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

What Is A Self Managed Building?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Oct 16, 2019 4:44:13 PM

When a building is self-managed, the owners take responsibility for running the day to day operations of the building. These buildings normally have lower maintenance fees because the building saves money by not paying a managing agent. 

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The pros to living in a self-managed building are lower maintenance fees and the owners are responsible for making the monetary decisions and making sure that the money is not wasted on unnecessary services.  

The cons are you will need to dedicate time to the building and you might lose one of your key players if the person decides to resign as treasurer because who will step in? Also, there are many layers to navigate through when dealing with NYC’s numerous ordinances and other tax requirements. 

Make sure to review the financials of the building before buying because there is potential for incomplete, un-audited or fraudulent financials. It is important to do your due diligence before signing a contract for an apartment in a self-managed building. Request an inspection to make sure the building is current on routine maintenance and capital improvement projects. Your real estate attorney should review the building’s financials, budget, offering plan and board meeting minutes. 

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

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

A Buyer's Market In NYC

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Oct 3, 2019 3:59:27 PM

These days, we are in a buyer’s market in much of New York City and therefore, co-ops and condos need to entice buyers with amenities. Most new buildings have many amenities but older buildings are lacking amenities like gyms, dog runs and roof decks. Learn what most prospective buyers are looking for in amenities.  


Roof decks are a huge draw for buyers, especially if there is a furnished common space. Buyers want a place where they can meet people and hang out. People want to have a sense of community and having a roof deck provides an opportunity for people to meet their neighbors. When a building has a community room, it can function as a meeting place and a recreation spot for the residents. 

Buyers want a gym in their building. Older co-ops and condos do not need much space to create a well stocked gym. If there is unused storage space, it can easily be converted into a gym. 

Storage is important to potential buyers as well. Buyers want package rooms as well. They are also interested in buildings that are energy efficient and have less of a carbon footprint.

If you own an apartment in an older building, these co-ops and condos need to consider how they can make themselves more attractive to potential buyers. Ask what is in the budget and if there is space. If the building can accommodate the amenity and the residents want it, then add it to the building.   

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

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

Owning A Home: The American Dream

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Aug 29, 2019 3:26:48 PM


The American dream is to own a home. However, these days more than a quarter of Americans live in a community association- a housing cooperative, condominium or homeowners association. In Florida, there are 48,250 associations, which is the most in the country. California has the next highest with 48,150, followed by Texas (20,050), Illinois (18,700), North Carolina (14,000) and New York (13,875). The home value of these communities is around $6.28 trillion with about $96 billion in assessments collect annually from the homeowners to fund essential maintenance.

There are numerous reasons for the growth of these community associations. First, there is value to having collective management consisting of democratically elected volunteer homeowners to serve their communities. In the US, there are 2.5 million community association board and committee members.

Also, many local municipalities face fiscal challenges and therefore, communities develop with the stipulation that the association will assume many responsibilities that traditionally belong to local and state government, like road maintenance, snow and trash removal and stormwater management. Most communities have reserve funds for repair, replacement and enhancement of common property, including elevators, swimming pools and streets.

These communities expand affordable housing and increase the percentage of homeowners in the U.S. Since the 1960s, condominiums tend to serve as an affordable option to buy housing, especially for first-time buyers. Condominiums account for about 40% of the total of community associations. In New York City, most buyers tend to buy condominiums because condos are real property and they do not have to submit a comprehensive packet to the co-op board, only to be denied ownership. 

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

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

Looking To Buy A NYC Co-Op?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Aug 2, 2019 1:59:11 PM


Are you thinking about buying a co-op apartment in New York City? Read on for all the details involved in purchasing your very own piece of NYC.

Purchasing a co-op takes about three months from the time you sign the contract of sale until you close. Closing costs are less than when you buy a condo. NYC co-ops have strict financial requirements and sublet restrictions. There is a lengthy board application and board interview before you can close on the apartment. Buying a co-op is generally less expensive than purchasing a condo because there are more co-ops than condos and investors tend not to buy them due to the sublet restrictions.

When you buy a co-op, you buy shares in the corporation. You received the shares and proprietary lease at closing. Co-ops are not considered real property. The board of directors runs the building and they enforce the various rules.

Once you have an accepted offer, you will need to hire a real estate attorney to review the contract, due diligence and negotiation and representing you at the closing. Your attorney will review the co-op’s original offering plan, the building’s financials statements, house rules and the board’s purchase application. Upon signing the contract, you will need to write a check for 10% of the purchase price as the deposit. The contract is not valid until both the seller and the buyer sign it. Now each party is legally bound to the transaction. Typically, after an executed contract, the closing will be in two to three months. Beware; that a co-op board may reject a purchase contract and if this is the case, then the buyer can leave the deal without penalties. The buyer may never get a reason for the rejection.  However, in most cases, a buyer should keep his or her interview short, sweet and polite. Most times, the board has already approved you and they just want to meet their newest neighbor.

