New York based property management firm, All Area Realty Services blog. Find tips for Co-Op Boards & Residential Building Management.

Do’s and Don’ts of Selling a NYC Co-op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Apr 17, 2018 1:08:30 PM

Now that spring and summer are right around the corner, it’s about to be every sellers dream. Spring and summer are popular selling months for those interested in putting their property on the market.

If you’re thinking of putting your co-op in NYC up for sale, there’s a few things you should know. Today, we're going to outline some of the basic do’s and don’ts of selling a NYC co-op.

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Do

  • Contact the real estate firm the co-op board has a relationship with to verify sale steps needed.
  • Listen to a seasoned real estate professional on their price recommendations. This is where people often get into trouble because they have unrealistic selling price expectations. Remember, you hire them because they know the area, market, and price per square foot. They won’t recommend a price that does not align with the current trends; listen to their expertise.
  • In addition to point two, any offer that comes in is a potential buyer. If the buyer has offered a number less than you expected, counter the offer. Remember that people are not making offers on properties they don’t love. Use this to your advantage by keeping within a sale price you feel comfortable with.
  • If it’s been some time since you purchased the co-op you are selling, you may forget that the process of closing after an offer is made is roughly 90-days. Plan for this in advance so you are not stressed. Your real estate agent will coordinate with you during the entire process but do take this into consideration if you’re purchasing another property.

Don’t

  • Accept an offer without the boards pre-approval. Remember your co-op board is the ultimate decision maker. Do your due-diligence and get the application approved before you accept.
  • While every state has different laws based on deals, in NYC a deal is only official when signed. That means you can continue showing your apartment to other potential buyers and is a great way to ensure if the first offer backs out, you have a fallback plan.
  • Don’t forget to look over and review the potential buyers application. Did they submit everything needed? Was their math wrong? Did they include references? Complete applications will be reviewed by the board. If you notice something is missing or math is incorrect, speak with your real estate management team to get the errors corrected.

Selling is an exciting time for many. It closes one chapter and opens the next chapter of life. Enjoy the selling process and remember to listen to your gut throughout the process. 

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

 

Topics: Selling a Co-Op

A History Lesson: The Evolution Of A Co-Op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Apr 12, 2018 2:12:53 PM

While co-op buildings have not been around forever, they have been around since 1720, when the first co-op was created in France. In the US, New York was the first city to form a co-op in 1876. Cooperative housing was originally created by the wealthy who wanted advantages of owning their homes, but with fewer of responsibilities that come with home ownership.

Back when cooperative housing was established, it wasn’t called a co-op and they didn’t hire property management companies, like All Area Realty Services, to handle the day-to-day management of things. Instead, the wealthy pooled their resources together and called it a "house club". Of course clubs in those days were just another way to differentiate the wealthy from the poor. Fast forward to the 1950’s and the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives was formed.

iStock-484621126 (1)In the 1980’s many banks were lending money for tenants wishing to purchase a co-op. Unfortunately, this proved to kick the banks right in the back-side as soon as 1987 and the depression hit. At this time, many sponsors decided they should start renting their properties because it was hard to sell. Renting allowed the sponsors to keep paying their monthly mortgage without defaulting. As long as the demand for rentals and the rental prices per month stayed high, this was a win-win.

Speed ahead to today and co-ops are less popular. Many realized that there were some disadvantages with having this type of property and wished to only have condos. As condo demand was heightened, a movement to convert cooperative corporations into condominiums passed. Nowadays, many properties are rentals even within cooperative buildings and the co-op hires a professional property management company to handle the daily management of everything that encompasses the building. In the end, cooperatives are nice for those who do not want to deal with a home problem alone such as a leak. When leaks happen, it’s viewed as everyone’s problem and not only one homeowner's problem.

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

 

 

 

Topics: Co-Op Building

Illegal Questions: What Can't A Co-Op Board Ask?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Apr 5, 2018 1:21:20 PM

When you apply for a job, you are often interviewed by the HR or hiring manager for that position. The same is true with a co-op application. In a co-op building there is a co-op board that will interview you for the property you are interested in purchasing. That co-op board, much like an HR person has regulations and laws they must abide by.

In most cases, the co-op board members will be familiar with the laws and regulations for the interview process. Occasionally, you may encounter a board member who slurs verbal vomit and forgets there are laws pertaining to the questions asked. When this happens, it is important that you know what is legal and not legal. General rule of thumb – if they can’t ask it during a job interview, they can’t ask it in a co-op interview.

iStock-843534164Illegal Topics of Discussion:

  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Citizenship/Green-card/Visa/Alienage
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Military Status
  • Disability
  • Occupation Choice

If any of these topics are brought up by the board, remember you have the right to omit an answer. If you are uncomfortable or feel you’ve been treated unfairly, speak with your real estate agent  regarding the situation. 

