All About Buying

Manhattan and New York City in general are very unique places when it comes to real estate.  Learning about these differences and the processes for purchasing can be invaluable.


Taking a few minutes to complete MLR’s Profile Form will help you identify the qualities important to you in your search. Honing in on your specific criteria and developing your preferred wish lists is an exercise worth doing especially if there are other individuals with whom you will be living.

Some questions you will want to think about are as follows: 

  • What neighborhood(s) would I like living in?
  • What type of building and apartment features do I want?
  • How large of an apartment do I need/want?
  • What price range will I want to stay in and how much money am I pre-approved for?
  • Will I consider a condo, coop or both?
  • How long will I be living in this new home? Is it for the long term, short term or for investment purposes?
  • Will I be paying all cash or do I need a mortgage?



If you will need a mortgage, it is encouraged that you be pre-approved before seriously looking for apartments with your MLR agent. Feel free to ask your MLR Agent for Mortgage Broker recommendations. Click here for free pre-approvals and more mortgage information.

Generally speaking (for “non-image” buildings), your finances will need to reflect:

  • 10-35% of the purchase price for a down payment(varies based on the building requirements), plus
  • 3-6% of the purchase price for closing costs, plus
  • enough money left over to pay your monthly mortgage payments and all of your monthly bills plus some reserves.

Remember, most condos require a minimum of 10% down while coops often require 25% or more.


Being prepared is ESSENTIAL to buying a home in NYC. Depending on market conditions, buyers may sometimes experience what is known as a “bidding war”. A bidding war describes a situation where several qualified buyers bid and compete for the same apartment. In this scenario you will need to be prepared to act quickly and give your best offer.


Discuss your desired criteria with your MLR agent. By maintaining an open and communicative relationship with your agent, you will find that he/she will be able to assist you more efficiently. Your search may take as few as 1-5 days of viewing on average 5 apartments per day or several months.


Once you have found an apartment that feels like home to you, your MLR agent will place the offer or bid on your behalf. The verbal offer will be followed by a brief written profile highlighting the important points about you, your qualifications and credentials. If necessary your agent may submit documentation to support your offer. MLR will provide you with a worksheet to help you prepare for the offer. Remember, depending on the market and your interest level in the property there may be room for negotiation or a need to act quickly. Work with your agent to determine what your first bid should be.


After an offer is accepted, the seller’s attorney will draw up a contract for the buyer’s attorney to review. Before your attorney advises you to sign the contract he/she will review the building’s financials, minutes and offering plan. It is not uncommon for attorneys to go back and forth in negotiating terms and clarifying points. Once advised, you will sign the contract and give a 10% deposit to the seller’s attorney who will hold it in escrow until the closing. Only once both parties sign the contract it becomes executed and binding.


Your mortgage application can be processed once the contract is executed. Your building’s board will require a letter from your lender to complete your board package/condo application. Mortgage lenders can be banks, savings and loans or credit unions. Using a mortgage broker may help you get a better interest rate. You will need to provide your mortgage broker with your social security number, a list of debt obligations and liabilities, tax returns for the past two years, current income verification and copies of recent bank statements. If your down payment is a Gift, you will need to bring a gift letter. The loan approval process takes between 2-6 weeks at which point the bank issues a commitment letter to the buyer or to the mortgage broker. From this point, the actual closing may begin.


Board approval(for a co-op) and managing agent approval(for a condo) must come before a closing can take place. Co-ops will typically demand full financial disclosure and several reference letters. The information required for a condo application is far less personal. You will submit all of the information and documents to your MLR Agent and he/she will prepare the packages for the managing agent.


In a co-op your will likely need to meet with the board. Every board is different, but meetings usually take place once a month on a week night. Being granted an interview does not assure approval. Your MLR agent will be notified of the board’s decision by the managing agent and will notify you as soon as possible.


After approval, a closing date will be determined. At this point, all outstanding dues are paid to participating parties. At the closing you will find the buyer, the seller, the buyer’s attorney, the seller’s attorney, a title closer, the real estate broker(s) and the lender’s attorney if there is financing. It is here where everything is finalized and you will receive legal possession and keys to your new home.