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How to buy your first home on Long Island, New York in easy steps.

It is pretty easy to make an offer on something however how are you sure it is the correct fit for you?
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As a first time homebuyer in the market you may have already sifted through several pages of internet articles, blogs and possibly reviews on Facebook, Yelp etc. Even if you're a not going to be a first time home owner in my opinion the research is still warranted and due diligence applies in all of the phases. It is pretty easy to make an offer on something however how are you sure it is the correct fit for you? With so many variables at play even big investors while working on multi home projects or condo buildings leverage their agents for decision making by using their knowledgable advices.

Let's go back to assuming this is going to be your first home purchase somewhere in the New York City (5-boroughs), Nassau or Suffolk counties. This means you are about to make one of the biggest purchases in your life so there is a lot ot cover but there is very little time to read therefore your Realtor should be the one really spending the time to understand your needs & provide the solution. However, there are about 10 primary items or sequential steps that you should keep in mind from start till end despite where you end up purchasing your first home in the US.

Know your budget and financing.

As an adult most of us do keep track of our finanicial situation however sometimes we are not aware of things that could be affecting our credit report. For example: a buyer might have $100K cash saved up over the years for a $500K home but his/her credit report might have serious delinquencies in the recent years or another negatively affecting account or public record on the credit report.

Find a licensed Realtor.

Working with a Realtor in early part of your home search will always pay off for you as the buyer. Your Realtor can help in suggesting & finding available homes on sales in Long Island's diverse towns and villages. Most Realtors are experts in their local area and its neighboring towns and counties. Having a honest Realtor on your side helps eliminate a lot of the Google searches and head scratching about whether something you read on the web is true or "fake news". :wink: wink: Some full time Realtors only like to work with pre-approved buyers while others like myself can assist in getting you through pre-approval steps as well.

Neighborhood search list

Once you have narrowed down to 2 or 3 neighborhoods which a nearby each other your Realtor can begin searching the market for properties which best fit your criteria. Since, most Realtors are experts on about locations, you may find yourself checking out a town you hadn’t before and that may end up being a beautiful surprise.

Be on the lookout

When you visit different properties be on the lookout at all times about EVERYTHING! You should try to identify all flaws & advantages in order to put them on a virtual scale in your mind so that you can distribute costs vs benefits. Since, you are a first time homebuyer your personal or family needs may change when you move into a new neighborhood. There's a lot to talk on this topic so be sure it is brought up while looking at homes. If your REALTOR is unable to take out time to answer your questions then quite honestly you should be working with someone else. Zillow has a list for many in each zip code around the country.

Financing options

While doing the pre-approval application it is also wise to ask your lender about which financial options they have available based on your househould income and employment sector. Example: FHA loans, VA loans etc. Some existing homeowners may not be eligible for the best loan options but it is always good to work with your agent to find the best lender for your needs. You're already relying on your agent for the home search so why not leverage his or her knowledge while selecting the lender for your transaction.

Pre-approval before offer.

Just in-line with the financial talks it is best to get pre-approved before you decide to make offers on homes in the market. Having the pre-approved financial document will provide you a strong position while writting your offer as the seller will know you're a serious buyer instead of window shopping. It will also enable you to negotiate the numbers on the listed price of the real estate property in question. Lastly, know the number from your lender also prevents you from wasting time at potentially chasing homes for which you may not have enoug financing options available.

Saving money while shopping

It is important to continue your full time job as-is without any interruptions in salary and income flow. Lenders do not like to see applicants switching jobs while trying to get a mortgage on a new home. They like to see stable income history without too many flucations. It is best to save as much possible before your closing date to cover for any unexpected expenses & most lenders would like to see a balance of 3 mortgage payments after subtracting the cash down-payment.

Inspection

Just because a home was newly built does not mean you should bypass 3rd party inspection on it. Ask your Realtor for a home inspector recommendation or find one yourself. It is very critcal to identify any structrual or environment flaws before you place an offer on your first home. Many lenders also require the homebuyer to get a certified inspection before the closing.

Offer & Contract

Once your offer has been accepted by the seller party you're now a step closer to your new home. At this time it is critical to remain in touch with your attorney office & agent about ongoing paperwork. You definitely want to review all offer & contract documents before signing them. Nowadays, with the internet of things a lot of the transactional documents can be signed online so it is best to read the fine print & resist the urge of scrolling to the end pressing submit. While having the ease of getting things done online is appreciated by everyone including myself one should not rush while approving of something. Personally, I recommend using a PC to access and sign any critical documents, PDFs, and esign websites. Don't use your mobile devices as those are highly prone to errors while loading secure pages sometimes or they may not show all of the information to your at first glance. Using a PC eliminates some of the common issues I see buyers make.

Final Step:

Closing! Now, it is all about being prepared. Prepare all your documents 1-2 nights before. Be early to your closing, don't be late! It is not a good idea to miss your closing date as you could end up loosing the deal forever or a part of your down payment. Once again, your attornery and Realtor should provide all of the necessary details about the day of the closing, location & method of payment.

Once you have closed and received the keys to your new place don't forget to scan and save all of the relative documents to your home's transaction to a USB drive or cloud backup system. It is easy to loose paper documents so be sure to back them up somewhere! Whether you’re hiring a professional based on a referral or checking out online reviews, you need to do your research to make sure you’re hiring the right people. Find a real estate agent, mortgage lender, and home inspector that you trust to do a thorough job. Best of luck to all home buyers & drop a comment if you have any questions.

Last updated on: Dec. 20, 2018