New York City Real Estate Buyers Guide

Many buyers deal with stress when buying a home or an investment property, as the process of purchasing real estate in New York City can be confusing and overwhelming without the right help.

Buying New York City Real EstateElika Associates agents make this process much less stressful and complex by providing advice and assistance for our clients. We have represented hundreds of buyers in New York, and as we do not offer any seller’s services, we avoid conflicts of interest to offer the best possible services.

Property Types: Co-Op VS Condo

Before buying a property, buyers should understand the different types of New York City real estate available in the city. Most of the apartments for sale in New York City are co-operatives. The main difference between a co-operative and other types of property is that a co-op apartment building is owned by a corporation, which consists of the building’s residents.

“Could i begin life again, knowing what I now know, and had money to invest, I would buy every square inch of Manhattan.” John Jacob Astor – America’s first millionaire

When you purchase an apartment in a co-operative, you are actually purchasing shares in the corporation. You do not legally own the apartment, but you do own part of the corporation that owns the apartment. Each apartment’s value in shares is calculated according to rules set by the Board of Directors. Prime real estate is valued at a higher number of shares. The Board of Directors runs each co-operative building, paying for its mortgage, taxes and upkeep. The money that you pay for your shares goes towards these costs. However, in order to join the co-operative, you will have to be approved by the Board.

Condominiums are another popular option. A condominium is a more traditional type of property, as buyers actually purchase the real estate itself. As such, the buyer needs to pay real estate taxes on the property. There are fewer condominiums than co-operatives for sale in New York City.

Different property types carry different advantages for buyers depending on their goals, financial resources and other factors. The main advantages of a co-operative are:

Co-operative apartments are generally less expensive than condominiums. Taxes are also included in the cost, so buyers often have simpler billing arrangements when buying this type of property. However, a co-op’s Board of Directors may require a large down payment.

Co-ops are generally very well-maintained. As the building’s owners are its tenants, there is a strong incentive to keep all apartments in good condition to increase the value of all of the building’s shares. It is still important to visit a co-operative in person with an experienced agent before purchasing in order to choose a high-quality apartment.

About 80 percent of the apartments available in New York are co-operatives, so buyers who consider co-operatives along with condominiums will have a wider array of choices when working with a qualified buyer’s agent.

Condominiums have an entirely different set of advantages

There is no Board of Directors with a condominium, so the purchasing process is much simpler and quicker. Building rules are often much more relaxed, especially when it comes to residency. For instance, some buyers who are moving to the United States may have money in foreign accounts, and these buyers have an easier time purchasing condominiums than co-operatives.

Condominiums require less money down. Mortgage lenders are willing to loan money with a smaller down payment for buyers due to the high demand for condos. In New York City, buyers can often finance condominiums with a down payment of only 20 percent. However, mortgage rates are sometimes higher when a down payment is relatively low.

Condos are also easier to sublet, as renters do not need to be approved with a Board of Directors. This makes condominiums a much better choice for buyers who are looking for investment properties.

When buying a home, you should consider how your apartment type will affect its long-term value. Elika Associates agents will help you choose the right type of property and can explain how the buying process differs between these two main types of New York City real estate.

Buying a Home: The Process

It can take some buyers months or even years to find the right home in New York City. However, the purchasing process is much easier and in most cases, much faster with the right buyer’s representative. Elika Associates agents can help when:

When choosing a property, you will need to decide whether to restrict your search to condominiums or co-operatives. You will also have to understand property value to avoid a bad deal, and whether you are buying a home or an investment property, you will also need to know key information about different neighborhoods. In order to find a great property, you may have to consider dozens of homes, but an experienced real estate buyer agent will help you narrow your search down to properties that fit your lifestyle.

As a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), we have access to all available New York real estate listings. Our agents work diligently to provide you with a frequently updated list of potential properties. By checking into the facts of each property before presenting it to our clients they are able to provide accurate information about price, investment potential, lifestyle suitability and more.

Most buyers will need to apply for a mortgage. This is often one of the most confusing parts of a purchase, as you will need to consider different types of mortgages and different mortgage providers in order to get a good deal.

