Buyer, seller & renter guides

We are here to help you through the home buying process. We will be your advocates and advisers, saving you thousands in the process!

The longer your home is on the market, the less you will make. Learn what we do that nets you more.

Buying a home is probably the largest and most difficult financial and emotional decision you will ever make. The New York real estate market is especially challenging to navigate and is unique in many ways. Therefore, it is important you are confident the broker you have chosen will provide you with the most accurate market information, is attentive to your needs and desires and will help you make sound decisions. Below is every step you can anticipate, including terminology in the purchase process, transaction and contract.

Make a list of all of your criteria by order of importance. This will help your DJK agent find properties that fit your budget and match as many of your requests as possible.

We will research our extensive listings database and arrange viewings of properties that fit your criteria and budget.

New York City may be the fastest moving real estate market in the world. Therefore, offers from mortgage pre-qualified buyers are often taken more seriously than those awaiting mortgage qualification. Obtaining a pre-qualification letter is an easy, cost-free service provided by banks or reputable mortgage brokers that give the seller comfort in your ability to purchase their apartment.

Once you have found your perfect property, we will submit a written offer on your behalf. This letter will include offer price, the name and contact information of your New York attorney, and your personal information such as income, financial qualifications and any other information that will make you a stronger candidate.

After negotiations are complete and the seller accepts your offer, your DJK agent and the seller’s agent will prepare and distribute a “deal sheet” that provides the required information to both parties’ attorneys and brokers and conveys the agreed-upon terms for the preparation of the sales contracts.

The seller’s attorney will draft a contract of sale and forward it to your attorney for review. Once you sign this, it will be sent with a deposit check (typically 10% of the purchase price – please note this is only a guideline and a seller may require a different amount) to the seller’s attorney who will hold the deposit in escrow until the closing of sale. Once the seller signs the contract, it is deemed “fully executed” and binding. This process may take one to three weeks, depending on terms and review of the offering plan and board minutes by your attorney, called “due diligence.”

This process may take 45 or more days to complete, therefore it is important to contact your bank or mortgage broker immediately after having a signed contract. Lenders will require a “fully executed” contract with the application.

Your DJK agent will assist you in the preparation of your Co-op or Condo Board Package, craft the board application, provide copies to the management company and help you with any other requirements.

(This applies to Co-op sales only) You will be contacted for a scheduled interview with the Board of Directors. Notification of their decision will be given in 48 to 72 hours. Your attorney will coordinate the closing once the board has given purchase approval.

Your DJK agent will accompany you to inspect the property prior to the closing of sale. This inspection is important to verify all is working properly in the apartment and the seller has or is moving out as agreed. Important things to inspect are appliances, faucets, plumbing, light fixtures, outlets, etc.

Closings are normally held at the office of the managing agent with your attorney, the seller and seller’s attorney, the lender’s attorney, a representative of the management company’s transfer department and both real estate agents in attendance.

Now that you’re ready to buy a home, here is a general timeline of events. Once you decide to make an offer on a home, in most cases it can take an average of 60 – 120 days to complete the closing process.

  • •  Prepare the Offer: 1 day
  • •  Negotiation of the Offer & Acceptance: 2-5 days
  • •  Loan Application & Appraisal, Loan Approval and Commitment Letter, Sign Contract/Escrow Deposit: 2-4 weeks
  • •  Co-op Board Package & Interview/Condo Application: 4-6 weeks
  • •  Bank & Attorney Prep Closing: 1-2 weeks
  • •  Final Walk Through: day of closing or just prior to
  • •  Transaction Closing: 2-4 hours

Time table based on industry averages, actual times may vary

What is the difference between a Condominium and a Co-op?

Owning a Condominium is like owning a home. You receive title to the real estate, pay property taxes to the city and common charges to the Board of Managers. Real estate taxes are tax deductible; however common charges are not. In the past, there was no approval process required for condominium buildings, though recently that has changed. Most Condo subletting policies are more lenient than Co-op policies and are often the better choice for investors.

