According to the most recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 41 percent of all
new homes are purchased by first-time buyers. Whether you're shopping for a co-op or condo for the first time, or you've already been through the apartment purchasing process in the past, it pays to know how to choose the right real estate agent, mortgage broker, attorney and title company. With the right team of qualified professionals on your side, you'll remember the experience as a pleasant one rather than a complex and time-consuming ordeal.
Now is the time to choose a professional real estate agentone who knows the market and will work with you closely to help you achieve your goals. Get referrals from friends who have had a good experience with buying and selling in the past and can give you the names of their agents. If you are new to the area, look at ads and select a firm you may have used in the past.
When shopping for a new apartment, one question that many buyers ask is, How much home can I actually afford? This is very easy to determine. In New York City, the basic formula is that your monthly carrying costs, including mortgage, maintenance and, in the case of a condo, real estate taxes, should equal no more than half your monthly income. Your real estate agent will provide you with the name of a mortgage broker who can prequalify you for a mortgage and advise you of a dollar range that will be comfortable for you.