The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

Should You Buy an Apartment in a Smaller Boutique Building in NYC?

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There’s something oh, so glamorous about buying an apartment in one of the bigger buildings in New York City. BiggerBoutique Building buildings have more people, fewer group costs, and a lot more high-rises to choose from. Though most people like to think big, sometimes, it can pay off to get an apartment in a “boutique” apartment complex. Smaller Boutique Building in NYC has a lot to offer the right person, but is this move right for you?

It often seems like different apartment sizes tend to gear themselves towards people of different lifestyles. In a lot of cases, it’s not just an appearance. It’s legit. Here’s what you should know about getting an apartment in a petite building…

Boutique Buildings vs. Larger Buildings: How Do They Stack Up?

If you want to determine whether or not you should move into a petite apartment building, you need to be aware of how each building style will impact your living. Here’s the general scoop on what you should expect…

Small buildings tend to be more intimate. 

You will be more likely to know your neighbors, which is awesome. However, you also will have any problematic neighborssmaller building in nyc become a far larger problem than if they lived in a massive building. Who you live next to will make a huge impact here.

Boutique buildings rarely have enough people to volunteer for their boards. 

This can lead to undermanaged communities or heavily mismanaged ones.

Depending on the building, it might be easier to get approved. 

If you have a low-demand building or a building that’s known for being lax, then you might be able to get approved for an apartment loan faster. This is particularly true in smaller low-income apartment buildings.

Larger apartment buildings are also at a higher risk for bed bug infestations that are out of control. 

The more neighbors you have, the more likely it is that pests will come around. If pests spread from apartment to apartment,smaller building you might end up with unwanted guests that are even harder to get rid of.

The more people who live in a building, the more expenses can be shared. 

This is also true about sharing liabilities. In a lot of cases, this can lighten the load that you have to face.

Extremely tall buildings can be difficult, logistically speaking. 

Carrying stuff upstairs is never fun. Moreover, some people get skittish in tall buildings.

Smaller buildings have boards that can get stuff done fast. 

With a larger building, there will be more people doing the managing and discussing matters. This can lead to a lot of bureaucratic red tape. Smaller buildings are better in terms of passing rules and having more personal freedoms.

In some cases, boutique apartments can be exclusive. 

Since they are limited in number, these types of apartments can be very exclusive. Certain buildings can be quite high in demand, which can drive up your profit when you sell it. A rare upside of buying an apartment in a smaller boutique building is that you won’t have hundreds of competing units to deal with when it comes time to sell. By default, your unit will be rare because there may be years in between when units in your building come to the market for sale. And when units do come on the market, they usually are the only listing in their building.

In fact, you’re most likely to find boutique buildings in Lower Manhattan neighborhoods like the West Village, Soho, Meatpacking District, Tribeca, some areas of Brooklyn, and the Lower East Side.

The General Verdict On Smaller Boutique Building in NYC

As you can see, having extra neighbors can really pay off. If you have too few units, you will end up with an unusually heavysmall projects burden when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Besides, it’s quite likely you won’t have any residents who are willing to work on the board and do it efficiently. However, having the intimacy, better prices and easier approvals can make a boutique apartment purchase a smart one.

Most people do not want to be in a super tower, simply because it is possible to feel crowded by being near so many others. However, being one of three families in a building can also be a pain.  In other words, most people are best served by something in between the two extremes.

Who Would Fare Best In A Smaller Boutique Building in NYC?

People who are open to doing due diligence when they move in are the ones who tend to do well with a boutique apartment. If you choose this, make sure to have a good amount of savings at your disposal. Since many random repairs end up being split between owners, you may find yourself with a sudden expense that could put you deep into debt if you’re not prepared.

What Is The Best Sweet Spot For An Apartment Building?

If you want to have a smaller apartment building, it’s best to look for one that has at least 20 to 30 units. Most buildings shouldn’t have more than 300 or so unless they’re a high rise. Having a building that’s between 20 to 200 units is usually a good choice. Of course, there is more to consider that you have to be aware of…

Know Thy Neighbor: Understanding The Role Neighbors Play In Smaller Boutique Building in NYCs

If you want to go for an ultra-small apartment building, then you have to check out who will be living in or around you. Your neighbors will have a far higher impact in a small building. Here’s why it pays to take a look at the neighbors:

  • Neighbors that destroy property are far more damaging in a small building. If it’s just one nuisance neighbor in a large building, you might not notice the damage. Or at the very least, your neighbors might be able to catch the vandal in the act.
  • Having sane neighbors will mean that your board will run smoothly. On the other hand, one bad neighbor who ends up volunteering on the board can mean unreasonable rule enforcement, discrimination, or in extreme cases, embezzlement. This can lead to serious losses.
  • If your neighbors are troublemakers, you might find yourself in trouble. Truth be told, this is the case with both large and small buildings. However, with small buildings, the chances of being a victim can skyrocket. This is because they might know you and know where you live.
  • Noisy neighbors are far more noticeable in a smaller building. No one likes to have young children running around screaming through the halls at 11 PM.
  • If the apartment is famous for having a capable management board, then you might want to move forward with your purchase. This means maintenance will be a breeze and that you can expect your apartment to remain up to code without serious expenses in most cases. On the other hand, corrupt management can lead to litigation or worse.

How To Pick A Smaller Boutique Building in NYC That’s Right For You

Before you choose an apartment, make sure you have a good feel of the place. These tips below can help you learn more about it:

  • Check out who’s hanging out near the building. They might be neighbors, or friends of neighbors.
  • If possible, ask someone who lives there what they think of the building. Most people will be totally honest about what they think, and may even give you some advice on moving in.
  • Read up on the apartment board’s functions and recent measures. Apartments will usually have documentation on this, much like how condos or co-ops do.
  • Search up the apartment’s litigation records. If you notice a lot of lawsuits, run. It may also be harder to get a mortgage CEMA.

Not Sure If A Boutique Apartment Is Right For You?

New York City has tons of good boutique apartments that avoid the pitfalls of typical “small building living.” That’s why it’s best to ask your real estate agent or broker what they think about the decision. You might be surprised at what you hear—and how it may impact your decision to move.

One of the biggest risks to buying an apartment in a smaller boutique building is the fact that you’ll be responsible for a greater proportion of any building-wide expenses or liabilities.



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