• January 9, 2019

Your 8 Point Checklist for Buying an Apartment in NYC

Your 8 Point Checklist for Buying an Apartment in NYC

Your 8 Point Checklist for Buying an Apartment in NYC 1024 683 Paper Street Real Estate

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime. Whether you are a first time homebuyer or have a few closings under your belt, the following is a checklist you ought to gloss over when deciding on your next home.


In New York City, the address sells the home. You’ll always find a buyer in an area with major transportation and shopping, no matter how much of a dump the place actually is. People pay high prices for convenience, such as $800,000 for a 500 square feet studio apartment, just to be walking distance to work. Buying in a remote location or an unsafe district can later prove to be a hard sell.

When buying real estate, whether for investment or personal use, my rule of thumb is to envision myself ten years from today and try to foreshadow any trouble I may encounter in selling, the price appreciation, and if I go bankrupt and have to live here indefinitely. If the future is questionable, I take a pass. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time around your residence whether it’s grocery shopping or taking a light stroll. When you have a late night at work, will you feel safe walking your dog at 11 PM? If the answer is no, then move on. Pick the neighborhoods you absolutely want to live in and make that your starting point in your search.

Condo or Co-op

A co-op’s focal point is that you’re buying into a corporation. While in a condo purchase you’ll receive a deed, a shareholder certificate will be issued to you at a co-op closing. A co-op is dominated by many rules and limitations, such as whether you can have pets and if and when you can sublease. Condos tend to be newer and higher in price than co-ops. With a condominium there are typically no restrictions – you can house ten dogs if your heart desires, and sublease your unit from day one. If you are buying for investment purposes, go with a condo. If a co-op is more in your budget, look for a building with relaxed sublease rules.

Scout the Parking Situation

I’ve been in neighborhoods where I’m spending 20-30 minutes trying to find parking. If your okay with that more power to you but as for the rest of us non-masochists, we like to find parking effortlessly. Scout the parking situation near and around a prospective apartment you like and see how long it takes to find a spot. Also, see if there’s any paid parking lots available that fit your budget.

Be Emotional

What separates a commercial property from a residential property is emotion. With commercial property, you should only care for the net income and cash flow. With a residential property, your emotions are what matter. It’s ok for your feelings to dictate your decisions. There is nothing wrong with paying extra to live in a place that you really love. If your buying a home, the bottom line isn’t the most important thing. What matters is if you will be happy living in this property for the next however many years you plan on staying there.

Think about your Pets

If you love animals like we do, the house-rules of an apartment are crucial. Some buildings are very pet friendly. Some are not. Be aware what the policies are when it comes to both dogs and cats.


Like most parents in NYC, you probably have to go to work on a daily basis. A day care is a necessity for working parents. Do a google map search of nearby daycare centers to ensure you have a healthy list of options available for your children.

Is this a Long Term or Interim Move

Why does this matter? Liquidity. If this is an interim move and you plan on selling in less than 5 years, make sure the neighborhood has a track of record of selling similar units at a reasonable timeframe. On average, a property sits on the market for 60-90 days. If you see that similar homes tend to be on the market for 180-240 days, perhaps that timeframe doesn’t fit your goals and another apartment will be more ideal.

Public Transportation 

Do you know which trains I would hate to live next to? The A, C and E. Why? In my almost 30 years of living in NYC, I have never once needed or used the blue line. When buying an apartment, be aware of which subway lines you need.

Along with any checklist, another helpful resource is having your own real estate broker and agent. Shoot us out an email at Garry@Paperstreetrealestate.com if you would like to set up an appointment to discuss your real estate goals or simply fill out our contact form.

Did you like the article? Check out some of our other similar articles:

The Benefits of Having Your Own NYC Real Estate Agent and Broker

Why Is My NYC Apartment Not Selling?

Why You Should Use a Real Estate Broker To Sell Your Property in NYC