Tag Archives: coops

What is it like to buy a co-op on the Upper Westside in NYC?

Co-op Board Process

In this post, we will discuss the Co-op Board process for a typical upper west side building on Manhattan’s upper west side. When you have already found an apartment and are in contract, you will begin two processes- your loan application and your co-op application. We will give an overview of the 2nd process.

You will prepare documents to submit to the Building’s management. This will include reference letters-both personal and professional as well as a financial statement with supporting documents, many disclosures, and even a landlord or management reference letter. Once you have prepared these documents, they will be uploaded to a portal or if the management is still in love with paper, you will be dealing with paper.

When you have everything prepared you can submit it to your real estate broker who will review it and help to present it in the best possible light. The seller’s broker as per protocol will review as well and make suggestions to your real estate broker.

In NYC co-ops, management will review the submitted package and then will request clarifications or missing documents. This process of management review for a co-op will likely take about 2 weeks depending on the building. Then it goest to the Board of Directors.

On the Upper West Side, it depends on the building as to what will be evaluated by the Board. Is the building a small, non-doorman building or a historic, architecturally significant residence on Central Park West? Some buildings will be flexible with the usual guidelines and some will be more rigid. Speak to your Broker prior to submitting an offer to understand the guidelines. In general, Boards in cooperatives would like to see 20-25% down payment, 28% Debt to income ratio, and 2 years of post-closing reserves. Long term debt like cars or student loans will be factored in. If your monthly mortgage and maintenance is projected to be $5000 then showing $120,000 in your Chase account after allocating your down payment will be ideal.

Advanced tips
Pay off your credit card debt
If you are short on Post-closing reserves, ask Mom or Dad for a gift to cover those reserves. You can return the money after closing.
Reference letters should be from people that know you very well and should speak about how they know you and why you would be an ideal addition to your prospective co-op
Get your Board application in as soon as possible especially if you are trying to move by a certain time as in when your NYC lease expires.

Hopefully, the Board will then ask you to come in for an interview. In most cases, you are probably on your way to becoming a shareholder. But still treat it like a professional interview and do not offer more information than you are asked.
In the case where you are turned down, unfortunately, there is not too much you can do but little known fact, you can re-submit your application especially if you can get some intel as to why the rejection.

Buying an Upper West Side cooperatives can be a challenge especially when inventory is low, but putting together a good Co-op Board application can really help you to increase your odds of approval. Be patient with the process and you will make it through.

About the Author
Brian Silvestry is a licensed real estate broker on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He has been licensed since 1999 and lives on the Upper West side since 2004.

Thinking of selling your Manhattan property-Should you paint?

If you are going to be selling your Manhattan property and it’s been a number of years since you painted, and/or you had chosen a dark color, a paint job can really help to spruce things up. Choosing a light color like a designer white can help to brighten up a room or rooms and help to bring out the spaciousness of your offering. If you live in a building, it might be more frugal to have one of the handymen or super do it on his off time. But you will probably see a more favorable reaction from potential buyers with a fresh coat of paint.

Should you stage your apartment?

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Current Manhattan residential market conditions

As days on the market increases for most residential real estate, the consensus is that the Manhattan residential market is in buyer’s market. New realities are setting in for sellers and not just in the luxury market but in all price ranges including starter homes. In 19 years of selling residential real estate, I have seen this cycle a few times already. The last time through, the market forces were accelerated by the financial crisis. This time around perhaps the winds behind the sails may be the tech bubble as well as the Tax Reforms and Jobs Act and rising interest rates.

But in any case, a buyer’s market tends to not last too long so while some buyers are waiting it out and deciding to rent instead, now maybe the time to make that purchase, knowing that finding the absolute perfect time to buy may be like trying to catch the bottom of the stock market. One thing is for sure is that with a little patience and good negotiation, a purchase now can lead to serious appreciation once the buyer’s market turns again into a seller’s market.

Also I think understanding that the Manhattan property values are not decreasing across all asset classes. Townhouses in Harlem continue to see steady sales and modest appreciation. Also, try finding a 6-12 family property for sale uptown with upside potential. There is very little for sale. In these markets both investors and end users are pouring in and there is a lack of inventory. Recently, I had a 8 family for sale at 313 W 138th street and there was a high level of interest and the property went to contract at over asking price within 1 month of listing.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Is a renovation necessary to sell your Manhattan property?

Many times, prospective sellers ask if a full or partial renovation will help them to sell their Manhattan apartment? It really depends on several factors.

1-What is the competition like at your price point,neighborhood and building?

2-What is the age of your kitchen, bathrooms and flooring.

3-How long will the renovation take?

4- How much will the reno cost?

5- What is your current market value completely as is?

Let’s look at each one by one.

Competition- If there are several properties for sale that are similar to yours and many of them are renovated, you might have no choice but to do some work in your Manhattan pad before selling. However, if there is a shortage as can be the case for 2 bedroom/2 baths under $2 million for example,  the prospective buyer probably will be willing to do the work themselves.

