SDS NYC Recap: How to Buy an Apartment

“Yes, it’s possible to buy an apartment in New York City.”

 Six Degrees Society members at Blank Studio with our panel: Danielle Nazinitsky (Corcoran); Noori Rafael (Citibank); and Tracy Almazan (Almazan & Associates). 
Six Degrees Society members at Blank Studio with our panel: Danielle Nazinitsky (Corcoran); Noori Rafael (Citibank); and Tracy Almazan (Almazan & Associates). 

When most people think of buying an apartment in New York City, it seems like an impossible dream. You would have to be a millionaire, right? Danielle Nazinitsky, a licensed real estate agent with Corcoran, works specifically with homes that are under $1 million – and gave Six Degrees Society a roadmap to home ownership.

Hosted by Blank Studio in Soho, SDS matched up over healthy bites of chia pudding and overnight oats from Daily Harvest. Danielle led a panel to give an insider’s look on buying in the city. She explained that a real estate agent, mortgage lender and real estate attorney are the dream team you need to secure a home. The people that can help you in this traditionally three-month process were our other panelists: Citibank home lending officer Noori Rafael and real estate attorney Tracy Almazan.

 Healthy bites provided by Daily Harvest! 
Healthy bites provided by Daily Harvest! 

There were a lot of questions about the differences between co-ops and condos. Co-ops (owning shares of a building) make up the majority of NYC spaces; condos (owning the space itself) are more of a rare find. While condos don’t require interviews in the application and approval process, co-ops typically require board approval (usually made up of current residents and / or investors.) The financial requirements are also different: While a condo typically requires a minimum of 10% of the selling cost, to get into a co-op you usually need to have 20%.

The panel also covered mortgage questions, the pre-approval process, and how it may be less expensive per month to buy than to rent. After the event, SDS spoke with three attendees to discuss their ideal neighborhoods to move into and how home ownership fits into their future goals.

SDS: What do you do and how long have you been involved with SDS? 

SARA WILLETT: I was formerly an account manager at an agency broker dealer selling an equity trading platform to buy side traders and am looking to transition into the fintech or health / wellness space as a project manager. I have been involved with SDS for 2 years and am excited to join as a member this month! 

KATY HINSON: I’ve been involved with SDS for about a year now! I work at an enterprise software company, Infor, and have a side skincare business with Rodan + Fields. 

ABBY BROWARSKY: I am a demand planner for Materne North America, a company that produces and sells squeezable applesauce for kids. I have been involved with SDS since summer 2017.

SDS: Were you surprised when the panel said that it can actually be cheaper per month to buy than to rent?

 SDS matches before the panel. 
SDS matches before the panel. 

SW: Yes! I had no idea and now I am way more incentivized to buy an apartment. 

KH: I had heard that and knew it could be possible, but even with that, you have to be able to afford the percentage down, closing fees, property taxes and monthly fees – otherwise it’s a moot point! 

AB: Yes! This definitely surprised me, although with all of the upfront costs entailed it makes sense. 

SDS: What would be your ideal neighborhood to move into? 

SW: My ideal neighborhood would be the West Village. 

KH: My fiancé and I really want space! I think ideally we are looking at Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Jersey City or Hoboken. 

AB: I would love to buy an apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which is where I currently live. Unfortunately, real estate is getting more and more expensive in Brooklyn though, so I’m not sure if this is realistically in my near future.

SDS: How does eventually buying an apartment fit into your other future goals?

SW: Buying an apartment would be a great investment but I also want to move to the suburbs in the next 10 years so I would need to weigh those factors.

KH: It’s an investment not only financially but an investment in your quality of life. It’s comforting in such an unpredictable city, having something that is yours. 

AB: I would love to be financially independent sometime within the next 10-15 years, and I believe that owning a piece of real estate in NYC and starting to build equity can help me achieve this goal.

SDS: Was there anything that the panel said that resonated with you? Is there a word / sentence that stuck in your mind?

 SDS founder Emily Merrell and Corcoran real estate agent Danielle Nazinitsky. 
SDS founder Emily Merrell and Corcoran real estate agent Danielle Nazinitsky. 

SW: The panel spoke about how important it is to have a good real estate team to assist you in the process and that is extremely important for buying property, especially in NYC where the real estate market is so unique. Competitive would be the word that stuck in my mind. I did not realize how fast you need to act if you want to win the bidding war! In addition, they mentioned that 50% of offers won do not close which is crazy. 

KH: How important it is to have a team ready and assembled because everything moves so quickly!

AB: The main advice that stuck with me is that the real estate market here is different from anywhere else in the world and for that reason alone it’s important to hire people (real estate brokers / attorneys) who specialize in New York City real estate. 

Join us at one of our next events in NYC! Check out our programming and learn about how to make membership work for you.

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