What would you do or would have done with the purchase? Smh

13 Replies | New York City, New York

Hello everyone. I'll make this short and to the point....(maybe)

Bought my 1st property back in Jan of this year. 2 Family Semi in Staten Island, NY. I would live in the main house and rent out the apartment was the goal. Most comps were in the 610-660 range for a house this size. 2970sq ft including the finished basement. Originally the house was listed at 620k, but then dropped to 599k. Which is where we came in and made the offer at asking. 599k was a decent price. 590k would have been optimal but the seller was not budging on price because of comps. 

2 reasons though he listed it "cheap". 1) The house needed TLC in terms of cleaning, painting, some flooring, landscaping, door hardware, the basics. It can even use an updated furnace as the original one is 35 years old. Needed at least 20k to make in pretty again. The apartment also need at least $3500 in items. 

2) THE BIGGER REASON. The home did not have a Certificate of Occupancy. YES, can you believe it? My lawyer made it clear that its risky signing the contract and waiting for the DOB to correct the issuel, back to that later. Now the seller had already been working on getting the C of O prior to listing the house. But he started tooooooo LATE.  A lot of these homes in the neighborhood were part of the Annadale/Arden Heights Mother/Daughter conversions. Major Giuliani had to get involved back in the day because of zoning issues and what not. My home was one of the last to actually get a true 2 family C of O our of hundreds of homes in the development

I was told in the beginning to NOT rent the apartment out because it can be a liability if the tenant finds out that there is no C of O, and then I can get in trouble if they report it. Now let me tell you a little about the setup. The entrance to the house and the apartment is on the left side of the home, NOT the front. It's also a split level, 3 floors up, 1 floor down to the basement. The studio apartment takes up 330sq feet of the front 1st floor of the house. The seller had moved the garage wall, only making room for storage and no car. So now the apartment becomes a 1 Bedroom at 485sq ft.

Here is the kicker...The DOB told the seller, to put the garage back to normal, and leave the apartment as a studio so things can get approved quicker. But that is not the case....We are still waiting on the Brooklyn commissioner to sign off on it. The Staten Island DOB commissioner refuses to sign it, because the now Brooklyn commissioner is the former one from Staten Island that dealt with this crap many years ago. Confusing I know, trust me. 

Now upon closing the contract on the home, we (me, wife, lawyer) set some things straight to I didn't get screwed without lube. 1) The seller had to pay us upon closing $6,000 to us, for future missed rent, and some other things. 2) Also, $35,000 of the sellers money went into escrow, just in case for some reason we only end up getting a C of O for a single family.

8 months later, still no C of O, and I missed out on thousands in rent. The studio can go for $950 and if I get rid of the garage, then the 1 bdrm can get $1250. The precedent has ALREADY been set in the neighborhood that homes can still get approved for a 2 family without a garage and adding a living room to the apartment. 

Should I just rent it out to someone I know, if I can find one?  My wife and I are really worried that the DOB will take even longer. Honestly I thought giving the DOB 6-7 months was enough for such a simple thing. I guess not simple with these people.

The house is so nice and I would love to see it make us some money. But now maybe I should have listened to my lawyer and passed on the house. Thanks for reading folks.

Very interesting read - please keep us posted. I had been offered units with CofO issues and stayed away from them because I cant figure out what the risk is. But that is not to discourage you (further)!  It may all work out fine, who knows.

Originally posted by @Dirk S. :

Very interesting read - please keep us posted. I had been offered units with CofO issues and stayed away from them because I cant figure out what the risk is. But that is not to discourage you (further)!  It may all work out fine, who knows.

 Thanks. We shall see. I'm just really fed up with the DOB. 

I work on Staten Island as a realtor, so I don't want to play Monday morning I told you so ...

I can say this , I advice against buying property with out a certificate of occupancy, I had investor do it , but they understand the risks and can wait it most times .

You as a homeowner, I would not feel comfortable enough advising it .

As to the Department of buildings, they work at their own pace and don't seem to care too much otherwise . NYC each borough has their own Department of buildings , each function a little differently from my experience.

I am thinking 💭 you had to purchase all cash 💰, because of the C of O issue .

Anyways if I can be of assistance let me know .

Originally posted by @Joseph Pugliese :

I work on Staten Island as a realtor, so I don't want to play Monday morning I told you so ...

I can say this , I advice against buying property with out a certificate of occupancy, I had investor do it , but they understand the risks and can wait it most times .

You as a homeowner, I would not feel comfortable enough advising it .

As to the Department of buildings, they work at their own pace and don't seem to care too much otherwise . NYC each borough has their own Department of buildings , each function a little differently from my experience.

I am thinking 💭 you had to purchase all cash 💰, because of the C of O issue .

Anyways if I can be of assistance let me know .

Thanks for the reply Joe. The bank was very understanding and VERY confident in the property getting the C of O. Like I said the precedent has already been set in the neighborhood. I put the usual 20% down, no issues what so ever. If I would have purchased all cash, I would have got it for $580k EASY.

Sorry to hear Sean.  I had a similar case with a property that I was about to close and found out the same thing that the house did not get a proper 2 Fam CofO.  I was told by our contractors that if we proceed, we should definite consult and hire an expediter to assist here.  Spoke with 2 of them and they charge around $30-60k and supposedly 4-6 months to obtain.  Not sure if you are doing this on your own or have help with a outside source that do this for a living.  We ended up backing out of the deal cause the additional cost to the deal at that time.  

@Sean Senatore  

Sorry to hear about the issue your going through. Even though you don't have a C of O, couldn't you just set the house for the building code requirements to have a tenant? I know you said a wall in the garage was moved. Could you re set the house to normal standards for 2 family code and maybe just rent it out to someone trustworthy. Then when the DOB  finally gives you the C of O, the property is already set to the requirements and you'll be on your way right?

Originally posted by @John Spina jr :

@Sean Senatore 

Sorry to hear about the issue your going through. Even though you don't have a C of O, couldn't you just set the house for the building code requirements to have a tenant? I know you said a wall in the garage was moved. Could you re set the house to normal standards for 2 family code and maybe just rent it out to someone trustworthy. Then when the DOB  finally gives you the C of O, the property is already set to the requirements and you'll be on your way right?

That is what we are doing now. No more waiting. Getting this thing rented out ASAP. The wall is now moved back to where the studio converts to a 500 sqft 1 bedroom apt with a decent living room. Asking $1300 with a small pet. I wish I would have done this months ago, but my lack of exp lead me to where I am today. 

Hello everyone. I wanted to give you an update on this thread. I have now rented out the 1 bdrm apartment for $1300 a month starting on Nov. 11th. $100 of that $1300 is for access to my driveway M-F only. Not bad... So far the tenants are great. No complaints as of yet. Its a young husband and wife couple that is just starting off their journey living with each other and saving for a home. The wife's father is an electrician on the island, and he has already helped with 2 things. Even though I have an electrician already, comparing prices, the father wins, haha. 

Regarding the C of O. Still waiting on the Brooklyn commissioner to sign off on it. We are now at 1 year since closing on the house. Move in date was Jan 20th. Still can't believe that the city of NY will make you wait this long. 

I can't wait till the day when I can finally lift this burden off my shoulders. 

Wow i just finished reading this thread and thanks so much for that information. I am looking to purchase my first property in the island and that can potentially save me some stress in the future if i run into this issue. If you do not mind me asking, who was your Real Estate agent? @Sean Senatore

Stephen Monterosso, very nice guy and agent. Well liked and known. Good Luck

Originally posted by @Ronny Tiburcio :

Wow i just finished reading this thread and thanks so much for that information. I am looking to purchase my first property in the island and that can potentially save me some stress in the future if i run into this issue. If you do not mind me asking, who was your Real Estate agent? @Sean Senatore