Age of kitchens and bathrooms. If it’s been 30 or more years since the last renovation, you probably will benefit by doing the renovation. If it’s only been about 10 years then the answer is not as clear. Talk to your real estate broker to get an idea of how the apartment will be perceived by a prospective buyer given the age of the renovations.

Length of time for renovation to be completed-If it’s going to be a one year process due to building approval and contractor availability, it might be wise to forego it or scale it down a bit so that it can be completed in less time. Also, timing is an issue here. If the renovation completion date puts you right in the middle of the December holiday season, it might not be the best time to start marketing.

Cost of renovation- If you decide to complete a 6 figure renovation, it might or might not lead to a dollar for dollar return. It most cases it does not. For example if you have a studio apartment of 600 square feet with a value of around $800,000, a renovation of the kitchen, bathroom and flooring of around $50,000 may return dollar for dollar and also lead to a quicker sale. However, a $100,000 reno on the same apartment probably will lead to a quicker sale but not return dollar for dollar.

Sell as is? When you sell as is, you do not complete any renovation and just sell what you have. What you see is what you get and in some cases this might even be the best strategy depending on the above factors and your personal situation. Consult with your real estate broker.  Normally, they can recommend a good contractor to do work if that is needed as well as advise you as to what will yield a return and what will not.

If you examine your current market value as is, then you can see if it makes sense to do a renovation, knowing the cost and time involved. For example if the current market value is $2,500,000 and you want to do a $500,000 renovation that will lead to a $3 million sale, it obviously does not make sense. But also consider the time of the year now, market conditions and the time of the year when the renovation has been completed. The purpose of any renovation, large or small prior to selling your Manhattan property is to widen the buyer pool, and make it easier to sell and this has to lead to at least a dollar for dollar return, otherwise save your money and sell as is.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.


Differences between a Manhattan co-op and condo Part 1

There are many differences between a Manhattan co-op and condominium and in this first installment we will explore 2 of them.

1- Co-ops can turn down the application of a prospective purchaser without any reason given and that’s it, the buyer can not complete the purchase.  Any fees or costs incurred are not reimbursed and that’s it. A condo grants a waiver of the right of first refusal when they take an application from a prospective purchaser. The only time that they may exercise the right of first refusal is when an apartment is being sold far below market. Instead of letting the sale go forward, they can purchase the apartment.

2- Co-ops more closely scrutinize the financial wherewithal of prospective buyers than condos. So you need to have a down payment of 20-25% plus a debt to income ratio of no more than 28% plus stable job history, and excellent credit. A condo may run credit but they are satisfied with you obtaining a loan commitment or purchasing cash. They are not going to turn you down because you do not make enough money.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

First time buyer in Manhattan?

Here are some basic steps in purchasing a Manhattan apartment for the first time.

1- Decide on a Manhattan neighborhood

2- Get a pre approval

3- Co-op or condo?

3- Find a buyer broker

Also I would add to choose your real estate attorney well. Usually your buyer broker can help you with that. A real estate attorney usually chages around $2500 or so but some that do excellent work can be found for as little as $1700 depending on the price range of the property.

Additionally, beyond getting the pre approval make sure that the bank will finance in the building that you choose. Some buildings have sponsors that still own more than 10% of the shares(co-ops) or the apartments(condos) or a higher than usual percentage of tenants. This can complicate financing and is an area very often overlooked by many real estate brokers. This as a buyer can cost you time and money and add stress. So vet the building with your lender to avoid all of that! What are your tips for a first time buyer?

Thinking of buying a NYC co-op? Read this first

For many first time buyers of NYC co-ops, it can be an education to really understand what it means to buy as well as live in a NYC co-op. Here are some examples of differences between a co-op and condos which are closer to what most buyers are familiar.

1- Co-ops limit financing typically to 80% of the value of the property. So if you purcharse a co-op for $1million you can normally finance only $800k. Some co-ops will allow even less financing or no financing at all as is the case on some select buildings on Fifth avenue on Manhattan’s upper east side. Condos in some cases will allow as much as 90% loan to value. So a $1million condo can be purchased in some cases with as little as $100k down.

Continue reading Thinking of buying a NYC co-op? Read this first

New York City property owners brace for higher taxes in 2015

Due to the robust real estate market, values have increased in the last year and as a result, New York City is raising the property taxes on all types of property. The largest increase will be weathered by Coop and condo owners who are taxed at a different rate.  Continue reading New York City property owners brace for higher taxes in 2015

126 Riverside drive apt 1C New York,NY 10024 Market preview

This 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom cooperative offering will be coming to the market shortly. It has been undergoing a renovation for the last several months so I thought you might like to see some pictures. Let’s start with the before pictures of the apartment and in another post, I will walk you through the after pictures.

This apartment is directly across from Riverside Park which you can see from the lovely common roof deck.