Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC Part 1: basic knowledge of Condo vs. Coop vs. Condo-op

This is part 1 or 3 parts of Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC: As active and successful Manhattan Real Estate professionals, we often receive inquiries from foreigners wanting to invest in Manhattan New York. It is essential for Foreigner buyers or out of town buyers understand the housing market here in New York city in order for them to decide what is a best investment for them.

Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC, basic knowledge of Condo vs. Coop vs. Condo-op:

Generally coops do not allow foreign buyers to purchase into the building because it causes uncertainty and they know that they will not be able to pursue them legally if a situation arises. Also, generally the coops do not allow subletting (renting), unless under special circumstances.

Can Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC buy Co-ops? the short answer is no. A phenomenon that’s limited almost entirely to Manhattan, cooperative apartments have been the traditional form of owning an upscale apartment for close to a hundred years. In fact, in New York City, 85% of all apartments available for purchase – and almost 100% of the grand pre-war apartments on Fifth, Park and Central Park West – are in co-operative buildings. Co-ops are owned by an apartment corporation. When you purchase within a co-op building, you’re purchasing shares of the corporation that entitle you, as a shareholder, to a “proprietary lease.” Generally, the larger your apartment, the more shares of the corporation you own. Co-op shareholders contribute a monthly maintenance fee to cover the building expenses. The fee covers such items as heat, hot water, insurance, staff salaries, real estate taxes and the mortgage indebtedness of the building. Portions of the monthly maintenance fees are tax deductible due to the building’s underlying mortgage interest. Also, shareholders can deduct their portion of the building’s real estate taxes.

A Co-op Board of Directors has the ability to determine how much of the purchase price may be financed and minimum cash requirements. Subleasing a co-op can be difficult. Each co-op has its own rules and they should be carefully reviewed prior to application to purchase. Most of the Co-Ops prefer owner occupied the apartment to create a sense of community instead of leasing out to others. For this particular reason alone, buying Co-Op as investment may not be suitable for foreigners or investors.

All prospective purchasers must interview with the Board of Directors. Prior to the interview, prospective purchasers prepare a detailed “Board Package” which usually contains personal and professional letters of recommendation as well as a great deal of personal information concerning income and assets.

Can Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC buy Condominiums –

The answer is YES. As more and more new buildings are constructed in New York; condominiums are fast gaining in number and popularity. It’s not surprising. As opposed to a co-op, a condominium apartment is “real” property. A buyer receives a deed just as though he or she were buying a house. Each individual apartment in a condominium receives its own tax bill. There is still a monthly common charge similar to the maintenance charges in a co-operative. These charges don’t include your real estate taxes and are not tax-deductible. The monthly carrying charge also tend to be lower than in co-ops because there is no underlying mortgage for a condominium building. The straightforward nature of buying a condo coupled with the fact, that in some cases, you can finance up to 90% of the purchase price and sublet them at will, makes condominiums the number one choice for flexibility. (in today’s market, lenders do seek more than 10% down payment to purchase even though condo board will allow 90% financing.)

Can Foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC buy Condo-op? The answer depends on the building and the board of directors. Condo-op is a coop that  functions with condominium rules. Generally there is no board approval and no interview and subletting is allowed from day one.  This however has been changing and some of the Condo-ops will conduct the process just as coop board would.  Some Condo-ops will allow subletting only after a certain time, for example, you must live in the building at least one year before the building will allow you to sublet.  Please be aware that rules in coop and Condo-op can change at anytime and the only way to change these rules is by getting involved.

Part 2 we will discuss buying steps and process and part 3 about financing options for foreign buyers. Please visit us below to see other foreigner buying in Manhattan NYC related blog series:

If you are a foreigner or out of towner that would like to invest in Manhattan New York, please call us today at (646)644-6929 to discuss your specific needs. We have years of working experiences facilitating international/oversea foreign buyers and out of towners finding the right Manhattan New York Real Estate investment. TO DISCUSS HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM WORKING WITH OUR TEAM. CONTACT US AT (646)644-6929 Today!

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