When we were on our road trip this summer, Michael accidentally hit a coyote who darted out in front of the car on a winding road. There was a row of three cars and we were the middle car and for some reason the coyote thought he could make it in between us. There was a second when Michael said he could have slammed on the brakes but the car was right behind us on a curved road so he hesitated for just a second and that was enough to hit the back end of the creature. He didn’t die right there but dragged himself off the road and up the embankment. We u-turned and pulled over trying to figure out what to do and picking up the bumper pieces of our rental car that were scattered in the road.
I didn’t see the collision with the coyote because Shelby was sitting on my lap and I was looking down and petting her. The injured coyote looked a lot like Shelby, though, or she like him. Shelby was sort of a fox/coyote/deer hybrid with a skittish, darty look in her movements and eyes. When Shelby herself was hit and killed last month, both Michael and I thought immediately of the coyote. Was it karma? Is that the way the universe works?
We thought about the coyote the entire rest of the road trip and worried how long it would have taken him to either starve to death or be eaten by other predators and prayed that he would die sooner rather than later. I think about Shelby every day. I think about what we could have done differently to acclimate her to her new life with us, to ease some of her fears and anxieties, to work with a trainer and be more structured in our approach to her issues rather than just loving her as much as physically possible and thinking that that was enough.
If it is tit for tat then I hope we’re even with the universe and the coyote and Shelby are enjoying an afterlife where no cars exist.
Interesting analysis of Bloomberg and NYC mayors past and present. Bloomberg has been mayor my entire NYC life and I have appreciated many of his priorities, even the ones that didn’t come to fruition: bike lanes, bike sharing, pedestrian plazas, increasing public spaces/parks, large soda ban, congestion charging, smoking ban in public places. And, the NYC economy and real estate industry has grown during a time when the rest of the country’s was imploding. I think Bill de Blasio has big shoes to fill, but according to this piece, he is sized to do so.
“Twelve years of Bloomberg have infantilized us. He has been our city father, stern and a little distant but reassuring—our Daddy Peacebucks. We felt taken care of. We didn’t worry about things going horribly wrong. We felt governed. Now, with de Blasio’s help, we will have to learn to govern ourselves.”
Blake is proving to be a more difficult dog than we are used to compared to Shelby and requires so much more time, effort and energy. There are wonderful things I love about him, but he is incredibly territorial and aggressive. He has decided that our building and all the buildings surrounding it are his domain and he must protect them from any passersby. That includes barking at full volume while coming back in the building after our morning walk at 7am this morning when an innocent person had the audacity to walk by our building. I am sure our neighbors really love that. We were supposed to start obedience training with him this week but Michael’s schedule with work wouldn’t allow it, so we will try again for next week. He is a good dog in a lot of respects: fun to go running with, a good snuggler and overall cute boy, but he needs a lot of training.
The things we notice when we visit cities are rarely the things we notice when we live in them, and so it was for me when I moved to North London and then West London from New York many years ago. (I have now moved back, which is a different story.)
I had been to London only perhaps a half-dozen times before I moved, and so I had lived in visitors’ London: an intoxicating fairy tale of quirky architecture, treasure-filled museums, theater for every mood, exotic accents, stately parks, humorous food, royalty looming in the background and a subway system I could experience as amusing novelty rather than logistical necessity. Suddenly, all that went away, the days drew in, the autumn shadows fell, and London became instead about confronting the daily business of living: finding a decent grocery store and dealing with the impossibility of the gas company and learning to say rubbish bin instead of garbage can and having my shoes ruined by the rain.
New York dazzles with its energy; tourist London is that way, too, but the buzz dims quickly when you leave the center of town. While most people in New York live on top of one another in dense neighborhoods tightly packed together, in London they spread far into the distance, in discrete neighborhoods like Richmond and Bermondsey and Kennington, too many to know, each with its own High Street and its own iteration of the same stores: Boots the chain drugstore, Marks & Spencer the chain department store and Next the chain clothing store. Yet each neighborhood also has its own character.
