The Deal is Dead

Rusty - December 10, 2007

But not because of the co-op. They met and said they were fine with an investor, though they wanted me to put 10% down rather than 5%. But because the whole thing has been taking so long, my financial situation has changed, and I’m less sure now than before of whether or not I can make a decent profit from the deal, I backed out. I made another (lower) offer but she rejected it. Bummer.

Co-op Board Is Meeting Without Me

Rusty - November 26, 2007

This Wednesday the Co-op board will meet without me to determine whether or not to allow me to purchase the unit. I’ve requested to not meet with them and not put together a co-op packet (like 2-inches thick of papers to fill out) because this will be an investment, not a residence. Fingers crossed.

Then, even if they are okay with me there’s the issue of the loan. There’s a good chance that because of the nature of my loan (not conventional) and that it’s taken so long for this process to happen, that the bank won’t give me the loan. I guess we’ll see.

I know, a pretty boring report when you’re wanting to see pictures of apartment demolition and paint colors.

The Before Pics

Rusty - November 17, 2007

I should once again mention that I haven’t yet closed on this place. I’ve found that the process of closing on a co-op in New York City is slow as molasses in January. From the seller to the real estate agent to the co-op board to the seller’s attorney, nobody ever takes the initiative to get stuff done. There are only so many phone calls you can make. It’s maddening. And I’d say that the average time from offer to close is around 3-4 months (my and all of my friends’ experience). I know, it’s ridiculous.

Anyway, to the photos:

FLOORPLAN
It’s actually a pretty decent layout, especially for how small the apartment is (approx. 425 sq. ft.). I’d personally prefer less room in the bedroom and put more room into the kitchen and bathroom, but there’s very little I can do here.
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BATHROOM
The bathroom is narrow, too narrow to rotate the tub to be at the end of the room. I hate those wrap around shower curtain rods and would prefer it to be straight, that means I’d have to build some kind of wall or something there. I’d like to replace the tub anyway but still don’t know. We’ll see. I imagine replacing the toilet will be tricky because it’s already far away from the wall and the waste-line isn’t easily moved. Don’t know what I’ll do there either. I’d like to keep the pocket door, though I don’t know if the existing one is salvageable.
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LIVING ROOM
Very little needs to be done here. The floors are in great shape, they just need to be sanded and stained, probably a dark walnut or something (there’s lots of light in this unit, I don’t worry about a dark floor). I like shutters when they naturally fit the architecture…these don’t. I’ll be taking those out though I still don’t know exactly what I’m going to do for window treatments (if anything). I’ll definitely be taking out those terrible built-ins under the windows. I was also considering installing a flat-screen tv with in-wall surround sound, fully-set up, but both my wife and brother say that’s a bad idea. I think anyone would appreciate having something like that all ready for them when they move in but my wife doesn’t like forcing the buyer to orient their room around the tv and my brother says he’d rather choose the equipment than allow me to do it. So I don’t know yet.
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KITCHEN
The kitchen is tiny. So as a result I’ll open up the wall and bring it out a little bit into the living room and have a bar (instead of a wall). I’ll post renderings and talk about those plans later. But I will be doing Ikea, I will have an undermount fridge, I will probably have a below-sink dishwasher (our friends did it with a Fisher & Paykel and love it), I will use my left-over backsplash tile from my own apartment and I will do a beautiful floor tile.
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BEDROOM
Practically no changes. I don’t yet know what to do about a closet. I’d like to expand it from the existing one, though I wonder if a single person moves in if they’d rather have that space for a desk or something. We’ll see.
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All in all it should be a fun little project (if I can ever close). Periodically I’ll be posting renderings and perhaps polls of possible options of things I’m considering doing to get everyone’s feedback. It’d be nice to close and be able to start demo.

Intro To My Flip

Rusty - November 15, 2007

I know, I already have an apartment on this site, but as a result of my interest in home renovation and real estate investment I’m currently in the process of buying a co-op here in Park Slope, Brooklyn and will be renovating it and re-selling it. I thought I’d document the process here for you to see and give feedback.

New York real estate investment for small-time investors like me is tricky. There are three basic types of residential properties: houses, condos and co-ops. The problem when you’re a cash-lite investor like me is that houses are too expensive to even get into and condos generally don’t need major renovations (condos are a new phenomenon here in NYC). Therefore, most of the properties that need fixin’ are co-ops*.

Therefore, it’s tricky.

So I haven’t yet closed on this deal. But things are looking good, the co-op board is okay with me renovating and re-selling it, they aren’t requiring a co-op board meeting (as most of the information they would need isn’t relevant for someone who won’t be living there), my mortgage broker has found a loan product that will work for me and the project is well within my scope and budget.

Next post: before pictures

*If you’re not familiar with the term, a co-op (cooperative) is a corporation in which you buy shares. That means you don’t own actual property (the corporation does), you own shares in that corporation with the exclusive right to your unit. Your life is basically the same as a condo owner except for two major things: co-op boards and co-op red tape. To be able to buy a co-op you have to be accepted by the co-op board (who set their own rules and can reject you for whatever reason they want). This means complete transparency of your income/assets to any number of your future neighbors. Plus, most co-ops don’t allow investors in, they want permanent residents. And then there’s the red tape. Banks don’t like shares, they like property as collateral, therefore their terms for loans and HELOC’s are often worse or more inconvenient than it is for property. From the amount of money required to put down to their loan-to-value allowance to the amount of paperwork required is all different with a co-op.