Buying a Home in the West Village

Buying a Home in the West Village

  • The Mark O'Brien Team
  • 03/22/23

The West Village, NYC, is a vibrant community and a fantastic place to buy a home. It’s home to incredible restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, galleries, and attractions like Washington Square Park and the Whitney Museum. If you’re considering an investment in West Village real estate, read on for a comprehensive guide from The Mark O’Brien Team.

The appeal of the West Village

There are so many reasons locals love living in the West Village. When you buy a home in the West Village, you also buy into the neighborhood’s energy and atmosphere. The area has a little bit of everything, from its historic charm to a bustling nightlife scene. 

As you consider moving to this Gold Coast neighborhood, what are some of the best perks you can expect to enjoy?

You have more than you think

As a newcomer to the West Village, you’ll fall in love with this serendipitous neighborhood. While some might be tempted to move away or seek out “more space” throughout the years, nothing can quite compare to the charm of the West Village, and many spend their entire lives here.  

When I moved here in the ‘90s, I bought a rooftop apartment that was 700 square feet inside and 1,000 square feet of outdoor space high on the 16th floor overlooking Greenwich Village. The unit was purchased through an estate sale from the gentleman that wrote Guys and Dolls. While it needed a gut renovation, it was well worth the investment. We had our first child while living there, and my mother-in-law was staying over and insisted on sleeping in a nice tent on the roof. For the record, the roof terrace was very private and secure, and the tent was similar to a yurt. Long story short: what the neighborhood may lack in extra bedrooms, it more than makes up for in unforgettable memories.

A niche for your inner artist

The West Village overflows with lively ways to experience art and express yourself. The neighborhood is the site of HB Studio, which has improv classes I can recommend from experience. Students come from all walks of life, and by the end of the year, you will have made new best friends. 

New York City has about 1,400 art galleries, many of which you can find in the West Village. The community offers plenty of other fun events, from walking tours and guided meditation programs to comedy shows and world-class jazz clubs, like Smalls Jazz Club on W. 10th St. Whatever your interests are, you can find like-minded people to connect with.

Historic charm

The West Village community of New York City is steeped in history and is home to classic brownstones, cobblestone streets, quaint gardens, and carriage houses with hidden gardens tucked down covered alleyways. It’s the perfect place for anyone who appreciates the charm of old-world architecture.

Unbeatable location

The West Village is conveniently located near various transportation options – which is great for your friends and family, as you will have plenty of visitors wanting to hang in your hood, guaranteed! Hip shops, great restaurants, and fun entertainment spots are plentiful here. Whether hopping on the subway, grabbing a coffee at a local cafe, or taking a stroll through Washington Square Park, you'll never be bored in this vibrant and bustling community. Walk to the Whitney Museum to view an array of exhibitions from talented artists. You’ll also find exhibition tours for numerous artists, contemporary art workshops, art parties, and theater and concert renditions.

What to know before purchasing

As you prepare to buy a home in the West Village, keep in mind that there are several steps you’ll need to take even before you start browsing homes. Make sure you’re financially prepared with a down payment (typically 20%) and be knowledgeable about the extra expenses and closing costs involved with purchasing a property. Our team consists of advisors that will help you understand all the costs involved, including mortgage rates, legal costs, closing costs, co-op or condo costs like flip tax, assessments, and what a co-op will require in terms of debt to income and post-closing liquidity. It sounds overwhelming, but we help you with every step.

Be excited!

If you’re excited about moving to New York City, I understand how you feel. Years ago, I was looking to rent in the city but found an opportunity to buy via the NY Times classifieds. Why rent when you could buy? I’m dating myself, I know, but the adage holds true today. The property I purchased was in Chelsea before the neighborhood became a hip place to live. It was a small studio apartment with a fireplace, elevator, and dishwasher. At the time, the best restaurant was Florent, an unpretentious diner where creatives and activists met over late-night snacks, early-morning reveries, and burgers anytime. Ultimately I made a great return on investment, which sent me on a journey up the property investment ladder.

Property taxes / HOA (also called common charges)

NYC is 70% co-op and 30% condo, brownstone, or townhouse. They all appreciate at about the same pace. A co-op will cost slightly less, and the closing cost is slightly less than a condo or free-standing building. When viewing a co-op, you will see one number labeled HOA or Common Charges, and this number includes taxes. A condo listing will show you two separate numbers, and often you have to search through the listing to find the tax number. To this day, I'm not sure why these large search engines make this difficult for everyone, but it's all there, and a good broker will make this effortless.

Talk to a NYC Mortgage Broker

Again, NYC is 70% co-op, and you need a banker that really understands co-ops. We have a team of bankers who can help you shop for the best rate. Plan on a minimum of 20% down, as the co-op will not allow less. When buying a condo, your banker will tell you if the bank will allow for 10% down, but a co-op is 20% minimum. I'm happy to jump on a call to discuss these details.

Find the best mortgage rate

Buyers don’t have to work with the first lender they find. It’s worthwhile to spend time researching and interviewing multiple lenders to see what options are available to them. Some lenders may provide higher loans, while others offer lower interest rates.

Be prepared: you will need pre-approval to make an offer. Your agent should recommend you shop mortgage brokers for different rates without requesting pre-approval. This is because your credit score will get dinged every time a bank checks your credit. I can recommend a few of the best mortgage brokers to save you time on research.

Ready to jump in?

When you set out to invest in West Village real estate, work with a top-notch team who knows the area inside and out. If you’re ready to work with the best, reach out to me, New York City real estate broker Mark O’Brien of The Mark O’Brien Team.

As a top real estate development group and brokerage, The Mark O’Brien Team is an experienced, knowledgeable, and high-producing group of professionals who will take the time to understand your real estate goals. With comprehensive insight into the local market, we know how to guide buyers through each step of the investment process. So if you’re ready to explore more of what the West Village can offer, reach out today!

*Header photo courtesy of The Mark O’Brien Team

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Having lived and worked in New York City for more than 30 years, I offer experience of the all-important, yet often imperceptible, nuances of each neighborhood. Finding the city's hidden gems is one of my greatest passions, and am driven by creating real value on behalf of my grateful and loyal clientele.

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