Buyers Guide

Your home is your biggest asset, and so much more. This is a process that’s not only about dollars and cents, its about loving where you live.

  • A local expert who knows about all properties currently on the market, all recent comparable sales, & everything coming soon.
  • Your advocate within the brokerage community.
  • Personal concierge to guide you through the process and capable of managing every detail, including preparing your purchase application, referring financing options, and finding anyone from a top real estate attorney to a great dog walker once you move in!
  • Fiduciary agent – we have the following duties to the buyer: reasonable care, loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, to deal honestly and in good faith.
  • Paid by the seller: through my membership in The Real Estate Board of New York, we have access not only to my listings, or my company’s listings, but every listing in the market. The price you pay is the same whether you use an agent or not. The only difference is the service you will receive.
  • An important thing to remember: In New York City far less properties sell per capita compared to the national average. The seller’s agent has a contractual fiduciary relationship with the seller. They may be a family member or family friend. Anything they say or do is to advance the seller’s best financial interests.


Most properties either built or converted before 1990 are cooperatively owned (Co-ops). Homeowners are called share holders because they purchase stock in a corporation, and that corporation owns the building. They are collectively partners in an entity that owns the building, and in turn grant themselves the privileges of ownership associated with owning real property in the form of a proprietary lease.

There is a required purchase application process. This is sometimes found tedious and angst-ridden to most people. The good news is that we do this with consistency and our team is designed to make this happen quickly and efficiently. We focus on what’s important, income and assets, and not on what’s superfluous.

A coop has other characteristics as well. When you or your neighbors make permanent (non-cosmetic) changes, the building has guidelines and has an approval process. If you want to rent, the board may limit you over time, and so on. Some buildings prohibit you from financing more than a certain amount. Every characteristic of each listing will be recorded for you by us for your reference at a later date.


Well, now that you have read about Co-ops, you might be asking yourself, is there another option? There is!

A condominium is technically defined as an air lot – you own all the air inside of the walls. You can do whatever you want inside your own air. However, there are some myths about condos.

A condo doesn’t have unlimited subletting, there is an application process, and as a condo owner, you are subject to the rules put forth by the Board of Managers. You have a collective interest in the building’s sustainable financial and physical health.

The differences are as follows: while a condo can and may restrict subletting, they tend not to. While a condo board can deny a sale, it’s rare. Condo’s do not restrict differing types of ownership, such as ownership by an LLC, second home, gifted funds, etc …

For these conveniences, condos tend to cost 25% – 100% more than coops.


A house historically holds value greater than a coop or condo. You can get an owner occupied mortgage for any building with up to 4 units, and the other unit’s rent can offset your costs. On the other hand maintenance, taxes, and insurance costs can be much more expensive than apartments.

An agent is bound by State Law to disclose and declare their Agency when having substantive conversations with potential buyers. That form is attached. This disclosure is not a contract, as your buyer’s agent, it’s a promise from me to you of the following:


A buyer’s agent must act in the interest of the buyer.


Any discussions, facts or information that should not be revealed to others. All financial disclosures kept in confidence We have helped many celebrities and top level executives. We’d tell you whom, but then we’d have to …

Accounting in Dealing

Reporting location of any money placed in the hand of the agent. All discussions involving money are to be 100% transparent with regards as to who gets what at all times.

Reasonable skill and care

In addition to market experience, agents are expected to have a heightened ear for anything and everything. This means not taking anything at face value, referring experts to certify anything that may be in doubt, and maintaining a professional and courteous deal environment.

Disclosure of all materials and facts

  • Examples of, but not limited to:
  • Seller’s financial condition
  • Anything that would affect the value of a property
  • Relationships between agent and other parties
  • Data-driven market analysis

New York is a city unlike any other and no real estate firm knows New York as Compass does. We can share our expertise to help you find the right property for who you are and how you live. There are several things international buyers need to know about the New York real estate market before jumping in. Condominiums versus Co-operative Apartments

Generally speaking, condominiums are the preferred choice for international buyers. Co-ops typically require that buyers maintain substantial assets on-shore in the United States, have an extensive, local network from which social references can be generated, and have a long history of filing taxes in the United States. Further co-op boards impose many restrictions on owners, owners are often not permitted to use their co-op as a second home and are rarely permitted to rent out their co-op. Condominiums, on the other hand, are open to any qualified purchaser, regardless of social and financial ties to New York. Moreover, condominium owners are typically free to treat their real estate as an investment by renting them out for income.

