Tips on buying your first NYC apartment

An apartment building in New York, representing tips on buying your first NYC apartment.

Caption: Choosing the best type of building and property is essential when buying your first NYC apartment.

Becoming an owner of an NYC apartment is a matter of prestige. High property and maintenance costs and a whole other myriad of challenges makes this process difficult. Nevertheless, there are ways that can make the NYC apartment purchase a bit easier than it seems. Before you get your hands into this, it is important to get as many tips on buying your first NYC apartment as possible.

What type of property are you thinking about buying?

Before you consult a real estate agent about buying your dream home, it is crucial to decide what type of property you wish to purchase. When it comes to buying your first NYC apartment, there are two main options in front of you:

  • buying a condo
  • buying a co-op

Purchasing a condo in NYC

Condos are the most common type of apartments you will find in NYC. After you make the purchase, you fully own the apartment. This option is what people almost always look for. Nevertheless, let’s check what is your second option.

Purchasing a co-op in NYC

Co-ops’ are corporate-owned buildings. If you purchase a co-op apartment, you do not own the actual space. Instead, you get a percentage of corporate stocks and a proprietary lease that gives you permission to use the unit. So, in reality, you are not the owner of the apartment, but a tenant or a shareholder.

One of the benefits of co-op apartments over condos is that, if any legal issue arises, landlord-tenant law is applied, which gives you more protection when compared to condo owners.

Downpayment and other requirements when buying a co-op

The average downpayment for a co-op is between 20% and 25% of the price. However, the range can vary anywhere from 10%, and up to 50%. This may seem like a lot of money to put in when buying an apartment. Besides this, you should also fulfill a liquid asset requirement, which means that you must have another sum of money left over after the purchase. Even here, the amount of money can range from a few months’ worths of monthly expenses to 3 times the price of the apartment.

This all depends on whether you are purchasing an apartment in a low-end or a high-end area. Additionally, your credit score must be impeccable.

What about the downpayment for a condo?

Condos are slowly catching up to co-op properties in terms of the price of the downpayment. Even though that was not the case before, everything changed in the past few years. Nevertheless, most of the condo properties do not have any financing minimums.

Furthermore, when getting a mortgage, banks usually require 20%.

Another thing to consider, both when buying a co-op or a condo, is that there is a common practice for securing against nonpayments. You are required to put a considerable amount of money in the escrow account as insurance.

Deciding between an old-style apartment or a modern development block

Besides choosing between a co-op or a condo, there is another decision you need to make. Looking from an architectural and service-wide point of view, you can find many different types of buildings in NYC. One of the best tips on buying your first NYC apartment I can give you is to carefully choose what type of building you want to live in.

A “white glove” vs “doorman” buildings

White glove buildings are also known as full-service buildings. While a doorman building will usually have a part-time super intendant, living in a full-service building looks more like staying in a 5-star hotel. You can enjoy the services of a resident manager, porters, or even concierge department and reception. However, you can also expect the number of staff to reflect your monthly expenses. On top of that, even though not a requirement, Holliday tips can range from $1500 to $2500 per year.

A modern building with reception.

Caption: More modern buildings in NYC have a higher level of service, but the expenses are also substantially higher.

Attended elevator and Elevator buildings

Attended elevator buildings are slowly going out of style, and it is quite rare to find one in NYC. They date to prewar time period, and that’s where you can find old-style elevators, manually operated by a doorman. In this type of buildings, you usually have one person who works both as a doorman and as an elevator operator. That’s why other services, like package acceptance, may be delayed if the doorman has to constantly go back and forth between ferrying passengers and doing his other duties.

On another hand, regular elevator buildings are quite popular in NYC. They range from 10 to 15 stories, and you have a live-in super and usually a part-time porter. Elevator buildings are a good balance between the price and the level of service. Finding a good balance of expenses is important, especially if you want to do some affordable home improvements after moving in.

Walk-up buildings

This type of buildings is smaller in size. There are 5 or 6 stories without an elevator. Almost all have the assistance of a part-time super, and owners are also required to do some chores around the building, like shoveling snow. The competition for apartments in this type of buildings is huge.

Moving to NYC

After finding the perfect apartment for you and your family, you can use the services of Manhattan Movers NYC to have a quick and safe relocation. Finding quality movers is as almost as important as finding a good and affordable apartment in NYC.

A few words of caution

To conclude this handy guide, I would like to give you a few safety tips on buying your first NYC apartment. First of all, carefully research the neighborhood you want to move in. Furthermore, since this will be a costly investment, do not allow yourself to spend more money than you can. If you bury yourself in large debts, it is not always certain that you will pull yourself out at the end. With that in mind, put everything on paper, set a budget, and make sure to always stick to it! Good luck with buying your first NYC apartment!

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By Cole Harris

Sawyer Cole Harris: Sawyer, a DIY enthusiast, shares home project tutorials, woodworking tips, and creative ways to personalize your space.