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  1. #1
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Real Estate advice needed: to buy, or not to buy....

    ...that is the question.

    My wife and I have lived in a rented apt. for 11 years. The landlord just asked last month if we would like to buy it. The place is decent-sized for two people, in a pretty good neighborhood (not posh, but safe, and convenient transit). here are some issues:

    1. It's a co-op and that means we'd need to put down 20% min. That would clean out our cash reserves and maybe dip into retirement funds.

    2. at 1000 sq ft, with lots of closets, it's great for a couple, but we are strongly considering having a child, in which case we would need to sell in a few years. Or, if we made it to five years, we could sub-let.

    3. His pitch mentioned our mortgage with taxes would be less than what we pay now for rent (about $1200 vs. 1400). Unfortunately we'd also pay maintenance fees, which are being raised so the building's roof can be fixed (work going on now). That's another $900/mo. So we'd actually be paying more like $2100/mo, up from 1400. Yes, we'd get tax breaks but i figured that would only be a few thousand/year, we probably wouldn't break even.

    4. The roof fix is supposedly to correct leaking which destroys the wall plaster. The roof and masonry pointing have been 'fixed' three times since we've moved there, and the walls are still crumbling. I'm concerned about lead paint and mold, especially with a baby in the apt.

    The main attractions to buying now would be :

    1. Take advantage of low interest rates
    2. Avoid the hassle/stress of getting booted when our current lease is up (I believe that's in April)
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  2. #2
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    I should also mention, the building is from the 1930s, and there hasn't been a whole lot done to our place. We'd have to gut the kitchen for sure, probably the bathroom too, and then do basic cosmetic work such as painting. Some of you may recall our somewhat odd wiring issues, so I'd want a qualified electrician to come in and give the place a once-over.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    ...that is the question.

    My wife and I have lived in a rented apt. for 11 years. The landlord just asked last month if we would like to buy it. The place is decent-sized for two people, in a pretty good neighborhood (not posh, but safe, and convenient transit). here are some issues:

    1. It's a co-op and that means we'd need to put down 20% min. That would clean out our cash reserves and maybe dip into retirement funds.

    2. at 1000 sq ft, with lots of closets, it's great for a couple, but we are strongly considering having a child, in which case we would need to sell in a few years. Or, if we made it to five years, we could sub-let.

    3. His pitch mentioned our mortgage with taxes would be less than what we pay now for rent (about $1200 vs. 1400). Unfortunately we'd also pay maintenance fees, which are being raised so the building's roof can be fixed (work going on now). That's another $900/mo. So we'd actually be paying more like $2100/mo, up from 1400. Yes, we'd get tax breaks but i figured that would only be a few thousand/year, we probably wouldn't break even.

    4. The roof fix is supposedly to correct leaking which destroys the wall plaster. The roof and masonry pointing have been 'fixed' three times since we've moved there, and the walls are still crumbling. I'm concerned about lead paint and mold, especially with a baby in the apt.

    The main attractions to buying now would be :

    1. Take advantage of low interest rates
    2. Avoid the hassle/stress of getting booted when our current lease is up (I believe that's in April)
    The huge advantage of buying a place you have rented for a while is you do not get surprised by nighmares like this. So why would you even consider buying when you have good reason to believe you will have an ongoing nightmare?

  4. #4
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    I'd say not buy. If you do buy, buy elsewhere. If that $900/mo maintenance goes on for a year that's $10,800. That is a lot of unforeseen issues with a different place. I would consider this a couple month notice that it might be nice to move. You might however want to get that kid decision figured out before picking a place if you opt to buy rather than move to another rental.

  5. #5
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    Buy, but not that place?

    My wife and I decided to buy a place because we could buy a 2,000 sq. ft. house in the exact area we wanted for about $1400 a month. A house a few doors down, not quite as nice but similar, is $1700 a month to RENT.

    We have money set aside for maintenance if needed, but we bought a place that needed nothing--not even painting--before we moved in.

    The downside...well, we went from paying $900 a month for rent to $1400 for a mortgage, but we have a house 3.5x as big and in a much nicer area than where we were renting.

