Real Estate Guides

Real Estate Purchasing Timeline Guide

Your Real Estate Purchase Timeline

Purchasing your new home, particularly in New York City, can take a surprising amount of time. Below you’ll find a list of expected steps and the average length of time each one can take.

  • The Pre-Approval of Your Mortgage
    • It is vital to know what your affordable spending limit is, how much you will be expected to pay upfront and what you have to work with, financially.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-3 days.
    • Estimated Down-Payment Percentages: Condos – 10% down; Co-ops – 20% down.
    • General Availability Percentages (in NYC): Condos – 15%; Co-ops – 85%.
  • Locating Your Perfect Apartment
    • The timeframe for your apartment search will vary, based on the sort of property you are looking for, desired amenities, location, etc.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-9+ months.
    • Average Number of Viewings: 14-21 locations examined prior to final decision.
  • Negotiating the Details
    • Everything is negotiable. Inquire about floors and ceilings, walls and moldings, washers, dryers and other appliances, fixtures and working fireplaces, etc.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 3-21 days.
  • Finalization of the Contract
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-4 weeks.
    • The attorney for the seller draws up the initial contract of sale and forwards it to the attorney for the buyer.
    • The buyer's attorney performs ‘due diligence,’ which can include a review of all financial statements, relevant building documents, etc.
    • The buyer or buyers sign the contract and forward it, with the relevant deposit or down payment, to the sellers.
    • The seller or sellers then execute the contract.
    • A contract is only binding upon signature by both parties.
  • Application for Mortgage
    • Remember that without an executed contract, it is impossible to process your mortgage application.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-2 months.
    • A Letter of Commitment from an Approved Lender is required if the property in question is being financed. This letter is usually the final item that completes your condo application or board package.
  • Board Package or Application
    • Condominium applications are usually required before the closing is allowed to take place. This application is given to potential purchasers only after the execution of the final contract.
    • Co-ops demand an even more detailed application, often with stringent documentation requirements. It is not unusual for a co-op board to request full financial disclosure (complete with full, supporting documentation), employment history, multiple letters of recommendation (both personal and business), credit history, three or more years of tax return documents, etc, etc.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-3 months.
  • Application Review
    • The finalized Board Package/Application is forwarded to the building’s managing agent.
    • The managing agent ensures everything is in order, and then the package is given to the Board of Directors.
    • Upon reviewing the package, the board decides whether or not to meet and interview the potential purchaser.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-6 weeks.
  • Board Interview
    • Boards most often meet on a monthly basis.
    • Board meetings most often occur in the evening, and usually on a weeknight.
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-2 hours.
  • Board Approval
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-2 weeks after the interview.
    • Remember that a board interview is no guarantee of board approval.
  • Closing Finalization
    • Approximate Timeframe: 1-3 weeks after board approval.