Buyer's Guide for New York City


Buy a Manhattan Apartment or Condo

 I'm Ready to Buy a Manhattan Apartment or condo. How Much Time Will It Take?

Short answer: anywhere from a month to a year. But we'll break it down into steps...

1. Get Mortgage Pre-approval (by Your Bank or Broker)

How long does this take? A day or three

  • Know your budget... most condos require at least 10% down. Most co-ops require at least 20%. Budget your down payment and monthly expenses (common charges, real estate taxes, mortgage, repairs, utilities, and so on).
  • A pre-qualification letter shows how willing your bank is to work with you. It also shows sellers how committed you are to buying a Manhattan home.
  • Also, it's time to pick a New York City real estate attorney. They'll help with the haggling, plus writing up a contract. They're around to look out for you, so take advantage.

2. Find Your Home

How long does this take? A few months... unless you believe in love at first sight!

  • The average buyer looks at more than fifteen apartments before finding the right one. Good things take time!
  • Prioritize... What matters most? Community? Space? Aesthetics? Safety? The view? Amenities? Investment? Building Features? Apartment features? Bathroom features? Kitchen features?
  • Consider the schools, transportation, entertainment, etc. in your preferred neighborhoods. Look at amenities and rules (Have a washer & dryer? What about pets? Need storage?).
  • The best way to search is obvious... do legwork. If that's not best for you, we're available to help you search.

3. Negotiate with Owners

How long does this take? A few days (or weeks)

  • Assessments, fixtures, floors, appliances, fireplaces, washers & dryers, and so on... it's all on the table. Make an oral offer for purchase, followed by a written offer (which formalizes your intention to buy). Your seller might counter-offer. Your turn again!
  • Remember, we are here to help negotiate.

 4. Sign Your Contract

How long does this take? A few weeks

  • The seller's attorney sends the contract of sale to the buyer's attorney. After due diligence, the buyers sign and forward the contract, plus deposit. The sellers are ready to execute the contract.
  • Issues to monitor: financing, board approval, and closing date.

5. Apply for Your Mortgage

How long does this take? A month or two

  • If you're financing, the board will ask for a commitment letter from your lender.
  • This letter is usually the final piece in a board package or condo application.

6. Prepare Your Condo Application or Co-op Board Package

How long does this take? Anywhere from three to nine weeks

  • After the contract has been executed, condos ask for an application.
  • Co-op's expect extra information. Most boards request full financial disclosure (and supporting documentation), employment history, current salary, personal and business references, three years of tax returns, credit history... good thing you've got a checklist.
  • It might sound like a lot -- remember, we're here to help!

7. Submit Your Condo Application or Co-op Board Package

How long does this take? Under one month

  • After completion, we'll submit your app to the building's management. They'll review it for completion.
  • Next, it goes to the condo's Board of Directors. After they take a look, they decide if they'd like to meet you.

8. Interview with Co-op Board & Get Approval

How long does this take? Scheduling might take a couple days, but interviews are only an hour .

  • Co-op boards meet about once a month. Meetings are usually on weeknights. Board interviews don't necessarily equal approval.
  • We'll make sure you're prepared for your interview... we've done this before.

9. Schedule Your Closing

How long does this take? Almost there! Just a week or so!

  • Everyone involved agrees on your closing date, time, and location.
  • This is when final documents are signed... and ownership is transferred.

10. Move In!

New York Renter's Guide


Application Checklist

Once you've found the Manhattan home you want to own, it's time to prepare for applications and board meetings. Here's a handy list of stuff you'll need to break out (at one point or another)...

What to Have:

  • 401K or retirement fund statements, most recent
  • Asset portfolio statements, most recent
  • Bank statements, most recent (checking & savings)
  • Credit history
  • Federal tax returns, last three years
  • List of other liquid or non-liquid assets
  • Personal and business reference letters (original copies)
  • Pre-approval letter (from your bank or mortgage broker)

And one of the following...

  • Letter from employer, verifying your start date and annual salary including bonus

OR, if you're self-employed...

  • Letter from your CPA or attorney verifying your salary and net worth

Prospective homebuyers in a co-op should be aware that co-op boards don't want an investor who is going to sub-lease apartments to another tenant. Co-op boards are more likely to approve applicants buying homes for personal purposes. In addition to the above checklist, a co-op board will require W-2 forms, K-1 forms, 1099s, financial statements (prepared by an accountant), evidence of all assets and copies of investment statements. For applicants with rental properties, the board will want copies of leases and a market analysis for this property. In addition, applicants will need several letters of recommendation, and most co-op boards conduct formal interviews with applicants. Specific requirements differ with each building.

For prospective homebuyers in a condominium, the process is much simpler and less stressful. The above checklist should be used as a guide for what is needed for the application process. Most of the time, board approval in condos is not required, and boards cannot stop owners from subletting apartments. Luckily for you, most of the new construction buildings are condos.

Remember to contact us with questions and concerns.


Which Type of Manhattan Apartment Is Right for Me?

