For most of us, the purchase of a home represents one of the largest single investments you will ever make. The enormity of the financial transaction aside, stepping into the buying process and finding the right home to fit your particular needs can be intimidating without knowledge of how to get started. It helps to have an expert in your corner to advise you on the Boston real estate market, guide you on the process, offer an understanding of the complex issues involved, provide you with access to property listings as they hit the general market, and represent your interests to the Seller, while bringing to the table negotiating expertise, knowledge and experience. I recommend that you approach the home buying process as you would any other business decision — with strategy and insight. Here’s how.
Secure a financing pre-approval letter, ideally, before making an offer. This will require providing the lender with information about your income, assets and debt. The financing pre-approval gives you a general direction on financing. It does not commit you to use the lender who provided the pre-approval. Once you know what you can afford, focus your home search price range accordingly. In today’s highly competitive Boston real estate market, you will want to submit a pre-approval letter with your offer. Lenders are accustomed to this request and generally should be able to accommodate a change in the pre-approval letter to match a specific offer assuming it’s within your range of borrowing capability.
Start with on-line research. I recommend this approach to all of my clients because it will help you get educated about relative market values and what your dollars will buy in today’s market in various neighborhoods. You can access MLS listings and sign up for listing updates on my website, or ask me to sign you up to receive listings automatically within defined search parameters relative to your interests. Upon request, I will provide a customized, complimentary market evaluation to give you guidance on market values in general or for specific properties of interest, including competing properties sold, under agreement and currently available.
I can also help you craft an offer in such a way that may be more attractive than another buyer’s. Keep in mind that your offer isn’t only about price. The terms, including contingencies such as inspection, financing and timing, are factors as well. Once the offer is submitted and in play, I will apply my negotiation skills and expertise to help you reach an agreement. All offers must include a $1000 deposit (in the form of a check) to bind the offer. Typically, a copy of the check is typically submitted with the offer and the actual check is delivered to the listing brokerage firm upon receipt of the fully executed offer. The documents that typically make up the offer package include: Offer to Purchase, Offer to Purchase Contingencies, $1000 Deposit, Mandatory Licensee Consumer Relationship Disclosure and a Financing Pre-Approval Letter, if possible. If the Seller has initiated a Property Transfer Notification Certification (disclosure regarding lead paint), the Buyer should complete the form and include with the offer.
In the case of a cash transaction, the Buyer’s attorney would typically do the closing. When a lender is involved, the lender may have a closing attorney. This will be determined in the course of the process.
Review all of the documents and let me know if you have any questions that need to be answered by the Seller. Also, I would suggest that you also ask your attorney and/or your financial advisor to review the condominium documents and financials. Get your questions answered and be comfortable with your understanding of the documents prior to signing the P&S.
Your attorney should explain the funds you need to deliver for closing. Buyers handle the numerous fees associated with obtaining a mortgage and transferring property ownership by either rolling them into the principal balance of the new loan or agreeing to pay higher interest rates and having their lenders foot the bill. Some buyers may have to pay these out-of-pocket fees. Be sure to ask your lender to explain all aspects of the financing process from start to close so that you have a complete understanding. You will receive the following documents at closing:
Once you’ve reviewed, received and signed all closing documents, the transaction must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds, which is done by the closing attorney. The transaction must be on record to be considered complete. Typically, it takes a few hours from the closing process for the transaction to go on record. Your attorney should let you know immediately when that occurs. At that point, the home is yours and you are free to enter it. You’ll need to pick up the keys from one of the brokers or one of the attorneys. That can be determined on the day of closing.
While the idea of buying a place in Boston can be very exciting, it may seem overwhelming at times. Working collaboratively and in partnership, I will guide you through every step of the home buying process using my analytical capabilities and consultative style. It would be my pleasure to serve as your chief representative and confidante, while keeping your best interests first and foremost throughout the process. Please contact me at any time to get started on your adventure of purchasing and owning your new home.
Frann Bilus | Gibson Sotheby's International Realty
277 Dartmouth Street, 2nd Floor | Boston, MA 02116
firstname.lastname@example.org | 617.759.4828