Hope this helps
You are going to spend Minimum of 2 to 3 Mil on a home? One million dollars is a very big difference when choosing a property. Ronnie is correct when he said that Townhouses which are in good shape will be 5M and up. I had a couple that I was working with looking at townhouses and we have seen probably 7 of them under 5 mil, and every single one fo them needed work.
Can I ask why you are going to wait 2 or 3 years to make a purchase? As you know right now is one of the best times to buy something, you have no idea where the market will be in 2 or 3 years. Downtown area is one of the hottest areas in the city. If you are under the impression that in two years everything will be cheaper, you may be in for a disappointment. You did mention your projections, so I'm guessing that you aren't in the positon to make that large of a purchase at the present time?
Condo's will give you much less trouble when it comes to a cash sale, where as coops it will depend on the specific building and what their requirments are.
You also mentioned that you are in no hurry to purchase now until that perfect property comes along. 1 bedroom, dogs, downtown does not cost 2 or 3 Mil dollars, you are looking to spend MUCH less. Have you considered a loft apartment, you can have your one bedroom and a huge space to do what you please to it, otherwise you are looking at 2 to 3 bedroom apartments.
That perfect apartment for you may be sitting out there right now and waiting, but if you aren't ready to commit and put in an offer on it now, than we can safely rule that apartment out and pretend it isn't there.
Jose shoot me an email at work or give me a call, and I can send you the downtown market report, which will give you a better idea what 2 to 3 Mil can buy you.
The areas you indicated will likely have very strict co-op boards who indeed will want to see two years of liquid funds and thus likely frown upon a cash purchase. If you can find a small co-op (see a recent conversion), that is not too formal, perhaps it can work well for you.
The best bet for what you describe your needs to be, may be to do a co-op conversion with a few other investors. This will gie you the flexiblity you need to purchase something rock bottom, renovate, form your own co-op board and also see a return on your investment over ten years.
This is a lot to swallow in one question on Trulia, but EVERY real estate purchase in this city is a long term investment. If I read correctly and you are looking to spend 2-3M cash and have time for hte perfect place, you may need to think outside of the box.
Feel free to write me and perhaps we can put my ideas to work for your needs.