think happens then? The buyer asks the seller to make repairs or adjust the sales price with a credit. Then the lawyers may have to get involved. It may hold up the deal. It may even give the buyer a way out of the contract and the deal may fall apart.
Nobody Wants Surprises During Negotiations
When you are selling your property, until you are sitting at the closing table, check in hand don’t kid yourself, you are still in negotiations. Just like a lawyer should never ask a witness a question if the lawyer doesn’t know what the witness will answer, if the seller doesn’t know what the buyer’s inspector is going to find wrong with your property the seller is at a disadvantage. Even if you decide not to make any repairs, doing a home inspection will let you will know in advance what the buyer is going to ask for.
Those Old Pipes Love to Ping and Sing
Back in the day, Hoboken houses were built with a single heating system for the whole building. Over the years, many of these multi-family homes and buildings were turned into inexpensive rental units. Not all were well maintaned. More recently many were converted to condos. Due to the expense, some of these condo buildings still have parts of the original heating systems in place today. When you see a listing for a condo that says “maintenance includes heat” that is a tip off. The condos don’t have individual meters because the building has not been re-piped and probably has much older heating and possibly electrical systems.
Smart Sellers are Prepared
Buyers may hesitate to buy a condo in a building with old systems. If something goes wrong or costly repairs are needed, maintence fees increase or a special assessment be imposed. Buyers, especially Hoboken’s many first time buyers, don’t like unknown costs. The potential cost of repairs may scare some buyers away. The age of the building systems may prevent them from buying. Having an inspection report available for buyers will reassure them. It gives the seller a way to overcome objections. It makes the buyer feel more secure that there are no significant problems or that the problems have been addressed.
Pay Now or Pay Later
So as a seller you have a choice. You can pay a few hundred dollars now and do the inspection. If there are problems, you can make any needed repairs. Or you can pay later after your property lingers on the market for months and you are forced to drop the price. Worst case scenario, you finally do get an offer and get through attorney review only to have the buyer walk away from the deal because of problems discovered during the home inspection. Selling a 100+ year old condo or brownstone in today’s competitive market? Be smart, do a home inspection.