I was lucky enough to sample two: first Islington, where I lived on a quiet little road around the corner from a bustling antiques market and the even more bustling Angel Tube stop. If I was in transition, so was Islington. Its dingy liquor stores, dreary sandwich shops and dodgy betting parlors were giving way to smart artisanal food shops featuring focaccia of the day and baked goods at $8 a go.
But my favorite shop has persevered: Steve Hatt’s fishmonger, a family-run establishment full of siblings and parents and cousins. Perhaps the high point of my time in Islington, besides the time a duck came and hatched her brood in our back garden, was when I bought a piece of salmon that, according to the sign above it, had been caught by old Mr. Hatt himself — the great-grandfather of the current crop of Hatts, I think.
Residents tend to feel more connected to their neighborhoods than to London as a whole, and because it can be an undertaking to travel to another part of town for a social occasion, geography starts to feel like destiny. So when I lived in Kensington, I got used to staying fairly close to home. This meant eating often at Jakob’s, a homey little restaurant and takeout place on Gloucester Road that sold vegetable-centric dishes and salads. It meant visitingItsu, in nearby Notting Hill, a high-concept Japanese restaurant where the sushi swirled past on a conveyor belt. Notting Hill also had two beautiful old movie theaters, the Gate and the Coronet, and all the charm of Greenwich Village, without the crowds (except when Portobello Market was in session, on Fridays and Saturdays).
There was my favorite clothing store on Kensington Church Street, which sold expensive but mercifully non-ill-fitting jeans, and then Ffiona’s, where a wholesome meal with enticing meat dishes and fish and vegetables served family-style was served up by none other than Ffiona herself. We also had, on Gloucester Road, a Partridge’s store that sold all the American foods I missed: Skippy peanut butter, Toll House chocolate chips, breakfast cereals consisting mostly of fluorescent marshmallows.
Three of the city’s best museums for children — the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert, and the Science Museum — were short walks away, and in the park there was a cunning, pirate-themed playground dedicated to Diana, the late Princess of Wales, that my two girls loved when they were little.
We ventured farther afield, of course; we liked especially to take the children to St. Paul’s Cathedral and then across the Millennium Bridge (the city’s best walk, to my mind) and into the Tate Modern gallery, a spectacular building fashioned from a decommissioned power station on the south bank of the Thames. Once we all spontaneously responded to Olafur Eliasson’s giant sun, positioned on a mirrored ceiling, by lying on the ground and basking, as if it we were at the beach.
We went to Shakespeare’s Globe, a facsimile of the 16th-century theater, where seats are cheap and a spot on foot, for theatergoers known as groundlings, is even cheaper. For a day out we might go to Hampstead, a little town unto itself in North London with the wildest park in the city, a place to lose yourself amid the trees.
London grew outward over the years, by happenstance more than design, and so it feels more improvised and less coherent than New York. The current mayor, Boris Johnson, whose baroque speaking style, gaffe-prone behavior and rumpled blond appearance have made him Britain’s most recognizable politician, has done as much as anyone to bring some unity to the city (the Olympics helped, too).
But if New Yorkers think of themselves as a group of people standing together against the world (“We’re New Yorkers, and we are tough,” each New York mayor says after each disaster), Londoners wear their urban identities more lightly, living in the city but not necessarily of it. They tend to belong to where they’re from, not where they are. I never stopped feeling like an impostor, a New Yorker disguised in a sensible English raincoat. Even the most familiar things — Trafalgar Square; the food hall at Harvey Nichols; the best bookstore in the city, Hatchard’s on Piccadilly — felt at a remove, my participation provisional, my conversation in quotation marks.
The natives’ reticence, and the prevalence of small buildings instead of high-rise apartment complexes, promote a feeling of self-containment, even isolation. In New York you live in one another’s pockets and in one another’s faces; your business is their business. In London, people keep themselves to themselves, as the expression goes, and this can feel either liberating or lonely.
