Why do we put ourselves through what it takes to buy in New York City? Because owning a piece of the city that never sleeps is to be a cell in an organism like no other in the world.
She’s a beast. Every inch of the city is alive: People. Buildings. Taxis. Vendors. Scaffolding. Trash cans. Lights. Smells — of coffee, street meat, pizza. It’s wall-to-wall. The sheer density of the place is unavoidable. With every subway gust rising up from the grates, it exhales beneath you.
It’s vibe is unlike any other. Why else would it be the muse for so many works of art?
And when you’re here, you can’t help but feed off that energy. That’s why so many people want New York, and that’s why buying here is incredibly unique. For better or for worse.
Here’s Why New York City Real Estate Will Forever Be in Demand
It may sound far-fetched, but the high demand for real estate in New York City is virtually unwavering. It’s because you have four main groups that are constantly trying to get a piece of NYC: suburbanites, wealthy out of town americans, international visitors, and local transplants.
- Suburbanites: Folks from the suburbs want to hang out in the city. They want somewhere to get away to when they come in to see a show or just generally want a change in scenery. They don’t want to have to trek all the way out to Long Island after a night at a concert and then bars.
- Wealthy Out-of-Town Americans: Specifically those who have to take a domestic flight to get here – and they still want a piece of this city. The most popular cities are California: Los Angeles & San Francisco, Florida: Miami & Palm Beach, and the big Texas cities Dallas/Houston/Austin.
- International buyers: People from all over the world too want a place to stay on their regular (or not even that frequent) visits — one that’s close to anything and everything they could possibly want in terms of performances, attractions and shopping. Even if they don’t want to live in the city, they want to park their capital here.
- New Yorkers: Locals who can afford to may buy multiple properties in different areas of the city just to crash near different scenes for a night or two. New York is full of escape and full of escapists.
There is no time New York will not be wanted.
How Buying in New York Differs from Buying Anywhere Else
The process of looking for, applying and owning an apartment in NYC is totally different than in any other city in the United States. Virtually everything that may seem like a straightforward step becomes a multi-layered endeavor with quirks that are only peculiar to New York.
In no particular order:
- You’re close. Everything is an apartment or a townhouse, so you’re always going to be in a space where your walls are touching someone else’s walls. It’s very rare for someone to own a freestanding residential property. You cannot escape the human element or social contact.
- You’ll think of your building like a game of Risk. When it comes to neighbors, you’ll want to know if at some time in the future you can buy them out and tear down those walls. At some point it makes more sense to take over more territory where you are rather than find a bigger apartment.
- Taxes are exorbitantly high. Plus New Yorkers buying above the million-dollar mark get an extra tax: The Mansion Tax. Starting at one million dollars, there is an extra tax of at least 1% of the purchase price when you buy it just because of the higher price point. This is an ironic name considering there isn’t anything in New York City for a million dollars that resembles a mansion.
- You really need an attorney to buy something, whereas other places in the country you’d be fine with a boilerplate contract. That’s because you need someone with expertise to have you navigate all the in’s and out’s of the building that surrounds the apartment you’re purchasing. In the same way you get a survey with a house, you get an attorney for New York City real estate to break down the anatomy of the property, which is like an organ in the self-contained, living, breathing animal that is the city. Basically the attorney is there to make sure that organ is healthy enough that you will not end up with a nightmare down the road.
- You have to interview for a co-op like a job. The board approval takes place after you submit a purchase application. You’ll need reference letters, from personal contacts, professional sources, and previous landlords. You have to provide a full financial statement, proof of assets and your tax returns. And if you really want to butter up the board you include a cover letter that gushes over why you want to buy in the building. This is another area where your real estate agent comes in and acts on your behalf, puts it together, and delivers it to the board. Then the board decides if they want to grant you an interview. After all that, these “members” could turn you down for no reason.
Why We Go Through It: New York City Charms
It’s not just a city. It’s a lifestyle. We find it to be worth it.
- The doorman. You could have an entire car full of stuff, and the doorman will help you unload it. They will also make sure that you know the food delivery is coming up in the elevator or if your nanny and kids already made it home before you.
- So much less manual labor. There’s no landscaper to pay. There’s no front walk to shovel. No snow plows. And no need to get on a ladder to clean out those gutters.
- Bodegas that are like no other. Places where you can buy flowers, Newport Lights, have a sandwich made for you, and grab a six-pack of Kombucha.
- Living in the future. When you live in New York City you are always on to the latest thing, the thing that won’t arrive in Albuquerque until this time next year. It’s the edge, in so many ways. You can almost feel the breeze.
You’re Surrounded By People Who Get It
No one is boring in New York City. You want to be boring, you go somewhere else.
Here we live a quirky cross-generational existence. You get to know the people around you and you start to care for them. You drop in on your elderly neighbor just to check on her. It’s a custom that feels almost European. The neighborhoods have a life of their own, too, and are fiercely loyal within. You always live in the best neighborhood.
And who lives here? Some of the world’s (WORLD’S!) best artists, architecture, performances and museums in the world. This place runs on brilliance.
That, that, is what we buy when we buy in New York City.
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