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Buying a Condo in NYC. What Do You Need to Know

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.
buying a condo in nyc

This article will discuss the process of purchasing a condo in NYC and how a real estate lawyer can help during that process. The condo buying process can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars in closing costs to buy your new home. Our real estate attorneys know the ins and outs of condo law in New York and work to help you avoid mistakes during this process.

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What is a Condo in New York City?

Your living environment greatly impacts the quality of your everyday life. That is in part why New York City is an attractive place to live for so many people – the culture, opportunities, diversity, and general vibe help make the lives of those who live here more fun and exciting. The kind of housing you occupy also contributes to the structure of your living environment and experience of the city. NYC offers a number of different housing options, each with its set of advantages and disadvantages. One option that appeals to many of the city’s residents is the condo. 

A condo refers to a kind of private residence that resembles the general framework of an apartment. There are, however, important differences between condos and apartments. Whereas an apartment refers to a residential building owned by a single person or entity that rents out individual units to various tenants, a condo refers to a situation in which the individual units have different owners, the overall complex being merely managed by the condo’s homeowner association (HOA). Condos may be a good choice for those who enjoy living in apartment complexes but want to own their particular unit. 

A real estate attorney can help you take the right steps as you move forward with purchasing a condo. The real estate lawyers at the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes are highly experienced in a variety of real estate transactions, including those involving condos. We are deeply invested in the happiness of our clients and have been able to achieve successful outcomes for many. Contact our firm today to discuss how we can help you during the condo-purchasing process. 

9 Steps to Buying a Condo in NYC 

The process of purchasing a condo, which consists of multiple steps, does not have to be arduous. Many of the steps mirror those involved in purchasing a house. Differences can be attributed to the fact that the condo, by virtue of existing within a complex, involves living in a community and working with a condo association. You will want to make sure that you do your research and work with the appropriate professionals to ensure that you complete each step.

Let Professionals and Experts Help You

You don’t have to take on the condo-purchasing process alone. The process will likely be made a lot easier if you refer to professionals and experts for advice. A real estate agent or lawyer can facilitate the process by making sure that you take all of the necessary steps and that you complete each step correctly.

Research Your Options and Choose Your Home

You will want to shop around before committing to a condo. Research the overall market and think about whether it is the right time to buy a condo. Figure out the districts or areas of the city that you are interested in. Think about the kind of amenities and features you want. Consider your finances and the price range that would be compatible with your particular situation. When thinking about finances and budgeting, you will want to take into account the condo closing costs in NYC, which are often around two to five percent of the purchase price. These additional costs are typically composed of:

  • Costs and fees associated with your mortgage (e.g. mortgage application fee, mortgage tax, mortgage title insurance),
  • Attorney’s fees,
  • Real estate property taxes,
  • Deposits,
  • Fee title insurance,
  • Among others.

Evaluate individual condos of interest in the relevant markets. You will likely want to make physical visits to make sure the living situation is to your liking. Depending on how stringent your criteria are, it may take several months for you to find what you are looking for.

Make Sure That You are a Viable Candidate

As a part of the condo association approval process, you will likely have to submit to a background check. The background check will give the HOA information about your criminal history and the opportunity to conduct a credit check. You may also have to provide some sort of financial statement that includes information related to your credit cards, loans, money market accounts, and investments. It is also likely that you will have to undergo a condo association interview as well. Condo boards will use the information from your background check to determine whether you would be an appropriate addition to the community and able to timely make the monthly dues.

You also want to take certain steps on your own to make sure that your finances will accommodate a condo purchase. You may, for instance, want to get prequalified for a condo mortgage to provide evidence of your ability to pay.

Make an Offer

Once you pass the background check and are confident about a particular condo unit, it is time to make an offer that provides your desired terms for the purchase. You will usually have to negotiate a bit, and counteroffers are common. Once an offer is accepted, a deal sheet will be prepared. 

A deal sheet involves a summary of the terms and contact information for the relevant parties and attorneys. At this point, you will want to have your attorney conduct due diligence on the condo building to make sure that there are no financial or legal issues affecting the condo. As part of the due diligence process, your attorney will conduct a title search to make sure that there are no encumbrances affecting the condo. You will then need to look into purchasing title insurance, as it will provide some protection against unforeseeable problems.

condo mortgage

The Contract

Once you have completed the aforementioned steps, you will want to move forward with memorializing the terms of the agreement and signing the contract. At this point, you will also have to put down an earnest money deposit to be held in escrow

Finalize Your Condo Mortgage Application

If you are financing your purchase, you will want to apply for a mortgage. The mortgage application process takes several weeks, so start your application as soon as you have finalized the contract for the condo. 

