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International Buying in New York

Congratulations! You want to live in New York and buy an apartment! Knowing the process will make it easier for you. Follow these steps to achieve success in buying your New York home.

1. Hire an agent

Find the professional, licensed real estate agent you want to work with. Your agent will help you search for the type of home you want in the neighborhood you want, negotiate the price and guide and monitor the buying process. In New York all agents have access to every listing – it is a shared listing platform. Your agent can show you every apartment available.

2. Understand the timeline

Buying a home in New York can take 30-90 days from the time you make an offer until the time you close on the property and own it, so plan carefully:

*Prepare the offer: 1 day

*Negotiate the offer and have it be accepted by the seller: 2-5 days

*Contract preparation and contract review/Due diligence, loan application and property appraisal, loan approval and preparation of commitment letter/Signing contract with escrow deposit: 1-2 weeks

*Preparation of condo application or Co-op board package and interview: 2-4 weeks

*Bank and attorney preparation for closing: 1-2 weeks

*Final walk-through of the property: 1 hour, day of closing

*Actual closing on the property: 3 hours

3. Financing

The real estate market in New York moves very quickly and often apartments are put on the market and taken off with an accepted offer the same day. If you need financing, speak to a mortgage broker (your agent can recommend one) who will work with you to arrange for mortgage pre-approval before you find the home you wish to buy. American banks usually do not provide mortgage loans to internationals with little or no credit history in the U.S. so it may be easier to obtain a mortgage from a French bank. When you submit an offer, you will need to supply either a pre-approval letter for financing or bank account information if you are paying cash.

When you sign the contract you will need to give the seller’s attorney a deposit, usually 20% of the purchase price in Manhattan and 10-20% in the other boroughs, which is held in escrow until the closing. The deposit is the commitment that you actually plan to buy the property so make sure the money is available in an American bank.

Signing the contract is separate from closing on the property. The deposit is needed at the contract signing and the rest of the money – either in cash or by bank mortgage – is due at the closing.

4. Lawyers

Once you find the apartment you want to call home and your agent has negotiated an offer which has been accepted, an attorney is needed. Your agent can recommend an experienced attorney to you.

In New York State you must have an attorney to purchase a home. The attorney will write the contract listing the price, the date the contract will be signed and the date the property will be closed on (when all the papers are signed, the monies have been paid and the home is yours), as well as any other relevant issues.

At the closing it is the attorney’s job to make sure that the paperwork and financing is handled correctly. Your attorney can represent you if you are not able to attend your closing.

5. Closing costs

There are various closing costs associated with the purchase of a home which include legal fees, and federal, state and city taxes. Your agent and attorney will advise you of these fees.

6. Board Process

In between signing and closing there is board process. The board process is for the building be assured that you are able to pay and upkeep the apartment. They will request financial, employment documentation and mortgage, which your agent will help you to prepare. Once you obtain approval you can proceed with the closing.

7. Enjoy your new home

Once you have chosen your new home and succeeded in purchasing it, enjoy it! You now have a home in the Big Apple, a remarkable, exciting city! Welcome!

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