New York City Apartments for Sale
Finding the right apartment and how to pay for it are only the starting steps in the process.
Many buyers deal with stress when buying a home or an investment property. That’s because the purchasing process in New York City can be confusing and overwhelming without the right help. But by taking some time to learn the buying process, you can make it a lot easier. Even better, Elika buyer’s agents make this process much less stressful by providing advice and assistance to our clients. We’ve represented hundreds of buyers in New York, both local and international. Best of all, since we don’t offer any seller’s services, all potential conflicts of interest and avoided. With us by your side, you can be sure of receiving the best possible service and knowledge.
Before buying a property, buyers should understand the different types of New York City apartments available. For instance, most apartments for sale in New York City are co-operatives. Unlike other types of properties, a cooperative building is owned by a corporation, which consists of the building’s residents. Our guide to the home buying process below will discuss and outline all crucial considerations.
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Guide to Buying an Apartment
Finding the right home can be a daunting task for even the most financially-savvy person. After all, your choice of an apartment will have to suit your needs and finances for years to come. Following a game plan and working with an Elika agent can simplify the process. If you’re a foreign buyer, you may want to visit our dedicated international buyer’s guide. To get started, consider each of the steps below.
Table of Contents
How to Buy an Apartment
So you’re ready to leap. After living as a renter in the Big Apple for a decade or more, you’re finally in a position for buying an apartment in New York City. You’ve sacrificed and saved your pennies for the past five years, so now it’s time to become a homeowner. No matter how much apartment you can afford or in which neighborhood you plan to live, heed these first-time buyer’s tips to ensure your initial home-buying experience goes off without a hitch.
Buying an apartment is rewarding and requires a long-term commitment. You need a professional team that can handle the buying process without losing sight of your individual needs.
Although many people assume that they’re going to purchase a resale, there are quite a few advantages to buying new. Some of those advantages include energy-efficient appliances, green buildings, fire-retardant floor covering, lower replacement costs, and custom financing options.
Here’s how the step-by-step process of buying a New York City apartment can work for you.
Steps to Buying an Apartment
Finding a property is only that start in what can be a long process. In general, buying a home in New York City involves the following steps:
- Select a New York City Attorney
- If you plan to finance, pre-qualify for a loan
- Decide on your desired neighborhood(s) and begin your search for a Condo or Co-op
- Research and perform a comparable market analysis to estimate fair market value for the property
- Make an oral offer for purchase
- Make a written offer which serves to formalize the intention to buy
- Wait for the seller to respond with a counteroffer
- Negotiate with the seller until the sales price and terms accepted
- Due Diligence is performed by your attorney reviewing the contract, building financials and minutes
- Pay the down payment (typically 10%-20% or more of the purchase price) and sign the contract
- Apply to the co-op or condominium management company
- Upon approval, your attorney will coordinate your real estate closing.
Documentation Required When Financing
- Personal and Business reference letters (Original Copies)
- A pre-approval letter from your mortgage bank or broker.
- Most recent checking and savings bank statements
- Previous two years tax returns
- List of other liquid or non-liquid assets
- Most recent 401K or retirement fund statements (if applicable)
- Most recent asset portfolio statements (if relevant)
- Employment verification letter confirming your start date, annual salary including bonus
- If self-employed – letter from your CPA or attorney verifying your salary and net worth
Questions to Answer Before Buying
Based on our experience working with a wide range of buyers, we’ve come up with a list of items we believe everyone should ask themselves before getting serious about buying.
The questions are
- Are you prepared to maintain and repair an apartment or home?
- Are you willing to stay in the same apartment or home for at least five to ten years?
- Do you have a realistic idea of the type of apartment or home and amount of space you’ll need for the next five to ten years?
- Are you relatively sure your financial situation will remain stable or improve over the next several years?
- Are you a disciplined saver who can build up an account for emergency repairs or costs?
Since these are questions you should think about in detail, we encourage you to ponder them for a few days.
