Advice & Reports

Thinking About Buying?

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life. We’ll help to make the purchase of your home as easy as possible so you can Live Who You Are.

How can I prepare myself for the buying process?

Purchasing a home is exciting but there's a lot to consider. Take time to define your search parameters like price range, location preference, type of ownership (co-op, condo, etc.), size of property and building amenities, if applicable. Prioritize your needs (i.e., space, light, views, schools, etc.) but try to be flexible. In evaluating your budget, know what you can spend on a down payment as well as monthly expenditures like maintenance or common charges, real estate taxes, monthly mortgage, utilities, parking, etc. Find the right real estate professional to help navigate you through the process, speak with a mortgage lender to obtain written pre-approval for a loan, and choose an attorney experienced in NYC real estate.

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What should I look for in an agent?

Buying a home is not only an important financial decision but a major life decision as well. Nothing says more about who you are or how you live than where you live so you need to make sure that your real estate professional is someone who understands you and your needs. Begin by asking friends for referrals. Choose a professional who specializes in homes in your price range and desired neighborhood(s); someone who's available to work on your schedule, who listens to your needs, asks a lot of questions about how you live and takes time to explain things you may not understand. Finding a new home should be an exciting and enjoyable process but it is also time consuming so look for someone whose company you enjoy - you will likely be spending a lot of time together.

What is the difference between a condo and co-op?

Co-ops are owned by a corporation. When you buy a co-op you're buying shares that entitle you as a shareholder to a "proprietary lease" in a particular apartment. Shareholders pay a monthly maintenance fee to cover building expenses including real estate taxes. Approval is granted by a board of directors, and all prospective buyers must submit a "board package". The board will also require an interview. A condominium is real property, and a purchaser is given a deed. Besides owning the apartment, you also own a small percentage of the building's common elements like the halls, stairwells, etc. Each individual apartment gets a separate tax bill from the city. There is also a monthly common charge for building expenses. Financing and subletting terms can be more flexible in a condo than a co-op.

The Buyer’s Checklist
  • Determine your budget for a down payment and amount you are able to spend monthly. Consider monthly expenditures such as your mortgage, maintenance or common charges and real estate taxes, utilities, parking etc.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage, look into credit report, FICO score, type of mortgage, shop for best rates, and programs.
  • Identify your timeline for moving.
  • Find a independent real estate agent who specializes in New York City real estate.
  • Determine your needs and prioritize your wants: style of home, size, location, building amenities, condo, co-op or house.
  • Explore different neighborhoods to determine which ones suit your needs.
  • Evaluate access to transportation and commuting time to work in selected neighborhoods.
  • If applicable, research schools and review school reports in selected neighborhoods.
  • Evaluate building amenities and house rules in terms of your needs. (e.g. washer/dryer permitted, doorman, gym, pet policy, storage facilities, etc.)
  • Discuss with your agent how much to offer and leave room to negotiate. Your agent will be able to advise based on how long the property has been on the market, condition of home, other offers that have been presented, and how the asking price compares to recently sold similar properties.
  • Let your agent prepare your offer and apply trained negotiating skills during the buying process. Your agent will advise you of any final negotiating factors that may benefit you in the purchase.
  • Once you have chosen an apartment, have both your agent and your attorney evaluate the building’s financial statements.
  • Once your offer is accepted work closely with your agent to gather materials for your mortgage application and/or board package.
  • Find a local real estate attorney to prepare the purchase contract before you sign and represent you at the closing.
  • Before you move in, obtain homeowners insurance. Get quotes, compare and secure an insurance policy with appropriate coverage.