We will provide advice and lender recommendations, taking out much of the stress associated with home mortgages. We can help you start to look for a mortgage during negotiations, which will cut down on the time that it takes you to complete your purchase and start enjoying your property.

In many instances, buyers start negotiating while looking for financing. During the negotiations, you will make an offer on a property, often including a list of essential repairs or other actions that the seller must take before the sale is finalized. The seller will typically make a counter-offer, and the process can go on for several days or weeks in some cases.

Elika Associates buyer's agents will perform a comparable market analyisis and advise you on your offer, improving the chances that the seller will accept quickly. We will also make sure that counter-offers are fair. As we specialize in New York real estate, we understand the real values of apartments in the city. We only provide buyer's representation and we have a strong incentive to help you get the best possible deal on your new property.

After negotiating, we will help you through the closing and explain all of the documents and paperwork that you will need in order to close on your new home. Our agents will handle many aspects of negotiations and closings in order to save you time, but we will always give you the information you need to make smart decisions about your purchase.

New York City buyers usually face a lengthy application process, as each co-operative's Board of Directors decides whether to approve a new building resident. The Board may deny a buyer who has insufficient proof of income or for other reasons, depending on the building's rules.

Filling out an application correctly is often a time-consuming and stressful process, especially if you are not sure what to include. However, approval from a Board is one of the final steps that buyers need to take in order to successfully purchase properties in New York City, and as with all other steps in the purchasing process, a real estate agent can help.

You can easily plan for an application if you know what to expect, and Elika Associates buyer's agents will keep you informed so that you can apply successfully. You will generally need to include two years of tax returns, personal and professional information, proof of financing, a signed purchase contract and other detailed financial documents, depending on the policies of the Board of Directors. We will help you assemble an attractive application package and submit it to the building's management agent.

Co-op applicants will also need to perform an in-person interview with the Board of Directors. Elika buyer's agents will help you prepare for your interview, eliminating much of the associated stress and improving the chances of a fast, successful purchase.

The Importance of a Qualified Buyer’s Agent

While some buyers are bogged down by paperwork when buying a home, Elika agents make the process much easier. We understand why different properties appeal to different buyers and how to present you with properties that fit your lifestyle. We make sure that our clients understand the purchasing timeline, and by keeping them informed every step of the way, we keep the process relaxed. As we are familiar with New York neighborhoods and properties, we can also offer a professional, experienced point of view, which is valuable when negotiating, financing and applying.

New York is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and with hundreds of beautiful neighborhoods, limitless food and entertainment options and relatively stable property values, it is easy to see why people choose to buy New York real estate.

However, it ís also easy to make simple mistakes when buying in the city. Proper buyer’s representation from Elika is more than a nice touch it is an essential tool that home buyers need to use to limit stress while getting the best possible deal.

Quick Steps to Buying

Finding a property, and determining how you’re going to pay for it are only the preliminary steps in what can be a long process. In general, terms, buying a home in New York City involves the following steps:

  1. Select a New York City Attorney
  2. If you plan to finance, search out a Mortgage company and pre-qualify for a loan
  3. Decide on your desired neighborhood(s) and begin your search for a Condo or Co-op
  4. Research and perform a comparable market analysis to estimate fair market value for the property
  5. Make an oral offer for purchase
  6. Make a written offer which serves to formalize the intention to buy
  7. Wait for the seller to respond with a counter offer
  8. Negotiate with the seller until common ground has been reached
  9. Pay the down payment (typically 10% or more of the purchase price) and sign the contract
  10. Submit an application to the co-op or condominium representative
  11. Upon approval coordinate and attend closing of legal contracts.

Be prepared with the following documentation

  1. Personal and Business reference letters (Original Copies)
  2. Pre-approval letter from your Mortgage bank or broker.
  3. Most recent checking and savings bank statements
  4. Previous two years tax returns
  5. List of other liquid or non-liquid assets
  6. Most recent 401K or retirement fund statements (if applicable)
  7. Most recent asset portfolio statements (if applicable)
  8. Employment verification letter confirming your start date, annual salary including bonus
  9. If self employed – letter from your CPA or attorney verifying your salary and net worth


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