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First-Time Homebuyers Guide to NYC Our Community

Reflections of a First-Time Buyer

May 2, 2019

Who better to talk about the first-time buying process than someone who has just gone through it? Recently, we had a chance to speak with Allyx Seemann, a talented chef and interior designer (pictured on the right in the above photo), who recently purchased her first home in Greenpoint with the help of Citi Habitats agent Molly Franklin (above left). Read all about the experience below…

What excited you about becoming a first-time homeowner?

Being an interior designer and a 12-year resident of NYC, I was really excited to finally be able to create my own sanctuary in my own space. With the recent real estate growth in the neighborhood, I knew it was kind of the last chance I would have to be able to afford something here.

What (if anything) about the homebuying process surprised you?

I was most surprised by how quickly everything happened. You always hear stories of how it takes at least a year of looking to finally land on a home that meets all of your requirements and that you actually get with your bid…and I ended up with the apartment that had started this whole search. It really just seemed like fate and A LOT of luck!

What did you find to be the most challenging part of the process?

The biggest obstacle was the timing and coordination of it all. I work out east in the summers and my “work week” is most people’s weekends. There was a very restrictive viewing period on this apartment, but Molly kept consistent conversation open with the seller’s agent, and after a few months I was finally able to get into the apartment to see it. And of course, on top of all of this, you have all the conversations about mortgages and loans and trying to find and coordinate closing lawyers while you’re running around searching for that perfect space…it’s just a lot of moving parts all at once.

How did Molly’s role as your agent help you throughout your journey towards homeownership?

I could not have gotten luckier than I was by having Molly on my team! She fought for me from start to finish with incredible class and immense kindness…she represented me when I couldn’t, in a way that I would have myself, had I been around more. She not only showed me everything possible on the market in my range and with my requirements, but went above and beyond her textbook role to educate me and provide me with a strong support system. She made sure I was connected with a variety of lenders that I was able to choose from as the best fit for me, and she set up everything with the closing lawyers, putting me completely at ease during a very final and stressful procedure. I would have never had any idea that all these different people played a role in the buying process, but without hesitation, she put on hundreds of hats to get me from point A to point B.

From your perspective, why is it important to have a buyer’s agent by your side?

As a first-time homeowner, I had no idea what was even involved in the process! Molly became my teammate, therapist, confidant, personal assistant; she showed me every possible apartment in my range and went above and beyond to introduce me to other key role players in the process. It’s just like any apartment search in NYC even as a renter…you can search and search on your own, but you’re likely going to miss tons of opportunities. Add a lifetime commitment to the mix and it becomes REALLY important to make sure you cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s— that’s what a buyer’s agent does for you in this already really stressful process.

What advice would you give to someone who’s about to start the process of buying his or her first home?

My biggest advice would be to make sure you and your agent are compatible! They’re going to become so intertwined in your life and search and it’s really important you trust them, or they won’t be able to do their jobs and you’ll feel unsatisfied with the results. It’s also important to follow your intuition with the spaces you’re looking at; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t settle on something just because. You will find the right home for you!

If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

I definitely would have waited until I was home on a regular schedule to start looking, but everything went so well, and we ended up getting the dream apartment, so I got really lucky.

For more info about the home buying process and why it helps to have representation, check out our recent article “6 Reasons to Work with a Buyer’s Agent.”

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