Tips for Home Buyers

The process of acquiring a new home can run Buyers through the full gamut of emotions. While some of this may be unavoidable in making such an important decision, there are steps that Buyers can take to help make the process run more smoothly. The key to finding some level of comfort is educating oneself about the realities and necessities involved with buying a home – both in general and with regard to one’s own specific set of circumstances.

Do you own property that you need to sell before you buy?
Sellers may be apprehensive about accepting your offer if you need to sell your own property in order to buy another, and the property you need to sell is not yet on the market. When you do place your home on the market, make sure that the property you need to sell is priced at fair market value to help expedite the sale.

Are you renting property in a lease agreement?
If you are involved in a lease, you may want to hold off making any offers until you have (at the very most) 6 months left to go in the lease agreement. Most Sellers will not be attracted to terms that involve a very long wait until the closing.

Make Your Wish List, but Know Your “Must-Haves”
Regardless of what price range you are looking in, it is incredibly rare for a Buyer to find the “Perfect Home”. Know what you need as opposed to what you want, and hope for both! Be aware of the things you will compromise on.

Know the Market Before Making Offers
One of a Buyer’s most powerful tools in making an offer is complete knowledge of the market, past and present.

  1. Your Realtor should initially take you to see a good sampling of the properties that are currently on the market that meet your “must have” criteria. This will give you a solid foundation of knowledge so that when the home that best meets your needs comes along, you will be ready to make an offer without hesitation.
  2. It is important to study the comparable sales in the areas that you are looking to buy. If you are working with a Buyer’s Agent, they can help you analyze the comparable sales data. A Seller’s Agent can also provide you with comparable sales data. Listen closely to this factual information, and take it into consideration when formulating your offer.

Your Offer Has Been Accepted.  Now… Your Mortgage!
Make for a smoother transaction by officially applying for your mortgage right away. Most offers require that you have at least one mortgage application submitted by the date of the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Finalizing a mortgage can be a lengthy process, so make sure you allow time for this process as well as any unforeseen delays. Ask family, friends, or your Realtor if they can recommend a bank or mortgage broker to you.

Home Inspections
If you choose to hire a home inspector before purchasing, have the inspector explain what sort of information you will gain out the inspection. A home inspection is meant to educate the buyer as to the current condition of the property. It is rare that a property for resale is in like-new, perfect condition. Here is some information you might expect from a home inspection:

  1. The inspector will inform you of any apparent structural or mechanical defects the property may have.
  2. The inspector will bring your attention to other apparent issues that may be of concern to a buyer, however minor they may be.
  3. The inspector will guide you through the home and its systems. If you wish, he/she will instruct you as to how you may best care for this particular property, and what types of maintenance the home will require in the future.

To learn more about the home inspection process, visit the Home Inspection Facts for Consumers page of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state web site.

Homeowner’s Insurance
The lending institution you are using for your mortgage will require that you have a homeowner’s hazard insurance binder at closing for the new home you have just purchased. Make sure you begin shopping for this homeowner’s insurance well in advance of the closing. You may also want to obtain a copy of your own loss history report which details claims you have filed either through a homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy.

Legal Representation
Find a real estate attorney who will work with you and council you through the process of purchasing your new home. Again, ask family, friends, or your Realtor if they can recommend an attorney to you. You may choose to seek legal advice and services at whatever point in the purchase process you feel comfortable with.