Our Sales guide provides our New York City clients, who wish to buy quality New York City apartments, coops, condos or commercial properties within their budget, with quick and general guidelines to follow. The Sales Guide or Buyers Guide offers our clients with useful information about buying property. See sections on Standard Fund Requirements, General Closing Procedures, Typical Questions Answered, Suggested Mortgage Company Links and Real Estate Terms Defined.
Standard Fund Requirements
Location, size, amenities, building type, school locations and nearness to public transportation are crucial to determining what a property will cost. We suggest that buyers review financing options to determine what amount of money they can put toward a deposit and then determine what they can afford for a monthly mortgage payment. Some people may want to see if they pre-qualify for mortgage status in order to know what budget they will be working within.
Type of Property
The next thing to determine would be the type of property you’d like to buy. Would you like an apartment, condominium, coop or commercial property?
For apartment purchases there is no approval process, besides normal financial inquiries. Buyers are entitled to have complete control over any renovations they wish to make. Maintenance costs are the sole responsibility an owner and with this the owner gets total control over maintenance and repairs. Transferring deeds or reselling an apartment do not require approval. The size of a property can vary according to a budget and location of the property.
Condo owners buy the apartment and also own a percentage of the common building areas, i.e. entrance areas, hallways and recreational areas etc. The condominium is considered real property; because of this fact, owner’s have the right to do use the property any way he/she sees fit. Owners are subject to pay property taxes which can either be escrowed into a part of a monthly mortgage payment or which are paid annually as an expense. Monthly maintenance fees are generally paid to the building’s condominium association.
Buying a coop is tricky, but Crosstown Apartments NYC’s team of qualified agents can help. When purchasing a cooperative apartment the purchaser is really purchasing shares in a cooperation. The shares correspond to the units in which you live. coop fees include a monthly mortgage payment and maintenance fees for the building. Maintenance fees are sometimes high but both mortgage payments and maintenance fees generally result in higher tax deductibles.
General Closing Procedures
What is a closing?
A closing is where a buyer gives a seller money in exchange for ownership and title to a particular property. This bargained for exchange, or consideration, transfers ownership and title of the property. The seller also needs to sign over other documents including a deed. The place of closing is normally at the bank attorney’s office. The parties present will be: seller, bank attorney, real estate brokers, seller’s attorney, buyer’s attorney and title closer. Buyers need to apply for a mortgage as soon as the contract is signed by both parties. The mortgage process takes up to 45 days and can involve several procedures:
- The mortgage broker compiles the buyer’s financial information and then presents the loan application
- The bank sends an appraiser to assess the property
- The underwriters review the loan and issue a commitment letter.
If buying an apartment, coop, condo or any other property with a board or association, prepare your application package with your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker. These packages tend to vary from building to building. Most boards use the same financial requirements as the bank. Keep an extra copy of your mortgage application and any related documentation. Buyers, are required to get personal, professional and financial letters of reference. If renting, get a letter of reference from your current landlord. Ask what information is needed and for copies of sample reference letters. The board package is important, therefore, answer all questions in a clear, concise manner and give an accurate description of your financial qualifications. Before submitting your application package, write a cover letter, organize the presentation and review it with your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker.
The board package is submitted after a buyer receives his/her mortgage-loan commitment letter; it is submitted to a building’s Managing Agent. The Managing Agent checks the application, evaluates credit and references, and then submits the package to the board. The board then reviews the completed package. Additional information may be requested or if the package is passed, an interview is scheduled. There is either an interview committee that approves new applicants or a board will do it during its monthly meetings. Your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker can assist you as to the date, time and any other preparations for your interview.
Closing is scheduled after the board approves an application package and completes the interview process. This generally takes 2 weeks for final approval and can vary depending on the availability of the parties involved; i.e. managing agent, buyer, seller, lawyers and banks.
General Closing Costs Defined:
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to facilitate the buying process so I do not miss out on a great deal?
The New York City real estate market is extremely competitive. The most desirable and affordable properties can go to contract in a matter of days. The most important factors in getting a deal to closing include the following:
Annual Income – Generally you can borrow up to about 2xs gross annual income. Monthly mortgage and maintenance payments should not exceed 1 weeks gross salary. If you have significant liquid assets you may be able to borrow more.
Financial Statements – should be prepared by an accountant. It should lists net worth including assets, liabilities, salary, bonus, etc. Crosstown Apartments NYC submits offers with financial validation. The most qualified buyers are usually the ones whose offers are accepted. Having a complete financial statement is very important when there is an apartment or property with multiple bids.
Asset Valuation – A down payment alone does not qualify a buyer for a coop or a condo in Manhattan. Usually, a coop board or condo association wants guarantees for mandatory maintenance fees. They want assurances against unexpected loss of income. Many coops require liquid assets totaling 1 year’s worth of maintenance and mortgage payments after closing. Also, some buildings require liquidity up to three years of combined costs. Ask your Crosstown Apartments NYC Broker to assist you with specific requirements.
