June is one of the most competitive times to  buy a new home.  The market started to pick up in March, but those who want to close by the time their children start school in September are scrambling to find a home in June.

As you hear on the news, across the country, homes that are priced fairly, are in relatively good condition and in a good location have multiple bids within hours of the listing going on the market.  This is true in Westchester County as well.If a listing agent has an open house on top of it, there can be as many as 5 or more offers on the sellers table by the end of the day.  
So, how do you prepare to buy a home in this competitive market?

BE PREPARED before establishing a relationship with a real estate agent.These are things a buyers agent will ask if you’ve done on their first conversation.

The most important thing is do your homework first!  I see new home buyers who call me and tell me the 20 things that are most important to them inbuying a house and location and then list the price and taxes they want to spend.Expectations do not always match reality.
1) If schools are important, research the various school districts in your county online.  Some good sites are:  http://greatschools.org
2) If interested in the demographics or about the town  you can visit:
3) Transportation:  Bee Line Bus Line: North Railroad Fares and Schedules:
Parking at train stations.  Would need to research whether there is available parking or if there is a waitlist if commuting into the city and that would be a need.  White Plains, for example, is waitlisted for a few years, but has municipal lots you can pay for on a monthly basis.  There are also commuter buses from certain neighborhoods.  Valhalla, Hawthorne and Hartsdale still have available parking.  Just need to determine if that is a need and look into it.
4)  GET PRE-APPROVED!  This is probably the most important thing you absolutely need to do in a competitive market.  Not just pre-accepted, but full pre-approval letter from a Westchester bank or mortgage broker.  Sit with your banker and discuss how much you want to put down, what you want your monthly costs to look like including taxes and closing costs.  The letter needs to be attached to your offer.
5)  Once you have all of this information, do some research on zillow or trulia to see what is available in the towns/cities you’ve targeted.  You may have been sitting on the porch dreaming about a 4 bedroom/2 bath house with garage, finished basement, and nice enclosed backyard for $400,000 with taxes under $10,000.  The reality may be that $400,000 is going to buy a home with 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, no garage and unfinished basement in the towns/cities you’ve chosen to look.  Knowing this will create less frustration when you do look.  
6) Finally, need to find a real estate agent who will really represent you in this important transaction.  Having a buyers agent who will keep their eyes open for new listings before that open house happens and multiple bids come in is crucial.  Many times I go to broker open houses during week and call my buyers to get them in before the Sunday open house. Also, critical in being the liaison between your real estate attorney, bank, listing agent and keeping you abreast of each of the steps needed to complete before closing. They are your chief negotiators on your behalf.  Find someone you are comfortable with. Whether you like phone calls, emails or just texting all day; prefer someone serious or with a good sense of humor, there is a real estate agent for you.

If you are looking to buy or sell in Lower Westchester, I’m here to answer your questions or show your homes. You can reach me via text/phone 914-523-5087 or email [email protected]

Thomas Ricapito Headshot
Phone: 914-804-3048
Dated: June 19th 2014
Views: 2,659
About Thomas: I got into real estate sales by accident in 2006. At the time, I recently earned a Bachelor's Degre...

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