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Home Buying 101
Buying a home is very exciting, but at Citylife, we realize it can also be a bit daunting. To make things less scary, we’ve simplified the home buying process into five easy steps: Getting Started, Working with a Real Estate Professional, Searching for a New Home, Making an Offer and Closing. We hope you find this information helpful, and Citylife looks forward to helping you navigate through the home buying process.
Step 1: Getting Started: Determine your Goals
The first step is to establish a “wish list” for your new home – that is, all the characteristics that you would like to have in a home. These include things such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, style, minimum amount of square footage, parking and other features that are important to you (e.g. fireplaces, modern kitchen). You’ll want to prioritize the things on your wish list based on what you must-have and what would be nice-to-have.
Another part of getting started is to talk to a mortgage broker or banker who can pre-approve you for the purchase of a new home. This is important because it will be helpful when you find your new home and want to make an offer, and it will also give you a guideline of a realistic price range to begin looking.
Step 2: Working with a Real Estate Professional
The second step is to begin working with a Real Estate professional. Real Estate professionals know the market and can provide expert advice on market conditions, neighborhoods, and the home buying process. They can help with the administration and legwork from the beginning steps straight through to closing.
There are 3 different options for working with a Real Estate professional. Real Estate agents can act as sub-agents, otherwise known as seller’s agents. In this case, the Real Estate agent represents the seller throughout the transaction. But, don’t be alarmed – there are strict ethical and legal obligations to treat the buyer with fairness and honesty.
Another alternative is to act as a Buyers Broker, representing the buyer throughout the real estate transaction. Learn more about working with a Buyers Broker (html link to that section).
The third option is a Dual Agency relationship, which means the same Real Estate professional represents both the buyer and seller. The agent remains loyal to both parties, protecting all confidential information. As with the other relationship options, strict legal and ethical guidelines govern Dual Agency.
At Citylife, we are committed to providing the best customer service, and we will work with you in whichever relationship you feel most comfortable. Our primary goal is to meet all your real estate buying needs in a professional, trust-worthy and respectful way.
Step 3: Searching for a New Home
The first step is to learn about the different areas and neighborhoods that you may be interested in. Your Real Estate professional can give you a full tour and market assessment of each area. Click here to learn more about the Boston neighborhoods. (html link to About Boston)
The next step is to begin looking at different types of properties on the market. At Citylife, we have access to listings in the Listing Information Network (LINK), as well as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to provide you information on everything on the market. In addition, we attend weekly broker open houses, so we can preview new listings for you. The best way to find your new home is to hit the pavement. We can take you to open houses, make private appointments for you that fit your schedule and send you daily listings. All of these efforts will help you find your new home.
Step 4: Making an Offer
Congratulations, you’ve found a home that you love! Now it’s time to make a formal offer for the property. Your Real Estate professional will help you make an offer in writing. There are five main parts to an offer: The offer price, the expiration date for the offer, the closing date, contingencies (mortgage financing, inspections, inclusions) and the deposit (typically 5-10%). At Citylife, we’ll help you write the offer and submit it (along with your pre-approval letter and a good faith deposit) to the Seller’s agent. If a counter offer is proposed, we will assist you throughout the negotiation process. Once a final offer has been accepted, and all the terms and conditions agreed upon, both the buyer and the seller will sign the final offer.
Step 5: Closing
Your closing will typically occur 30-90 days after your offer was accepted. During this time, you will have your home inspection done, worked with your attorney and your mortgage broker or bank to finalize your financing and get all the paperwork done that’s necessary to take possession of your new home. Throughout it all, Citylife will be there to support you, and provide whatever help we can to smooth the way to your new home. On the day of the closing, we will schedule a final walk-through of the property, and accompany you to the closing. Once you’ve signed, and signed, and signed all the closing and title papers, and the deed has been recorded, you’re new home will be yours!
To learn more about the Buying process, please contact us at Citylife (html link to contact us page).. Any of our sales agents will be happy to assist you.