I could stroll the paths at Kensington Gardens, or jog past the statue of Prince Albert all the way to Hyde Park, and have only the most glancing interaction with another human being, even though those places were full of them. So I spent a lot of time lost in thought. It was freeing to feel so anonymous, so unfettered — but sometimes it made the heart feel a little empty.
And I got lost all the time. The city’s layout is crazy, as if designed by a drunken alien with a wry sense of humor. I wandered around with my A-Z street map book, wondering which direction I was going in and wishing that the old, strew-breadcrumbs-in-your-wake trick applied to metropolitan areas. Once I spent 45 minutes trying to get from South Kensington to Sloane Square, becoming hopelessly misaligned before I realized I had somehow circled back and was on the same street I started from. The only recourse: jump into a taxi. Once I was stopped by a man in Soho who asked where we were, and desperately pointed at his map. Unfortunately, it was a map of Brussels.
Things you learn as a resident: the Tube, the world’s oldest subway system, is full of jolly announcements exhorting you to “mind the gap” and to not leave your personal belongings unattended, but doesn’t go everywhere; don’t expect, for instance, to travel to Putney or Richmond, without being prepared to walk a great distance to your destination.
Many places (restaurants, dry cleaners) don’t deliver, and shopkeepers are either oleaginously sycophantic or icily contemptuous. I could not have been much older than 35 when I suddenly became known as “madam,” and no one says “madam” with more disdain than a 20-year-old working at Topshop, where, unfortunately, my teenage daughters loved to shop for clothes that would have looked more appropriate on prostitutes.
An inch of snow causes chaos, shutting down traffic across the city. Most stores close by 7; large stores, including Whole Foods (yes, they have come to London) and your local Sainsbury’s supermarket, are open for just six hours on Sundays. It is hard to find a good salad bar, though some areas — around big train stations, in Chinatown — are filled with serendipitous food shops. When using an escalator, stand to the right but walk on the left. We say “mall” to rhyme with “paul;” they say it to rhyme with “pal.”
Harrods is fit only for tourists and the wives of foreign commodities magnates, and the statue of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed downstairs is creepy. Go instead to the shops down Kensington Park Road in Notting Hill, or along the narrow streets of Seven Dials in Covent Garden, or to the crazy stalls of the outdoor market in Camden Town.
Stay away from Buckingham Palace when the changing of the guard takes place at midday — it wreaks havoc on the traffic and they won’t let you cross the street. See as much Shakespeare as you can in the West End, but also at the Globe and in little experimental places like the Print Room, a minute gem of a theater in Notting Hill.
Try not to read The Daily Mail, with its mean stories about immigrants and its lurid pictures of celebrities who have gained or lost weight; read Private Eye magazine, and soon you will delight in its very English cleverness. Learn that there are as many meanings for the word “sorry” as there are hours in the day.
Finally, when you leave the house, dress in layers so that you can add and subtract items according to the vicissitudes of the weather. Get detailed directions, or make your smartphone your friend, so that you do not get lost. And wherever you go, always take an umbrella.
Mornings have been the time I miss Shelby the most. In the quiet, peaceful half darkness of our one room apartment, Shelby and I would snuggle after Michael left for work. I structured my days so I worked from home in the mornings to allow for that special time with her. She is still here, in my heart, but the early morning stillness now feels very lonely. She used to bury her head in my blanket, and now when I bury my head in it, it smells like me, like home, like Shelby.
After a harrowing weekend, we came up with a plan for Monday morning so that we would be together and have structure so that we wouldn’t get consumed by sadness and guilt.
I left with Michael in the morning at 6:30 and went to a yoga class while he caught his train to work. The yoga felt good but I quietly cried my way through class. By the time I got to the office at 8:30, I felt like I didn’t have enough left in me. I thought we needed to leave town, sell the apartment, change our lives in order to get past the inexplicable tragedy. I spent a couple hours planning a trip out of town for us this weekend crying every time a hotel said “dog friendly” on it, knowing that Shelby would have loved to be with us there.