Buying for The First Time
Buying your first apartment is something you will never forget. For some, it is a stressful experience full of buyer’s remorse and pressure. However, that doesn’t have to be indicative of your experience. First-time home buyers have a lot of information to consider. It’s a task that can seem overwhelming, but with the proper advice and information, this could be one of the best experiences of your life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around
A lot of first-time homebuyers fall into the pattern of limiting their options. Just because you liked the first place you saw, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one you should consider. Whether it’s price, location, or upgrades, decide what is most important to you and your way of life.
When buying a home, the price is a significant factor for most people, but remember it’s not the only thing to keep in mind. As the economy changes, you may find that the kind of home you’re looking for is closer to your price range than you thought. Check the price range of similar apartments or houses in the area you’re considering.
Consider the Mortgage
You should shop around not only for the house or apartments but the mortgage as well. We recommend getting a mortgage pre-approval even before buying. Before you find the perfect home, it’s essential to have your finances in order. Most people pay a mortgage when purchasing real estate. It seems logical to find the place you’re interested in and then find the mortgage loan to match, but this is where many first-time buyers encounter issues.
Having the mortgage sorted out beforehand will help you understand how much you can spend. The lender will look at your credit and other factors to tell you how much you are “pre-approved” for mortgage financing. Once you have your price range laid out, you can look for a home that’s priced well below your budget. You may be surprised how much you could afford. Finding the mortgage before seeing the apartment will make you a serious buyer when you pursue an offer on a property.
Include Taxes and Insurance
When you’re buying your own home, you are responsible for every dime that goes into it. Insurance included and (the more overlooked) taxes. For a condo or co-op, there are also standard common charges monthly or maintenance fees that many buyers don’t think about enough during the search.
If you’re considering buy vs. rent, you will need to figure out your monthly costs after you add taxes and insurance. The down-payment, closing costs, and property taxes are sometimes afterthoughts for new home buyers, but they can increase your total payment to nearly twice the amount. If you’re not sure of your full-price range in this area, using an affordability calculator will help.
When buying a co-op or condo, you must consider some extra fees. You will be responsible for paying a share of costs for running the entire building, that being a maintenance fee or standard monthly common charges. It’s a small percentage of your overall payment, but it can raise the total substantially.
It’s essential to consider these fees when narrowing down your apartment search. If you keep your options open and remember the cost, you will not only find the place of your dreams but the most practical one. Buying the first house is a beautiful journey. Enjoy the experience because you only get one shot at your first time.
Know What You Want and Need
Whether you’re looking to buy a luxury penthouse New York City apartment in Midtown or a studio apartment in a walk-up building in West Harlem, focus your search as narrowly as possible and do it with a wish list in hand. Shopping aimlessly in a city of endless choices doesn’t work with designer clothing, let alone real estate. An H&M budget won’t get you a suit from Prada, much in the same way a one-bedroom budget in Washington Heights won’t get you a sprawling two-bedroom in the West Village.
Know what you want, need, and can afford before you begin the process, and keep your attention fixated on those neighborhoods and apartments that are a good match for your lifestyle.
Making the Decision
Buying an apartment is a big decision from a financial and emotional perspective. Homeownership is the American dream. Owning a home must be your dream. The choice to purchase a home must make sense for you at this moment. If you have your finances in order and find a good deal, homeownership is the best investment you will ever make in your lifetime.
Advantages of Homeownership
- Freedom. You have the freedom to do with your property as you please, make it truly your home
- Build Equity. Rent paid will never be seen again. A mortgage payment allows you to build equity
- Appreciation. Between 1998 – 2018 NY home prices saw gains of over 150% on average
- Tax Breaks. The US Tax Code allows you to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes plus more
- Predictability. Unlike rent, your mortgage payments should remain steady over the years
- Stability. Become part of a community, establish roots and lifelong friendships
Find a Buyer’s Agent
If you’re serious about buying a New York City apartment, engage an exclusive buyer’s agent at the start. A qualified buyer’s agent will guide you in the right direction, have access to all listings on and off the market, and be able to negotiate terms and price on your behalf. Don’t know where to begin to find a compatible broker?
