When Mark and his wife married in 2007, their one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment was just what the newlyweds needed. But when home prices took a dip in their hip Brooklyn enclave, they knew it was time to make a move.
"It was great at the time," Mark says, "but we knew that it was small and we definitely wanted more space."
The couple knew exactly what they wanted – two bedrooms, two baths, and that ever-coveted New York dream, a private parking spot. Finding all three in Brooklyn's competitive market was going to be a challenge, but a break in home prices gave the couple renewed hope.
"Some of the things that were just outside of our range were now in our ballpark," Mark recalls. "So we started looking in areas that had all the amenities we wanted."
After several fruitless meetings with realtors, the couple still hadn't found a home that met their expectations. That is, until the couple happened to drive past an open house sign for a brand new building.
"We were so surprised when we came inside – two bedrooms, two baths, gorgeous floors...and on top of everything else, it had a parking spot," Mark says. "We fell in love with it."
Enamored with their find, Mark and his wife decided to go above and beyond the average 10 to 15 percent down payment-- they offered a full 20 percent. (Find out more about down payments here.) Since it was a brand new construction, "we figured we could be a little more aggressive in the beginning," he says. And it paid off.
The hard part, however, was still to come.
"Negotiating with the management company, I thought, was going to be the hard part – that was actually easy," he says. "Going to the bank and applying for the loan was the hard part."
Mark was surprised by the sheer volume of paperwork that went into securing the mortgage. "They really want to make sure you have no outstanding debt," he says. At one point, the lender dug up an $80 debt from a local gym from 8 years ago.
But after mounds of paperwork and back-and-forth with the bank, Mark and his wife finally had their dream home. Dealing with the bank took about 4 months, Mark says, and new buyers should take that into account when planning their purchase.
"I'm a little tired from lifting boxes and my fingers are numb from signing my name a thousand times," Mark says, "but it's just nice that all the work that me and wife put into finding a new home came to fruition – this is now a reality for us."
Watch the video for Mark's full story.
To learn more about the home buying process, visit our first-time home buyer guide.
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