If you put off your home search at any point over the past two years, you may want to consider picking it back up based on today’s housing market conditions. Recent data shows the supply of downtown Boston homes for sale is increasing, giving buyers like you additional options.
But it’s important to keep in mind that while Boston condo inventory is improving, it’s still a Boston real estate sellers’ market. And that means you need to be prepared as you set out on your home search. Here are three tips for buying the home of your dreams today.
Mortgage rates have increased significantly this year, and over the past few weeks, they’ve been fluctuating quite a bit. It’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening with rates and understand how they can impact your Boston Seaport condo purchasing power when you’re thinking of buying a home. The chart below can help.
Let’s say your budget allows for a monthly mortgage payment in the $2,100-$2,200 range. The green in the chart indicates a payment within or below that range, while the red is a payment that exceeds it.
As the chart shows, even a small change in mortgage rates can have a big impact on your monthly payments. If rates rise, you could exceed your budget unless you pursue a lower home loan amount. If rates fall, your purchasing power may increase, which could give you additional options for your Boston condo for sale search.
The supply of homes for sale is improving, which gives you more homes to choose from. But historically, supply is still low. That means as you search for homes, if you still don’t find something that meets your needs, it may be worth expanding your search.
A recent article from the Washington Post highlights a few things buyers can consider today. It encourages opening yourself up to more areas. For example, if there’s a location you’ve previously ruled out (like a particular town, for example) it may be worth taking another look.
And if you’re able to, opening your search up to include other housing types, like newly built homes, condominiums, or townhomes can further increase your pool of options. Even as the inventory of Boston high-rise condos for sale improves today, finding ways to cast a wider net during your search could help you find a hidden gem.
Ultimately, you need to be prepared when you set out to buy a home. Jeff Ostrowski, the Senior Mortgage Reporter for Bankrate, explains:
“Taking the leap to homeownership can provide a feeling of pride while boosting your long-term financial outlook if you go in well-prepared and with your eyes open.”
No matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional. If you’re just starting your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer, they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help yours stand out above the rest.
Strategically planning your home search by understanding today’s mortgage rates, casting a wide net, and building a team of experts can be the keys to finding the home of your dreams. To make sure you have expert advice each step of the way, let’s connect.
Downtown Boston Real estate transactions can often be confusing, especially for first time home buyers and those unfamiliar with the Beacon Hill real estate. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way! These 10 downtown Boston real estate tips will help you, and all those involved in the transaction, to avoid any frustrations and headaches that can emerge throughout the process. When searching for your home, use this list as a guide to set you in the right direction. Each of these 10 real estate tips are important, be sure to read each one as they will help to keep you from experiencing any added stress in the search for your perfect home.
IT’S FREE! Many Beacon Hill condo buyers make the mistake of searching for a home before they have met with a lender or gotten pre-qualified. It is ideal that you are “Pre-Approved” before touring any properties. This ensures that you are searching for Boston condos for sale that you are able to afford. Real estate agents will often arrange appointments to see the homes that the buyer wants to see. Without being pre-approved, this could lead to frustration and disappointment because you may be previewing homes that are not the best homes for your needs.
To avoid disappointment you should only tour Boston condos for sale that are in your price range. It is important that your agent conduct their analysis and review all properties before scheduling appointments to view property.
The best way to make sure that you, your agent, and everyone involved in the search for your perfect home are on the same page, is to make a “wish list.” Create a list of features and items that your new home must have. Be sure to review the created list with all decision makers (spouse, parents, kids, etc.) When you have your completed list, take some time to rank the importance of each item. List your “give and take” features, what can’t you live without and what can you? Finally, share the completed list with your agent! Often it is not possible to accommodate everything on a wish list, but it helps to clarify for all those involved what you are really searching for. And, if you do find a house but it is missing a few things, remember, you can always add or remove features later! The key to remember is location, location, location.
When it comes to large purchases like a Beacon Hill condo or Boston Seaport condo for sale, limit your outside influences to professionals with experience and other important people that you trust. All too often when telling friends, family, and others of your decisions and what you are doing, everyone will chime in with their own input or someone you should talk to. Many of these people or contacts may have no experience in real estate but will still give you their advice. Do yourself a favor and only consult with those whose opinions you truly value and that have experience.
Listing agents have a fiduciary relationship to the seller. What this means is that the listing agent must act in the best financial interests of their clients (the sellers). These agents will provide your agent with important information to assist you and your agent when preparing the offer. Consulting beforehand will help to avoid unnecessary conflicts and help to ensure that your offer is presented and reviewed. Some examples of this are confirming which escrow and title companies to use, the various time frames for escrow, inspections and disclosures, and more.
As a downtown Boston real estate buyer you will often need to lower your expectations with regards to property conditions. Unless you are buying a brand new home, proper maintenance will always be needed. Sellers are not required to update, repair, or replace items that are found inadequate or not working. You will have an opportunity to present the seller with a “Request for Repairs” list prior to closing. However, the sellers are not obligated to complete any of them or provide you a credit. Many escrows fall apart due to this situation, do not let the little things get in the way of what could be the perfect home for you and your family.
Do not be afraid to make an offer on your favorite properties but you want to be sure of your decision to put in an offer. The purchase agreement is a contract along with receipt for deposit. These items should be taken seriously and written correctly. When you do find a home, or homes, that you like, consult with your agent and put in an offer. Many times the first home you see is perfect for you, don’t let the good ones get away because you have not looked at every home on the market!
There are a lot of moving pieces in a downtown Boston real estate transaction. Few Boston condos for sale close on time or ahead of schedule. Delays often happen because there is a lack of communication between all parties. Most of the time these delays could have been avoided with proper planning. To help stay on track, follow the contract dates and remove or respond to each item you agreed to in a timely matter. Be sure to provide your lender with everything they ask for and make a list of questions you have or anticipate having for when they review your documents.
Your lender will require an appraisal of the property to confirm the value and make certain that you avoid over paying for a property. Knowing this allows you to present the seller your best offer and if it is not accepted, at least you know you tried and can move on with a clear conscious. If your offer is accepted and you feel that you may have over paid, the appraiser will confirm the final value before closing. Just remember, you make your money in real estate when you sell, not when you buy!
If there is one surefire way to complicate and confuse things, it is working with multiple parties at the same time. Avoid duplicate efforts and commit to working with one real estate professional or team.
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