Snochick, Home Buyer in Upper West Side, New...


Asked by Snochick, Upper West Side, New York, NY Sat Sep 17, 2011

When buying a co-op, should I be hiring an inspector?

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Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
It is one of my pet peeves that real estate agents from across the country answer questions about NYC when they have no idea about our market. "Real estate is local" is the tagline of the National Association of Realtors" and with good reason.
It is a waste of money to hire an inspector for a NYC co-op. When you buy a house, you need an inspector because they look at things like the heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, the roof, the foundation, etc. In a co-op, you are not responsible for those things. The co-op board and management company are, and your inspector would not even have access to the important building mechanicals. You are responsible for what you can see; the co-op is responsible for anything in the walls. If you have a plumbing problem, if it's your faucet, it's on you. If it's inside the wall, it's on them.

Hope this helps.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268 for all NYC listings in real time
4 votes
Mitchell Hall, Agent, New York, NY
Sun Sep 18, 2011

It is not necessary and may be a waste of money but it can't hurt. Over the years, from time to time I have had a buyer client that were either advised or insisted on having an inspection. In fact, I had a buyer not that long ago hire an inspector for a pre-war Upper West Side coop.

Inside the apartment there is not much for them to do that you can probably do yourself such as checking outlets, electricity and appliances but remember appliances only need to be in "working condition" My buyer's inspector was allowed access to the coop's roof and mechanical rooms. Personally, I thought it was a waste of $950 because all the information, dates of new boiler etc. were in the board minutes.

If you are going to hire an inspector it should be before you sign contract. Often in Manhattan a buyer may only see the apartment during an open house and never really inspected unit. While I don't think a professional inspector is necessary in a coop, I do think it is important for the buyer with their agent to inspect premises.

In Manhattan we sell properties "AS IS."

The purchaser must rely upon its own investigation, rather than upon the Seller's representations, with respect to the condition of the property.…

Good Luck!

Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
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1 vote
Annette Levi…, , New York, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Jenet and Anna are correct that the coop is responsible for the building. That being said, who do you think pays the coop to maintain and fix the building? The shareholders pay. If there is not enough in the contingency fund then the shareholders are assesed for the repairs. Your maintenance goes up the following year. Some coops keep the maintenance low, so that look more attractive. Going over the budget and contingency fund does not tell you the true picture.
A Home Inspector can check the mechanics of the building and the roof. This way you would know if sufficient money is being put away for reapairs and replacement. When I bought my coop, I hired a home inspector. I knew what I was buying. I therefore recommend a home inspection be done before I submit applicants mortgage application.
1 vote
Gail Gladsto…, Agent, 11743, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Get an inspector no matter what you are purchasing; it is important to know what you are getting into.
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1 vote
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Oct 11, 2012
Your attorney will review the board minutes before advising you to sign a contract and any problems the building had with plumming, heating, etc. should be reflected in the minutes, as well as any reported leakages from and to the apartment. Also, minutes will have information on approvals of all major repairs, past present and pending....
0 votes
Jolie Muss, , Upper West Side, New York, NY
Mon Sep 19, 2011
It's not customary to do a home inspection of a Manhattan coop unless you want an expert opinion of what your costs of extensive interior repairs/renovation would be- especially if you want that information to negotiate a better deal. An informed buyer's broker should be be able to point out most necessary interior repairs.
Jolie Muss Licensed Real Estate Broker
Columbus Avenue New York, NY 10023 Office 212 721-3301
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0 votes
Irina Lattan…, Agent, New York, NY
Mon Sep 19, 2011
In case with the co-op good lawyer will serve you better then inspector by looking thru the co-op Board meeting minutes.
I have seen purchasers hiring an inspector even for condos when it was not necessary - it is personal, up to you!
0 votes
Joseph Hasti…, Agent, Bayside, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Hi Snochick. Many strong points below. I agree that your inspector will never gain access to a Coop bldg's mechanicals and yes, you pay (along w/the other shareholders) to maintain the bldg through an outside management company. It still seems like an unwarranted expense as it rarely happens in Manhattan. Still, you gotta do what you feel comfortable with. I would not suggest it though. Good luck.
0 votes
Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Professional Home inspectors look for problems every day on every inspection they do and most do a very good job. You may have some knowledge, but they may complete hundreds or more inspections in a year.. They are like general contractors as they look at every aspect of the home and will recommend you follow up with a professional repair person pertaining to a specific issue ( example: electrical issue = licensed electrician ). The cost to hire an inspector is low and the possible benefit is high. In addition when some issue is found having a professional opinion may help you negotiate a repair or get a credit from the sellers of the home to resolve that issue.

All the best,
Gary Geer
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Without really knowing the Answer; Why would you guess people should get Inspections?

You probably came up with at least two answers;

Now, why would that apply to you?
0 votes
Maria Gilda…, Agent, Manchester, CT
Sat Sep 17, 2011
Hi Snochick,

Please review the proprietary lease on what the shareholders and the corporation are responsible for.
Then you can decide from there. Unlike residential homes, you don't own a title in a coop. Your ownership is in the form of stocks.

Good Luck and Best.

0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
As to hiring an inspector, it depends on your level of comfort and the condition of the unit--what is your attorney advising; he/she can recommend inspectors, as can your agent--keep in mind that when purchasing a co-op you are buying shares, not the unit, therefore management is responsible for the exterior such as the roof, landscaping, common areas, interior walls, common electric, common plumbing, heating and a/c system, etc.; generally you are responsible for what can be seen within your unit, such as faucet leaks, window a/c's, etc. Review with your attorney the building's financials, proprietary lease, by-laws, offering plan, ask about any existing assessments, or are there any forthcoming in the near future, etc.
0 votes
Zita Lo, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Sep 17, 2011
It is not necessary to hire an inspector. Make sure that everything works in the apartment otherwise the issue can be negotiated with the seller when the contract is written. At that point, speak to your attorney if there is anything to be addressed in the contract. Problems that start behind the walls are usually taken care of by the building. You are given a walkthrough prior to closing so issues that were not taken care of can be addressed at the closing table. Retain a good attorney. I can refer you to one should you need someone. Best of luck on your purchase!
Zita Alvarez Lo
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Cell 917-656-8112

205 East 42nd Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10017
0 votes
Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Sep 17, 2011
when buying anything, it should be inspected so you know what you are gettting. A home that is in great shape, one that needs some work, but ok, or a money pit. That said, make sure you choose an inspector with experience, credentials and a good reputation. Ask your agent for recomendations and then call and interview the inspectors before you make you informed decision.
0 votes
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