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Old 02-09-2014, 06:50 AM
25 posts, read 66,149 times
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My fiancé and I are considering a co-op or condo in southern Westchester. Most of the apartments we've seen online that we like seem to be co-ops. I'm familiar with the strict co-op boards that are in Manhattan. I am wondering if the case is the same in Westchester, or if it varies from building to building? We are both young professionals with good incomes and stable employment, but recent graduates from law school, so our savings and overall financial picture while ok, probably wouldn't allow us to be approved by most co-op boards in the city. Our down payment would likely be 10-15% of the purchase price and we would require financing. We are looking at a price range of around $250k for a 2br. The price range seems doable in several areas we are interested in, but as I said I'm concerned about the co-op board approval. Does anyone have any insight?
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:50 AM
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We once lived in a co-op in Southern Westchester. It wasn't anything fancy, but they insisted that we put 20% down; you may find co-ops that are willing to consider you with less of a down payment, but you may have to hunt around to find such buildings. The plus side of moving into a co-op that requires a 20% down payment is that the financials of the building may likely be sounder than the financials of a building that requires a lesser down payment, and if there's one thing you definitely don't want, it's a building with crappy financials.

From the various co-ops we looked at (and the two we put offers in on), the boards seemed to vary a little bit, but were pretty strict with their required down payment percentages.

And I know this isn't part of your question, but, my extra two cents: I would never move into a co-op again. We bought a co-op for a similar reason--recent graduates, wanted to own instead of rent, monthly cost was comparable to renting, once we got the down payment part out of the way, etc. However, between the inanity of the co-op board and rules, the lengthy process to buy or sell the place (the board was extremely slow-moving when it came to considering potential buyers, which was more of a problem for us when selling our place), and the overall feeling of having little power and say in the building was unpleasant, to say the least.

If I had to do it over again, I would have rented for a few more years, built up my down payment more, and bought a condo or a small starter home (which I realize is pretty much a unicorn in Westchester real estate, but still...)

Anyway, sorry to be a downer. If you do continue you co-op hunt, I do wish you the best of luck!
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:43 PM
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There are tons of small starter homes in Westchester.

Many co-op boards are perfectly seamless.
Takes the same amount of time as a condo to buy or sell.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:45 PM
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The prior poster's experience does happen. But there are other buildings that are wonderful to live in that have boards that are not run by a bunch of egomaniacs. So there is great variation from building to building. And I think 20% down is a typical requirement.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:39 PM
Location: Armonk NY
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Nothing like Manhattan co-op boards.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for the info. Would anyone happen to know if any of the co-ops allow dogs (2 small hypoallergenic dogs). Or in the alternative if it would be very difficult to get a reasonable accommodation for them because they are emotional support animals. Also if we have to go the "waiver" route, should we tell the co-op board up-front or wait to be approved and then ask for the waiver?
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