Should I know of any benefits for first-time home buyers?

Asked by Katrina Potts, Pembroke, MA Mon Jan 12, 2009

My husband and I are looking to buy our first house and we have gone to talk to a mortgage lender and found out where we want to be according to how much we'd like to pay each month. Because of our salaries, we could get approved for much higher than we can actually afford. As we begin our home search are there any broad, but important words of advice you could give to new home buyers?

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Michael Prescott’s answer
Michael Pres…, , Worcester County, MA
Mon Jan 12, 2009
The answers below I do agree with especiallyt the 7500 tax credit, that benefit to buyers is not extolled enough. Plus the tax benefits themselves to home ownership over renting (especially with interest rates so low) are great, but you should talk to your tax advisor to get the full benefits of this.
Your Mortgage lender should also be aware of the many programs for 1st time home buyers as well.
As mentioned below, find a good agent to work with (interview a few- and pick the one who can answer your questions and make you feel comfortable- a good communication between agent and buyer is a must- also do they listen to your needs?). From there its learning about the offer process, negotiating, home inspections, title V (if needed), goes on and on..
With a good agent by your side these things will be explained before you deal with them and there should be little surprise through the process.

Good luck in your search.

Michael Prescott
RE/MAX Innnovations
1 vote
Wen Farina, Agent, Reading, MA
Mon Jan 12, 2009
Hi Katrina,
the answers given here to your question are right on. Your best bet is to hire a full time Realtor to represent you. As stated here listing agents do work for the seller and having your own representation, specially being free of cost, is a no brainer. He.she can walk you thru the entire buying process and negotiate for your best interest. We have been in Braintree for over 20 years and have another office in Abington; feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.
Wen Farina
Century 21
1 vote
William Brok…, Agent, Jamaica Plain, MA
Mon Jan 12, 2009
The best advice I could give you is to interview buyer's agents and choose a hard-working, go-getter to help you find a home. Make sure the one you pick actually works and ideally, lives in the community you are looking in. Get references and call them. You're not just looking for someone to show you property - you're hiring someone who is an expert in that given area. There is no cost to you for this service so it's a no brainer. A good buyers agent will answer the rest of your questions and there will be no need to search the web for answers.

There is a buyer FAQ on my website that may answer questions you might have about Buyer's agency.
1 vote
Dana Schatzl, Agent, Quincy, MA
Mon Jan 12, 2009
As first time buyers you are entitled to a $7500 tax credit. This credit is paid back over a number of years, but is basically a no interest loan. Great deal for first time buyers.

Also, make sure you invest in a home inspection. It will cost $400-$500 dollars for a basic home inspection, but it will help you sleep at night knowing what you are getting in a house.

Also, I would recomend hiring a Buyers Agent who will work on your behalf. Listing Agents work for the Seller and are obligated to getting the best price possible for the seller. A buyers agent will help you get the house at the lowest price possible, as well as inform you of neighborhood issues, and any other issues that might arise.
1 vote
Chris Clark, , Harlingen, TX
Fri Jun 26, 2009
First, make sure that you have enough saved to meet the down payment and the closing costs. With an FHA loan this means 3.5% down and approx 6% closing costs. Not having this investment will leave you upside down and vulnerable to foreclosure.
Second, Location & Quality. When looking for a home, always shop in the popular areas. This will mean a smaller home for the money, but when it comes time to sell, your home will sell more quickly at a better price. Also buy quality for the same reason.
Third, negotiate aggressively. Take your time, study the comps and make sure that you don't overpay for a home.
Fourth, always have a home inspection. This may give you some leverage to renegotiate an even lower price.
Don't hesitate to bring in a contractor to give you a second opinon and cost estimate for any problems that show up on the inspection. Do not purchase a home with structural problems or major defects.
When you get into your home, pay a little extra principle every month to build your equity.
We have a series of articles on our website referenced below. Feel free to go there for more information.
Good Luck,
Chris Clark, Broker, Harlingen, TX
0 votes
Christine, Home Buyer, Quincy, MA
Fri Jun 26, 2009
Sheesh...It is like there is blood in the water. For, the record, not everybody qualifies for the 7,500 tax credit. You may make too much.
0 votes
Shepard Long, , Holbrook, MA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
There was more good news for first-time homebuyers in the economic stimulus package that President Obama signed earlier this week. Instead of a $7,500 tax "credit" (which was actually a loan that would have to be repaid), you can now qualify for up to an $8,000 tax credit if you purchase a home in 2009. This is a true tax credit - not a deduction (like mortgage interest) but an actual reduction to the amount of tax you owe. Contact your tax advisor for more information.
0 votes
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