Ask friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. Then interview your prospective agents before you sign on the dotted line and agree to work with him or her. Find a local, knowledgeable buyer’s agent that is an advocate for your best interests.
What can Real Estate Buyers Agents do for You?
- Listen and analyze your needs and preferences
- Keep you updated on current market conditions
- Locate apartments and homes matching your criteria
- Refer a team of professionals – attorney, inspector, etc. – on your behalf
- Perform a Comparable Market Analysis
- Negotiate with the seller’s agent on your behalf
- Prepare documents and submit Condo or Co-op applications
- Handle any additional issues
- Assist with post-closing services – Movers, Insurance Companies, etc.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Don’t waste your time, a seller’s time, or the time of the brokers involved in the sale by not getting pre-qualified. Obtain a pre-approval letter before you begin searching for your new home, ensuring that you’ll have the ability to make an offer should you stumble upon “the one.” Without pre-approval, agents and sellers won’t take you seriously, and they’ll move on to a buyer who has the necessary paperwork. Plus, you’ll know how much of a loan you qualify for ahead of time.
Lenders pre-approved homebuyers for a specific amount of financing. Homebuyers must feel comfortable with the amount of monthly mortgage payment terms. If the figure strains your budget, monthly payments could become unmanageable over time. Ultimately, it is your decision, but make it a wise one. Overstretching your budget can lead to unwanted stress.
How to Finance a Home
- Select a Mortgage Broker or Bank
- Submit a loan application and receive pre-approval
- Determine a suitable payment and choose a loan option
- Forward an accepted purchase offer contract to the lender
- Receive an appraisal and final commitment letter
- Get funding at closing
Co-Ops vs. Condo: Which Works for You?
New York City has a relatively unique real estate scene with the inclusion of the cooperative. A co-op provides a more affordable opportunity. However, be warned, while co-op boards mightn’t be quite as rigid as they appear in films and television shows, they are still notoriously choosy. They have many rules and regulations that can be difficult to navigate.
So what is a co-op? Co-op is short for a Co-operative, which is a corporation that owns a building or apartment complex. The residents of such an apartment building will often describe themselves as owners, but this isn’t entirely accurate. Residents of a co-op do not actually “own” anything. Instead, they are shareholders of the corporation. This relationship includes a “proprietary lease,” which gives the entitlement to use the apartment. The size of your residence tends to govern the number of shares you own in the corporation: the more significant the New York City apartment, the more shares. The building is considered an entity unto itself, and a co-op owner owns shares of it, rather than having direct ownership.
To live in a co-op, you must first submit a co-op application. Then you must attend an interview in hopes of being approved by the Board of Directors. These people hold veto power to keep out undesirable residents. In addition to your apartment cost, you also pay a portion of a monthly maintenance fee to cover things such as heat, hot water, insurance, staff salaries, real estate taxes, and the mortgage indebtedness of the building.
Another part of the co-op structure is that there tends to be a sizeable down payment, which is determined by the co-op board. The co-op board decides how much of your purchase price can be mortgage financed and how much must be cash down payment. These payments are unusually high in desirable buildings, which also have very tight rules and regulations about who is allowed ownership.
Co-ops make up somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% of the New York real estate market, while condos make up the remaining 30%. While cooperatives have their shortcomings, condos tend to be more expensive overall.
Condos are popular as they have more financing options, more comfortable application and acceptance rates, and fewer fees for common areas and maintenance. However, condos are more expensive as there are fewer available, although this is changing as more condo buildings developing around the city.
A condo is a “real” ownership deal, as the owner gets a deed and a single tax bill. There are still maintenance fees for common areas, but these tend to be less than those for co-ops. Condos tend to be good options for those that use creative financing, including young buyers and investors.
Over the past decade, both co-ops and condos have been subject to the same fluctuations in the market. However, cooperatives remain lower priced overall and are still the most popular option for first-time buyers.
Based on the initial wish list you had made before you began shopping, you might not be able to afford Park Slope, even though you have your heart set on that neighborhood. Adjacent areas of Brooklyn, however, could offer more space and additional amenities and still be within your budget, so stay open-minded.
