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Featured Article

First-Time Home Buyers

Local Industry Perspectives

Article by Genevieve Garruppo

Photography by Will Cronin

Originally published in Patchogue Lifestyle

Mortgage Broker 

The first step in buying a home starts with your mortgage broker

Buying a house for the first time can feel impossible for most, especially young people. On average, millennials are buying less homes than their baby boomer parents, mostly due to greater student loan debt and the rising cost of living across the country.  Most have been looking towards their boomer parents for that extra help with the down payment or supplementing a mortgage payment, but not all of us have that extra security.  After speaking with a few professionals in the real estate business, I received some intel that can ease the minds of the thirty-somethings looking to invest in property.

There are three separate individuals that can help with all your first-time home buying questions; a mortgage broker, a realtor, and a real estate lawyer. Each one is important and will enter in different phases of the buying process, but important in their own right. One of the big take-aways here is to do your research. Find the best in each field, asking friends and family for recommendations. If you’re given the absolutely best information, you will likely get the best result.

The first stop, generally, is the mortgage broker. Bill Schwegler of United Mortgage Corp. is a pro. His upbeat attitude and lengthy experience gave me hope that it’s possible to buy a house, despite the national averages. 

3 Things to Consider:

  1. START EARLY. A lot of people would save a lot more money if they started planning a year ahead of when they were hoping to buy. There’s a lot of options out there to work around a down payment and some of these actions take longer than you think. 

  2. LESS MONEY DOWN. “A down payment of 20% is not always required. That’s a popular misconception” Schwegler assured me. “The average rage from 3% - 5% down, but there’s a lot of federal and state grants commonly associated with first time home buyers that can help with the down payment”

  3. CREDIT SCORE. Working on your credit score ahead of time can be really helpful when borrowing money. The better your credit score, (generally) the lower your interest rate. This will help save a lot of money down the road.  ( 631-964-9959)


Step Two, contact your Real Estate Agent

After you’ve sat down with your mortgage broker and ironed out the necessary items to prepare for the big purchase, you contact a trusted real estate agent. They are the professional liaison between you and the seller. It always helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin the hunt, this way, when you find the dream home, you can swiftly put in an offer knowing all your proverbial ducks are in a row. Brenden Burns of Coldwell Banker Realty has been selling homes for the past fifteen years. He was gracious enough to give a few tips when home shopping, and although there are lots to take into consideration when buying a home, this is a good place to start. 

  1. BUDGET – “You want to know what you can qualify for and what you’re comfortable with paying (for a mortgage)” Brenden said. He echoed a lot of what Bill Schwegler (our mortgage broker) said and a big part is getting pre-approved before the process starts. 

  2. LOCATION – Identify the area you want to be in. Is more acreage important, or do you prefer walking to pick up a quart of milk? Sometimes it’s as simple as figuring out proximity to a town that can inform the type of house you want to live in. 

  3. NEIGHBORS – “Don’t be scared to knock on the neighbor’s door!” Brenden explained that some people move into a great home and end up less than thrilled with the neighborhood. It’s very common to simply ask how the neighbors like the road. It will save headaches later! ( 631-664-3564)

Real Estate Lawyer

Last but not least: the legal arm

Once you’ve selected the castle fit for a king (or queen!) it's time to place an offer that will hypothetically get accepted because you contacted your mortgage broker early and knocked on all the neighbor’s doors to make sure it is, indeed, the perfect block. And by that I mean my fingers are crossed for you and your amazing, hypothetical offer. Next up, you must find legal counsel. I spoke with Jay Waldhauser, a seasoned real estate attorney, who walked me through some of the procedures in closing the sale of a home.  Although each professional brings something very important to the table, legal affairs can be especially confusing. He continued to hammer in the advice of Brenden Burns, our real estate agent: Find what you can afford and stick with it. Your attorney is responsible for reviewing your home inspection, drawing up contracts between you and the seller which can protect you in the closing process and keeping the price.

  1. VET THE ATTORNEY – Jay was adamant that when shopping around for a lawyer, the first thing you ask is ‘How much real estate do you work on?’ “There’s a lot of attorneys out there who don’t have real estate as a major part of their practice, and in turn, your file gets lost”. 

  2. HOME INSPECTION – Getting a proper home inspection is vital because this will determine the house is in proper condition and helps the lawyer draft up the best possible contract for you. 

  3. AVOID THE MILL – “The age-old saying stands true—you get what you pay for” Jay said. Don’t skimp when looking to lock in an attorney. Having a team that you trust will help make sure the process runs smoothly.  ( 917-566-1589)



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