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Mary Alice Ruppert
REALTOR®, ABR, AHWD, CRB, ePro, GRI, SFR
Licensed Associate Broker
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Articles Tagged "Buy a House"

Live, Love, Long Island Blog Home

Buy a home | 24 Posts
Homeownership | 25 Posts
Long Island, NY | 55 Posts
Nassau County | 1 Posts
Relocating | 1 Posts
Sell a home | 18 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
August
30

Yes, You Can Make Your Offer Stand Out From the Rest

Make an Offer Stand Out - Buy a Home - Coach Realtors

The time has finally arrived when you're ready to purchase a home. You found the perfect property, your finances are in order, and you're ready to make an offer. There's only one problem, so is every other buyer that's looking for their dream home. In a seller's market, our REALTORS® can help you move to the front of the line.

In a seller's market, buyers outnumber available homes for sale. Buyers often face bidding wars and full-price offers for Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale that don't sit on the market very long. You need to make your offer stand out so sellers will take notice!

  • Make a Clean Offer
    A clean offer means that it shouldn't be contingent on the sale of another property, have financial constraints, or ask for seller concessions like discounts or paid closing costs. In a competitive market, sellers don't need to make contingency sales or offer discounts. They want well-qualified buyers with pre-approved loans and few risks that may jeopardize the sale.

  • Offer Above-Asking Price
    When buyers outnumber available homes, it's not the time to make low offers. If you want the house, you may have to go above the asking price. Even an offer of $3,000 - $5,000 more will show the seller that you're a serious buyer. A reasonable offer above the asking price won't change your mortgage payment much, but it may get you into your dream home.

  • Put Down More Earnest Money
    When buying a home, earnest money deposits (EMDs) prove that you're a good-faith buyer. On average, EMDs are 1-3% of the purchase price, but you can make a larger deposit. Your agent will hold on to your deposit, which will go toward your down payment and closing costs. However, if you sign the contract and don't buy the home, the seller can keep your deposit.

  • Make a Larger Down Payment
    Making a larger down payment than required by your lender will send a message of good faith to the seller. By putting more money down, you're showing the seller that you're a serious buyer who is capable of meeting all financial obligations. A larger down payment assures the seller that the loan is not at risk and the sale won't fall through.

  • Pay with Cash
    Cash offers are very appealing to eager sellers because they aren't subject to loan approvals, financing contingencies, and lending procedures by banks. Lenders require property inspections and appraisal contingencies prior to loan approvals to protect their interests. Cash offers keep the sale between the buyer and the seller, so the deal moves quickly without a long process.

  • Get a Pre-Approved Mortgage
    In a tight seller's market, multiple offers are often entered on the same home within just a few hours. This can lead to a bidding war where the seller will have to choose the most qualified buyer. A pre-approval letter from a lender that states the amount of money you can borrow for a mortgage will significantly increase your chances of moving to the front of the line.

  • Add an Escalation Clause
    An escalation clause means that your offer will outbid other offers up to a maximum price. Keep in mind, even with an escalation clause the seller can still make a counteroffer. Instead of accepting your escalation clause, the seller can raise the listing price. At that point, you can decide the best way to close the deal.

If you're thinking about buying or selling on Long Island, contact us for information and prices on available properties that meet your needs.

July
26

Tips Before Buying an Older Home

Buying an Older Home - Long Island - Coach Realtors

For some people, there's something alluring and almost whimsical about living in an old house. It's the history, the craftsmanship, and the nostalgic factor that you can't find in a newer build. If you're looking for a home whose walls are filled with history, our REALTORS® can help you find the home of your dreams.

It's no secret that old houses carry a lot of charm and character. They just don't build them like they used to anymore. But for all their charms, buying an older house is a complicated affair. You must be prepared to spend more money long-term than your initial listing price. Even then, you might run into some issues.

Here are a few things you need to look out for when buying an old house.

What Counts As an Older Home?

Age is subjective when it comes to houses. As a general rule of thumb, an old house is one that's fifty years or older, and one built before 1920 is considered antique. But again, housing age is subjective – it's a condition based on numerous factors, including location, architectural style, and even local climate and geology.

