Top 10 Things to Know When Purchasing a Home

Knowing what to expect --and having a team of professionals to assist you along the way-- will help ensure that the process of purchasing your first home is a smooth, seamless and enjoyable experience.

These are important points for you to consider when purchasing a home:

1. Getting Organized

The time you take to organize yourself at the beginning of your journey towards buying a home is one of the best investments you can make.

  • Obtain a mortgage preapproval.
    Assess your financial qualifications in order to determine a comfortable price range given how much financing is available to you.
  • Define your Goals:
    • Location: consider proximity to work, family, school district or neighborhood
    • Type of home: 1 Family, 2+ Family for additional income to offset mortgage payment
    • Determine price range given your mortgage qualifications
    • Fixer Upper or Move-In Condition
    • Create a “SHORT LIST” of needs and wants
    • Establish a realistic time frame with regard to work/personal schedules, school year, sale of current home, etc.

2. Selecting a Realtor

When choosing to work with a REALTOR®, you are choosing to work with someone who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) with a membership comprising over 1 million brokers and salespeople bound by a strong Code of Ethics. Realtors are continuously pursuing educational opportunities, attending conferences, as well as taking part in local community groups and events in order to become a more seasoned real estate professional to whom you can turn when deciding to purchase or sell your next home or investment.

Werba Realty and our entire sales team is a respected member of both the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Long Island Board of Realtors (LIBOR). As such we can offer you an inventory of thousands of listings from which to search to find the most suitable property for you.

At Werba Realty, we believe that being a leader in the real estate sales and management business since 1965 gives us a tremendous edge in the local real estate market. We have been successfully promoting properties and building longstanding relationships with both buyers and sellers which will make the difference when searching for your next home or investment.

3. Beginning the Search

Now the fun begins. After careful preparation you have finally come to the point of beginning your property search in earnest. You can take your “Dream Home Wish List” which identifies your priorities and your “Short List” and sit down with your Realtor to identify properties currently on the market that will meet your needs and desires.

4. Making the Choice

Once you have found a home or investment that meets many of the desires on your “Wish List” and most of those on your short list, you have 3 options: you can accept the sellers asking price and terms and create a contract, reject the asking price and have your agent present a different offer, draw up different terms and make a counter offer. You need to assess the down payment you would like to put down on the property, the loan amount for which you will more than likely qualify and the recent comparable properties in the area which your realtor can help gather for you.

5. Presenting an Offer

  • Your Realtor will present your offer to the seller, who will accept, counter or reject it.
  • Once a price is negotiated, you and the seller will sign a purchase agreement defining the terms of sale.
  • The sellers’ attorney will initiate contact with the buyers’ attorney and contracts will be drawn up for signing by the both parties.

6. Arranging a Home Inspection

As a buyer, you will arrange to have a home inspection. Home inspections are important to check electrical and heating systems, the presence of termites, as well as any other issues that should be addressed when reviewing a home for purchase. Your realtor should be able to recommend several home inspectors to you if you do not already have one in mind. Once the inspection report is completed, any issues and concerns should be addressed between the buyers and sellers, in conjunction with their attorneys, at this time.

7. Going for a Mortgage

Once a final contract has been signed by both the buyers and sellers, the buyers can move forward with securing funding for a loan. Choosing your lender and the type of loan that is best suited for you given the property you have now decided to purchase is an important decision. With the preparation and steps you as a buyer have taken at the beginning of your search this process should fall into place in a timely manner. The bank or lending institution will require an appraisal of the property at a date and time which they will ask you to coordinate with your realtor and the listing agent. Once the mortgage has been approved a closing date will be set.

8. Getting Insurance

There are various types of insurance you can purchase on a home or investment. It is best to speak to an insurance broker to go over the details of each type of insurance available in order to decide which one and how much is most suited to your purchase. Your realtor should be able to recommend several insurance brokers if you do not already have one in mind. Title insurance, homeowners’ insurance and flood insurance are just some of the main types of insurance you should be speaking about with your insurance broker. Homeowners’ policies are required by lenders for mortgage approval.

9. The Closing Process

The closing is when all the necessary documents to complete the transaction are signed. Once a closing date has been determined, a final walk through of the property should be arranged for the buyers with the listing agent and the sellers. This will allow the buyers to view the property one last time before closing to verify that the condition of the property has not changed since the sales contract has been signed. The property should be delivered “broom clean” when moving out.

All utilities required by the home such as water, sewage, gas and electric, as well as, oil accounts should be paid in full by the sellers and the accounts transferred to the buyers as of closing for future billing purposes.

There are closing costs, legal fees and other additional fees which will arise and come due at closing. The buyer should speak to their attorney and lender prior to the closing to be prepared with all payments necessary to ensure a successful closing. Having completed the title search it is possible that errors may exist on the records and therefore it is imperative to make sure title insurance is in place.

Once all the documents have been signed and all payments have been made accordingly, the title to the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. The buyer then receives the keys.

All signed documents including deeds and loan papers are filed with the local property record offices. It is important to keep your copies of all these documents of sale for your new property in a safe place. They will become necessary for tax purposes not only in the current year the property is purchased, but also when it is sold in the future.

10. Home Sweet Home

The moment has finally arrived for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have come to the end of the road in your property search and are settling into the home of your dreams. You are unpacking your boxes and getting to know the neighbors as well as becoming familiar with your new surroundings. When you finally settle in completely you might want to consider taking pictures of each room and storing them in a safe place to should you need them for insurance purposes.

Remember when speaking to your neighbors to ask them for recommendations on local services, eateries, places of worship, and shopping markets depending on how familiar you are with the area. They can provide you with a wealth of information to help you integrate yourself into the community.

Relax and Exhale! You have worked hard and deserve to enjoy many happy memories in your new home.