Elaine Cole, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Cohasset | Scituate MA Real Estate


Buying a house is a life-changing decision. As such, you should perform extensive home evaluations before you make your final purchase decision.

There are many questions to consider as you review houses, and these questions include:

1. Does a home match my expectations?

Entering the housing market with homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. If you know what you want to find in your dream house, you can tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, you can speed up the homebuying journey.

When it comes to establishing homebuying criteria, it helps to consider your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you want a house that is close to your current office in the city, you can search for residences in towns and cities near your workplace. Or, if you are willing to upgrade a house on your own, you may want to focus on "fixer-upper" properties.

2. Can I afford a house?

Home prices vary based on many factors. Fortunately, if you create a homebuying budget, you can narrow your house search and review properties that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions are happy to provide you with a wide assortment of mortgage options. Once you assess the different types of mortgages, you can choose one that will ensure you can acquire your dream home in no time at all.

3. Will a home require in-depth repairs in the near future?

How a home looks today may not match how this residence looks in the years to come. As you evaluate residences, it may be beneficial to consider potential repairs.

For instance, if a house likely will require a new roof in the next few years, you may need to budget for this expense. Conversely, if a home is brand new or recently has been upgraded, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming repairs in the foreseeable future.

If you want to streamline your home search, you can hire a real estate agent too. In fact, if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a great house at a budget-friendly price. To accomplish this goal, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying criteria and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer expert homebuying recommendations and help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them at your convenience.

Lastly, be careful as you evaluate available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, and any residence you buy may increase or decrease in value over time. And if you find a home that you want to buy, prepare a competitive offer, and you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a property seller.


In your search for a home, there’s one option that you may be overlooking. That is the act of sharing a home with others. It can help you to divide the expenses of homeownership and even put you on a faster path to homeownership. When you do decide to share the cost of homeownership with others, there’s a few things that you should know.


There’s so many different advantages to co-buying a home with a relative, even as a married couple. You do need to make sure that the arrangement is well thought out and planned ahead of time. 


The Title


When you buy a house, you receive what’s called a title. In the case of co-ownership, it explains how the buyers are sharing the title. The way the title is set up could have consequences down the road, especially when it comes to one person exiting the house, and parting ways with the agreement.  


When Sharing A Property With A Non-Spouse


When you’re sharing the property with a non-spouse, you have a few options. These include:


Tenant In Common


With this option, there’s no need for a 50/50 split. Buyers are allowed to own unequal interests in the property. If one of the co-owners were to pass away, their ownership would be transferred to one of their beneficiaries. For this reason, tenant in common is the most popular way that buyers who are not related agree in guying a property together and take on the title.     


Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship


With this option, co-buyers have no option but to own equal interests in the property at hand as a 50/50 split. If you bought a home with two other people, you’d each have one-third interest in the home, and so on. If one tenant passes away, the remaining owners gain the deceased owner’s percentage of interest in the property. There’s no need for a court proceeding or probate, this happens automatically. Even if the deceased owner has a will designating their portion of the property be given to someone else, the request is null and will generally be refused.   



Both of these co-ownership options allow for an undivided interest in a property. All owners are co-owners as a part of the entire piece of property. If one owner wants to sell, for example, they would be selling their tenancy or part interest in the property.       

Important Things To Do:


  • Create a co-ownership agreement
  • Clarify who owns what percentage
  • Decide who pays the ongoing expenses
  • Give options if any owners want out in the future


You could draft one of these agreements with a qualified attorney. It’s a good idea to sit with everyone before the purchase of the property is made to talk and lay out all of the expectations. Everyone should have one of these agreements in writing, however. 


While sharing a property purchase can reduce your debt, it’s important to make smart agreements and understand whether the decision makes sense for you and all parties involved.


When everything is online, it’s hard to discern when getting up, leaving the house, and checking out a home can be helpful. There’s so much information regarding real estate online; you probably want to pick and choose when and where you go to see a home. Even if you’re nowhere near being able to buy a home, you may want to check out open houses to help you in the future.


Looking at real estate is fun. You can dream of living in a neighborhood on the street you may never be able to afford. There are many advantages to checking out open houses. 


You’ll Understand How Far Your Dollar Will Stretch


The type of home that you can afford, and the type of home you want may not be in the same ballpark. If you take a look at different open houses, you may be able to see where your budget takes you. Even if the market changes, you’ll be able to match your expectations with your wallet. As you know what’s out there, you’ll be able to hone in on what you want in a home. 


From here, it will be easier to work with a real estate agent because you’ll be able to give them a better idea of what you want when the time does come to buy a home. 


It Will Be Easier To Hire An Agent


As you go to open houses, you’ll meet more real estate agents. These agents can become potential hires once you do get more serious about buying.