But then around 1pm yesterday, some switch clicked and I felt completely detached, zero emotions. I could reread my post about Shelby, look at photos, think about her and feel nothing. That’s where I am now and it feels strange. I know that it’s part of some cycle of grief and I will feel different ups and downs throughout the process.
But for now, I am at home alone, drinking my coffee, going through my morning emails, just like I would have done before except Shelby isn’t by my side trying to get some extra few minutes of sleep before she goes out for her morning walk.
One of the greatest points of solace I can find is thinking about all the dogs we saw at the pound on Sunday. Rows upon rows of them who will never ever get to have a real home and know what it is like to be loved and cared for. Then, to think, we gave Shelby that. If we hadn’t taken her in, she would never have experienced that.
Even though her time was so limited and we lost her too soon, she did get to have happiness and comfort in her life which is so much more than so many of those other dogs get. She was lucky in that regard and we were lucky to have her.
Michael and I are struggling right now. Every part of our lives was shaped around Shelby and it is so empty without her. Our little apartment feels like the darkest place in the world. We spent the day out yesterday, even trying to look for another dog.
Michael had seen a dog on Saturday morning when he went to look for Shelby at the Animal Care Center who looked a lot like our girl but was younger and he thought she might be Shelby’s daughter. We think Shelby had at least one litter of babies. We went back yesterday to see if the dog was still there but she was gone - adopted out or picked up by her owner, maybe. We tried to look at other dogs but all we were really looking for was our girl. Too soon.
We will get another dog again as I truly feel that’s the best thing we can do to honor Shelby. She was an unwanted little creature who had had such a rough life for so long and we want to give another dog a chance at something better. Nothing will take the place in our hearts where Shelby will always be but we will try to move forward with life as much as we can.
In the meantime, it’s just one moment at a time as we try to understand why and accept our new reality.
Michael and I are reeling right now. Our darling girl, Shelby, was hit by a car and killed on Friday night.
We first met Shelby at the Humane Society in mid-May. After 5 years of convincing, I had gotten Michael on board with adopting a dog. We had looked at a couple of adoption events but never saw a dog that we felt particularly connected to. We met with, Bonnie, the Adoption Director at the Humane Society and went over what kind of dog would be a good fit for us. She said that they didn’t have any dogs with them now that would work but she’d be in touch. As an aside, at the very end of our meeting I mentioned that we didn’t mind a shy dog. A lightbulb went off for Bonnie and she said that she just might have the dog for us.
Ritchie, her handler who she was strongly attached to, brought her out for us to meet. She was so shy she wouldn’t look at us but just stood there and let us pet her. There was something about her quiet demeanor that we liked. Honestly, I think we just connected with her and knew that even though she was too shy to look at us that day that she would come around. We started the adoption process but because we were planning to be out of town for Memorial Day weekend we decided we’d bring her home after that. So we had three weeks in between when we decided she was the dog for us and when she came home. I went to the Humane Society every day to see her and walk her. She was still very unsure with me but gradually started to warm up a little bit.
On the day I brought her home, she was nervous but within a day had attached herself very strongly to me. With Michael, it took a little longer because he was working long hours so not seeing her as much. But in time, she grew very attached to Michael as well and during his break from work this summer, they were like two peas in a pod. Sleeping in together late into the mornings, hanging out at the park all afternoon, watching TV together in the evenings.
Shelby had a troubled background - she had been dropped off at the Humane Society with three other dogs by an unknown person who had received them after their owner died. Apparently, there were 10 dogs in the household but these were the three that the person decided not to keep. Shelby was bullied by these three dogs and showed behavioral indications that she had been aggressively bullied by the other dogs in her household and potentially abused by humans. She was very skittish, very untrusting, would cower but then show signs of aggression out of fear. She was a complicated dog and it was because of her profound needs that our bond was so strong with her.
