Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about the process of buying a new home.

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

main image secondary image

Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

main image secondary image

Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. I may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

main image secondary image

Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

main image secondary image

Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

main image secondary image

Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.

Brian Y.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
We worked with Ralph and Robert from his team and we cannot say enough great things. They helped us rent our condo in Williamsburg and the whole process was seamless. Ralph and his team are extremely knowledgeable about the current market conditions and experts in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn area. It helps that Ralph has lived in the area for some time and has helped numerous clients sell, purchase, and r...

— Brian Y.

Atsuko Y.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I truly enjoyed going through renting my apartment and purchasing a home process with Antonia. First, she helped me rent out my coop, I was worried about the timing for the rental since the coop requires so much more paperwork and interviews. But she was on top of everything. Researching the best attractive price, creating charming photos, descriptions, and getting the best possible tenants with the abov...

— Atsuko Y.

Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I could not recommend Antonia enough; she is exceptionally easy to communicate with, knowledgeable about her craft and the market, intelligent with her approach to problem-solving, and very committed to closing the deal. On our most recent project, I was too busy with my work and unable to keep up on my end. Antonia took the reigns and made sure we got everything done in a timely manner. We also had a nu...

— Seller

Mike K.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Working with Antonia was an absolute pleasure. As a first-time buyer, I doubt I would have completed the process without her guidance and support. She took me from near-zero knowledge to having a clear view of exactly what I wanted and unlocked each of the steps needed to achieve it. After only a little time together she developed a keen sense of my taste and what mattered to me, while augmenting that wi...

— Mike K.

Buyer
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I highly recommend Antonia to anyone looking for a Realtor®. She went above and beyond and was so incredibly helpful to us, walking us through the process step by step. My husband and I were purchasing a pied e Terre and did not live in NY, so Antonia scouted out properties for us detailing each one with specifics. She was so organized and really had our best interest in mind the entire time. Antonia was...

— Buyer

Jaclyn M.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Antonia was an excellent agent and quite a pleasure to work with. Though my home purchase took place during the pandemic and involved a lot of complicated approvals, she helped me navigate all the steps seamlessly and in the end, we are very satisfied not only with the deal we secured in the mortgage rate but also with the home itself. I would highly recommend using her and her contacts to help you throu...

— Jaclyn M.

Buyer | Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
What a team. Ralph, Kevin, and Stojan bring their individual style and expertise that is professional, warm, and energetic. They listened to my requests and concerns and were always available to answer my queries. They were dedicated from start to finish and made the process of securing a quality tenant incredibly easy. I could not have done it without them. I highly recommend this Compass trio.

— Buyer | Seller

Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I highly recommend Ralph and Antonia. They sold our house in Greenpoint for $258,000 over the asking price during the Covid pandemic. There were many obstacles that popped up last minute with the home's survey and tenants issues. Ralph and Antonia handheld each one with professionalism and compassion. Wonderful people to work with. Took care of everything.

— Seller

Buyer | Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Bertte had such maturity and integrity throughout the whole process that involved dealing with a snail-pace co-op board and management company. She imparted her professionalism to all concerned making everyone patient and knowing how to make the clients hold out long enough so they ended up renting the apartment. I was truly impressed.

— Buyer | Seller

Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Antonia helped us with repairing wear and tear for over 17 years, staging the apartment to sell, finding a buyer who she had to walk through the process, and closing through a complicated title transfer. All while we were away and the city was locked down. Very happy to have her as our Broker.

— Seller

Will S.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Ralph and his team handle the sale of my NYC coop. They did a great job from listing to sale and sold my place in record time in the middle of the pandemic. Looking forward to using the team to find my next place to buy now.

— Will S.

Buyer | Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Excellent, productive, pleasant and very helpful, timely, and responsive. On-time for all appointments. Found for me the most amazing apartment. Fit my needs perfectly. Very helpful in the leasing process. Very professional.

— Buyer | Seller

Buyer
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Antonia was fantastic in every way. As first-time home buyers, she helped us through the whole process, answering all of our questions, providing us with information, and giving helpful advice. We could not recommend her more.

— Buyer

Seller
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Ralph has a good eye for what buyers are looking for in a property. He expertly listed and showed our property, making sure it attracted the right amount of attention. We sold for considerably over asking.

— Seller

Buyer
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
Bertte was very honest, very professional, and very supportive in all the processes to find, negotiate and get my beautiful townhouse. I really recommend her to help you find your future house.

— Buyer

Work With Us

Known for providing well-informed service with integrity, The Modica Geloso Team agents are smart, motivated and highly skilled. Their diversity of expertise means no deal is too large or too small, and Compass' nationwide footprint puts every major market within easy reach.