Are You Considering Buying A NYC Brownstone? 7 Things To Look For

Anthony Guerriero, 11/8/21 9:25 AM

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There are plenty of condos and apartments for sale in NYC. Brownstones are also very popular in the New York City housing market. If you are looking to buy a home in New York City, you may be wondering what you should consider when purchasing a brownstone. Living in a brownstone is not like living in an apartment or condo. It is more like living in a single-family home where you have a lot of responsibilities in maintaining the Brownstone. Here are seven things to look for when buying a brownstone.


Landmark Status

Many brownstones have landmark status through the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. The LPC protects historically, culturally, and architecturally significant buildings by limiting or preventing exterior renovations while allowing minimal updates to the interior. Approval is needed when planning on doing any work on the property.


Homeowner Responsibilities

Owning a brownstone means you will have the same maintenance responsibilities as an owner of a single-family home. Unlike living in an apartment or condo, you need to take care of any maintenance work yourself or hire a professional. Some brownstone neighborhoods hire a community superintendent who can handle their maintenance needs.


No Amenities

Buying a brownstone is like buying a single-family home. You will not have a doorman, concierges, a 24-hour security staff, or an on-site gym. Be proactive in protecting your home by installing 24/7 security monitoring systems. Also, brownstones do not have elevators despite having as many as five floors.


Do a title search

Many NYC brownstones are over 100 years old. Many things could have happened to the property during all this time, including code violations, open permits, tax liens, and other violations and liens. A title search will uncover these issues and can delay the purchase of a brownstone. Yet, these issues will not prevent you from purchasing a brownstone.


Check the Certificate of Occupancy

Some brownstones have a single-family designation, while others have a multi-family designation. Whether you want to use your brownstone as a single-family or multi-family home, you need to check the Certificate of Occupancy before purchasing a brownstone. Just understand that you cannot rent out your property to multiple tenants if your brownstone has a single-family designation.


Get a Site Inspection

Your offer to purchase a brownstone should always be contingent on passing a site inspection. The licensed home inspector should have experience inspecting older buildings like brownstones. This inspector should know about common problems in older homes regarding outdated utilities and building structures not associated with newer buildings.


Beware of the Down Payment Requirement

NYC brownstones are high-priced properties that require a large down payment. You may also need to pay an even larger down payment depending on the number of units. You should know how much money you can borrow and how much of a down payment you can afford before purchasing a brownstone.



Brownstones are popular among homebuyers in NYC and Miami residents who want to purchase a brownstone in NYC. Manhattan Miami real estate professions can help home buyers fulfill their dreams of owning one of these desirable properties.

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