Co-ops comprise approximately 80% of New York City’s housing market. When you purchase in a Co-op you are buying shares of stock in the corporation that owns the building. You will be issued a Proprietary Lease giving you the right to occupy the apartment. You will pay monthly maintenance, which covers the upkeep of common areas, staff salaries, and managing agent fees, as well as real estate taxes and interest on any underlying building mortgage.

Should I work with more than one agent at a time?

Working with one agent saves you time. In Manhattan, REBNY member brokers share all available listings. DJK Residential is a REBNY member in good standing.

How long should it take to find my dream home?

The average first-time buyer finds a home within one to two months, but it may be sooner because our agents are extremely knowledgeable of New York real estate and can easily match your needs with the available inventory.

What will I need to present to a Co-op Board?

Generally, Co-op Boards require a purchase application, a financial statement with back-up documentation, personal and financial reference letters, a letter from present landlord, employment verification, business letters of reference, tax returns for at least two years and permission to run a credit check. You will also be required to pay several types of fees.

In New York, will I need to hire a real estate attorney?

It is highly recommended that both the buyer and seller be represented by real estate attorneys licensed in the state of New York, although it is not mandated.

When should I begin looking into financing?

As soon as you begin searching for a property to purchase.

Can I renovate a Co-op?

Each Co-op Board has individual policies regarding renovation. Generally, you will need to fill out an “alteration agreement” describing the exact work you wish to do, which the Board reviews prior to approving the proposed renovations.

How much money do I need to put down?

When purchasing a Condo, you will generally be asked for a deposit equal to 10% of the purchase price. When purchasing a Co-op, the requirements vary, but a minimum of 20 to 25% of the purchase price is typical, however, many buildings vary. Although it is rare, a few Co-op buildings will not allow financing at all.

How long should I expect it to take from accepted offer to signed contracts?

Typically the process takes one to two weeks. Your agent will be in communication with the parties on an on-going basis to ensure progress and to handle any issues that may arise.


Selling a property in New York City can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be with DJK Residential by your side.

DJK Residential has three offices and 40 well-trained and experienced agents. No matter what part of the city your apartment is in, our agents are familiar with the neighborhood. Our experience and aggressive marketing strategy have made us one of the leaders in the industry. We welcome the opportunity to visit your home and provide you with a free market analysis of it’s current market value.

Once the process of selling your property gets started it will be important to have a team of professionals working for you. Your DJK Residential sales agent can recommend qualified attorneys, mortgage brokers, appraisers, and accountants to help guide you or a prospective buyer through any transaction.

At DJK Residential, one of the things we are most proud of are our agents. Every one of our sales agents is well trained in the various steps of buying and selling an apartment in Manhattan. In addition, each of our sales agents is well versed in market trends, pricing strategy and negotiation technique. By fully understanding your needs, we are able to help make your transaction as smooth as possible.

We use a variety of means to determine the market value of your apartment such as:

  1. Location: This is the single greatest factor in determining the price.
  2. Competition: Buyers will compare and interpret value based on other available properties.
  3. Timing: Market conditions change and cannot be manipulated. An effective marketing plan and pricing strategy must take these conditions into account.
  4. Condition: Property condition directly affects the price and speed of the sale.
  5. Final Price: Ultimately, the NYC real estate market will determine the price. We will use all of our experience and data to calculate where the most competitive price, however, it is the market that will dictate if this price should be higher or lower.

The math is simple…the more people that are aware that your property is for sale, the more people will see it and the more offers you will have causing the price to rise. As brokers and members of REBNY we promise to co-broke your sales listing with every residential brokerage firm in Manhattan. We will share your listing with every REBNY member and non-REBNY member. We will not deny any legitimate broker an appointment to show your apartment to their buyers.

