Home Buying in New York>Question Details

Terrice, Home Buyer in New York, NY

Anyone would like to be my agent to buy an apt here in Manhattan under $150,000? Linked ref with HOA and tax fee are needed because I concern.

Asked by Terrice, New York, NY Thu Jan 26, 2012

I am an foreigner from Kong, looking for an vocation place in NYC, location is important, better not over street 120th street, size is not matter, prefer low tax and HOA fee. Could pay cash without any mortgage. I prefer agent could provide me listing, monthly HOA and tax fee of their suggestion.

Help the community by answering this question:


Terrice, the apartments you listed are the income restricted- primary residence only type of apartments I mentioned previously (not a vacation home). These are limited equity coops under the HDFC program- where you are expected to contribute sweat equity in exchange for an affordable home. Under this program, you would not qualify.

Before you brandy about the Greed label- you must first understand the market. A Co-op doesn't have separate HOA fees or taxes. A coop has the equivalent of HOA fees and taxes under the moniker of Maintenance. Maintenance might also include an underlying building mortgage. There is plenty of info out their on the differences of Condo's, Coop's and Condop's if you care to research.

Now an HDFC coop is a whole different category of building/program. These are buildings that were once owned by the city (often because of a tax lien on the original owner) and were often in significant disrepair. The city fixed the buildings up just enough to clear any violations or dangerous conditions- but were often not pretty fixes. Under this program the city sold the building to the renters for a minimal cost under the condition that the apartments would be their primary residence and sold to low or middle income buyers as well as other potential restrictions and perks.

In this case, I suspect there are significant issues in the building (perhaps financial) since they are requiring all cash. Whomever buys this apartment might have to make other significant investments into the building in the form of a special assessment...but that is just speculation on my part based on my experience.

If you want to get a better understanding of the HDFC program (and why I strongly suspect you will not qualify) - see the link I have posted. UHAB is the non-profit organization linked to the HDFC program.
Web Reference: http://www.uhab.org/about
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
Hi Terrice,

Thank you for the beautiful compliment. The agents are not blameless in this situation..and this is the exact reason why I post on these boards. I bought my condo in a northern neighborhood of Harlem, and I am currently helping two friends buy into HDFC buildings because they value my knowledge and experience over the agents.The vast majority of the agents will do anything to one up each other on getting their name out in print- but are typically poorly educated on their product. In a professional context, I create bespoke learning solutions for financial markets (my posts here aren't that far removed from my professional world) and I am helping turn things around in the derivatives regulation world.

Earlier I forgot to comment on the second listing you mentioned. There are likely 2 reasons why the realtors didn't get back to you. 1- it is a coop, and most coops only want people that are around all year long. 2. Units that are priced so low with low maintenance often go lightening fast (and if you click on the broker link to the brokers site- you will see that the deal closed...and they just didn't update Trulia). I realize this listing was posted for 180+ days- but closing on a co-op is a very slow process and 3 or more months to close is not unusual. Typically foreigners looking for a vacation apartment in NYC will be limited to Condo's due to the looser rules/restrictions. On the flip side, since Condo's do have looser restrictions they tend to be more expensive than a coop...typically by around 15% or so.

Buying in NYC is dramatically different than buying in Portland- and is easily the most difficult place to buy in the entire country. Don't even get me started on renovations...it's far more difficult and expensive to do here.
In order to be a buyer in NYC you really have understand the differences between Co-op's and Condo's. FYI Condo's in NYC do breakout the monthly costs like you are familiar with (i.e. HOA and tax), but a Coop has a different classification for this called Maintenance. Also worth noting, in NYC Condo HOA fees are called Common Charges.

Each HDFC operates differently and it's really difficult to answer your question generally. What I can answer generally is that most HDFC's operate using an income restricted model meaning that you can only earn up to a set percentage of the NY area median income (AMI) and is set by the number of people in the family. Typically that % is 80% or 120% of the AMI but could be 60% or 165%. Most of the HDFC's I have seen limit the income to 120% of the AMI..which is approximately $69,750 USD in 2012 for a single person...and goes up to approx $130,000 USD or so for a family size of 8 people.

