1. Pre-Approval and Clear Financial Picture
Before you start shopping, speak with a reputable lender to understand not only what you can qualify for in terms of a loan, but also what you are comfortable spending. The earlier you can start this process the better. If you have any prior credit issues, your lender can work with you to optimize your score to ensure that you’re not paying a higher interest rate than you need to be. Don’t assume the lender advertised on Zillow or Google has the best rates and customer service, get local referrals and if possible, speak with friends or colleagues who have used a lender before. If not, your Metro agent would be happy to suggest some trustworthy and experienced lenders that you can rely on.
2. Market Expectations
There are many competitive housing markets across the country with more buyers than sellers, and Boston is no exception. How well do you know the neighborhood are you shopping in. Do listing prices often result in bidding wars? How many of the homes you are looking at might have a yard, parking, or new renovation? An agent can best assist you with context, but knowing the housing stock in your preferred neighborhoods, and how often it becomes available, is very important!
3. How Long Will I Live Here?
Life is often unpredictable, though you should have a general idea of how long you plan to live in a home. Many financial experts say that you should live in a newly purchased home for at least 3 or 4 years before a potential sale. Would you be comfortable renting it out if you need to? How is the rental market? Rentals aren’t allowed at all condo buildings and almost no co-op buildings (do you know the difference between a condo and co-op?), so be sure to ask you agent what the rules are before making an offer.
4. Quality Control
Are you familiar with materials and construction that might look nice, but not last? We suggest familiarizing yourself with kitchen and bathroom finishes, flooring, and fixtures – this will all directly affect your re-sale value and you want to be sure a seller didn’t make any “quick fixes” to get their home sold quickly while lacking in quality. Are you familiar with difference between prefinished hardwood versus manufactured flooring versus real hardwood and the pros and cons of each? What about the doors in that new construction home – are they solid core or hollow? While these may not sound like the most exciting conversation topics, these are just a couple of things that your Metro agent can assist you in identifying and will consider when advising you on the true market value of a particular property.
A home purchase is often the biggest purchase of your adult life. Have you put in a few offers to no avail? Feeling fatigue from a longer than expected search? We’re here to tell you – don’t settle! Strategize and develop a new approach with your Metro agent and talk about perhaps re-visiting the market if needed – we want you to find your perfect home, and we want to help you do that.