Complete Home Buying Guide for Tribeca

The Holt Team February 13, 2023

Complete Home Buying Guide for Tribeca

Purchasing a home in Tribeca — or in New York City in general — is an arduous process. The cost of living is undeniably high, and many buyers are hesitant to go through the housing cooperative process. But the right strategies and knowledge can make it much less daunting. Summarized below is your Tribeca home-buying guide.

Types of housing in New York City

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Tribeca homes for sale come in several types, from condominiums to loft apartments to townhouses. When you purchase a condominium, you gain complete ownership of the apartment as well as some of the building's common areas like the fitness center. Condominiums are ideal for those who do not want to make a long-term investment, and owners can rent or sell the property as they see fit. However, they’re typically more expensive than co-ops, and based on the building’s amenities, owners may be required to pay common annual fees.

Co-ops, as opposed to condominiums, are a great option if you’re ready to make a long-term home investment. Owners of co-op buildings receive a share in the co-op association, while shareholders collectively own the building. Co-op boards, which are elected building members, have a large say in who gets to own what in their buildings. They also play an important role in determining whether you can rent your unit or make significant changes to the apartment. Work with your real estate agent to thoroughly prepare for the board interview that occurs before the purchase.

Co-ops in the city are also typically older buildings than condominiums, and some, such as the Dakota Apartments and San Remo on the Upper West Side, are owned by celebrities. They require a much more stringent application process.

Loft apartments — well-known for their big windows, flexibility, and high ceilings — are typically found in former industrial buildings that have been converted into living quarters. A majority of the original NYC lofts can be found in Tribeca, Williamsburg, and SoHo.

Fully detached homes are more difficult to find in Manhattan but they’re common in outer-borough neighborhoods. The Frick Collection is an example of the detached homes that were popular in Manhattan during the 20th century. They are usually larger and have more space than attached townhouses, as well as plenty of outdoor space.

Lastly, a townhouse, which is a three- or four-story building connected to other buildings on the block, can be a single-family home or have several apartments spread across its floors. They offer more privacy than apartments, and some have backyards and rooftop patios. Townhouses in many neighborhoods are also expensive, with prices ranging from 1 million to $88 million.

Consider your absolute must-haves

Now that you understand the options, separating your "must-haves" from "nice-to-haves" will help you decide which house features are most important so you can narrow down your search. As you view homes, your preferences may shift, so keep your list handy at all times and provide feedback to your real estate agent as needs change.

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Consider the following factors:

  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Neighborhood preferences (shopping, dining, entertainment)
  • Amenities (for example, a fitness center)
  • Nearby public transportation 
  • Nearby schools 
  • Outdoor space

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

If you obtain a mortgage preapproval letter before you begin looking for a new home, you will be able to make an immediate offer on the spot. Brokers and agents will typically require a preapproval letter from your lender before they begin scouting properties, and sellers will most likely favor an offer from a buyer who has all of the required paperwork ready. Preapproval demonstrates to sellers that you’re serious about making a purchase, boosting your chances of closing.

Based on your credit score and income, your lender can prepare a preapproval letter in less than an hour. Preapproval is preferable to prequalification because the latter only provides a range for how much you might qualify for a home loan, whereas the former provides a solid estimate, which brokers and sellers prefer.

Sellers, particularly co-op boards, are looking for sound financial records. The approval of your bank is critical, which can be obtained by keeping your finances in order. 

Calculate your down payment

When making a purchase, you and your real estate agent must consider the down payment. You will likely have to pay a higher interest rate and possibly other costs if you make a low down payment. A 20% down payment is the benchmark, and meeting that threshold will boost your chances of obtaining a loan and getting a lower interest rate. In New York City, a majority of co-ops will allow up to 80% financing (20% down payment). However, some can have stricter down payment requirements of 30% or higher.

The best time to buy a house

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While the most ideal time to buy in the rest of the country is in the summer, the best time to buy in the city is in the spring or fall. Spring is typically more competitive, but buyers have more options because new developments like co-ops and condominiums enter the market during this time. Buyers are more likely to get better deals in the fall because there is often a surplus of apartments on the market, causing sellers to lower their prices. The winter months may not be as ideal because there are fewer available listings on the market, meaning buyers are less likely to receive discounts.

Work with a real estate agent

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While you can purchase a house without a real estate agent, it is probably a good idea to hire one, given New York's highly competitive market. They are especially a must when buying a co-op building since they are familiar with all the requirements.They can also provide up-to-date information on Tribeca homes for sale.

The Living New York realtors are experts at identifying and securing only the best opportunities for their buyers. Serving Tribeca, the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side, they take great pride in providing excellent customer service and following through on their promises. Contact the Living New York Realty to guide you through your real estate journey.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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