SAVE, SAVE, SAVE
Buyers should plan to put at least 20 percent down in order to be taken seriously. That’s right, for a $500,000 apartment, you’ll need a down payment of $100,000, and that does not include closing costs.
Be prepared for other charges large and small. Among the larger is the 1 percent surcharge on sales of $1 million or more in New York City, known as the mansion tax. Among the smaller incursions on your wallet: the co-op lien search fee (roughly $300), the board package fee ($500 to $2,000), the appraisal ($300 to $1,500), the condo municipal search ($350 to $500) and so on. Brokerage firms including Douglas Elliman and Town Residential offer a laundry list of estimated closing costs on their websites.
CLEAN UP YOUR CREDIT
Unless you are sitting on a substantial nest egg or are being financed by a benevolent relative, you will need a loan to afford your first place in New York City. Banks use credit scores, also known as FICO scores, to evaluate the potential risk of lending to individuals. The higher the number, which runs from 300 points to 850 points, the better your credit score.
Knowing your score well in advance will give you time to clean up any mistakes, like tax liens that were paid off many years ago or parking tickets that should have been expunged, said Peggy Dahan, an associate broker with Siderow Residential Group. “Sometimes it takes months to clear it up, and by then the seller has sold your dream apartment and we are back to Square One.”
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