Many potential purchasers seek Boston area home buying advice as they prepare to search for a home. These prospective homeowners usually have several things in common – they are all concerned about issues that may arise during the home buying process. Let’s take a look at the five biggest fears first-time homeowners have as they enter the market.
“What if there’s a problem with the home I want to buy?”
Whether it’s a starter home, an older home, or a fixer-upper, one of the most frequently asked questions from purchasers seeking Boston area home buying advice is what happens if a home has an issue discovered by a routine home inspection. While most older homes require routine maintenance home inspectors will note in their report, some homes can have more pressing problems. Home issues like a cracked foundation, a leaky roof or dry rot need to be addressed as soon as possible. As the prospective purchaser, if you still want to buy the home, we suggest you discuss the issue with the seller – including the estimate given by the home inspector or repair contractor – and attempt to negotiate a reduction in the sales price or a credit to be applied toward the necessary repair work. If you can’t reach a satisfactory agreement, move on. There are other homes out there – that don’t have major problems with which to contend.
“I don’t want to lose my deposit.”
When you find a home you’re interested in and and are presented a contract to sign, prospective buyers typically are required to include an earnest money deposit ranging from 3%-5% of the sales price. Earnest money is held in escrow to be applied to the sales prices once the deal is consummated. And while there are few scenarios in which buyers actually lose their deposits, it remains one of the most popular concerns from those looking for Boston area home buying advice. Remember, there are certain contingencies in every sales contract, and your real estate agent can assist in reassuring you that if those contingencies aren’t met your earnest money will be refunded. As an example, your contract may include a contingency that the home appraise for an amount equal to or greater than the sales price. If the appraisal is less than the sales price, not only will it potentially affect your mortgage financing, but it may signal you’re in danger of overpaying for the home. Our advice is to negotiate with the seller if you still want to buy the house.
“I like this house and I don’t want to lose it.”
Another concern expressed by homeowners asking for Boston area home buying advice is the possibility they will lose the chance to buy the house they want. True, if you find the home that best fits your needs and budget, you should be prepared to move quickly. In hot markets – especially with limited inventory available – it’s not unusual for certain homes to receive multiple offers. While we don’t recommend overpaying for a home, consult your real estate agent as to what you can do to ensure your chances of getting the house you want. Be prepared to negotiate, if necessary. In addition, the faster you can offer the sellers a closing date the more attractive your contract may be, so have your proverbial ducks in a row. We suggest being pre-approved for financing and having your down payment in place so you can demonstrate to the sellers you’re prepared to close as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, your biggest competition will come from those prospective buyers that may make higher offers – especially if one or more of those offers are from cash purchasers who don’t have to rely on mortgage financing.
“I’m concerned about my real estate agent.”
All real estate professionals are not created equally. Sometimes, prospective buyers feel their agents don’t have their best interest in mind or perhaps they just aren’t on the same page when it comes to the home search process. Our advice? If you feel uneasy about working with your agent, discuss your concerns and see if you can reiterate your expectations. If that doesn’t work – or if you choose not to have a heart to heart talk – find another agent. The best suggestion we can provide is to meet with your prospective agent as you consider beginning your home search and interview them. If you don’t feel a connection or don’t feel you’ll be able to work closely with them, move on and talk to other agents until you find one you’re more comfortable with. Never settle on working with an agent you have concerns about. Chance are, your first instincts will end up being true.
“I have a timetable on buying a home… and time’s running out.”
The best piece of Boston area home buying advice we can give is not to rush into buying a home. Remember, it’s a decision that represents the single largest purchase you’ll probably ever make – so, treat it that way. If you have a timetable, plan ahead and allow for a contingency as you approach your deadline. As an example, if your lease if coming up for renewal and you’re concerned about finding a house before it expires, don’t rush into buying just any home that’s available. Consider an alternate approach – you don’t have to buy – perhaps you can get a short-term extension on your lease or find another rental property offering a month-to-month lease to give you sufficient time to shop for your home without the pressure of meeting a certain timetable.
Lastly, prospective purchasers interested in Boston area home buying advice should remember this: If you’re concerned about any aspect of your home search or mortgage lending process, take it slow and follow your gut. As mentioned before, a home purchase it an important step and a huge financial investment – treat it as such and you’ll be sure to enjoy the process more by having greater peace of mind.
Read more about home buying advice in the section of articles on Boston area Home Buying Tips just below our Boston area Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter.. Check us out there, too.