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Sandra McCarty

LICENSE: 10401298086

(516) 300-2427
(718) 341-9800 (Office)

Real Estate Tips

A Check List For Buying A Home

1. Get a copy of your reports and know your credit score - Try Fair Isaac's MyFICO.com. Start with your credit. Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They show whether you are habitually late with payments and whether you have run into serious credit problems in the past.

2. Set your budget - You need to determine how much house you can afford - The rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two-and-a-half times your gross annual salary. Another rule of thumb: All your monthly home payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. The size of your down payment will also determine how much you can afford.


3. Line up your cash. You'll need to come up with cash for your down payment and closing costs. Lenders like to see 20% of the home's price as a down payment.

4. Find a good real estate agent: Most sellers list their homes through an agent -- but those agents work for the seller, not you. You need "exclusive buyer agent" who is paid directly by you on an hourly or a contracted fee.

5. Search for a home. Your first step here is to figure out what city or neighborhood you want to live in. A good buyers’ agent will help you look for important signs of economic vitality, good school district etc. When it comes time to sell, you'll find that a strong school system is a major advantage in helping your home retain or gain value.

6. Make an offer. Once you find the house you want, move quickly to make your offer. If you're working with a buyer's broker, then get advice from him or her on an initial offer. If you're working with a seller's agent, devise the strategy yourself.

7. Enter contract. Have your lawyer or buyers’ agent review this document to make sure the deal is contingent upon:

i. your obtaining a mortgage

ii. a home inspection that shows no significant defects

iii. a guarantee that you may conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

You also need to make a good-faith deposit -- usually 1% to 10% of the purchase price -- that should be deposited into an escrow account. The seller will receive this money after the deal has closed. If the deal falls through, you will get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.

8. Secure a loan - Call your mortgage broker or lender and move quickly to agree on terms. If you don't already have one, look into taking out a homeowner's insurance policy. Most lenders require that you have homeowner's insurance in place before they'll approve your loan.

9. Get an inspection - In addition to the appraisal that the mortgage lender will make of your home, you should hire your own home inspector.

10. Close the deal. About two days before the actual closing, you will receive a final HUD Settlement Statement from your lender that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing. Review it carefully.