Buying a home (house, condo, co-op) can feel complex and overwhelming — and rightfully so — it is one of the most important decisions of your life. But with careful research and guidance, it really should not be too daunting of a task.
This easy guide to home ownership will take you through the steps you will need to prepare for the journey, and get you into your dream home.
STEP ONE: FAMILY CONSENSUS
Be sure the decision to purchase a home is discussed with every member of your household. If even one member of the family is against making such a life-changing decision, for whatever reason, it will make the process very challenging and more-than-likely waste a lot of your time.
Sit everyone down, chart out all of the pros and cons, and be sure everyone is on board. What neighborhood will everyone be happy in? What are the schools like? Is it convenient to get to work and back? All these things matter and should be discussed up front.
STEP TWO: FINANCES
Is it wise for you to purchase at this point? Have you considered all that goes into home ownership beyond the mortgage (utilities, taxes, property maintenance, insurance, etc)? Have you considered closing costs? Here is a nifty Rent vs. Buy calculator to help you determine what is best for your current situation.
STEP THREE: PRE-APPROVAL
Okay, you’ve discussed it with your family and everyone is on board. You’ve worked out your finances and feel homeownership is right for you. What’s next? Get a pre-approval letter from a reputable mortgage lender.
This is very important, because most agents and sellers — especially here in NYC — will not work with you without one. If you are not qualified for a mortgage, it would be a waste of time for everyone involved, including you.
A mortgage lender can also tell you what your budget is. Many times, I’ve seen buyers surprised that they can afford a two-family home instead of a two-bedroom condo, and turn that extra apartment into active income to help pay the mortgage. I’ve also seen many buyers swear up and down that they are qualified and can afford X-amount, only to be disappointed because of something in their credit history (which a lender can advise you on how to repair).
Bottom line: Getting a pre-approval letter is of the utmost priority. And by the way, you do not need to go with that lender when it comes time to getting a mortgage. You can still shop around for the best rates and offers when the time comes. If you need help finding a lender, we can recommend a few that we have worked with successfully for years.
STEP FOUR: FINDING AN AGENT
Go it alone? Sure, why not? You have the internet. You have a phone. You might even have time. However, most experts advise against it.
You can probably fix your transmission yourself if you watched enough instructional videos, right? Maybe even perform your own root canal? Or build a rocket ship?
Look, there are car mechanics, dentists, rocket engineers (and real estate agents) for a reason: This is what they do, day in and day out. Buying a home is certainly not rocket science, but make one wrong decision and it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Okay, why not just go with your cousin, Sally, who just got her real estate licence? Bad idea (sorry Sally).
Nothing wrong with going with a newly-licenced friend or family member. They certainly need to start somewhere and gain experience somehow, right? But do you want them to do on-the-job training with your half a million dollars? What if something goes wrong? How will that affect your relationship?
Experience counts in this business, like most businesses. Successful, experienced agents have seen every obstacle and know how to work them out. They know how to negotiate on your behalf to be sure you get the best possible outcome. Over years they have built relationships with developers, contractors, investors, and often have access to properties not found on places like Zillow and Streeteasy. They know every word of every document needed (hundreds of pages) to ensure a smooth transaction.
By the way, working with an agent costs you nothing. Why not take advantage of their expertise?
STEP FIVE: HOME SEARCH
As a buyer, you need communicate to your agent every criteria of your dream home. Do you need a driveway? Close to a certain subway line? Finished basement? A fixer upper? A good agent will then comb through thousands of listings and weed out only the very best matches. They will discuss with you if the asking price is a good deal for the neighborhood, and advise if there is any potential wiggle room at that price point. If all looks good, you then begin to go out and check out the chosen homes. The agent will check for things you may overlook (leaks in the ceilings, water pressure, sewage traps, etc.). They will also run a check to see if there are any violations on the home, and if so, figure out how to remedy the situation.
When you are serious about beginning your home search, feel free to reach out to us for a no-obligation consultation.
WHAT THE FARUQI TEAM CAN DO FOR YOU:
- Open access to our team
- Help you become qualified for a loan
- Show you homes on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
- Show you properties not on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
- Do Target Marketing to help find you a property (ask for details)
- Show you FSBO (For Sale by Owners) properties
- Call Expired Listings on your behalf
- Create a CMA to find your correct price
- Title search to see if there are any liens or violations that will delay the purchase (homes & investment properties)
- Verify C of O (homes & investment properties)
- Review the Co-op / Condo financials
- Submit an offer for you
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Arrange and attend the inspection
- Help with CMA (Competitive Market Analysis) for the Appraisal
- Help put together your paperwork for your Board Package. (For Co-Ops & Condos)
- Coach you for your board interview
- Attend the closing