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Home Buying Process

1. Hire a real estate agent

Buying a home may be the largest investment you make in your entire life and your choice of an agent is critical. Boston Realty Net Buyer Agents will work diligently to ensure that all of your needs are addressed. As your exclusive buyer agent, we will work solely in your best interest. We will respond to your initial request immediately and contact you to discuss your "wish list" and the buying process and its timeline. Once we have shown you a few properties and gain an understanding of your expectations, we will be better informed as to use your time in the most efficient way possible so you are only viewing properties of interest to you. We aim to make the buying experience as informative and also as fun as possible!

2. Mortgage Pre-Approval

One of the first steps in the home buying process is seeking mortgage pre-approval. A mortgage broker will review your financial information, debt, income and investments and will be able to give you an estimate of the loan amount for which you qualify in addition to giving you an overview of the various loan programs. The mortgage pre-approval amount will help you to determine your price range. When you are ready to make an offer on a property, it is important to have a mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender or mortgage broker as this proves to the seller that you qualify for financing, thus making your offer stronger.

3. Determine what I am interested in buying

Some of the factors to consider prior to viewing homes include your price range, locations of interest, minimum square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and anything else specific to your personal taste (architectural styles, type of flooring, kitchen & bath, etc.) and/or special needs (such as need for elevator, parking, wheelchair accessibility, outdoor space for pets, etc.).

How important are the following factors to you?

  • Location (public transportation accessibility, local schools, community services, cultural activities, restaurants, parks and recreation, etc.)
  • Condition of the property (new construction, "fixer-upper, " pre-construction)
  • Architectural style or building type (high-rise, brownstone, new construction, large or smaller buildings, concierge, health club, etc.)
  • Desired Features and Amenities (fireplace, type of flooring, central air conditioning, outdoor space, in-unit laundry, elevator or walkup, views, pet-friendly)

4. Visit Properties and Open Houses

Through our affiliation with LINK (Listing Information Network) and MLS (Multiple Listing Service), the two multiple listing databases, Boston Realty Net agents have access to virtually every listing for sale with a real estate company. We will create listing accounts for you to provide a complete daily update of what is available that meets your criteria such as neighborhood, square footage, number of bedrooms, etc. Our agents will schedule appointments to show you properties and accompany you at open houses. We will also email you an open house schedule for every Sunday.

5. Make offer

When you have found a home you would like to make an offer on, it is important to consider several elements of the offer. Offers must be in writing and signed and dated by all buyers. It is important at this step to realize that unless you are specifically working with a buyer's agent, the sales agent is working for the seller. The seller's agent is working to get the best price for the seller and will report to the seller your offer.

Your offer will include the following: the price you are agreeing to pay for the property; an expiration date and time by which the seller must respond (if the offer expires, it is not accepted); amount of deposit to bind the offer (normally $1000); date of the Purchase & Sale Agreement (this is a more comprehensive legal document which spells out the terms of the sale) and the deposit amount to be paid at the time of the Purchase & Sale Agreement and to be put into escrow until closing; closing date at which time you take ownership; any contingencies such as those regarding mortgage financing, home inspection, review of property or condominium documents and/or budget by buyer and/or buyer's attorney, and any desired changes or improvements to be made to the property prior to closing, and; a list of any items to be included or excluded from the sale.

In addition to extensive knowledge of the current real estate market in general and in different neighborhoods, Boston Realty Net agents have access to an enormous amount of information regarding recent sales of comparable properties which will help you determine the best price to offer on a particular property. The seller may accept the offer as proposed, counter-offer with modified price, terms and/or conditions, or reject the offer outright and return the deposit. If the seller counter-offers, negotiations will continue until both buyer and seller come to agreeable terms. If agreeable terms are not met, the deposit will be returned to the buyer.

6. Hire attorney

It is highly recommended to retain an attorney once your offer has been accepted. Your attorney will contact the attorney for the seller and begin to draft a mutually agreeable Purchase & Sale Agreement. Your attorney will also make sure that all steps of the sale process take place as scheduled, including review of all documents pertaining to the property, title searches, home appraisals, financing, smoke detector inspections, carbon monoxide detector inspections, 6-D certificate which states all condo fees have been paid by the seller and/or any other legal matters pertaining to the sale.

7. Home Inspection

A common contingency in all offers to purchase property is the home inspection contingency. The home inspection is scheduled by and paid for by the buyer and occurs between the time the offer is accepted and the time the buyer signs the Purchase & Sale Agreement (normally within seven days of the date of the offer being accepted). It is important for the buyer to be present during inspections as the inspector will describe any property defects in language that is understandable to the buyer and the inspector will offer the buyer an objective third party perspective on the property. The home inspector should be licensed and certified. The inspector should look for structural and/or mechanical defects, examine electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, examine the structural integrity of the property and any problems on the exterior, foundation and/or roof, examine the basement for all systems and evidence of any flooding, run all appliances to verify satisfactory working condition, examine windows, test all electrical outlets, and examine all rooms for proper venting and insulation. If a buyer wishes to have a property tested for insects, pests and termites, it is important to check with the home inspection firm to see if this service is included. If not, it is important to hire a professional who specializes in pest inspection. It is common the buyer will pay for the first $1000 worth of repairs. The attorneys typically work out an inspection issues in the Purchase& Sale Agreement.

8. Purchase & Sale Agreement and Deposit

The Purchase & Sale Agreement is a standard document drafted by your attorney and modified during communications between the attorneys for the buyer and the seller. The Purchase & Sale agreement spells out all terms for the sale, including financial agreements, mortgage financing, any items to be addressed by the seller prior to closing, title insurance, and the time, date and place of closing. The Purchase & Sale agreement is typically signed approximately ten days after the date of the accepted offer. Typically, four copies are signed and initialed by the buyer and the seller and each party keeps two copies signed by all parties. At the time the Purchase & Sale agreement is signed, the buyer pays an additional deposit normally equal to 5% of the purchase price. This deposit will be held in escrow by the seller's broker or attorney.

9. Walk-through

It is both customary and highly recommended to schedule a walk-through of the property to inspect the home immediately prior to the closing. At this time, it is important to make sure that any work the seller had promised to be done has been completed to your satisfaction.

10. Preparing for Closing

The closing day typically occurs about four to six weeks after the date of the accepted offer. In the weeks between the Purchase & Sale (P&S) agreement and the closing, the buyer's lender grants a loan commitment no later than the date stated in the offer and the P&S. Your attorney will contact you to discuss the payments due at closing and to review the closing process and tell you everything you will need to bring on the day of closing.

On the closing day, all parties will be present or represented by power of attorney for review and signing of all documents. In many cases, the closing is handled by the closing attorney (sometimes the buyer's attorney acts as the closing attorney as well). If the seller chooses not to be present at closing, documents may be signed in advance. If the buyer is financing the purchase through a lender, the buyer signs the mortgage and all documents pertaining to the loan. The buyer will receive a statement of closing costs, including money owed to the seller by the buyer (such as the remainder of the downpayment, any taxes prepaid by the seller, etc.) and money the seller owes the buyer (unpaid taxes, any rent prepaid to the seller, etc.). The lender's agent will collect the closing costs and the buyer will receive title from the seller in the form of a signed deed. The lender's attorney will record the new deed and mortgage and discharge all previous obligations of the seller. The deed and mortgage will be recorded at the Registry of Deeds.

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