New York City is a complex place to bring your business and it takes a lot of courage. But the rewards can be huge and there are professionals out there who can give you an inside view of the city.

We talked to two top brokers and celebrities in their fields, Elissa Slan and Christine Traina of Douglas Elliman, the over 100-year-old international agency with global reach to find out what’s current in NYC real estate.

Slan is an award-winning residential broker with over 20 years of experience. “I can tell you how this city works,” she says. Slan knows every corner of New York City.

She knows all about condominiums, co-ops, townhouses and brownstones, especially for foreign buyers and renters, and also specializes in investments. Sales are the creative part of her work.

In packed NYC – where ‘time is money’ is an incredibly accurate stereotype – there is less than a one percent availability in rentals. “What you see in the morning will be gone by the afternoon,” says Slan. “But I can get you a home in three days.” Leases are usually for 1 or 2 years.

She knows how to find special deals that can partially offset the high costs of real estate: some buildings give incentives, such as price reductions on rent, gyms and other amenities. Every 20 blocks, however, is a new neighborhood with its own character and culture.

Searching for a place through the Internet might end up costing you more than expected without getting the personal service and trade secrets that a good broker provides. “Many apartments are linked to brokers you’d have to pay in any case,” Slan says.

New York is changing fast: there is more new construction than in a long time. The West side is blooming. “It’s a buyer’s market, a time to make things happen,” Traina and Slan both say.

For foreigners, it’s usual to buy investment property and condos as a secondary residence in NYC as a point for them to commute anywhere in the US, and it can easily be rented out. The process is fast, and it only takes 4 weeks to process.

However, buying property as a foreigner is not that simple, and it is crucial to be represented. For example, the foreign corporation or irrevocable trust needs to be formed properly, because using a limited liability company on its own won’t provide a foreign investor with tax protection.

Sometimes, having a broker who helps you settle in can practically be a free service. The payer of the broker fee is often someone other than the buyer. When buying residential property, the seller pays for the broker’s fee. When renting residentially, you’ll be the one paying, but sometimes buildings will offer to subsidize costs. In commercial real estate, the landlord is the one digging into their pockets.

And this is where Traina comes in. She is an expert in commercial, retail and investment real estate, and especially skilled with negotiating the daylights out of your deal. She has been featured in prominent publications and has a notable history of key negotiations over her 30-year career. Knowing the area, the markets and where they’re heading is essential for placing your business accordingly.

Traina knows all the brokers in the city and commits to finding the perfect location for prospective investors and tenants. She’s familiar with helping bring Finnish companies to NYC, assisting them through the entire legalization and transaction process, and can help you navigate New York real estate among the various terms and variables.

It often comes as a surprise that in New York, a years-long lease, varying from 3 to 15 years, is usually needed to get office space. However, having an office is important for an international company: only this will allow you to obtain immigration papers.

Professional tax attorneys at Douglas Elliman can help you with setting everything up correctly from the start – from taxes to deeds.

When moving to a new country, it is impossible to know how everything works at first. Getting professional guidance in finding the best deals lays the foundation for success in your new endeavor.