Also important under the HDFC mandate- typically this will be your only residence. Often owning other properties will disqualify you from buying an HDFC apartment. Most HDFC's also have a sales restriction so that you have to give back a percentage of the sale to the city and the building. Some buildings ask for 70% of your profit on the sale. That said, it becomes obvious that buying an HDFC is not for most people and was intended for people of modest means.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
To adequately set your expectations- I am answering your question without any links (I am a Manhattan Condo owner above 125th St)

Since you are seeking a vacation place- you would need a condo or possibly a condop, as very few coops would allow this type of purchase (ignoring your budget for a moment). Apartments at your price range are nearly impossible to find in Manhattan (even above 120th street). There are some income restricted apartments at this price range...but these are intended for primary residence only. If you double your budget- you might have some luck...but I suspect even that would be a challenge and would be a very small apartment. Expect about $1-2 sq foot in HOA fees+ taxes (which are difficult to project). Lower Harlem still fits within your requirements- but even that is going to be $500-700/sq foot, and prime Manhattan below 96th Street is still trending above $1,000 sq foot.

So let's say you find a tiny 300 sq. foot studio at a $800/sq ft.= $240,000 purchase price, with monthly HOA fees of $450/month (assuming $1.50 sq foot). Taxes vary dramatically from building to building so a bit more difficult to assume...but I would factor in at least another few hundred dollars a month minimum.

I hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
Wow, the silence from Manhattan agents is deafening. I guess a $150K budget isn't going to work. Perhaps you would consider something off the island?
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
The truth is that the cost of owning a timeshare doesn’t just stop by paying the total purchase price. There are other timeshare fees that must be taken into consideration. By the time you pay the maintenance fees on your timeshare, plus the other fees and expenses, you’ll realize that you’ve paid as much, if not more, that the total cost to stay it a good and nice hotel
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2014
Hi Terrice,

From reading your posts, I am not sure if you are fully discouraged from using an agent or still open to it.
Semerun has given you all of the info you need to increase your product knowledge a bit higher on the delicate nature of buying here. I had been running around a lot after the start of the New Year and not really able to mind the Trulia board as much the last few weeks.

Should you need a more personal touch than this open forum provide, do reach out. I have found several options in my internal database for your review.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 29, 2012
Terrice, your budget may be limited for Manhattan's market but there are options if you are keen on living in a great neighborhood when you work or vacation in New York City. Have you considered buying a timeshare unit in the city? I know of a very few great listings in Midtown near Columbus Circle, Central Park, Lincoln Center ~ very lovely areas. There are several advantages to purchasing a timeshare property in New York City. Timeshare ownerships are ideal if you travel often to the city for business or vacation and desire an upscale atmosphere & amenities with the benefits and comforts of ownership. Depending on size of the apartment, prices start at $154k (studio) and go up. This is a perfect investment for someone who spends limited time in the city and does not need a full-time residence. New York City timeshare sales can be difficult to find. Here is where I can help. Please contact me for further information. I'd be happy to assist you in finding your vacation home in the most desirable neighborhoods in the city!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 29, 2012
Hi Semerun,
You are the best....!
I really appreciate that you spend time in explaining all those regulation and rules about purchasing a apt in NYC to me, it is a good lesson, which is a bit different to the apt I brought in Portland which tax and HOA fee are separated.
Too bad, you are not working as a agency, otherwise, I would definitely buy all my apt through you just because you show a lot of expertise and reply straight to what I ask. That is how I expect the agency would response.
If I could receive any response like yours earlier from any agency, and I would never label the agency with that a bad name. I just a bit disappointed that I emailed more than 20 emails to the agency and only one agency response, but what she reply is still not fully explained like you do.

I will read the link you refer, and pay more attention to the building significant issues if I decide to go further.
One more question about this - do you think if I could pay cash 100%, taking advantage of the building problem and I would able to buy the HDFC program apt easier?

Thanks Again.

All the best

Thanks again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
In fact, I already find two apt fit my requirement from this web site, MLS/ID:2094740, MLS/ID:565054, they are all under $150,000. However, I just need a agent to help me get more info like HOA, Tax fee, might be an arrangement of a visit, then I could complete the deal.
So far, no agent here is interested, I guess the reason here is - all the agencies here are looking for a 7-9 digit buyer, they don't care of this small budget buying. They don't even check on the info to see whether it is existed and give me a "NO" answer.
Now, I also realize why US is sinking because most of the people here are so greedy....!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
There aren't any apartments in Manhattan for under $150,000.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer