It's THE market for Manhattan home buyers. So it's important to understand your buying power.
Your buying power means you can negotiate a good deal. It is also important to understand that while this is a buyer's market, there are no fire sales - meaning you won't get a $1M property for $500,000.
Be realistic. Manhattan sellers are not in the position of those in Florida, California or Nevada.
Additionally, just because it is a buyer's market, it doesn't mean that the down payments of the "bubble" days will be the same.
In the bubble days you could put down 10% on a condo in Manhattan and anywhere from 15% and higher on a coop.
Today, your down payment is generally higher due to mortgage rates and the economy and will determine whether you can purchase a condo or coop. Some buildings require that you put 30% - 50% down and could even insist that you pay all cash.
Also important - where is your down payment coming from? Is the money all of your income and assets, are your parents or someone else helping you with the down payment, is it a gift or inheritance? Some buildings do not allow co-purchasers, gifting or guarantors. And what is your debt to income ratio?
So, it's critical that you know and understand your complete financial profile. Just because you have money, does not necessarily mean you will satisfy the rules of a coop.
Discuss your finances with your broker/agent before you go apartment hunting. This will help your broker to determine what types of homes you should be seeing and for what price. At the end of the day you will be happier. Your agent won't waste your time and you won't be frustrated about the type of property you cannot afford.
Once you've determined what you can afford to spend, it's time to think about where you will get your mortgage from. Mortgage Broker or Bank?
Working with a Mortgage Broker gives you more options. They have various financial institutions they work with and can research the best products which you will qualify for. Mortgage Bankers have relationships with various banks. So by working with a good Mortgage Broker, they can find creative ways to satisfy the bank's requirements if there are a few areas where you don't necessarily qualify.
When working with a Bank, your only option is the loan officer who cannot offer you a variety of products. And - they can change the requirements on your mortgage commitment at anytime. That could mean a new bank offers new rates which might not be a good fit for you.
In today's economy it is imperative to work with someone who has experience. Whoever you choose to work with, be sure it's someone who explains everything to you and who can meet your needs and goals.