Buying and selling apartments in New York City condominium and co-op buildings is a very different process than selling a house. The procedure takes longer, it entails more paperwork and more people are involved in the deal.

Traditionally, it takes approximately two-and-one half to three months to close on a co-op once the offer is accepted and approximately two months to close on a condominium. If it’s an all-cash deal, the process will take less time and require less paperwork.

Following is an approximate timeline for buying and selling a condominium and co-op apartment in Manhattan.

After the Offer Is Accepted:

Signing a Contract

Typical Time Frame: 1 week

Buyers and sellers of real estate in New York City are represented by a real estate attorney. The seller’s attorney drafts the contract for the buyer’s attorney and upon receipt, the buyer’s attorney performs a “due diligence”—reading minutes, reviewing the offering plan and financial statements of the building, etc.

Once all terms are agreed to, the buyer signs the contract and returns it to the seller’s attorney along with at 10% deposit. After the deposit is received it is deposited into an escrow account and the seller executes the contract thus making the contract binding.

It’s important to note that prior to the contract signing by both parties, the seller has the ability to accept another offer and the buyer is able to walk away from the deal.

The Co-op & Condominium Application Process

Typical Time Frame: 2 – 6 weeks (time frame is longer if the buyer is financing the purchase)

After the buyer’s real estate broker completes the purchase application with the buyer, she or he will forward the application to the seller’s broker for review. After the review, the purchase application will then be submitted to the building’s managing agent.

The managing agent will review the purchase application to ensure that it is completed properly and run a credit check. The purchase application will then be forwarded to the board of managers of the condominium if it is a condo or the co-op board if it is a co-op.

For a Condo: After the board of managers reviews the purchase application, they have the right to exercise their right of first refusal (the timeframe for this varies from building-to-building and can take anywhere from one to four weeks). The right of first refusal basically means that the condominium association has the right to purchase the apartment being sold for the same terms if they so choose or they can sign-off on the application, allowing the buyer to purchase the unit.

For a Co-op: Depending upon the co-op board, it can take approximately one to three weeks to review the purchase application. If no additional information is requested, the board will schedule a meeting with the prospective purchaser(s).

After the prospective purchaser(s) meets with the co-op board, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to hear about an approval or rejection.

Closing

Typical Time Frame: 2 weeks from the date of approval

After the co-op board or board of managers approves the buyer(s), then the seller’s attorney works with the buyer’s attorney and all parties involved to schedule a closing date.

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