Submitted by ub on Sun, 07/01/2012 - 17:47

Condominium apartments have sevaral advantages over Cooperatives, whether you live on the east coast, or the west coast of this wonderful and diverse nation.

If you are like me, live and own a New York City condo, you had three choices when you were ready to buy a home.

First, you could spend double, triple-digits, and sometimes even more on a townhouse. These costs are prohibitive for many, not to mention that you may wind up being the superintendent of your own home.

Or, you could purchase a cooperative apartment, aka a ‘co-op’. However, here you will have to be vetted and disclose your personal finances as well as your life history to a group of strangers, not to mention that you will also agree to live according to a set of building rules that sometimes appear to me to be excesive.

This is why I felt that a condo was the smarter purchase and perhaps the best investment. In most cases, the only thing that matters is whether you qualify for a mortgage, or have the money to purchase your apartment. The good news is that there are no onerous co-op board package to fill out; there is no need to tell strangers how much money you earn, or have in the bank, explain where it came from, what are your political viewpoints, and other potentially charged questions.

Condos are supposed to give you more privacy and freedom, or so I thought. That is, as long as everyone else is considerate of all owners and neighbors and as long as the owners do not wind up renting their unit to lo low lifers. Unfortunately some owners decide to purchase a unit as an investment and rent them to folks who have not been vetted, who scream at each other at all hours of the day and night, who keep loud animals, or decide to participate in destructive behaviour and practices. That is the the when an owner who lives in their unit has to put their foot down and become CONDO COP

A word to the wise and a game plan... If you have decided on the idea of buying a condo or coop, you may wish to consider the following recomendations:

Make sure you know all the players in that building. These may change over the years, but it's good to know if any of your future neighbors could be wackos or lowlifes. Trust me, it could happen.

In the case of new developments, it is impossible to know who your neighbors are going to be. If this is the situation, try to be either first or last last. If you are first, you should know that developers are trying to make a splash and generate a momentum when it comes to sales, not o mention that they also need to sell a percentage of these condos to qualify as a functioning business entity. Be last if the project has been on the market for a long time. This is when there are large discounts to be had, so they can get rid of their remaining units.

Also know that smaller developments in tiny out of the way areas are usually harder to sell. However, if these meet your needs there are plenty of deals to enjoy. Next, bring cash to the table. Buyers who don't rely on mortgages, or creative financing are a developer and a broker's dream. Last, but not least.... Respect that asking price because when developers have to lower their asking prices, they are lowering the value of all the other units. However, you can try to work our side deals, like closing costs, legal fees, free parking...etc.

A word to the wise is sufficient. "Caveat Emptor"... "Buyer Beware".