The Real.Est List
Is it stupid to buy a barely owned condo?
Over on the Brownstoner forum, the potential buyer of an almost-new condo wants to know if the fact that the first owner is selling after just a couple of months raises any issues: “[D]oes the builder's warranty transfer with the property? Is it more difficult to get the developer to fix something that comes up in the first year if you are the second owner? Any other pitfalls that I should consider?”
Two commenters advise against buying into any new construction, period, while a third points out that “all construction was once new,” and that new properties are sometimes flipped for reasons that have nothing to do with the property itself: "I live in a new building and we've had a couple of sales, all motivated by changed family financial circumstances."
That's not to say caveat emptor doesn't apply. "Check the HPD's website for any violations, carefully look around the building for any obvious things like leaks and cracks," the commenter advises. "Check board minutes if the board has been convened. Above all get an independent building inspection."
As for those warranties? "They do not generally transfer, but you need to check on the specifics of this development - talk to your lawyer."
BrickUnderground double-checked with Manhattan closing attorney Rachel Mulcahy, who concurs with the advice above, but noted that “some of the appliance warranties, etc., might transfer because they are specific to the equipment,” she says. “I would also advise the purchaser to look into the developer’s reputation.”