Examples of Questions a Co-Op Board Shouldn't Ask:

  • “Where are you from originally?” 
  • “Do you cook a lot of ethnic food, or food from your culture?”   
  •  “Will you be requiring any extra assistance from the building staff?”  (in reference to a disability)
  • “Do you plan to have kids?” or “Do you plan to have more kids?” 
  • To a single buyer: “Do you plan on having many guests?  Will you have overnight guests often? Will you be giving a key to anyone?”

If your interview has a few awkward moments due to invasive and/or illegal questions, your real estate agent may discuss this with the co-op board and get you a second interview where everyone can perhaps start with a clean slate. Your agent could smooth things over, but if not, your agent may recommend a new property all together. If this is the only property you were interested in, consider keeping your options open. Not all interviews mean you are going to get accepted. This is simply the last step of the application process. So even if things are clarified and a second interview goes well, you still may not be accepted. 

If you are a co-op board member and are looking for a good property management company to help you manage your building, contact All Area Realty Services. We'd love to hear from you. And please subscribe to this blog for more useful information and tips to help co-op boards. 

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Topics: Co-Op Board, Buying a Co-Op

Co-op or Condominium – Which is Right for You?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 29, 2018 5:00:00 PM

Usually, homes in New York City are not large Victorian houses with white picket fences. Instead, your choices are between tall buildings which hold apartments and condominiums or an occasional townhome, brownstone, or loft. Roughly 85% of apartments for sale are co-op buildings. This means you don’t own your apartment. Instead, you’ve purchased shares of the co-op and the co-op owns the building.

If you weren’t born and raised in New York City, this can seem like a foreign concept, so we've decided to explain a little further...

Pros vs Cons of Buying a Co-op

Let’s discuss the pros first. With a co-op you do not actually own your apartment, which helps keep the prices lower than a condominium purchase. With a condominium purchase, the buyer owns the property and there is usually a property management company that handles the day-to-day maintenance (which co-ops do as well). In a co-op, you have a tax advantage of being able to write-off some maintenance fees.

iStock-589946802The cons of purchasing a co-op is you do not own your apartment and there is a rigorous application process that involves showing current and previous tax returns, bank statements, and every aspect of your financial life to strangers. And of course the often dreaded, co-op board interview. While a pro is that some of your maintenance fees can be tax-deductible, the con is maintenance fees tend to be higher than for those who purchase a condo. Another con is not having the ability to make extra revenue by subletting or renting out your apartment while you are out of town. Many co-ops have strict rules about if and when you can sublet your apartment.

Pros vs Cons of Buying a Condo

Years ago, condominiums were not common in New York City. But now in 2018, as new buildings are being built, more condos are popping up. A nice pro with buying a condo is the ability to have a mortgage payment. That’s right, it’s much easier to finance your purchase than it is to try and get approved from a co-op board. Forget board approval because in condo land, that’s not a requirement!

The cons of purchasing a condo is quite like the cons of purchasing a co-op, only the complete opposite. For instance, there are no maintenance fees that allow for a tax deduction, condo prices are more expensive, and there is a very small condo market available which increases sale prices.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

 

Topics: Buying a Co-Op, Buying a Condo

How to Write a Good Co-Op Cover Letter

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 22, 2018 4:24:13 PM

When you think of a standard cover letter, an employment cover letter often comes to mind. While a co-op cover letter is formatted differently, it is similar in concept.

A co-op cover letter is used when you’ve found a building you love and are ready to go in front of the co-op board for review. This process can be quite uncomfortable. Unlike that of a job interview, a co-op interview is a meeting where you lay out all of your financials, previous tax returns, current expenses, bank statements – everything financial health related. 

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A cover letter can come in handy for you to highlight what the co-op board can expect from reviewing your financials. It’s a way to summarize the numbers in a straight-forward way. Lying about your financials could cause you to be rejected. So instead, be upfront about what has happened in the past, and where you're at currently. Work with your real estate agent agent to craft a winning application and cover letter. Don’t forget - regardless of what you say, during the board (and the board's attorneys) review, they’ll uncover the truth so it’s better to be honest and transparent from the beginning.  If want to learn more about why co-op boards need to approve buyers, you read our previous blog post for more information. 

Also, try to be remembered for being honest in your cover letter and not for materialization such as using fancy fonts, graphics, or a nice border.

What Type of Personality Should You Use in a Co-op Cover Letter?

It’s been said that being quiet, boring, and rich is the way to win over a co-op board's heart. Of course, the terms boring and rich to you may be defined different than they do to someone else. Ask your real estate agent for their perspective on the board. They should have a grasp of what each board prefers, and that knowledge could be the difference in a rejection or acceptance.

