If you are contemplating buying a new home, Carol E. Levy Real Estate’s following guide will provide you with an introduction into the exciting real estate market that is unique to New York City. Carol, and her husband Chris, are committed to offering their clients the highest level of expertise, knowledge and diligence. And, as a boutique firm, you can rest assured that you will receive unmatched personal attention, unlike the larger firms where clients are often lost in the flow and delegated to less experienced “team” assistants.

As members of the Real Estate Board of New York, they can access the same powerful network of listings throughout the city as the larger companies, and will conscientiously and selectively search for your dream home.

By following Carol’s basics outlined below, you will experience a successful journey and happy ending to your real estate search!


BUDGET EVALUATION: First, decide what down payment you feel comfortable spending; the customary deposit upon executing a contract of sale is 10% of the purchase price, and those funds should be available when you begin your search. When purchasing most co-ops, another 10% to 40% will be due at closing, depending upon the building’s financing requirements, and the remainder will be provided by your lender, unless you plan to purchase with all cash. If you choose to purchase a condo, sponsor apartment or single family townhouse that allows you to finance up to 90%, then the additional funds will not be required at closing, assuming your lender has agreed to a 90% loan. Obviously, the amount of liquid funds one has will determine what type of property is appropriate for their purchase.

Second, thoughtfully determine your appropriate total annual expenditures which should not exceed more than 35% – 40% of your reported gross income including all mortgage payments for both primary and other homes, and maintenance or common charges and taxes, utilities, parking, etc. Keep in mind that your total annual housing expenses, which include only mortgages and maintenances or common charges and taxes, should not exceed approximately 25% of your gross income when being evaluated by the Board of Directors of a building.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT: Prepare a net worth and income statement with the substantiating documentation including your latest bank statements, brokerage statements, tax returns, etc. Not only will most real estate brokers and sellers require this information to qualify your strength as a purchaser when making an offer, but your mortgage lender/broker will require the documentation, as well.

MORTGAGE BROKER/LENDER: After speaking to at least two or more recommended and experienced mortgage brokers/lenders, choose one that is not only quoting competitive rates, but one with whom you feel comfortable working. Your mortgage specialist will help clarify your buying/borrowing power based on your income, assets and credit history. If necessary, he or she will also assist in improving a weak credit score in order to obtain more attractive terms for the loan; disputed claims and outstanding debt that may be cleared up will help increase one’s score. Also, obtain a written pre-approval letter from your mortgage broker/bank that will not only allow you to enter the market with confidence as a pre-qualified buyer, but will also be necessary to provide when bidding on a home, particularly in the case of multiple bidders.

ACCOUNTANT: If a purchaser has a trusted relationship with their accountant, they might find it prudent and reassuring to consult with him or her regarding projected earnings, savings and expenses, in order to be certain that one is realistic in the evaluation of the home they can afford. Getting confirmation from an accountant in regards to an appropriate down payment and projected monthly expenditures will provide the peace of mind that one is following the correct financial boundaries in their hunt for a new home.

REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY: It is best to select a Manhattan real estate attorney who specializes in real estate prior to locating the property you plan to purchase. New York City has complex real estate laws, and therefore, attorneys are utilized to close all real estate transactions and should be available to move quickly in all aspects of the deal. If necessary, an experienced real estate broker can recommend qualified real estate attorneys.


REAL ESTATE BROKER: Choose a respected and experienced real estate broker who will make your search more successful and enjoyable, The vast majority of real estate firms share the same database of listings, and much of the information is unavailable to the public.

Therefore, talented agents, like Carol E. Levy and Chris Lipman, will diligently and tirelessly work to find the best properties that suit your needs as soon as they come on the market, and efficiently schedule appointments. You can rest assured that your expert broker will guide you to the right properties that not only fit your budget, financial picture and lifestyle, but also negotiate all aspects of the purchase, assist in procuring financing and prepare a board-worthy purchase application.

GUIDELINES: It is critical to know and share the specific guidelines of your purchase with your broker, which include your detailed financial profile, budget, preferred neighborhood(s), desired school district(s), type of building, building amenities, property amenities such as square footage, light, views, etc. The more information you are able to provide your broker, the more effective your broker will be in selectively searching and ultimately finding your dream home. For any unclear guidelines, a skilled agent will counsel and direct you to the best solution.

ACCESSIBILITY: Make yourself as a accessible as possible to your broker to view properties, as often the best homes are only available for an extremely short period of time before a contract is signed.


OFFER: After identifying the property you want to purchase, your broker will submit a verbal offer, in addition to submitting the offer in writing along with providing the necessary financial documentation.

CONTRACT: Once your offer is accepted, your attorney will review the contract and perform his or her due-diligence on the building including reviewing the building’s financials and board minutes. After receiving the “go-ahead” from your attorney, you will then sign the contract and give a 10% down payment, in the form of a personal check.

MORTGAGE: If you plan to finance, immediately apply for your mortgage and provide all the necessary financial information expeditiously. Your real estate broker will work with your mortgage broker/banker to coordinate the appraisal and provide the required information about the building, and the process may take about 20 to 45 days to complete.

BOARD PACKAGE: Your board package/purchase application must be taken extremely seriously. Follow your broker’s specific instructions and work in a timely fashion with him or her to compile a complete and strong application that is professionally presented and will pass the board with flying colors.

INTERVIEW: Upon review of your co-op board package, the board will usually schedule an interview to meet you within a few weeks of receiving the completed application. Again, you can rely on your real estate broker to prep you for a successful interview. Typically the board’s decision is conveyed to your real estate broker or you within 24 to 72 hours, however some boards take longer. When buying a condominium, no interviews are required, although purchase applications must be submitted; and for single family home purchases, neither an application or an interview are necessary.

INSPECTION: Once you receive the good news, your broker will schedule an inspection of the property a day or two before, or even the day of the closing, after the seller has vacated. Your agent will accompany you on the “walk-through” to ensure that all the appliances and fixtures are in working order, all personal property is removed and the home is in good condition and broom clean.

CLOSING: After you are notified of being approved, immediately contact your attorney to schedule the closing which typically takes place one or two weeks later. Your attorney will advise you about the necessary certified checks to bring to the closing, and remember to bring your driver’s license or passport and your checkbook for any last minute adjustments. At the conclusion of the closing you will be handed the keys to your new home…Congratulations!