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Playing The Odds

Poker playersOK, you’ve taken the plunge, figuring now’s the time to buy an apartment on the cheap, and have chewed off half your fingernails awaiting the verdict on your application.

Here’s the secret.  All that work may have been for nothing because it’s possible – just possible – that no one will ever give the masterpiece you wrote more than a quick once over. I alerted Co-op Bible readers to this anomaly, but since then the philosophical divide between readers and non readers has become more pronounced though, hopefully, the impact of this economic mess will have some boards rethinking their attitude.

It’s something that’s more likely to happen in condos (or condops with condo rules) than co-ops.  In co-ops where boards have power to accept or reject you for no reason or any reason so long as the real reason isn’t discrimination, odds are someone is really reading the stuff.  But in condos, the board only has a right of first refusal, which means if it doesn’t like the buyer all it can do is purchase the apartment, something that’s rarely done. And if we’re not gonna buy the apartment, the philosophically opposed say, it doesn’t really matter what’s in the application.

A good poker player might figure, I’ll call their bluff and not waste time on something that chances are no one’s going to look at. It’s not a strategy I’d recommend because there’s no foolproof way to know in advance whether you’re playing with readers or rubber stampers. And if they call your bluff, for sure they’ll turn the screws to show who’s boss, probably inundating you with demands for more stuff than they ever would have asked for to begin with.

Even if you beat the odds and get by the board with nary a glance at your application, you should be nervous, not relieved. — VERY NERVOUS. Because if the board isn’t reading your application, it’s probably not reading anyone else’s, and if no one’s paying attention to what’s in the applications, how does anyone know if potential owners can pay their own way. And if they don’t pay their share, the rest of you will have to pick up the bill because in condos the banks take first when an apartment is foreclosed. And with apartments being foreclosed at a record clip unpaid charges are piling up like mounds of garbage though the Big Apple still remains relatively unscathed compared to other parts of the country.

So if you fake out the board in the application process, just remember you may have won the hand, but you – and the building – have lost the game, and potentially a lot more.

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One Response to “Playing The Odds”

  1. Property Prof says:

    It occurred to me reading the post about the buyer dying before closing (Dec. 14) that the buyer’s heirs should have submitted another application to the condo board, this time seeking to have the body move in. The petition would be denied and perhaps then the heirs could get out of the contract. But it sounds like there could be a big problem — maybe no one would read the application and the board would approve the body as a new neighbor!

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