You’ll See The Market Firsthand


Besides understanding how much house you can get for your dollar, you’ll be able to get an idea of how many buyers are actually out there. If you’re seeing many other potential buyers at open houses, you may be facing quite a bit of competition when you head out to buy a home of your own. When the competition is high, you’re looking at offering above asking price for houses. You could even get into bidding wars. A lot of other buyers doesn’t mean you should back out of buying a home altogether, but just enter the market with caution. 


You Can Discover New Areas


By exploring open houses, you may find a neighborhood that you love that wasn’t on your list before. How can you get to know an area if you have never spent time there before? 


You’ll Learn Where You Need To Compromise


By looking at different houses, you can see the potential (or lack thereof) in many homes. If you can see where you’d be willing to compromise long before the home search is on, your search will be that much smoother   



If you’re looking for a bargain on a home, there are ways that you can tell a seller is ready to give you a great price. 


The Vocabulary Is Right


Sellers who really want to get rid of their property will never say it directly on a listing. Yet, there’s so many different keywords that can help you to distinguish which sellers are in a rush to sell. These words can be found in the listing and include:


  • Motivated seller
  • Priced to sell
  • Needs TLC
  • Bonus offers for closing within a certain timeframe

These keywords and phrases signal that a seller truly is “motivated.”


Your Agent Gets The Inside Scoop


Sometimes, a seller’s agent will tell a buyer’s agent outright that their client is looking to sell in a hurry. This can help you and your agent to work together to make a good offer and get a good deal on the home. 


A Home Has Gone On And Off The Market


If a home has been on and off the market for some time, it’s a good bet that you’ll be able to get a good deal on the home. If a buyer backs out, it can really put the seller in a bind. If this has happened several times over a period of time, you may have a good shot at getting a good bargain on a home. Your realtor will be able to research the property history and help you find out exactly what happened to the home in the past. This way, you’ll know what you’re getting into with the property and if you have a good shot at making a deal.  


Choose The Right Season


At certain times of the year, such as winter where there are fewer listings, sellers are generally more motivated. There’s less competition along with less buyers. Anyone who is looking during these times may be able to get a better deal on a home they love because of the low supply and demand.  


A Really Good List Price


If the listing price for a home is a real bargain to begin with, you may have a motivated seller on the other side of the listing. A seller who needs to make a quick sale will often put the home on the market at a great price right from the start. This is all in hopes that the home will fly off of the market. 


A low price can also be a bit of a red flag. The seller may have listed the home at a bargain price in hopes of a bidding war between buyers. If you don’t want to get into the competition of trying to outbid another buyer, you may want to avoid homes listed at seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices.   


If you’re looking for a hidden bargain on a home, you can see that there are ways that you can find it pretty easily. Happy house hunting!


The process of buying a house can be long and difficult. Whether you’re coming from an apartment or another home, you’ll want to time your purchase and move-in so you’re not paying for two homes at once.

What’s more, there are several steps required in the homebuying process, all of which you’ll have to give yourself enough time to complete.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the timeline leading up to buying a home. We’ll discuss how to figure out the amount of time you’ll need, and give you some advice on how to be ready sooner.

Prerequisites to buying a home

Before you consider purchasing a home, you’ll need to make sure your personal and financial life are ready for this commitment. Depending on what type of loan you are hoping to get, this could include saving as much as 20% of the cost of the home for a down payment.

Buying a home also usually requires good credit. If you have some issues with your credit history, you’ll want to take time to improve your score so that you can get a better interest rate on your mortgage.

Once you’ve settled on moving and have a general location, it’s a good idea to get pre approved for a loan.

Preapproval

Getting pre-approved for a loan is beneficial for a few reasons. First, it will let sellers know you’re a serious contender for buying their home.

Second, it gives you one fewer thing to worry about when it comes time to make an offer on a home that you’re interested in.

And, finally, pre-approval gives you a ballpark figure of the type of homes you can look at, saving you time when you’re shopping around for a home by avoiding properties that are over-budget.

The pre-approval process ranges from lender to lender. It can take as little as three days if you provide all the necessary information immediately. However, in some instances it can take weeks, especially if there are problems with the documents you provided to the lender.

Time before closing

If you’ve spent a few weeks viewing homes and considering your mortgage options, you’re likely getting ready to make an offer on a home. On average, this can take anywhere from 30-60 days.

The “contract to close” period can vary based on the type of loan you’re receiving and the underwriting process involved in that loan. USDA-guaranteed loans, for example, require added underwriting and processing time.

How to close sooner

So your lease ends in a few months and you want to make sure you’ll be in your new home before you have to move out. There are a few ways you can save time when buying a home.

First, make sure you provide your lender with everything they need to pre-approve you for a loan. Getting pre-approved quickly will save you a lot of time that is otherwise wasted while sitting around waiting for pre-approval.

Next, work with a real estate agent to find homes within your budget that are ready for move-in. Finally, be reasonable with your offer. Sellers, too, are typically on a timeline and will want to work with someone who is going to do their part to make the process as efficient as possible. 




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