As the Staten Island, N.Y., housing market continues to gain traction, new homebuyers seeking to live the American Dream in the borough are wise to prepare ahead for ownership.
New Listings on Staten Island increased 4.3 percent in May, as Pending Sales rose 19 percent and levels of inventory dropped 21.4 percent.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 4 percent to $402,500. Days on Market was down 7.9 percent to 134 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 28.4 percent to 6.7 months.
- Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
- Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
- Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
- Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
- Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
- Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
- Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
- Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
- Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
- Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.
About The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
Approaching its 100th anniversary, the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit professional and trade association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically; and to promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of approximately 1,800 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 3,000 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR members belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
SIBOR may be reached at 718-928-3220 and viewed online at www.SIBOR.com. SIBOR may also be visited on Facebook at “Staten Island Board of Realtors” and “SIBOR 100” (showcasing some of the organization’s latest highlights and accomplishments), and on Twitter via @SIBOR.