For instance, houses in urban cores across the country, such as New York and Massachusetts, tend to be older, averaging over 50 years old.

To help you do your due diligence, here are the factors you need to consider when buying an older home.

  • Construction Style
    In most cases, the construction style of a home is an indicator of its quality. Prefabricated homes are generally constructed to lower quality standards than custom-built new homes. Homes constructed in the Tudor, Craftsman, Victorian, or Queen Anne styles are usually solidly built, more durable, and can handle several rounds of repairs and renovations.

  • Climate and Geology
    Certain climates can age a home. Houses in desert areas and places that experience extreme weather conditions tend to age faster. A house in Chicago will need repairs sooner than one in milder climates. Geological factors such as earthquakes, sinkholes, and high water tables can also accelerate the aging process. Homes in geologically active areas will require more repair and maintenance over their lifetime as such activities can lead to structural damage.

Things to Pay Attention to When Buying an Old House

If the age of a home is subjective, what are the factors you should pay attention to more? Here's a breakdown.

  • Foundation Issues
    When buying an old home, two inspections are better than one. A structural inspection can reveal the extent of foundation issues if any. These issues could range from small settlement cracks to damaged support footings. Look out for wall cracks, windows that won't open, and doors that won't latch. Such minor issues could indicate a larger, more inherent problem.

  • Lead and Asbestos
    Lead and asbestos are neurotoxic materials that were used in piping systems and insulations until relatively very recently. Lead is common in many pre-World War II plumbing systems and in paints made before 1978. Asbestos wasn't banned in residential applications until the late 1980s. In addition, you have to look out for toxic gases, such as Radon, that could severely impact air quality. These issues also necessitate a rigorous inspection process.

  • Previous Renovations
    Old homes have likely changed hands many times over. An inspection could highlight recent renovations and ensure that the house is up to code and industry standards. Some old and antique houses have been updated so many times that it's difficult to determine their age. Sometimes the only remaining original components are the foundation and exterior of the house.

Looking for Some Old School Charm?

Buying an old house has its challenges. With smart planning and the right realtor by your side, you can find a property that's well worth the hassle. Check out our Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale to find vintage homes with some of that old-school charm. Contact us, and we can help you navigate the hurdles that come with buying an older home.

June
21

When Does an Early Offer Make Sense?

When to Make an Early Offer - Buy a Home - Coach Realtors

With mortgage rates at historic lows, 2021 is a great time to buy a home. If you fall in love with a property, you should definitely consider making an early offer, or you might lose out, considering the market is a strong seller's market. Our REALTORS® can help you craft the perfect proposal, one that couples financial details with the nuances of negotiations to help you close on the house of your dreams.

Currently, the housing market remains open, and the demand to buy is high. But housing inventory is low, and it's easy to find yourself in a bidding war with other homebuyers. The offer of purchase opens the communication channels that lead to the final deal.

Making an offer is not a choice you should make lightly. But just how long should you wait before you make an offer?

Here's everything you need to know about making an early offer.

The Early Bid Gets the Worm

When you're in the market for a new home, you shouldn't wait too long after finding a house that's a good fit before making an offer. You should submit a bid as soon as you're sure you want to buy it.

Typically in a seller's market, sellers prefer to keep their houses longer on the open market to give buyers plenty of time to visit and bid on the home. Knowing this, many buyers hesitate to make an early offer thinking they're at a disadvantage. However, in a fast-moving market, a pre-emptive offer may get you the house that you want. Remember, good homes get snatched up pretty quickly.

When is an early offer your best bet? If you have preapproval and have done your research, then you should make an early bid. There's no point in waiting if you have everything in order. You never know who else is interested.

A popular saying in real estate is: the first offer is the best offer. There's no other point when a house is most attractive than when it's first listed. And this works in favor of those who make early offers.

House-hunting tip: To make your offer attractive, shorten the contingency period to a week or so. This way, you won't constrain the seller's marketing time if the deal fails to go through.

