Every real estate market is unique. As a buyer, you are making a significant investment now and for your future. Working with an experienced licensed realtor will be a very helpful way to learn and navigate the particularities of the local market, as we will guide you in making the smartest investment that best matches your needs and dreams. The New York City market is particularly unique and can be challenging whether you are a first-time or an experienced buyer. At Anchor Associates, we know New York. It's our specialty. We speak this city's many languages, and we speak the most important one of all: the complicated language of this great city's real estate market. The Anchor Associate's Buyer's Guide is intended to help you learn the basics of that language-- co-ops, condos, and cond-ops, for instance and prepare yourself to use the language as you work with your Anchor Associates agent, attorneys and mortgage broker to approach the closing process. Like any new language, you might need translation. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions regarding this process.
Co-ops: This is one of the most important words for buyers interested in the NYC market, as this is the type of housing that dominates in the city. Understanding what a co-op is will help you determine whether this is the best search option for you. The co-op buyer does not buy his or her apartment, per square foot, but rather owns shares in the corporation that owns the apartment building. The corporation pays the building's mortgage and other expenses, including taxes and doormen and maintenance staff salaries. Typically, the owner, who has a long-term proprietary lease for his or her apartment, will pay a monthly "maintenance fee", which is calculated based on the number of shares owned; these, in turn, are determined by factors such as the size of one's apartment and the floor (higher vs. lower). The buying process is straightforward but quite distinct from buying other kinds of real estate. Each co-op has a board that is responsible for reviewing and either approving or declining a prospective buyer's application. This board is also responsible for making general decisions for the building shareholders such as subleasing rules and the smart prospective buyer will ask about the co-op rules up front, as well as the financial specifications for each property. The down payment required typically runs as high as 50% in the Manhattan co-op market, so buyers should keep this important fact in mind when deciding whether a co-op is right for them.
Condominiums (Condos): The process for buying a condo is somewhat similar to purchasing a co-op, but understanding the differences is key. Unlike the co-op, the buyer of a condo does own his or her apartment. As the owner, he or she is responsible for paying all property taxes. Like the co-op, he or she will also pay a monthly maintenance fee, referred to as common charges or CC, and will also be subject to an application approval process and conforming to building-specific rules that are set by the condo board. This being said, purchasing a NYC condo tends to offer greater flexibility, and has some attractive advantages for the buyer who plans to finance.
Cond-ops: This term is usually used to describe a co-op that operates under condominium rules. Most often this is important to the investor who is concerned about the strict rental rules in co-ops. A cond-op is an apartment in a mixed-use (commercial and residential building), where the ground floor is a commercial unit that is termed a "condo" and is held by an individual or by an investor group that is separate from the residential owners' group. The term "cond-op" is frequently misused, so be sure to ask how the term is being used when you hear it.
Preparing Yourself for Buying:
Knowing the steps of the New York City buying process will help you be more prepared and feel more comfortable with your purchase. These are the basic steps:
This may seem overwhelming, especially for the first-time buyer, but we are here and committed to helping you every step of the way. We will also assist you in identifying other professionals, like attorneys, mortgage brokers or even movers who will help you secure the NYC co-op, condo, or condop of your dreams!