The Foreign Buyer's Checklist For Purchasing New York Condos

Anthony Guerriero, 2/12/20 12:45 PM

It’s estimated that 15% of the real estate transactions that occur in Manhattan are carried out by foreign buyers. These individuals are often in search of diversity and safety by investing in New York condos. Often, they are searching for a home for their child studying abroad, a second home for themselves, or an investment property that will provide yield and capital appreciation. In all cases, these buyers have unique needs and concerns. If you’re a foreigner looking to buy real estate in Manhattan, here’s a checklist to guide your search.

  1. Decide What Type of New York Residential Property You Want
  2. Make a Wish List
  3. Determine How Much You Want to Spend and Whether to Take a Mortgage
  4. Make a Focused Search
  5. Know the Rules and Regulations
  6. The importance to use a New York Real Estate Buyer’s Agent


 1. Decide What Type of New York Property You Want

Manhattan’s residential real estate market is made up of three basic property types: condominiums, co-ops, and townhomes. Co-ops make up most of the market, but their rules of ownership and approval process for new members can make the purchasing process of a co-op residence just about impossible for foreign buyers. Many foreign investors buy newly developed condos in Manhattan, secure in the knowledge that if they want to rent out the property either at purchase or eventually, they can do so without any restrictions, in contrast to coops.  Others want a townhome or brownstone residences, but these can be expensive options, starting around $8 million.

"Difference Between Townhouse and Condo"


2. Make a Wish List

It’s important to confirm with your broker which items on your Manhattan residential property wish list are non-negotiable, and which amenities or features you might be willing to compromise on. This will not only help focus your search, it will also help you determine the expected price of the property. A rare view of Central Park will exponentially increase the sales price of an apartment. Therefore, it’s important to figure out those things that are a must and those things that are just wishes.

Purchasing New York Condos


3. Determine How Much You Want to Spend and Whether to Take a Mortgage

Once you have made a wish list, you will have a better idea of what the apartment that you want will cost. At this point, a foreign buyer may want to consider obtaining a mortgage, which would provide leverage to investors. Real estate is one of the few investments that allow investors to use other people’s money (i.e., the bank’s money) to buy the property. Retail banks like HSBC and Wells Fargo offer mortgages to foreign nationals up to 70% LTV, which means with a 30% down payment. Generally, foreign buyers will pay a ½ percent higher interest rate than local homebuyers. In addition, some private banks like JP Morgan Private, BNY Mellon Private and Citi Private offer mortgages at similar rates to US citizens.


 4. Make a Focused Search

Once you know what you’re looking for and how much you are willing to spend, it’s time for you and your broker to start searching for the right opportunity. Depending on your specifications, there might be a lot of options to review, or you might spend time waiting for the right property. Don’t worry, experts like us know that for the dedicated foreign buyer, the right New York real estate investment opportunity always comes along.



5. Know the Rules and Regulations

Before beginning to search for residential property anywhere in the United States, it’s important for a foreign buyer to be aware of the rules they must comply with, how the current tax code will affect their purchase, fees and other regulations, and more. While a broker or tax attorney may understand every detail, the foreign buyer should still have a grasp of the basics for their own safety. That’s why we think it’s best to partner with a team that is experienced in serving foreign buyers and explaining these details in many different scenarios.


6. The importance to use a New York Real Estate Buyer’s Agent

A luxury real estate broker isn’t the only expert a foreign buyer of real estate in Manhattan needs to work with. It’s also important for a buyer to develop relationships with a lender for competitive-rate real estate financing, a real estate attorney, and a certified public accountant (CPA). We have great relationships with professionals in these industries to help our clients work with the best of the best from the very beginning.

The fact is, every real estate buyer should have his or her own buyer’s broker, whether that buyer is a current resident, relocating from another state in the U.S. or country, or buying an apartment in NYC.

What exactly is a buyer’s broker?

He or she is a licensed real estate professional who represents only the buyer and the buyer’s interests in a given transaction. The seller’s agent represents the seller and their interests.

This is important during the home search

Because your exclusive buyer broker will have no vested interest in urging you to select a specific property. Instead, he’ll be focused on finding exactly what you want, no matter with whom it is listed.

It is important when you’re deciding on the correct price to offer

The Manhattan real estate market is diverse and complicated, with prices varying from one neighborhood to another. Your buyer’s broker knows the market, knows the neighborhoods, and will give you an honest analysis of the home’s true value in the market as it stands on the day you make the offer. Listing agents, on the other hand, would be obligated to urge you to make a full price or higher offer.

It’s important during negotiations

Because your buyer’s broker has only your interests to protect. Remember that negotiations deal with more than just the price. You also must consider closing dates, seller concessions, and buyer contingencies.

What does it cost to have a buyer’s broker?

Not a thing. Real estate brokers on both sides of the transaction are paid by the seller, so there is absolutely no reason not to have someone representing you in your purchase. The US real estate industry is very transparent, and always the seller pays for the commission, so there’s no conflicts of interest for the units your buyer’s broker are presenting to you.

Manhattan Miami Real Estate offers you full service

As of February  2020, there were approximately 6,760 condos and co-ops for sale in NYC. That means the first thing you need is a knowledgeable guide. Your buyer’s broker will know how to take your needs and preferences and conduct a search that will narrow the choices to a manageable number.

After you’ve chosen the home you want, we’ll help you present an offer that will be attractive to the seller – without you overpaying for the home. The purchase and sale paperwork is extensive, but we’ll take you through it step by step, so you’ll understand each of the decisions you must make along the way.

If your offer is accepted as-is, we’ll celebrate with you! If not, we’ll help you negotiate.

We’re also there to solve problems. Few real estate transactions are entirely trouble free, but most issues can be satisfactorily solved as long as your broker acts quickly during the home buying process.

Finding the right Manhattan home and negotiating its purchase is but one part of the puzzle. You’ll need a New York real estate attorney to ensure that all the paperwork related to an International purchase is filed properly. You’ll also need a home inspector, a title insurance company, and estate planner. And, unless you’re purchasing with 100% cash, you’ll need a Manhattan mortgage lender. We have established relationships with all of these professionals – professionals who specialize in assisting International buyers and sellers.

Manhattan Real Estate agent

Why work with just one buyer’s broker?

When you choose just one buyer’s broker, you’ll have someone at your side who has come to understand your likes and dislikes, as well as those preferences such as square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other amenities. You’ll also have a real estate agent who is dedicated to finding that right home.

When you contact several brokers, none will put all of their energies into locating a “just right” home for you, because they’ll know you may have already made an offer on some other home. In addition, each broker may make appointments to show you the same homes, resulting in a huge waste of time for you, for the brokers , and for the homeowners.


To finalize,

Ultimately, this checklist is only the beginning of a foreign buyer’s search for New York condos. Whether you are European,  Singaporean or a Chinese buyer, with these details in hand, any individual will be prepared to make an offer on residential real estate when the right opportunity comes along. If you have questions about these or any other aspects of becoming a foreign investor in Manhattan residential real estate, we are here to help.  


Still have questions about foreign investment in NYC or Miami? Check out our resources:

"Manhattan Condo Market Analysis"
"Can Foreigners Buy Property in the USA"
"Best Manhattan Neighborhoods To Buy a Condo"
"Excellent First Offering Prices at Lantern House Condo"