Are you looking to buy your first home in the Boston, MA area? Going from renting to owning is a big leap and it should be very exciting. Of course, there are some things you need to make sure you take care of, or the process may not be as smooth at you hope.
If you’re getting ready to enter into the world of home buying in Boston, here are five tips you should remember.
Compare Real Estate Agents Before Starting Your Home Search
Finding the right real estate agent to represent you as you buy a home is vital. Before you start attending open houses, shopping online, or scheduling appointments to see homes, make sure you have the right real estate agent on your side. The Boston real estate market is very competitive and the right agent matters.
Take the time to compare a few agents and interview them before choosing the one for you. It’s possible to find multiple good agents in Boston, but finding the right one for you don’t just mean they have a great track record. You also want an agent you feel comfortable with and you feel you can trust.
Attend a Homebuyer Education Class
Every first-time home buyer in Boston should attend the Homebuying 101 class offered by the City of Boston. This class will not only help you understand what you’re getting into, but it will also allow you to qualify for certain financing programs in Boston and around the city.
Owning a home can be full of surprises and this class will help to educate you on what you might need to expect. From credit and budgeting to actually shopping for a home, this class will get you prepared.
Get Pre-Approved for your Mortgage
Unless you plan to pay with all cash, you should get pre-approved for your mortgage before you ever look at a home. Having a pre-approval letter goes a long way to helping you become more competitive within the market. If you can’t get approved for the financing on a home, you’re wasting everybody’s time.
Start by going through the pre-approval process and finding out what the lender will approve you for. They will look at your credit score, income, employment history, and debts to pre-approve you for a mortgage. Then, you will have a letter showing how much you qualify for and it will likely be good for 60 to 90 days.
Create a Wants and Needs List
One mistake first-time home buyers in Boston make is dreaming up the perfect home and having no wiggle room. You want to look at the decision logically and realize what you really need in a home and what you also want in a home. It’s important to be prepared with a needs and wants list as it makes it easier to match the right home to your needs and wants.
You should have a list of non-negotiable items and a list of things you would like but could live without, if necessary. Maybe having a short commuter is non-negotiable, but you could live without the best condo amenities if you have to.
Remember, when you’re open to possibilities outside of the perfect home you’ve dreamed up in your head, you may just discover something amazing you hadn’t even considered.
Visit Neighborhoods at All Times of Day
Some Boston neighborhoods appear one way during the day, but completely change when the sun goes down. Before you lock yourself into a specific Boston neighborhood, make sure you visit the area during the morning, afternoon and night.
There are many different types of neighborhoods and they are all a bit different. Maybe you prefer something quiet or maybe you want to be close to the nightlife. Regardless, visiting the neighborhood at different times will help you to see what really goes on near where you may be living.
Can you handle the tourist activity in the neighborhood? What about the nightlife? Maybe the morning is simply too busy for your style of living. Visiting neighborhoods at multiple times of the day will give you a better picture of how it will be when you do live in the neighborhood.
As a first-time home buyer in Boston, there are several things to learn and remember. Use these five tips to make your journey to homeownership easier and smoother. Of course, hiring the right real estate agent goes a long way to ensure you’ll find the right home, for the right price, in the right neighborhood for you.