Financing Options for Foreign Buyers

Most US banks have created programs to accommodate international buyers. Foreign buyers can usually finance up to sixty to seventy-five percent of a purchase, depending on circumstances, including the size of the necessary loan. Documentation requirements can be be stringent, but some lenders are willing to waive these requirements in return for a slightly higher interest rate, to offset the increased risk associated with unsubstantiated loans. At the very least, foreign buyers will need to provide evidence of their legal right to enter the United States (such as a passport or visa}, credit references, verification of past rent or mortgage payments, and proof of employment. Fortunately, Compass has very strong relationships with mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers in New York who are happy to work with foreign buyers.

Tax Liabilities for Foreign Buyers

Foreign buyers must be aware of certain tax implications of owning and selling real property in the United States. Unless an exemption applies, foreign sellers of real estate in the United States are liable for income tax on the gain associated with the sale. Applicable laws generally requires that those who purchase real estate from foreign sellers must withhold ten percent of the final sale price in order to ensure that adequate funds are available to satisfy the seller’s tax obligation on the transaction.

Specialized Team of Professionals

To ensure a smooth purchase process, it is imperative that you retain capable advisors. Real estate brokerage commissions are typically paid by the seller of the property. Your Compass agent can recommend an attorney to assist with the transaction, from contract to closing, ensuring that your interests are protected. We can also connect you with accountants who, working with your attorney, can help minimize the various tax burdens described above by optimizing the structure of your real estate transactions.

Buying Process

Your agent can show you any available properties that match your criteria. Unlike in other parts of the world, it is common practice in the United States for real estate firms representing buyers to show and sell properties listed by competing companies; we are not restricted to showing only properties represented by Compass. Once we’ve identified a property you like, we can help you prepare your offer-and make sure that it’s presented in the best light possible. These offers are not legally binding and you’re free to submit offers on as many properties as you like. Once your offer is accepted and a contract is finalized, making the deal “hard; you’ll be required to tender a deposit of at least ten percent of the purchase price. These funds must be either wired to the escrow agent (typically the seller’s attorney) or drawn on a US bank account. These deposits are only refundable under specific circumstances as provided for in the purchase and sale contract. Once the contract is signed and deposits paid, you and your agent will need to work on and submit applicable building board application and prepare for closing. At closing, you’ll be required to pay the balance of the purchase price, either with loan proceeds or personal funds, and the seller will transfer title to the property to you, along with the keys! Even after closing, Compass can continue to provide service to you. If you’re looking to rent the property, Compass can help find you a tenant. If you plan to use the apartment as a second home, Compass can help you find a caretaker to handle emergencies that may arise and to make sure all the bills, including taxes and utilities, are paid on time.


Co-Op Apartments


Our Promise

As a buyer, searching for a home is hard work. Sometimes it can feel frustrating, or exciting, and every emotion in between. We understand this. We will do everything possible to keep you smiling throughout the process and hold your hand as much or as little as you need it. We have found hundreds of clients homes over the past decade. We are dedicated to you and understand that in most cases a home purchase is the largest financial decision you will ever make. We do not take our responsibility lightly. We have two goals: to find you the home of your dreams, and to have you walk away from the experience with a smile.


  • Smartphone real-time rapid response
  • Counsel and explain all pertinent real estate queries
  • Perform a comprehensive market analysis and show you properties that match your requirements.
  • Assist you in getting pre-approved & arranging financing
  • Review and counsel you on all offers and counter offers.
  • Professionally present your offer and expertly negotiate the best terms for you.

Your commitment to us

Talk to us – if you see something you like, let us know. If something bothers you, no matter how small, share that information. You are the most important part in this process, and we want to give you the best service we can. Please help us be of the most help to you! We have to arrange to meet with other people in the City. While our office has a lot of support and can typically accommodate with short notice, most other agents require at least 24-hours notice to make appointments. Thank you for understanding. We ask that you only employ us as a Buyer’s Broker if we are working with you. Once you make this commitment, you will have access to all the information we have and we will stop at nothing to help you. It is impossible to have 2 Buyer’s Agents working together unless they are on the same team.

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Contact Us For More Information

The Columbia Vitolo Team is ready to work with you and for you. Please contact us through any of the listed channels below and we will respond to you as soon as possible.