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Spending money on rent is a necessity and, sadly, a large portion of our income goes toward it. Seeing your hard earned money spent without a return of investment is difficult to digest. In particular, by looking at the comparison between monthly rent vs monthly mortgage, the former is definitely more expensive than the latter. However, when considering buying, a big obstacle can be represented, on top of the cost of buying the property, by the required down payments that can easily reach 20% (in some cases may be a 10%) plus closing costs. It is not easy to come up with a large chunk of cash, however once you manage to save enough money, your financial situation is stable and no major debts or loans are pending, and your credit is good, it should be a good time to start planning for one if not the biggest investment of your life: buying your home! Here’s a simple step by step guide of things to consider for a successful process:

  • Decide what type of investment you are planning for: short or long term investment, transition neighborhoods, or more developed areas (e.g., well-established neighborhoods)
  • Obtain a pre-approval Mortgage letter from a bank (shop around and see which lender you wants to work with and provides your with the best options)
  • Hire a Real Estate attorney to represent you. This is required in NY state and he or she will review all the terms and conditions of all the legal documents.
  • If you decide to work with a Broker (strongly suggested), he or she will help and guide you throughout the entire process. Not only he or she will provide you with all the information you need in order to begin the search, but also your Broker will walk you through the entire set of requirements and help you to navigate a market that is constantly changing. Make sure you discuss all your needs and concerns with your Broker, and work with a Broker that fits your criteria. It is important to focus on selecting a Broker you feel very comfortable working with over a well-known “brand”.
  • Choose what it matters most to you. Is it location? Is it commute and convenience? Space? tranquility? The list depends on your preference. However important, this is usually an overlooked step that is required in order for you to not waste time searching and viewing properties that, in the long run, will not fit your life-style.
  • Make sure you have a detailed list of your must haves and likes. The first list is about items that you can not live without and you are not willing to compromise on, while the second one should contain items that you would like to see in the property but are not, per se, deal breakers.
  • Pick few locations (neighborhoods) where you would feel comfortable living in and that fit your budget. It is normal, at first, to find yourself with unrealistic expectations about where your budget can take you (unfortunately). A good Broker will sit down with you and, based on your pre-qualifications, discuss the best options. A sign of a good Broker is to keep your expectations in check: remember to value the input critically and to not get upset if your expectations are higher than your budget. Breathe, relax, regroup your thoughts, and work together to find a realistic compromise.

Once you find your match, let your Broker guide you. After an offer is accepted and a contract is signed, it can take up to 30 to 45 days for a Mortgage approval. Only after that, a closing can take place for homes and condos type of properties, however, for co-ops, additional board approval is required and that will delay the process further as these meetings are usually scheduled only once a month.

Give your self 2 to 3 months from the beginning of your search up to the day of closing for homes and condos and 3 to 5 months for co-ops. If you have any questions feel free to sent us an email. Enjoy home ownership.