Whether it’s your first time or your sixth, buying a home can be an overwhelming process. You have to sort through hundreds of homes for sale, narrow down what you want, figure out a budget, and then try to get the timing right. How do you go about finding the right home for you in a market as hectic as this one?
There are a few things that can make it easier to find the right home for you and your family. Read on to learn how to find homes for sale in Wantagh, NY, and discover how to navigate the home-buying process.
1. Determine Your Tastes
One of the first things you need to do when you’re preparing to shop for a house is to nail down your tastes. You may have a general idea of whether you like more modern or more traditional, expansive or quaint, minimalistic or eclectic. But getting a good handle on what you like can help you to narrow down your options when you’re scanning the market.
Decide if you like ranch-style homes or if you want a multi-story house. Do you like older homes or newer construction, and do you want an attached property or a single-family home? Start getting a clear picture of your ideal house in your head and you’ll have an easier time recognizing it when it comes onto the market.
2. Consider the Future
When you’re considering what sort of house you want, it’s important to think about how your needs and tastes may change in the future. Ideally, you’ll be in this house for at least three years, and you could be there for thirty years or longer. You want to make sure this house is an investment that will work for you through all those life changes.
If you don’t currently have children and/or a partner, do you hope to someday? If you’re likely to be in this house when you retire, will you be able to maintain it as you get into your golden years? Is the house in a good school district, are there good community services nearby, and is it likely to wind up in the middle of a commercial district in another decade or two?
3. Make Your Needs/Wants/Ideals Lists
Once you’ve nailed down what sort of house you like, it’s time to start setting your priorities. Chances are that you’ll have to compromise on some aspects of your dream house, and it’s important to know what you can and can’t live without. It’s a good idea to make a list of your needs, wants, and ideals for your new house.
Your needs are things that are non-negotiable for you with your new home – budget, size, number of bedrooms, location, etc. Your wants are the things that you’d really like to see – yard features, kitchen or bathroom features, bonus rooms, and so on. And finally, your ideals are just that – features that would be fabulous, but which you don’t need to see in your home.
4. Do Your Homework
With your house needs in hand, you’ll be ready to start shopping homes for sale in NY. At first, it’s a good idea to start by just browsing the market and getting a feel for it. This will help better prepare you to make an offer and negotiate later when you find your dream home.
Take a look at the homes for sale in Long Island, NY, paying special attention to average price and size. Keep an eye on what sorts of houses come on the market and how often homes that are compatible with your needs and wants show up. It’s also a good idea to get a sense of how fast these homes are selling and whether they’re selling below, at, or above list price.
5. Figure Out Your Budget
As you do your market research, you’ll also need to start figuring out your budget for your new home. In general, experts recommend that you keep your mortgage costs to no more than a quarter of your monthly take-home pay. This should include your principle, interest, homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, and more.
Start figuring out how much you can afford to pay for a house and how much house that will get you in Long Island, NY. Decide whether you want to get a thirty-year mortgage or if you can afford a fifteen-year note. And keep in mind that just because you can spend up to your maximum budget doesn’t mean you should; being house-poor is no fun.
6. Save Your Down Payment
Once you’ve figured out your prospective mortgage budget, you can start finalizing your down payment savings. Hopefully, by the time you start shopping for houses, you’ve already saved a sizable portion of your down payment. But with your budget firmly in place, you can decide how much you need to have saved before your closing date.
If at all possible, you need to save at least 20 percent of your mortgage budget as a down payment. This will make you a more attractive buyer, help you secure a loan, and allow you to avoid mortgage insurance. You can get certain types of mortgages with a smaller down payment, but it’s not ideal.
7. Get Mortgage Preapproval
With your budget and down payment in hand, your next step in finding a house will be to get a mortgage preapproval. During this process, your mortgage company will get some basic information about your income, credit score, assets, and debts, and decide how much money they’re willing to loan you. This can smooth out the mortgage process later and help you get a quicker sale.
Today’s market is very competitive, and you have to be able to move fast if you want to you’re your dream house. Having mortgage preapproval can help you be ready to make an offer as soon as the right house turns up. It will also make you more attractive to sellers since they’ll be sure your loan won’t fall through at the last minute.
