2008 Mar 13th

Learn The Little Known Dangers Of Small Hoboken Condo Buildings

Would You Buy a Condo in A Building With Only 3 Units?

If so, you better keep reading. Hoboken has very few co-ops. Most units in Hoboken are condos. A condo building is run by the condo association. The condo association is made up of the unit owners. Each unit owner has a vote. Sometimes, that vote is proportional in relation to the size of the unit owned. Other times, it is 1 vote per unit. So what’s the problem with that, you ask?

Hoboken has many older 3 and 4 story homes that have been converted into 3 and 4 unit condos. Let’s say you’re about to purchase a unit in one of these 3 unit buildings. You would own 24% of the total square footage of the building, your upstairs neighbor owns 24% and the family downstairs in the duplex has 52% of the total. So your vote is worth 24%, the upstairs vote is worth 24% and guess who controls the building? Or the same owner owns two floors and now the third floor unit is for sale. Each condo unit gets one vote. Again, your soon to be neighbor makes all the decisions.

Why Should You Care?

Hobokens Best DogsLiving in a condo building requires cooperation among unit owners. It also requires decisions to be made that effect everyone. Think about who decides how much the reserve fund should be, whether special assessments will be imposed or whether maintenance fees ought to be increased, and if pets are allowed. When one unit owner has a controlling interest, all these decisions can be made by that owner. What if you prefer to live in a well maintained, clean building but your neighbor could care less? If they decide how the condo fees are spent they may not be willing to repair the roof, paint the common areas, clean the hallways or install new lightings. Owning property requires maintenance and upkeep. Improving property costs money. If you’re not on the same page as the neighbor with the controlling vote, you have no recourse except to make improvements and repairs at your own expense. Or you may have a really difficult time selling when your building looks like a money pit.

Even Under The Best Circumstances, How Big Is Your Safety Net?

If you and your neighbors all get along famously and agree on exactly how your condo should be kept and financed there is one more thing to consider. When you purchase in a condo building with 10 or more units, not only is the governance of the condo association likely to be more of a democratic and participatory process but there are more unit owners chipping in to handle maintenance costs and repairs when needed. Many small Hoboken condo buildings have very meager reserve funds. Often, they are no more than a few thousand dollars. Smaller buildings are more commonly self managed. They tend not to have regular meetings, don’t keep minutes, and sometimes have no budget. Of course, these are all items your attorney should be checking into during attorney review. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked.

3 Unit Hoboken CondoHow to Protect Yourself

Are all small Hoboken condo buildings to be avoided? No – some of them are fine. They have attentive owners who run the association properly or pay a management company to do much of the work. There are condos in Hoboken with smart unit owners who have established adequate reserves and prepared a realistic budget. The voting rights in some small Hoboken condo buildings are allocated 1 vote per unit specifically so that no one unit owner controls everything. This is set out in the condo documents – the certificate of incorporation and the bylaws. The important lesson is that you ask the right questions before deciding to make an offer on a condo unit in a small building. Know what you’re getting into before you buy.

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently Comments Off on Learn The Little Known Dangers Of Small Hoboken Condo Buildings

2008 Mar 8th

How a Home Inspection Can Save Your Condo Sale From Falling Apart

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 SingOld Pipe

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.

Also Read: What Everybody Ought To Know About Home Inspections

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 1 Comment »

Copyright © 2008 Hoboken Real Estate News     Login     Sitemap