Written by: Julie Byrne

With over 7.8 million residents, Long Island, NY, is a great place for professionals of all types to live and work. From small business owners to freelance artists, Long Island is home to thousands of entrepreneurs, many of whom own, or aspire to own, their own homes. In this guide, we’ll provide essential tips tailored for self-employed individuals looking to navigate Long Island’s real estate market and achieve homeownership.

Financial Preparation

First things first, let’s talk money. As a self-employed person, proving your income to lenders is crucial. Unlike folks with regular jobs who get W-2 forms, you’ll need to show a bit more. You should have at least two years of tax returns and financial statements ready. These show that you make a steady income, even if it’s not the same every month. Don’t forget to factor in property taxes when setting your budget!

Here are three key steps to prepare financially for homeownership in Long Island:

  • Organize Financial Documentation: Gather tax returns, profit and loss statements, and other key documents to demonstrate income stability to lenders.
  • Review Credit History: Check credit reports for errors or inaccuracies and take steps to improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.
  • Explore Down Payment Assistance Programs: While a 20% down payment is often ideal, there are mortgage options available for as low as 3%. Speak with your mortgage loan officer to learn about New York State first-time homebuyer and down payment assistance programs.

Making Your Offer More Attractive

In New York, where the average home price is around $420K, it’s essential to make your offer stand out in a competitive market. When it’s time to make an offer on a house, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:

  • Offer a larger down payment: This shows sellers you’re serious and can afford the home.
  • Get a strong pre-approval letter: This letter from a mortgage provider says you’re good to go. It tells sellers you’re a serious buyer. With Morty, you can get pre-approved in as little as 5 minutes.
  • Be flexible: Try to close on the house quickly if you can. Sellers like buyers who can move fast.
  • Write a personal letter: Sometimes, a heartfelt letter can make a big difference. Tell the seller why you love their home and why you’d be a great owner.

Navigating the Mortgage Process

Securing a mortgage as a self-employed individual can be more challenging than for those with traditional employment. It’s important to choose the right mortgage product and lender. Consider working with a local mortgage broker who specializes in serving self-employed borrowers. They can provide personalized guidance and access to a variety of loan options tailored to your unique financial situation. 

Given New York’s high property taxes, having a local expert as your loan officer becomes even more crucial. With their understanding of the local market dynamics and tax implications, they can guide you towards the most suitable mortgage options that align with your financial goals and minimize your tax burden.

New York has over 60,000 realtors. When you find the right one for you, introduce them to your loan officer. Connecting your loan officer with your realtor allows everyone to work together effectively, ensuring a smooth and efficient transaction. Collaboration among all parties involved can help address any issues that may arise and ensure a successful home purchase experience.

Navigating the home buying process as a self-employed individual in Long Island, NY, demands careful planning and informed decision-making. Seeking expert advice from professionals familiar with the local market, including a local loan officer, can provide invaluable guidance and support as you work towards achieving your homeownership goals with confidence. And as always, Morty is here to help!

Julie Byrne

Mortgage Loan Officer, NMLS #2554759

Julie is a Long Island-based loan officer with years of experience in the real estate industry.

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