Buying a Home

Negotiating Your Buying Price

There is perhaps no more exciting and nerve-wracking time in the home buying process than when you decide to make an offer on a home. If it is accepted, you will be on your way to owning a new home—if not, you will be forced to make some difficult decisions.

As your Realtor, I will help you get through the process of making an offer on a home. I can give you advice on how much to offer and what concessions you will make. But there are a few decisions you will have to make yourself, and be prepared to stick to them.

How High Will You Go?

real-estate-negotiationsIf your initial offer on the home of your dreams is rejected, the seller will usually come back with a counter offer. In most cases they will ask for a higher purchase price and may refuse some of the items you requested in your initial offer, such as repairs to be done to the home prior to the sale. This is a normal part of negotiations, but especially for first time buyers it can feel like a very frustrating process.

When the counter offer comes back, you will have to decide if the purchase price is one you can live with. Is it within your budget? Is it a fair market price for the home? Your REALTOR® can give you the answer to this second question, but the first is up to you to decide.

What Is Non-Negotiable?

What parts of your offer are you unwilling to back down on? If the house really needs a new roof and you don’t want the expense and hassle of taking care of it yourself, then don’t back down. It might be worth paying a little more in the purchase price with the agreement that the seller will have the roof replaced than to pay less for the house and have to do it yourself.

Decide in advance which items are completely non-negotiable, and stick to your guns. If the seller won’t budge, be prepared to walk away. As hard as it might be to say goodbye to that home you want, you have to be realistic about what you can afford and what work needs doing on the home.

It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of negotiating and the desire to own that particular home, but try not to let emotions rule your decisions. After all, once you sign those papers and the deal is final, you won’t be able to change your mind.

How To Handle A Motivated Seller

Often ads for homes on the market include the phrase “motivated seller,” and while this sounds as if it may be to your benefit as a home buyer, what does it actually mean? If a seller is truly motivated you can benefit from a number of potential perks they may be willing to throw in to get their home sold, or they may even be willing to accept a lower offer than the asking price. Here are a few tips on how to find motivated sellers, and how to get the best deal possible.

Is The Seller Really Motivated?motivated-seller

Believe it or not, all “motivated sellers” are not really motivated. The phrase is often used by sellers and real estate agents to get a response from potential buyers. From the perspective of agents, if a seller is fairly insistent that they want a particular price for their home, which the agent feels is above the market value, they may use this phrase to encourage bids below the asking price. Sellers, on the other hand, may request this phrase be used whether they are motivated or not, in order to encourage a bidding war. Whether the seller is actually motivated or not may not always be apparent, but the best way to gauge the situation is by contacting the agent and making a low offer if you are interested.

So The Seller Is Really Motivated! Now What?

If you have put in a below asking price offer and it has been accepted, or a counter offer has been given, then you may really be dealing with a motivated seller.

So what should you do to make the most of this situation while protecting your own interests? The first thing you should always do is be sure you are clear about why the homeowner is so motivated to sell. Is there something wrong with the house or the property? Getting a qualified home inspector to carefully check the property before signing anything is very important to protecting your investment. If all goes well with the home inspection, you may have the opportunity to negotiate other bonuses as well, including the appliances, financing options, or a renovation budget.

Whatever the situation, it is always a good idea to have an agent represent you through the home buying process. They are your insider in getting the most out of the situation, and can help you wade through all the jargon of the home purchasing experience.

Improving Your Credit To Get A Loan

Your credit is one of the most important factors in qualifying for a home loan, and it will determine what sort of interest rate you are able to get. That interest rate can make all the difference when it comes to how much home you can afford and keeping your payments within your budget. If you have some credit problems, it’s a good idea to try to improve your score before you buy a home. Here are some simple ways to do that.

Careful Use Of Credit

MK-BN883_SBCARD_G_20110727170236Credit cards are unsecured debt, and a lot of that type of debt can make lenders nervous. If you are carrying high balances on your credit cards, paying them down can make a big difference in your score. It will give you a better free credit to debt ratio and show that you handle credit responsibly.

When you are looking to buy a home, it’s a good idea to avoid taking on any new debt. Don’t apply for any more credit cards or increase the limits even if they are offered to you. Keep your credit stable and focus on paying off the debt you currently have.

Be sure to make all of your payments on time. Missed or late payments can hurt your credit score quickly.

Avoid Large Purchases

When you are trying to buy a home, it generally is not the time to take on a large loan for another big purchase such as a car, boat, or RV. These purchases will increase the amount of debt you have and make it more difficult to qualify for a loan. It will also likely affect the amount you are able to qualify for.

It’s best to save those types of purchases until after you have completed the home buying process. Getting loans like this off your credit is also a good way to improve scores. If you are able to, consider selling or paying off a car loan or other similar loan.

Pay Off Small Bills

Getting rid of some of the smaller items on your credit is a good way to improve things without having to put out a lot of money you don’t have. If you have a little bit left on a student loan, consider paying it off. The same goes for any outstanding medical bills or judgments against you.