Once you receive board approval, the managing agent will contact you and you will be able to close within one to two business days after the interview. After the co-op board approval, you need bank approval and then the attorneys will coordinate a closing date that works for all parties.

The day before closing, your real estate broker will schedule a final walk-through for you to inspect the apartment and to make sure everything is in working order. Look for any damage that may have been caused by the movers. In New York, properties are sold as is and the only way to prove that something has changed substantially is to take photos.

On the day of closing, there will be attorneys representing the bank, the seller and the buyer as well as the building’s managing agent and the real estate brokers. After all the papers have been signed, you will receive the key to your very own apartment.

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

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

Thinking Of Buying A New York City Co-Op?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 20, 2019 4:38:31 PM

iStock-656652922Are you ready to buy an apartment in New York City? Remember to factor in the cost of the monthly maintenance, if you are buying a co-op apartment. Maintenance covers building expenses like mortgage payments, taxes, staffing and upkeep. It varies from building to building and apartment to apartment.

Let’s investigate how maintenance is calculated.

Most co-op buildings have an underlying mortgage. The shareholders of the building make payments on this mortgage through their maintenance. If there is a large loan on the building, that makes the maintenance higher. Some older buildings refinance to absorb the capital improvements, which can lead to higher maintenance.

The building’s property taxes are included in the maintenance as well. The co-op pays the taxes for the land and the building. Shareholders can get reductions in their percentage of taxes that they pay due to different tax breaks like being a senior or having a disability. 


Depending on the size of the building, your maintenance can be more or less. When there are more apartments, there are more shareholders to split the costs and therefore maintenance will be less. If you have more amenities to maintain, your maintenance will be more because all those amenities need to be maintained. If the building is a full service building, it requires more staff due to the high expectations of the shareholders and therefore, maintenance will be more. Also, if the building employs union workers, then it is a more expensive building to run.

Make sure that the co-op has a good system in place for keeping track of expenses because it could mean more money coming out of your pocket. Also, there might be shareholders who are not paying their maintenance, which in turns increases your maintenance.

If there is a commercial space in the co-op, this can increase cash flow and help to keep maintenance low. However, if the retail space is empty, then the shareholders need to cover this lost income, thereby increasing maintenance.

Check to see if the building owns the land or if it rents it from another entity (land lease).  A land lease might cause the maintenance to be high since the building is paying someone else to occupy the space.

Lastly, the maintenance depends on how many shares you receive when you buy an apartment. Some apartments have more shares than others do. This is in part due to the inconsistencies of the layouts in older buildings, which made it difficult to evenly divide the shares.

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

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

11 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New York City Co-op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Sep 13, 2018 4:39:37 PM

Deciding to buy your first co-op in New York City can be overwhelming and scary. Seeking advice from other wannabe co-op buyers may induce even more anxiety when discussing their own bad experiences and frustrations. More often than not it isn’t you causing the complications it’s the real estate system itself. Below are 11 common key mistakes you should avoid in order to have a more successful co-op purchasing experience. 

Mistake #1: Apartment hunting without the help of a broker.

As a buyer, you pay your broker nothing to represent your interest. Yes, nothing! When apartments in Manhattan are sold the seller pays the broker for a job well done in finding a willing and able buyer. The seller pays a 5 to 6 percent commission, half of which goes to your broker.

Not having your own broker would require you to work directly with the seller’s broker. The seller’s broker has a responsibility to do everything they legally can to twist the deal in favor of the seller and against you.

A buyer’s broker will help you navigate through the complicated process of buying a co-op while protecting you from the other mistakes listed below. 

The only time your broker may be at a cost to you is if the co-op is For Sale By Owner or listings where the brokerage doesn’t take buyer’s commissions. It is better to be without a broker in these cases.


Mistake #2: Failure to notify the seller’s broker that you have your own broker. 

Okay, now you have your broker to assist and protect you. The next step to keep in mind is to have your broker schedule all of your viewing appointments. At open houses clearly indicate that you have a broker on sign-in sheets. Failure to do this could easily lead to you losing professional representation.

Mistake #3: Inadequate mortgage pre-approval letter. 

To be taken seriously by any prospective seller you need a mortgage pre-approval letter. The mistake to avoid here is getting a pre-approval letter based on your budget. Make sure your letter is based on the maximum amount the bank will lend you.

