Buying or Selling a Cooperative

Buying or Selling a Manhattan Co-op: From Contract to Closing

The impetus for this post is a question that was recently asked of me from one of my sellers. They are in the early stages of selling their Manhattan co-op and have simultaneously bid on a house outside of the city.  The seller wanted to know precisely when we will have confirmation that her current apartment is sold to give her confidence in proceeding with their purchase.

The answer:  You will know your apartment is sold when you have walked away from the closing table with certified checks and the buyer has left with the keys.

To further elucidate this point, here is a step-by-step guide of what to expect from the point a contract is sent to a buyer’s attorney until that glorious day at the closing table.  And don’t forget to review your closing costs early on in the process so you have no surprises.

  1. A contract is sent to the buyer’s attorney from the seller’s attorney from a boiler plate form with attached suggested riders
  2. The buyer’s attorney does their due diligence for their client which consists of but is not limited to reading of the Co-op Board minutes, reviewing the building financial statements, offering plan, proprietary lease, and house rules.
  3. The buyer’s attorney then marks up the contract with suggested changes and it goes back and forth until both attorneys agree on language.
  4. Once the contract is finalized, the buyer will sign and provide a 10% deposit check to be delivered to and deposited in your attorney’s escrow account until closing.
  5. The seller will then sign the contract.
  6. Once the contract is fully executed (signed by all parties), it is delivered to the buyer and they have typically 30 days to submit their application to the Board with their mortgage commitment letter.
  7. The seller’s real estate agent reviews the board application and almost always has to request additional documentation or changes which takes approximately 1-5 business days.
  8. Multiple copies of the application are made by the real estate agent and delivered to the managing agent.
  9. The managing agent then takes 1-2 weeks to “process” the application running credit reports, etc and then they disseminate to Board members.
  10. Board members then review the purchase application and all supporting documentation to determine if they will interview.  Members may choose to review and give their opinions via email, they may require a discussion to take place at a set monthly meeting time, or they may decide to review packages together on an as needed basis.
  11. Assuming they find the application acceptable, a notice of interview date can come anywhere from 1 week to a month after Board receives package from management (this is where a seller can reach out to board to kindly request them to expedite the process).
  12. Board interviews buyers
  13. Typically approved within 1-3 business days but some buildings take longer.
  14. Closing is then scheduled to take place approximately 10-14 days after approval or as stated in the contract (most Manhattan and Brooklyn deals NEVER close on the date specified in the contract).

Lastly, it is imperative to mention that banks are also slowing the process considerably these days with tighter lending standards.

So realistically, one should expect a closing of a Manhattan co-op to take approximately 2-4 months from the time a contract is sent out. Having said that, things like holidays, vacations of Board members and other pressing business that a Board may have to address are all factors that can lead to further delays.

Hopefully this will help to manage the expectations of all who are venturing into the sale or purchase of a Manhattan co-op.

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