Spring is almost here, although you may not believe it with our local weather, but if your a Boston condo buyer its time to start preparing yourself for tbe spring market.
Several buyers have currently reached out to me about buying a Boston condo in 2018. These buyers are the inspiration for this article and my hope is that it will be a guide to you as well.
In the Boston condo market it’s not uncommon for people to keep their eye on the market long before they become serious buyers and thus I’m writing this for you as well, guide for buying a Boston condominium in 2018.
Buying a condo requires preparation and the more prepared you are the more confident you will be heading towards your Boston condo purchase. Real estate is one of the safest investments you can make, especially if you’re buying in a great location.
The biggest mistake people make postponing or buying nothing at all. They renew their leases and push home buying off for another year. If you ask my past clients ‘what is one thing you wish you did differently’ their answer would be ‘buying a Boston condo sooner.’
This guide has been prepared after consulting and reading the writings of the top real estate experts and mortgage professionals in the country. Their thoughts on what prospective home buyers need to do are discussed below in detail. Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it.
How to Prepare to Buy a Boston luxury condo in 2018
Step 1: Check your Credit Score
This step is important if you are planning to take a mortgage or home loan. To qualify for a mortgage and get the best terms possible, you need to have a good credit score.
There are a lot of informative websites online that can help you understand where your credit score is, I personally use CreditKarma.com. Using the mobile app on my phone I’m able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of why my score is the way it is. Here’s a tip, try not to close your older credit accounts because these give you a good average length of credit history.
A credit score is simply a representation of your credit worthiness. FICO credit scores range from 300 – 850. A higher credit score is always better when taking out a mortgage. You are bound to get the best interest rate (lowest interest rate possible) and best loan terms if your credit score is 740 or above. The interest you pay for your loan is important because it dictates the entire cost of the loan. Furthermore, getting a rate that is .25% lower can translate to thousands of dollars in savings every year for the entire term of your mortgage.
I’ve seen people with a credit score in the high 600s turn it into a high 700s in just a few months. So if you need help improving your credit score, check out some resources online.
Step 2: No New Credit Cards
When preparing to buy a Boston condo, you should also stay away from new credit cards even if they come with irresistible benefits and low introductory interest rates. This is highly recommended since opening new credit lines can hurt your chances of qualifying for a mortgage, and if by any chance you are eligible for a mortgage, you won’t get the best rate. New credit lines usually change mortgage loan application numbers. To make sure your mortgage loan application numbers stay the same, avoid new credit lines by all means. You should also avoid overusing existing credit going forward to avoid getting bad terms in the future.
What are the benefits of the credit card? It shows that you have a credit history, if you pay your balance in full each month it will help your overall credit score. This will allow you to have the highest credit score possible when it comes time to get a mortgage.
Step 3: Find a Mortgage Lender
Before you start looking for a home to buy, you need to get a mortgage lender first. This step is critical because it lets you know the kind of home you can afford to buy. It saves you the time, money and headaches during the home buying process. It also makes sense to start a conversation with a mortgage lender well in advance of you buying a Boston condo because they can help prepare you for the actual application process.
Finding a good mortgage lender is easy, though it requires a lot of effort and that’s the hard part. You can start by asking your local bank especially if you have established a good relationship with them. You ask them what are the best steps you can take for a mortgage approval? Next, you will want to compare products. Each lender and bank will have different products they can offer certain types of people so don’t settle for the first one. Look at all of your options and choose the one that makes the most sense for you.
Step 4: Get Preapproved
Serious buyers make a pre approval one of their first steps when buying a Boston condo. This is because this shows the seller that you are serious and know that if you are going to buy a condo that you’ll will need it. As with most Boston markets, if you try to buy a home in this market you’re going to compete with a lot of other buyers.
Before you can approach potential home sellers, you have to get pre approved which simply tells the seller you are capable of buying the home in question. Getting preapproved is easy. You just need several documents. Typically, you will require your tax returns and W-2 forms for the past year or two. You’ll also need your current paycheck stubs for three or more months as well as a list of your debts and assets. You also require other documents such as proof of mortgage/rent payments. Once you get pre approved, it’s important to avoid making big purchases, missing debt payments and changing jobs as you wait to get a mortgage to avoid altering information in your mortgage application.
Step 5: Find A Great Real Estate Agent
Before you search for the Boston condo you need to find a real estate agent and this is more important now than in previous years. With so much information online it’s hard to believe what’s real and what isn’t. A reputable real estate agent will help you navigate the Boston real estate world. Often people will be willing to see a condominium with anyone who will show it to them. Strong Agents are going to have tougher barriers that you need to break through because they are in high demand. Their time like yours is money, so they will sit down with you to target the best properties that meet your needs. It’s worth working with someone who is good, that has good reviews, then it is working with someone random. Do your research.
When someone asks to see a home for sale in a competitive market like Beacon Hill, I typically require a phone call or in-person meeting beforehand to help learn if we are the right fit with each other. This is a benefit to the client as it is to me. My staff will make a commitment to our clients not to work with too many clients at once because that would jeopardize our ability to work for you
There are certain questions you should ask when interviewing Real Estate Agents and these will help you determine if you’re working with the right person. A home is a large investment after all.
Once you are pre-approved, you can get yourself a good real estate agent to help you find the perfect home for you. Real estate agents are easy to find today regardless of your location. You can use referrals, relatives or the internet to get the best real estate agent in your area. This step is important since real estate agents are knowledgeable about real estate. They offer useful support on all matters relating to real estate from finding the right house to negotiating and closing.
Step 6: Finding a Boston Condo
Start with the location you want.
Determining your priorities is going to help you find a great home. Have a list of ‘must haves’ and stick to it while being reasonable. Understand that most Boston condos are not going to have everything you want and if it does then you should act quickly. When you find a great home, don’t wait, make an offer on it because if you don’t, someone else will.
Step 7: Don’t Forget about the Closing Costs
Even if you are a first time home buyer with a 3% down payment loan you need to remember that bringing money to closing is often required. Most people don’t realize that closing costs can be around $5,000 and above when you include the attorney, lender, inspection, and other fees. Remember, as the buyer you don’t pay any Boston Realtor fees.
If you’re buying a home in 2018 you should start the conversation now. Begin saving up for your down payment, your closing costs, and have a cash reserve for a rainy day!
It’s also important to discuss with your agent on ways of reducing closing costs. However, if you hire a reputable real estate agent, you have nothing to worry about.
Buying a Boston condo is challenging if you don’t understand the process. There are many things you need to consider when buying a home and you’ll find some generally great information online to help you along the way. Whether it’s your first time or your fifth time, it’s always good to brush up on what to expect, especially if your new to the Boston condo market.
The above steps give a great overview to how best prepare when buying a condo in 2018. The information may vary slightly depending on the condo complex as well as the mortgage lender you choose.
If you have any questions for us, drop us a note in the comments section below. or feel free to call me directly at 617-595-3712.
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Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs
In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.
For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.
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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.
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Boston, Ma 02114
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