Turn the Negatives into Positives

One area that a co-op board will see as a negative is being a 1099 employee who has an income that fluctuates. Instead of explaining that you have a fluctuating income, give it a positive spin by stating your lowest month, highest month, and an average month. Ensure your lowest month outweighs the expenses your bank statements will show.

Another negative is having a nice cash stipend per month from your parents. This stipend not only worries the co-op board that you can't pay your maintenance fees, but suggests irresponsibility as an adult. Turn this into a positive by showing your income without adding that extra lump-sum. This will show you're responsible and can afford the place without the extra check.

You can read more about what co-op boards are looking for in a buyer here. 

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

What Happens When a Co-Op Board Member Causes Conflict within the Board?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 15, 2018 3:02:19 PM

Growing up, we're taught the golden rule of "treat others how you want to be treated". As we grow older and encounter various personality types, this saying can become harder to stick to.

So what happens when you sit on a building's co-op board and egos start flying, and personalities are tested in not so positive ways?

How to Not Get Stuck in Negative Energy

Co-op board members typically get elected for their experience and ability to handle the position bestowed upon them. Not for their ability to receive constructive criticism, use effective communication, or abilities to think before they speak.

iStock-127544823.jpgSo, what happens when you’ve been elected as a board member and you go to your first co-op board meeting only to learn that the various egos and personalities are causing internal strife and disagreements?

Navigating through these issues is a true testament to your current position. It is important as a board member that you don't get sucked into the negative conversations and actions taken by others.

Instead it’s a best to evaluate the situation and quickly get back to the current topic at hand. Getting everyone back on task will help move past personal disagreements and put the focus back on doing what is best for all residents.

Ultimately, the co-op board president should then pull those involved aside after the meeting and discuss proper meeting etiquette for all future meetings. It may even be a good idea to create a working document which should outline etiquette, rules, respect, and overall set the tone of how the co-op board should run meetings and interact with each other.  If your board works with a reliable property management company, you may be able to ask them for a template for such a document, as most professional property management companies work very closely with several co-op boards. 

The Cooperator published an article which gives advice on how to deal with rude and unruly board members.  Although long and over six years old, still timely and well worth the read if you find yourself serving on a co-op board that feels more like a war zone. 

Can You Get Demoted for Speaking Your Truth?

While serving as a co-op board member you’ll be asked to participate in approving or not approving current issues or projects. If you disagree with the general consensus, you should still feel comfortable and confident enough to speak your truth and justify why you feel a certain way regarding a specific vote or action. All co-op board members must feel confident and free to stick to the values and opinions they have. It is imperative, for the well being of the building and it's residents that all board members operate in an honest and transparent manner that encourages discussion and debate. 

Should a board member use profanity, unprofessionalism, personal attacks, racist or derogatory remarks, that will cause other board members to not only feel uncomfortable, but be detrimental to making the best decisions for the building, its probably wise for the board president to ask for the disruptive board member's resignation.  

If you’ve had a sticky situation in one of your board member meetings and you’d like outside advice on what is the proper action to take, contact All Area Realty.

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Condo Board Association

Navigating Renter Rules and Regulations in Co-Op Buildings

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 13, 2018 4:10:43 PM

In previous posts, we have discussed the difference between a co-op and other homeowners associations type of apartment. With all ownership styles, the rules and regulations change. Depending on which style you decide is best for your family, it will be important as a homeowner that you fully understand the rules and regulations for your building.

With spring break right around the corner, you may be thinking of adding your property on sites such as Airbnb as you travel out of town. While Airbnb can be a great way for you to make some extra spending money while on vacation, have you checked with your co-op to see if this is allowed?

In many co-op apartment buildings, if you rent your apartment out, the renter has different rules than the homeowner. Renter rules and regulations are found under renter law making it much easier for the person renting your home to break the rules than for the homeowner. Rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants are not subject to the rules that everybody else lives by.

Noise Complaints

iStock-660743394.jpgShould a renter in your building be getting a bit out of control, instead of addressing this with the  property management company or co-op board, this would first be a city complaint. That means, to file a complaint you’d need to call the police.

Rental Repairs

If you have allowed a renter to lease your space while you are away, it is the homeowners responsibility to pay for any repairs. Hopefully, you’ve done your due-diligence and had a rental contract signed that stated any repairs would be taken out of the deposit on the property and additional repairs would require the renter to pay for them, so you are not out of pocket. For questions on drafting leasing or property management, contact professional property management company, All Area Realty Services.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. 

 

 

Topics: Property Management, Rentals

Co-Op Buildings and Two Common Regulations to Be Aware of

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 9, 2018 4:47:39 PM

With any co-op apartment, the co-op’s board can set the rules and regulations for all property owners in the building. One potential issue is the ability to have pets or not in the apartment. It’s a good idea to ask if pets are allowed or not in the building. This can help cause any future conflict and if you already have pets, ensure you make the best decision for you and your fur family.