  6. #6
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    so far I am pretty much in line with all of your thinking.

    My co-worker has three young kids, they are renting but looking at a (short sale) 4BR three-story house in nice shape, and it is listed at $299K. Our place is a 1000 SF 1 BR, offered at $239K. Difference between the two is the taxes ($9K/yr for the house) and the afore-mentioned $10,800/ yr maintenance fees for the co-op apt.

    That doesn't seem to add up to me; the house seems the clear winner.
    Last edited by pgoat; 01-18-11 at 02:52 PM.
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  7. #7
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    The worst part is, my wife and I just came up with a plan to knuckle down and blow out our debt together (we each owe roughly the same, and figured we could do it in six-nine months). We had wanted to hopefully do that before buying a home or starting a family, trying to git 'er done in time to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates.

    Now we may get derailed...I hope to get a better idea from the landlord whether he intends to sell once our lease is up. My guess is if he is asking us to buy, he does; but what do i know?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member bikebuddha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    I'd say not buy. If you do buy, buy elsewhere. If that $900/mo maintenance goes on for a year that's $10,800. That is a lot of unforeseen issues with a different place. I would consider this a couple month notice that it might be nice to move. You might however want to get that kid decision figured out before picking a place if you opt to buy rather than move to another rental.
    I would say buy but elsewhere. $900 a month in maintenance is criminal.
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  9. #9
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    well, looks like the last lease we signed was up in August (my wife is home and just checked the files).

    The landlord is often lax about sending the lease, even late sending our rent bill sometimes. The only time we were ever late on our rent in 11 years was because they forgot to send us a bill.

    Now I'm stressing...
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  10. #10
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebuddha View Post
    $900 a month in maintenance is criminal.
    To be fair, this is NYC; Overpriced comes with the territory. But for that much in monthly fees, we should be getting a much nicer building. We have no doorman, an iffy intercom system, plus the roof leak issues.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of co-ops although I lived in Co-op City. Holding title for a co-op is much different than title for a condo or single family. A co-op would not appreciate in value as much as a condo or single family.

    Being a real estate agent I love to see people buy but you may want to look somewhere else.
    Last edited by longbeachgary; 01-18-11 at 03:09 PM. Reason: corrected - lived in Co-op city not grew up in Co-op city

  12. #12
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    I wouldn't buy it. It's a co op. Trying to resell will be harder vs trying to resell a house without the ties.

    As for you being worried about your lease being up, I wouldn't worry quite yet. Him allowing you to stay past the lease, it's now a month to month thing. Depending upon your laws, he still needs to give you notice before he asks you to leave, and don't forget you probably put a "last months rent" deposit as well as the time it takes for it to close. Granted, he may need to do a few things to pass inspection but that can be discussed as the issue arises.

    Another alternative is that if you really want to stay there for a while longer, he can make it a contingency (if the new owners aren't moving into it) to let you stay for a few months longer, with a move out time agreed upon. The new owners might even let you stay there as renters if the place is for investment purposes only.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    Now we may get derailed...I hope to get a better idea from the landlord whether he intends to sell once our lease is up. My guess is if he is asking us to buy, he does; but what do i know?
    I would hazard a guess that he wants out before kicking in for the latest roof repair.

    We haven't lived in a house <100 yrs old since we've had kids, lead can be managed. We get home test kits for questionable objects, and we had a blood test on the kids at around age 1 to see if they were finding lead that we hadn't identified (they hadn't).

  14. #14
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    I wouldn't buy it. It's a co op. Trying to resell will be harder vs trying to resell a house without the ties.

    As for you being worried about your lease being up, I wouldn't worry quite yet. Him allowing you to stay past the lease, it's now a month to month thing. Depending upon your laws, he still needs to give you notice before he asks you to leave, and don't forget you probably put a "last months rent" deposit as well as the time it takes for it to close. Granted, he may need to do a few things to pass inspection but that can be discussed as the issue arises.

