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Mary Alice Ruppert
REALTOR®, ABR, AHWD, CRB, ePro, GRI, SFR
Licensed Associate Broker
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Articles Tagged "For 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.

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.

July
22

7 Secrets of Successful Homebuyers

Long Island Home Buying Secrets

Our real estate agents are here to help you through every aspect of buying a home. From planning out your approach to finding your dream property, making a bid, and getting to closing day, we'll be there. And we know getting the right home begins months in advance.

The better a buyer is prepared, the easier it is to get through the process smoothly.

Any major goal has to be broken down into concrete steps you can take action on. The sooner you do this, the easier it is to clarify and navigate the journey ahead. It's essential to recognize and institute "good habits" related to home buying as soon as you can.

Which habits are the most important? These will get you on the right track:

  1. Start Saving as Soon as You Can
    Gone are the days when you had to have a 20% down payment just to be considered for a home. Even so, the more you save the better off you'll be. Establishing a budget is a vital first step that will pave your way to additional monthly savings. Try to put aside a little bit every month.
  2. Get a Real Estate Agent Early
    The sooner you meet your real estate agent, the better. He or she can keep you moving forward on each phase of the process. You may need to talk to more than one expert before you find the right one for you. Years of experience and insight into the local market are both essential.
  3. Attend Open Houses Regularly
    It's a great idea to start going to open houses even before you're ready to bid. By attending one each week, you'll learn what you can expect – in terms of amenities, size, layout, and price – from the homes in the area, you plan to move into. Plus, one of them might turn out to be "The One."
  4. Fine-Tune Your Finances
    Saving is crucial, but not the only step you'll need to take financially. Your credit report and total indebtedness are also key factors in your loan package. Be sure to pay monthly bills on time, pay off (but don't close) credit accounts, and review your credit report for errors.
  5. Get Going on Loan Preapproval
    Once you have your finances in order, you can start the loan preapproval process right away. When you become preapproved, your loan gets into your hands sooner, so you can act fast on the home you want. Remember, you'll have to submit plenty of documentation to get your loan package started.
  6. Get Used to Shopping Around
    Future homeowners should get used to looking for the best buy – not only in price but value. Compare lenders to get superior APR and payment terms, compare real estate agents to find one you feel comfortable with, compare homes, and compare contractors for any renovations.
  7. Equip Yourself with Reminders
    From beginning to end, buying a home is a marathon. You'll have all kinds of things you need to do, recall, and keep track of. Make it easier on yourself by writing things down or setting up app reminders. Save all relevant correspondence, including with your lender and real estate pro.

    Buying a home leaves you with a lot to do--especially when it's your first home. Break things down into bite-sized chunks and you'll find yourself moving forward faster than you imagined.

A good real estate agent is the concierge who can guide and advise you from start to finish. With our team, you get exceptional customer service along with deep local insight.

Contact us when you're ready to start your Long Island home search.

April
29

What to Expect Your First Year Owning a Home

First Year Owning a Home
Buying your first house is an exciting time and often filled with thoughts of new furniture, gallons of paint, and hardwood floors. It is wise to prepare for unexpected issues that can occur during the first year of homeownership.

That's especially true if you're used to the renter's life. There are plenty of things to consider when you--instead of a landlord--are responsible for maintenance of your new digs.

Don't panic. It just takes planning, and a willingness to embrace the inevitable surprises that come with owning a home. Our REALTORS® are here to help you make a seamless transition into your first year of owning a home.;

  • Shopping with the Future in Mind
    One of the best things about moving from renting to owning is that your stuff now has a long-term home, too. For many first-time homeowners, that presents the opportunity to upgrade from the thrifty furnishings of an apartment to something more permanent for your own home. It's essential to keep an eye on finances during your first year, but that doesn't mean you can't pick up some new furnishings or decorative items for your home.

  • Maintenance Takes Time and Money
    In the past, you may have called your landlord when there was an issue with your rental property. Now, you're responsible for maintaining your home. There are plenty of minor maintenance issues you can tackle DIY or contract out for a reasonable fee, but eventually, there will be bigger issues that may carry a more significant cost and require the help of an expert.

  • An Emergency Fund Is Your Friend
    Since you can't always predict when a significant maintenance issue will pop up, it's crucial to have an emergency fund. Set aside some extra cash whenever you can, so that when something big arises – like roof or plumbing issues – you'll be able to cover it without breaking your budget. If there's a maintenance emergency, you'll be happy that you have some funds ready to address it quickly.

  • Renovations May Have to Wait
    It's perfectly normal to dream about the upgrades that you'll make to your new home, but the first year isn't always the best time to tackle big renovation projects. Take some time to get used to owning a home, get comfortable with your budget, and decide which renovation projects are right for the home.

  • Prepare for the Cost of Utilities
    Heating and cooling an apartment may not cost a ton, but some utility costs may increase when you make the upgrade to owning. Be prepared for extra monthly expenses, especially when it comes to heating and cooling.

  • Setting Priorities Is Crucial
    Whether we're talking maintenance, renovation projects, or anything else around the house, setting priorities makes life much easier when owning a home. Make the most of your budget by prioritizing maintenance issues and projects. The to-do list never really ends, but for many, that is part of the joy of owning a home.

Are you a renter, and still searching for the right home to call your own? Our team is here to help. Contact us to learn more about how we help both new and experienced buyers find their ideal home.

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 6:11:33 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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