Buying a home is exiting... but it can also come with a lot of questions, especially in a large and active market like Manhattan's. But don't let lingering questions or concerns slow you down; read our FAQs to get clarification... or just contact us to clear up any questions.
Where do I get a loan?
- Start by calling banks or credit unions you already work with to get an idea of what rates and loan options they might offer.
- Ask friends, relatives, or other acquaintances in the area for their recommendations.
- Be sure to ask about local or government programs, especially if you're a first-time home buyer.
How do I apply for a loan?
- When you start calling lenders, they'll get you started on this process without you even knowing by just asking questions about your finances and home preferences.
- In talking to lenders, they'll likely ask you for some financial documents, like paystubs or bank statements, and will probably want to run your credit. This will allow them to "prequalify" you for a loan.
- Getting prequalified is highly beneficial—it'll give you a very concrete idea of how much a bank is willing to lend you (which will help you determine how much you can afford), and will ensure there are no glaring red flags standing between you and your home.
- Getting prequalified also shows sellers that you're serious and qualified, both of which make your offer more appealing (and secure) than offers from buyers who haven't been prequalified.
Why should I use a real estate agent?
- A buyer's agent will work solely for you to ensure that you're getting the right home at the right price—for your unique needs, budget, and situation.
- A good local agent will know the Manhattan area very well and will be able to guide you to the right location. Even if you're familiar with the area, you probably don't know it like an agent does, and most likely, you don't know too much about the real estate specifics of its particular neighborhoods.
- A buyer's agent can also handle a lot of the trickier details for you, like writing up an offer, dealing with negotiations, and communicating with other involved parties, like the seller's agent, attorneys, home inspectors, and more.
- The seller pays both agents' commission, so your agent doesn't cost you anything!
What are the up-front costs of buying a home?
- Earnest money: When you make an offer on a home, you'll likely include some amount of "earnest money" to show the seller you're serious. This is typically small ($500 - $5,000) and if your offer is accepted, the seller does not keep this money; it goes towards your closing costs.
- Down payment: This is where the bulk of upfront buyer costs typically come from. Traditional down payments are typically around 10% – 20% of the cost of the home, but there are a lot of loan options that allow you to buy for less. Some even offer options for 0% down payments.
- Closing costs: In addition to your down payment, you'll have to pay a couple of other fees and charges at the time of close. This varies, but typically includes things like lender fees, inspection and appraisal charges, prepaid taxes or insurance, prorated charges, title fees, and more. Before closing day, your lender or attorney should provide a detailed breakdown of everything included in this cost.
How do I know what to look for in a home?
- Think about what features are most important to you: The number of bedrooms and bathrooms? The distance to work or public transportation? On-site parking? It's a good idea to really take some time to think about what your home absolutely has to have, as well as some features you'd strongly prefer to have.
- Don't forget to carefully consider location. A lot of things can be changed in a home, but not its location!
- Other things you might want to consider: Distance to amenities, like the grocery store. Public schools. Safety and crime rates. Walkability. Overall desirability of the area (your agent can help with this). Price, not just of homes, but also of taxes or even utility providers.
I currently own a home. Should I sell first or buy a new home first?
- In short, there isn't a right or wrong answer; it's going to depend on your unique situation. Each comes with its pros and cons, and one might work better for you.
- Buy then sell: When you buy first, the advantage is time. You'll only be doing one thing at a time, so you won't have to worry about showing your home while you're looking for another, or trying to move out of one house and into another all in one day. The downside, however is that you're either going to need to have two homes (read: two mortgages) at the same time, or you'll have to make the purchase of your new home contingent on the sale of your old home.
- Sell then buy: The pro of selling first is that you'll start your home search with a big down payment already lined up, no contingencies required. The downside? You'll likely have to find another place to live in the meantime. This may also be tricky if you have to move on a timeline (like starting a new job in a new city), as it can be tough to determine how long it'll take for your home to sell.
I Still Have Questions!
That's easy! Contact us today and we can answer any of your home buying questions about homes for sale and real estate in Manhattan or its many communities.
Want more information? Learn more about buying a home in Manhattan!
Manhattan Home Buying Resources