Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Take the time to educate yourself. Look for free first time home buyer seminars run by local not-for-profit organizations. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a hotline number to help you locate free pre-purchase counseling at 1-800-569-4287.
Do not feel pressured or forced to sign anything. A legitimate business or real estate brokerage should always give you time to review a contract before signing. Do not sign any brokerage or purchase contract that contains blank spaces.
Hire your own attorney before you sign a brokerage or purchase contract. Never use an attorney who is provided or recommended by the seller or the seller's broker. Ask your attorney about any provision in a real estate contract that you do not fully understand.
Shop around for mortgage rates. Mortgages with low down payments are available from a variety of lenders. Do not let the seller require that you use a specific bank or lending institution. The New York State Banking Department will give you a free brochure upon request regarding choosing a mortgage by calling 1 (800) 522-3330.
Purchase an independent inspection of the property. Negotiate a provision in the contract that states that you have the right to get an inspection by someone of your choosing. And that if the inspection is not satisfactory to you, that you have the right to cancel the contract. Choose a licensed engineer or architect to perform the inspection. Do not rely on an appraisal that is provided by the lender or an inspector provided by the seller or seller's broker.
Promises of future repairs and renovations can lead to future problems. All negotiated promises must be put in writing. If, upon the final walk through before closing, a repair is not complete or still needed, make the seller place repair money in escrow until it is done.
Before you close on the house, make sure you and your attorney understand and agree with any last minute changes in the documents.