Much as I would love it to be the case, shopping for a property is not just a question of finding something you like and offering to pay for it.
If you want your offer to be taken seriously, you need to get serious and that means doing a little basic prep work. Being prepared is essential in a competitive situation as you’ll stand out from other potential buyers and be ready to move fast to secure the property you’ve chosen.
A good real estate agent will guide you through the steps you need to take, indeed, I’m more than happy to meet with people early in their search to help them get their ducks in a row.
In the meantime, here are the basic steps you should complete so that you’re ready to go when you find the home you want.
Do Your Homework
Identify the neighborhoods you want to focus your property search in and spend some time in them. Decide what’s important to you. School zones? Access to transportation? Green space? Proximity to work? These are all important aspects of your decision making process when it comes to choosing a neighborhood to make your home in. Are you in the market for a co-op or a condo? Or are you looking for a single or multifamily townhouse?
Now’s the time to identify any deal breakers. What can you live with, or not live without?
Find a Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent to work with and represent you during the purchase process is a wise move. A good buyer’s agent will get to know you and what matters to you. They’ll use their broad market knowledge to seek out appropriate properties, arrange and attend viewings with you and develop a strategy to negotiate a deal efficiently on your behalf. Effectively, they’ll have your back, hold your hand and closely advise you at every step.
Consider Your Budget
Estimate your budget and calculate what you can afford to spend based upon your down payment and desired monthly expenditures (mortgage, real estate taxes, maintenance and/or common charges, utilities etc.). Speak to your accountant or tax advisor as there are sizable benefits to owning property. If you’re receiving support in the way of a gift from a parent or relative it’s important to discuss the timing, amount and conditions of its conveyance.
Don’t forget to consider additional expenses: make sure your budget has enough in reserve for closing costs, potential repairs or renovations. Some buildings will also stipulate post-closing reserves.
Find a Mortgage Broker
If you haven’t already secured an experienced mortgage broker, ask friends or your agent for recommendations. Now is the time to check your budget expectations and credit score with a qualified professional who can explore your financing options with you. This is your opportunity to make sure your expectations of your budget meet reality.
Knowing what you can afford now allows you to think ‘Do I want this?’ versus ‘Can I afford this?’ when you find a property you like.
Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage
Unless you’re able to make an all cash offer, an offer submitted without mortgage approval will rarely be taken seriously by any seller, particularly in a competitive market. I’m more than happy to attend early viewings with my clients in the name of research. However, having your letter of approval from your mortgage lender before you start seriously viewing properties, will enable you to move swiftly and decisively when the time comes to make an offer.
Confirm Your Attorney
Hiring a qualified real estate attorney is an essential part of every deal. Along with your broker, your attorney is your advocate throughout the purchase process. Look for an attorney who specializes in NYC real estate. Again, talk to your agent, friends or colleagues for recommendations.
Now’s the fun part. You’ve got your team in place, you’re approved for your financing and you know what you’re looking for.
Let’s find you that home.
For more information about how I work with buyers, contact me here, or visit ‘How I Work’.