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Check List for Buying a Home
These are concerns that should be addressed by you together with your Buyer's Agent.

                       PRELIMINARY ISSUES

        ___  Should you rent or buy?
        ___  How much house can you afford?
        ___  What about taxes and insurance?

        ___   Assessment vs. Appriasal
        ___  Read books on Home Buying.
        __Determine your wants and needs.
        ___  Look on your own or with an agent?
        ___  Know your agency choices.
        ___  Want a consultant or a sales person?
        ___  Determine which towns and why.
       
 ___  Obtain town and tax information.
        ___  Research school information.
        ___  Find average sale price in the area.
        ___  Know difference between an Offer and P&S.
        ___  Lender Pre-Qual or Pre-Approval?
        ___  Other relocation assistance needed?
        ___  Know the rules in Massachusetts.
        ___  Assemble your buying team.

 

                       SEARCHING FOR A HOME
        ___  Where to find houses for sale?
        ___  Access to the Multiple Listing Service.
        ___  Checking for Expired Listings.
        ___  For Sale By Owner.
        ___  Auction & Foreclosure Properties.
        ___  Discount Listings not in the MLS.
        ___  Homes not currently on the market.
        ___  What "Exclusive" listing means.
        ___  MLS rules and "pocket listings".
        ___  Use of Drive-By lists.
        ___  While viewing homes.
        ___  Do you want properties previewed?
        ___  Open House etiquette.
        ___  When the seller is home.
        ___  Take notes to compare houses.
        ___  Second showings.
        ___  Ask questions of the Listing Agent.
        ___  Organize the Showing Sheets.
        ___  Get a Seller's Statement.
        ___  When and how to make an Offer.

 

                       BEFORE MAKING AN OFFER

        ___  Why this particular property?
        ___  What is your 2nd and 3rd choice?
        ___  What are current market conditions?
        ___  Determine Fair Market Value.
        ___  Is the property overpriced?

        ___  Sweat Equity
        ___  Understanding Emotional Equity.
        ___  What are Comparable sales in the area?
        ___  Look at sales on the same street.
        ___  Compare tax assessed values.
        ___  Do a square footage analysis.
        ___  Compare List to Sale prices.
        ___  Use computerized Price Evaluators.
        ___  Determine your negotiation strategy.
        ___  Make yourself attractive to the seller.
        ___  Rapport with seller and listing agent.
        ___  What are the seller's wants and needs?
        ___  Consider seller financing.

 

                       MAKING AN OFFER

        ___  Determine your offering price.
        ___  Know your bottom line.
        ___  Determine contingencies if any.
        ___  Get Professional & Legal help.
        ___  Fill out the offer form.
        ___  Use buyer protective language.
        ___  Negotiate price, terms, and conditions.
        ___  Use back door clauses.
        ___  Include initial deposit check.
        ___  Who holds escrow deposits?
        ___  Understand the Statute of Frauds.
        ___  How will the offer be presented?
        ___  Counter Offers and Time Expediency.
        ___  Contingency dates are important!
        ___  Know when to walk.
        ___  Protect your deposit money.
 

 

                       NEGOTIATING ISSUES

        ___  Obvious issues with the house.
        ___  What all would you like included?
        ___  Determine your absolutes and maybes.
        ___  Think about "What if?" and have another plan.
        ___  Use your flexibility to your advantage.
        ___  What about Home Warranty coverage?
        ___  How about window dressings?
        ___  Play set in the yard?
        ___  Negotiate again, after the Home Inspection.

 

                       HOMEWORK AT THE TOWN HALL
        ___  Who is the owner of record?
        ___  What is the actual square footage?
        ___  What is the age of the structure?
        ___  Was it built or moved to this location?
        ___  What are the taxes?
        ___  When is the next tax assessment?
        ___  Public or Private sewer?
        ___  Future development plans.
        ___  Building and set back requirements.
        ___  Are there environmental issues?
        ___  Current or planned betterment issues?
        ___  Location of well and/or septic.
        ___  Any permit issues?
        ___  What town issues should I know about?

 

                       QUESTIONS TO ASK THE SELLER

        ___  How did you arrive at your asking price?
        ___  Why are you moving?
        ___  What's under the snow?
        ___  It's winter, are any of these tree dead?
        ___  What are the quirks with this property?
        ___  How do you get along with the neighbors?
        ___  May I have a completed a seller's statement?

