Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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City's Landmark Buildings Can Have Unique Limits

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For those looking to live inside a symbol of the city's past, real estate experts recommend prospective buyers do their research before signing on the dotted line. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

If charm and character are among the things you are looking for in a home, you could end up looking at apartments in landmark buildings. There are a lot more landmark buildings than you might think, though not all landmark buildings are well known. While a building’s historic or cultural value may be a plus, before you buy into one, you should know that the designation does come with some limitations.

Teri Rogers, founder of BrickUnderground.com, says among other things it could cost you more down the line.

"Owning an apartment in a landmark building will probably prove a little bit more expensive over time," says Rogers. " The Landmarks Preservation Commission has to approve anything that will alter the appearance of the building from the outside. That takes time, time equals money. And also your building will have fewer options when it comes to the sorts of things they can do to the outside and the price that they'll pay for it and they may need to hire more expensive craftspeople for the kind of work that is required."

You should also check the windows. Make sure you like them the way they are because it can be very expensive and time consuming to replace them.

Also, make sure there is a place to put an air conditioner. If there are old casement windows, you’ll need to find another window that can hold the unit. Often times, adding a through-the-wall air condition is out of the question, especially if it can be seen from the street.

Also, review your renovation plans.

"If you're thinking about doing a gut renovation that is really modern, just bear in mind that your neighbors, the people on the board who have to approve your renovation are often passionately committed to maintaining the integrity, the historical integrity of your building, and you may find you don’t have as much latitude as you were hoping for," explains Rogers.

But despite the limitations there are some wonderful advantages.

"You probably have great curb appeal. You've got those prewar high ceilings, all of that great detail inside and the thick, sound muffling walls and ceilings and floors," says Rogers.

So, before you buy into a building that is a symbol of the city’s past, make sure you fully understand what it means for your future.

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