Are your ready to jump into the real estate market as a first time home buyer? It can be very intimidating trying to figure out the where to start. First time buyers need a little extra TLC and expert guidance in order to make good, solid decisions. Here are a few initial steps to get you going:
- Before you start your house hunting, you need to get preapproved for a mortgage. This is the most important step to take and you should not skip it! Speaking with a lender will give you a clear picture of what you can afford to purchase. They will discuss the costs related to purchasing at house (closing costs), how much of a down payment you will need and other important factors that you will need to know. Mortgage calculators
- Once you are preapproved, find a real estate agent in the area where you plan on purchasing in. It is very easy today to scan agents in an area to determine the best fit for you. Review agent’s credentials – specifically their experience and if there are testimonials available, you should take a look at them. This can give you some insight on how the agent performed with their clients.
- Make contact with the agent and discuss your preapproval, home preferences, timeframe for purchasing and schedule of availability. Make an appointment to begin viewing homes that are possible matches. With the availability of real estate websites, it is very easy for you to “preview” the home online through multiple photos, virtual tours and in depth descriptions. If you have time in your schedule, you might even want to drive by the homes/areas first to see if it has what you are looking for from the outside.
- Once you find a home that fits your criteria and budget, then discuss with your agent about making an offer. You may want your agent to verify tax and other information or questions that you might have (ex. how much does it cost to run the house annually?). Ask your agent to give you comparable sales in the area so that you can make an informed offer. Your agent should negotiate the best price and terms for you.
- After the offer has been negotiated an accepted, you will be asked to set up an inspection for the home. This is to educate you on the home that you are purchasing. You want to make sure that there are no major issues that would cost after you close. The inspection also help reveal minor issues that might need attention in the near future and general home maintenance tips. Home inspectors must be licensed and here are some FAQs that may be helpful.
- The next few steps are signing contracts, applying for your mortgage, appraisal, title search and then closing. This generally takes about 60 days but this is very dependent on the type of financing that you are using. Your agent should stay in touch with you along the way, answering any questions that you might have.
Here is more information for 1st Time Buyers which may be useful for you. There are tips, financing information, videos and more.
Good luck and happy house hunting!
Trying to sell your home during the holiday season can be challenging and festive décor may help add charm or could be a total distraction to that potential buyer. I think the best rule of thumb: less is more is best. Also holiday decorations should be tasteful. You might have a huge array of holiday decorations that you have lovingly collected over the years, but it might not be the best idea to put them all out this particular season. Key point: you are trying to sell your home.
Here are a few suggestions which I hope inspire you:
- First and foremost, make sure you clean. Then remove any clutter before you start to decorate. If you don’t, it will only achieve an even more cluttered appearance. By de-cluttering, you help to make the space look larger which is always great when showing to prospective buyers.
- For the interior of your home, utilize complimentary colors. The colors of your decorations should compliment your home’s color scheme and not play havoc with it. Use garland sparingly, on fireplace mantle or stairways but don’t overdo it.
- Decorating your front door during the holidays can really add an inviting, warm feel. Try adding a tastefully decorated wreath along with a few exterior strings of lighting (one color is best in my opinion).
- At the risk of being redundant, don’t feel you have to put all your decorations out. Less is more!! I think this is always worth repeating.
It is so very easy to forget to register, so this is your friendly reminder to do so. The NYS Tax Department reported that only half the register homeowners had registered by late October according to an announcement Senator Greg Ball had on his website.
Under the new guidelines, all homeowners will have to re-register each year for their Basic STAR Tax Credit and new homeowners closing on home now through early next year will have until March 1, 2014.
The registration process is very easy and only takes a few minutes. Go to the NYS Tax Department’s website to register online quickly.
You may also register by calling 518-457-2036. M-F 8:30am-8pm and Sat 9am-1pm.
Please note, SENIORS who are eligible for the ENHANCED STAR are not effected by this change but must continue to apply for the enhanced STAR each year.
So, don’t forget! This is a substantial savings, which you are entitled to, that you certainly don’t want to lose.