Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC Part 2 - Steps to Purchasing an Apartment

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate

This is a part of series of Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC: Part 2 we will explain the steps to purchase an apartment here in Manhattan. The steps to purchasing a co-op or a condominium in Manhattan are very similar. (Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC Part 1: basic knowledge of Condo vs. Coop vs. Condo-op)

Once you have found the property on which you would like to place an offer and that you have spoken to a bank or mortgage broker (if financing) to determine a comfortable financing price level.

  1. Offers are made orally in Manhattan New York. When you have found the right property, a bid or offer will be placed through us, the buyer's agent. We will convey your offer to either the seller's agent or to the seller directly.
  2. The seller may "counter" your offer. This will begin a negotiation process that will eventually lead to a "meeting of the minds," at which point price, terms, and closing date have been agreed upon.
  3. A Real Estate attorney is required in all property transactions in Manhattan New York. Contact an attorney familiar with real estate in Manhattan to represent you. The seller's attorney will begin preparation of a contract of sale, and during that time your attorney will begin to examine the financial condition of the building in which you wish to purchase. If you don't have an attorney, we can recommend you several experienced Real Estate attorneys that are familiar with Manhattan Real Estate market.
  4. After your attorney concludes that the financial condition is satisfactory, that the by-laws of the building are acceptable to you, and that the contract of sale is also acceptable, your attorney will allow you to sign the contract. At that time you will usually be required to present a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. The contract plus the deposit will then be forwarded to the seller for signature . This money will be held in the seller's attorney's escrow account until closing. It is important to note that until all parties have signed the contract, and it has been delivered, the seller can still entertain and accept other offers.
  5. If financing, you should move forward with your loan application. We can assist you in finding a mortgage broker or banker that will be able to find financing option for your financial picture . It is advised that you pre-qualify for a mortgage with a brokerage firm prior to beginning the search.
  6. At this point, you should be informed of board requirements and application materials. The application materials can be similar for a cooperative and condominium. However, the actual process is quite different. You will need to complete all of the required materials which typically include: an application, a financial statement signed by a CPA, all requisite support for your financial statement, three years of tax returns, bank statements, letters of personal and financial reference, letters of professional reference, the contract of sale, bank documents (if financing) indicating that your loan is in place, etc.
  7. When the board package is finished, it will be reviewed by both buyer's and seller's agents, and then, assuming it is complete, it will be forwarded to the managing agent for review. Upon determination that it is in order and that credit checks were acceptable, it will be forwarded to the Board of Directors. No applications will be accepted by a Managing Agent unless they are complete.
  8. In the case of a cooperative, if your application meets initial approval, you will be invited to be interviewed by the Board or by an interviewing committee. This is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. It should be treated as a business meeting.
  9. After approval by the Board, you are ready to begin planning for a closing.

In the case of a condominium, there is generally no formal interview. Your application will be reviewed, and if all required materials are included and in order, an approval is typically granted.
The entire process can move quickly in a condominium, and assuming a loan can be secured in a timely fashion, one can move from contract to closing in about 60 days. However, the cooperative process is more involved, and 60 to 90 plus days is not unusual.

Part 3 we will discuss about financing options for foreign buyers. Please visit us below to see other foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC related blog series:


We are Eileen Hsu and Morgan Evans, we are experienced and dedicated Real Estate agents. If you are a foreigner or out of towner that would like to invest in Manhattan New York, please call us today at (917)837-8869 to discuss your specific needs. We have years of working experiences faciliating international/oversea foreign buyers and out of towners finding the right Manhattan New York Real Estate investment. TO DISCUSS HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM WORKING WITH OUR TEAM. CONTACT US AT (646)644-6929 or (917)837-8869 Today! Email us at ehsu(@) or Morgan.Evans(@)


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Eileen Hsu 許雅嵐 (email: EHSU(@)

Our team specialize in Manhattan New York Condominiums, townhouses, and condops.

We are condominium residents ourselves so we understand the Manhattan New York condominium community. We also enjoy all Manhattan neighborhoods, especially Upper West Side, Lincoln Square, Midtown East, Murray Hill, Financial District, Chelsea, Fifth Avenue, Greenwich Village, Nolita and etc just to name a few. If you or you know someone that may be interested in selling, buying or leasing their Manhattan New York condo, call us today (917)837-8869 or (646)644-6929 and we can discuss your specific Real Estate goals.

Manhattan New York Condo Specialists or Chinese Speaking Real Estate Agent


Comments (5)

Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Good information for buyers. The board approval may take time as it depends on when they have their meeting so the move should not be planned till board meeting.

Apr 15, 2010 12:03 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

If I told you I choked on offers given orally, would you believe me? You sure have a different game of real estate where you're at.

That leaves me but no choice but to use Eileen Hsu when purchasing real estate in NYC. I won't have a clue on what to do to win the best chances of getting a great property in NYC.

Apr 15, 2010 12:41 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Hi Loreena, thanks for your compliment. We sometimes do it via email exchange as well for offers to make it 'more official'. :)

Apr 15, 2010 12:46 AM
Cherise Selley
Selley Group Real Estate, LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor

Eileen - Things are done differently here in Colorado Springs.  For instance, written agreements and no real estate attorneys.  Hope you have a good one.  Cherise

Apr 15, 2010 01:15 AM
Marcia Hawken
Naples Luxury Specialist

Eileen, It is always interesting to see how other areas do business.  A written contract must be presented in Florida. Verbal offers are presented but they are not valid.  Also, we have many disclosures that must accompany the offer such as a sellers disclosure, homeowners fees disclosures, and in the case of a condo, the buyer has three days to inspect condo docs , rules and regs etc in the case of resale and can walk for no reason if they see something they do not like. On new condos that rescission period is fifteen days. 

Thanks for the info on your area.

Apr 16, 2010 12:48 AM