Use Caution with Early Offers

While an early offer may get you the house, you're unlikely to make a bargain in the process. For pre-emptive offers to be considered, they must be high to garner attention. You must be willing to pay a higher price when you make an early offer so you can't have any doubts about the house.

It's clear that your bid will have to stand out when competing against other buyers. You'll need to be strategic, and a personal touch could give you the edge you need.

  • Write a personal letter. Most people have a special attachment to their homes, and a heartfelt letter could make your offer more attractive.

  • If you can, offer to absorb a few of the closing cost fees. This will stick in the seller's mind and can sometimes be the difference between you and other buyers.

  • Submit a clean, fair proposal and back it up with the required documentation such as preapproval letters and proof of funds.

Make an Offer on a House the Right Way

Don't shy away from making an offer on a house you love just because the market is competitive. It doesn't cost a thing to make an offer. The right real estate agent will guide you through the process and work to find you the right home for you.

Ready to make an offer on a new home? We can help. Contact us today and tour our beautiful Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale.

September
8

Should You Buy a Vacation Home in 2020?

Vacation Home Pros & Cons - Coach Realtors

Like many people, you've probably dreamt of owning a vacation property. But is 2020 the right year to take the plunge on a second home? After all, mortgage rates are at a historical low. But this is a time of economic uncertainty. And we don't know when the economy will fully recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There's a lot to consider before you invest, which is why Our REALTORS® give you this rundown of the pros and cons of buying a vacation home in 2020.

  • Pro: Mortgage Interest Rates Are Hitting Record Lows
    If you have the income stability, buying a vacation home in 2020 may make a lot of sense. Mortgage interest rates at a historical low and it's predicted that this will continue into 2021. According to Freddie Mac, the average interest rates in August 2020 dropped below 3% for the first time ever.

  • Con: Being Approved for a Mortgage is Trickier
    With the coronavirus pandemic, all lenders are concerned with the continuity of income. Pre-COVID-19, only a few employment verifications were needed to approve a new loan. Now there are more stringent requirements and processes to prove that a homebuyer is financially stable and will be able to pay a mortgage.

  • Pro: You Can Earn Extra Income
    If the vacation home you plan to buy is in one of the most in-demand cities, you could tap into a new source of income by renting it out. Rental property websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have changed how people vacation. Over the last few months, travelers have been staying at hotels much less and instead opting for vacation rentals because they can easily social distance. And don't forget about tax deductions. If the home is rented out for more than 14 days, it can be considered a business, which means you can deduct any business-related expenses.

  • Con: There are a Couple of Risks
    While real estate is usually one of the best investments you can make, there are several risks associated with owning a vacation property, especially during these uncertain times. To begin with, vacation homes tend to be more susceptible to the effects of economic downturns. 

    What's more, the area where you're planning to buy might take more time to recover from the pandemic. With this in mind, you should consider how the social distancing measures or the closure of attractions and restaurants will affect the appeal.

  • Pro: Buying a Vacation Property is More Feasible Than you Think
    You probably know that vacation homes have long been the playground for the rich. In 2020, however, you don't have to be a multimillionaire to afford a second home. The barriers have come crashing down and there are loads of opportunities for potential buyers like you and at lower price points. If you're willing to dig deep or take on a few renovation projects, it can be possible to make your vacation home dream a reality, at a fraction of the cost.

  • Con: The Upkeep Can Be Time-Consuming and Expensive
    A vacation home is one of the most hands-on investments you can get yourself into. There's a lot of upkeep involved with it and at the very least, you'll have to prep, clean, and restock the property between every guest's stay. There will also be the marketing aspect and unplanned costs for repairs and maintenance.

Before you start looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, talk to our REALTORS® to get an insight into the current real estate market conditions and find out if this is the time to take the shot. Contact us today.

July
13

Don't Buy Into These 6 Real Estate Myths

Real Estate Myths - Coach Realtors

Whether you're looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, there's one thing you can count on: Our REALTORS® are there to make the whole process easier for you. We'll guide you every step of the way so you can make informed choices.

Unfortunately, even savvy buyers often believe some real estate myths.

It's no surprise certain real estate myths are so common. They've been around a long time and it's easy to pick them up through word of mouth. Some real estate myths were truths once upon a time. However, real estate changes quickly – and it's important to move with the times.

