Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report, and make sure the facts are correct; then fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get prequalified for a loan – we can help you with this with our team of hand-picked professionals. This will put you in a position to make a serious offer when you do find the right home.

Find a home you can afford

We will help you determine the sweet spot when it comes to your purchase budget – of course together with your loan officer – following the rule of thumb (or building specific) ratios. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sale price, including maintenance charges, property taxes & energy costs (in real property), general upkeep of your new home, etc.

Hire a professional

While the internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, there are aspects beyond locating the property you like that require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than doing it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process – in the vast majority of sales there is no extra charge to have your own agent as the commission is usually paid for by the seller.

Do your homework

IF you don’t have your own agent, before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think strategically

While in most markets around the US you may not want to buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years, NYC is a different environment. You should forget about the thought that you’ll be staying in your new home for the rest of your life – in fact, statistically, an average home buyer moves after only 7 years. You may not see a large appreciation in a year or two (even though this can happen!), but longer term, real estate in NYC is the best investment you can make. As buyer’s agents, we will advise you on the features that will have an impact on your new home’s resale value (and time) down the line.