Active Rain January 24, 2010

Co ops and Home Inspections

This will be somewhat of a rant, but after being sick as a dog with some exotic bug my kids brought home from school, I am in one of those moods. There is a word for a home inspector who will take $500 from a home buyer for inspecting a co op apartment they are looking to buy: Thief. My opinion? Maybe. The opinion of reputable, licensed home inspectors with ASHI memberships whom I have discussed this with? Yup. 

By and large, inspecting a co op apartment is not needed the way it is for a house. The windows are the co-op’s responsibility. The same goes for the heat. 

…and the roof.

…and the plumbing and water pressure

…and the electricity

Are you getting the picture? There is no yard. There is no basement. There is no utility room, water heater, or laundry (in most cases). Many times, there isn’t even a dishwasher. It isn’t even like a condo, where you own the paint in. You are a stock holder with a proprietary lease, and the corporation is responsible for the physical plant.

There are exceptions to every complex. Some have a laundry in each apartment, for instance. And this doesn’t mean that if the dishwasher breaks or the toilet dies that you don’t have to buy new ones yourself. You do. But it does mean that anyone who treats the co op like a single family residence and charges you the same to inspect it is taking your money. And it’s not just me saying that. Most co op buyers do not get an inspection at all.

If you want to get your co op inspected, get an inspector who won’t charge you like the 900 square foot self-contained apartment is a 3000 square foot house on half an acre. We have a nice duplex in Rego Park, Queens under contract and we’re going to pay the guy less than $200 for a walk through, and that will be as thorough as you can get. The scope is just too small.

I welcome opinions of home inspectors familiar with New York co op apartments  to tell me why I am right or why I’m wrong.