Deciding to Buy
Purchasing a home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are moving on to a different home that better meets your needs, this decision must be made carefully.
Why Do You Want To Buy?
Are you tired of paying rent? Have you outgrown your current home? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right home.
Has Your Income Grown?
Home ownership can be a very good investment. As you pay down the principal part of your loan, you are building equity over time in addition to any market appreciation on your property.
Can You Afford To Buy?
Experts recommend spending between 33-40% of your income on housing. The tax benefits of home ownership can provide a considerable advantage over renting. Use our handy mortgage calculator below to see how much you can afford.
Before you start searching for your new home, it’s a good idea to make some preparations:
Build your green file
A green file contains all your important financial documents. You’ll need it to secure financing for your home. The typical green file should contain:
- Financial statements
- Bank accounts
- Credit card
- Auto loans
- Recent pay stubs
- Tax returns for two years
Check Your Credit Rating
Your credit score will have an enormous impact on what type of home you can buy, and at what price. Anything above 620 is considered good. A premium credit rating may mean a lower interest rate on your mortgage. Check your credit rating with a credit reporting agency such as: Equifax, Experian or Trans Union.
Be Careful With Your Finances
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach home buying from a position of financial stability.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Buying a home requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. Our real estate agents can guide you through the process, and they also can get you access to exclusive home listings before they hit the general market.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a real estate agent in Boston:
- Look for a full-time agent who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few agents: Are they familiar with the area you are interested in?
- Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they have a licensed assistant.
- Ask about their credentials and education: A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends.
- Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a home.
- Ask for a list of homes they’ve sold or a list of references.
- Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick an agent with whom you feel comfortable.
Fenway Properties’ agents are among the best in the business. To set up an appointment with an agent, contact Fenway Properties.
Time to Go Shopping
Once you have completed your preparations, it is time to find the home of your dreams.
Take a Drive
Get to know the neighborhoods you are interested in. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to live in the area. Start getting a sense of the homes available in those neighborhoods.
Narrow your search
Select a few homes that interest you the most and have your real estate agent make appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term re-sale value of the homes you are considering.
Time to Buy
Once you have decided to make an offer on a home or condominium, your real estate agent can help you prepare and offer to present to the seller.
Escrow, Inspections and Appraisal
Escrow is the process that starts when your purchase offer is accepted by the seller. It ends when you become the new registered owner of the property.
Escrow Holder and Title Company
Typically, the listing agent’s office or the seller’s attorney will be the escrow holder. The lender’s attorney will research the complete recorded history of the property, to insure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building to parking restrictions. Also, there may be recorded easements and encroachments, which may grant others limited use of your property.
How to Hold Title
You may wish to consult with an attorney or tax advisor regarding the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you’ll need to have professional inspectors evaluate your home’s major systems. Your agent may recommend other inspections, such as roof, chimney/fireplace, property boundary survey, well, septic, pool/spa, arborist or mold.
Appraisal and Lending
Keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. The lender will often send an appraiser out to the property and you may pay a fee for this service. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, and recent sales of comparable properties. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
The hard part is behind you, but there are a few more steps before you can move in to your new home or condominium:
A few days before your closing, we will conduct a final walk-through to ensure everything is in order.
Utilities and Services
You will have to change any existing utilities and services of the property over to your name. Your real estate agent can assist in this process.
Within 24 to 48 hours of closing, the lender’s attorney will provide you with a settlement statement or “HUD” that breaks down all of the financial costs involved in the purchase of your new home. Your attorney will go over this with you to ensure its accuracy. At the closing, the lender’s attorney will have you sign the final documents, including loan documents (“deeds of trust”). After all documents have been signed by the buyer and seller, the lender’s attorney will record the title documents at the Registry of Deeds. Congratulations! You are now a proud, new homeowner!
Please complete the following to download your free Buyers Handbook.