If you are not prepared to stray from your dream section of NYC, adjust your list and scratch off that new bath, or the outdoor space, both of which add thousands of dollars to an asking price.
Live the Dream: Buy an Apartment in NYC
How do you find your dream home? Once you’re pre-approved for financing, you can begin to search for the perfect home. Looking on your own can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. Your personal buyer’s agent can pinpoint homes that match your needs and preferences.
How to Find the Perfect Apartment to Buy
- Choose your preferred neighborhood(s).
- Prioritize the facilities and services you would like in your area. (schools, transportation, fitness center)
- How much space would you want and need in your new home? Which type of space? (dining room, closet)
- Is your priority the neighborhood or size of an apartment?
- Would you prefer to buy a ‘fixer-upper or a ‘move-in-ready’ home?
- How much importance do you place on home value appreciation?
- Do you value neighborhood stability?
- Would a condo or coop be a possible choice?
- Which features and amenities (essential and luxury) would you expect in your home or building?
Tip: Preferences may change as buyers go through the process of purchasing a new home.
Organize and Submit an Offer
When you find your dream home, it is time to make an offer. Buying a New York City apartment is an emotional purchase, but it is a significant investment. Your real estate agent can help you estimate the fair value of a particular New York City apartment by researching a comparative market analysis. Agents will check out similar neighborhood properties, determine market value, and get you a fair price. Hesitate, and you could lose the deal to another buyer.
Purchase Offer Components
- Price – a pre-approved amount that meets your approval, and you are capable of paying.
- Terms – include financial and timing in the offer.
- Contingencies – clauses allow you to escape the deal under certain circumstances ( a problem that did not exist previously or of which you were not aware at the time of the contract, also perhaps a mortgage contingency should the lender not approve such a property, etc.). Contingencies specify any event that must occur for the contract of sale to be formed and enforceable.
- Board Application – Once agreeing on a price and signing a contract of sale, you will then need to apply to the board of directors of the co-operative or condominium building. The documents are the same, but the review is different.
When you find your ideal New York City apartment, it can be hard to see beyond the superb interior design or spacious rooms. Potential homebuyers must dig deeper to discover possible hidden issues such as structural damage (water damage, bad construction, etc.) A property inspector can help find those issues for you.
Homebuyers should attend the inspection to gain a better understanding of the home. Just in case the inspector finds minor and significant home repairs. Small issues can be fixed easily – even delayed for a period. Essential problems, however, require calling in a specialist to examine the effect. A professional can advise whether you should fix the problem or walk away from the deal.
New buyers must purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy. This coverage protects homeowners against loss or damage to property as well as liability if someone gets hurt in your home.
- Keep control of your finances and credit
- Stay in contact with your real estate agent and lender.
- Return phone calls and complete documents promptly.
- Contact your agent or attorney at least once or twice a week.
- Verify with your lender that the mortgage funding steps have reached completion
- Do a final walk-through of the home with your real estate buyer’s agent.
- Before closing, confirm with your attorney, home insurance official, and lender that the settlement statement, certified funds, and evidence of insurance are in place.
Closing the Sale
When you have an accepted offer, mortgage commitment, and have completed a home inspection and a walk-through, you are getting closer to moving into your dream home. Just a few pre-closing duties will ensure that you do not risk your closing date or mortgage.
Your dream home awaits its new owners. Hire a reputable moving company to help you move into your new apartment. Congratulations!
Are you ready to purchase an NYC apartment and become a homeowner? By this point, you’ve doubtlessly made some significant changes in your life and taken a long, hard look at your finances.
Considerations Before Buying
Regardless of your price range, attractive, well-maintained properties never stay on the market long. You’ll want to develop a basic understanding of NYC’s tight inventory market before you even begin. It helps you negotiate the best price later down the road and reduce your risk of losing out to other bidders.
Get Mortgage Pre-Approval or provide Proof of Funds if paying cash. Sellers are more willing to negotiate with buyers who have proven their ability to purchase a home.
