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Ready to close? Not so fast. (15 Central Park West, #37A) Ready to close? Not so fast. (15 Central Park West, #37A)
Buying an apartment can be a long and stressful experience, especially for first-time buyers. For this reason, by the time an offer is accepted, most buyers are already breathing a huge sigh of relief. Unfortunately, having an offer accepted is by no means the end of the apartment-buying journey. Between the offer acceptance and the deal closing, a lot of things need to happen and a lot of things can go wrong. Not surprisingly, the more active the market, the more likely it is that even a small misstep during this short window of time will result in the seller pulling out and going down their list to the next prospective buyer. To ensure your dream home doesn’t slip away after your offer has been accepted, be prepared to quickly complete the following five must-do steps.

In this article:

Central Park Plaza Condominium, 1845 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard
Central Park Plaza Condominium, 1845 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard Harlem
1261 Madison Avenue
1261 Madison Avenue Carnegie Hill
Rutherford Place, 305 Second Avenue
Rutherford Place, 305 Second Avenue Gramercy Park
Philip House, 141 East 88th street
Philip House, 141 East 88th street Carnegie Hill
738 Broadway
738 Broadway NoHo

Get a Mortgage

It is generally advisable to be pre-approved for a mortgage because once your offer is accepted, you’ll need to immediately get a mortgage. Given that time is of the essence here, you may want to go directly to a mortgage broker rather than shop around yourself for the best deal. Brokers work with multiple lenders and will be better positioned to find you the very best deal in the shortage amount of time. While the broker will need to be paid by someone, the broker’s fee is, in many cases, paid by the lender, not the client, so relying on a broker won’t necessarily add to your closing cost. If you can, also lock in your interest rate to ensure you don’t end up with a much higher rate than the one to which you initially agreed.

Hire an Attorney

While it is often possible to close real estate deals without an attorney in some parts of the country, that is simply not the case in New York City. Where there is a deal closing, there are at least two attorneys. However, in most cases, attorneys come on the scene long before any money changes hands at a closing. To ensure you’re not missing any critical steps, it is advisable to contract with a real estate attorney sooner rather than later. They are familiar with all the steps you’ll need to go through to close a deal in a timely manner, including the next three essential steps.

Carry Out an Inspection and Appraisal

When buying a used car, one typically looks for a certified vehicle. When buying an apartment or house, there is no equivalent. This means the only way to find out whether the apartment or house is in sound condition is to hire an inspector. Inspectors are trained to check for things that most buyers are unlikely to notice during an open house or even upon a closer second look. These are generally the sorts of problems that lurk well behind the fresh paint and fancy staging—things like faulty wiring, water damage, and mold. Inspectors can also let you know if there are any other, less serious issues with the home (e.g., whether the air conditioning will likely need to be replaced in the near future). Most home inspections take two to three hours and cost on average $300 to $400 (per HomeAdvisor). If the inspector finds major problems with the unit, you’ll have the option of pulling out of the deal or putting in a lower bid.
In addition to carrying out a home inspection, you’ll need to hire a certified appraisal to complete a home appraisal. In fact, most lenders require an appraisal before finalizing financing deals. Appraisers, who typically charge between $300 and $400 (per HomeAdvisor), take a number of factors from the age and location of the home to its square footage to its current condition into account to appraise the home’s actual value.

Do a Title Search and Acquire Title Insurance

A title search is essentially a search to confirm that the property you are buying is owned by the seller and that no other entity has interests in or rights to the property. In most cases, title searches don’t yield surprises in New York City. This is not always the case in more rural areas, where a title search might reveal that the property you’re buying has an established access rights agreement that gives someone else (e.g., a local farmer) the right to transport equipment across your property or even use it for some purposes. Nevertheless, whether you’re living in upstate or in Manhattan, you will need to complete a title search before closing and acquire title insurance. Title insurance is essentially insurance that protects you from past claims to the property. This means that if a relative inherited the property in the past but didn’t claim it before it went on the market, they can’t come forward years later and make a claim on your new home.

