How to Make an Offer on an Apartment in NYC

Buyer presenting a seller an offer of a suitcase full of cash with a letter wrapped in bow on top

Every NYC buyer gets to the point where they’ve found the right apartment but aren't sure how to make an offer. Who do they contact? What documents are needed? What terms should be included? Don’t worry - Yoreevo’s got you covered!

How to come up with your offer amount
Who should communicate your offer?
What documents are required to make an offer in NYC?
What terms should be included with your offer?
How long does the offer process take?
Including a letter to the sellers with your offer

How to come up with your offer amount

When you’re getting ready to make an offer, the offer amount is obviously pretty important! 

Ideally you’ll be working with an agent who will help you take a number of factors into account when determining how much you’ll offer. Most important will be the unit’s comps but there are a number of other factors to keep in mind including how long the property has been on the market, what you can afford and how competitive the situation is.

The comps and other factors will only help establish a reasonable range for the property. You'll then come up with a specific offer amount based on how much you want it. If it’s a property you could live without, the lower end of the range probably makes sense. But if you’ll lose sleep if someone else gets it, you should be a little more aggressive. Only you can make that determination.

If anyone tells you an apartment is worth a specific price and not a dollar more or a dollar less, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Who should communicate your offer?

Your agent should handle all of the communication to the listing agent. Working with a good buyer’s agent will help you come up with the reasonable valuation range, assemble your offer and answer your questions throughout the process. They’ll also help ask the right questions about the property and make sure you’re not missing anything.

And if you work with Yoreevo, you’ll get all those services plus a commission rebate for up to 2% of the purchase price!

We know there are buyers who like to be in control and would prefer to deal with the listing agent directly when submitting an offer but for a variety of reasons, that is not recommended.

What documents are required to make an offer in NYC?

In order to make an offer in NYC, you’ll need two documents.

The first is proof that you can actually purchase the apartment. 

For most buyers, this will be a pre-approval letter from a lender. The pre-approval will say how much of a loan you should qualify for and at what purchase price. A pre-approval is different than a pre-qualification even though both terms get thrown around interchangeably. Getting a pre-approval is more involved and is considered more credible. For more information on this topic, check out this post.

If you’ll be purchasing the apartment with cash, the listing agent and seller will want to see that you actually have the cash. This is called “proof of funds.” Simply providing a recent account statement showing you have enough cash to purchase the property will get the job done.

And regardless of whether you’re financing or not, you’ll need to provide a REBNY financial statement. This is to give the seller and listing agent a rough snapshot of your financials. It’s more important in co-ops where you need to be approved by the board but is generally required for condos as well. For a REBNY financial statement template, click here.

What terms should be included with your offer?

Your offer should be as specific as possible. You don’t need to get carried away - after reaching an accepted offer, your attorney will hammer out all the details - but make sure to include these items with your offer.

  • Price
  • Down payment
  • Any contingencies (financing, need to sell)
  • Targeted closing date
  • If you would like to do an inspection

We also like to include your attorney’s information. It’s a good way to show the seller you’re serious and ready to get the contract started immediately after reaching an accepted offer. For more on what happens after you reach an accepted offer, click here

How long does the offer process take?

Every seller and every negotiation is different but usually you’ll know if you have a deal within a few days. The timeline will also depend on you. Some buyers will turn around counter offers in five minutes, others like to sleep on it.

Not surprisingly, some sellers take longer if they’re out of the country, busy or otherwise hard to get ahold of. Regardless, you should be getting an update from the listing agent at least once a day. 

Including a letter to the sellers with your offer

Some buyers like to add a personal touch to their offer and include a letter to the sellers. This usually has a little background on themselves and what they love about the house.

As squishy as it sounds, it can be the difference maker in tight races. Sellers are often emotionally attached to their homes and want to make sure it’ll be in good hands. If you can convince the seller you’re the right buyer, it may cause you to come out on top!

Here's a sample letter you can use when submitting an offer - 

 

March 20, 2020

Dear Seller of 123 Main Street,

I first want to thank you for considering my offer to purchase your lovely home.

From the moment I stepped into the apartment, I knew it was the one for me. In particular, I fell in love with the kitchen. You've done an incredible job renovating the entire apartment but the kitchen is simply sublime. I'm an aspiring (amateur) chef and am already dreaming of taking advantage of the incredible counterspace and working through the many recipes I have in backlog.

I have been looking for an apartment for about six months and been exceptionally picky. I want the apartment I purchase to truly be a home, a place where I can stay for years. Hopefully 123 Main Street can be just that.

If you have any questions at all about me, our offer or anything else, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Sam Buyer
917-555-1234
sam.buyer@gmail.com