The fewer items you owe on, the better your credit will look to lenders. Get a copy of your report before you start applying for loans, and clean up what you can. In the end it will make buying your home easier and more affordable.


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

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FHA Loans – What They Are And Who Qualifies

In your house hunting you may have come across a mention of FHA loans. FHA stands for Federal Housing Authority, and the loans available through this program are designed to help people qualify for loans and purchase homes more easily. If you are wondering about getting an FHA loan for your home purchase, the first thing to do is to learn a little about them and find out if you might qualify.

FHA And HUD

The FHA is part of HUD—the U.S. Departmentmortgage-lump-sum of Housing and Urban Development. It exists to help people who might not otherwise be able to apply successfully for a home loan purchase a home. The FHA insures the loan against default, which means that if the buyer fails to pay the mortgage, the lender will not lose the money because the FHA will cover it.

Who Can Get An FHA Loan?

Just about anyone can apply for an FHA loan. There are no income level requirements, either on the high or low end, and even people with some credit problems can qualify. You will have to meet a certain credit level, however, and you must have a debt to income ratio that is acceptable for the program to prove you can pay the mortgage.

There are specific FHA loan programs for first time buyers, seniors, and people looking to purchase a “fixer-upper” home as well. The many programs can suit just about any buyer.

Limits With FHA Loans

The main problem many people run into is that the limit on how much you can borrow on an FHA loan may make it difficult to purchase the house you need. Allowable amounts are usually on the low end of the market, and it can make house hunting a challenge. If you are willing to take on a home that needs some work, you will probably have better luck with an FHA loan.

If you need to buy a home with a low down payment and are having a little trouble qualifying elsewhere, an FHA loan might be a good option for you. Every state has different laws and requirements for qualification, so check with your state to find out what the process will be. FHA loans can help people get into a house who might not otherwise have the opportunity to buy.


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

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Buying A Home That Can Grow With Your Family

If you are a first time homeowner, or are purchasing a home after a major life change such as marriage or having children, what should you consider to be sure your new home can grow with your changing family? The time and effort that go into purchasing and decorating a new home, not to mention finding it in the first place, means that you’ll want to ensure that your home will be right for you and your family for years to come. So what should you look for in your new home so that it will give you enjoyment and be functional both now and in the future?

Size

Though a cute two-bedroom home may be right for a newlywed couple, this type of space will likely soon be outgrown if there are any children in your future or if you and your spouse like to entertain. You will also want to consider the number of bathrooms and the facilities in them. Having only one toilet or shower can certainly put stress on a growing family.

Featuresyoung-family-buying-home_fqbd92

Special features of a home, such as a finished basement, central air, and a large yard can make your home a more functional and enjoyable space, especially if you have or are considering starting a family in the near future. You may also want to consider the age of the home you purchase and its features or appliances, as this may lead to future costs that may put stress on your financial situation at a time when one spouse may be at home caring for the children.

Location

Location is also an important consideration when choosing a home that can grow with your family. Choosing a safe neighborhood is always an important point when selecting a family home, but you will also want to consider the proximity of good schools, community centers, and shopping. Also, facilities such as parks and libraries can make a neighborhood truly a great place for families. You may also want to consider the demographics of the area in which you are purchasing in order to be sure it is a match with your values.

As the old adage goes, home is where the heart is, and choosing a family home that is right for your family can really make all the difference in having a happy, fulfilling, and safe family life.


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

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Tax Breaks for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you thinking about purchasing your first home? Tax breaks available for first-time homeowners may make it worthwhile. Consult your accountant or tax professional about which of these conditions apply to you.

  • Young adults moving in new homeYou may be able to deduct the total amount of interest paid on your mortgage.
  • If you make a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, you will need private mortgage insurance – which may be deductible. Mortgage insurance on government-backed mortgages may also be deductible in the same way as mortgage interest.
  • You may be able to deduct local real estate property taxes you pay on your new home.
  • You may be able to deduct points and charges you paid to your lender to obtain the mortgage for your first home purchase.
  • If you choose to install renewable energy systems in your home, such as solar panels, you may be eligible for deductions of up to 30% of the installation costs.
  • If you purchased your first home for a job opportunity and moved more than 50 miles for it, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses.
  • If your new home required some upgrades, you may deduct the value of donated construction materials or demolition waste donated to a qualified charity.

If you are ready to buy your first home, please do not hesitate to contact me today!


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
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Should I Raise My Home Buying Budget?

It’s important to stick within your budget when you are searching for a home. Knowing how much you can afford is of course critical to deciding on what home to buy – you need to think about where you are at now financially and where you will be in the future. With the current market lacking in inventory, you may be having a hard time finding the perfect home in your price range. When this happens, typically buyers have three options: wait on the market and keep looking, buy a home that your aren’t totally in love with, or raise your budget. Choosing one of these three options can be difficult, but here’s a few things to consider.

