Buyer's Guide

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, especially in the Upper East Side, Midtown, and Downtown Manhattan real estate markets. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


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 we 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.



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 or preapproved for a loan.



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 agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately negotiate the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that comes with years of training and experience. We often have inside information on properties not on the market and can give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price. We will educate you in all aspects of the real estate market from current pricing trends, to neighborhoods on the rise, to insider details on a particular building. Our experience will save you time in the buying process, and our building by building expertise allows us to target appropriate properties as they come on the market. We coordinate your purchase from start to finish. In today’s fast paced real estate market, timing and efficiency are essential.



Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will listen carefully to your needs, whether financial, design aesthetic or lifestyle and do a thorough search for properties that best meet your criteria. We will suggest a number of options including types of property, different neighborhoods to consider, amenities offered and layout configurations We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. We will take notes about what you like and don’t like,  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 we will work with you 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. We will advise you as to the appropriate price range of the property you are seeking and will help you prioritize your needs and make decisions regarding areas of flexibility. We will help you through all the negotiations until we have an accepted offer. It is at this time you will need to speak again with your mortgage lender and you will need to have a real estate attorney to complete the deal. We will put together a deal sheet that will be sent to both the seller’s and the buyer’s attorney.. The seller’s attorney will send out the contract. We can recommend an attorney or work with yours to make sure an appropriate contract is prepared and signed promptly.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In some cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. This is more often done if you are purchasing a home or a townhouse. It is rarely done when purchasing a coop or condo apartment. We can help you arrange for an inspection 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.


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. If you are purchasing a coop or a condo in Manhattan you will have to do a Board Package. We will manage the preparation of your Board Package.  CB Warburg is known throughout the industry for the high quality of Board Packages we assemble. We will guide you through the process and ensure that you appear to your best advantage. Once you are board approved, you have received your commitment letter from the bank, you have done a walk through and your lawyer has done his due diligence, you are ready to close.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new home. 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, the home will be yours.

Work With Us

At Blacker & Reed, we bring innovative marketing ideas, experienced negotiation skills, and bespoke client service. We go to any lengths to find the perfect fit for our clients. If you're buying or selling a luxury home in Midtown, the Upper East Side, or Downtown Manhattan, we'd be honored to work together.

Follow Us On Instagram