Remember, to ask your property manager for the building's regulations on service pets so you are not alarmed should you hear a pet in the middle of the night and your building has a no pet tolerance.

iStock-890830230.jpgAnother common noise regulation is “quite zones.” Most buildings have rules against excessive noise after 10 p.m. As a potential first time buyer, you may review excessive noise in a different way than someone else as so to diminish any complaints or conflict with neighbors. Always review and ask the property management team what the co-op board defines excessive noise as.

Did you know, noise regulations can also put a damper on your interior decorating? It’s true! Many property leases in co-ops require homeowners to have 80% of their floors covered with carpet. This eliminates the possibilities of excess noise for apartments that have apartments below or above them.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. Contact us today if you're looking for a professional property management company. 

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management

How to Get Your Co-op Board to Approve Your Next Renovation

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 6, 2018 3:12:31 PM

With a purchase of a co-op property, often many new homeowners do not understand the different ownership style this property has. With a co-op property, the building co-op technically owns the entire building and the homeowner just leases the space they call home. This means the co-op board must approve any changes you want to make to your property. 

While this can seem like a nuisance, it could secretly be a blessing for all parties involved. For instance, if your neighbor decides they want to embark in a large renovation, they must ask permission of the co-op board and get approval before doing so. And only if the co-op board approves, you'll just be faced with a few months of noise and disturbance.

In the event that you are not planning a renovation, but are looking to make a simpler repair, it would be a good idea to find out who is responsible for co-op repairs and what repairs do or don't need co-op board approval. This will save you a lot of time. 

For those homeowners who are not worried about ticking off a few neighbors for a better kitchen, or maybe new wooden floors, they may be wondering how to get their co-op board to approve their next renovation. We're going to outline that below. 

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Renovation Blueprint

The first task in your renovation plans will be to have an architect draw up a blueprint of what you would like to have renovated. 

For smaller renovation projects, the co-op will most likely let you use the building's preferred architect. Even though the co-op is providing you with an architect, you’ll still need to pay for the bid which could range anywhere from $2,000+. If you would like to save a little, ask the architect if they would be willing to give you a discount since they’re the main person on the project. It doesn't hurt to ask! 

For larger renovations, you may need to outsource the architect’s responsibilities by hiring someone outside of the preferred list of vendors the co-op may have.

Getting Co-Op Board Approval

Your renovation may require city permits, which will need to obtained and presented to your co-op board. If you need a list of what renovations require these permits, you can find out more here. It is important you take those costs, procedures, and time for approval into consideration. Once you are ready to submit your plans and you have all permits in place, it’s a good idea to ask for permission through e-mail. This will allow you to attach any relevant blueprints and documentation that may help persuade the co-op board in favor of your project, as well as keep a time stamped record of all communications and documents shared. 

It is also common that you be asked to sign an alteration agreement, which outlines provisions to your specific renovation project. 

Another common aspect of renovations is for the co-op to put time limits and restrictions on the hours of the day the construction crew can be in the building. This ensures no other neighbor is disturbed during “quite hours”. And also keep in mind that many buildings will only allow one renovation taking place at a time. 

If you serve on a co-op board and need professional property management services, contact All Area Realty Services and find out why our over 30 years experience and loyal clients makes us experts.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. 

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Renovations

Does Your Condo Board Association Members Have Rights to Getting a Copy of Your Keys?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Mar 5, 2018 3:39:56 PM

Congratulations you’ve just purchased a new condo and you now have a condo management board or condominium association,  looking after the common areas and fee payment records! What a nice relief that you get to come home and your enjoy beautiful home without needing to mow, trim trees, or clean common areas, like playgrounds, laundry rooms, or restrooms.

Did you know in many condominium association contracts there are clauses that state the rights of each association's members? If not, we encourage you to get your paperwork out and read over it  because it’s a possibility that you’re required to give a copy of your keys to an association member. 

Real Estate Agent Requirements on Sales

While you may have just uncovered a hidden property secret, it’s not your real estate agent's fault for not going over every clause with you. When your agent gave you the paperwork to review, it was your responsibility to read every clause and verify you were signing into something 100% agreed upon.

Usually, a real estate agent who has sold multiple units in your building will be upfront and welcoming with all the association regulations because they are well versed in them, and of course because they would not want to lose clients. 

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New York City Law on Key Disbursement for Property Associations and Management Companies

New York has a strict law that requires a copy of your keys be given to the property management company in case of an emergency. The law is documented in the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, Section 51-c, as verified in Habitat. It’s stated that any property management company who wants a copy of your keys must send you the request in writing. Failure to abide, could result in court proceedings and fines.

To better determine your individual situation, it is recommended that you thoroughly review your signed property documentation so you have no hiccups or surprises with your new place.

Topics: Co-Op Board, Condo Board Association