 Well, that depends on you. Like New Yorkers themselves, Manhattan apartments come in a wide array of sizes and styles. Because this is Manhattan, there is an apartment for sale out there that’s right for you. But whether it’s in a new construction condominium or a condo conversion -- or a co-op, or a brownstone townhouse, or so on - depends on you, finally. Manhattan real estate has its own lingo, and it can be tough to translate sometimes. But the most important thing is this: the Manhattan condominium that’s meant to be your Manhattan condominium is out there, somewhere in Manhattan (and our Manhattan condo listings). Here are the terms you’ll need to know as you search for that apartment. 


Brownstone townhouses are a Manhattan mainstay, although you won’t find them listed on New Construction Manhattan. The simple reason for that: Manhattan brownstones are less “new construction condominium” than “19th century townhouse.” They’re lovely,  though, with a distinctive old-school look inside and out, high ceilings and (in many cases) back yards. There are a wealth of brownstone-lined side streets on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, and plenty to be found in Greenwich Village as well. Most of the brownstones in midtown Manhattan are currently home to small business and -- in the area of Turtle Bay around the United Nations -- many are home to smaller nations’ embassies. (The agents affiliated with New Construction Manhattan can help you find a Manhattan brownstone, by the way) 

Give customers a reason to do business with you.


Townhouse NYC

Another lovely Manhattan living option that you won’t find listed on New Construction Manhattan. Most Manhattan neighborhoods feature at least a few townhouse-lined sidestreets, and they are indeed nice places to live, if generally more expensive to buy and maintain than condominiums. Many townhouses offer such old-Manhattan touches as crown moldings and working fireplaces, and provide a level of privacy that’s generally scarce in Manhattan -- and they also offer no co-op style hoops to jump through in terms of ownership. But while Manhattan townhouses possess a charm all their own, they are -- at least in Manhattan -- a very scarce commodity; there aren’t a lot of new townhouses being built, at least relative to the number of new construction condos and condominium conversions on the market. 


Walk-Up Apartments

Just what they sound like, walk-ups are distinguished by the fact that residents have to, yes, walk up to their places. Walk-ups are a staple in neighborhoods such as Gramercy Park, the Lower East Side and the East Village, where what was once nearly tenement-style housing has been transformed into desirable addresses by the changing neighborhoods around them. There are some lovely, lovingly restored walk-up condominium listings in Manhattan, but for the most part, these are 


Reasons Why Walk Up Apartments In NYC Are Awesome! 

 1.  Cost   2.  Plenty of No Broker Fee Availabilities  3.  Privacy  

4.  Vintage Apartments  5.  Exercise 


Loft Apartments

 As with walk-ups, lofts were originally almost marginal housing -- popular with artists, dancers, musicians and other downtown-types who saw apartment/studio possibilities in what generally started as raw industrial space. But much as loft-heavy neighborhoods such as Soho, Tribeca, and Chelsea have come up in the world since the 1970s, lofts have gone from ad hoc housing for artists to status symbols in apartment form. It’s easy to see why, though: from the open floors, oversized windows and high ceilings to their spacious dimensions, Manhattan lofts offer some unique interior design opportunities. It may seem strange that some of the most desirable -- and expensive -- apartment listings in Manhattan began their lives as warehouse space, but that’s NYC real estate for you. 

Condos and Co-ops in New York City


Living in New York City: Co-ops vs. Condos

Co-ops vs. Condos: An Overview

Condos and co-ops share similarities but also have unique characteristics that offer a variety of options for residents. In many ways, the New York City real estate market is unlike any other in the United States. One of the biggest differences is that apartments for sale in NYC are either condos or co-ops. In most places, condos are the rule, but not in the Big Apple. Although co-ops outnumber condos in NYC—by about 75%, per most estimates—more condos are on the active market at any given moment.

Let’s start with a brief examination of the difference between a co-op and a condo. When you buy a condominium, your apartment, as well as a percentage of the common areas, belong to you. When you buy a co-op, you don’t actually buy your apartment; instead, you are buying shares in a corporation that is your building. The size of your share depends on the size of your apartment; buying the shares allows you to occupy a unit in the co-op building. At the closing for a condo, you’ll be given a deed; at the closing for a co-op, you’ll get a proprietary lease.

For the most part, both condos and co-ops have a doorman and a superintendent on staff; some will add a concierge who will do everything the other two don’t. The amenities can be low-key (maybe just a storage room in the basement) or as all-encompassing, such as a landscaped terrace, a billiards room, a piano room, a screening room, a children’s playroom, and a gym.

For those looking to buy an apartment in Manhattan, deciding where to live comes down to deciding how to live -- either in a Manhattan condominium, or a co-op. While co-ops make up the majority of Manhattan apartment listings, a bumper crop of new construction Manhattan condominiums arrived during the previous decade, and many buildings have recently “gone condo.” So, what’s the difference between NYC condos and NYC co-ops?   by investopedia


Co-ops in Manhattan

Manhattan real estate is still dominated by co-op buildings, which function as benign -- if sometimes notably persnickety -- vertical socialist communities. Real estate corporations own co-op buildings and sell company shares that entitle buyers/shareholders to proprietary leases -- co-op owners own the rights to their apartments instead of owning the apartments outright. Co-op shareholders contribute monthly maintenance fees that cover building expenses such as heat, water, insurance, staff, and taxes. Portions of fees, plus real estate taxes, are tax deductible. Manhattan co-ops are famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for the sometimes-quirky and often restrictive policies enforced by their co-op boards, which are elected by residents and make decisions on building issues. Many of Manhattan’s oldest and most prestigious apartments are co-ops, and they’re nearly ubiquitous around Gramercy Park, as well as on the Upper East and Upper West Sides. 