What is the importance of a credit check and how does it fit into the buying process?
A credit check is generally performed by a mortgage broker and pertains to your credit history. Resolve disputed claims and have them removed immediately from your credit report. Keep all pertinent documentation which illustrates that the issue is resolved. Also, we recommend buyers choose a mortgage broker because mortgage brokers can save time and money. We work with various brokers throughout the New York Area; if you are interested ask your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker for more information.
Question: What does being pre-qualified mean?
Pre-qualified, also called pre-approved, is when a perspective buyer tells a lender income level, debt and credit information, so the lender can provide an estimated loan amount, based on these criteria. Being a pre-qualified buyer will reassure a seller that any offers made are bona fide and that a buyer can actually make the purchase. In fact, most offers submitted by Crosstown Apartments NYC are often accompanied by a buyer’s pre-qualification letter; this letter notify sellers that financing is an option.
Ask your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker to provide you with information about financing, estimated monthly mortgage payments, and any other necessary qualifications. Pre-approval letters make for strong offers because the lender has already pulled a credit report, checked debt/to/income ratio and done an analysis of your finances. Also, it is preferable to be pre-approved so that there will be no surprises when the credit report is received.
Why select a real estate attorney?
The real estate market in New York City is a very dynamic market. Having a real estate attorney who specializes in the NYC market is very important. First, they know the intricacies of the laws and regulations. Second, they can respond quickly to any problems that arise and can therefore expedite the closing. Ask your Crosstown Apartments NYC Broker to assist you in selecting a qualified real estate attorney.
What is a closing?
A closing is where a buyer gives the seller money in exchange for ownership and title to a particular property. This bargained for exchange, or consideration, transfers ownership of the property. The seller also needs to sign different documents including a deed. The place of closing is normally at the bank attorney’s office. The parties present will be: seller, bank attorney, brokers, seller’s attorney, buyer’s attorney and title closer.
What are the steps in the application process?
For mortgage applications and for coop or condo boards, buyers need to gather relevant financial documentation. Required documentation includes 2 months of most recent bank statements, brokerage statements and any other assets. In addition to current income verification, boards and banks require a minimum of 2 years of federal income tax returns. Self-employed buyers need to provide at least 3 years of federal tax returns and a letter from an accountant verifying income.
When do I need to move?
Find a target date for moving. If looking to finance, expect to take about 3 months from purchase to close. Buyers, begin your search 4-6 months before prior to an estimate moving date.
Question: Where do I want to live?
New York City is a city of diverse neighborhoods, all with their own unique appeal. Before beginning your search, decide what is important. For example, proximity to public transportation or proximity to your job. Are your preferences for a quiet residential neighborhood or a bustling hub of activity and nightlife? Try to be open to different areas as sometimes neighborhoods other than your first choice are more affordable and offer many of the same features. Visit our detailed neighborhood guide for information on all our neighborhoods. Also, ask your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker to include any recommended, areas as you may not be aware of them and they may best suit your needs.
What is the best way to win over sellers?
If you really want to buy a particular property that has a lot of interest, sell the seller on the fact that you are a qualified buyer. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to buy a studio or a building, chances are that there is a limited number of properties available in your price range. In a competitive market attractive properties can be in contract before they appear in the classified ads.
Brokers tend to notify serious buyers first. Make sure that you are ready to buy; have all your paperwork in order including financial documentation and pre-qualification for a mortgage. Communicate yours needs, budget, timetable, and neighborhood preferences.
Make yourself available to view properties. By being flexible with viewing properties during the work week, you can avoid weekends shoppers, congested open houses and a lot of the best buildings tend to show properties between 10-3, M-F.
How do I make the deal happen?
After finding the property you want, immediately make a verbal offer. Consult your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker for the best ways to extend an offer to a seller. There are a lot of different reasons, other than money, that influence a seller in choosing the right buyer. If the verbal offer is accepted, have your broker get confirmation of the offer and acceptance in writing. Once the written offer is accepted and signed, your Crosstown Apartments NYC broker prepares a transaction summary. This is sent to the seller’s and to the buyer’s attorneys for review. Using the signed offer and acceptance, the seller’s attorney then prepares a contract of sale. After the buyer’s attorney reviews the contract, negotiates terms and evaluates the property’s financial statements, the buyer then signs the contract and presents the down-payment check. Generally, down-payments range from 10% – 20% of the contract of sale. This money is often held in the selling attorney’s escrow account to be sent to the seller’s attorney. The seller then executes the contract.
Note: Verbal offers are not legally binding. In fact, in the New York City area an offer is legally binding when both the buyer and the seller sign a contract of sale. Sometimes sellers are tempted by higher offers. To avoid problems, be prepared and have your attorney move quickly through reviewing financials and completing the contract.*