Buying a House in Long Island, NY [2022] | 🏡 Should You, & How to with Tips & Steps for Long Island

Long Island is considered part of the culturally rich and diverse New York Metropolitan area. The island consists of four, primarily urban, counties where the convenience of being in close proximity to the city has attracted people who commute daily for work and people who simply enjoy living on “the island.” Extending out over 118 miles, Long Island is considered the longest and largest island in the United States. With a population of over 8 million, this island is responsible for over 40% of the population of New York State.

The island and its diverse scenery and landscapes provide an undeniable appeal to those looking to move to Long Island. Moving to this area is a way to experience the best of both worlds, with options to explore expansive beaches, luxury homes, and tight-knit communities to urban centers with endless activities. House hunting can be challenging and patience-testing. However, following these steps can help you find your dream home.

The Steps To Buying A House In Long Island, NY

Purchasing a home is a monumental decision, but it doesn’t need to be unnecessarily complicated. Following the steps listed below can help organize your search and ensure you are prepared and informed.

How Much Can You Afford? How Much Does It Cost To Buy A House In Long Island, NY?

Finance and affordability dictate your home-buying decisions. There are many factors to consider when making an educated decision on the financial feasibility of a home purchase. Other additional expenses, outside of the purchase price of the home, are property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA fees, and required maintenance. These should be factored in when calculating monthly expenses.

To start a realistic home search, you need to have an accurate and affordable budget in mind. The general rule is that no more than 28% of your gross income should be used for home costs. Additionally, you need to be conscious of your debt to income ratio as this could alter the appropriate percentage that can comfortably be applied to home expenses. You also should have a comfortable figure to use as a down payment for your purchase. Most mortgage lenders will require at least 10% of the purchase price to be put down.

According to Redfin, the housing market in Long Island, NY, is steadily growing. The median sales price is $600,000, up 12.1% from last year, breaking down to approximately $386/per square foot. There is a steady inventory of available homes for sale, with houses staying on the market for an average time of 24 days. Judging by the current market across the country, the Long Island prices and market trends will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

The cost of houses will always vary based on location. Here is a list of some of the desirable areas of Long Island, NY, and their average home price:

  • North Fork: $650,000
  • East Rock: $583,000
  • The Hamptons: $1,185,000
  • Rowayton: $1,270,000
  • Black Rock: $347,500

Long Island Home Affordability Calculator

Find the Right Mortgage and Get Pre-Approved

The mortgage pre-approval is one of the most critical steps in the home buying process. Having a pre-approval in hand is crucial to making an offer that is likely to be accepted by a home seller. It also serves as a guide to what you can comfortably offer and afford.

Many loan options are available, dependent on various qualifying factors of your personal situation. Rest assured that your lender or broker will help you determine which loan and/or program is best suited to your needs.

  • Conventional Loan: These are typically fixed interest rate loans, requiring 20% down and amortized over a 10, 15, 20, or 30-year period.
  • Conventional 97 Loan: Similar to the Conventional loan but requires less of a down payment, typically 3%.
  • FHA Loans: These loans are backed by the federal government and are frequently utilized by first-time home buyers. They require 3.5% down and have less stringent credit requirements than many other options.
  • FHA 203K Rehab Loan: This loan is similar to the FHA Loan but can be used to finance any renovations that are needed in addition to the purchase price.
  • VA Loan: These loans are available for veterans and active-duty military. They require no down payment and typically come with a lower interest rate.
  • USDA Loans: These loans are ideal for suburban and rural buyers with credit scores that make approval for traditional mortgages difficult.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages: These mortgages are originated with interest rates that fluctuate depending on current market conditions.

To get your pre-approval, you can typically utilize the bank or credit union of your choice or opt for a mortgage broker. They will likely request financial documents such as bank statements and past tax returns as well as go through your assets, available funds, and credit score. They will determine what amount you can afford and are qualified for in your Long Island home search using this information.

Find A Long Island Real Estate Agent

Finding a reputable real estate agent is always a good idea when searching for a new home. A buyer’s agent is, as it sounds, someone who can represent you in the purchase of your home. The agent that lists the house is the exclusive agent of the seller and has their best interest at heart when dealing with the home purchase. A buyer’s agent will represent you and look out for any potential issues. Their priority is to protect your best interest at all times.