She loved us intensely and fervently. From early on, when she realized this was her home and we were her family, she never wanted to be apart from us. Her excitement at seeing us return was the joy of our days. She did her dinosaur legs dance - she would flail her long skinny legs at us while ricocheting off the bed-couch-front door. Then, she would turn on her back and curl her front legs up so they look like little stubby tyranosaurus rex arms so we could pet her belly. Sometimes when I would come home she would cry with excitement or make funny moaning sounds.
She had learned to carry her tail high when she walked and knew her neighborhood. She had her bathroom spots and dogs that she was okay with and dogs that she hated. She had places she loved to smell. She would also do this hilarious move when she saw an odd person (our neighborhood is full of them) - she would twist her neck all the way back at a 180 degree angle and walk forward while staring at people looking backwards. It drew a lot of attention - usually from people we didn’t want attention from. But still, it was hilarious and always made us laugh. When she was tired or unsure she would stop and reach her front legs up on one of us, looking for reassurance. That was always my favorite moment with her. At a stoplight, feeling little dog legs on my thigh and seeing her big, round eyes looking up at me.
Friday was a weird day for a number of reasons. I was flying out to Minneapolis for my cousin’s wedding so she would be home alone for much longer than normal - 8 hours. I took her for two walks on Friday morning before I left but for some reason I didn’t take her on the normal route. I took her west and north instead of east and south. She was very anxious all morning, I suspect, because I had the suitcase out so she knew I was going somewhere.
When Michael came home she was beyond excited because she had been home all day alone and he just wanted to get her outside as soon as possible so she could go to the bathroom. For longer walks, we would always use her harness but for shorter walks - like before bedtime - we would use her collar. Partly, because it was easier to get on and partly because the harness rubbed her fur off. She had delicate skin under her arms and even with the super soft mesh harness, it would rub her so we always tried to rotate between the collar and harness.
Her anxiety level was higher on Friday evening’s walk because Mom was gone and she spooked at the site/sound of an ambulance - something she would hear every day since there is a firehouse behind us and hospitals a block away. The way she jerked her head and pulled, trying to back away from the ambulance, allowed her to slip her little head out of her collar.
Then she entered panic mode and just started running full speed ahead, away from Michael, crossing the street multiple times in front of traffic. Michael chased her until one crossing the light turned green for oncoming traffic and he couldn’t get across to catch her. He assumed she’d be trying to loop back towards home so started to follow her based on that assumption.
At that point he called me. I was sitting in the reception for my cousin’s wedding and received multiple 911 texts from him so I stepped out and hid in the bathroom. I suggested he get the neighbor ladies to help on foot (the woman downstairs, Marie, and our floor neighbor, Harriet), who both knew and cared for Shelby. At this point we were going under the assumption that as soon as she had stopped being chased she would find a place to hide. Michael spent all night on foot walking the area, looking under cars and bushes; he made posters and went building-to-building passing them out and putting them up all over our neighborhood; he sat outside our building on a folding camp chair until 4am in case she found her way home once it had gotten quieter out.
From Minneapolis, I called friends to come over and help Michael search; I registered her missing with Animal Care and Control in case she was picked up; I made a Craigslist post on Lost & Found and checked it every 15 minutes; I signed up on other lost dog registries; I tried to get my flight changed from Sunday to the first flight out on Saturday morning. I couldn’t get confirmation for that but went to the airport at 5am on Saturday anyway and a very kind woman at American Airlines squeezed me onto it. The flight ended up being delayed so I didn’t get out until 9am but still, I was on my way home to find my girl.
All that morning, before departure, Michael and I were on the phone together coming up with new ideas. He went up to Animal Care & Control when it opened at 8am and then to the ASPCA. I called the 24 hour animal hospital and left messages at the Humane Society. My flight took off in between his trip to ACC and ASPCA so I didn’t know what news would await me when I landed.
