By Karen Monroe
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Buy, buy, buy. Or is it say bye bye to the property we envisioned as our next home, because we weren't prepared to take action and get in the bidding game soon enough. No big secret here: New York real estate goes fast. No waiting and pondering. Most often, getting back to it next week is getting back to it too late.
Interest rates are low, more inventory has hit the market, and buyers want in – especially first-timers and investors. I'm working with both of these types right now and it's a mad dash to the finish line. Well-priced properties all over Brooklyn are trading quickly. From the charming, pre-war unit in the Heights, to the six-bedroom, brownstone fixer-upper in Bushwick, timing is everything.
So what to do? Here are a few simple tips to help buyers prepare for the process of real estating: First, find a real estate agent you like and trust, and who knows the neighborhood you are looking to buy into. You'll be spending a significant amount of time together during the next several months, so pick an agent you connect with. Work with someone who listens and understands your needs, and the entire process runs a lot smoother. A good sense of humor also goes a long way.
Next, check selling prices for comparable properties in the area in which you wish to live. This helps you get a realistic view of what's out there. This can be done with a property search on any independent real estate website, or a broker's website like Elliman.com.
Get your financials in order. Give the credit cards a rest. If you are not paying all cash, talk to a mortgage broker to find out what you can afford. Run a credit report. Get pre-qualified for a loan amount. Even better, get pre-approved by your mortgage broker. The difference is pre-qualified is an estimate of your borrowing power based on a conversation with the broker about your income, credit and debt levels. Pre-approval is a formal process: you complete an application and the mortgage broker verifies your financials based on your pay stubs, W2 and bank account statements. This is wise buyer behavior, as it shows the seller you are serious and motivated.
Understand how much money you will need for the down payment, closing costs, taxes, common charges or maintenance, and attorney fees. In New York, both the buyer and seller are required to have attorneys throughout the negotiating process and at the closing table. All of these costs vary from situation to situation, building to building. Just be prepared, not surprised.
Then get out there and start looking. Visit open houses. Have your agent schedule private showings of places you are interested in. And be ready to take action once you find the place that moves you. If not, you'll be saying bye bye rather than buy buy to that ideal property.
On the Run
I walk a lot. All real estaters do; it's our job. We walk our soles off. To that end, we need decent shoes. We are like a marathon runner who needs the right shoe to comfortably train and complete a distance race. If not, bad things happen to our feet, posture and good mood.
This is especially challenging for female agents who want to look cute, rock an amazing shoe and be able to finish a busy day of showings without heading for the Epsom salts to soak our ripped-apart feet. I'm just saying, we need the intersection of fashion and function. Big time.
The boys have it easier. Most of them stick to a practical black or brown business shoe. Did I mention they are flat? No man heels here. For girls it's harder to find a fashionable heel that passes the cuteness meter and allows us to hike up and down sixth floor walk-ups with our clients. But fear not, I found a solution that seems to be working for me for these days - Aerosoles. You heard it right, Aerosoles. They are comfortable and, at long last, are actually attractive. Check them out. I'll take soles of air over soles of not any work day. However, I'd opt out of running a marathon in them.
Karen Monroe practices real estate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 156 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. She lives in the neighborhood and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.