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6 Things First-Time NYC Homebuyers Need to Know

There are tough decisions to be made when shopping real estate in the city. But choosing union-built construction is an easy one.


From how to finance to whether to go with condo or co-op, there are many important decisions to make along the real estate shopping path. One often overlooked issue is who built the building. 

Purchasing your first home in New York City is an exciting, yet daunting experience. It can be hard to know if you are taking all the right steps and making a smart decision. Here are seven key pieces of advice that  every NYC homebuyer should keep in mind in order to maximize their chances of success in the competitive NYC market.


Know Your Budget, And Then Add Some More 

NYC's real estate is often far pricier than the national average. When planning your budget, remember to factor in not only the purchase price but also HOAs and monthly maintenance fees. Opting for a union-built property, constructed by the most highly trained and skilled workers, is the surest way to minimize unexpected maintenance costs and avoid expensive headaches in the long run.


Know Who Built Your Building

It’s essential to understand who built your potential new home. When you purchase real estate in a non-union-built building, you could be at an increased risk of issues that will turn your new investment into a money pit. This is because non-union contractors are more likely to cut corners, skimp on materials, and employ untrained labor in order to boost their profit margins. Be sure to ask your real estate agent to show you union built construction. 


Residents who have purchased space in the supposedly luxury condo at 11 Greene Street in Manhattan have suffered a torrent of woes — leaks, faulty elevators, unidentifiable odors — from what they say is shoddy construction and corner-cutting by the management.

Co-ops vs. Condos

In NYC, co-operative (co-op) buildings and condominiums (condos) dominate the scene. When you buy into a co-op, you're essentially purchasing shares in a corporation that give you the right to occupy a specific unit. In contrast, with condos, you own the actual property. Given that co-ops often have a stricter vetting process for potential buyers, it's essential to know the difference which might work best for you.


Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

In the bustling NYC property market, coming with a mortgage pre-approval sets you apart and sellers view pre-approved buyers as serious prospects.


Brace Yourself for an Extended Approval Process

Particularly with co-ops, the NYC home-buying process can be extensive. This might include stringent checks, reference verifications, and interviews. 


Stay Up To Date On Market Conditions

The dynamic nature of the NYC real estate market requires regular vigilance. While market fluctuations are a given, union-built properties often retain their value better, thanks to their superior construction quality and reduced long-term maintenance costs.


While there are countless intricacies and uncertainties associated with the New York City real estate market, one thing you can be sure of: union-built construction is a better investment. As you get out there and start looking for new homes, remember to ask your real estate agent: Who built this building?


Mark Colangelo is a writer and blogger.

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