I am not a realtor, but I grew up in the area. As with any area there are good and bad parts to it. It depends on which part of Patchogue you are looking at. Overall, it is a very nice area and the school district is nice. There are only a few parts you might want to be wary about but I can't think of anywhere in particular to avoid.
I included the new "local site" to let you get a peek at the area.... more
I wouldn't recommend a co-op unless you were planning on staying there for a long time as in downsizing, or remaing single, In your case, you would probably want something larger as soon as you start opening your wedding gifts.
You got some good advice in the other comments about going FHA. They do not have the stringent requirements that they had in the past. If you put 3% down, it would give you some money for remodeling. Get yourself a buyers broker, one that has the CBR or ABR designation after their name. They will work in your behalf to get you the best deal and they can give you advice. They help you buy a home, not just sell you a home.
Your buyer's broker might recommend estate sales. These homes have lots of paneling and wallpaper which you have to look past, but are in established neighborhoods. In most cases the sellers has plenty of equity and are more motivated because they are carrying an empty house. The taxes are usually lower too. Once you are in a great location, you have the option to sell or stay and expand in the future
Go to the local home improvement store to get an idea of what it would cost for remodeling. Many people are under the impression from TV shows that it cost much more to improve than it really does. Do you need an entire new kitchen, or can you just reface the cabinets and put on a new countertop? Your local appliance store puts on sale "the package". It includes a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave in stainless steel from $1400 to $2400.
You definitely want to take advantage of the historically low interest rates that are offered NOW. Once they go up, you'll have to look at cheaper homes.... more
There are How to books in the local libraries that you can check out. I too, recommend working with a Licensed real estate agent because we: Have access to not just foreclosures but also motivated sellers, know foreclosures(REO'S) asking prices are based on broker price opinions which mean the banks are looking for "Fair Market Value". this means you most likely won't get a better deal because they have a before repair asking price and after repaired price. MOST newbie investors compete against the experienced and take a guess who usually wins, in the end.
I suggest working with an Buyers agent, as a client not as a customer; you have a much better chance at getting what you want.... more