Been Through Buying Hell? Now Try Surviving Your First Year

If you've just moved to a new co-op or condo, you probably feel as though you've been through a living hell. For several

agonizing months, you and your trusty broker have schlepped from apartment to apartment in an endless, overwhelming search to find the ideal home. You've carefully packed up all of your most cherished belongings in bubble wrap and packing tape. You've hired tall, muscular movers who held your life and assets in their callused hands. You've lived out of boxes, waited a ridiculous amount of time for mechanics, TV repair men and furniture deliveries to arrive. You've cleaned, scrubbed, vacuumed and re-vacuumed more times than you care to admit. You've found furniture that shows off your personality and sets the right mood for your new apartment.

Now, finally, all is in place. You take a deep, cleansing breath as you marvel at the beauty of your new pad. But if you think the worst is over, you're wrong! Did you think the buying process was hard? Let me introduce you to a whole new slew of problems and small catastrophes that can face the new homeowner. Much of my first year as a co-op resident was spent standing on the edge of a huge money-sucking abyss. Teetering back and forth, I wondered whywhen so many of my problems were preventableno one had bothered to advise me before I took the keys and handed over a huge check.

Testing All Systems

Before you fall in love with an apartment, be sure to check all major and minor appliances including the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, oven and air conditioner. These come with the apartment, and you will end up owning them whether they work or not. If they don't, it will be your responsibility to fix, throw out or replace them. Don't just ask if they work; insist on trying them. This is your right. If any of these appliances need to be replaced or repaired, your bidding price may be affected. It wasn't until the second washing of dishes that water seeped out from my washer and flooded the floor. Fearful that it would damage not only my apartment, but also the one below me, I immediately called the repairman. Total cost to fix: $260.

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