After getting a ping from an old friend who’s a concert pianist and DJ in New York, I learned a lot about the real estate market in NYC and I am so thankful that I live here in SF.

There are major differences from what we do here in SF. There’s a lot more placed on customer service and cooperation here in SF than out there; also important is that it’s more customer-friendly here than there. With that said, here is how I undersand it:

(1) There isn’t an industry agreed-upon listing service where you can find all of the listings in the area. You’ll have to look at Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia for example and look at broker websites too.

(2) Once you decide on your agent, you stick with that agent. I hope you’ll pick one of the ones I suggested as I’d get a small referral fee from the commission too.

(3) Speaking of commissions, like here (and everywhere) the seller pays it and it ranges from 5 to 6 percent of the transaction price.

(4) NYC escrow periods last 45 to 60 days (ours is 30 to 45).

(5) A purchase process will roughly follow this timeline:

Meet Agent(s), decide who you like (up to you)
Visit open houses, i.d., the one you want (3 minutes to 3 years!)

Agent will conduct back-and-forth verbal negotiations with the seller’s agent (5-7 days)

After the terms are generally agreed to a ‘term/deal sheet’ is prepared listing all the salient terms

You must put down a non-refundable, unconditioned 10 percent deposit (eek! We only do 3 and it’s refundable)

You submit to a heinously intrusive review process from the condo/co-op board where you submit a huge amount of info….

The deal documents and related docs are sent to an outside lawyer who then drafts a contract (we have standard fill-in-the-blank forms and lawyers don’t have to be involved) (5-7 days).

Documents come back and the deal is signed, THEN you start the financing process…. (10-20 days)

While it seems a bit involved to me, it’s a fast-moving process. To me, I’d want to have more customer service than not from my agent, which is why (among the three I reached out to) Brendon, who’s from San Francisco, is on this list. While he’s been there a shorter time then the others he’s got the fact that he’s with CORE and the fact that he practiced out here going for him.

Another reason why you want someone with experience and a good is because there are relatively few disclosures that NY sellers are obligated to make to you (i.e., spotting issues like needing new windows, that a new development is being built that will block your view/construction noise, or that the old roof needs to be replaced soon, etc.)

But while there’s no obligation for them to disclose items that we require here as a matter of course – a seller can’t lie to you when you do ask about something. You just need to know to ask! I’ve attached the emails I got back from the three people I contacted – Eve, Brendon and Tom. Take a look at then and judge for yourself what you think.