How Much Will It Really Cost?benefit-from-housing-market

First and foremost, find out what difference it will make in your monthly mortgage payment if you were to increase your home buying budget. It may be a good idea to speak with your mortgage officer to get their opinion as well. You may be surprised that this difference may not be as much as you thought it would. Raising your budget will give you more options to look at, and with luck you may be able to negotiate a deal to get the price down lower.

Found a House Over Your Budget?

During your home search, you may run into a few houses that you absolutely love but it was out of your budget. Take the price of that home and determine what your monthly mortgage payment would. Would you be able to accommodate that monthly payment, perhaps cutback on some other monthly spending such as eating out, cable, etc.? Here is when you have to decide on what matters to you the most. If buying a home that is a bit above your budget is not going to break your bank account, speak with your real estate agent and mortgage officer. They can help you make the right decision in this case.


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
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6 Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for a Down Payment

Saving enough cash for a down payment may seem impossible, but with planning and discipline you can make it happen. It might not be tomorrow, but owning your own Metrowest home is something worth waiting for, working for and, perhaps, sacrificing a few expensive coffee drinks for as well. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

hand full of money and holding a green plant

1. Track every dollar. Find out exactly where your money goes each month by keeping track of every single thing you purchase over 30 days. Review your card and bank statements carefully to categorize where you spent each dollar (e.g., entertainment, food, clothing). Sites like mint.com can also help you track and categorize spending.

2. Rate every purchase. Using the month of expenditures, rate each item or service you bought as a want or a need.

3. Set savings goals. Using your “needs” and “wants” list, determine where you can realistically cut spending. If it means that much, you don’t necessarily have to cut out Starbucks altogether, but reducing your trips will certainly help. Use the budget to set monthly and yearly savings goals.

4. Set aside funds. Create a separate savings account for your down payment. It’s not only easier to track, but blocking off the funds may make you think twice before dipping into that money for something other than your future home.

5. Save automatically. If you are paid through direct deposit, chances are you can split your paychecks into more than one account. Set up your new “down payment” savings account to take in a portion of your regular direct deposits. You can’t miss money you don’t see in the first place.

6. Maximize your returns. Once you have a bit of money saved, talk to a financial professional about other places you might invest it to get a bigger return than you would by keeping it in your savings account – perhaps a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD).

When your down payment goal is in sight, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation, we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

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Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life, but it can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the real estate market. Don’t just call the number on the sign — go in with an expert on your side!

 

As a buyer’s agent, I’ll provide these benefits to you:

  1. Diligent representation and negotiations. Unlike an agent working on behalf of the seller, as your buyer’s agent, my loyalty and legal duty is to you. I’ll focus on finding what you want and negotiating aggressively on your behalf — no need to take a back seat to the seller.
  2. Better price. As your agent, my goal is to get you your dream home at the lowest price. A seller’s agent seeks the best deal for their seller, and that doesn’t always translate into the best deal for you. Don’t throw your money away! Let me find you a great home in your price range and negotiate to get you the best deal.
  3. The right home. With your wish list in mind, I’ll provide transparency and advise you on how well a property really matches your needs. A seller’s agent looking out for their client isn’t going to give you the full picture about a property’s fit for you. Set your own standards and I’ll help you meet them.
  4. Simplicity of one agent. Having one reliable agent working on your behalf makes your home search easier and more successful. Not interested in dealing with multiple seller’s agents who aren’t tuned in to what you want? As your agent, I’ll guide you through your entire home search with your best interest in mind.

Are you ready to find your dream home? Let me help you! Call today for a free consultation.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
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What To Consider Before Buying An Older Property

Home-MaintenanceWhether it’s the character and charm of an older home with its original features, hardwood floors, and wood burning fireplace, or the quaint historic feel of the Metrowest neighborhood in which it is found, there is a certain appeal to older property. But purchasing an older home may involve additional work and costs that a newer home may not. With a little research and preparation, however, you may find that purchasing an older property may be the right decision for you. Here are a few things to consider before making an offer on an older home.

Age Of The Home

Depending on where you live, an older home can mean 30 years to 300 years. Naturally, this is the first point to consider when deciding whether an older home is right for you. The age of the home, the foundation, and the roof can make a big difference in the type of maintenance it will require, how frequently things may need to be replaced, and the difficulty and expense of replacing them. You will also want to know what kinds of materials were used in the construction of the home.

Age Of The Features

Older homes can sometimes have very old features and appliances lurking within them. Be sure you consider whether or not you will have to replace the kitchen appliances, and be sure to ask when features such as the furnace were last replaced. The age of the home you are looking to purchase may also mean that your decoration budget will have to include costs that you might not have originally anticipated.

Importance Of Home Inspection

The importance of getting a home inspection cannot be understated when purchasing any home, but when in the market for an older home this is a step that should also be done with the utmost care and by a true professional. A home inspection can find problems that are more common in older homes, such as electrical and plumbing issues.

Knowing what you are getting yourself in for when purchasing an older property can make all the difference in finding a home that is right for you. Older homes can certainly be a rewarding purchase, and if you recognize the maintenance costs and any potential renovation costs you will be prepared to make your new house a home.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
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