RELOCATING TO NEW YORK
Moving to Manhattan, but don't know what kind of apartment you should look for? Should it be a charming prewar, a snazzy new condo, or a cozy brownstone? How about a spectacular loft? And where do you want to live - near work, in a happening area, or in a quiet family neighborhood? And what can you afford?
Don't worry, we're here with the answers.
APARTMENTS: COOP vs CONDO
There are primarily two kinds of apartments for sale in Manhattan, coop and condos. The vast majority (over 80%) are coops, while the rest are condos. They have different advantages, and you should choose the best one for you.
With a cooperative apartment you actually own shares in a corporation which gives you a proprietary lease to the apartment. Your monthly maintenance charge pays all costs to run the building, your real estate taxes, heat, water - everything but electric. Owning a coop can be a little restrictive: you must be interviewed and approved to purchase, any alterations must be approved by the board, as must any sublet and resale. They may or may not take pets. There are usually financing restrictions as well; typically a coop will not let you finance more than 75%.
The plusses are generally a lower price than a condo, and control over building tenancy.
A condominium is a fee type of ownership, and you actually own the four walls of the apartment as well as pay your own real estate taxes. Condos are very flexible: you can buy them in any name you want (i.e. corporate ownership, etc.), there is a less intrusive application process and rarely an interview. The only way a condo can reject a sublet or sale is to exercise their right of first refusal by matching the sale or rental price.
Condos in New York also tend to be newer luxury highrises, with fancy finishings such as marble baths, health clubs, and roof gardens. So if you want something fancy and new, condo is the way to go. However they tend to be considerably more expensive than coops (30% or more for equivalent size units.)
III. Single Family Housing - Townhouses and Brownstones
Large individual townhouses do exist in Manhattan. They are generally 3-4 stories high and 17-22 feet wide. A typical townhouse is anywhere from 3000-6000 square feet, and will often have a private garden. Some are single family homes, and some have rental apartments in them that can generate income for the owner. Prices start at about $3,000,000 and go upward from there. Yearly real estate taxes average 1% of the purchase price.
COOP vs CONDOApartment TypesApartment StylesNeighborhoods
There are three basic styles as well as three basic types of apartments here. The three main types are Pre-war, Post-war, and New Construction; the main styles are Highrises, Brownstones, and Lofts.
Prewar apartments are those built before WW II. These are very desirable in Manhattan, because they tend to be built in the prime locations and have lots of charm and detail not found in postwars. Such elegant detail might include high ceilings, fireplaces, crown moldings, patterned hardwood floors, and thick plaster walls.
Most prewars in the better locations have doormen.
Postwar apartments are those built from1946-1980. They are typically large highrise buildings with doormen, underground garages, and often have great open city views. These are conventional spaces, with studio, one bedroom and two bedroom layouts that don't change much from building to building. They feature 8' ceilings, parquet hardwood floors, and galley style kitchens. Postwars are the most economical option, getting the most space for the least amount of money, and are very popular with first time buyers.
III. New Construction
Thanks to major tax incentives, there was a swell of new construction in Manhattan from 1983-1990 and again from 1996-today. This new construction is typically a highrise condominium. Though the 1983-1990 units may be slightly smaller than their postwar counterparts, they tend to offer high-end finishings (marble baths, private washer/dryers), and more building amenities (health clubs, pools, kid's playrooms). They also feature doormen and garages. As many were built close to the rivers that border Manhattan, several boast absolutely spectacular views. The newest developments focus primarily on larger, family sized apartments on the Upper East or West Side, while Tribeca, Soho, and Chelsea boast of dramatic new loft buildings with immense apartments by the world's leading architects and designers. Selling prices on these stunning homes can range from $1,500 to over $3,000 per square foot.
COOP vs CONDOApartment TypesApartment StylesNeighborhoods
These can be either prewar or postwar, and are typically 12-30 stories, with a doorman, laundry facility in the basement, and sometimes a garage. Other amenities might include a roof garden, bike room, and individual storage bins. Newer buldings may have a health club.
There are highrise buildings throughout the city, but the vast concentration is from 14th Street to 96th Street on both the east and west side. Larger buildings can be found on the avenues, while slightly smaller buildings would be found on the side streets.
A brownstone is an apartment in a small 3-5 story building. Most brownstones were originally designed as single family homes in the 1800s, and have since been converted to apartments. Though room dimensions tend to be a little smaller (particularly the bedrooms), and closet space is tight, many adore the charm of their fireplaces, fancy moldings, and high ceilings. Ground floor units often feature large private gardens. Brownstones are too small to have doormen, but do have intercom systems for security. About half have some sort of laundry and open storage space in the basement which is shared by all owners. Those who prefer quiet spaces, tree lined streets, gardens, and privacy love brownstones.
Brownstones are located primarily on the side streets of the East and West sides, in Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
Lofts are residential apartments that were generally created out of former commercial buildings and warehouses. Though not in typical residential areas, they offer huge unconventional spaces that can be individually designed. Starting at about 1000 feet, they can be found as big as 5000+ square feet. Originally converted for use by artists, more and more executives have moved here to take advantage of the space and the close proximity to the financial district. Lofts are primarily found in the Soho, Tribeca, and Chelsea areas. They rarely have doormen, and the bedrooms are often dark, but they typically have soaring ceilings, their own washer/dryers and incredible storage. In addition, the last five years has seen a proliferation of high end designer lofts built with all the amenities of a typical residential building, such as garages, gyms, doormen, and children's play rooms.