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Mary Alice Ruppert
REALTOR®, ABR, AHWD, CRB, ePro, GRI, SFR
Licensed Associate Broker
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Articles Tagged "First-time Buyers"

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
December
20

What Buyers Need to Know About Closing Costs

Closing Costs for Buyers - Coach Realtors

Buying a home is a tried and trusted way to put down roots for your family and build wealth. However, it's a significant investment, and before it's down, you may be surprised by all the fees, points, and other funds you have to pour into that investment. Our REALTORS® know that last-minute surprises are never pleasant, which is why first-time homebuyers should thoroughly understand what closing costs to expect and who is expected to pay them. This is crucial because it is the buyer's responsibility to pay for many of the expenses.

  • Closing Costs for Sellers
    Prorated property taxes owed, as well as any transfer taxes, are the seller's responsibility. Likewise, the seller is responsible for paying the agent commission, which is usually anywhere from 5% to 8% of the sales price, title insurance, any HOA fees owed, their attorney fees, closing credits, and any escrow money they owe to the buyer.

  • Closing Costs for Buyers
    Buyers will have to shell out money for originating and processing the loan. Origination fees are typically 1% of the total amount of the loan. The bank will also add an application fee, which is usually around $300. 

    A potentially very advantageous fee that is optional is to buy points which allow buyers to reduce the long-term interest rate and thus the total amount they will pay for the loan. Points usually go for about 1% of the total loan value and allow buyers to receive a .25% reduction in the rate for every point they buy. 

    Buyers will also have to pay for the appraisal fee, which is usually between $300-500 dollars, $20-30 for a credit report, tax service fees, mortgage insurance, homeowner's insurance, property tax, and HOA dues. With the inclusion of HOA dues and mortgage insurance, these additional costs can easily add several thousand dollars to the home's purchase price. 

  • It's Not Nailed Down Until It's Nailed Down
    It's not nailed down and determined who's going to pay what costs until it is spelled out in the contract. Buyers should always make sure that the responsibility for payment is clearly defined and assigned in the contract. Buyers should always work closely with their real estate agent, attorney, and lender to confirm that everything is lined up and that everyone knows who's paying what and how much they're paying. The more open the communication, the less likely surprises will pop up and risk sinking the deal.

  • Ways to Save a Buck 
    Where there's a will, there's always a way to save money. It's possible to find mortgage lenders that don't charge origination fees. You can also find down-payment assistance programs and grants to cover closing costs. And, it's almost always possible to include the closing costs into the loan and pay these off over time. However, the disadvantage to this strategy is that you will end up paying them back with interest; thus, they will cost you more if you don't pay them off right away.    

We know you have lots of questions about buying a home. We invite you to contact us to learn more about the closing costs associated with the Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale you have your eye on. We will be happy to give you the answers you need to make the best decision for your goals.

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
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.

October
28

6 Tips for Veteran & Military Homebuyers

VA Loan Tips - Coach REALTORS

Owning your own home remains a crucial part of the American dream, but it isn't always easy. From growing debt problems to an ever-changing real estate market, there are plenty of potential roadblocks to homeownership. For veteran and military home buyers, there are some options well worth considering. 

Our REALTORS® are proud to have helped countless veterans and active servicemen and women buy homes—in many cases, their first homes. We're grateful for the opportunity to help. If you're a veteran or military homebuyer, keep these tips in mind as you start the homebuying process. 

  1. Know Your VA Loan Options
    One of the biggest advantages active military and veterans have when purchasing a home is the ability to secure a VA loan. These home loans are backed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and are much more flexible than ordinary loans. In most cases, they cover 100 percent of a home's cost, require no down payment, and allow you to buy a home without having to pay for private mortgage insurance. 

  2. Communicate With Your Lender
    Veterans have a tremendous advantage when it comes to buying a home, but not everyone knows about it. Unfortunately, studies have shown that as many as one-third of all veterans don't know they  can get a VA loan to buy a home. So when you go shopping for a home loan, be sure to communicate your military status to your lender and discuss all your potential benefits. 

  3. Know Your Credit Score
    VA loans aren't quite as contingent on credit scores as a traditional home loan, but it's important to understand that your credit history still matters. Most VA lenders look for a credit score of 620 or above. Obtain a copy of your credit report, and work to improve your credit score if possible before attempting to secure a loan. 

  4. Understand Occupancy Requirements
    VA loans are designed to give veterans, as well as active service members, the opportunity to buy a home intended for use as a primary residence. This applies to anything from a single-family home to a modular home or condominium, but it's not available for purchasing a vacation home or investment property. VA loans also come with occupancy requirements, which includes the expectation that you and/or your spouse will be living in the home as your primary residence within 60 days of closing.

  5. Be Prepared for Closing Costs
    Being able to get a VA loan with no down payment is an incredible incentive when buying a house. But just because you don't need to save for a down payment doesn't mean there won't be any up-front costs. The other closing costs and fees associated with buying a home may still apply. Talk to your agent before closing to make sure you fully understand how much you'll need to pay upfront on closing day. 

  6. Work With a VA-Savvy Agent
    One of the biggest mistakes we see veterans make is not working with a real estate agent with VA loan experience. Look for an agent who understands the VA loan system and process. Your agent should be able to help you with crucial details like the VA appraisal process, property requirements, loan limits, and debt-to-income ratios. 

Our team of dedicated REALTORS® has years of experience helping troops and veterans buy their first homes. If you're ready to learn more, contact us today to explore the ways we can help you become a homeowner. 

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.

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 7:14:28 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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Agency License Information: https://www.coachrealtors.com New York State Real Estate Broker Principal Office Licenses Numbers: 109920686, 109920688, 109920690


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