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Buying or selling a NYC apartment? Learn who the key players are in a transaction—and what they do

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In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.

It takes a rather large cast of characters to stage the drama that is the buying and selling of a New York City apartment. The following are a few of the major players, and for a full playbill check out "A who's who--and who does what--guide to buying a NYC apartment."

Real estate agent: An agent can represent either the buyer or the seller, while the seller’s agent can represent the buyer, too (beware, in the latter case, the agent’s loyalties are divided). The best way to find an agent is through a recommendation. Key traits to watch out for are that he or she has at least a few years of experience, works full time as a broker, is busy but (not so busy you get handed off to an assistant), specializes in the types of properties you’re interested in and, ideally, is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (which means they comply with REBNY’s standards of practices and code of ethics).

Lender: Mortgage banks, mortgage brokers, national and regional banks and credit unions, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! All of these institutions lend money in slightly different ways. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s one that understands co-ops or condos and the approval process, knows the managing agents and has already preapproved lots of buildings.

Managing agent: A key player that’s often overlooked, the building’s managing agent is the one who gets the co-op board to approve an application or acts as an intermediary in a condo board’s refusal of an individual application; reviews all maintenance and common charges with a prospective buyer; assists with the buying of co-op or condo insurance; reviews renovation requests, plans and permits; and arranges and supervises move-ins.

Related:

How to interview a real estate agent

Top 12 questions New Yorkers ask their mortgage bankers

5 ways to get a lower mortgage rate

How to pick a good closing lawyer

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