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Advice & Reports

Thinking About Buying?

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life. We’ll help to make the purchase of your home as easy as possible so you can Live Who You Are.

As a buyer, what do I need to know before I begin my search?

You should first figure out your budget which will determine the amount of your down payment and financing. Also be sure to get pre-approval from a lender if you need financing. You should then decide on the location where you’d like to be, i.e., town, hamlet, village, waterfront or in the farm fields. To help further narrow your search, it’s also a good idea to establish which style and type of property you prefer.

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What should I know about the mansion tax and Peconic transfer tax?

The mansion tax is a uniform tax applicable to all property purchased in New York State for more than $1 million. When it applies, it is calculated as one percent of the entire purchase price. The Peconic Land Preservation Tax is applicable to all property purchased on Eastern Long Island, and is calculated at 2% of the purchase price over $250K for residential purchases in the towns of Southampton and East Hampton, and 2% of the purchase price over $150,000 in the towns of Southold and Riverhead. For land purchases, it is calculated as 2% of the purchase price over $100K in Southampton and East Hampton towns, and 2% of the purchase price over $75,000 in Southold and Riverhead. It is extremely advisable that buyers review these costs with their financial advisor or attorney before entering into a Contract of Sale so they are aware of these cost implications and how they could impact the purchase of a home.

Do I need flood insurance?

First it needs to be determined whether your home is located in a flood zone or not. If it is and the current owner has flood insurance, this insurance may be assignable and may be less expensive than buying a new policy at current rates. If the property is in a flood zone and there is no flood insurance, such insurance is always available through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Act). Whether or not you need flood insurance my also depend on mortgage bank requirements. It is advisable that you contact your insurance broker in all cases.

The Buyer’s Checklist
  • Determine your budget for a down payment and amount you are able to spend monthly. Consider monthly expenditures such as your mortgage, common charges and real estate taxes, utilities, landscaping, etc.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage, look into credit report, FICO score, type of mortgage, shop for best rates, and programs.
  • Identify your timeline for moving.
  • Find a local real estate agent to work with who knows the area well.
  • Determine your needs and prioritize your wants: style of home, size, location, and type.
  • Evaluate the area and determine if it is right for you: schools, hospitals, commuting time, etc.
  • Look into any on site building restrictions related to the presence of wetlands or other topographic features. Your real estate agent can help choose qualified professionals to assist with this site diligence.
  • Once you find a home you are interested in, evaluate with your agent its condition (make sure heating, cooling, roof, ventilation, plumbing, and sewage equipment are satisfactory). Ask when updates were made and what the monthly energy costs are.
  • Discuss with your agent how much to offer and leave room to negotiate. Your agent will be able to advise you based on how long the property has been on the market, condition of home, other offers that have been presented and how the asking price compares to recently sold similar properties.
  • Let your agent prepare your offer and apply trained negotiating skills during the buying process. Your agent will advise you of any final negotiating factors that may benefit you in the purchase.
  • Arrange for a home inspection and obtain a copy of the home inspector’s report.
  • Once your offer is accepted work closely with your agent to gather materials for your mortgage application.
  • Find a local real estate attorney to prepare the purchase contract to represent you at the closing.
  • Before you move in, obtain homeowners insurance. Get quotes, compare and secure an insurance policy with appropriate coverage.