Can a non-American resident, employed by the United Nations, buy a coop property? Thanks.

Asked by Milo, New York, NY Fri Feb 8, 2013

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Aksel Altalef’s answer
Aksel Altalef, , New York, NY
Tue Feb 12, 2013
Hello Milo,

I represent a seller of a Co-op listing which was exclusively built for United Nations Personnel.

you can find more information about the listing here;,apartment-for-sale/descript…

also you can find more information about the Co-op village here:

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Hope this helps,

Aksel Altalef
Licensed Real Estate Agent
Urban Living New York
0 votes
Sebastian Ak…, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Feb 9, 2013
Hi Milo,

The Co-Op board provides a package wich is created by all members of the Co-Op. Every Co-Op differs slightly for this reason. Because your are a non-American diplomat, could mean that you will suffer in front of a Co-Op board. The reason is that some Co-Ops have strict regulations against international monetary funding. If you have your mind set on a Co-Op in New York City, make sure that your funds are here also. Also consult your broker in finding building that accept your case. Most new buildings today however are condo's where you have much more flexibility on financing and less rigorous regulations on owning real estate in New York City. Hope this helps and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
0 votes
Harolyn Mitc…, , New York, NY
Fri Feb 8, 2013
Hello Milo.

The simple answer is that yes it is possible for a foreign national to buy a co-op. However, as a real estate agent whose clientele is represented by a large number of foreign nationals, I would strongly urge you to consider buying in a condo building. If a co-op is your strong preference it will be important for your broker to present only the co-ops that suit your situation.

It would be easier to give you specific answers if the two of us could discuss your goals together. That will help us determine which type of property is right for you. For example, is this a short or long-term investment? Do you expect to live in the apartment, for how long? Do you hope to rent it to tenants? How much money if any are you considering putting down on the property?

In addition, as you probably know, the UN usually assists its employees obtain financing for real estate purchases. The grade of your post is one of the factors that would determine your eligibility. This brings to mind another question, what type of visa do you hold?

I have a multi-lingual team of real estate experts in place to guide you from the very first steps of the buying process to closing on your new home. I would be more than happy to chat with you to review all of your options. Please feel free to call or email me. My contact information follows.

Thank you.

Harolyn Mitchell | Sales Associate
Citi Habitats
Sales, Investments, Rentals
Cell: 646.820.7010
0 votes
Annette Levi…, , New York, NY
Fri Feb 8, 2013
You need to work with a Realtor that knows the co-ops. They will let you know which co-op Board will find you acceptable.
Good Luck.
0 votes
William McBu…, , New York, NY
Fri Feb 8, 2013
The answer to your question, Milo, is yes. Rather than generalize, I will describe a real case in point. I have a client for many years who is a non-US citizen (a citizen of another country paying the other country's personal income taxes directly to the UN, to help offset the cost of that country's membership in the UN) on the UN staff (not a diplomat), near retirement age, with a Green Card husband, and two children born in the U.S. They first bought a co-op apartment on the Lower East Side with help from a loan at the UN Credit Union which they paid off early and then opened a Home Equity Line Of Credit at a large US bank in an amount that was a large percentage of the appraised value of their apartment; they used part of the HELOC to buy a co-op apartment in Morningside Heights (I rented it out for them for a year plus renewals, before their oldest child moved in); they tried to buy a co-op apartment on the Upper East Side using the rest of the cash in the HELOC, but the board rejected them after the interview, even though they were fully qualified financially (I know because I did the Board Package); finally they used the HELOC balance to buy a co-op apartment in Tudor City from a "Holder of the Unsold Shares" (an investor who bought it from the Sponsor for renting it out, not for living in it) and they can rent it out after a 3 year wait (it is now occupied by their youngest child). You can see from this story that your goal can be reached but it is not easy. You need an experienced broker to represent you in this effort.

William J McBurney Jr
1st Prize REBNY Deal of the Year 2012
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
0 votes
Patrick Kelly, , 10022
Fri Feb 8, 2013
Yes, a huge part of the NY real estate market consists of foreign investors. Foreigners often purchase with cash to save on the New York mortgage tax, about 2% of the loan amount, or they can obtain a mortgage from a foreign bank which is also seen as an all cash deal. If you plan on using a US bank, you should open an account as soon as possible in order to establish credit. There are other tax implications to consider as a foreigner and for this you should consult an accountant.

You might want to consider purchasing a condo rather than a co-op. You will have greater difficulty trying to purchase a co-op apartment especially if you are a diplomat as your immunity may be an issue for the building's Board of Directors who must approve of your purchase. If you want to sublet (rent) your apartment out while you are overseas, most co-ops won't allow this. There are far fewer condos in NYC, but the restrictions are also fewer. Your real estate agent can explain this further to you.
0 votes
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York City, NY
Fri Feb 8, 2013
Hi Milo,

to answer your question, one would need to know if you intend to use this coop as your primary residence or a pied a terre. You mentioned that you are not a US resident, which means that you spend less than 180 days in the country, unless you meant that you work here full time on a work visa and do not have a permanent residency. If you are not going to use it as a primary residence, you would have to find a coop that allows pied a terre (buying as a second home). Also, if you would like to rent out the apartment later on, some coops have very limiting sublet policies(for example, have to use the apartment for 2 years and then can rent 2 out 5 years). However, some coops have more liberal rules and you have to look hard to find the right one. Coops also have a number of financial requirements post-closing - to have 2-3 years of mortgage and maintenance payments in liquid assets and debt + maintenance payments not to exceed 30% of income.

Another important question would be financing. If you intend to finance your purchase and are looking to get a loan in the US, as a non resident, you would have to put 40-50% down and expect a 3-4 month process. If you have a permanent job in the States, it may make things a little easier. I work with a mortgage broker who has loan programs for non-residents.

I would be happy to discuss all related issues and help you find the right place.
Elena Ravich
Rakita Realty
646 593 7207
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