STEP BY STEP THROUGH THE PURCHASING PROCESS
- Step 1 Select a Buyer’s Agent: We will invite you to meet with us to discuss your options for working with us as a Buyer’s Agent to represent you in the purchase of your new home. Please be advised of the following Standard Operating Procedures for Hamilton Village Real Estate (HVRE):
- HVRE does not require prospective buyer clients to show identification, although a seller of real estate may require the information prior to showing the property and/or as part of any purchase offer,
- HVRE does not require exclusive buyer broker agreements, and
- HVRE does not require pre-approval for a mortgage loan or for cash buyers, proof of funds, although a seller of real estate may require this information prior to showing the property and/or as part of any purchase offer.
- Step 2 Pre-qualification: Early in your home search, you should meet with a lender to help you establish the appropriate price range for your personalized home search and request a pre-approval letter.
- Step 3 Choose an Attorney: We recommend you consult an attorney before signing any legal document.
- Step 4 Make an Offer: We will help you select a home that best meets your needs and wants, prepare a purchase offer, and negotiate the best terms for you, if you hire us to represent you as a buyer’s agent.
- Step 5 Accepted Offer with Contingencies: Once you have an accepted offer with contingencies, you will need to meet some deadlines to satisfy those contingencies, for example, attorney’s approval, home inspection and financing.
- Step 6: Pending Sale: Once all the contingencies are satisfied, The seller will need to update their abstract, possibly have a land survey prepared, and utilities will need to be transfer into your name. You will also need to get a homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Step 7: Closing or Settlement: You will likely meet with your attorney and the lender’s attorney or representative to complete the transfer of title to your name. This is a big day and we will have worked hard to be sure that everything is in place for a successful transaction.
- Step 8 Move-in: Now its time to make this new home yours. We can help you find specialists to remodel, decorate, and landscape to match your personality. Please understand that this may be a simplified version of the process. Every transaction is unique. That is why its so important to have a trusted real estate agent to guide you through each step and help you find answers to any questions that may come up along the way. Our many years of experience and our close ties with the community and service providers will serve you well.
First Time Buyer FAQs
How Does Purchasing a Home Compare with Renting?
The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing. Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity. And that’s an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities- like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep- which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are worth it.
How Do I Know if I'm Ready to Buy a Home?
You can find out by asking yourself some questions:
- Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
- Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
- Do I have money saved for a down payment?
- Do I have few outstanding debts, like car payments?
- Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.
How Does the Lender Decide the Maximum Loan Amount that I Can Afford?
The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount.
What is Earnest Money? How Much Should I Set Aside?
Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.
What Should I Look for When Walking Through a Home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, you may want to consider the following:
- Do you like the location of the property?
- Imagine the home in good weather and bad – will you be happy with it year round?
- Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
- Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is the home structurally sound?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
How Do I Make an Offer?
Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information:
- Complete legal description of the property
- Amount of earnest money
- Down payment and financing details
- Proposed move-in date
- Price you are offering
- Proposed closing date
- Length of time the offer is valid
- Details of the deal
Remember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just making an offer.
How Do I Determine the Initial Offer?
Listen to your real estate agent’s advice, but follow your own instincts on deciding a fair price. Calculating your offer should involve several factors: what homes sell for in the area, the home’s condition, how long it’s been on the market, financing terms, and the seller’s situation. By the time you’re ready to make an offer, you should have a good idea of what the home is worth and what you can afford. And, be prepared for give-and-take negotiation, which is very common when buying a home. The buyer and seller may often go back and forth until they can agree on a price.
Do I Need to Be There for the Inspection?
It’s not required, but it’s a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you’d like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.
What Does a Home Inspector Do, and How Does an Inspection Figure in the Purchase of a Home?
An inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed. The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money. Generally, an inspector checks (and gives prices for repairs on): the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and Ventilation, the HVAC system, water source and quality, the potential presence of pests, the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof. Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced. It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since, once the deal is closed, you’ve bought the house “as is.” Or, you may want to include an inspection clause in the offer when negotiating for a home. An inspection clause gives you an “out” on buying the house if serious problems are found or gives you the ability to renegotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. An inspection clause can also specify that the seller must fix the problem(s) before you purchase the house.
Can You List the Properties on the Market?
Of course! Hamilton Village Real Estate agents are certified members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which means we can show you almost any property available in the area.
How Many Properties Will I Browse Before Purchasing?
As many as you desire while looking online in order to narrow it down to your favorite listings you would like to tour in person.
After Purchasing a Property, How Long Until I Can Move In?
Most closings take 30-90 days depending on the type of financing you have selected. Unless you have negotiated otherwise, you will receive the keys to the home at the closing.
How do I Sell My Home so I Can Purchase a New One?
Depending on the market, you can pursue the purchase of another home contingent upon the sale of your existing home. Each situation is different, and we will help you figure out the best course of action for you.
How Much is a Buyer's Agent?
Real estate fees are typically paid for by the seller. There may be situations where you will want to pay for your agent’s services directly.
What if I Find a House For Sale by Owner?
This may be one of the times when you will want to pay for your agents services. Please ask us to explaoin our Exclusive Buyer Agreement with you.
First Time Buyer Resources
First-time Homebuyer Programs:
- Community Action Program for Madison County, Inc. – Community Action Partnership for Madison County’s Housing Division offers a variety of opportunities for low- and moderate-income families to become home owners.
- Opportunies for Chenango County
- Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program – Funds are available to assist income-eligible individuals who live or work in Chenango, Broome, Madison and Otsego Counties and who may not be able to obtain loans through banks or other financial institutions.
- SONYMA Since 1970, The State of New York Mortgage Agency has been providing financing and programs designed for first-time low- and moderate-income homebuyers in New York State