First Time Buyers
The Ready RE Team is here to assist buyers with any questions about purchasing real estate in the Chelmsford, Lowell, Billerica, Bedford, Burlington, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, or Westford area. If you are searching for property outside of the Chelmsford area, please ask us to refer you to a top agent in another state or region. We service real estate needs in Chelmsford and its surrounding towns because we have a solid understanding of the property values, school systems and neighborhoods to help our buyers select the house that best fits their needs. Below are frequently asked questions by first time real estate buyers in Chelmsford and the surrounding communities.
Rent vs. Own
The first question any first time buyer should ask themselves is should I rent or should I buy? In recent years there has been a lot of pressure to purchase a home because of the rising property values and the risk of being priced out of the market. It is important to ask yourself the following questions before deciding whether to purchase a home:
Do I qualify for a mortgage?
Do I have money to put down on a down payment?
Do I have enough money or steady income to cover unexpected repairs?
How long do I expect to live in this location?
If your answer to any of these questions is “no” or you will only be in a location for a short period of time than you may want to consider renting instead. You should consult a Ready RE Team agent to help you find the perfect rental.
Before you decide to shop for your first house you should consult a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional will provide you with information on loan products and financing that fits your individual needs. Once you’ve spoken with a mortgage broker, you will be able to obtain a commitment letter which will detail the amount of money a bank will lend you for your future home purchase. This financing commitment is important as it signals to sellers that you are qualified to purchase their home. Feel free to reach out to the Ready RE Team for suggestions on the best mortgage brokers or banks in the industry.
Cost of ownership
You may have qualified for a mortgage, but it is important to take in the other costs of ownership and purchasing into the equation when buying a home. Fixed and variable costs may include, but are not limited to mortgage insurance, home insurance, real estate taxes, condominium fees, electricity, gas, water, cable, betterment fees, special assessments, and repairs. When purchasing a home we strongly encourage all buyers conduct a thorough home inspection by a licensed home inspector. In addition to the home inspection costs, you will need to pay for closing costs such as attorney’s fees when purchasing your home.
Finding the right home
There are many types of homes available to the first time home buyer. It is important to decide on price, location, style and other amenities before you start your search. Depending on the market, the inventory of available houses can be either plentiful or scarce. Working with your agent, you can search the available homes on MLS (Multiple Listing Service) by entering your desired criteria. Once you or agent have identified homes that you would like to see, your agent will schedule a showing. A showing will allow you to view the home in person and get a better feel for the location, space, condition and overall desirability. We strongly suggest that all buyers view a home in person before making an offer. Pictures can sometime be deceiving making rooms seem larger or smaller than they actually are or changing the aesthetics of a property. Once you have selected the home(s) of your choice, we suggest looking at a property multiple times before making an offer to make sure that it is the right fit for you. Consult with your Ready RE agent on the number of days a property has been on the market, comparable homes sold, and any additional requests you may have with your purchase such as furniture, money for closing costs, and/or other contingencies.
Making an offer
It is important to work with a Ready RE agent when purchasing your next home because we are trained negotiators. The home buying process can be stressful and it helps to have representation to make sure your needs and wishes are fulfilled. Your Ready RE agent will use comparable market data, property condition, location and other factors to help you decide on a fair and equitable offer.
In most cases and it is strongly suggested that the purchase of your home be contingent on a thorough home inspection by a licensed home inspector. This is your opportunity to check the true condition of the property and to make sure that you are comfortable with any wear and tear that has occurred. Often, buyers find unexpected issues with a property. It is important to remember that most of these issues can be resolved either by the seller having them fixed before closing or by offering you compensation to fix them yourself. There are times when you discover something such as an environmental hazard, lead paint, or other condition that you are not comfortable with. When this occurs we suggest that you research possible remedies and think carefully before moving forward. Our first priority at Ready RE is to make sure that you are happy with your home purchase.
We strongly recommend that you consult an attorney and purchase title insurance before closing on your house. A good real estate attorney will review the closing documents for you, provide sound legal advice and protect your interest in the transaction. We suggest and most lenders require you purchase title insurance to protect yourself from any defects that may exist in the properties deed.