You’ve probably heard all kinds of stories about purchasing in a co-op in New York City, some of which are probably a little scary. Admittedly, the process can be quite intense. But if you’re looking for an apartment as your primary residence, you shouldn’t cut co-ops from your search wholesale. Here are some reasons why.
As of August 2017, the average price per square foot for a co-op in Manhattan was $1,102 versus $1,714 for a condo. For an 800 square foot apartment, that’s a total savings of more than $489,000!
Despite what you may have heard, qualifying financially for a co-op isn’t such a difficult process as long as you know ahead of time that you already meet certain criteria.
Having a debt to income ratio of no more than 25% plus 2 years of mortgage and maintenance in liquid assets after your down payment is often enough to get the green light from many co-ops. But some co-ops will permit you to do a lower down payment. And other buildings may only require post closing liquidity of 6 months of mortgage and maintenance (sometimes even maintenance alone).
Your agent can also help you pre-screen buildings so that you don’t end up trying to consider buildings where you wouldn’t meet the qualifications.
Many co-ops will allow you to rent your apartment out for at least 2 to 3 years after you’ve owned the apartment for at least 1 to 2 years. Unless you’re looking to have an investment property, this time frame is often sufficient for most owners in the event they need to sublet their apartment.
Although it is true that co-ops have a lot of power to restrict what kinds of changes you can make to your apartment, some can be quite open when it comes to the types of renovations you can do. For example, some are perfectly fine with the installation of in-unit washer/dryers (a highly desired apartment amenity) as long as they feel the existing plumbing will support it.
Co-ops can be fantastic places to live. If you have specific concerns, your agent can help you identify co-ops that could suit your needs.
Have more questions about co-ops? Feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to help!
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