When buying a home, there are many important factors one must consider. For most people, real estate is an enormous financial investment and, as such, merits serious commitment and contemplation. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to dive headlong into a real estate venture alone. At Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP we can provide a guiding hand, advising you through all the important decision-points a purchase of this magnitude entails.

Throughout the years, we’ve helped countless clients through the legalities of the home-buying process, and have gained some invaluable knowledge along the way. Here are some tips that we think are especially important for buyers to keep in mind.

Find a Home In Your Range

The listed price of a home is usually negotiable- to a certain degree. Financially speaking, it’s important you don’t bite off more than you can chew. In this instance, that means not committing yourself to payments you cannot feasibly repay. Before considering buying a home, it’s important to sit down and review your finances, and to reach a figure that you can realistically afford.

Budgeting beforehand is a step that cannot be underestimated. Alongside mortgage payments, utilities, upkeep, insurance and day-to-day expenses should be factored into your decision-making process. It’s also prudent to expect the unexpected. Purchasing a home too far outside your means will leave you without funds capable of providing in the event of an emergency.

At Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP we advise finding the right balance- a great home that you’ll be able to make payments on while still living comfortably.

Make a Reasonable Offer

When making an offer, it’s important to learn about binders. Binders are precursors to the contract of sale. They are, generally, verbal agreements accompanied by a small token payment that communicate interest in a given property. After a buyer agrees to a binder, the seller will agree not to sell the property. After this preliminary verbal portion of the deal is made, it’s time to hire an attorney and move on to the written formalities.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

For most real estate transactions, the presence of attorneys is standard. Both buyers and sellers are represented by lawyers, who help the transaction proceed in a smooth and even-handed fashion. When considering all the moving parts intrinsic to the purchasing process, it’s nice to have an attorney working alongside you to ensure all precautions are taken and no steps are missed.

So it’s of paramount important that, when choosing an attorney, you select one with experience and specified expertise in the field of real estate. At Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP we can provide just such an attorney for you.

Schedule a Home Inspection

New York State Law stipulates that (most) buildings be sold “as is,” which absolves sellers of responsibility after the closing of a sale. That means that any repairs that need to be made, or structural defects that need correction, fall to the new homeowner. One way to avoid this, as a buyer, is to schedule a thorough inspection before the sale goes to closing. This way, you can request the seller make all necessary repairs else adjusts the asking price to reflect the inevitability of these repairs being made.

We at Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP suggest taking the walkthrough with the engineer or professional that comes to inspect your home. You should be searching not only for architectural defects, but faulty electrical wiring, leaky plumbing, and weaknesses in structural integrity. A good inspector should be able to isolate small potentialities that could turn into future problems. Another very important hazard to be on the lookout for is termites, which can seriously compromise the infrastructure of your home.

Make sure to ask as many questions as possible.

Sign the Contract

The final contract of sale is another area where attorneys come into play. The buyer’s attorney will thoroughly review all official documentation in preparation for final signatures. On your behalf, we will make copies of the contract to be signed by the required parties.

Settle Your Mortgage Situation

At this point, you should have a firm idea of where you’ll want to apply for a mortgage loan. An attorney can help you gather, fill (if necessary) and submit all proper documentation to your lender. You’ll want to complete this process as quickly as possible so as to facilitate the continuation of the sales process. An attorney can also help point you in the right direction in terms of lenders, as finding the right lender and the right rates is a difficult task. Variables such as fixed or adjustable rates, origination fees, etc. should be topics you’ve thought about and agreed upon.

Purchase Home Owner’s Insurance

In some cases, proof of home owner’s insurance is necessary in finalizing the deal. A lender may ask to see receipts signifying a year’s worth of paid premiums, though requirements vary case by case. Even if not strictly necessary, home owner’s insurance is strongly suggested.

Utilities and Telephone

Amidst the often hectic closing period, coordinating utilities and telephone services may get lost in the fray. It’s important to schedule the commencement of utilities beforehand, to coincide with your proposed move-in date. This way, there will be no gap between your first day in the house and the functionality of your appliances and utilities.

The Closing

The closing is a meeting involving: (1) the buyer (2) the seller (3) all attorneys (4) the title closer (5) all brokers and in the case of co-op transactions, also (6) the managing agent. [Heretofore referred to as “all parties” or “all involved parties.”] This meeting often occurs in the seller’s attorney’s office or the buyer’s bank’s attorney’s office. For co-op transactions, the closing will take place in the managing agent’s office.

Before the closing transpires, a final inspection is to be conducted to ensure the absence of any last minute problems. A buyer must consult his mortgage lender and review all documentation before the scheduled closing is to occur. After receiving the closing figures, (which normally occurs the day before the closing is to occur) it is up to the buyer to collect those funds and bring them to the meeting.

Contact Our Firm

Enlisting the help of the trusted professionals at Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP can make your transactions as quick, seamless and efficient as possible. Remember, while these tips are great reference points to stay mindful of when purchasing a home, nothing compares to the hands-on assistance our skilled team of attorneys can provide. The consultations at Kaplan, Kaplan & DiTrapani, LLP are free, so you’ve got nothing to lose. Remember, our firm is here to make your purchasing process a successful one. Contact Us