Buyer Information

Advice for First-Time Buyers

  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You"ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer fills out a mortgage application and receives a letter of approval from a lender. This way, assuming the home you"re interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and quite often are done by the lender for free.

  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.

  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Your agent will meet with you to discuss all aspects of the buying process so that you will know what to expect BEFORE each step.

  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:

    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
    5. Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?

  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?

  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs?

  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don"t forget such essentials as:

    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

    Once you find the right home, you and your agent will fill out an "Offer to Purchase". This will include the amount you are willing to pay, the date for the purchase and sales agreement as well as date for closing. The offer will also include, typically, contingencies to protect you:

    1. Inspection contingency: this should be completed as soon as possible after the offer to purchase is signed so that you can have a professional inspector confirm that the home is in the condition you think it is.
    2. Financing contingency: once the contract is signed, you have a period of time to secure funding. If, for any reason, you are unable to secure funding during the period of time granted to you by the contract (and the seller will not provide a written extension of time), you must notify the seller in order to protect your deposit.
    3. A requirement that the seller must provide marketable title. Your attorney will review the title report. The title must be "clear" to ensure that you do not have legal issues regarding your ownership.

    All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional real estate agent represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email us or call us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

    Century 21 Avon, Cambridge MA

    If you would like assistance in purchasing a property or just want information regarding the home buying process, please complete the following:

    Email Address:*
    I would like to receive automatic e-mail updates
    on available property meeting my criteria:
    Yes No
    I need assistance in selling my current property:
    Yes No
    I have recently been pre-qualified and/or
    pre-approved by a lender:
    Yes No Connect me to a lender
    I am looking to purchase in the following cities or towns:
    I am looking for a:
    I am looking for a:
    I am looking in the preferred price range of:*
    Any additional or special requirements:

    Additional Comments::

    Fields marked with an asterisk * are mandatory.