To make things even more complicated, the coronavirus pandemic has changed real estate in a very short time. Buyers and sellers around Long Island need to be aware of how COVID-19 has shaped the local market, but it's also crucial not to overcorrect.

Here are the biggest real estate myths to bust in 2020:

  1. Myth: There Are Fewer Buyers Out There Today
    While March and April saw fewer buyers than in recent years, activity on the real estate market has rebounded. Both buyers and sellers should be aware that the market is vigorous, spurred on by low interest rates and other opportunities. You should prepare for today's market just as you would in past years, but expect longer transaction times and a few extra steps in the process.

  2. Myth: Home Prices Are Poised to Fall Dramatically
    Home prices have generally remained steady throughout the pandemic. Although there is some regional variation, the basics remain the same: People will always need a place to live, so there'll always be healthy demand. With that in mind, buyers shouldn't sit tight and assume that a much better market is around the corner. Taking a proactive stance is best.

  3. Myth: You Can't Buy Without an In-Person Visit
    The best real estate agents have adapted quickly to the needs of clients in the age of coronavirus. Video showings and virtual tours of homes for sale are becoming much more common. With help from your own agent, you can do the proper due diligence, including getting plenty of photos. "Drive-by closings" and other new innovations make the process easier.

  4. Myth: You Don't Need an Agent to Buy a Home
    While it's technically true you can buy a home without your own agent, it's best to think twice. Your real estate agent is there to represent your interests at every turn. That's more vital now than ever before, and it makes a difference: Buyers with their own agents have the opportunity to spend less time on the market, get a better deal, and find a home they'll truly love.

  5. Myth: You'll Need a 20% Down Payment
    A 20% down payment can open doors, and will save money in the long run by helping you cut the amount you'll need to finance. However, there are many alternatives – especially for first-time homebuyers. Federally backed home mortgage programs such as the FHA home loan provide for much smaller down payments, from zero to about 3.5%.

  6. Myth: Preapproval Harms Your Credit Score
    Preapproval accelerates the buying process and gives greater confidence in your buying budget. It enables you to see the nuts and bolts of the finance package you are eligible for and makes the bidding process much faster, too. These benefits come with few drawbacks: Your credit is unaffected unless you place several mortgage applications at one time.

When it's time to buy your next Long Island home, Coach Realtors is here to help. Contact us for personalized advice.

September
2

Buying a House | 9 Tips to Make Your New City Feel Like Home

Buying a Home in a New City

Moving to a new city is an exciting time.  A whole new place to explore, new friends to make, and new experiences to have.  But it can also feel scary and a lot out of your comfort zone.  Where will your new favorite pizza place be?  Who will you go to yoga class with on Tuesday nights?  It will take a little planning and a willingness to explore, but these tips will have your new city feeling like home in no time.  Our REALTORS® are experts in the area and can help you to make the transition as simple as possible.

  1. Walk Around Town
    Play tourist in your new city.  Head downtown, pick a street and get lost.  The best way to truly learn the ins and outs of a city is to explore it on foot.  You might find places that you would love to visit (like that favorite new pizza place) but would ordinarily miss as you zoom past on your way to work.  Grab your walking shoes and see what you can find.
  2. No Second Chances
    At least for a little while.  If you find a great coffee shop, keep it on the list, but try another café the next time you are out.  This will give you the chance to explore more of your new city and provide you with more options for meeting new neighbors.  And speaking of your neighbors…
  3. Look for Community Announcements
    Check online or in local newspapers to see if there are announcements about events happening around town that might be of interest.  Local Facebook groups can be a wonderful source about staying in the loop of what's going on.  This is the perfect way to find out about that annual jazz festival or pie-eating contest that you can't wait to enter.
  4. Cheer for the Home Team
    Becoming a fan of the local sports team is an awesome way to build camaraderie with your new neighbors.  It also provides a built-in schedule of events for you to attend or watch with new friends.  Hopefully, they aren't your previous city's rivals.
  5. Unpack
    While this may seem obvious, it can often take us much longer to get everything in its place that originally planned.  Once you have all your favorite pictures on the wall and your knickknacks on the shelves, it will automatically start to feel more like home.
  6. Volunteer Your Time
    Volunteering can be a great way to get to know more about your community, support a good cause, and get you out of the house.  Rather than being nervous about your new surroundings, you can feel good knowing that you are giving back and helping others.
  7. Ask Your Friends
    Even if most of your friends are in your old hometown, they may know something about where you live now or have friends that they can connect you with. They may be able to help you to explore things like the best places to shop or hangout.  You might even be able to convince someone to give you a tour.
  8. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
    As you get to know new people and start hanging out, you may start to receive invitations to do things that you may not have tried before.  Just say yes.  You'll get to know your city a little better and you may just find yourself doing a new activity that you love.
  9. Give Yourself a Grace Period
    No matter how excited you are about your new city, there will likely be moments where you may feel lonely and homesick.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  It takes time to get completely comfortable after unpacking your bags.  Just know that it does get better.

