A home is the largest single investment you have probably ever made. The first question has to be “Can you afford the home you’ve chosen?”. Hopefully you’ve reviewed this before making an offer but if you haven’t this would be the time to take a hard look at the numbers and to make sure they still make sense to you. At closing you will have to pay the price for the home and closing costs. Usually the bulk of the purchase price is paid with a mortgage loan.
Your monthly mortgage payment will generally cover principal and interest on you mortgage loan, real estate taxes and property insurance (not always). Afterward, you will need to budget for that payment, maintenance, utility bills, and repairs. Remember there are tax advantages to home ownership that you need to consider as well. To avoid surprises, examine the seller’s bills to get an idea of the monthly expenses for the home. Also check the age and condition of appliances, plumbing, roof, structures and wiring since they might need repair after your purchase.
You’ve made your bid. You now must wait until you are notified that the seller has accepted it. Once they have you may be asked to sign a “Binder” and to put down a token amount of money ($100 is common). If you are don’t worry, binders aren’t binding in New York unless they contain all of the essential elements of the transaction. They are usually not prepared that way but are prepared just to outline the basic agreement and to reassure both buyer and seller (and maybe the broker) that there is really a deal. If you are in doubt, mark the binder “SUBJECT TO ATTORNEY APPROVAL” and see your attorney within some reasonable period thereafter.
At this point you are going to have many questions and you will be called upon to do a number of things in a very short period of time. Since most attorneys charge a flat fee for their services, hiring an attorney early in the transaction will allow you to have a resource available to help you separate what you must do from what others want you to do