Prepare for Condo Board Application (if applicable)

Certain condo buildings will require applicants to submit a condo board package as a part of the condo approval process. The application will typically ask for details about the condo purchase (e.g. sales price, etc), contact information of the parties and the relevant agents and attorneys, residence and employment history, and references. There is usually a condo board package fee as well – often between a few hundred to a thousand dollars. It may be prudent to research the condo board package before applying to the condo to make sure you are comfortable going through with the process.

Examine the Condo Unit One Final Time

You want to make sure that you have done your due diligence before closing on a condo. Prior to closing, you will want to examine the property a final time to make sure that everything is working properly and that any necessary repairs have been completed.

The Closing

All relevant parties will typically be present at closing, including the buyer, seller, real estate attorneys, agents, and the mortgage lender. It is important that you bring along any important documents, as discussed with your attorney. The closing will likely take several hours. Once you’ve closed on the condo, the place is yours! 

The real estate attorneys at the Law Firm of Yuriy Moshes are highly experienced in a wide range of real estate matters, including the process of purchasing a condo in NYC. We have an excellent track record, having achieved successful outcomes for many clients. Our real estate attorneys will ensure that your rights and interests are represented throughout the purchasing process. Contact our firm today to discuss how we can help you. 

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Condo?

  1. Condos give you access to facilities and amenities that you otherwise might not have if you owned a home or rented an apartment. The kinds of amenities available differ depending on the complex you live in, but some of these facilities include swimming pools, bars, and exercise facilities. Another perk is that unlike private facilities, you will not be personally responsible for maintaining them. Rather, the relevant homeowner’s association will be tasked with cleaning and maintaining the facilities.
  2. Comfortable locations. Condo buildings are often comfortably located near major business and entertainment areas, meaning residents will be a stone’s throw away from plenty of restaurants, attractions, and entertainment venues. 
  3. Maintenance is covered by the fees. The maintenance of the condo’s facilities and premises are covered by the fees paid to the homeowner’s association. Although these fees are an additional cost, they provide a convenience you might not have in a different living situation. 
  4. Better security. Condos tend to provide a good level of security. Many are armed with security and surveillance cameras and may also have guards or other staff surveying the premises.

What Are the Disadvantages?

  1. Homeowners Association Fees. All condo owners must pay a fee to the HOA. These fees provide some advantages, in that they cover maintenance (for the pool, lawn, general premises) and building projects. However, they are not always properly managed, and you may be responsible for additional fees in the case of emergencies.
  2. Lack of privacy. Living in a condo resembles, in some ways, the experience of living in an apartment. Much like living in an apartment, you will have neighbors on one or multiple borders of your space, meaning you will likely have to deal with noise. You might not have the same kind of privacy or quiet that you would have if you were to own a house. 
  3. Delinquency. When you live in a condo, you are part of a community, which has its upsides and downsides. One potential downside is that if someone in your community is delinquent in paying the association fee, you and the other condo owners may bear part of the responsibility and may have to pay more to make up for the 
  4. More rules. When living in a condo, you are subject to rules created by the HOA. Sometimes, these rules can be quite restrictive, limiting the number of pets you can own, the number of visitors you can have over, and certain periods during which you must be quiet. You would also need to get the HOA’s permission before initiating any renovations or other building projects.

FAQ:

How do you know if you can afford a condo?

If you are interested in purchasing a condo, you should first determine a price range that would work with your financial situation. You should then research the purchasing opportunities, taking into consideration your budget as well as your desired living situation. Be aware of the fees involved in the application process and the closing costs. Some common charges associated with closing costs are condo association fees, real estate tax, fee title insurance, and recording fees.

What Does a condo association look for in a background check?

The background check will look into your criminal history and financial status. The association is looking to determine whether you would be an appropriate addition to the building and whether you would be able to keep up with any financial obligations.

How do you make an offer on a condo?

Once you have finished researching and shopping around for condos and have identified one that you want to purchase, you should prepare to make an offer. Making an offer usually involves negotiation over the terms of the transaction (e.g. sale price, contingencies, closing date, etc), a pre-approval or commitment letter from your financing source, an offer form, and information regarding your real estate attorney. It is best to have an attorney at this point to advise you to ensure that you submit all of the necessary paperwork and that the negotiation process works in your favor.

How long does it take to close on a condo in NYC?

Although the exact timeline will vary, the time to close will likely be at least 30 days. This is because the mortgage application process as well as contract negotiation tend to take several weeks. If you plan on paying for the unit in cash, the process may be shorter.

How Can a Condo Attorney in NYC Help You?

The real estate attorneys at the Law Firm of Yuriy Moshes are highly experienced in a wide range of real estate matters, including the process of purchasing a condo in NYC. We have an excellent track record, having achieved successful outcomes for many clients.

Our condo attorneys will ensure that your rights and interests are represented throughout the buying a condo process. Contact our firm today to discuss how we can help you.

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