Since we believe that Maximum Exposure equals Maximum Price we will market your property in a variety of different publications. Naturally, the Sunday New York Times Real Estate section is a must. Often we choose to advertise in specific industry publications, depending on the target market we are after. Unlike most firms, we do not assign a specific advertising budget to each property. We think of ourselves as your partner and we will do everything possible to get you the highest price in the least amount of time. We are creative in our thinking and focused on getting you, the seller, the results you expect by creating a marketing program specifically tailored to your property and your needs.

From the moment that you choose DJK Residential to represent you in the sale of your property, we promise to do the following in order to obtain the highest possible price for you:

  • Sunday New York Times open house advertisement
  • Weekly posting on the New York Times web site
  • Place photographs and description on the DJK Residential web site
  • Distribute the listing to every broker in the city
  • Broker’s open house
  • Promotional mailing to all residents in your building
  • Weekly activity reports

Many people believe that newspaper advertising alone sells real estate. Studies show that in fact, buyers come from a variety of places. 75% of buyers begin their search on the internet. Not only will prospective buyers be visiting our site in large numbers, they will actually be able to find your property easily, giving your property maximum exposure. In addition we promise that every seller will have their property appear in the Featured Properties Section which appears directly on our home page.

Studies also show that nearly 40% of buyers are alerted to the property they ultimately choose to purchase by a real estate professional. For the most part, all major brokerages and their sales agents are members of a regulatory organization called The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). According to REBNY all newly signed exclusives must be distributed to the entire brokerage community within 72 hours of having the seller sign. Every agent in NYC will know about your property, allowing us to find the right buyer, quickly and efficiently. We understand the entire range of categories from which buyers are drawn and tailor our marketing efforts accordingly.

Buyers will be comparing competing properties, and very often, simple cosmetic changes can be made with minimal time and expense to increase your home’s potential. Here are a few practical tips to help yours stand out above the rest.

Tidy Up: Eliminating clutter will make your property feel larger and brighter. Prospective buyers can explore it comfortably and envision it with their own personal touches.

Repair: If you think something is too much trouble to fix, chances are buyers will too. Making certain repairs will allow you to present your property in a better light and to its value.

Clean: Presenting a clean home to a buyer shows them the home has been valued and cared for.

Prior to Each Showing: Place fresh flowers in the apartment, open all of the drapes/blinds, turn on all of the lights, make the beds and put all clothes away, turn off the televisions, the kitchen and baths should shine.

Important Reminder: Potential buyers are much more comfortable and will be more likely to discuss how they feel about a property if the seller is not at home during the showing.


The NYC Real Estate market is unique and extremely competitive. The demand for an apartment is great and the supply is limited. The best apartments get rented first and fast, usually during the first 2 weeks of the month. Some landlords and management companies work on a first come, first serve basis. Others will accept multiple applications and choose the best. Landlords who accept multiple applications will not wait longer than 48 hours to get all your paperwork to complete the application; they will go with the next best completed application.

We recommend that you follow the next few steps so as not to miss out on a great opportunity:

Be Prepared: Have all your paperwork with you and ready to go.

Renting an apartment in New York City can be overwhelming. To avoid confusion and frustration, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the application process.

Landlords typically require an applicant to earn annually 40-50 times the monthly rent, so if you’re looking at a $2000 per month apartment, you’ll need to be earning at least $80,000 per year. If your salary isn’t high enough to qualify on your own, don’t panic! Most landlords will allow you to use a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who promises to pay the rent of the apartment if the current tenant(s) are unable. If you’re a student, don’t earn the required salary, have shaky credit or relocating from outside NYC, you will probably need a guarantor. The guarantor will need to provide the same paperwork as an applicant, and required income is typically 70-100 times the monthly rent. Many landlords will accept additional security deposits and/or rent paid in advance instead of a guarantor. Do not be surprised if you are asked to put up extra security or rent, this is common with any applicant considered a risk for any of the reasons mentioned above.

