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So, after weighing the pros and cons of renting and buying in NYC you have made the decision to purchase a home in Astoria. A great task is ahead of you and you probably assume it is going to be nerve-racking. And you are right. We don’t want to sugar-coat anything. However, becoming a home-owner in NYC is totally worth the effort. In order to help you finalize this purchase in the most successful way, we have prepared some useful tips and hints for buying a house in Astoria.

A hand holding a pen and a signature on a white surface, a drawing of a house and the word "bought" in the background
Buying a house in Astoria is one of the largest investment you will ever make.

Mortgage down payment

Start saving for the house on time

Although a 20% down payment is common, it can be much lower. As a first-time buyer, it is possible to put as little as 3% down. However, a down payment below 20% of the total home price could mean higher costs and pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Buyers who can afford to put down at least 20% normally don’t pay for mortgage insurance.

Bear in mind that the closing costs need to be paid in cash and they usually add 3 to 5.5 percent to the purchase price. Therefore, start saving as early as possible. Setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses, setting up an automatic savings plan, as well as using an app to track your progress will help you save for a down payment.

Explore your options

There are a few different mortgage options you can take into consideration. For example,  conventional mortgages, Federal Housing Administration loans, and Veterans Affairs loans. The monthly mortgage payment and interest rate depend on the amount you put down. A 30-year fixed mortgage is your best option if you need the lowest monthly mortgage payment possible. But, with a 20 or 15-year fixed loan, you’ll get a lower interest rate. An adjustable-rate mortgage also guarantees a low-interest rate for the first few years. However, this option is riskier. 

The preapproval process

The preapproval process is necessary because it gives you an idea of the kind of houses you should be looking at. Once you have gone through your preapproval, you will know how much you can afford to spend. In addition, it serves as proof to the sellers that you have the funds to make the purchase. The preapproval takes only 24-48 hours. A lender needs to verify your income, run your credit and ask about your assets and liabilities. How much you are willing to spend is up to you, but a pre-approval is there to inform you what your possibilities are.

Hire a good buyer’s broker

Working with a buyer’s broker can help you a lot, especially if you are a first-time buyer. A broker should offer guidance through the whole process of buying a house in Astoria and help you make the right decisions. A professional broker will:

Several houses seen from a bird's-eye view
Buyer’s brokers have access to new homes on the market before they are listed.
  • Find you good listings that fit your needs
  • Submit your offers
  • Connect you with lenders and lawyers
  • Negotiate the prices and terms of buying a house in Astoria
  • Prepare and submit your board package

People who have bought or sold a house in Astoria recently can recommend reliable brokers, insurance and moving companies, such as Divine Moving and Storage NYC. Get recommendations from friends and family members or do some online research. Bear in mind that the broker is on your side and they will get paid only if you end up buying a home in Astoria.

Prepare to compromise when buying a house in Astoria

Let’s face it – getting your dream home is next to impossible. If you cannot have your ideal house, there is no point in waiting for something better to come up. And, based on statistics, house prices in Astoria are likely to keep rising. So, when buying a house in Astoria, you’ll probably need to compromise. What you should be looking for is a solid balance of price, size, and location. Be thorough in your research and you may find a great property within your price range.

Compare houses

Start visiting different websites to find homes in Astoria that are available. Many sites provide information on how long a house has been on the market, past sales, price changes, and other useful things. Immediately eliminate the houses whose price, style or size does not suit your needs.

Next, start visiting open houses to get a better sense of what you like and need. When you find a house which could be the one, schedule a private showing with a real estate agent. This is your opportunity to ask a lot of questions and see the house without being distracted by other buyers. Inspect every corner, consider the maintenance, utility costs, proximity to public transportation and the number of offers that have already been made.

Failure is part of the process

Be ready for fierce competition. New York City is among the most competitive real estate markets in the USA. Submitting an offer does not mean the house is yours. Do not get too excited and start calling Astoria movers. Losing a house to competition is possible, but it should not discourage you. On the contrary. If someone else gets the house you wanted, approach the next one with more determination. An even better opportunity may be just around the corner.

A drawing of a woman sitting on the floor thinking about buying a house in Astoria
The buying process may be frustrating, but having a home in Astoria you can call your own is a great reward.

Common home buyer mistakes

Some of the most common mistakes you will later regret to include:

  • Not saving for closing costs
  • Not saving for move-in expenses, such as NYC moving services, home improvements, furnishings, etc.
  • Buying a home in Astoria that meets your current needs, not thinking about the future
  • Not negotiating with the seller
  • Not purchasing the right homeowner’s insurance
  • Failing to do a proper home inspection

About Author

John has been with Divine Moving and Storage in New York for nearly two decades. Starting as a young helper and climbing up the ranks to be a staple in our organization. John has the knowledge and experience to assist our clients with any move or storage related needs. You can reach John or any of our associates in NYC at 212-244-4011