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Buying a home in New York

  1. Find a licensed agent
    All New York real estate professionals must be associated with a broker and licensed with the Department of State (DOS), which also requires them to have their license renewed every two years. In order to hold a license, an individual must have completed coursework and passed an exam that covers local real estate laws and practices.
  2. Know what to expect from your agent
    Once you hire an agent, you are entitled to confidentiality, full disclosure, undivided loyalty, reasonable care, and a thorough accounting of any amount that they collect and expend for you throughout the transaction.
  3. Learn more about the home buying process
    When a seller accepts your offer in New York, bear in mind that either party can walk away from the transaction for just about any reason. You will not be obliged to close the sale until you sign a formal contract or go “into contract,” which takes place about a week after the seller accepts your offer. It’s advisable to have inspections made before going into contract.

    Afterwards, you’ll have to make a down payment, which covers 10% of the sales price. This is not to be confused with the down payment you must pay the mortgage lender upon closing – it is a separate fee that covers an additional 10%.

  4. Know about seller disclosure obligations
    “Buyer beware” has been a widely observed rule in New York. Courts typically will not compensate buyers for property defects that were discovered after the purchase unless the seller deliberately prevented buyers from carrying out inspections.

    However, courts have begun offering remedies in limited situations. For instance, a seller who provided a disclosure statement but failed to discuss a known defect may be liable. So will a seller making a false oral or written statement, or omitting a material fact.

  5. Know your responsibilities as a homeowner
    Failing to pay property taxes in New York could lead to property tax foreclosure. The delinquent amount, which includes not just the accrued taxes but also the penalties, interest, and costs arising from your delinquency, will become a lien on the property. Authorities will collect this amount by foreclosing on the lien.