The steps to purchasing a co-op or a condominium in Manhattan are very similar. Let us assume that you have found a property and you would like to make an offer. If you are financing, you should have spoken to a mortgage broker or bank ahead of time to prequalify for a mortgage.

  1. Offers are made orally in New York City. When you have found the right property, a bid or offer will be placed through your agent. They will convey your offer to either the seller’s agent or to the seller directly.
  2. The seller will often “counter” your offer. This will begin a negotiation process that will eventually lead to a “meeting of the minds,” at which point price, terms, and closing date have been agreed upon.
  3. Your real estate attorney will begin to examine the financial condition of the building in which you wish to purchase, while the seller’s attorney will begin preparation of a contract of sale.
  4. After your attorney concludes that the financial condition, by-laws and board minutes of the building are satisfactory and that the contract of sale is also acceptable, your attorney will advise you to sign the contract. At that time you will usually be required to present a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. The contract will then be forwarded to the seller for their signature along with the deposit. This money will be held in escrow by the the seller’s attorney until closing. It is important to note that until all parties have signed the contract, and it has been delivered, the seller can still entertain and accept other offers.
  5. If financing, you should move forward with your loan application.
  6. At this point , you should have received board requirements and application materials from your real estate agent. The application materials can be similar for a cooperative or a condominium. However, the actual process is quite different. It is necessary to complete the required documentation which typically includes:
    • An application
    • A financial statement
    • The requisite support for your financial statement (two years of tax returns, bank statements, letters of personal and financial reference, letters of professional reference, the contract of sale, bank documents (if financing) indicating that your loan is in place, etc.)
  7. When your “package” is complete, it will be reviewed by your real estate broker, and then, assuming it is accurate, it will be forwarded to the Managing Agent for review. Upon determination that it is in order and that credit checks were found to be acceptable, it will be forwarded to the Board of Directors. No applications will be accepted by a Managing Agent unless they are complete. The approval process can take approximately 3 to 8 weeks after submission of the “board package”. Typically, the entire process moves more quickly when purchasing a condominium.
  8. In the case of a cooperative, if your application meets initial approval, you will be invited to be interviewed by the Board or by an interviewing committee.
  9. In the case of a condominium, there is generally no formal interview. Your application will be reviewed, and if all required materials are included and in order, an approval is typically granted.
  10. After approval by the Board, you are ready to schedule your closing!

Assuming a loan can be secured in a timely fashion, one can move from contract to closing on a condominium in about 60 days. However, the cooperative process is more involved, and 60 to 90 plus days is not unusual.