Acquire Home Insurance

You wouldn’t drive a car off the lot without insurance, and you also certainly shouldn’t acquire a new home without insurance. Before you close any deals, ensure you have adequate house insurance. Depending on where your home is located, you may also want to consider acquiring related types of insurance, including flood insurance. In fact, if you live in one of New York City’s FEMA-defined flood districts, flood insurance is required.
There is no question that it is challenging to find a lender, attorney, inspector, appraiser, and insurer in the short period of time one usually has between having an offer being accepted and closing a deal. However, everyday New Yorkers, including first-time buyers, do manage to find all the people they need to complete the must-do steps connected to closing deals on new homes. If you’re thinking about going on the market for a new home or are in the process, the best way to ensure you don’t experience any delays once an offer is accepted is to put financing in place and have a referral list in place long before your offer is accepted.

Outstanding New Listings
305-Second-Avenue-01 All images of Rutherford Place via Corcoran
From the Listing: EXTREMELY LARGE 1 BEDROOM WITH SLEEPING LOFT / HOME OFFICE. Beautiful duplex apartment in the historic building, Rutherford Place, offers an open floor plan, oversized windows with north, south and west exposures, soaring ceilings and a bonus sleeping loft (or make into a home office). As you enter this inviting home, you are greeted by a large entry foyer and generous closet. The main living area features a spacious living room with 14 ft. ceilings and a separate dining room. The large kitchen is fully equipped and features a large north-facing picture window, as well as Poggenpohl cabinetry, granite counters, Subzero refrigerator, Viking stove and Bosch dishwasher. Does the bedroom boast high ceilings, custom-built closets and built-in drawers, as well as an abundance of light with north and west-facing? windows. Additional amenities include gleaming hardwood floors, new heating and cooling units in each room, and brand-new windows throughout. A truly unique apartment! See floor plan and full details here.

145-Central-Park-North-01 All images of 145 Central Park North via Nest Seekers
From the Listing: Features of this 1,509 sq. ft. apartment include beautiful white oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with white oak frames and motorized shades, an HVAC VRF system, a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, a vented Electrolux washer/dryer, a park-facing terrace, and a private balcony. See floor plan and full details here.

738-Broadway-01 All images of 738 Broadway via Serhant
From the Listing: Designer Floor-Through Fireplace Loft. Prime NoHo. Graced with sublime finishes and nestled in the exclusive residential neighborhood of NoHo, this Lemay + Escobar-designed 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom condo is a paragon of contemporary urban luxury.

Features of this 2,400 sq. ft. home include key-locked elevator access, beautiful oak floors, oversized sash windows with eastern and western exposure, soaring 12-ft tray ceilings with cove lighting, an in-home laundry room with built-in storage, and a state-of-the-art Crestron Home Automation system that controls integrated audio/visual equipment, motorized shades, multi-zone HVAC, and an 18-ft wide gas fireplace with a floor-to-ceiling Calacatta marble surround.
See floor plan and full details here.

1261-Madison-Avenue-01 All images of 1261 Madison Avenue via The Modlin Group
From the Listing: This is a rare opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind apartment in one of Carnegie Hill's oldest, most desirable and distinctive buildings - 1261 Madison Avenue. Gracious and light filled, Apartment 5S has been fully renovated to the highest standards by the current owners in partnership with celebrated designer Harry Schnaper. Measuring approximately 2,150 square feet, one enters this spectacular three bedroom apartment through a windowed and gracious entry vestibule, which leads to the magnificent living spaces which span along Madison Avenue and the corner of 90th St -- with oversized arched windows letting in the light and air. See floor plan and full details here.

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33-West-67th-Street-01 Sotheby's International Realty listing - All images via Peter Aaron
From the Listing: Extensively renovated, double-height, duplex apartment in the Atelier, an artist studio building from about 1903. The building's original elements have been preserved: an intimate lobby, large doorman-operated, cast-iron elevator, and electrified gas fixtures on the landings. In the apartment these include a double height window looking north over the Upper West Side, a wide mezzanine balcony overlooking a grand, 17' double-height living room, a working fireplace, and west facing windows. This apartment, 5FW, is on the 9th and 10th floors. See floor plan and full details here.

