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This is an email I just received from a listing agent I’m working with:
I hope you and your family are safe after the hurricane.
I have a couple of questions for you regarding this transaction. We are trying to streamline all of our transactions after the storm.
1. Are your buyers still planning on buying this property?
a. If “no” – why? What can we do to change it?
2. What are the buyer’s and your concerns moving forward?
3. Are there going to be any additional inspections/appraisal from your buyer?
This is an email I just received from on of the attorneys working with me:
I can’t see the lender allowing the closing to happen anytime soon. There is still no power at the building and there was extensive damage to the lobby and elevator at the building
This is a section of an email sent by a lender to my buyer:
In addition we will need to have a disaster certification completed for the property due to the storm. Unfortunately this means that we will not be able to meet the closing date of 11/8
One by one, pending deals for the sale of Hoboken condos are falling apart. Mortgage lenders, knowing there has been a disaster in our area, are pulling approvals of mortgages on Hoboken properties. They say they want to re-assess and inspect damages. They need to do disaster certifications. Buyers are contacting me asking if they should still buy property in Hoboken. Sellers are calling me to see if the buyers for their units are still planning on purchasing.
There is no question that Sandy has made our vulnerabilities all the more apparent. Parts of Hoboken are in very bad shape. Location matters – it always has. Hudson Street never flooded and most of it never even lost power. It’s what they call “high ground” in New Orleans. Now Hoboken has high ground too. Low-lying areas are still dark. Streets are littered with debris from flooded basements and ground floor apartments. Residents are tweeting the Mayor to ask if these units should even be allowed.
Would you buy a basement apartment in Hoboken now? Or one in a building that suffered severe flooding, water damage, oil contamination and mold? Does the seller now have an affirmative obligation to disclose the extent of the damage suffered by the building? Even if it was the common area? I believe they do. Will sellers’ agents do so? Once visibile evidence is gone, I strongly doubt it. It’s not the first time many of these buildings have flooded yet I’ve never seen flood damage disclosed before even in building where I know it’s happened.
There are some serious questions to be asked and decisions to be made. Some buyers may consider themselves lucky to be able to get out of a deal in a building with possibly severe structural damage, like 700 Grove or Zephyr Lofts. I can just imagine the loud sighs of relief from sellers who just closed in damaged buildings. Some of us will continue to believe that despite the vulnerabilities, the benefits of life in Hoboken make it worth the risk. I certainly believe that.
I’ve been saying for years that so many condos in Hoboken are poorly run, under funded, without reserves, with inadequate insurance. Now those deficiencies are really going to hit home. Who pays for the repairs and clean-up in these cases? The unfortunate current owners. Not a pretty place to be. Maybe it’s a good time to think about looking into your association’s status before the next one hits. We all know, there will be another.
What about emergency plans & evacuation contingencies? Does your condo have one? Why not? Would have come in handy last week. Some building managers don’t even have complete lists of who lives in the building. Inexcusable.
It’s a sad story and it’s not over. But there are some important lessons we can learn here. The positive that’s come out of Sandy has been the show of community and helpfulness from Hoboken residents all around (and total strangers from all over). We will rebuild. We will come back stronger. Hoboken will remain a great place to live.