Agents have access to all new listings as soon as they hit the market. That is especially important in today’s active and competitive market. They can write offers that align with standards and give knowledgeable and experienced advice to buyers. Real estate agents are beneficial in every aspect of the home buying process.

When looking for an agent, don’t take the first one that you come across. You want to find an agent specializing in your desired area and with whom you feel a rapport. This agent will be representing you on a monumental purchase, so you want to make sure that you have trust and rapport with them and their ability to look out for your best interest. Talk to friends, read reviews, and interview agents before choosing the right fit for you.

Go Long Island House Hunting

This is the best part of the process. First, list your wants and needs that include the features you must have (ex: 3 bedrooms) and the amenities you would like to have but don’t necessarily need (ex: an inground pool). Also, take into consideration the style of house that is most appealing to you, desired lot size, and the school district. Finally, of course, you need to be mindful throughout the entire process of your pre-approval amount and budget.

When choosing where to live on Long Island, there are various neighborhood choices. First, you need to assess what neighborhood best suits your lifestyle. For example, are you looking for a more populated urban area or a suburb that is well suited for family life? Affordability of the area also plays a role in choosing what community is best, as well as the availability of activities and attractions.

Make sure that you communicate your preferences to your real estate agent so that she can personalize searches to meet your needs. This saves time for your agent and ensures that you are not looking at homes that don’t meet your needs.

Submitting An Offer

If you have followed these steps, submitting an offer when you find the ideal home is a reasonably straightforward process. When you find a house you would like to make an offer on, you will:

  • Work with your agent to choose an appropriate offer amount and sign the offer to be presented to the seller. At this point, they may come back with a counteroffer or accept the original price.
  • Once the offer is accepted, you will pay a deposit along with the offer. This amount is not the mortgage down payment but a deposit payment made to accompany the offer as a show of good faith.
  • The formal mortgage process, specific to purchasing that house, will then begin.
  • Bank appraisal of the property will ensure that you are paying appropriate market value for the current real estate environment and the amount you are financing.
  • Structural inspections for the house will need to be completed. These inspections consist of a certified inspector going methodically through the components of the home to make sure there are no serious structural defects. The inspector will examine items such as the heating and air conditioning system, roof, frame, and windows, just to name a few. It is crucial that you are aware of any large items that may need maintenance or require immediate repair. In the case of significant defects, you may need to negotiate with the seller further.
  • Your mortgage will be finalized and a closing scheduled.

Submitting an offer in a timely manner is crucial in today’s market. You don’t ever want to be in a situation where there are competitive bids, and you can’t make an offer because you are missing a pre-approval for a mortgage. So most sellers will make that a requirement before even considering a bid.

Close On Your New Long Island, NY Home!

From the accepted offer to the closing date typically takes approximately two months. On the closing day, you will do a final walkthrough with your real estate agent in the home to make sure everything looks as it should. Be sure to examine all of the appliances to ensure they are working as they should be. You should also turn on the heat and air conditioning and double-check that they are in working order. All of the owners’ items should be gone from the home at this point. Don’t forget to check smaller items such as garage door functionality. Once you have determined that all items are as they should be, you are ready for the formal closing. Once there, you will review your closing statements with your attorney and go over any final questions you may have.

After signing all the paperwork and officially transferring the funds to the seller, you will be given the keys and officially own a home in Long Island, NY! Now all that is left is to prepare for your final move – give us a call!

Congratulations are certainly in order after the purchase of your new home. You successfully got pre-approved, found your home, had an offer accepted, and made a long-term commitment to a mortgage and homeownership. This is a memorable and proud event in life! All that is left is to call the best Long Island movers to trust with the relocation into your new home. Call us to help you take the final steps in moving into your new house!

Rob Marchese
Rob Marchese is one of the founders of Zippboxx Moving and Storage. Since the start of the company it's been Rob's mission to change the way the moving industry is perceived.  The number one goal is to make the moving and storage process as stress free as possible for each and every customer. "The way we do this is by honesty, transparency, and providing a high quality of service."
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