New Construction Property Report Requires Due Diligence

When I work with clients who are buying new construction I advise them to read the property report given to them by the developer. In addition, I stress the need for an attorney, preferably someone who specializes in new construction, to review the document as well, before signing off on the contract.

It is important to understand that if you have not received the proerty report and signed for it, an attorney informed me that the contract is not binding. And before you do final sign-off of the contract, I recommend that you make sure you check for a discussion of the following items:

Are you able to sell the unit in the first year or are there certain limitations issued by the developer? Is parking deeded and if so, do you have to sell it to someone in the building? Also, make sure that if the parking is in a garage that there is a statement indicating the parking is covered. I have seen instances where the garage was open to the elements and yet was considered garage parking.

Although many people may consider lofts in a commercial building new construction, that is really not the case. For all intensive purposes it is really a rehab of an existing building. If this is the case, I highly recommend that you and your attorney check the property report very carefully to see what improvements have been made to the building and what work needs to be done in the future, especially whether new windows have been installed in the building.

Beware, there are many developers doing cosmetics to existing buildings and then reselling them to buyers and the buyer has no idea of what he/she is getting into. Also note, make sure you have enough time to go over all the documents, and remember, not to be pressured as an attorney can easily extend the grace period for attorney approval as long as the extension is in writing.

In summary, it is critical for you and your attorney to read the document carefully and it is to your advantage to obtain an attorney who either has experience with the dveloper or really is a new construction specialist who understands the nuances of new construction.

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