How far in advance should you begin the home buying process in NYC?

Asked by NYCBrowser, Brooklyn, NY Thu Apr 11, 2013

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Elena Ravich, Esq.’s answer
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York City, NY
Fri Apr 12, 2013
in general you would need 60 - 90 days to close plus time to find the right place, negotiate an offer and sign a contract. I would recommend to start looking 3-6 month in advance to your desired move in date.

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.
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Parish Pradh…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
You should only start viewing homes once you have a pre-approval letter from the bank. It may take you a day or 6 months to find the right apt. But once the contracts are out, it could take 1-4 months to close for a condo and 3-6 months for a coop, if financing for both. So, depending on when you have to move in by, I would time myself. If the apt is vacant, don't expect to close within a week or don't request to close 12 months from day of offer. Cash deals usually close much faster. I closed an all cash deal in a condo building in 9 business days last August.

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.

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Joseph Hasti…, Agent, Bayside, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
Your question makes this your start in the process. I might also think you've been browzing property online. So now that you've started, the next step is talking with a mortgage professional. You need to know what you can afford and based on several factors, your mortgage pro will give you that answer. You'll ultimately need your letter of pre-qualification, a recent credit check with a FICO number and a financial disclosure sheet stating your liquid assets and other monies in the Bank. Now that you have that taken care of, it's time to talk with a few brokers, find someone you're comfortable with and view some property.

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.
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
Depends, each individual is unique; therefore begin whenever you know you are ready and need to buy.....
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Javier Menes…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Melville, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
I say the earliest you start the better, regardless of where you're thinking of buying. If you're financing, by meeting with a Loan Officer now and getting your finances in order, allows you to now make other decisions that will impact the areas where you'll shop for, type and size of houses or condos you can consider, etc. There are several things that you as a buyer need to determine and it all starts with financing.

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!

If my response was helpful, consider clicking BEST ANSWER!

Javier Meneses
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #23130
310 Crossways Park Drive
Woodbury, NY 11797
(516) 606-9648
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Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
Hello NYCBrowser,

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
Direct: 646-321-9649
Office: 516-377-4760
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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Joelle Larro…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
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 and I will answer to all your questions.
Joelle Larroche
Douglas Elliman Real estate
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Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
Hi, It really depends on your time frame, the amount of inventory available, price range and your expectations. I would get yourself pre approved (if you are truly committed to buying now) and consult with an agent so you can see what your money will buy you.

Christopher Pagli
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
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Ross Ellis, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Apr 11, 2013
Dear NYC Browser,

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.

Ross Ellis
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Member of Real Estate Board of New York
212.317.7828 direct
770 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor New York, NY 10065
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