How to Buy a Condo or Co-op Apartment in New York City

By: ROS Team

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Buying personal living space is the idea we cherish until we own one. Having a personal living space is the privilege of a few and a dream of many. Wealth might not render all the happiness of the world on our feet but, certainly, it can bless us with a cozy and beautiful home, anytime.

However, buying a home is not like shopping the cereals for breakfast, instead quite like hunting a rare bird in the wilds, you need to consider a few things before buying an apartment, especially in NYC. The process becomes more perpetual when you set your eyes to find an apartment in the world capital of real estate: New York City. You should be aware of the reality of living in here New York City.

Buying property is no less than a work of art. To make the meter less troublesome for yourself, you need to do a little homework.

First thing first, has a clear-cut idea of what your dream apartment looks like. This will help you navigate the hardest job of shopping home.

Following are the steps which you need to consider in whatever order you like to.

Step 1: Becoming Financially Qualified

Capital is the first prerequisite to initiating the process. The major question is whether you are going to pay in cash or need a mortgage broker or mortgage bank to finance your project.

If you plan to get a mortgage, the first step is to get the pre-approval letter. This will give you an idea of your cash limit so you could customize your apartment firsthand.

Step 2: Real Estate Attorney

Another step is to get in touch with the real state attorney. You might find an apartment you wish to buy and because of the unavailability of a state attorney you might lose the bet in favor of someone who showed up with the attorney at the moment.

So, it will always keep you a step ahead of your supposed competitors.

Step 3: Opting Between Condo and Co-op

Then comes the step whether you want to buy a condo or co-op. In case you do not know the difference, a condo is a property you own and co-op is where you own the shares in a corporation which makes you a shareholder. As a shareholder, you are required to pay the monthly charges which will cover the necessities and maintenance.

Condos are comparatively expensive but the buying process is quite easy while buying a co-op is cheaper and the process is rigorous.

The process for condos may take 1-2 months from closing the deal and usually 10$ down payment is submitted. While for the co-op it may take 2-4 months and down payment is a minimum of 25$ and may go up to 50$ at times.

The most interesting feature of the condo is that you may sublet it while having a co-op does not give you this opportunity.

Major Takeaways: Condos Vs. Co-op

11-2 months2-4 months
2Down payment 10%Down payment 25 – 50 %
330-40 % expensiveCheaper 30-40%
4Subletting is allowedStrict sublet policies

Step 4: Hire a Real Estate Broker

You might consider that you can pull it off without a real estate broker and you are not entirely wrong but having a real estate broker is a good idea. The obvious advantages are that he is the walking encyclopedia which would be beneficial in finding a place and may help you in bidding the befitting price. He may also help you in negotiating a deal with the owner with his years of experience.

Step 5: Customize Your Apartment

Once you have selected between condo and co-ops, now working on details is a good exercise. Customize your place according to your need or wants. Do you require a two-bed or three-bed apartment? Do you have a pet? Do you need a parking garage? Do you wish for an elevator, separate laundry, etc.?

You may search in different neighborhoods for condos or co-ops with the help of your broker, now. It is advisable to visit as many places as you could before finalizing one.

Step 6: Make an Offer

After finding a space that suits your needs, comes the most nerve-wrenching step. Better to keep your financial documents ready to show the owner that you qualify for the said facility. You place your best offer to the owner and given the offer, the owner may accept or reject the offer.

If there is a slight difference, the owner may put forward a counter offer. If there are many people to buy the said facility, prices are likely to go high.

By settling this issue, the contract is prepared and the document is taken to a state attorney who represents both parties; the buyer and the owner as well.

Step 7: Building and Management Approval Process

This is the most time-consuming process. The process may be easy for the condo while equally tough for the co cops. You need to present the following documents along with your application:

  • Tax Returns
  • Financial Statement
  • Supportive Documents
  • Bank Statement
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Other Information Asked to Support your Document.

If you have chosen a co-op then a board interview is also added to the list. Board interview is quite the deciding factor in this whole process and may likely halt your campaign. So it is advised to stay confident and be yourself in the interview and try to convince the board to let you buy the shares. However, for condos board interview is just a formality, and the application is usually not rejected by the board.

Step 8: The Closing

If you have qualified all the steps then Bingo, you are almost done. In a friendly environment, all the particulars are signed and you are supposed to issue the funds meantime. And you are ready to own the space which you may also call a “sweet home”.


To sum up, the whole process, shopping at home is exciting as well as an intensive business to do. The better is to go with firsthand preparation and first sort out matters like condo or co-op? Cash or a mortgage? And consultancy with the real estate broker as well. For co-ops, the process may take longer and tiresome compared to condos but without any doubt, it is worth the wait.


What is the Difference Between a Condo and a Co-Op in New York City?

A condo is a type of real estate where you own the physical property and a share of the common areas in a building. In contrast, a co-op is a type of real estate where you own shares in a corporation that owns the building and have the right to occupy a specific unit.

What are the Advantages of Buying a Condo in New York City?

One advantage of buying a condo in NYC is that you have more flexibility in terms of ownership and investment. Additionally, you may have access to amenities like a gym, pool, or rooftop deck, which can increase the value of your property.

What are the Advantages of Buying a Co-Op in New York City?

The main advantage of buying a co-op in NYC is that the cost of entry may be lower than that of a condo, and there may be more financing options available. Co-ops also tend to have stricter rules and regulations, which can promote a sense of community and security.

What are Some Key Considerations when Buying a Condo or Co-Op in New York City?

Some key considerations include the location, price, amenities, building age and condition, rules and regulations, financing options, and potential for appreciation.

What is the Typical Process for Buying a Condo or Co-Op in New York City?

The process typically involves finding a property, submitting an offer, completing due diligence, securing financing, and closing the deal. Each step may involve working with a real estate agent, an attorney, a lender, and other professionals.

How Long does it Typically Take to Buy a Condo or Co-Op in New York City?

The timeline can vary, but it typically takes several months to complete the process, from finding a property to closing the deal.

What are Some Common Challenges or Pitfalls when Buying a Condo or Co-Op in New York City?

Some common challenges include high prices, limited inventory, competition from other buyers, strict board approval processes for co-ops, and the potential for unexpected expenses or maintenance fees. It’s important to work with experienced professionals and do thorough research to mitigate these risks.

What are Some Tips for First-Time Buyers of Condos or Co-Ops in New York City?

Some tips include understanding your budget and financing options, doing thorough research on neighborhoods and buildings, working with a reputable real estate agent and attorney, preparing for board interviews if buying a co-op, and being patient and flexible during the process.

Want to Buy Condo or Co-Apartment? Contact Us

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My Condo Application Was Denied: What Now?
Refinancing Your Condo: Everything You Need to Know About Rates and Others