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How to buy a home in the US

Buying real estate in America is a complex and sometimes confusing process. Here is just one caveat: even if you are willing to pay the amount that the seller wants to receive, this does not mean that you can buy a home. "Forum" tells about all the pitfalls of buying real estate in America and suggests how to get around them.

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1. Choosing a broker

The very first question that a potential real estate buyer faces is: do you really need a broker or can you do everything yourself?

If you can look for an apartment for rent on your own, having saved a little on the services of a real estate specialist, then buying a house without a broker is still not worth it. A good broker accompanies the client at all stages of the process - from deciding which area to live in to concluding a deal. The broker will tell you about the specifics of the real estate market in your chosen city, advise the area, sort out the ratings of schools, help you get a loan from the bank, competently negotiate with the seller, help you find a lawyer, and much more. A lot depends on how good your broker is, so make your choice responsibly - ask your friends and acquaintances, look at reviews about the broker's work on the Internet, feel how comfortable you are with this person.

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And most importantly, the seller pays the commission to your broker, like his own. Moreover, each of the agents represents the interests of their client. Situations where the broker simultaneously represents both the buyer and the seller should be avoided to avoid a conflict of interest.

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Igor (he asked not to give his last name) bought an apartment in New York in 2014. I did not use the services of a broker. I found suitable accommodation myself. The cheapest lawyer was involved in the paperwork without a recommendation. The seller's agent did not help him in any way. “As a result, the deal was closed, I was very pleased that I did everything myself and saved money on the broker. But six months later it turned out that there were problems with the elevator in the house, a lot of money was needed for repairs, which the house did not have. An additional payment began to be collected from all tenants, which would solve this problem. I had to pay an additional $ 2300 every month for half a year. Of course, such payments are in many homes and it is difficult to insure against them, but usually it is $ 100-200 per month, not $ 2300, ”Igor said. He is confident that a professional broker could help him identify this problem before buying an apartment.

RћS, R · C ‹RIS ‚Р ° ть РЅР ° СЃР ° йте Yelp: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami.

2. ПредвР° рительное РѕРґРѕР ± рение Р ± Р ° РЅРєРѕРј СЃСѓРјРјС‹ кредитР°

The next step is not to find an apartment, as it might seem, but to visit a bank. If you are going to buy an apartment for your own money, make sure in advance that they are on your bank account. It is a good idea to get a statement of your account status - it will come in handy later on. But most people buy apartments on credit.

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For our heroine Anastasia, getting a letter about a loan was easy. Since the couple took a loan to buy a house from the bank in which the employer was serviced, no additional documents were required there - the bank already had all the information about the family's salary and credit history.

nastya

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Alexander, a Russian citizen, recently bought an apartment in New York. He explains: “The income proof is a special form of the bank you are trying to get a loan from. This form must be completed by the accountant or CFO of the business you work for and then handed it over to the bank directly. Information about the source of funds is only needed if the money appeared in your account recently. The legality of money can be confirmed by documents on the sale of property or on the receipt of an inheritance. But if the money in your account has been in place for more than three months, then the legality of their origin does not need to be confirmed.

RЈЈЃЃ Р Р Р Р Р Р Р №С € РёРµ РёР · РЅРёС ...: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi.

3. РџРѕРёСЃРє жилья РґР» СЏ РїРѕРєСѓРїРєРё

РљРѕРіРґР ° RІS СЃСѓРјРјС ‹РєСЂРµРґРёС‚Р °, СЃР ° РјРѕРµ время Р · Р ° нятьссѿпоиском жил СЊСЏ.

It is better to start by choosing the area where you want to live. Do not rush to a decision, take into account all the little things - whether it will be convenient for you to get to work from there, whether you are satisfied with the level of local schools, whether the shops, cafes, restaurants and other establishments available in the new location will be enough for you, do you know the crime rate in this area ... Take your time at this stage - visit the area that interests you, and preferably more than once. Walk through the streets and imagine that you already live here. Think about whether it is pleasant for you to walk here, where you go out for groceries, whether there is a gym or a jogging park nearby.

Alena Zektser and her family bought a town house on Staten Island, one of the districts of New York. She admits: they chose a remote part of the metropolis, because they were tired of the hustle and bustle and constant rush. “We are very tired of the crowded city. We wanted children to be able to play on the green grass outside the house. A good school and close proximity to Brooklyn, where we work, were also very important to us. We fell in love with our future home at first sight due to its location - a lot of greenery, near water, around it is quiet and calm. At the same time, we are close to civilization, just 15 minutes from Brooklyn, ”she says.

For Anastasia from Texas, the only requirement for the location of their future home was proximity to work. Therefore, she and her husband were looking for housing within a radius of 15-20 minutes by car from work. Within this limited range, they chose the area with the best school - real estate in a good school area is always more liquid.

Once you have selected a district, it's time to start browsing the ads. Your broker will compile a list of suitable options for you, which he will find in closed realtor bases. But you can view ads on your own to better navigate the market. Here you can use the sites streeteasy, Zillow, trulia.

4. Lawyer search

Already at the stage of choosing an apartment, you should start looking for someone who is still very important to you - a lawyer who will represent your interests during the transaction. If you don't have your own lawyer, a broker can help you find one. A good lawyer is just as important as a good broker. It is on him that the legal correctness of the execution of all documents depends, and, accordingly, all your rights and obligations as a buyer.

Lawyer services can cost the buyer from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the situation and the rates of the lawyer.

