Purchasing a home, especially if it is your first, is a very exciting milestone, albeit somewhat scary and overwhelming. The Long Island real estate market is comprised of mostly ownership options, as available apartments and other rentals, although increasing in number, are largely dwarfed by purchased homes. Home ownership is rewarding, but also hard work. Finding the home that is right for you, depends on your personal needs, wants and interests. If you feel nervous or scared about jumping in and buying a home, that is completely natural. However, there are many home buying tips that should help calm your nerves somewhat.
1. Do not try to time the market.
When you gain familiarity with the real estate market trends on Long Island, you begin to hear terms such as “buyer’s market” or “seller’s market.” Many people focus on when the right time to buy and sell is; there is a common belief that sellers should place their homes on the market in early spring so that the new owners can be settled by the end of summer. Do not base your timeline to look for homes around these guidelines! It is impossible to predict the market. The only perfect time for you to buy a home is when you find the home of your dreams and have the money to purchase it.
2. Spend and plan wisely prior to the impending purchase.
In all likelihood, the purchase of your home will be the largest purchase you make in your life. Within a year or so of your desired date to purchase, avoid making any other large purchases or moving money around. Buyers that are pre-approved for a mortgage, as opposed to pre-qualified for a loan, have an advantage over buyers who do not, as sellers do not want to risk a deal falling through. By making large purchases close to the time frame you would like to purchase a home, you risk affecting your credit score and therefore your ability to get mortgage pre-approval. Pre-approval is also beneficial in that it saves time and prevents the possibility of you looking at Long Island homes for sale that you cannot afford.
3. Think with your mind, not with your heart.
Many people are looking to walk into a home and feel a similar feeling: the butterflies you felt when you met the love of your life; the “this is it” feeling of finding the perfect wedding dress; the joy of watching your child grow. But choosing a home based on emotion is inadvisable. Most people “fall in love” with homes they cannot afford, leading to poor financial decisions. Instead of looking for a loving feeling, listen to your logical side. Look for a home that meets your requirements and your budget. Houses are long term investments and it is important to go with your gut; in the end your bank account will feel the love.
4. Get to know the neighborhood before jumping in.
When home shopping, most people visit the home once, maybe twice, and usually during the day. Rarely do people get to know the neighborhood morning, noon and night. Whether you are new to living on Long Island or you grew up here, it is important to realize that each town, and different areas of the same town, have different vibes, cultures and atmospheres. If you only visit the specific home in the middle of the day, you run the risk of finding what you believe to be the home of your dreams in a neighborhood that does not fit your needs. Figure out how long your commute will take; find your local gas station, grocery store and pharmacy; scout out local parks; and locate any niche needs you may need. This will ensure that both the home and the neighborhood meet your needs.
Buying a home on Long Island is a big decision and a potentially life-long investment. However, with these tips the process should run more smoothly.