Consider a Buyer’s agent
Talk to your buyer’s agent regularly to stay on top of new listings as soon as they hit the market. Also, make time to visit properties you are interested in promptly.
Be ready to make a decision. That means knowing precisely what you want and what you can afford. That way, you can recognize and act on any great opportunity when you see it.
Be willing to compromise. Whether you currently reside in New York or you’re relocating from another state, most buyers experience a bit of sticker shock when they realize they usually modest size of condo or coop units they can afford. For this reason, compromise is an integral part of the home-buying process in New York City. The question is, just how much should you compromise?
Buy what you need
You don’t want to overextend yourself by buying too big. That said, you also don’t want to be forced to sell down the road because you didn’t allow room for growth. In a buyer’s market, you should accept a place that satisfies 90% or more of your wish list. In a seller’s market, you should buy if a home has 80% or more of what you want. When you make out a list of pros and cons for the places you view, consider including a column for compromises, so you stay flexible in your demands.
When making an offer
Even in a competitive market, protect your interests by insisting on proper inspections.
Before you make an offer, do due diligence on the property with your agent. Get sales data on the property you are interested in, as well as on comparable properties in the neighborhood. Develop a three-tiered price target: The lowest price you could reasonably offer without offending the seller, the offer price that you and your agent think the seller most likely to accept, and the maximum sales price you’re willing to pay for the property. Make your offer based on the lower price target and stick to your limits if the negotiation takes the sales price beyond that limit.
When financing ask for a mortgage contingency
If financing, ask for a mortgage contingency clause, but if you’re in a competitive bidding situation, consider dropping it. It may give you an advantage with the seller. Don’t place restrictions on the sale, such as a delayed closing date, or a contingency clause on the sale of your existing home. If your home hasn’t sold, talk to your lender about a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for a short period.
Be accommodating to the seller by offering him the opportunity to choose a closing date at his convenience. Some sellers haven’t lined up a new place to live by the time their house sells. When it comes time to make an offer, don’t panic if the seller rejects your first offer, or if it turns out, you’re in a very competitive market. Some buyers are tempted to buy a property at any price if they’ve lost a bidding war in the past. While you want to make your offer as attractive as possible, don’t work against your interests.
On the other hand, depending on market sentiment, it may also be worth paying a reasonable premium to win the property. For most buyers, their home is their most significant investment. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your investment is a sound one.
Qualified Condo Buyer’s Agent
While some buyers are bogged down by paperwork when buying a home, Elika buyer’s agents make the process hassle-free. We understand why different properties appeal to different buyers and how to present you with condo apartments that fit your lifestyle. We make sure that our clients understand the purchasing timeline. By doing that, and keeping them informed every step of the way, we keep the process hassle-free.
Being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, it’s not hard to see why NYC is such an attractive place. Here you have hundreds of beautiful neighborhoods to choose from and all with their unique selling point. The food options are limitless, the entertainment never ends, and property values continue to remain relatively stable. Since our agents know these neighborhoods so well, you’ll have no trouble finding the right one for you. Whether it’s the initial search, negotiating, financing, or applying, we know our way around the block.
Great buyer’s representation from Elika is far more than a gentle touch. It’s a vital tool that can help buyers deal with stress and get the best deal possible. Without proper representation, the buying process in NYC can months or even years. With an exclusive buyer’s agent by your side, you can expect a far shorter and more comfortable experience.
Choosing a Property
A lot goes into deciding on what property is right for you. First off, you’ll have to decide whether or not to restrict your search to one particular type of property. Do you go with just co-ops, or do you include condos in the search? Along with deciding whether the property is right for you, you’ll also have to think about the neighborhood. Does it fit your lifestyle? Is it easy to get around from there? Does it have all the services and amenities that you desire? Dozens of homes are, consider which is why having a buyer’s agent is so essential in narrowing down your choices.
As a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), we have access to all available NYC real estate listings. Our agents will work to find the right properties for you and keep you updated at all times. We don’t like to waste our client’s time, so we make sure to check up on all potential properties first. Unless it matches what our client is looking for, we won’t waste their time with a viewing. Once an apartment located, that we feel you would be happy with, with your confirmation, then schedule viewings for your convenience. We’ll then provide our clients with all the facts on the property, such as investment potential, market value, and more.
