Buying a home in today’s market is an exciting, yet challenging project and Emma McMahon, sales manager of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Port Washington has some key advice to help ease that challenge and make it a success.
“There are certain things a buyer needs to do before they start their home search,” said McMahon, a licensed associate broker who has been in real estate since 1985. “One important step is that buyers should become familiar with the area they want to live in and do some diligence as far as looking into schools, recreation, houses of worship and transportation.”
“The next step,” she continued, “is working with a good mortgage broker to find out how much they really are in position to spend for a house. That avoids falling in love with a house, putting in an offer and then finding out it’s something you really can’t afford. You also need to be asking them what points they charge and what fees they charge because they’re all different.”
“In today’s world there is a considerable amount of multiple bidding going on,” McMahon adds, referring to the difficulty presented when there are many offers on a property at the same time. “So, it really helps if a buyer is in a position to say that they have a mortgage commitment or some kind of bank letter. When you’re bidding on a house to be able to say that you have all that might help you get to the front of the line.”
McMahon also says that choosing a good real estate agent is crucial. “It’s also very important,” she explained, “to know that when you’re dealing with an agent that there’s a state law that says that all agents must disclose to you who they’re representing. In the old days we all worked with buyers who thought that we were representing them and, in reality, we were all representing the seller. That all changed in the 90’s because the state said that you have to tell the buyer whether you’re representing them or representing the homeowner.”
“A buyer has to be prepared to move fast,” McMahon continued. “It’s important to find a good attorney, preferably a real estate attorney. It’s a good thing to know what home inspection company you’re going to use. When you find that right house, the seller expects you to move very quickly. It’s important that if there are other buyers lined up behind you, you’re not starting to do your research then.”
Honesty, on the part of the buyer, is also a key, according to McMahon. “Once you find a broker that you’re comfortable with, be honest,” she says. “That way you’re time won’t be wasted. Tell them about your lifestyle and exactly what things are important to you.”
Two other items that McMahon feels that buyers should take into consideration are taxes and waterfront properties. “Taxes change twice a year,” she cautions. “You need to ask if the figures are up to date. And a lot of Long Island homes, even though they’re not on the waterfront are in what is known as a flood zone. So you need to find out if the property is in one.”