8. Time Your Shopping
It’s a good idea to pick your timing carefully when you start shopping for houses. The busiest season for real estate is during the spring and early summer months when kids are out of school. Families prefer to move between school years, so sellers tend to wait to put their houses up for sale until the warmer months roll around.
If you shop during the summer months, you’re likely to have a wider selection of homes to choose from. You may have more competition, but you’ll be able to handle that thanks to your wants/needs/ideals list and your mortgage preapproval. If you choose to shop in the fall or winter, you’ll have fewer options to choose from, but you might be able to get a better deal due to decreased demand.
9. Plan Your Moving Timeline
Your home purchase isn’t the only thing you need to time out during the moving process. You may also need to set up a timeline to leave your current living situation so you don’t wind up paying two housing bills at the same time.
If you live in an apartment or condo or if you rent a house, you might need to wait for your lease to expire before you buy your house. You may also be able to find a sublease if you want to move out before your lease is up.
If you already own a home, plan to sell that home before you buy a new one. You never know how long it will take to close on your old home, and you don’t want to wind up with two mortgage payments. However, you need to arrange timing so that you can move out of your old house and into your new one without a waiting period of homelessness in between.
10. Find a Realtor
You’ve done a lot of research and prep work on your own, but now it’s time to bring in the pros. Working with a realtor can be a great way to make your house hunt easier and more effective. Not only can they help you find homes you might not be able to otherwise, but they can also help guide you through the purchase process.
At Dean Miller Real Estate, our agents live and breathe local real estate. We have our finger on the pulse of homes for sale in Nassau County, NY, and we can help you find your dream home. We also make it simple to negotiate the offer, inspection, and closing processes so you can move into your new home without a hitch.
11. Stay Flexible
When you’re deciding what sort of home you want to buy, it can be easy to get locked into one specific idea. You may find that none of the homes on the market are exactly what you envisioned. It’s important to stay flexible and keep an open mind when it comes to finding a home that will work for you.
Refer back to that needs/wants/ideals list you made at the beginning of the process, and try to rule out homes only based on your needs at first. From there, you can narrow down the remaining homes based on your wants. Your ideals should really be used to prioritize the homes that fit your wants and needs, and you shouldn’t expect to have all of them, at least at first.
12. Look for Fixer-Uppers
One great way to get more bang for your buck with houses is to look for fixer-uppers. Some houses may look rough around the edges, but with a little TLC, they can be something amazing. Plus, you get all the extra equity you earn by raising the value of the home!
If you plan to take on a fixer-upper, make sure you stick to your DIY boundaries. If you’ve never so much as changed out a light fixture, don’t buy a house that needs major electrical, plumbing, or structural work. It’s also a good idea to stick to fixer-uppers that are located in good areas since that’s one factor you can’t change.
13. Be Patient
House hunting can feel like a never-ending parade of not-quite-right houses that don’t meet all your needs. When something halfway decent comes on the market, it can be tempting to jump on it just so your search will be over. But while there’s definitely value in keeping an open mind, don’t get so desperate that you lose sight of your priorities.
Our best advice is to be patient and give the house hunting process time. Chances are that within a few months, the right house for you will come on the market at a price you can afford. Know your timeline and your needs, and don’t rush into something just because you’re ready to be done with this process.
Looking for Wantagh Homes for Sale?
Now that we know more about how to find the right house for you, let’s talk about homes for sale in Wantagh, NY. Wantagh is a city on the south side of Long Island just outside of New York City. The city is relatively small, with just 18,000 residents and 61 homes for sale.
Homes in Wantagh list for an average of $639,000, although they range from $274,000 to $1.6 million. Homes tend to be around 1,700 square feet, listing for an average of $363 per square foot. Although Wantagh is currently a buyer’s market, homes are selling for at or above the asking price and staying on the market a median of 131 days.
Find Homes for Sale in Wantagh, NY
Buying a house is an exciting prospect, but the process can be somewhat overwhelming. Sort out your needs, wants, and ideals early, and get your budget and down payment nailed down. From there, start researching the market on your own and find a realtor to help you find homes for sale in Wantagh that meet your criteria.
If you’d like help finding homes for sale in Wantagh, NY, check out the rest of our site at Dean Miller Real Estate. We make Long Island real estate easy, whether you’re buying or selling. Contact us today and let us help you to achieve your homeownership goals.