In New York, buying a co-op or a condo goes something like this: Your realtor takes you to see your dream home. You put in an offer—along with a bunch of other people. After a ferocious bidding war, your offer is finally accepted. You submit a bunch of very personal documents (in the case of a co-op at least) and settle in for the interminable wait while all that paperwork is reviewed by what seems like a small army of attorneys.
As part of this process, you may or may not choose to have your home inspected. While home inspections are very common in the suburbs, they aren’t as typical in apartments. But you move into your new place and you and your family live happily ever after . . . until you find out that your dream home is filled with invisible hazards that can make you and your children very sick.
While some hazards—things like crumbling masonry, cracked sidewalks and deteriorating windows—are visible even to an untrained eye, other dangers are not so obvious. A few are entirely invisible to the eye and they have no smell or taste, but they are still deadly.
Substances like lead, carbon monoxide, radon and formaldehyde can permeate a building or unit without anyone knowing until it’s too late, and the result can be tragic.
But these hidden dangers in New York City co-op and condo buildings can be discovered, remedied and avoided with a little extra legwork.