FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS PART 1: BEFORE YOU BUY – CHOOSING WHO YOU WILL WORK WITH
This is the first installment of our 7 part series attempting to familiarize first time homebuyers with the real estate purchase process. Even if you are not a first time homebuyer, and have purchased or sold a home before, you may find this series an informative refresher.
Being a first time homebuyer in New York State can be a harrowing experience. New York home prices vary widely by region. Between 2018 and 2020, the median home price in Westchester county grew from $626,600 to $710,000. Over 95% of that $84,000 increase took place between 2019 and 2020. Without a doubt, purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments anyone will make in their lifetime, eclipsing other expensive investments such as a university education. It is perfectly reasonable, then, to feel anxious as a first time home buyer. Much of your anxiety will undoubtedly stem from the unknowns of the home buying process. Hopefully this series of seven articles will make you familiar with home buying, and alleviate the anxiety that first time buyers often feel.
Choosing who you will work with
1.) Brokers and Agents: There are several things which are essential to protecting yourself and obtaining the most effective, advantageous bargaining position and price in any real estate transaction. One of these steps is to retain a residential real estate agent, as well as a real estate attorney. The real estate agent introduces you to the properties and negotiates the initial offer on the property. The agent will assess your needs and match you up with houses which will fit your lifestyle and space requirements. Once you identify the house you would like to purchase, and are ready to make a written offer, the agent will communicate that offer to the seller.
2.) Attorneys: An attorney will work with you and your real estate agent to negotiate items before the contract is executed, ensure that you have done your due diligence prior to the execution of the contract, and draft and negotiate contract terms with the seller’s attorney. If the Seller is unrepresented, the negotiation will take place with the seller or the seller’s agent. You do not have to wait until an offer is make or accepted to hire an attorney. You don’t even have to wait until you find the home you want to purchase. You can hire an attorney at any time, and early hiring typically does not increase the cost. Most attorneys charge a standard rate for real estate transactions and, rather than making the process more time consuming, the earlier you hire an attorney, the simpler the transaction will be. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure in this regard. Hiring an attorney early in the process will make it easier for your attorney to keep attorneys fees limited to the initial estimate.
3.) Lenders: Before you make an offer on a home, you will want to be pre-approved and know exactly which lender you will be working with. It is important that you keep an open line of frequent communication with your lender, as the lender will later be the determining factor regarding if, when, where and how any closing will occur.
Inspectors: Although you will not use your inspector until after you settle on which home you intend to make an offer, the period of time in which to inspect is limited. Market forces currently demand that a contract be executed as quickly as possible if you are to successfully purchase your home. You do not want to be shopping for home inspectors after you decide on the home you wish to purchase. That delay could cost you the sale. Instead, choose an inspector early on to work with, and let the inspector know you intend to retain them.
In conclusion, these professionals will work with you at various times throughout the home buying process to help you get to a closing under the best possible terms for you, and with the least amount of anxiety. It is our hope that knowing this information can assist you in making better, informed decisions, and help you to be more comfortable during the home buying process. In the following installments of this 7 part series on homebuying, we will go into further detail on the roles each of these professionals has to play.
Our office would love to be part of this fantastic step, and to help guide you through one of the most important steps you can take to secure a bright future for you and your family. If you would like to discuss a potential home purchase, don’t hesitate to call us. You can reach us by phone by navigating to our contacts page, or by calling us a (914) 214 9032 or (718) 614 8739.