Level Group

211 East 43rd Street, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Phone 212.994.9965
Fax 212.994.9967
Email [email protected]
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Buyer's Guide

Buyer’s Timeline  -  Plan Out the Steps of Your Search
It is critical to understand the necessary steps of your property search. While timing can vary greatly from one buyer to the next, your plans should allow for approximately 3 to 7 months from start to finish. The steps are listed here in summary – scroll down for more detailed information.
Typical Range of Time Required
1. Seek pre-approval for a mortgage
1 – 2 days
2. Property search
3 – 6 months
3. Negotiate the terms & sign the contract
1 – 3 weeks after accepted offer
4. Apply for mortgage & receive commitment
4 – 9 weeks
5. Complete board package or condo app.
3 – 9 weeks to complete
6. Submit package to managing agent
1 – 4 weeks to review
7. Co-op board interview
1 hour
7. Receive approval from the board
1 day – 1 week after interview
9. Schedule a closing
1 – 2 weeks after approval
10. Closing
1 – 5 hours
Entire Search and Purchase Process
3 – 7 months
Buyer’s Timeline -  Event Details
  1. Seek pre-approval for a mortgage
    Typical time frame: 1 – 2 days  - 
    This step is critical in determining how much you can afford to spend.  Condos typically require at least 10% down. Co-ops apartments will vary greatly from building to building but generally require at least 25% down and sometimes as much as 50% down! Contact a bank or mortgage broker to get pre-approved. Pre-approved buyers are often taken more seriously in the buying process. Your agent can offer suggestions about who to contact to get pre-approved.

  2. Property search
    Typical time frame:  3 – 6 months  - 
    This factor is the one that will vary the most among different buyers. Please consult our “Important Points” list above to help you make the critical decisions that will narrow the focus of your search. The average person might see 10 to 20 apartments before finding the perfect one. Your sense of the market and what you will get for your money will improve greatly as you see each new property. It makes sense to use the internet to narrow your search as well as to communicate your needs to your broker. A good agent will be essential in giving you the greatest number of options and limiting the time it takes to find the right property.
  1. Negotiate the purchase terms & sign the contract
    Typical time frame:  1 – 3 weeks after an offer is accepted  - 
    Understand that when buying property, EVERYTHING is negotiable. Both the buyer and seller will each be represented by a New York City real estate attorney.  The seller's attorney draws up the contract and the buyer's attorney will review it, make comments, and perform other due diligence such as reading board minutes, reviewing building financials, etc.  Generally, the buyer will sign the contract first and forward it with a 10% deposit. A contract is binding only after BOTH parties sign it.
  1. Apply for a mortgage and receive a lender commitment
    Typical time frame:  4 – 9 weeks  - 
    This process should be started as soon as you have an executed contract. Mortgage applications cannot be processed without an executed contract.  If an apartment is being financed, the board will require a commitment letter from a lender. These letters are generally the last items to complete for a board package or condo application.
  1. Complete the board package or condo application
    Typical time frame:  3 – 9 weeks  - 
    Co-op buildings require board approval before a closing can take place. Condos require a similar process and request certain information from potential buyers. In order to review a potential purchaser, the Board of Directors for a Co-op demand extensive information in the form of a Board Package.  The buyer’s agent is generally responsible for assembling this package, often with the assistance of the seller’s agent who may be most familiar with the board requirements. Most Boards request at least  the following information: 
    • full financial disclosure (net worth) with supporting documentation
    • employment history
    • current salary
    • personal and professional references
    • tax returns for the previous 3 years
    • full credit history
    • other requirements that vary depending on the Board
Condo applications are generally not as extensive as co-op board packages but still take a lot of time to assemble. Board packages and condo applications are given to potential purchasers to fill out after a contract has been executed.
  1. Submit the board package or condo application to the managing agent
    Typical time frame: 1 – 4 weeks to review  - 
    After completion of the Board package, it will be forwarded to the managing agent of the building. The managing agent will inspect the package to ensure it is complete. The package will then be forwarded to the Co-op’s Board of Directors. After the Board reviews the package, they will decide if they would like to meet the potential purchaser for an interview. Alternatively, the Board may reject the applicant based on the information disclosed in the Board Package.
  1. Co-op board interview
    Typical time frame: about 1 hour  - 
    Co-op Boards typically meet once a month, although some do not meet in August. Every Board is different, but generally meetings will be held on weeknight evenings.  Although a board interview may be granted, there are no guarantees of board approval.
  1. Receive approval from the board
    Typical time frame: 1 day – 1 week after board interview --
    The managing agent will generally alert the seller's broker whether a potential purchaser has passed the board.
  1. Schedule a closing
    Typical time frame: 1 – 2 weeks after board approval --
    Managing agents generally set the date for closings, and lawyers for sellers and buyers coordinate with the appropriate banks on available dates and times. At some point prior to closing, you will schedule a walk through the property to make sure it is vacant and in the expected condition.
  1. Closing
    Typical time frame: 1 – 5 hours --
    The day of the closing is an exciting but sometime stressful day. Some closings are very smooth and others hit a snag or two along the way. Prepare to sign your name many times to lots of different documents! At the end of this final meeting, the keys are yours!

The typical time frame from start to finish is somewhere between 3 and 7 months, with the biggest variable being the time it takes to actually find your property. Make sure that you allow enough time for your search around any major life plans such as school and job starting dates.