 

                       OTHER DUE DILIGENCE HOMEWORK

        ___  What is the history of this property?
        ___  Are there any encroachments or easements?
        ___  What does the deed tell us?
        ___  Subdivision covenants or restrictions?
        ___  Stigmas of any kind?
        ___  Visit at night.
        ___  Check for noise pollution.
        ___  Any high voltage lines?
        ___  Talk to the neighbors.
        ___  Any builder or development issues?
        ___  Are there neighborhood concerns?
        ___  Child molester registry?
        ___  Crime report for the area.

                 THE HOME INSPECTION

        ___  How to choose a Home Inspector.
        ___  Deal Killer or In their Pockets?
        ___  ASHI or NIBI inspectors.
        ___  Prepare for the home inspection.
        ___  Attend or be represented.
        ___  Have the inspection video taped.
        ___  Determine additional inspections wanted.
        ___  How to interpret the Inspection Report.
        ___  Renegotiating after the home inspection.
        ___  Bring inspector back for final Walk Thru.
        ___  Using the home inspection to walk.

 

                   WORKING WITH LENDERS

        ___  How to choose the right lender.
        ___  Mortgage bankers or brokers?
        ___  Shop for the best rate and service.

        ___  Know you options.
        ___  What are ARMs?
        ___  VA, FHA, or other  Government loans?
        ___  Are there any special state or town gifts / loans?
        ___  How to compare loan programs.
        ___  What are portfolio loans?
        ___  Get a free pre-approval early on.
        ___  How to avoid costly PMI.
        ___  Ask your lender to match other rates offered.
        ___  When to move your loan to another lender.
        ___  Understand the appraisal process.
        ___  Ask lender for a copy of the appraisal.
        ___  Watch you rate lock very carefully.
        ___  Use a reasonable date for a bank commitment.
        ___  Make your lender meet the commitment date.
        ___   Beware of contingencies in the commitment letter.
        ___  Don't go forward without the commitment letter.
        ___  Get an amortization schedule.
        ___  How to pay off your loan in half the time.

        ___  Consider Seller Financing.

                        PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

        ___  Have it reviewed by an attorney.
        ___  Expect to ad protective clauses and riders.
        ___  Relationship between agent & attorney?
        ___  Can close on the Offer if can't agree on P&S?
        ___  Watch the financing and home inspection deadlines.
        ___  Is it ever appropriate to record the P&S?
        ___  Realize the risk in asking for extensions.
        ___  What's the risk if you can't get an extension?
        ___  Determine how to Take Title.
        ___  Be sure the P&S is properly delivered.
        ___  Make sure your have a P&S signed by the seller.

 

                       BEFORE THE CLOSING

        ___  Meet all the lender's requirements.
        ___  Get insurance binder for closing.
        ___  Decide on Owner's Title Insurance
        ___  Consider filing Homestead.
        ___  Review the HUD Settlement Statement.
        ___  Review closing documents with your attorney.
        ___  Confirm amount you bring to closing.
        ___  Have a bank check made out to yourself.
        ___  Have the utilities switched over.
        ___  Notify the Post Office of your address change.
        ___  Prepare for the Final Walk Thru.
        ___  Know where and when the closing is.
        ___  Bring photo ID and Insurance Binder to the closing.

 

                       THE FINAL WALK-THRU

        ___  Make sure the sellers are moved out.
        ___  Review potential concerns.
        ___  Verify fuel reading.
        ___  Approve Punch List items.
        ___  Test Heating system.
        ___  Check water pressure & plumbing.
        ___  Run the dishwasher.
        ___  Test all appliances.
        ___  Is property free of debris?
        ___  Is everything the same as before?
        ___  Is the property broom clean?
        ___  What are the unresolved issues?

 

                       AT THE CLOSING

        ___  Discuss any issues from Walk Thru.
        ___  Effect any seller escrow necessary.
        ___  Set the tone for a pleasant closing.
        ___  Show your photo ID.
        ___  Present you Insurance Binder.
        ___  Expect to do a lot of signing.
        ___  Endorse check to conveyance office.
        ___  Ask conveyance officer  to record Homestead.
        ___  Confirm that all your obligations are met.
        ___  Make sure your have a copy of everything you signed.
        ___  Ask for copies of anything else you would like to have.
        ___  Get additional items and information from seller.
        ___  Ask how to contact the seller after closing.
        ___  Pick up the keys from the seller at the table.

 

                       AFTER THE CLOSING

        ___  Organize and file your closing documents.
        ___  Go for a tax abatement if appropriate.
        ___  Make mortgage payment on time.
        ___  Know who to contact with problems.
        ___  Thank Your Buyer Broker for the good job.