Buying an apartment or condo is a big decision, wherever said apartment or condo is located. But when we're talking about NYC condos, both the level of investment on your part and the competition on the lender's part are amped up considerably. The New York City real estate market can be a tough place, of course, but choosing to work with a trustworthy real estate agent and educating yourself on the rules of the mortgage game are good ways to make buying a Manhattan apartment that much simpler. The New Construction Manhattan Broker Network is a good way to ensure that you'll find a knowledgeable agent, of course; reading Ken Harney's piece at The Real Deal on the importance of the government-mandated "Good Faith Estimate" (or GFE) is a good way to get started on the educating-yourself thing."Depending upon how loan officers provide their quotes upfront -- on an informal 'worksheet' that carries no federal consumer protections, or on a new, three-page 'good faith estimate,' mortgage shopping tool that comes with rock-hard guarantees -- there could be a world of difference," Harney writes. "A loan officer might quote you fees that are lowballed by hundreds of dollars on an informal worksheet to get your business in the door. But if the quotes are made on a GFE, they've got to be accurate because under new federal rules that took effect Jan. 1, any significant excesses must come out of the lender's own wallet at settlement." Anyone who is looking into NYC condos or apartments for sale in Manhattan -- or condos and apartments for sale anywhere -- owes it to him- or herself to check out Harney's (very lucid, very readable) piece. But here are the Clifs Notes: if you're looking into either buying a Manhattan condominium or apartment or refinancing said condominium/apartment, ask your loan officer for a Good Faith Estimate -- there's no obligation implied in doing so, and the Good Faith Estimate is the best way to ensure that you're getting the best information. Buying a condo or apartment is a big investment; investing the time it takes to read through a three-page GFE (and Harney's article) is an easy way to ensure that you get the most out of your purchase. "The whole concept of the revised GFE is to enable homebuyers and refinancers to shop intelligently, with confidence in lenders' estimates," Harney writes. We at New Construction Manhattan wholeheartedly approve that message.
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