Are you a future first-time homeowner living in the Boston area?
The market for Boston realtors can be competitive. Even before you start making offers and deal with loan applications, there are a series of steps you need to take.
Advice from professionals in the business could help facilitate the process. Here are 5 tips from realtors that will help you before buying your first home.
1. Get a Pre-Approval for Your Mortgage
Before you begin the search for a home and start comparing neighborhoods, you should get pre-approved. Most, if not all, Boston realtors will recommend you don’t skip this step.
It will be a waste of time and energy if you find the perfect place, but you can’t get the financing.
To Get Started
The pre-approval process consists of a lender determining how much you can borrow. They will show options you qualify for. They will take into consideration your credit score, your debts, income, and employment history.
Once you get pre-approved, you’ll receive a letter stating how much you qualify for. You can show the letter to the seller knowing they can take you as a serious potential buyer.
The letter is often good for 60 to 90 days.
If You Don’t Get Pre-Approved
If it doesn’t happen the first time, don’t get discouraged. You can do a few things to change the decision.
Start by increasing your savings. Lenders want to know you’ll have enough for your down payment, closing costs and any other unexpected expenses.
Bring up your credit score by paying off any debts. You can also try increasing your income.
2. Browse Realtors Before You Shop
When you’re in the market to buy a house, you immediately want to shop for one. You attend open houses and browse homes online.
Before you shop around for a home, you need to look for a real estate agent and a mortgage broker. Boston’s real estate market is quite competitive, so you need to make sure you find the best there is.
When you begin your search for a real estate agent, you must treat it like a job interview. It’s important to ask the right questions when you interview them and compare agents.
It’s always better if you work with someone who has been recommended to you. This way you’ll have a close reference on how they work.
At the end of the day, you need to go with the real estate agent you feel you can trust.
3. Take a Homebuyer Education Class
With the Boston real estate market being so tough, it’s hard to know all the ins and outs. Potential home buyers often underestimate how much they need to know on the matter.
Some common challenges include credit issues and not having enough saved for a down payment. You might not be familiar with the lending and buying process, as well.
The Common Wealth of Massachusettes has a variety of classes and resources for potential homebuyers.
The City of Boston offers a Homebuying 101 class. After completing the class you can qualify for financing programs in Boston and outside the city.
Whatever course you choose to take, mostly the same material will be covered. The courses typically cover 5 aspects of the homebuying process:
- Credit and budgeting
- Homeownership readiness
- Shopping for a condo
- Financing a condo
- Finances and maintenance of the condo
4. Make Multiple Wish Lists
You have envisioned your dream home for a while and probably have a clear idea of what you want.
The inventory in Boston can be limited, so you will have to show some flexibility. If you take your time thinking about how you can make a property you’re not sure you love work, the property could be taken by someone else.
You should always be prepared to make an offer 24 to 48 hours after you see a property.
No property you see is going to be 100% what you envisioned. And if you envisioned many different dream homes, the process could be sped up.
Know Your Wants & Needs
Make a list of non-negotiables. Decide which things you can’t live without. Being open-minded can provide you with more inventory opportunities.
Maybe you want an easy commute to work and have no preference on the countertops. Maybe you don’t have a particular idea of what the home should look like, but you want it to be located in a top school district.
Do you want a building with amenities? Make a list of all the possible scenarios you would be happy with.
Boston realtors are always happy when you’re not set on a single idea. It means they get to show you more possibilities and get you one step closer.
5. Visit Neighborhoods During Off Times
If you’re looking for a family home, you might be looking for a neighborhood with more outdoor areas. Or maybe your personal preference is you want to be in the middle of the hip restaurant and bar scene.
Boston realtors recommend you visit the neighborhoods you’re considering moving to during their off times. Some neighborhoods could transform and look completely different at 9 am than they look at 10 pm.
How does the neighborhood feel when the crowds have died down and all the businesses have closed?
Are you okay with a neighborhood that has tourist and local activity 24/7? Or do you prefer a place that winds down as the day goes by?
Drive around your prospective new neighborhood and check out traffic patterns in the area. Do a test and see how long it would take you to get to work in real time. It also doesn’t hurt to do a drive at night and check for any activity that might make you reconsider.
Boston Realtors Have Your Back
Do you feel more confident about the steps you need to take before buying your first home?
We know the process can make you break a sweat, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take the necessary steps and talk to the right people and turn your dream of buying your first home into a reality.