Buying a home is a big decision.

For first-time homebuyers, especially in New York City, the process can be overwhelming, if not confusing.

So to help you navigate the real estate sales market this spring and summer, we asked area experts for advice on buying a home in New York City:

Preparation is key: Get your financial items in order

If you're looking to buy a home, first
If you're looking to buy a home, first get your pre-approval letter from the bank and complete a financial statement with your broker, suggested Bass, of Citi Habitats. A pre-approval letter "shows that someone's actually vetted you and looked at your qualifications," she said, and a financial statement "will really show you, do I qualify for this?" (Credit: iStock)

Find a good lawyer before your home search begins

"Pick your attorney well in advance," Bass said. Buying a home is "a big financial decision, and you don't want to be rushed and pressured into finding an attorney at the last minute." (Credit: iStock)

Vet your real estate broker

Shop around for the right broker, noted Deanna
Shop around for the right broker, noted Deanna Kory, an associate broker with Corcoran. "Ask around to see what their reputation is in the industry, through friends, and by looking online," before hiring one, she said. And, "if you're in a market where there's a lot of bidding wars going on and you keep losing, that's a good sign that ... it may not be the right fit. Or you're not listening to the broker." (Credit: iStock)

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Wait to buy a home — if you can

"If you're getting frustrated with the spring market because there are many bidding wars or prices are higher than you want, and you can wait, then wait until the late summer and fall, which is slower, historically," Kory said. However, while you'll be up against less other buyers, keep in mind that inventory will be lower after the summer rush, she noted. (Credit: iStock)

No sudden movements; your bank is watching

If you're approved for a major loan, a
If you're approved for a major loan, a bank will be skeptical if you immediately spend all your savings on a car, a vacation or even furniture, Barrocas, of MNS, said. "[Banks] have gotten stringent with accepting somebody's application ... and then they check prior to the closing and the person spent a significant amount of their savings and it raised red flags," he said. "They could cancel your loan -- I've heard of it." (Credit: iStock)