Buying a home is an exciting experience, but it can feel a bit overwhelming if you don’t have the right information. Check out these helpful resources about the home buying process. When you’re ready, give Chris Kostopoulos Group a call at 617-751-4111 or email at Chris@Isellmass.com at to tour available homes in the Suffolk County and Boston areas.

Open House Questions

An open house is an excellent opportunity to gather important information about a property. In a recent post we discussed do’s and don’t for open houses. And, we encouraged you to ask the agent questions. Here are suggested questions to ask the listing agent when you are viewing a house. In a future post, we will list suggestions for questions to ask when you are looking at condos.

Please note that MLS listing sheets have data fields for detailed information about each house. It’s a good idea to review the sheet carefully – either in MLS reports you get from your agent, or in the MLS sheet typically provided at an open house. That way, you won’t waste the limited face-to-face time you have with the listing agent asking for information that already you have in writing. The questions listed below are for items that aren’t covered in the standard MLS data fields.

Of course, if you don’t like the house and you wouldn’t consider buying it, no need to ask anything. But, if you go through the house and like it, ask the questions below about the physical condition and the neighborhood. And if you get past all that, and are still interested, ask the agent the suggested questions about the listing (i.e. the marketing and offer process). Knowing more about the listing can help you better position yourself to make an offer on the property that will be accepted, even if there are competing offers.

OPEN HOUSES – DON’Ts and DO’s

Have been looking – for more than a week – to buy a property? Then you probably know how important open houses are to a home search. And, even if you have a buyers’ agent, many times you will likely be on your own at open houses. There are etiquette guidelines for this that your mother probably didn’t teach you. And, if you follow them, you can avoid confusion about how to act at open houses. But, it’s not just a matter or being polite!

Following the guidelines can help you in your search: the seller’s agent may encourage the seller to come to terms with any offer you make because of the good impression you will undoubtedly make on the agent. If you know what to ask and how (see next two future posts), you will be in a better position to take full advantage of the open house to get information about the property and its status. That means that if you are seriously considering buying the property, it will help you position your offer more effectively. And, on the other hand, it may help you to eliminate the property faster than you could otherwise, thereby saving you time and wheel-spinning.

Real Estate Myths: Common Wisdom that isn’t so Wise

Let’s look at two elements of common wisdom that many buyers follow when purchasing a home. One element advises them to eliminate certain houses from consideration. The other, tells them how much to spend. We consider both these elements of common wisdom to be myths!

NEW CONSTRUCTION vs. TRADITIONAL HOUSING

In the Boston area there are significant numbers of both new and traditional housing. There is also a hybrid of the two – old houses that have been gut-rehabbed. Understanding the key differences is helpful to buyers, sellers, and owners alike. Buyers can use the understanding to evaluate the trade-offs between the different types of housing. Sellers gain insight into the competition. And owners can use the information to make informed decisions about when, if, and how to invest in upgrades and renovations to their home with an eye towards the ultimate resale value.

My property appraisal is lower than my purchase price.

When you apply for a mortgage, the bank has a professional appraiser perform an appraisal of the property. The question today is: what if the appraisal comes in lower than the price you have agreed to pay? And the answer, like the answer to many questions, is: “It depends”. Mostly, it depends on what it says in the mortgage contingency that was part of your offer.

For the purposes of this discussion we will use – as an example – that:
– you have agreed to pay $600k for the property.
– the bank will lend you up to 80% of the appraised value – which is standard.

Mortgage Appraisals

If you apply for a mortgage for your home purchase, the bank or lender will require an appraisal of the property. Here is a list of some basic questions and answers about appraisals. For the sake of simplicity, we will assume the most typical scenario: the appraisal is for a mortgage for 80% of the purchase price, and you will be covering 20% of the purchase price from your own money. If you need to borrow more than 80%, or have enough of your own money to borrow less, the basic concepts are the same but. there are some significant differences. We will cover the less typical situations in future posts.

HOME INSPECTIONS – 12 Things You Really Should Know

1. Do I need to have a home inspection? No, it’s up to you whether to have an inspection.  But a good agent will never tell you don’t need an inspection.  You can actually sue an agent if you take their advice to forego an inspection and then have an expensive problem that an inspector would … Continued

CONDOMINIUMS – 12 Q’s You Shouldn’t be Afraid to Ask

Everyone knows you can buy a condominium – a “condo” for short – and become the proud owner of a unit within a building. But, it’s not so obvious exactly how condominiums work and what it all means. So, let’s look at the answers to some important questions about condos.

BUYING NEW CONSTRUCTION, UNDER CONSTRUCTION, PRE-CONSTRUCTION

There is nothing like a brand-new home. A home never lived in by another human being. Shiny. Up to date. Fully equipped and gadgetized. Charm and history are fine for other people, but they are not for you! You would sooner buy a used car than a used home. So, let’s look at all the benefits of new construction, as well as the pitfalls and how you can try to deal with them.