Articles on First-time Home Buyers

6 Pieces of Advice to Homebuyers

New Construction Manhattan Buying a Home

You’ve finally decided it’s time to give up apartment living. You did some soul searching and you’ve dropped in on a few open houses. You found your dream house...at least, you think you have. According to Forbes, as many as a quarter of homeowners wish they had never purchased their place at all. Here are some additional considerations to make before you make a regrettable decision. The name of the game: attention to detail.

The New Era of Manhattan Sales

It’s an interesting time for the Manhattan real estate market: Sure, inventory levels are low, but price stability, active buyers and a fast absorption rate are keeping the market remarkably healthy. With the latest reports issued at the beginning of the month, it is apparent that there is a deficiency in newly constructed properties, but steadiness in numbers is providing strength where it is appropriately needed.

Student Loan Debt Crisis Dampening Homeownership

Student Debt Loan Crisis  and HomeownershipOne of the most recognized rites of passage for adults in the Western world is financial independence. For some, that may come in the glorious form of the first paycheck or opening a bank account and setting up a direct deposit. For millions of Americans however, their first taste of financial independence will appear in the nightmares of their first student loan payment. According to recent reports, student loan debt in the United States is rapidly approaching $1 trillion, or greater than all other types of household debts. In regards to the Manhattan real estate market, more college and university graduates are now either moving back home or putting down a security deposit instead of a down payment.

Good Form: What You Need To Know About New York's New Broker Disclosure Law

New Yorks New Broker Disclosure LawFor potential buyers browsing Manhattan condo listings and the brokers charged with selling those apartments, Manhattan real estate isn't simple. Anything but, in fact. If you work with the right real estate agent (and take advantage of the right buyer's information resources), finding – and even purchasing – the right NYC condo doesn’t have to be a maddening experience. But it is inherently a complicated one, given the series of interlocking interests that are part of every Manhattan condominium purchase – buyer's agents and seller's agents, owners and buyers, developers and brokers and co-op boards and so on and so forth – that ensure that there's virtually no such thing as a quick, simple Manhattan real estate transaction. Your friendly neighborhood real estate broker would no doubt be happy to explain the myriad ways in which the current system is frustrating, confusing, inefficient and so on, but it is the way that real estate business has always gotten done in New York City. Or it was, at least: a new real estate disclosure law that passed just before the New Year aims to simplify and clarify the apartment-buying process, and to make sure that both brokers and agents understand each other before anyone signs any dotted lines. In recent years, it has been far easier to be skeptical about things coming out of Albany than it is to be optimistic, but in this instance we're offering a tentative thumbs-up. Anything that makes it simpler and less stressful to buy an apartment in Manhattan is good by us. And at first glance, the new disclosure law seems to do just that. So, how did assemblyman Jonathan Bing et al pull this off? In short, by keeping it simple. "The law requires a real estate agent to have clients sign a form stating that they understand whom the agent represents and to whom the agent will give 'undivided loyalty,' as soon as they enter into a relationship," Vivian Toy writes in the New York Times. "The disclosure law is designed to clarify the roles of buyers’ and sellers’ agents, in order to, as the form itself states, 'help you to make informed choices about your relationship with the real estate broker and its sales associates.'"

On Urgency: The End of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and Your NYC Condo

To the extent that it's ever true in Manhattan real estate, the current market for NYC condos favors buyers. Prices are flat, apartment listings are plentiful, concessions on price are increasingly the rule, and an investment in Manhattan real estate remains about as good a long-term bet as there is out there. As a sort of cherry on top of all this, there's the soon-expiring federal tax credit for first-time home buyers.

The Secret's Out: What NYC Condo Buyers Need to Know About Secret Fees

Hidden fees for New York City apartmentsBuying a condominium in Manhattan involves one large fee and seemingly dozens of smaller ones. The many costs of closing on a NYC condo typically do involve a real estate agent's commission -- it has always been thus, and always will be -- but one less-than-welcome recent innovation to hit the New York real estate scene is currently getting some richly deserved scrutiny. As The Real Deal's Ken Harney reports, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into the widespread and frankly dodgy practice of additional, ill-defined "admin" fees tacked on top of the commission on a condominium purchase.

Things That Make Sense: Fewer Interest-Only Mortgages Out There. (Thank Goodness)

Interest Only Mortgages Of all the ridiculous ideas that precipitated what people are apparently calling The Great Recession, junk mortgages -- "subprime" is somehow too kind a word, here -- have to rank among the worst. Real estate in general, and New York apartments and condominiums in particular, have long ranked among the smartest and safest investments out there, but the rise and sad popularity of junk mortgages such as "interest-only" mortgages during the real estate boom did much to unmake that. Sure, the right NYC condo is still a terrific investment, but the market in general was damaged seriously by all the homes and apartments (generally not in New York City, of course) that were sold to people via frankly crappy means such as interest-only mortgages.

State of Happiness: State of New York Mortgage Agency Offering Sweet Deal to First-Time Home Buyers

State of New York Mortgage AgencyFinding an apartment or condominium in Manhattan doesn't necessarily have to be difficult -- if you're already at New Construction Manhattan, you've probably already figured that out. But paying for that NYC condo or apartment... that is another story. But while paying for a new condominium in Manhattan will never be as much fun as finding a new condominium in Manhattan, some encouraging news out of Albany today promises to make buying a NYC condo that much easier, at least for first-time home buyers. Federal funds administered by the State of New York Mortgage Agency have made possible a slew of new, low-interest/low-down-payment mortgages for first-time home buyers in New York, the New York Times reports.

Square Deal? The Inexact Science of Square Footage

Square footage in New York City apartments Buying a condominium in Manhattan is not easy. If there's one thing you'll hear from friends who've gone about purchasing a Manhattan apartment or NYC condo, it's that. But if there's one thing we keep going over here at the New Construction Manhattan blog, it's that buying NYC condos doesn't have to be quite as difficult as it is -- if you ask the right questions and work with the right real estate agent, buying an apartment in Manhattan can be satisfying and maybe even enjoyable. But, as proven in a new report at The Real Deal on the radically imprecise science of calculating the square footage of condominiums for sale, buying a condominium in Manhattan isn't easy. The good news, here, is that square footage numbers aren't necessarily the be-all and end-all when it comes to buying a condo.

Listing Price, Shmisting Price: New Report Indicates Buyers Getting Condos for Less Than Listed More Often Than Ever

Condos in NYC selling for less than list priceWe hear the term "buyer's market" so often of late in reference to the current real estate market that it's easy, at times, to forget just what it means. The phrase itself isn't tough to decipher, of course: buyers of NYC condos have an advantage over sellers of NYC condos at present. But a new report from Zillow.com indicates the real-world effects -- the very positive real world effects, at least for those looking into buying a Manhattan apartment -- of the current buyer's market in Manhattan real estate. On average, Manhattan apartment buyers paid a whopping five percent less than the last listed price on NYC condos in January. That's a savings of over $20,000 per purchase, on average.