Congratulations! You have made an important decision to purchase a home – probably the biggest financial decision of your life so far. Your first step is to decide on a neighborhood. We suggest you pick the areas you are primarily interested in that fall into your price range, and then take a day or two to walk around to get a feel, to decide if the area “speaks” to you. Although you can always sell your apartment, it is better to make an informed decision about the neighborhood you will be calling home at least for a few years!

Once you have narrowed down the neighborhood(s) you are interested in, you should get in touch with a financial expert to obtain prequalification for a mortgage. In today’s tight market it is exceptionally important to be prepared, as you don’t want to risk losing the apartment you fall in love with to a more prepared buyer. Please contact us and we will guide you to a mortgage professional who can help you with your financial needs.

The two main differences between a co-operative and a condominium are form of ownership and financing. When owning a co-op, you own shares in a corporation, whereas a condo is real property. As far as financing is concerned, there’s the big unsimilarity: banks are generally willing to lend 95% of the purchase price of a condo (sometimes even 100%), whereas the maximum financing available for a co-op unit is 90% of the purchase price (subject to co-op rules, of course). In addition to the financing restrictions by the lending institution, the majority of co-op buildings have their own financing rules, which can range anywhere from no financing allowed up to 90% financing of the purchase price.

So what does this mean in reality? Not much, aside the availability of cash you will need for the purchase. You can sell your co-operative shares the same way you would sell a condominium apartment. A good condo building has a board that protects the interests of its owners just like a co-op building has a board protecting its shareholders. You pay maintenance in a co-op and common charges plus real estate taxes (included in the maintenance in a co-op) in a condo.

When you find the apartment of your dreams, your next step is to make a purchase offer. We will ensure that your financial qualifications are highlighted in the best possible way, and will make recommendations on an appropriate offer amount and terms of purchase. We also recommend selecting your attorney as early in the process as possible, so that once the negotiations are complete and your offer is accepted, you are in a position to move forward immediately. Every day you lose after your bid is accepted increases the chance of another buyer making an offer that is more attractive to the seller than yours, and being prepared minimizes that risk. We work with a network of real estate attorneys who we are happy to recommend to represent you in the purchase process.

What does “in contract” mean?
You see it written on advertisements, you hear it when you contact agents about properties you are interested in. The mysterious “in contract” – what does it really mean? When your attorney has negotiated the terms of the contract of sale and has completed their due diligence, you are ready to sign, providing you are satisfied with your attorney’s findings. At this time, you will write a check for a contract deposit (typically 10% of the purchase price). The contract is then executed by the seller and the deposit placed on the seller’s attorney’s escrow account to wait for the closing. Once your attorney receives the contracts back from the seller’s attorney, you have reached the biggest milestone in the purchase process so far – you are in contract!

When your offer is accepted, you can alert your financial expert to start preparing your paperwork for financing. Although you cannot complete your mortgage application until the contract is fully executed by both parties, getting the paperwork started gives you a head start. When purchasing a unit that requires board approval, it is important to let your mortgage professional know this not to delay the board approval process. Please contact your loan officer on the details of the financing aspect of your purchase.

Board approval
The dreaded process that will make or break your purchase. Because of its crucial role, it is important that you work with a real estate professional who understands how to compile a package that will get you approved. The preparation of the board package is complicated and the questions often hard to navigate, but we will help you make sure the correct information is submitted. We are experienced with the buildings in the areas we represent and will give expert guidance to you in the board approval process to obtain the desired result!

Congratulations, again! You have made it to the final step in the purchase process by successfully securing financing and obtaining board approval, and you are now ready to proceed to closing. Once the date has been scheduled, we will organize a final walk-through of your new home, which should take place within 24-48 hours of the closing. The purpose of the walk-through is to verify that the property is in the same condition it was when you made the offer and no damages have been caused by movers, owners, neighbors, faulty fixtures, etc.

Your attorney will inform you of the final closing costs, which are normally not available until 24 hours prior to closing time, and sometimes not until the day of the closing. The closing costs consist of various bank, attorney, and co-op fees, and in the case of a sponsor sale, standardly the city and state transfer taxes and seller’s legal fees. Be prepared for the closing to last for an average of two hours, though it can take more or less. When complete, you can officially call yourself a home owner!