Make the most of your first few weeks and months in your new city.  Trying just a few of these tips can help you feel like a local before you know it.

If you have any questions about things to do in your new town or you would like to learn more about homes for sale in your area, contact us for more information.

August
19

Buying a House: How Do I Raise My Credit Score?

Long Island Home Buying Credit Score

Our REALTORS® get plenty of questions about credit score and how it relates to buying a house.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of being judged by their credit score. They may have had financial difficulties in the past that impacted their ability to maintain the average score.

Here's some good news: No credit score is perfect – most experts claim that attaining the highest possible score is nearly impossible. Lenders aren't actually looking for "the magic 850," either.

The other thing to know is this: Even if your credit score is lower than you'd like, you still have the chance to change it. Starting even a few months in advance can improve your credit score.

In recent years, lenders have generally relaxed their credit score requirements. Still, improving your score can result in a better loan with a lower APR. That may save you thousands of dollars.

Here's what you can do to raise your credit score:

  1. Don't Close Any Accounts
    Some people are tempted to start closing old credit accounts as soon as they begin a house hunt, but this is counterproductive. Older credit accounts demonstrate a longer account history, which can increase your score. Don't close accounts, even if they are fully paid off and unused.

  2. Don't Open Any Accounts
    Lenders will look at recent credit history to get an idea of your overall spending habits. Don't be tempted to sign up for a new credit card, open a car note, or make any other type of major buy. All your financial clout should be focused on finding and bidding on your new home.

  3. Start Saving
    Gone are the days when a 20% down payment was an absolute requirement for buying a house. Still, savings can move you into a different category in lenders' estimation. If you can drum up a 10% or even 5% down payment, it may mean paying off your mortgage loan much sooner.

  4. Set Up a Budget
    As a home buyer, you'll need a new budget sooner or later. The sooner you can set one up, the easier it will be to meet your savings goals. Sometimes, you can even use your budget to show lenders you've given due thought to the financial obligations of homeownership.

  5. Attack High-Interest Balances
    Your credit score is affected by the percentage of your total credit that's in use at any one time. You can reduce this amount the fastest by paying off balances with the highest APR. Paying off a single credit account can sometimes have an outsized effect on your ability to save.

  6. Improve Your Cash Flow
    Naturally, one of the best ways to save money is to make more money. It may be a good idea to look for opportunities to make a few extra dollars online. The sooner you get started, the further you can go, even if you only increase your income by a small amount. Just don't burn yourself out!

  7. Examine Your Credit Report
    Credit information is reported (and collected) by many different sources that can make mistakes. If you happen to have inaccurate negative information on your credit report, you can dispute it and have it removed. The official, government-mandated website to get your report is Annual Credit Report.

  8. Relax. Really!
    It's easy to overestimate the importance of credit. The fact is, your credit score is only one part of your total financial picture. If you have steady employment and income, most lenders will be more interested in where you stand now than where you were 18 months ago.

Contact us today for personalized advice to help you with your situation.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 05/18/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 05/18/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of OneKey MLS (last updated Wed 05/18/2022 6:25:36 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coach Realtors may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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