Buyer's Guide

Let Us Turn What You Love Into Where You Live

Buying a home is one of the most important financial—and personal decisions many of us will make in our lives. Whether or not it’s our first time, we all begin the home-buying journey
with a vision, a picture in our minds of a place that looks and feels like our idea of home.

At Douglas Elliman, we are committed to helping you turn that vision into reality. As New York City’s #1 residential real estate brokerage, we have created this overview of the
purchasing process in one of the world’s most exciting and competitive real estate markets.


Step 1: Partner with a Professional

The Elliman Advantage
By empowering our agents to go above and beyond for our clients, we have established a decades-long reputation as New York City’s leading brokerage. Douglas Elliman agents are not just full-service partners on the way to closing a deal—they are also ongoing resources for professional referrals, personal recommendations and knowledge of the city.

The Agent Advantage
Buying a home can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. It is also a complex process, with a sequence of steps that requires knowledge, patience and attention to detail. A licensed agent provides the experience and steady guidance to manage the process and enable you to focus on the journey.

Reasons to Partner with a Professional


Step 2: Becoming a Buyer

The Elliman Advantage
Douglas Elliman’s expertise spans New York City’s buying, selling and rental markets. With exclusive access to data-driven insights from industry-leading sources like Douglas Elliman’s Market Report and Wealth Report, our agents can help you decide when the time is right to go from renting to owning.

The Ownership Advantage

While there are many benefits to renting a home in New York City, owning your home comes with powerful advantages.


Step 3: The Buyer’s Journey

The Elliman Advantage
After sitting with you to outline the home-buying process from start to finish, your Elliman agent will guide you through every step with trusted referrals to mortgage brokers, lawyers and inspectors, as well as vital experience in getting all the documents in order.

Mapping Out Your Home-Buying Journey
The process of buying a home in New York City involves a series of steps in three phases:
1. The Finances
2. The Search
3. The Close

Preparing Your Financial Profile


Credit scores help banks evaluate the risk of lending to individuals. Use a reputable website to access your credit details without damaging your score and explore ways to improve it, if necessary.


Expect to pay as much as 20% of the sale price for a down payment, along with associated closing costs. For a complete breakdown of costs, refer to pages 33-36 and connect with your real estate attorney.


To help you estimate your price range, a loan officer will inquire about your employment status, income, assets, debts and projected down payment to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what amount.


After getting pre-qualified, you can work with a lending institution to receive a pre-approved loan statement (typically valid for 60 days), which estimates the amount that you will be able to borrow. You will be asked to submit additional financial documents, including pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns.

Conducting Your Search

As you begin your search, your agent will help bring your vision of home into clearer focus by
surveying the market landscape, setting parameters based on price, location and inventory, and
establishing an initial timeline.

The housing stock in New York City primarily consists of cooperatively-owned buildings, condominium buildings and, to a lesser extent, townhouses. Co-ops account for approximately 75% of available NYC apartments at any given time. Condos make up the bulk of the remainder, while townhouses represent around 2%.

The board interviews all prospective owners and has the right to approve or reject any applicant.

No interviews are required. Application is not as rigorous as the co-op board process.

No condo or co-op board involved in the purchase or sale, creating a much faster transaction from contract signing to closing.

Be prepared to put down at least 20% of the purchase price, plus closing costs.

Be prepared to put down at least 10% of the purchase price, plus closing costs.

Be prepared to put down at least 10% of the purchase price, plus closing costs, depending on the loan-to-value ratio determined by your bank.

Maintenance fees based on the number of shares the tenant owns (typically dictated by apartment size and floor level)

Common charges, for services and amenities shared by residents, and property taxes.

All maintenance costs and property taxes.

Must be approved by the co-op board.

Typically permitted.


Buyer must be approved by the co-op board.

Can be sold at will.

Can be sold at will.

From Offer to Contract

Making an offer and signing a contract are pivotal moments when leveraging your agent’s skills and knowledge is especially critical.

From Contract to Close

From Contract to Close

At this stage of the buying journey, your agent will help you assemble the remaining documents and finalize the necessary approvals.

Loan Application
Once your application is complete, your financial institution will schedule a third-party appraisal to verify the value of the property.

Co-op Board Application (If Applicable)
In addition to helping you assemble your bank statements, tax returns and letters of reference (personal, professional and financial), your agent will help you navigate the nuances of winning board approval.

Scheduling the Close
Once you’ve received approval (if applicable) and the bank provides clearance to close, your agent will coordinate a final walk-through and closing date.

The Home Stretch

In this penultimate phase of the process, your agent will join you on a final visit to assess the property and compile a punch list of outstanding items to be resolved prior to the close.

Your Vision, Your Home

The deal is closed. The keys are in hand. You are now a homeowner. Time to settle in, make your home your own and begin to love where you live. The Elliman Advantage With a personal approach that puts you first, our agents are here to help you find your way home. The next move is yours.

Please complete the following form to download our home seller’s guide

Successfully sent!
eBook Image

Work With Us

Get assistance in determining current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Contact us today.

Follow Eleonora on Instagram