A lot of New Yorkers dream of living in one of many iconic brownstones. If you are choosing to buy in NYC, a brownstone might be a perfect choice for you. Although you will be responsible for the upkeep and you won’t have amenities such as a doorman or concierge, you will enjoy a lot of privacy and autonomy. We’ve prepared several tips for buyers looking to purchase brownstones to make the buying process easier for you.
What to have in mind before purchasing a brownstone?
Buying a brownstone is different than buying a condo or NYC co-op. If you haven’t had the experience so far, here are the things you should know before making your purchase:
Maintenance is your responsibility – When you own a brownstone, you have to keep in mind that you are the only one responsible for maintenance and repairs. As there is no superintendent to call when you have issues, you must be prepared to handle them independently.
There are no amenities you might be used to – If you are used to having a doorman or concierge to handle your deliveries, you might be disappointed to hear they are not an option when you live in a brownstone. However, there are plenty of solutions to work around this.
You need to check for legal designation – Before you make your purchase, you need to research the legal designation. What does this mean? In some cases, a three-family designation is actually a two-family setup, so if you plan to buy and then rent a part of your brownstone, you need to check its legal use.
Tips for buyers looking to purchase brownstones
If you set your mind to purchasing a brownstone, below you can read our tips that will hopefully make your purchase as smooth as possible.
But, before you move into your dream townhouse, you should think about the relocation process. Nowadays, it’s more important than ever to think about the environment, so you should consider green relocation options. Experienced and reliable movers are the key to moving sustainably.
Hire a good real estate agent
One of the essential tips for buyers looking to purchase brownstones is to hire an experienced real estate agent. Make sure to do your research and hire an agent with experience in selling or buying, specifically brownstones, as they’ll be able to help you avoid real estate mistakes.
By hiring a good real estate agent, you will have someone knowledgeable to negotiate the price on your behalf. They will have information about the relevant documentation you need to provide. On top of that, they can also give you honest advice about whether you should purchase a specific home or not.
Know the local market
Another important thing you should do is to research the local real estate market. You can look into prices of similar homes online, or you can even ask around the neighborhood you’re interested in. It’s important to be aware of home prices in the specific area as you want to be sure you’re paying a fair price for the home you’re getting.
The best way to go is to consult your real estate agent. They have better access to relevant information. Therefore, they can easily find out the current prices of homes that are similar to the one you’re interested in. Also, they will be able to tell you if the market favors buyers or sellers and if it’s a good time for you to make such a significant investment.
Brace yourself for a potential bidding war
It might come as a surprise, but townhouses, brownstones included, are a prevalent choice, especially among first-time home buyers. Therefore, you need to prepare for a potential bidding war as there could be many people interested in the same property as you.
To prepare for a situation like this, make sure to set the maximum you’re willing to pay. No matter how hard, make sure to stick to that number. There is always a chance someone will outbid you, but the best part about real estate is that you can always count on a downturn. You will be happy to know that townhouse and condo prices tend to fall the fastest when that happens.
Research best mortgage rates and get preapproved for financing
This is one of the tips for buyers looking to purchase brownstones you don’t want to skip. It’s imperative to do your research and find out the average mortgage rate in the US. Don’t rush and choose the first lender you run into. Make sure to compare the mortgage rates with at least three or four lenders before making your choice.
It might not seem like a huge difference now. However, when you look at it long-term, even a portion of the percentage could save you thousands of dollars over the duration of the loan.
Before buying your new home, make sure to get preapproved as this will bring you many advantages. If nothing, you will have an insight into what you can afford, which can help you compete with other buyers.
Hire a home inspector
Last but not least, make sure to get a home inspection before making your offer. A home could be well-staged but have many hidden problems that only a professional home inspector can spot.
Therefore, make sure to have everything thoroughly checked, both inside and outside of the brownstone. If there are any interior or exterior issues, make sure to have them addressed and resolved before buying. You can either negotiate the repair costs to be deducted from the initial price. Or, even better, have the seller deal with them before you sign the contract and buy the place.
Living in a brownstone is undoubtedly a unique experience. We hope that you liked our tips for buyers looking to purchase brownstones. We wish you the best of luck with buying your dream home, and may you create many happy memories there!