Buying A Queens, NY Co-op

Prepare In Advance

Know The Costs

Sometimes there will be a flip tax that will be paid by the seller. Sometimes, for competitive apartments, the flip tax should be paid by you to be considered by the seller to give you the apartment as opposed to your competitors. There will also be the mandatory closing costs such as Lawyer's fees, bank appraisal fees, and more. Check out the cost estimates at the bottom of this page to see what you might expect to pay for closing your brand new co-op apartment.

Get a Pre-approval Letter

Get all of your ducks in a row to make the whole buying process easier. Make sure that you seek out a qualified loan professional first in order to get pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval is just one step before actually getting approved and receiving the funds in its entirety. The reason why pre-approval is so important is because it shows sellers that you are serious about buying and that you are not wasting their time. It is very important to develop good relationships with both the listing agents and the seller so that you are in their good graces and so they can consider you more seriously among the other buyers (aka your competitors).

There is a difference between getting pre-qualified and getting pre-approved. Pre-qualified does not really mean much to sellers because it is not as serious as a pre-approval. It is almost like a piece of paper, not meaning much and not really a serious pledge for a loan.

After Your Pre-Approval

Make sure you have the full amount of your downpayment (based on what your loan officer says), in liquid assets that have stayed in your account(s) for at least 6 months. This shows board members of a co-op (or Condo) that you have proof of funds and will be able to close easier. This shows them that you will most likely be approved for a loan, and stability in risk management should they choose to move forward with your application. It will make it easier to eventually choose you to buy co-op  shares and live in their building. FYI, you can have this downpayment history in many different accounts. It doesn't always have to come from one source.

For those unaware, buying 1 unit in a co-op means buying x% amount of shares. It is almost like a tenancy in common. By buying those shares, you agree to live by their rules as stated in their offering plan and common area rules.

Getting Pre-qualified Based On The Board & Agency Standpoint

Make sure you talk to your agent (me) to find out whether you are even able to buy their apartment. Many apartment board members have strict criterias for their shareholders. For example, some buildings may require a strict 28% DTI (debt to income ratio). On top of this, they might have a rule that they only accept shareholders who put 20% down. Further, they might also require a certain amount of income per year or per month in order for you to be pre-qualified to even apply for the apartment. Knowing this first helps you save you and your agent's time to focus on the co-ops you are approvable for.

Find Apartments To Look At 

Your agent (me) should be asking you questions related to what you look for in a co-op apartment. What are your must-haves and non-negotiables? What do you 100% have to have? What is your max buying power (your pre-approval letter lets your agent know this)? Which area of Queens do you want to live in and where do you not want to live in? How much monthly total debt can you afford, and which apartments are off-limits due to this?

By this time, your agent (me) should know all this about you, and should be showing you properties (should inventory permit) that meet your criteria.

You've Found The Perfect Apartment...Now What?

Make An Offer

Ask your agent (me) to make an offer on your behalf. If he's a buyer's agent, ask him to negotiate the best price for you based on your max budget. If he's a seller's agent, ask him to find out what the seller wants for the apartment; then figure out what your personal max budget is so that your agent can relay the message or offer for you.

The Offer Gets Accepted

After the offer gets accepted, hire a closing attorney to make the buying process easier for you. The closing attorney will take a look at the financials of the building, offering plans, any amendments, and all other such documents. He or she will also fight for you on your behalf to make sure your deal goes smoothly and favorably. After your lawyer vets the deal and confirms it is OK to proceed or sign the contract...

Sign The Contract & Make Your First Down Payment

This is the earnest money deposit which goes towards your down payment should financing and all contingencies check out. Oftentimes banks need appraisal of the property in order to fully underwrite and commit to a loan. They want to make sure that they are not being ripped off and giving a loan for much greater than the amount of the property. Keep in mind an earnest money deposit, which is 1 to 10% of purchase price, are funds in escrow that show good faith to the seller. Earnest money deposits give buyers some time to conduct appraisals, title searches and receive financing for the purchase.

Apply For a Loan

The loan provider will ask for your fully completed co-op application as well as personal information. This process will take 2 to 4 weeks to complete, and might be subject to certain conditions such as third-party appraisal of the co-op on behalf of the bank.

Complete The Co-op Purchase Application

There will be a $500 to $750 application fee for most co-ops in New York. So make sure that you are pre-qualified with the board prior to even viewing or making offers on such apartments as they are expensive. Along with the co-op application, it will ask you for documentation or proof of funds and income and other supportive evidence. Here is a broad idea of what to expect:

Executed copy of the contract of sale

Copy of the commitment letter from the lending institution

Statement of net worth or Tax Accountant's Financial Statement

Copy of the mortgage application
Copy of the applicant(s)’s two previous years tax returns
Copies of bank statements – at least 2 consecutive months
Copies of most recent pay stubs for at least two consecutive pay periods
Copy of any brokerage or 401k statements
A letter of reference from the applicant(s)’s employer
A letter of reference from the applicant(s)’s current landlord
Three additional letters of reference.

Submit Co-op Application To The Building's Managing Agent

The managing agent will be in charge of checking your credit score, references, and other business stuff.

Prepare For Co-op Interview

This interview with Board members will last roughly 30 minutes. After 2 or 3 days, the board will make their decision and let you know if you made the cut or not. Make sure to be nice and pleasant. Do not go overboard in details, and keep the interview answers short and sweet without divulging any more information than is necessary. Best of all, be natural. The board members can reject you for any reason.

Board Acceptance

It will usually take 2 to 3 days for the Board to make a decision on whether you are accepted or not.

Perform Final Walkthrough

Find out if there were any drastic changes since you signed the contract. Have any fixtures been removed even though it was supposed to be furnished? Are there problems with any of the electrical wiring? 


After the application is approved, a closing date will be set by the buyer and sellers' agents, attorneys, lending institutions as well as the managing agent.

There will be a transfer of proprietary lease, stock certificates, and keys to the buyer.

The total procedure will take roughly 3 months and sooner if buying with cash.

An example of buyer closing costs. Get with a loan professional for exact costs for each unit

Any Questions?

If I've missed anything, please do comment below and ask me any questions you might have in the buying process of a co-op. It is very similar to buying a condo or single family house except with a few minor differences.
Buying A Queens, NY Co-op Buying A Queens, NY Co-op Reviewed by Alex Sung on November 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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