Ultimate Guide to Buying a Condo in NYC

By: ROS Team April 29, 2021

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Diversity, inspiration, convenience, excitement, and opportunity are the hallmarks of New York City. Since rent in NYC can be rather expensive, many people are choosing to purchase instead and, as a result, condominiums have grown in popularity and demand.

If you’re in the market for a condo in NYC, here’s a guide that will help you find and purchase the condo of your dreams.

1) Location, Location, Location

NYC is vast and offers diverse neighborhoods. Just walking twenty blocks in any direction can put you in a busy city center or a quiet and peaceful park.

If you’re a native New Yorker, you probably already know what each of New York’s neighborhoods has to offer. But if you’re new to the area, especially NYC, it’s a good idea to visit different areas to get an idea of what each has to offer in terms of condos, shops, and entertainment.

2) Create a Budget

Your income should play a role in the decision of where you will live. You need to make sure that you have enough money to cover your living expenses after paying the mortgage.  Evaluate your monthly income and consider whether it is sufficient enough to allow you to meet your monthly financial obligations.

3) Have Search Criteria

Establish search criteria before you begin looking for a condo. Think about the features that you want in your next home, like more bedrooms or an open-air deck. Or maybe you want a place closer to work or near a park or school. One recommendation is to keep your search criteria broad. This will ensure you have several listings to choose from.

4) Hire a Real Estate Agent

The best way to find a condo and simplify the buying process is to hire a real estate agent.  Agents know what’s hot in the condo market and the best neighborhoods gave your lifestyle and search criteria. The earlier you hire an agent the better—they’ll have a chance to do a lot of the legwork for you as it relates to reviewing available listings and securing property tours.

5) Start Shopping

You’re now ready to actively start looking at available condos!  You can conduct your search exclusively online or ask your agent for recommendations.  Although virtual tours may sound appealing, opt to take a physical tour of the property so you can see the condition and experience the neighborhood firsthand.

6) Make an Offer

Once you find the condo you want, you’re ready to make an offer.  Don’t make an offer without first consulting with your agent. Ask your agent to run a comparative market analysis, which will tell you if the list price is within a normal range or if the condo is overpriced.  You’ll also want to include contingencies in your offers, such as an inspection or mortgage pre-approval.

7) Get an Inspection

Accepting an offer usually involves some level of negotiation, which your agent will be doing on your behalf but with your input.  The hope is that you and the seller will reach a consensus, and the seller will accept your offer.

Before closing, make sure to walk through the home again to ensure any contingencies you added after your initial property inspection were addressed. Also, make sure everything is as you expected and that nothing has been removed or changed.

8) Prepare to Close

If there are no issues raised during the second inspection, it is time for your attorney to take you through the rest of the process. He or she will draft a contract for both parties to agree to and sign. You’ll then need to transfer any earnest money to an escrow account.

Next, it’s time to involve the lender. If you haven’t gotten pre-approved for a home loan, your lender will get the property appraised to confirm whether or not the house is properly priced. If the purchase amount is higher than the appraised price, your lender may deny the loan. But if everything looks good, you will get a commitment letter which, in essence, approves you for the loan.

9) Title Insurance

Title insurance is the process that confirms that the property is free of loans, liens, or any other debts. You may hire a title insurance company or ask your attorney to handle it for you.

10) Close the Transaction

Once you know the title insurance is clear, you’ll need to request a clear-to-close letter from the lender. After you receive the letter, you can schedule a day for closing. Consult with the seller to plan a day for signing the documents.  The closing process may stretch over a couple of hours since many documents have to be signed.

Final Takeaway

Buying a condo in NYC becomes much easier once you have defined steps in place. It typically takes 40 to 60 days from start to finish to complete the purchasing process, but it will be worth it once the keys to your condo are in hand.