A condominium block, perfect for combining two condos in Manhattan

Guide to combining two condos in Manhattan

Acquiring more living space is a dream of many people. However, not everyone is able to pursue it, be it for financial or some other reasons. Nevertheless, this guide to combining two condos in Manhattan might just be what you need to pursue this goal. This article will provide you with all the necessary information about different types of apartments, financial and legal issues, and the architectural aspect of the entire project.

Understanding the reality of the situation

For starters, it is important to be realistic. Things probably won’t go all the way how you imagined them. This type of project may affect you in such a way that you start thinking about how everything will look like when done, and what apartment conversion ideas to apply, without considering the difficulties of the process. It is important that you keep yourself on the ground, go one step at a time, and make sure that everything goes according to the plan.

Before you start, think about your budget

No matter what your wishes are, the reality is that you can do only what your budget allows you. With that in mind, the first important question to ask is are you currently owning your apartment or still paying the mortgage? If you own your place, it will be a lot easier to get financial support from a bank to purchase another apartment. However, if your mortgage is still not paid off, it will be difficult to apply for a second credit.

An apartment block on Manhattan.
Even though combining two apartments is a great idea, do not forget that Manhattan is expensive.

First of all, you will probably have to qualify for a larger mortgage. Second, when it comes to asking lenders for a second loan, this will seem like a risky business to them. If you have a lot more of your mortgage to pay off, I would suggest holding off this expansion for a few months.

Are you considering buying apartments in a co-op building?

Co-op buildings, also known as cooperative housing are properties that are not directly owned by the occupants. Instead, they own shares of a corporation in the value of the apartment. There are no mortgage payments, you only pay tax-deductible monthly maintenance fees.

Getting a second apartment in a co-op building is worth considering. However, there are some things you may expect to happen:

  • you will have a thorough and detailed interview with the board of the company
  • your finances, personal records, and employment history will be placed under a magnifying glass for an inspection
  • not all co-op buildings allow combining two apartments
  • if they do allow it, the entire project will have to be inspected and approved by the board

City regulations and permits

Before combining two condos in Manhattan, you must check what are city regulations you must follow, and what permits you need to acquire.

First of all, you must follow the New York City Building Code, which enforces specific rules for site safety, exists and fire protection, structural standards, and Mechanical, Plumbing, and Fuel gas Code.

Also, there is the Energy Code that mandates the required minimum of thermal and efficiency ratings for any equipment and lighting.

Alteration applications

There are 3 DOB forms you will need to acquire:

  • PW1 form
  • PW3 form
  • TR1 form

PW1 and PW3 forms are Plan/Work Approval Applications. TR1 form is required for regulations regarding sprinkler system, structural integrity, and any inspections.

For condominiums, you will have to acquire a new tentative tax lot number. This is done by filling in RP 602 application for mergers or apportionments, issued by the Department of Finance.

Application reviews Before anything can be done, you will need a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect to inspect the plan of work. When the sign-off of the completed work is done, the Borough Office issues a letter of completion which states that the DOB(Department of Buildings) does not need certificates of occupancy for combining apartments.

A drawing of floor plans for an apartment.
Floor plans should be inspected by an architect or an engineer.

Multiple dwelling law

When combining two condos in Manhattan, you must think about multiple dwelling law. Have in mind that two apartments usually mean two families. However, if all applicable provisions are fully met, you do not need a certificate of compliance or occupancy. The number of families is decreased, and the bulk of the building is not increased.

What types of expenses to expect

As you can probably imagine, this entire project is a costly one. Besides purchasing property, you must consider the demolition costs, charges for forms, applications, and alterations, and any renovation you want to do. Additionally, if you are doing all of this preparation in advance and if you are yet to move here, do not forget to include the relocation costs as well.

Should you combine two condos in Manhattan horizontally or vertically?

When buying an apartment in NYC, there is another important aspect to think about. If you decide to combine two condos vertically, you will probably need to construct a new staircase. However, there are some benefits to combining two apartments vertically. For example, you can move the bathroom upstairs. Consequently, you will get more space to work with when expanding rooms. This allows more flexibility.

A duplex building showing multiple apartments.
One of the best ways to combine two apartments is to go vertically and create a duplex.

A closing word

As you can probably see, combining two condos in Manhattan is not an easy project. There is a lot of planning ahead of you, and the most challenging part is completing all the regulative procedures and acquiring enough funding to finish the project. Nevertheless, it is not something that can’t be done. With that in mind, if you have the means to do this project, I highly advise you do so. After all, you can always sell the apartment in the future and make a profit out of it.

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