Things Buyers Need to Know (Especially First-Time Buyers)
1. Before you begin to look at houses, go to your local bank or a mortgage broker to obtain a pre-qualification or pre-approval for your purchase. This will give you a price range for your search. You may be able to afford more than you think - but then again, it may be less.
2. Narrow your search to specific towns. Make a list of features that you would like in your new home (number of Bedrooms & Baths, Basement, Property Size, etc.).
3. Make use of the internet to begin your search. On Long Island you can use MLSLI.com or you can search websites of real estate offices in specific towns. You may use Property Search on this website to access the Long Island Multiple Service.
4. Before you begin to look at houses, pick a Real Estate Agent. Again, you can use the internet to do this or you might know someone who will recommend an agent. You should be able to find information on the Agent´s website. Look for a Biography and for Testimonials which are comments from past clients and customers. Call the Agent and ask questions. If they don´t answer the phone or if they do not call back within an hour or two, move on.
5. Think about hiring your Agent as a Buyer´s Agent. That means that they will be working for you instead of the seller. You may have to sign a contact and you may have to pay your agent´s commission, but the bottom line is usually the same.
6.When viewing a house, take your time. Your Agent and/or the homeowner will walk you through. When they are finished, ask if you can walk through again by yourself. It is amazing the things that you can´t remember once you leave. Ask if you can take pictures. Go back again for a second visit.
7.Once you decide on a house, you will want to hire a home inspector. The inspector will examine the house to be sure that everything is in working order and is safe. If major flaws are found, you will have to decide if the house is still worth buying.
8. You will have to hire an attorney. Hire an attorney who deals in real estate and who answers the phone and returns calls. Ask what their fee will be ahead of time.
9. You will be getting advice from parents, relatives and friends, especially once you pick a house. Listen to their advice, but beware. Ifyou have done your homework, you will be able to use this advice wisely. I have seen jealousy and hidden agendas influence their advice and kill deals.
10 Buying a house is a big step. It involves a lot of money and a change in lifestyle. Be cautious, but also remember, it is not a sentence. If it does not work out, you can always sell it a couple of years, and hopefully make a profit.