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New York Insider Tips – October 2017

Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval letter to start a home search? Be aware that the credit check done with your approval letter expires in 120 days, and a bank giving a new letter or loan approval after that four month period will require a second ping of your credit at the reporting bureaus. If your credit score is borderline, this second check can increase your mortgage rate, or worst case, change your approval. Mind your search timing.

“No wet over dry” is a phrase a prospective purchaser will often hear when asking about co-op renovation policies. This means that during an apartment renovation in a co-op building, the board may prohibit you from moving a kitchen, bathroom or laundry area – a.k.a. a “wet area” – to a location that places is directly above a living room, dining room, bedroom or closet – a.k.a. a “dry area”. This is a common policy designed to avoid potential leaks into compromised spaces and keep plumbing uniform.

There is currently no law or rule which requires a New York co-op board to respond to a prospective buyer’s board package with an interview, a “yes”, or a “no” in a specific period of time. As such, certain boards may take extra time – 2+ months in some cases, such as in the summer or around holidays – and aren’t obligated to meet any deal deadlines. While a law has been proposed to limit response times, a long wait remains a reality of the co-op process, and buyers must plan accordingly.

Renovating your pre-war apartment planning to gut every room? Reconsider your bathrooms. If the classic features – cast-iron tubs, subway tiles, relic vanities and sinks – are in good condition, you will get a better return on your investment, and save money in the process, by retaining the classic look and restoring and complimenting what’s there. Buyers tend to prefer the baths fold into the overall pre-war aesthetic.

Making an offer on a property in the New York area and proposing an all-cash purchase? Be ready to provide “proof of funds” to the seller with your offer. This takes the form of an account statement showing the assets to be readily drawable in the United States. Set these monies aside to a separate escrow account with no activity to keep their unrelated financial transactions discreet from view.