Condos in Manhattan

 There’s no more direct ownership stake available in Manhattan real estate than condominiums. Lay the money down for a Manhattan condominium, and you’ll get a deed, sole ownership, and -- in many cases -- the keys to one of the finest apartments for sale in New York City. While the vast majority of Manhattan’s apartment stock is in co-ops -- something like 85 percent, although the number fluctuates a bit -- many of the new construction apartment listings in Manhattan are of the luxury condominium variety. For a pure ownership stake on an apartment in Manhattan and the flexibility to do with your home whatever you wish, NYC condos are about as good as it gets -- and they’re getting more popular with every year that passes. 

  Roughly 75 percent of the Manhattan housing inventory is comprised of co-ops. Unlike a condo, co-ops are are owned by a corporation. This means, when you buy an apartment that is in a co-op building, you are not actually buying real property (like you would in a condo). 

Prewar and Postwar Apartments in NYC


What's the difference between a prewar and postwar apartment?

When you are looking around for a new apartment to rent or check out, there are some terms that often get tossed around that you may not know of. Two of the most common terms are “prewar” and “postwar”. Well if you have ever been curious about those terms, you have come to the right place. To give you a better understanding of what differentiates the two here is some more information about differences, characteristics, etc.

Prewar apartments
Prewar apartments are apartments in buildings that were built before the Second World War. These are characterized by unique layouts, high ceilings, crown molding, sturdy construction, and more. These often have real wood flooring, large doorways, and heavy wooden doors. They are built very well and most have stood the test of time. While these might not have the new and fancy amenities that many newer apartments might have, they are still a very popular and desirable option. There is a ton of demand for these apartments and people seem to really love them for their charm and character.

Postwar apartments
As you could probably imagine, a postwar apartment is one that was built after the Second World War but before the 1990s. These apartments tend to show characteristics based off of the decade they were built. Design and architecture changed a lot from the 50s to the 90s, and that is reflected in the style of postwar apartments. So there is a ton of variety in terms of how these can look. Older postwar places might be made of brick and have parquet floors, while newer ones might have things like modern amenities, and be a little bit more “cookie-cutter” in their appearance. These postwar apartments are also quite a bit easier to renovate and things can often be swapped out with ease, requiring little work.

So as you can see, there are quite a few differences between the two. Prewar apartments are considered to be better built, but also offer quite a bit less flexibility for adjustments or renovations. They (prewar) often have more character and each apartment is different from one another, while postwar apartments often look similar to other units that were built in the same time frame or area. They each have their pros and cons, and ultimately, it will come down to your own personal tastes when it comes to which type of apartment you decide to rent.

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Pre-War Apartment Building

The “war” would be World War II, and the apartments in question -- apartments in pre-war buildings, that is -- are one of the great prizes in Manhattan real estate. Because there’s a limited supply of pre-war apartment listings and near-unlimited demand for them, pre-war condominiums are routinely among the most sought-after condo listings in Manhattan. Strange as it may seem, though, recent years have seen a steady stream of “new” pre-war apartments for sale entering the Manhattan real estate market. Pre-war condo conversions such as the Barbizon 63 (formerly a luxury hotel on the Upper East Side) and The Apthorp (an Upper West Side condo that was previously a rental building) have become blockbuster hits on the condo market -- in part because they’re among the relatively few pre-war apartments for sale not in more restrictive co-ops. While it’s not hard to see why pre-war apartment listings are so popular, there is one aspect in which pre-war apartments lag behind their competition -- most have very limited amenities, mostly because few developers or architects thought to set aside space for swimming pools or fitness centers or children’s playrooms during the FDR years. Resources by newconstructionmanhattan


Post-War Apartment Building

Built between the late 1940s and mid-'70s, most Manhattan post-war apartments have been considerably spruced up since, to the point where only their architectural aesthetics set them apart from new construction condo listings. Given that this period was a comparatively slow one for condo construction in New York City, there are fewer post-war apartment buildings than you might expect -- and not all that many on New Construction Manhattan’s searchable apartment listings, either. The post-war apartment listings you’ll find here, though, are ones that have been renovated into something resembling state-of-the-art new construction condos. Your better post-war apartment listings come packed with amenities like housekeeping, pools, new appliances, gyms, rooftop decks, and valet service.
The apartments for sale at post-war apartment buildings lack the contemporary look of new construction apartment listings, but they're known for their size and flexibility -- and they’re certainly less costly than pre-war apartments. 

  Once you've decided that a Manhattan luxury condo is where you want to buy your NYC home, there's one more