5 Tips for Buying a Home on Long Island

Long Island is a popular destination for homebuyers, and for good reason. With its unique blend of urban bustle, suburban security, and natural wonder, our area has something for everyone.

Are you thinking about buying a home in Suffolk County or Nassau County? We’re here to help! To start off, here are five quick tips:

  1. Get Your Financial House in Order

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, moving up, or downsizing, you need to start out by determining how much house you can comfortably afford on Long Island.

You might have heard of the 28/36 rule: Spend no more than 28% of your monthly income on housing and no more than 36% on total debt (your mortgage plus other debt like car loans). The amount of your monthly mortgage payment is based on several factors, including the amount and term of your mortgage, the interest rate you qualify for, and other factors such as local taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

A trusted lender can help you assess your financial situation (including your income, savings, and credit score), then explore your options. Our friendly mortgage team walks folks through this process every single day, and our easy online mortgage prequalification can help you determine if now is the time to buy.

  1. Check Out Different Neighborhoods

Long Island boasts a remarkably diverse array of neighborhoods—there’s something for every lifestyle.

Think about what’s important to you. Looking for kid-friendly activities outdoors? Heckscher Park’s play area in Huntington is great for children of all ages.  Need easy access to the LIRR for commuting into the city? No problem – there are plenty of great, even walkable communities close to the train station. Patchogue Village is one example and features a diverse variety of eats, treats & entertainment.  Love parks & the seaside? Discover Wantagh, notable for its proximity to Jones Beach State Park. Favor a vibrant urban core? Farmingdale Village was voted Best Downtown in Long Island two years in a row.

Most importantly, consider practicalities that matter to you and your family, such as your distance from work, the quality of the local school district, and, of course, the affordability of the housing market. For guidance, find an experienced real estate agent who knows the area you’re interested in.

  1. Consider Different Home Styles

Across Long Island, you’ll find a range of architectural styles, including colonial (a classic, symmetrical two-level layout with upstairs bedrooms and an attic), cape (often featuring multiple bedrooms on the first floor), and contemporary (characterized by spacious multipurpose rooms with high ceilings and plenty of natural light).

Single-family houses aren’t the only option either—there are also multiple-family dwellings, like townhouses, condos, and co-ops. Each has its own special set of considerations when it comes to lifestyle and financing options. Your real estate agent and lender can help you make the very best decision.

  1. Make the Most of Open Houses

Your agent will show you a selection of properties in your preferred location and price range, but your home search doesn’t have to start and end there.

Open houses are a big part of homebuying season, and these events can make it easier to see a variety of homes to get a sense of the market and discover a place that could be a good fit. Especially over the last year or two, many agents and real estate companies have held open houses virtually—so you can do 3-D tours of any house that strikes your fancy right from the comfort of your couch.

Are you a first-time home buyer and new to open houses? Check out these words of wisdom for getting everything you can from these valuable opportunities.

  1. Get an Inspection

While most states don’t require inspections, it’s highly recommended that you get one as soon as you have an accepted offer in hand.

A home inspector at work, making notations about the exterior of a cellar window.

You’ll spend about $500 on a full inspection on Long Island, but it may save a lot more money—not to mention anxiety—in the long run. After all, a house may be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it makes sense to go into it fully informed.

A home inspection can inform you of any problems that should be addressed with the seller. Most crucially, it can alert you to any potential dealbreakers, such as structural or safety problems that require costly repairs.

Ask your real estate agent for a recommendation for a reputable inspector, and/or check online reviews. Take a look at this handy list of questions to ask before, during, and after your home inspection—including the all-important “What does that mean?”

Taking the Next Step is Easy.

Ready to take your first steps to buying a house on Long Island? You’ve come to the right place. We offer a full suite of mortgage options, and our knowledgeable team is always available for free, no-obligation consultations.
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