I called Michael as soon as we touched ground and he asked if I was sitting down. He said that Shelby had been hit by a car and died. He had received a text message from someone in the neighborhood who had seen his poster and who had seen her get hit. The person who texted said that four people helped her and took her somewhere. Simultaneously, Michael received a call from the Humane Society. Her microchip was linked to them so they had gotten the call from the vet hospital. Apparently, she had been struck minutes after Michael lost her in pursuit but she had gone south west (away from the apartment) instead of north (towards the apartment) as he had logically assumed. I wonder if my abnormal route that morning threw her off and she ran towards 3rd Avenue instead of 2nd Avenue as a result. We will never know but she was clearly panicked and running on pure flight mode.
There was a doctor nearby that tried CPR on her and three other ladies, who held her. They got a police car to drive them to the nearest animal hospital. She was being held by two women who assured us, when I spoke to them yesterday, that she was comforted and loved in that moment. She died either on the way or upon first arriving at the hospital. We went yesterday to identify her, just for our own sake, so we wouldn’t have any doubts that it was her.
Friday was St. Francis of Assisi day in the Catholic Church. It is a day when you can bring your pets to the church to be blessed. We had it in our calendar and on Friday I had asked Michael earlier in the day if he was going to take her but he didn’t think he’d have time. Yesterday afternoon, in our grief, we didn’t know what to do so we looked up the mass times at the St. Francis church on the westside and went over for a 5pm service. We had never been there before. On our way out we passed our neighbor, Marie, who was on her way to the church to donate bread and give a prayer for Shelby and her dog who passed away from cancer in April. It was a special moment and we felt like Shelby was with us.
To many people, this degree of sadness and grief will seem gratuitous for a dog. But Shelby was our family. We do not have children, we live in a tiny apartment and we shared our little home with her. She had such strong emotional needs and we did too and we all loved each so hard. My heart would hurt sometimes at how much I loved her. I can’t imagine loving another living thing, human or dog, as much as I loved her. We took her everywhere with us - she got to visit 9 states, go to the beach, ride metro north, the subway, the ferry, the bus, airplanes, sit with us outside at restaurants, lay with us on lazy Sundays in bed.
She is my girl and I will love her and miss her the rest of my life.
I was re-reading some posts on my blog from last year when we were still living in London and came across my writing assignments for the travel writing course I took in the fall. This piece about New York was accurate then and is still accurate now. It’s funny to read in a different frame of mind, though.
How the Heck Do You Go About Buying an Apartment in Manhattan?
As most of those who read here know, I am a real estate agent in NYC. I am at the point in life when everyone around me is starting families and getting ready to buy their first apartments, so I get a ton of questions from friends asking how you go about buying an apartment in NYC.
I am going to attempt to answer the most frequent questions I hear from first-time home buyers.
Because of the dominance of co-op buildings in the city (roughly 85% of residential housing in Manhattan), NYC is a truly unique housing market that requires specific knowledge of the purchase process. It can also be incredibly overwhelming - especially in the current climate where inventory is at extremely low levels and buyers are forced to make aggressive and quick decisions. Knowledge and preparation are key!
Let’s dig into the main questions:
What are the differences between co-ops and condos?
Co-ops (short for “cooperatives”) are apartment buildings owned by a corporation. Technically, they are not considered real estate. Individual tenants do not own the four walls around them, instead they own shares of stock in the corporation. These shares are apportioned based on the size and floor level of each apartment, and ownership is established by a stock certificate and occupancy is governed by a “proprietary lease.” The corporation pays all real estate taxes, maintenance expenses, and the underlying mortgage on the building. The amount a shareholder pays towards these expenses is directly related to the number of shares he/she owns in the corporation. Monthly maintenance expenses are partially tax deductible for the shareholder. Tax deductibility varies depending on the building but it is usually around 50%.
