#1. Where To Live
Most important is, where you will want to live. For example, are your interested in city, town or village? If you choose a city like White Plains, NY, where in White Plains, NY best fits your lifestyle? How far do you want to commute to work? Is shopping nearby? must it be within walking distance to the train or shopping? What should you put on your wish list? Are you a hiker or cyclist? Do you need recreation space? Be specific!
#2. Meet With A Loan Officer
Meet with a loan officer or financial advisor to determine your affordibility. You will need to be pre-qualified for a mortgate. You will be asked about your income and debts. Have that information available upon your first visit. figure out what will happen after your apartment purchase. You never want to be house poor. Do you plan to have children in the not-so-distant future? A mortgage person or financial planner will advise you on how much you can afford to spend now, but he won't know what is going to happen to your life in the future. If you can pay less for your first apartment than you can afford, you'll have money left over for your savings.
#3. Interview Real Estate Agents
You will want to find a real estate agent. One who is familiar with the White Plains, NY market. They should negotiate for you in order to get the best possible price for the apartment and will complete the stacks of paperwork involved with the purchase. Make sure you look for an agent who will represent you as the buyer, and not the listing agent, you met at an open house, whose fiduciary responsibility is to the SELLER. Remember, it is always the seller who pays the commission to both agents, therefore, it is most important to work with a buyer's agent.
#4. Think About Your Offer
Your realtor will write an offer on your behalf once you've found a property you're interested in purchasing. He/She can help you determine a fair opening bid and remind you of any extra amenities that you may ask to have included. Your agent will discuss whether you need to include any contingencies, making your offer dependent upon securing an acceptable mortgage asa well as a home inspection. After it is complete your offer will be sent to the seller's agent, or to the homeowner if he is working without an agent, ask to be kept informed about any negotiations.
#5. Consider All Costs Involved
Be sure to ask what the actual cost is to buy your apartment. Often 1st time home buyers are aghast to learn that their initial purchase is going to involve more than the down payment. Ask your loan originator to prepare a "good faith" estimate which will include all fees pertaining to the purchase. Inspection, loan-origination, up-front points, application fees, title search and title insurance, homeowner's insurance, recording fees, appraisal fees and attorney's fees. These fees can add 3 to 8 percent to the final purchase price.
#6. Find Out About Ongoing Costs
Ask to see copies of the previous homeowner's utility bills, property taxes, repair bills, insurance and bills for services such as trash disposal. Ask about the cost of any home association fees you may have to pay. Don't forget to figure these expenses into your monthly budget.