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New York Insider Tips – November 2017

Looking at a co-op listing and curious about its sublet policy? Don’t just ask whether one can and for how long. Your inquiry should include a review of sublet fees paid to the board per month/year, as well as any board-imposed building-wide sublet % limits which are common to prevent lending issues.

New York City law now require landlords of buildings as well as co-op boards to notify prospective tenants or shareholders if bedbugs have been present in the past year, on what floor(s) and whether treatment was rendered. You should receive this information with your lease or board package application, with lack of receipt making the owner or board liable for legal action.

Save your co-op and condominium offering plan and all amendments when you receive them, whether at your purchase closing or on an ongoing basis. When you go to sell you will be obligated to provide these documents to the prospective buyers attorney for due diligence, and ordering them from scratch can be expensive.

Deciding between a 10/1 ARM or a 30-year fixed rate mortgage? Recently, the spread, or rate difference, between these two products has narrowed tightly to 0.50%. If you are willing to refinance sooner and take on the risk, consider a 7/1 ARM, which at present offers a 0.875% to 1% lower initial rate while still in the same medium-term refinancing risk bucket. The interest savings trade-off vs. 30-fixed is more attractive.

Live full-time in the suburbs and considering a pied-e-terre in, or empty nest move to, New York? Don’t make the mistake of assuming renovation costs will be anywhere near comparable. With co-op renovation policies requiring more plumbing/electrical, DOB forcing more costs/time delays, and tradespersons costing more here in the city, one must realistically adjust cost expectations upward.