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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: What do I need to know about buying a home?

Have you been dreaming of buying a home in Staten Island or somewhere else in or near New York City?

Well, it pays to educate yourself before embarking on your search or dropping a large down-payment by following an experienced real estate attorney’s 7-Step “Real Estate Purchase Roadmap”:

  1. Have your realtor send your attorney the binder (in NY) or the fully-signed broker- prepared contract (in NJ);
  2. Retain a skilled real estate attorney who keeps you in the loop by providing you with a list of estimated closing costs and explaining the anticipated timeline from the beginning of the transaction to the ending (the closing);
  3. Have the property examined by a licensed home inspector a) before signing the contract (in NY) or b) after conclusion of the Attorney Review Period which finalizes the contract of sale (in NJ);
  4. Work with your attorney as they negotiate any necessary home repairs or credits based on the home inspection report;
  5. Apply to a lender for any financing/mortgage needed to purchase the home;
  6. Attend the real estate closing with your attorney which takes about an hour;
  7. Move-in, unpack, and enjoy your new home.

Now that you understand the basic steps involved in buying a home in New York or New Jersey, you might want to know how much money you need to earn in order to afford a home in New York City—and you might be surprised by the figure.

According to, which accessed data from sources including the National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, as well as property tax and insurance cost figures–New York City comes in at number 7 on the list of the most expensive places to own a home. To afford “the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance on a ‘median’ priced home, you need to earn approximately $103,235 a year which is far less than the $270,000 salary required in the reportedly costliest American city of San Jose, California.

Fortunately for those interested in buying in Staten Island, the borough is still very affordable in comparison to other counties in and around New York City. Plus, the rejuvenation of the waterfront has made Staten Island a major draw for first-time homebuyers.

If you need assistance buying or selling a home in New York or New Jersey, the real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help make it a smooth transaction. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all matters of commercial and residential real estate transactions.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.