    Another alternative is that if you really want to stay there for a while longer, he can make it a contingency (if the new owners aren't moving into it) to let you stay for a few months longer, with a move out time agreed upon. The new owners might even let you stay there as renters if the place is for investment purposes only.
    I appreciate this info, Siu; I know renters have rights, but I've never been through this before (having a rental sold out from under me - assuming that it is gonna happen), so I am a little nervous. Still I can't see being 'forced' into making a bad decision (bad for us) and buying it due to that.
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  15. #15
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    I would hazard a guess that he wants out before kicking in for the latest roof repair.
    That was my thought too - he had a couple of other units in the building and offered us those as well. Fwiw, the maintenance fees are already high; they're going up 7%, about $100 - to the $900 in Feb.

    He's probably still making out though. we're paying $1400/mo. He'd be paying $900/mo in maintenance but I can't imagine his mortgage (if he even still has one) is more than $300/mo. I do realize even the 7% increase eats into his profits, especially with more than one rental unit.
    Last edited by pgoat; 01-18-11 at 03:19 PM.
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  16. #16
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Does it have room for both your awesomeness and your jetskis? If so, buy it.
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  17. #17
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    knuckle down and blow out our debt together. We had wanted to hopefully do that before buying a home or starting a family, trying to git 'er done in time to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates.
    This sounds like step one. Leaky roof? ugh.

  18. #18
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
    and the walls are still crumbling.
    Inside, outside or both? I'd be a little concerned if it's a Brownstone.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Is a co-op the same as a condominium?

  20. #20
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    The fact that he is asking you means you are in a position of power. Don't buy it if you don't REALLY want to live there for at least 5 years, and do not under any circumstances pay his asking price. In fact, if you weren't already wishing you could buy it, don't buy it.
    ...

  21. #21
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    What are your options when your lease expires? Are other apartments to rent fairly easy to come by? According to Seinfeld, you pretty much have to watch for deceased people being removed out of their apartments to know there's a vacancy.

    Personally I wouldn't invest in any property where the maintenance of the building structure is left up to others. I'd rather own a single occupancy dwelling. Not sure if that's an option for you in NY. I have a feeling the prices are out of the reach for most people.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Don't buy it.

    Don't know how much cash reserves you have, or what type of work you do, but $300k will get either acres of land with a modest house or a good sized lot with more room than what you have now. Examples of the area/builder that built mine (lost in foreclosure ).

    If you're serious about starting a family, then you need to figure out pronto if where you are living now is viable for the offspring. Not just the living space, but the environment they'd be raised in, the schools they'd be attending. If you think that you'll outgrow your space within 5 years, then you'd be better off moving before the little one(s) arrive*.

    *My wife's last child (our 2nd, her 5th) started out as twins. The other embryo was re-absorbed. But I mention that because at the time, we already had a minivan that would accommodate all of the family + the expected one. Ultrasound came back with twins, and suddenly we didn't have enough room for everybody.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    $300k will get either acres of land with a modest house or a good sized lot with more room than what you have now.
    Perhaps in NE OK... but in NYC, $300K will buy you... not very much by comparison. In fact, he said they'll be selling his 1000 sq ft unit for $239K.
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  24. #24
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    Does it have room for both your awesomeness and your jetskis? If so, buy it.
    Donald Trump couldn't afford a place that big.
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  25. #25
    Ogr8nwmypstmksnosnse pgoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    This sounds like step one. Leaky roof? ugh.
    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    Inside, outside or both? I'd be a little concerned if it's a Brownstone.
    Basically the interior walls and ceiling around the windows have moderate to severe moisture and flaking paint/cracking plaster. It gets worse in the rainy seasons. At its worst, there is water dripping near the windows during a storm, and we can definitely smell mold in the warmer months.

    They've done the pointing two or three times since we moved here; at one point the plaster was so bad in our living room they had to take it down to the exterior wall and build it back up. At some point they realized that

    A. the bozos they hired on the cheap to do the pointing had done a lousy job, and

    B. the real source of drainage problems was with the roof. Hence the current work being down, which required a raise in maintenance fees and dipping into the co-op's funds. The current work crews seem much more professional, but who knows whether it will work this time? Originally we only had problems in the LR but now our bedroom window is falling apart...not pleasant to think about breathing that crud in while you sleep.
    Last edited by pgoat; 01-19-11 at 08:14 AM.
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