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Mikel Defrancesco's Blog

By Mikel Defrancesco | Agent in Milton, MA

Home Buying Process - Soup to Nuts

Home Buying Process – First Time Homebuyer Series

We’ve helped hundreds of clients navigate through the homebuying process, but one thing that’s universal is that there are very few resources that clearly explain to buyers what the process is from beginning to end. We believe the best buyer is an educated buyer, so please read on for helpful tips and information about buying a home in Massachusetts. Keep in mind…all this information is state-specific since the process is very different from state to state. In fact, Massachusetts is one of a very small handful of states where the “ closing “ the actual conveyance is conducted by an attorney.

Getting a Pre-approval: This should be the first step you take when looking for a home. A true pre-approval will let you know how much a bank will likely lend to you, the down payment that would be required, the interest rate and the closing costs. You may choose to spend much less than a bank would lend you, or you may receive advice on how to increase your chances of getting the loan you need. We can help put you in touch with a reputable lender who can help you find the perfect program for whatever your situation or search parameters.

Finding the home ( as long as it takes ) : Often the most challenging part is finding the right home or community. A good plan is to Familiarize yourself with the market by signing up for an enhanced email search. Often first time buyers search via national sites, but the data can often be old, and you can end up sifting through the same listings over and over again. There are many Free Enhanced Search MLS programs with no cost and no obligation. Sign up for one with whatever your general parameters are ( town, beds, baths, price etc ) As suitable properties become available, make an appointment to see them!! Often first time buyers do an Open House tour on Sundays. Many open house listings have been on the market for long periods of time. The best deals even in this market often go under contract well before an open house is performed. Long story short, if you wait for Open Houses you are getting the leftovers. Call or email for a list of Free Enhanced MLS Searches available.

Making an Offer ( a few days ) : When you’ve found the right property, any offers should be in writing!! The reason for this is that sellers often will not consider a verbal offer, and even if they do… they will certainly not engage with the same degree of negotiation and motivation if you can’t be bothered to take 5 minutes to make a formal offer. Talk is cheap… get the best deal with a well written, strategically priced offer to the seller. Your offer will specify dates for performance of certain milestones ( inspections, purchase and sale contract, mortgage financing, closing to name a few ) and your offer price.

Home Inspection ( 7-10 days from offer acceptance ) : Now that you and the seller have ( hopefully ! ) come to terms, you should have a well qualified and licensed home inspector evaluate the home. Do Not Skip This Step! Even if you know the seller, or have a friend who is a contractor, this is a very important step. Every home has issues, and even if the seller is a diligent homeowner they may not be aware that termites have been happily munching away for 5 years or that the electrician he hired wired something dangerously etc. You will receive a 10-30 page report with all the identified issues with the house so you can make an informed decision to pull out, address an item with the seller, or proceed as-is.

Purchase and Sale Contract ( typically 7 days from Inspection Acceptance ): You should have a Real Estate specific attorney help to prepare a formal Purchase and Sale Contract for you. This is THE contract, and likely one of the largest and most important documents you will ever sign. Although rare, there are times when improper protection can be devastating to a buyer. Don’t be that guy… have a qualified attorney protect your interest and your purchase! Upon a mutually acceptable and signed contract, this is the time you typically put down your down payment. In MA, the buyer will usually put down 5% to bind the contract, and so the seller will take the property off the market. Even if you are putting more money down than 5%, you bring that to the closing along with your closing costs.

Mortgage contingency ( As long as your Bank needs, expect ~30 days from P&S ): This is the date you have until to get a firm, written commitment from your bank that they will fund your loan. You, your Realtor and your attorney should watch this date like a hawk. This is the last day you can notify the seller that despite your best efforts you cannot get your loan! Pass this day and you are buying the house or risking your deposit.

The Walkthrough ( typically the day of the closing ): This is the day you take a walk through of the property to make sure the seller and all their belongings are removed, the house has been delivered vacant and clean, and with any agreed upon items ( appliances etc ). You need to make sure the house is in the condition it was when you agreed to buy it.

The Closing: This is the final signing. Typically done at the registry of deeds, you sign all the banks paperwork, bring your closing costs and any additional deposit beyond 5% in the form of bank or certified funds and sign away for up to an hour! Upon recording at the registry….. the Home is YOURS!

We’ve helped hundreds of clients through this process, the above is a generic transaction and every home purchase will be different and contain it’s own challenges. Arm yourself with the best representation!! Contact a Realtor, Loan Officer and Atty to find and secure the best home at the best possible terms today. We’d be pleased to assist you or anyone you know with comprehensive and diligent buyer representation to find the home of your dreams. Call or visit us today!

What do you think of our First Time Homebuyer series of Blogs? Can I answer any other questions you had? Did this contain enough information for you? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. If I can help you in your home search or with any real estate matters please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you want a list of properties in the Milton MA Real Estate market that I think would fit your style, please contact me. I can always be reached directly – mike@successinmass.com or at our webpage www.SuccessInMass.com, which contains direct access to the MLS and enhanced search which the ability to be emailed when the perfect home hits the market and is the definitive site for Milton MA Real Estate

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