Manhattan Buyer's Guide

I'm Ready to Buy a Manhattan Apartment... 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 or two.

  • 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!

  • It's an involved process. Keep your eyes on the prize... owning Manhattan real estate.

Easy as pie, right? We've got you covered.