For most people, buying a home means getting a mortgage. Mortgage applications tend to be the most challenging step in the buying process. You’ll need to consider what lender to choose, the type of mortgage, and compare them for the best deal. A point when a lot of buyers undergo a great deal of stress and confusion. But with an experienced buyer’s agent at your side, that needn’t be the case. We’ll help you choose the right lender, give advice on the best mortgage for you, and explain anything in question. We can even help you start this process while negotiations are still going on. Meaningless time to complete the purchase and more time in your new home.
In most cases, the negotiating process will go something like this. After deciding on a reasonable offer price, you’ll make your bid, usually accompanied by several contingencies. These are terms of the deal that will protect you against ending up with a lemon. They may also include a request for certain repairs that the seller must fix before the deal can go forward. The seller may come back with a counteroffer, leading to a bit of back and forth that can go on for several days or weeks. An Elika buyer’s agent will give you advice on the best offer to make and help move things along the negotiations get stuck. Thanks to our agents performing a comparable market analysis, you’ll know approximately what the property is worth and what the right offer should be.
We’ll also make sure that any counteroffers are fair. Because we know NYC real estate so well and know the fair value of any one apartment, you can be confident with our advice. We only provide buyer’s representation, and we have a strong incentive to help you get the best possible deal on your new property. Once the negotiations are complete and both parties have signed an agreement, we’ll help you through the rest. Buying a home means dealing with a lot of paperwork, and our agents will help you navigate the red tape and get you organized.
New York City buyers usually face a lengthy application process unless purchasing in a New Development, as each cooperative’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 process, especially if you’re not sure what to include. However, approval from a Board is one of the final steps that buyers need to take to purchase properties in New York City successfully. As with all other steps in the purchasing process, a real estate agent can help.
You can plan better for an application if you know what to expect. That’s precisely what Elika Associates buyer’s agents will do by keeping you informed so you can apply successfully. You’ll 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, you may have to submit further documents.
We will help you assemble an attractive application package and submit it to the building’s managing 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 co-op interview by eliminating much of the associated stress and improving the chances of a fast, successful purchase.
Condo vs. Co-op: What is the difference?
Condo vs. Co-op the debate begins. To help decide, it is essential to understand the differences between them. In Manhattan, there are two primary real estate options to choose between Condo vs. Co-op. Before buying an apartment, you’ll want to fully understand these two options and what each has to offer. Most of what you will find for sale in Manhattan are cooperative or condominiums.
The most crucial distinction between condo vs. co-op is that with a co-op, you do not own the property. The corporation owns the property, and you are considered a shareholder. You own shares in the corporation, much like you would in a business venture.
Our Condo vs. Co-op guide walks you through the considerations from start to finish.
Deciding between Condo vs. Co-op
When you purchase an apartment in a coop, you’re buying shares in the corporation. You don’t legally own the co-op apartment, but you do own shares in the corporation that owns the co-op apartment. Each apartment’s value in shares is calculated, according to rules set by the Board of Directors. The more prime; the real estate value, the higher the number of shares.
The Board of Directors runs each cooperative building, paying for its mortgage, taxes, and upkeep. The money that you pay for your shares goes towards these costs. However, to join the co-operative, you’ll have to be approved by the Board. Condominiums are another popular option. A condo is a more traditional type of property since buyers purchase the real estate itself. Therefore, the buyer needs to pay real estate taxes on the property. Unfortunately, there are fewer condominiums than cooperatives for sale in NYC. Different property types carry various advantages for buyers depending on their goals, financial resources, and other factors.
Cooperative apartments have several advantages, such as being less expensive than condominiums. Taxes also included in the cost, which makes for more straightforward billing arrangements when buying this type of property. However, a co-op’s Board of Directors may require a sizeable down payment. Co-ops are also very well-maintained. As the building’s owners are its tenants, there is a strong incentive to keep all apartments in good condition. Doing this increases the value of all of the building’s shares.