Condos are considered real property (unlike co-ops) – you own the four walls around you and are subject to “real property” transfer taxes that you do not incur in the sale of a co-op. In New York City, each condo has its own tax lot and block number. Areas not part of a particular apartment – like the lobby and hallways – are called common elements. Typically, each unit owner owns a specified percentage of the common elements. As a result, the entire property is owned, collectively, by the unit owners. In addition, the unit owners collectively pay the building’s operating expenses through monthly common charges. Each owner is responsible for his or her own real estate taxes. In some condominiums, the unit owner owns the surface of the interior walls and the space that surface encloses. In others, the unit extends to the center of the demising walls – that is, walls separating two apartments — and to the center of any exterior walls.
How do I know what my budget is for an apartment?
There are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind before beginning the search process:
Housing costs, including maintenance and mortgage costs, should not exceed 25% of the buyer’s gross income. The standard qualifying rule in co-ops is: liquid assets (cash in the bank, money market funds, marketable securities) should be at least 2 years mortgage and maintenance costs after the purchase of the apartment.
For instance, if your combined mortgage and maintenance is $4,000/month then you would need to have at a minimum: $96,000 in liquid assets after closing.
After determining your budget from your own assets, you need to speak with a mortgage broker and/or bank to determine what kind of mortgage you qualify for.
After I have been pre-qualified for a mortgage, what do I do?
The next step is to find a real estate attorney and start the search process. You will want to choose an attorney before you begin the search process in case you find an apartment right away and need to get contracts drawn up and executed in a short time frame. If you wait to find an attorney until you find the apartment, you could lose out on an opportunity if time is wasted between the accepted offer and the contract signing.
What is the expected timeline and process for purchasing an apartment?
The search process can take anywhere from 1 day to many years depending on what you are looking for. The average is about 3 months of active searching, seeing about 20-25 apartments.
Before making an offer, your agent will get the building financials for your attorney to review to make sure the building is financially solid. Once the financials have been reviewed, the negotiation process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on how much back and forth is involved.
Once an offer is accepted, the contract needs to be executed (signed by both sides) as soon as possible. The apartment is still “up for grabs” until both parties have signed the contract.
Mortgage applications require a fully executed contract to be processed, so the next immediate step after contract signing is to apply for a mortgage and receive the Commitment Letter from your lender. Simultaneously, your agent will begin putting together the board package or condo application.
Co-op board packages can take anywhere from 10-20 days to put together; condo applications typically take a little less time depending on how extensive the application is. Most co-op boards request the following information with comprehensive supporting documentation: full financial disclosure, employment history, current salary, personal and business references, complete tax returns for the previous 2 years and credit history.
After the package has been compiled with all supporting verification documentation, your agent will have her manager and the listing agent review it before submitting to the building’s managing agent for review. The building’s managing agent then submits to the Board for final review.
If the Board wants to continue with the approval process, they will invite you for an interview usually within a week to a month from the invitation point. If the buyer has a dog, some Boards will request that they meet the dog at the interview.
Approval after the Board interview usually comes quickly – from one day to one week.
After approval, next up is scheduling a closing. This can sometimes take a few weeks to schedule because there are many parties involved: buyer’s lawyer, seller’s lawyer, bank’s lawyer, brokers, managing agent and title company.
The general time frame from accepted offer to closing in a co-op is 3 months and 2 months in a condo.
The most unusual part of the purchase process in NYC is the extensive Board Package required when buying an apartment in a co-op building. It can be very cumbersome and generally requires the buyer and his/her agent to be very patient and detail-oriented. Board Packages can make or break a deal.
Comment on this post with specific questions or visit my agent webpage for more information:
Somehow, in all my time in NYC, I was unaware of CSA farm shares that happen all over the city. Small, local farms pair up with CSAs and “members” (that’s the consumer) join. Vegetables are distributed either weekly or monthly and the member pays a fee for their share per season. I just signed up for a Winter Share to be picked up once a month at the 14th Street Y. It’s cheaper than buying grocery store vegetables, comes from a local, organic farm and helps to bring produce to communities in the city that might not otherwise have access to high quality vegetables.
To find a CSA in your neighborhood of the city, visit this website: