It's easy and not necessarily foolish to be seduced by the obvious charms of a brand new condo--falling for sleek, modern architecture, floor to ceiling windows that make the most of light and views, and building amenities perfectly attuned to the needs of modern-day living versus, say, the needs of New Yorkers in 1926.
Just don't confuse new with perfect. Construction defects ranging from minor to serious are not uncommon. They can cramp your quality of life for years and even interfere with your ability to sell until the issues are fixed.
The most frequent problems involve exterior leaks, windows that don’t work, defective wood floors, inferior substitutions of materials and appliances, missing fire proofing, heating and cooling system problems, and bad ventilation.
Complications ensue if the developer (also referred to as a 'sponsor') either doesn’t want to fix a project he doesn’t stand to make any more money on, or can’t afford to. Worst case translation: Two to three years of lawsuits, five- or even six-figure assessments, mild-to-severe inconvenience, and repair work that could wind up costing each owner tens of thousands of dollars.
In light of the uncertainties surrounding the quality of brand-new construction, some buyers these days are opting for “slightly used” condos—apartments in two-to-three-year old buildings that have already had their tires kicked.
- The 7 most common construction defects (2013 Update) »
- My 7-year new construction nightmare »
- What are the risks of buying into a co-op or condo conversion? »
- Analyzing the “special risks” section of an offering plan »
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