First-Time Home Buyers
If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Westchester County, NY. Feel free to print this page and keep it as a reference.
Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wish list: things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically, as first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for, and will help your real estate agent to find the right home that best fits your needs, yet still be on the lookout for the items on your wish list.
Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Century 21 Hire Realty will protect YOUR interests.
Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
- One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A file of the Westchester County properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper, or found on the internet.
- Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
- Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
Visualize the house empty & with your decor: The seller may not have your taste - look beyond the furnishings. Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later. Rely on your real estate professional to assist you in being objective about a particular property.
Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
- Including inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
- Having the property inspected by a professional inspector.
- Requesting a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed upon (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is perfectly natural. That is why having a Westchester County real estate professional to represent your interests and keep track of all the details for you, is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail. We will be happy to assist you!