When you’re in the market for new property in New York, the first logical step seems to be to start searching online on Zillow or Streeteasy. But even before you do that, you should ask yourself these key questions that will help to save you time and energy and to streamline your search.
Who? Who are the stakeholders when purchasing the property? Will it be you with a spouse? Under whose name(s) will the property be purchased? Will your parents be involved in the decision-making process? If you have children, what are their needs? It is important that any and all stakeholder’s expectations are on the same page.
What? What kind of property is the best choice? Do you want to live in a high-rise with a multitude of amenities, or do you prefer a quaint townhome on a quiet street? What about outdoor space? Do you want land for planting flowers or gardening? Do you need an outdoor patio or terrace to bring the outside in? Think about the environmental impact of the property – is it LEED certified or were green building products used? Is having a fitness center or swimming pool on-site important to you? If you have children, consider if you need a home with amenities for them, such as a building with a children’s playroom or game room, or a single-family dwelling with a yard for them to play in.
Why? Speaking of children, are you planning your purchase because your family is expanding? Are you making the purchase as an investment, or is it intended as a second home? Perhaps you’re downsizing after years of living in a space that’s simply too big now, or relocating to be closer to work or family. Maybe you’re buying for the first time after renting property for many years. Understanding the why and making sure all stakeholder’s interests are met will help you make the right choice for your situation.
Where? You can buy the most beautiful property with all the best amenities and premium upgrades, but if it’s in the “wrong” neighborhood, none of that will matter. For instance, if you purchase a home in the suburbs but work in the city, you may want to live where public transportation is convenient and close to your home. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll be happiest living close to a park or recreation area. If you like to catch a drink or two with friends after work, choose a neighborhood with plenty of bars and restaurants. If you’re more reserved and appreciate your quiet time, avoiding a “happening” area may be a consideration. If you love culture and art, a home with easy access to those offerings should be a consideration.
When? Are you ready to buy right now because of a changing life or work situation, or do you want to take your time and consider all the possible options? If you’re looking to take advantage of changing market conditions, or if you’ve learned of a hot property that you want to purchase before anyone else can get the chance, you’ll want to be ready to move quickly to secure it.
How? The most important question of all is how are you paying for the property? Will you need a down payment toward a mortgage, or will you pay in cash upfront? How and with whom will you get financing? A traditional bank or a credit union? If you will need a mortgage, depending on your personal financial situation, there are different financing products to consider. Knowing your options, working with a lender that understands you, and knowing how much you can afford will save you a lot of time during the house hunting process.
Once you’ve been able to answer all of the questions above and all decision-makers and stakeholders are in agreement, you’ll be properly prepared for when the right property comes along.