How to Confidently Make the Leap From Renter to Homeowner in Manhattan

The thought of becoming a homeowner is exciting. This is especially true when you’re thinking about entering the market for Manhattan real estate. Shopping for a home in Manhattan is different in many ways from what you might expect if you were buying a home elsewhere. Thankfully, this isn’t a process you have to go through alone. This article will help you understand where to start as you think about transitioning from a renter to a homeowner in Manhattan.

1. Prepare for the process

Finding the right home takes time, and it’s not as simple as deciding what part of town you want to live in or how many bedrooms you want. There will be numerous tasks you have to complete leading up to closing day. You’ll have phone calls to make, meetings to attend, and papers to sign. The entire process can take several months from start to finish. The end result definitely makes the process well worth it, but you must commit to remaining diligent and patient from day one.

2. Organize your finances

It’s never too early to reach out to a lender to discuss what sort of loan you might qualify for. Give yourself enough time to speak with multiple lenders and consider different options. Most first-time homebuyers don’t know that different lenders will offer different interest rates. They assume that all lenders work off of the interest rate suggested by the Federal Reserve. While most companies do use this number as a point of reference, it’s not a guarantee that each bank or lender will offer this exact amount.

The real amount that you’ll receive depends on a number of factors, including your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. It also depends on the lender, which is why you should never make a final decision for a lender without talking with at least two or three candidates. Once you decide which lender you want to work with, make sure you get a pre-approval letter. This will give you clarity about what price range you should be shopping in. It may also be something that a seller wants to see before they agree to a deal to sell you their home.

The other reason why finances are so important early on in the process is because you’ll need to have enough cash on hand to fund the down payment and closing costs. The down payment that will be required of you depends on what sort of loan you’re taking out. In most cases you’ll need to have enough cash to cover at least 3 percent of the total cost of the home. Closing costs will add up to another 3 to 5 percent of the home’s total cost. Go ahead and start getting this money together now so that you have one less thing to worry about as you approach your closing day.

3. Think about what you want in your new home

This is the part that many people find to be the most enjoyable when they are looking for Manhattan real estate. Take some time to look at listings online and think about what features or amenities are most important to you in your new home. Pay attention to what qualities are highlighted in each listing that you look for, and determine what factors are most important to you and what you’re willing to live without. Once you get a picture of the type of home you want, communicate your preferences with your realtor. They can begin to suggest possible homes based on what they know about what you’re looking for.

4. Make a strong offer

Once you find a home that you’re interested in, you will make an offer to the seller. Depending on how long the home has been on the market and how many other buyers are interested in the property, you may have some room to negotiate on the seller’s asking price. Your realtor will advise you on the best course of action in these situations. Typically the seller will counter on an offer if it’s below their original asking price. You may trade multiple offers back and forth with the seller until you come to a deal that you can both agree on.

5. Prepare for closing

Once you agree to a deal with a seller to purchase their home, you’ll spend the next four to six weeks getting ready for closing. You’ll have a few important tasks to complete during this time. One of the most important things you’ll have to do before you complete your purchase is schedule an inspection for your new home. This isn’t mandatory, but it’s not recommended to skip this step. The inspector will look over the home and will tell you about any structural or mechanical concerns that they notice. You’ll also work with an appraiser to confirm that the home is selling for a fair market price and you’ll partner with a title company to prepare for a legal transfer of ownership of the home.

6. Work with a great realtor

The best advice for anybody who is looking to purchase a home for the first time is to partner with a trusted local realtor. You will experience a great deal of relief when you know you’re working alongside someone with an expert knowledge of the current state of the housing market. They can help you navigate through every step of the process and they will always be standing by to answer any of the questions that you have.

For buyers in the Manhattan area, Monica Novo is the best person for the job. Monica is a creative thinker and an expert marketer. She has sold over one billion dollars in residential developments and she has a deep understanding of the Manhattan housing market. Reach out to Monica when you’re ready to make the jump and become a Manhattan homeowner.

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The Novo Collective offers over 30+ years of expertise in the New York Metro marketplace producing hundreds of millions in sales. Our scope is expansive. We house competencies ranging from: New Development Marketing, Processes and Controls Design, Brand Management and Licensing, to Private Sector Consulting and North Fork - Hamptons Markets.