About 75% of the apartments available in New York are cooperatives, as well as 20% – 30% approx less expensive. Therefore, buyers who consider co-operatives have a broader array of choices when working with a qualified buyer’s agent.
Another point of fact to consider is that in New York City, there are fewer condos vs. co-ops. About 70 percent of the apartments in New York are co-operatives. Co-ops, however, are less expensive than condos. The good news is that the gap between the two is narrowing. Currently, the ratio of cooperatives to condos is 75 to 25 percent. In the 1990s, the rate was 80 to 20 percent.
In the 1980s, it was 85 to 15 percent. This gradual shift has been taking place because apartments in newer buildings tend are sold as condos. In areas with more modern developments, there are higher numbers of condos available for purchase.
Apartment Types and Sizes
New York City boasts many standard-sized apartments, but several types have their particular kind of layouts. Here are a few descriptions:
A one-room dwelling in which the living room and the bedroom are in a single space. In larger studios, the kitchen is in a separate room, while in others, the eating area can be found along one wall in the main space. Studios can also be referred to as efficiencies.
A one-room apartment that also offers an open area adjacent to the main space which can serve as a sleeping. This type of dwelling is also referred to as an L-shaped studio because of its configuration or a junior—one bedroom.
Flex (convertible) Two
A one-bedroom apartment that features ample space, typically the living room, transformed into another bedroom and a smaller living room by the installation of a temporary, also known as a pressurized wall dividing the space.
A one-bedroom apartment; that features an alcove area in the living room, which is typically used as a dining room or converted into a second bedroom.
A two-bedroom apartment with an alcove in the living room that is convertible to a bedroom.
This type of apartment exists exclusively in prewar buildings and describes a dwelling with six rooms. There is a living room, a formal dining room, a kitchen, plus two full-sized bedrooms, and a small third bedroom, generally referred to as the maid’s room. (Classic 7s and 8s also exist and offer one or two additional full-sized bedrooms).
These apartments rent for short periods—anywhere from one week to one year—and contain all the furniture and kitchenware you would need to live comfortably.
Apartment Building Types
There are three basic kinds of buildings in Manhattan: Doorman, Elevator (attended and unattended), and Walk-Up (unsupervised):
These buildings do not have doormen or elevators. They can be townhouses or brownstones (4–5 stories), above storefronts (usually 1-2 stories), or low–rise buildings (free standing 4–5 stories). These are the most reasonably priced kinds of apartments in the city, yet they have very few amenities.
However, most walk-up buildings do have double door security, and a few have more sophisticated features, such as intercoms and security cameras. As with elevator buildings, the quality of life in walk-ups can vary greatly depending on the degree to which they are maintained.
The types of apartment buildings that offer door attendants tend to be on the larger side and provide the most significant amount of safety and security. They also afford the highest level of comfort and convenience because your doorman can do a lot for you while you’re not home. Including such things as taking drop-offs of packages and dry cleaning.
If you’re new to the city, you’ll quickly learn that Manhattan revolves around deliveries. Having someone who can sign for your packages can feel like the ultimate luxury. Within buildings that have doormen, there are three kinds of formats: luxury high–rise, standard, and part-time doorman.
These buildings have someone on duty 24 hours a day and offer the safety and convenience of having a doorman without the extra luxury amenities.
These buildings usually have doormen for day shifts but rely on security cameras or some other type of technology to protect residents at night.
These buildings do not have doormen on duty, though some may employ elevator attendants. Regarding security, convenience, and price, these kinds of buildings are considered somewhere between doorman buildings and walk-ups. They often have laundry rooms on the premises, as well as intercom systems, but the amenities stop there. Still, if these buildings are adequately maintained, they can be comfortable places in which to live.
These kinds of buildings have a full around-the-clock staff consisting of multiple door attendants and attendants. They often offer such amenities as hotel-type concierge service, on-site health clubs, pools, laundry service, and children’s playrooms. The specific luxury amenities will vary from building to building but will leave you feeling pampered.