If you work in a large company, find out, perhaps, some support in the process of purchasing housing is provided by your contract.

Anastasia Zaitseva said that her husband's employer had his own brokers and lawyers, whose services the company's employees could use free of charge or on preferential terms, depending on their contracts. So, when buying their house, they used the services of a company lawyer, but the broker preferred another, proven one.

5. Negotiations with the seller

So, you chose several interesting objects, went to view the apartments, carefully studied everything and are ready to dwell on one or a couple of options. The negotiation stage begins, during which you and your broker can negotiate not only a discount, but also all details of the transaction.

In the US real estate market you can bargain. You have the right to offer the seller a smaller amount and, if there are no other offers, he may agree. But another situation is possible when the seller receives several offers in which buyers can increase the proposed amount if they really want to buy this particular apartment or house. Then the seller does not interfere with getting the amount for his property even higher than he originally wanted.

Dmitry Stasyuk, a New York broker, author of the popular New York Property Blog, says: “Bargaining is a very important stage. You need to know the market situation well, understand how popular your chosen property is and whether the other side is ready to bargain. Sometimes the question is not how much you can save, but whether you can even buy the option you like. If you offer too low a price, and there are a lot of people willing, then you may simply be excluded from the further bargaining process, and you will miss an apartment or house, which you spent a lot of time looking for. The opposite may be the case: the seller has set a very high price, and your task is to reduce it to a minimum without discouraging his desire to sell. "

IMG_9661

Broker Dmitry Stasyuk advises to prepare well for bargaining for real estate. Photos from the personal archive.

It should be noted that when choosing a buyer, the seller pays attention not only to the proposed amount. Andrei, who recently sold his apartment in one of the cooperatives in New York, chose a client whose resume seemed to him more financially stable, and not the one who offered a large amount: “I carefully studied the buyers’ summary, since it’s very important that a person matches requirements of the cooperative. In addition, the buyer, offering more money, was still to engage in obtaining a loan. I decided that the risk with the loan and with the advice of the cooperative (and therefore the loss of time) is not worth the extra money. ”

Anastasia Zaitseva from Texas recalls: “Our broker did an excellent job - she managed to collect as much information as possible about the house we are interested in. So she found out that the seller was "in a hurry" to sell the house - he recently bought another property and, obviously, it is hard for him to pay off two loans. In addition, this house has been put up for sale for quite some time and has not been sold. We made an offer much lower than the stated price. The negotiations did not last long, but they were very intense. As a result, our broker was able to negotiate a price that was more than 10 thousand lower than the original one ”.

It is at the stage of negotiations, in addition to the price, that you should discuss with the seller all the questions that concern you - will the furniture remain, will something inoperative be repaired, what are the conditions for terminating and closing the deal.

6. Entry into the transaction

As soon as you have agreed on all these issues, you need to pay an insurance deposit in the amount of 10% of the cost of housing and sign a contract with the seller, according to which you agree to buy, and the seller undertakes to sell the property within a specified period of time (usually 30-60 days after signing) .

During this time, the seller vacates the apartment, brings it into a proper and predetermined form. And the buyer is engaged in obtaining a loan from the bank.

Please note that even when buying an apartment on credit, banks most often require a minimum of 20% as a down payment. This figure varies depending on the market, for example, five years ago the bank allowed to deposit the entire 10% of the cost of housing.

If you want to buy an apartment (and not a private house), then, most likely, at this time you will still have to go through an interview with the council of residents of the house and get its approval. Depending on the home, this interview can be either a pure formality or a very serious event, for which you have to prepare no less than entering a university. Without the approval of the council, it is simply impossible to buy an apartment in the house - neither money nor connections will help.

It is especially difficult to get board approval in co-operative homes, and their share in the Manhattan market, for example, is about 75%. In cooperative houses, real estate belongs not to tenants, but to the company that owns the house. Accordingly, the buyer will not buy the apartment, but part of the shares of the company that owns the house. And, of course, the remaining shareholders, represented by the council by the tenant, will decide whether to “let in” you into the house. For example, precisely because of the refusal of the board of tenants, Madonna could not buy an apartment at the elite 1 West 72nd Street address in New York in a house that is known to everyone as “Dakota” and in which John Lennon once lived.

The Residents Council decides who they want to see in their home and who not. Therefore, the requirements, questions and behavior of the council in general can often seem irrational. Wednesday Martin, author of the acclaimed book on New York's elite neighborhood, The Primates of Park Avenue, recalls in her memoir that she could not attend an interview with the residents' council due to a difficult pregnancy and doctor-prescribed bed rest. And then the council came to her home to conduct an interview right in her bedroom.

7. Closing a deal

After receiving approval from the board of tenants of the house and confirmed financing from the bank, you are no longer in danger. On the day appointed in advance, the transaction is closed - the lawyers of the seller, the buyer and the bank (and sometimes the lawyers of the house), the seller and the buyer themselves (optional), the realtors of the seller and the buyer sign a lot of documents, according to which the transfer of ownership takes place. Usually, the day before the closing of the deal, the last viewing of the apartment takes place, during which you check whether everything is in order and whether your agreements with the seller have been respected.

Be prepared for the fact that all the costs associated with the purchase of real estate, that is, all the necessary payments and taxes, can amount to two to five percent of the cost of housing.

If you are not planning to buy housing yet, but are looking for rental options, Forum will tell you on what to pay attention to and how not to be deceived.

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