The timing will vary depending on the following factors:
If you are financing your purchase - it takes about 30+ days to get a commitment letter and several weeks after that to get a clearance to close;
if you are buying a coop (80% of all properties in Manhattan are coops) - allow 30-60 days for the board application, interview and approval; more and more condo buildings also require a board approval that takes about the same time;
when buying a house or a no board approval unit for cash, the closing can happen in 2 weeks.
You should be prepared to move on with an offer quickly (get a bank pre-approval in advance), when you see something good. With the current lowest supply of available properties on the market in 30 years, good listings move very fast.
There's a lot of steps and is a long process to buy a home in NYC. I highly recommend you work with an agent exclusively. Feel free to contact me with further questions.
To be specific to your original question, the how far in advance is up to you and your needs. Perhaps you're trying to go from rental to ownership seamlessly and you're trying to time ownership with the lease. that might be difficult as things do crop up. Bottom line, when do you want to be in your new property? Good luck.
There are so many things in your personal live that can be factors, that's almost impossible for anyone to answer this question, so the earliest you get started the better off you'll be! Do you have a lease on your rental now? are you living with family and pressed for time as to when you must find a new place? Do you need more time to save up for down payment? etc.
If you're in need of a Loan Officer, I am always available to meet face-to-face in our NYC offices. Good luck!
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Senior Loan Officer
STERLING NATIONAL BANK
310 Crossways Park Drive
Woodbury, NY 11797
It's really hard for anyone to answer that question because it depends on your personal circumstances as to exactly what you are looking for. There is so little inventory right now, well priced homes barely remain available on the market after a couple of weeks. However, you can go to open houses to get idea of prices, homes styles and locations that you may like, As far as actively working with a realtor, I would say do that when you are mortgage eligible and ready.
Janet Nation, CBR
Sailing Home Realty
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Between the accepted offer and the closing, you should plan 3 months if you take a loan or 2 if you pay all cash.
If you start to look today it can take between 1 and 12 months to find your dream apartment as the inventory is low.
Please contact me at email@example.com and I will answer to all your questions.
Douglas Elliman Real estate
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
There is no clear cut answer.
Currently there is so little inventory on the market that it may take you a little longer to find the home you love.
Once you have found the home you love and you have obtained financing and you get all the necessary information to your broker for the board package in a timely manner (you shoud definitely use an experienced buyer's broker), the contract is fully executed by both parties in a timely manner,
and there are no glitches ... generally you can close on an apartment within two months of signing your contract and being approved by the board.
That said, not every deal is the same. Some deals can take longer. Cash deals move faster.
I hope that helps. If I can be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Member of Real Estate Board of New York
770 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor New York, NY 10065