Five Common Real Estate Questions

Home buying (and selling) is stressful no matter how much research one might do ahead of time. Things can go wrong, the sale negotiation may be shady, or it might not be the right time to sell. Below is a list of five common real estate questions about buying, selling, and property value in New York.

Question 1: How Do I Get My House Ready to Sell?

It's critical that homeowners take the right steps to ensure that their home is presentable and up to safety standards when preparing to sell. Depending on the age of the house, amount of wear and tear, and the level of curb appeal you wish to convey, what you need to do in your home may vary.

For homeowners of historic properties or older houses, updating appliances and electrical and plumbing systems is essential. May older properties have older pipes and wires that may not be up to code or efficient enough for the next owner.

In general, it's important to update features in the house to make it more appealing and livable. If there are improvements you've put off until now, make sure to get them completed before putting your home on the market. If you run out of time or money when fixing up the house, include any issues or concerns in the Property Condition Disclosure Agreement that all New York homeowners are obligated to provide before the sale.

Question 2: What Is the Difference Between Fair Market Value and Assessed Value?

When you buy or sell the house, you may notice an assessed value and the fair market value on the paperwork. The difference is:

  • The assessed value is determined by a public tax assessor to assign a tax amount to the house. In some cases, the assessed value may increase, increasing the tax amount.
  • Fair market value is the home's agreed-upon price between buyer and seller.

The assessed and fair market values may be different for many reasons. Tax assessors measure value by square footage, condition, land amount, and the neighborhood. These factors fluctuate over time and rarely stay consistent.

Fair market value can sometimes be based on the same factors as the assessed value, but ultimately it is the final price negotiated by the buyer and seller. The fair market value is generally based on the average value of houses with the same square footage and features. Buyers may negotiate the price down or ask for closing costs, but the fair market value does not change significantly in most cases.

Question 3: What Is the First Step to Buy a Home?

It's important to get approved for a mortgage before you can look at listings and pack up your things. Unless you can pay for a house in case, mortgages are an essential part of the homeowning and buying process.

If you do not have mortgage approval before attempting to buy, home buying might be difficult or even impossible. Be sure to research mortgages and ask the lenders questions about the terms. While it's essential to get approved, it's more important to get approved for the right mortgage for you.

Question 4: Do I Have To Sell My Home To Buy a New One?

Whether you sell your existing home to purchase a new one is up to you, but there are some critical factors to consider. Equity can significantly contribute to your buying budget or mortgage plan requirements. Selling your house and cashing in on the equity can be a great way to get the funds you need to buy a new home.

On the other hand, renting and/or flipping the property might be a great way to start if you wish to invest. A word of caution: never go into real estate investment unless you are prepared for the market fluctuations. The property's value can increase or decrease over time, so you must do your homework before investing.

Question 5: What Is Escrow and How Does It Work?

Escrow is the neutral third-party responsible for handling the property transaction and all related documents. When a house is in escrow, this third party processes the documents to ensure that the documentation meets the terms and conditions of the sale.

Buying/Selling With Confidence

The New York housing market is intimidating, and for first-time buyers/sellers and seasoned homeowners alike, it's crucial to have an advisor you trust. At Letterio & Haug, LLP, we represent clients on both sides of the sale. Our team understands the housing market and what you need to do before purchasing or selling a house.

Whether you are buying or selling a house, Letterio & Haug, LLP can help. We handle buy-side cases involving out-of-town, commercial, banke-owned, estate sale, and structurally questionable cases. We also help during the sales process with negotiations, liens, or as negotiators on our client's behalf.

Schedule a consultation with our experienced real estate attorneys so you can buy or sell with confidence.

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