First-time NYC home buyers face unique challenges.

Tips for First-Time NYC Home Buyers

Owning a home in one of the best cities in the world is the dream for many. But the Big Apple is a unique place and buying real estate here is a unique experience. Many first-time NYC home buyers find themselves in over their heads. If you are looking to own property in New York, you’re in for quite a ride. So check out these helpful tips to make the process easier!

Be ready for the NYC real estate market

Don’t get ahead of yourself – buying a home in New York can be a long and often complicated process. Before you jump in and start packing moving boxes Brooklyn, you should know that, like the city itself, the NYC real estate market is one of the most expensive, most competitive and fastest paced in the world. Finding the right place at a price you can afford and winning the bidding war for it can take a few tries and might last longer than you expect. Don’t get discouraged! The perfect home for you is out there. So just have to keep looking.

Choose the right neighborhood

New York is divided into five boroughs. But there are many more unique neighborhoods within each one. Choosing the right neighborhood will be the first step to finding the right home. Research each neighborhood you are interested in thoroughly. Demographics, location, accessibility, and real estate prices should all factor into the decision for first-time NYC home buyers. So make sure you get informed about the neighborhood before you start looking at homes. That way you will be able to focus and narrow down your search.

View of Brooklyn bridge from a street.
Brooklyn, Manhattan or maybe Queens? Choose the right neighborhood for you!

Top tips for first-time NYC home buyers

Becoming a first-time homeowner, especially in New York, can be as terrifying as it is exciting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast amounts of new information you need to keep in mind and all the things you have to do. But these five useful tips will help you get ready and make buying a perfect NYC home a breeze!

Save up enough money

You’ve probably heard this before, but New York is one of the most expensive places to live. Of course, the exact cost of living will depend on the neighborhood you choose. But you will still be looking at some of the highest down payments in the country.

In Brooklyn and Manhattan, for example, a down payment is generally 20 percent of the purchase price. This means that first-time NYC home buyers can expect a down payment of about $160,000 for a place in Brooklyn (where the median sale price is around $800,000) or about $220,000 for a place in Manhattan (where the median sale price averages around $1,100,000). These numbers may vary depending on the exact location and the type of real estate. In some cases, you can get away with a down payment of 10% for a condo. On the other hand, many co-ops will expect a down payment of as much as 30% of the purchasing price. On top of all that, you can expect to pay closing costs in cash as well. These are an additional 3-6% of the purchasing price.

All in all: save your money when buying in New York!

Coins spilling from a jar.
Real estate in NYC isn’t cheap so save up!

Get pre-approved

Even if you have a pretty good idea of your finances, you will never really know for sure how much you can afford without consulting a mortgage broker. Don’t worry – the preapproval process only takes about 24-48 hours. All it takes is verifying your incoming, running your credit and checking for any pre-existing liabilities. In the end, you will get an assessment of the price range you can afford. There’s really no reason why first-time NYC home buyers should skip this step. It’s simple and requires very little effort while offering the great benefit of knowing for sure just what kind of real estate prices to look for.

And at the end of the day, even if you don’t think a pre-approval is necessary, most sellers do. A potential offer you make on a place is only as good as the proof of your ability to fulfill it!

Keep an open mind

Let’s be clear about something: you will never find the perfect place. Give up on that right now or you won’t be throwing that goodbye party any time soon. That is not to say you should buy the first place you can afford or, even worse, give up altogether! But it does mean you should learn to prioritize.

Make a list of things you absolutely won’t compromise on. Anything that doesn’t fulfill those needs is not the place for you! Now make a list of things you prefer, but are willing to forego. Try to find a place that fits as many of those as possible – but don’t discount a potential home just because it doesn’t tick all the boxes!

Be flexible wherever you can. This will open up more possibilities to you and make it easier to find a place you can be happy with.

Woman standing by a window in a small apartment.
Keep an open mind to make apartment hunting easier.

Prepare for competition

With over 8 million people looking for their place in New York, competition is certainly high. Finding the right place is only half of the work. Actually getting it is a different story. Many first-time NYC home buyers face a rude awakening after bidding on their chosen home – and losing. You too are likely to miss out on a few purchases due to this kind of competition.

But don’t despair – this is all part of the process. The important thing is not to give up. Postponing the hunt is not likely to help: the competition will still be there next year and the prices may actually be higher. So there’s no time like the present to keep looking!

Get help

You may already be looking at moving companies in Brooklyn to help with your relocation. But have you hired a real estate agent? Are you working with a buyer’s broker? And have you consulted with a real estate attorney? You probably should! Many first-time NYC home buyers find the process of buying into real estate in New York difficult to navigate alone. Surrounding yourself with a good team of professionals will make finding and buying the perfect home easier!

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