All tenants (whether students, employees, or self employed) and guarantors must go through a credit and/or background check. We recommend that you check your credit report prior to this process to find out if there are any items that might prevent a successful completion of your application.

If your credit score is low, don’t despair! It’s often possible to work with a landlord, either through a guarantor and/or additional securities.

Credit/background check: anywhere from $25-$175
Application fee: If there is one, it can range from $100-$500
Good Faith Deposit (GFD): Minimum $500, up to one month’s rent.
Security deposit: Typically one month’s rent, can be more if International etc

First month’s rent, and, in some cases, last month’s rent.
Most landlords will require certified funds, i.e., cashier’s check (bank check) or money order. After the initial payment, you will be able to pay your rent with a personal check.

It’s a good idea to get all your paperwork together beforehand so that you can move on with the process quickly once you find your new home. If you have the paperwork with you while you’re viewing apartments, you can put in the application right away.

In most instances a student will need to be supported by a guarantor and will need the following paperwork:

From your School: Copy of your tuition bill or class schedule.
Student ID card: You’ll need a legible copy of your ID. Try to enlarge it to about 150% of the original size.
Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.

Official Photo ID: You’ll need to have your driver’s license, passport, or other state issued ID.
Letter of Employment: on the company letterhead and signed by the employer. The letter must state the length of employment, starting date, position, and annual salary. You can get this from your HR department.
Pay stubs: Copies of 2-4 most recent pay stubs
Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements (checking and savings) or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.
Tax returns: Tax returns might be required by some landlords (1040 and W2 forms).

Official Photo ID: You’ll need to have your driver’s license, passport, or other state issued ID.
CPA: Letter from your accountant. Must be on letterhead and signed by the accountant, stating year to date income and projection for the year. Additional information like length of employment, line of work, and how long this accountant has represented you can be considered helpful.
Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.
Tax returns: Tax returns might be required by some landlords (1040 and W2 forms).

Prioritize what’s most important to you, and make sure to share that with your agent! What is most important: The Budget; The Location: The Apartment.

When choosing a neighborhood, there are many things to consider, such as school district, proximity of public transportation, availability of parking among others. Which of these is most important to you? Which ones don’t you care about? If a quick commute is most important to you, it makes sense to live in the same area as your job or school. Considerations such as supermarkets and pharmacies, Laundromats, and access to public transportation are easy to lose track of in the excitement of finding your new home.

Do you absolutely need a 24 hour doorman, or will a walkup be fine? Do you prefer prewar charm or modern design? If you’re living alone, you can probably settle for a studio or one bedroom, but if you have roommates or a family, obviously you’ll need a larger space. If you do have roommates, make sure that everyone has their paperwork in order and that you’re all there to look at apartments.

Identify the apartment features and amenities that are non-negotiable for you

Do you need a W/D in the apartment, or will laundry in the building work? What size apartment would you like vs. what do you really need? Light, kitchen space, laundry in the building, elevator buildings, and doorman buildings all can raise the rent. If you have pets, think of them too. While cats are generally not a problem for most landlords, there are some landlords who will not allow any pets in their buildings. If you have a dog, even a small dog, it will considerably narrow the amount of apartments that you will be able to see. If you have a large dog, the number will become even smaller and you might need to provide a pet deposit.

What can you comfortably afford? Be realistic and remember, you need to show income of 40-50 times the monthly rent. Keep in mind that rent can vary considerably depending on amenities and location, and the time of year. Spring and summer rents are more expensive than in winter months.

Most landlords begin leases at the beginning of the month; this means that most apartments are vacated at the end of the month. You’ll have the best chance of finding something you like with your move in date no more than a month away. New York City rentals work incredibly close to the cuff, and most of the time a landlord won’t know that a tenant is moving until 4-6 weeks before the end of the lease.

We hope this information helps you in your search for your new home in the City of New York, as we are certain that if you follow this helpful guide step by step you will end up getting that great new apartment, just as soon as you find it.