During StreetEasy Buyers Week, we’re rounding up insider tips for NYC buyers on a variety of topics from those who live and breath this city’s home buying process every day: Real estate agents.

Today’s question:

“What’s the most overlooked piece of the home buying process?”

Building Your Team

“Having the right team in place to usher you through the process. Finding the opportunity is just the tip of the iceberg. Negotiating the offer, getting the right price, reviewing due diligence material for the building, avoiding any potential pitfalls and having the right financing team in place for those seeking a mortgage are all key components to the process. The right agent will have these assets at the ready to prove for a smooth process.”

Josh Rubin, Douglas Elliman

“The importance of choosing a real estate-specific attorney.  Most people know an attorney through friends and relatives, but buyers should be aware that retaining the services of a co-op/condo-specific real estate attorney who is experienced in representing buyers is extremely important. The inherent conflicts of interest between purchasers and sellers make this a requirement in NYC.  Once the contracts are signed, the rights and obligations of the parties are fixed.  Buyers should hire a qualified attorney before negotiations are supposed to start.”

Takk Yamaguchi, Compass

Prequalification is Not Preapproval

“The most overlooked/underestimated piece is getting prequalified vs. getting preapproved. Many buyers are not spending enough time with the bankers and sending the most important information to get approved; which leads to more accurate answer to how much they can afford. I see many buyers looking for two or three months with a prequalification only to find out later they are not able to get that loan amount when they finally sit with a banker and go through the preapproval process. This causes disappointment and heartache because there dream home is not attainable.”

Michael Napolitano, RE/Max

Understanding the Timeline 

“The time it takes to buy a place is completely underestimated. From finding the right apartment to winning the bid, followed by working through financing all the way to closing… it takes a lot of commitment. There will be many speed bumps that come up, and it requires perseverance to keep pushing forward.”

Bernard Klein, Blooming Sky

Don’t Overlook Insurance 

“Understanding insurance coverage is constantly overlooked and never understood to the degree necessary until it needs to be used. Home buyers need to pay attention to actual cash value verses replacement cost. Home buyers need to ask how to customize their policy beyond the basic needs to any potential future loss needs.”

Jacqueline Edwards, Perfect Quarters


If you’re thinking about buying in NYC, check out Buyers Week for more agent tips and need-to-know information about the process.