109-Greene-Street-01 All images of The Lofts of Greene Street II via Brown Harris Stevens
From the Listing: Located in the heart of Soho on one of the City's most coveted blocks, 109 Greene Street offers a discerning buyer picturesque loft living in a full service building. Upon entry from the private keyed elevator, one is immediately taken by dramatic light shining through from four 10' windows overlooking gorgeous cast-iron loft buildings on a cobblestone street. Just off of the foyer is a powder room, mud room and laundry room. The entrance seamlessly flows into a massively proportioned living room with open chef's kitchen featuring stainless steel appliance suite including a miele cooktop, sub-zero refrigerator, dual dishwashers, wine fridge and ice maker. This grand space is ideal for large gatherings or a quiet evening in front of the fireplace. This spacious, quiet condo expertly combines classical architecture with a modern interior in an intimate setting. See floor plan and full details here.

167-Sixth-Avenue-01 All images of 167 Sixth Avenue via Corcoran
From the Listing: On one of north Park Slope's loveliest blocks sits this exquisitely renovated, 20-foot wide, two- family, four-story brownstone. Suffused with light and featuring bucolic views over rolling brownstone gardens, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home comes with a garden-floor apartment perfect for guests or additional living quarters. See floor plan and full details here.

22-Wooster-Street-01 All images of 22 Wooster Street via Corcoran
From the Listing: A key-locked automatic elevator brings you directly into this fully renovated, mint-condition, 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom loft, with new floors.

The 45' great room features five western windows facing Wooster street and two windows facing north, providing amazing afternoon light. The open kitchen by NYLoft features a Gaggenau range, Wolf double ovens, Bosch dishwasher, U-line wine fridge, and a Subzero refrigerator, plus Bleu de Savoie marble. This open space also features a home office, equipped with plenty of storage, sliding doors, and a Murphy bed.
See floor plan and full details here.

141-East-88th-Street-01 All images of Philip House via Compass
From the Listing: Prewar Renovated 4 Bedroom Condominium. Residence 3F at Philip House is a gracious and beautifully renovated 4-bedroom, 4-bath 2,650 SF pre-war condominium with four exposures and tree-top views in the heart of Carnegie Hill. Perfect for entertaining with a 24'x19' living room and adjacent library, the apartment was originally designed by AD 100 designer Victoria Hagan. Features include wide plank white oak floors, double-paned windows, zoned heating and air conditioning, crown molding and high ceilings. The library features a wood-burning fireplace and custom stone mantel. See floor plan and full details here.

1845-Adam-Clayton-Powell-Jr-Boulevard-01 All images of Central Park Plaza Condominiums via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: One-of-kind, truly triple-mint penthouse deserves every superlative you can think of and then some! This exceptional true home allows one to enjoy the space of a townhouse but with more light, views and amenities! Boasting six bedrooms and six and a half baths, this sprawling, luxurious yet comfortable bespoke palace is 5810 SF inside and has a flexible layout meant for living and entertaining, from intimate family gatherings to large soirees. A See floor plan and full details here.

56-Leonard-Street-01 All images of 56 Leonard Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Distinguishing 6W from the others is the ascending, heavenly 24' double height floor to ceiling glass wall, elevating the unique open living space of this great room. Illuminated in natural light, energized by New York's vitality, with wall space for significant works of art, considerate, urbane, enlightened design, integrate with the privacy one would expect from a residence of this quality. Two private, exclusive elevators open to your spacious foyer creating a quiet transition from the kinetic pace of the city, welcoming you to your tranquil living space. Just under 3,000sf with 3 bedrooms all with access to your private terraces, 3 full en-suite bathrooms and a powder room. The home is generously elevated and enhanced by 2 beautiful private terraces, one for dining and another for relaxing, 726 square feet in total. See floor plan and full details here.

15-Central-Park-West-01 All images of 15 Central Park West via Compass
From the Listing: Situated on the 37th floor of the Tower at 15 Central Park West is this 3,105 square foot residence beautifully designed by interior designer Russell Piccione. This home provides triple exposures, sublime light from sunrise to sunset, and sought-after expansive views of Central Park, Columbus Circle, the Hudson River and beyond.

With only one other apartment on the floor, residence 37A is remarkably private. As you enter the gracious foyer, to the left is the expansive 24-foot wide corner living room with a 16-foot bay window to the East spotlighting Central Park views and sun spilling from two additional, oversized South-facing windows with panoramic city views of the Time Warner Center and Columbus Circle.
See floor plan and full details here.

Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Just complete the info below.
  1. Select which properties are of interest to you:

Or call us at (212) 755-5544
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.