Mistake #4: Believing it’s possible to lose a bidding war.

Believing it is possible to lose a bidding war is a false assumption. You will never lose a bidding war if you offer the maximum price that you are comfortable paying. This way if you’re outbid, then the apartment was too expensive for you; if your bid wins, you’ve paid a price you feel was appropriate for the apartment.

Low-balling never works in the most competitive real estate market in the world, New York City.

Mistake #5: Overestimating your financial strength.iStock-658242920

Co-op boards don’t only want to see that you are pre-approved for a mortgage. They need more assurance that you can still pay monthly maintenance even if you lose your job. You need to have enough liquid assets post-closing for 24 months of mortgage and maintenance expenses. If this isn’t possible you may have to be more realistic about your maximum purchase price. 

Mistake #6: You’re told your offer is accepted. You believe it.

Your offer isn’t officially accepted until the sales contract is executed. Without this contract executed the seller’s broker could still show the apartment searching for a better offer. Make sure you and your broker do everything you can to accelerate the execution of the sales contract.

Mistake #7: Choosing a friend or relative to be your real estate attorney.

The only time this is appropriate is if your friend or relative specializes in New York City real estate. No exceptions.

Mistake #8: Failing to ensure that the co-op is on your mortgage provider’s approved list.

Once the sales contract is executed you will have 30 days to obtain a mortgage commitment letter. If the co-op isn’t on the mortgage institution’s approval list you may not receive the mortgage.

In the case that you for some reason sign a contract that is non-mortgage contingent, you will be in breach of contract if you can’t find a willing mortgage lender. You could lose your deposit under these circumstances. 

Mistake #9: Assuming the co-op board will accept your perfect board application.

You could have perfect credit, solid financials, and impressive letters of support and still be rejected without a board interview. Reasons for this could be: 

  • They may not be investor friendly and believe that you’re trying to rent out the apartment.
  • They may be concerned that your purchase price is low enough to reduce property value.
  • They may not allow pied-à-terre, gifting, or co-purchases financed by family members.

To avoid this do your best to find out the board’s limitations before making an offer. Once rejected there isn’t much you can do but collect your deposit and move on.

Mistake #10: Failure to check if there is a lien against the unit.

A lien is a right someone may have to keep possession of the property belonging to the seller until he/she pays a debt owed to the them. In this situation, the lien holder has to be notified of the closing. This can lead to delays. These delays can lead to higher mortgage rates if the mortgage lock expires in that time frame.

Mistake #11: Buying an apartment to generate rental income. 

This works great in California and Arizona, but not in New York City with co-ops. Once you pay your mortgage and maintenance you’ll be lucky to make 4% a year on your investment. Professional renovators may do better. But passive investors will just gain stress at best, a money pit at worst. 

It may be shocking and overwhelming to discover how complicated and difficult it is to buy an apartment in New York. Keeping these 11 mistakes in mind should help make the process a lot smoother.

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



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

Co-op Board Member Ethics When It Comes To Selling An Apartment

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Apr 25, 2018 5:08:17 PM

Recently, there has been a little confusion on whether co-op board members can sell apartments within their co-op, which has led to many unnecessary rejections due to conflicting opinions. So let’s clear that confusion up because if you’ve ever sat on a co-op board and turned down an owner or have been turned down yourself due to the board rejecting your application – you understand how crummy that can feel. 

By law, this is not illegal, and anyone can sell regardless of co-op board member status. Great news for you if you’re looking to do both! But don’t be discouraged if you’re given the stink-eye by some of your fellow board members as this is typically frowned upon. Many co-op board members will feel you're taking advantage of your board member status. After all, this will give you an edge on choosing the candidate who you want to sell too.


How Can You Stay On The Fine Line While Keeping Ethical?


Make sure you follow the honor system. Do onto others as you want done to you. That means, don’t favor or reject someone else’s application because you may be biased in any way. Also, don’t secretly take screenshots or grab applications from the pile for other properties in the same building and then contact and try to sell yours to those applicants directly - yes we've seen this happen. With over thirty years experience in property management, All Area Realty Services has provided guidance when a co-op board is faced with uncertainty or challenges. 

Another easy way to stay ethical is to hire someone that is an expert in residential property management services or a real estate management firm to sell your property as your agent. This takes you out of the equation and eliminates the intentional of unintentional actions of doing anything unethical. It also keeps the tension down between all board members at meetings as your actions, or integrity will not come into question. 

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, Selling a Co-Op

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.



  • 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.


  • 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