Are you looking to buy an apartment in the Big Apple? If so, read on to learn the top ten tips for buying an apartment in New York City.
Over 8 million people live in New York City. The city stretches across 5 boroughs, is home to many different neighborhoods (Manhattan alone has 53), and has so much to offer!
New York City is where you’re always pushed to be your best self and learn more about the world around you. Whether you’re taking the subway or meeting friends from another neighborhood, you’re constantly being reminded just how great the Big Apple really is – and being invited to share your greatness with it, too.
But, it’s easier to find your place in the NYC community when you actually have a place to call home. It’s better to buy an apartment in New York City and start laying your roots than to constantly be moving from place to place.
You can’t just buy an apartment on a whim, though.
Here are the top ten tips you need to find the perfect NYC property.
1. Set a Budget
It’s no secret that living in New York is expensive. But, there are many places in the city that are a lot more affordable than you might think! It is possible to find a gorgeous apartment in SoHo or the West Village without spending your life’s savings on it.
Although some neighborhoods are definitely more expensive than others, it’s best to think of apartment shopping in NYC in terms of value. Determine the highest price you’re willing to pay for an apartment, then think about what you really want out of it.
Remember, this will be your home for the next 5-10 years. It’s an investment worth making if you find an apartment that has everything you’re looking for.
2. Apply for a Pre-approved Mortgage
Once you have an idea of how much you’re willing to pay for an apartment in New York City, think about what you’d like your monthly mortgage payment to be.
The first rule of mortgages is that the more money you put down, the less your mortgage will be. It’s good to think beyond this, though. You don’t want to just bank on putting a lot of money down only to end up with a high interest rate on your mortgage loan or a longer contract than you expected.
It’s better to sort everything out ahead of time and walk into buying negotiations fully prepared. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage gives you a clear idea of what your mortgage will be no matter where you end up. It also helps you move negotiations along with sellers as you’re placing offers on different properties.
3. Learn the Difference Between Condos & Co-ops
Speaking of different properties, keep in mind that apartments in New York City are not all made the same. Some are condos and others are co-ops.
Condos are the more “traditional” apartment complex. These are the buildings that are stocked with standard amenities like a gym, pool, spa, and some sort of building security. In New York, most condos also offer luxurious amenities like a cafe, concierge and chauffeur services, music rooms, and even bowling alleys!
There’s no telling what your future home may have to offer in a condo. In co-ops, though, things are a little different.
Co-ops tend to have fewer amenities and smaller square footage per apartment. However, they come at a lower price point, and, they’re managed in a very unique manner. When you purchase a co-op apartment, you own a share of the building and join the board of residents. This means you get more of a say in building decisions and operations than you would at a condo.
Each property style has its pros and cons. Take your time to consider each, and maybe even view a few condos and co-op spaces before moving forward with the buying process.
4. Know Your Boroughs and Neighborhoods
The five boroughs of New York City are Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Each one is basically a city of its own.
Many Big Apple residents tend to stay within their neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods most of the time. They live, work, and play within an area of a few city blocks, rarely venturing across a borough or into an entirely different one.
That’s the beauty of New York – everything you need is right in your backyard, and beyond that, there’s a whole new adventure waiting for you. But, you want to feel at home in your new apartment, which means having a connection to the neighborhood it’s in.
Take your time to get a feel for the surrounding area of a building you’re considering purchasing an apartment in. This will give you a good idea of just how much you’ll feel at home.
5. Prioritize Good Transportation
Although it’s ideal to spend most of your time in your NYC neighborhood, remember that you will be going outside your main city blocks from time to time. As such, it’s good to know what kind of subway lines and bus routes are close to your potential new apartment.
You don’t want to be changing trains all the time just to visit your family or go to your favorite restaurant that’s a little far away. If you travel frequently, a decent route to one of the local airports would be nice to have, too.
6. Identify What You Really Need
Transportation is just one of the things that can make or break your decision to buy a certain property in New York City. You have to consider everything from the building’s amenities (or lack of) to what you want in your own apartment.
Do you want an avenue view or are you okay with being on a lower floor? Are you an avid cook who needs a big, modern kitchen or would you rather have a large master bedroom?
Think of every detail from the kind of flooring you want to the amount of natural light that the apartment should have. Every single amenity in your apartment matters, and the last thing you want is to move in only to start doing renovations.
7. Get a Knowledgeable Realtor
It’s one thing for you to know what you want and another to know how to find it. You need an experienced New York City realtor if you want your buying process to go as smoothly as possible.
They will help you identify the best neighborhoods and buildings for you from the start. They’ll eliminate any guesswork from your property search and help you compare the value of each place you’re interested in.
More so, a realtor can help you understand how to best spend your money. They can find the hidden gems of the city and the lavish apartments, all for a great price.
8. Take Your Time While Searching
Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with the very first property you view. But, keep in mind that there are many more options out there! You want to have patience when property viewing if you’re really set on finding the best apartment.
It’s worth viewing a place you like multiple times and continuing your search for other places, too. You want to ask the seller’s realtor as many questions as you can and take the time to discuss things with your real estate agent as well. It sounds like a lot of back and forth, but it ensures you end up in the ideal place.
9. Don’t Bet on Finding a Deal
Part of the back and forth that happens when buying any property is setting a price. You may be tempted to throw out a number a lot lower than the asking price, or to start your search at a relatively low budget for the neighborhood you want to live in.
These aren’t impossible buying scenarios to succeed in. But, you are usually better off just trying to meet the seller’s asking price from the start. This moves negotiations along between the two of you and puts you in a better position to outbid other interested parties in a property.
In fact, sometimes it’s even advisable to bid a little higher than what a seller expects! That’s the best way to get their attention and raise your chances of having an accepted offer.
10. Think Long-term
The great thing about spending so much to buy an apartment in New York City is that it really puts more money back in your pocket in the long-run.
This can happen one of two ways.
The first is that you purchase a property now and stay in it for many, many years (i.e. 15+), but as time goes on the prices in your building rise. You end up saving by making a purchase now rather than waiting for later.
The second is that you decide to move out of the city or into a new apartment after 5-10 years (or more) of being in a certain place. If you invest in a good property now, you should be able to sell it for a higher price later!
Either way, you still have good chances of coming out on top – not to mention, all the time you want to enjoy the property you’re about to buy.
Find the Best Apartment in New York City for You!
As great as the tips above are, they can only get you so far when looking for an apartment in New York City. You still have to put in the work to get the best value for the best place.
It’s up to you to be practical when budgeting, searching, and putting offers together. You have to be patient with yourself and with sellers as you get closer and closer to closing a deal.
More so, you have to find a good realtor before you can even think about searching for the right property. Click here to contact the NYC real estate agent you need to meet.