Having lived here for 38 years I can attest that New York City living has an addictive quality. How else can you explain the phenomenon in which people who happily spend most of their time in the suburbs or out-of-state even or out of the country choose to purchase pieds-a-terre here within the city? These secondary, part-time NYC abodes prove that just a little bit of city living is better than none. Are you thinking of purchasing a pied-a-terre? Consider these ten questions beforehand.

1.  First and foremost, you want to understand if the building you want to live in allows Pieds-A-Terre.

This is an obvious question but it bears asking because many buildings, especially older and more traditional coops restrict purchasers who don’t plan to use the apartment as their primary residence.  Do your homework before and work with a qualified broker who has experience selling in all sorts of buildings around the city to ensure your purchase runs smoothly.

2. How will your apartment be used and who will be using it?

The board and management is most concerned with how often you plan to be there and who will have access to it when you are not.  You should always give them your clear intentions and be sensitive to what their expectations are and how they want the resident makeup of the building to remain.

3. Are you allowed to sublet?

Understandably, most buildings have very specific rules in place about guests and renters.  1 year minimum leases are standard and some buildings restrict guests to live there other than your immediate family.  Co-ops can restrict the length of time that the apartment can be rented so if you plan rent it out majority of the time this is to be understood before entering a purchase.

4.  What amenities are important to you?

While it is certain to be more expensive, buying an apartment in a full service doorman building can give you a sense of security that may be worth the price. Also, if you will not be there full time it may be worth it to have the added security and someone to receive packages or other deliveries when you don’t have regular access to the apartment.

5. Is your pet welcome?

Even in a pet friendly building, most buildings have breed and size requirements.

6. Are you going to be working from your second home?

Even if you are self employed, if you plan to work from your second home you need to get board approval especially if it brings foot traffic.

7. Are you planning to make renovations?

If you are going to be renovating, don’t forget that you need to get approval before anything happens.

8. What neighborhood in New York City will fit you best?

Street by street, block by block, the city can change drastically. You want to choose a broker that has an extensive knowledge not only of the neighborhood makeup but the building makeup within.  Consider where you will be spending most of your time in the City and also how you will be arriving to and from.  Will you need parking? What airport will you be flying into etc.

9. Do you need financing? Are you an International buyer?

Getting financing to purchase a secondary residence can be a tricky proposition these days.  It if is a second home, it needs to be at least 60 miles from your primary residence in order to get a fixed rate loan. Having worked with several international buyers, financing and fund transfer can be tricky to navigate.  Having someone direct your purchase who has experience working with International buyers will give you access to resources that will make your purchase that much more successful and your experience much less stressful.

10. Who will fix repairs if needed?

Generally, secondary residences endure less wear and tear.  However, the last thing you want to happen is for something to happen which requires immediate attention and repair and you only hear about it after it was too late.  Give a friend or a neighbor an extra set of keys in case of an emergency or at the very least make sure the management company has your immediate contact information while you are away.

For more tips and guidance on purchasing your pied-a-terre in New York City reach out to me.
I am happy to answer any questions and will happily discuss your options.