Buying a home is a longstanding goal for many, but the process of finding the perfect property and claiming it as your own can be challenging. We asked three expert NYC realtors for tips.

Making the decision to buy a home is never easy. Aside from the up-front logistics—choosing a neighborhood, pinpointing the square footage, and saving up for a down payment, for instance—this type of purchase also encourages big thoughts about the future. It’s hard to know what life will look like five or 10 years down the line, or whether a space that once seemed ample will one day feel cramped. In fact, sometimes it’s tough to be sure about anything beyond a steady grasp on current trends. 

But on the bright side, buying a home is exciting. It’s still, for better or worse, an emblem of the American dream; an escape from the unknowns of renting into the comforts of calling your own shots. You can paint the walls in colors of your choosing, or knock them down in the name of a modern renovation. Sure, there’s general upkeep and occasional blunders involved—does anyone know how to fix a leaky faucet on the first try?—but the address is yours. That responsibility can be invigorating, let alone financially appealing. 

Buying a home can be an exciting milestone, but do you have all of the necessary paperwork (and patience)?

Buying a home can be an exciting milestone, but do you have all of the necessary paperwork (and patience)? 

Ema Peter

If you’re considering finally buying a home, the best thing to do is to weigh the pros and cons. According to the Commerce Department’s statistics on home sales throughout the United States, purchases dropped about 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 553,000 units in September 2018. It was the lowest reported level since December 2016, following equally low sales of new homes through the summer. A lot of this has to do with the expense of home loans and rising housing costs—although these numbers are fortuitous for those who can afford to purchase. Since there are fewer people buying homes, there’s less competition, after all. 

We asked three realtors for their advice on how find and purchase a home, so that all those conflicting feelings can give way to a greater sense of calm. Claire Groome, associate broker at Warburg Realty, is one of the company’s top 10 producing agents since 2015 and an expert at New York City real estate. Lisa Larson, who is also a top agent at Warburg Realty, has bought and sold homes throughout the country and hits an average of $50 million in residential sales each year. Finally, Alexander Boriskin is a top NYC realtor at Douglas Elliman who has participated in more than $400 million in sales amid the city’s best addresses. Read on for their tips, so that you’ll know what it takes to buy a home whenever you’re ready.



Be sure to look at multiple neighborhoods, and be willing to rework your "must haves" in order to move into a new home.

Be sure to look at multiple neighborhoods, and be willing to rework your “must haves” in order to move into a new home. 

David A. Land/OTTO

What paperwork should potential buyers have completed before they start shopping for a home?

Claire Groome: Get pre-approved for a loan! It really helps if you need to finance. In NYC, agents need this before you go out shopping, and knowing what the bank will lend you helps us know how much we can look for in price. Also, in NYC you need the pre-approval letter along with a REBNY financial form in order to make an offer. This gives the seller a full financial picture on whether to accept your offer.

Lisa Larson: To begin the process of getting a loan, call a mortgage banker or broker. I always suggest shopping around for the best rates, perhaps up to three, and they will tell you what they require for pre-qualification and pre-approval. For pre-approval, you will need tax returns from the past two years, W-2s, and any pay stubs from the past two to three pay cycles. You’ll also need a letter confirming your employment for an employer or a letter from accountant if you’re self-employed (and necessary profits and loss statements). You’ll need mortgage statements for any existing properties owned, the past two months of all bank statements, as well as proof of brokerage accounts and retirement accounts. Finally, the bank will also run a credit check. 

Buyers should cast as wide a net as possible in terms of location and amenities.

Buyers should cast as wide a net as possible in terms of location and amenities.

Photo: Eirik Johnson

See the full story on Dwell.com: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Home, According to Three Experts

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