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Right Building, Wrong Apartment

A few days ago, I met with my attorney and we had a discussion about the two bedroom property that I made an offer on in October.  While he agreed that the space was good and the price was not bad, he was concern that the coop was being mismanaged. I have had some of the same concerns as well. I had been doing some reach online and the feedback has not been positive. I observed documents on Trulia, Zillow and Streeteasy that shows that in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the economic downturn, the property values on the cooperative started to nose dive. Then banks started to refuse mortgage applications for the building. The coops has yet to recover and the prices have continued their downward slide. Another pressing concern was that the coop has not properly budgeted for needed repairs and expenses. In 2012, The building had a operating cost of $6.4 million dollars but had only budgeted for $6 million. That means that the cooperative is operating at a loss. My attorney said that for a cooperative of this magnitude, there should be more money in the reserves. The cooperative has just $200,000 in reserves.Within the last five years, the cooperative has been managed by three different management companies. Another red flag, a significant number of occupants have defaulted on their monthly maintenance for several months. My attorney requested to read the minutes of the last year and a half coop board meetings (as a way to ascertain if the coop has any plans to increase the reserves, etc) however he was not provided the documents. To us, it meant that either the monthly cooperative meetings are not happening or they are not being transcribed. I had no other choice but to walk away.

So, I'm back to searching for that perfect coop/condo again. Over the weekend my real estate agent and I saw two one bedroom apartments. Coop one was in my ideal neighborhood (ideal building too) and was on a quiet street with access to public transportation and shops. The problem, and there always appears to be a downside, the coop was too small, dark and overpriced. There wasn't a kitchen but a kitchen nook that lack space, storage/closet and overhead lighting. I hated the floor plan. The view out the bedroom window opened onto another apartment building and an empty lot. When you enter the apartment you entered into the kitchen nook. There was not a foyer. Also, the application fee for this building was an astonishingly ridiculous amount of money. I liked building though. I loved how friendly the occupants were. The common spaces were also clean and tidy. The coop also has strict rules about renting, no more than 20% of units can be rented at a time and tenants can't remain in the building for more than two years. I was faced with a dilemma. This is the building I have been stalking online for the past two years. But the apartment was not right for me. I almost willed myself to make an offer and was willing to overlook all the concerns just to get into this building. But alas, common sense got the better of me and I decided to walk away. In the past several months, I have watched from the sidelines as home prices in this area skyrocket due to the low inventory, transportation hub and big box stores. Still, with the newcomers and welcomed shops, the community is almost unchanged and untouched by gentrification, especially when compared to other areas in Brooklyn. Coop two was further away from my ideal neighborhood. It too was overpriced but the listing agent stated that the seller was willing to negotiate. It was a one bedroom close to the bus and train. the apartment needed a lot of work in the kitchen and bathroom. I liked the layout. I like the wide foyer/entryway. The apartment however lacked the wow factor. I would need to compromise a lot to be in that neighborhood and in an apartment needing that amount of work. Though Coop two was out of my ideal neighborhood, I was willing to see what I could get for my price point. I noticed that I could get more space. However I wasn't fond of the area. It lacked every amenity that made the ideal neighborhood appealing. I couldn't picture myself living there. I couldn't picture myself shopping there, meeting the neighbors. The ideal neighborhood has an energy about it and a freshness that you don't find elsewhere. I hate to use the term up-and-coming but the ideal neighborhood has lots of potential that is just starting to be realized. The shops are as diverse as the people.

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