Ever Do A Title Search On A Parking Space?

Cynthia Habberstad passed on buy a primo parking identify at the posh Onyx Chelsea, a new 52-unit condo in Manhattan.

That when the going price was $165,000 for the slab of cement. The mother of three changed her mind a few months later only to find all the spaces had been taken. Now, the mother of three children is kicking herself.

The first two parking spots at the Chelsea sold for $165,000, the third for $175,000 and the last two fetched $195,000. Each space includes about $50 in monthly maintenance costs.

The need for the spots in Manhattan is indicative of the situation throughout New York City, where parking fetches about the same price per square foot as actual living space.

According to Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, the average parking space costs $165,019, or $1,100 per square foot, close to the average apartment price of $1,107 per square foot. A $200,000 parking space is about $1,333 per square foot.

There’s a waiting list for five private parking spaces for $225,000 in the basement of a 34-unit condo development scheduled for completion next January.

Parking in new developments is selling for twice what it was five years ago, said Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and president of Miller Samuel.

Although spaces in chief sections of Manhattan are the most expensive, already those in open lots and in garages in Brooklyn, Queens, Riverdale and Harlem are close to $50,000, although at the minimum one new Brooklyn development is asking $125,000.

In other densely packed cities where space and parking are at premium, parking spaces in condos also tend to trade at high prices. In Boston, they can sell for as much as $175,000, and they go for as much as $75,000 in Chicago. In other cities, like Los Angeles and Dallas, most condos include parking in their prices.

With lenders offering six-figure mortgage financing for a parking space and need increasing, there’s an interesting niche growing to conduct chain of title searches on individual spaces.

Bobbi Shorthouse, of Notary sets LLC in Connecticut, offers some advice on conducting a title search on a parking space. She indicates getting a copy of the map and course of action the space searched. A situation may arise where the parking spaces on the map will not match the numbers on the spaces and are not being used by the correct owners.

“For many, many years and transfers, the owners didn’t like where their spaces were, so they ‘swapped’ and re-numbered them to adjust to what the four ‘owners’ wanted,” Shorthouse said. “All the owners were content with the space they were using; spaces were the same cost, and our purchasers wanted the space the sellers were using — not the one they owned.

She said the group involved did not want expensive legal fees to correct something they didn’t feel needed “correction.”

“We protected ourselves by making certain we had records of the space deeded and that the purchasers were aware the space they were parking in was not the deeded space and the space that was conveyed to them,” Shorthouse said. “The abstractor gave us everything we needed to know on paper exactly what was what and where, which enabled us to discover when talking with the real estate agent and purchasers the discrepancy in the location of the space according to the recorded map. Without that map and asking about the location of the space and the “number” on the parking space, we never would have known.”

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