Twila Palmer - Westford Real Estate | Westford, MA Real Estate, Chelmsford, MA Real Estate


Before you even start the home search, research is key. There are a few areas that you should look closely at in every home that you’re touring in order to make an informed decision about each property and your future in it. 


Check The Foundation


When you’re walking around the home, note creaky floors, cracks in the walls, and water drainage issues. Maybe you won’t even be able to see if the foundation has any cracks in it or not with your own two eyes. A certified home inspector will, however, be able to tell you what is happening on the property. Cracks in the foundation or major foundational damage can be incredibly costly to you as a homeowner. You’re going to want to know about these issues ahead of time. 


Do Some Investigating


Taking a walk around your desired neighborhood can give you a lot of valuable information. You may be able to talk to neighbors who will give you a bit of information about a property. Even wandering around the neighborhood or attending yard sales can help you to see what’s going on, if you can see yourself living there, and if there are any major issues that you should be aware of. 


Be Likable


Sellers prefer to sell a home to a buyer who they like. if you see that you have something in common with the seller like the fact that you’re both veterans, you should send a letter along with your offer to let the seller know your connection. It’s also helpful to send an offer letter that lets the seller know how much you love the house and that you can see yourself living in the home. It never hurts to add a personal touch to a home offer.  


Keep Your Options Open


Just because a home doesn’t consist of the modern decor you picture yourself living in, doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. If a home happens to be older with less present-day decor in it, be sure to keep an open mind as to the potential that the home has for you.


Make A Strategic Offer


We know that prices that end in 9 are a bit more attractive to the psyche than prices that end in a flat zero. If the asking price for a home is $310,000, you may be tempted to offer $320,000 to shell out the competition, but you may be better off offering an odd number like $312,000. Sometimes a small difference makes a big impact in the eyes of the buyer. Work with your realtor to see if a home you’re interested in has any other offers. Your agent can help you to find a good price point for your offer as well.


Employing a real estate agent offers an ideal first step for those who want to buy the perfect residence, and for good reason.

With a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to find a wonderful house at a price that matches your budget. Plus, your real estate agent will be able to help you navigate each stage of the homebuying process.

What should you expect after you hire a real estate agent? Here are three things that will happen:

1. You'll narrow your home search.

What are you looking for in the perfect house? Ultimately, you'll need to narrow your home search to ensure that you can discover your dream residence without delay.

Luckily, your real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you narrow your home search. By doing so, you'll be able to move one step closer to finding a first-rate home that you can enjoy years to come.

2. You'll visit a wide range of high-quality houses.

Your real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open houses in your area. That way, you can stay on top of the housing market, browse a broad array of top-notch residences and find one that suits you perfectly.

As you browse houses, don't forget to provide your real estate agent with questions. This will enable you to make a more informed decision about how to proceed following a home showing or open house.

Furthermore, your real estate agent wants feedback to guarantee that you can explore houses that correspond to your lifestyle and budget. And if you view a home that fails to meet your criteria, let your real estate agent know immediately. This will make it easier for your real estate agent to find houses that meet or exceed your expectations, and as a result, may help you accelerate the homebuying process.

3. You'll submit your first offer on a home.

If you've reviewed a variety of houses and find a residence that you would like to purchase, now is the perfect time to submit an offer.

Your real estate agent will offer recommendations to ensure that you can submit a competitive offer on a house. In addition, this real estate professional can provide details about how long a home has been available, if a home seller has lowered the price of a residence recently and other factors that may impact your initial proposal.

Submitting an offer on a house can be stressful, but you can always reach out to your real estate agent for support. Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts, rejects or counters your offer. And if you receive a "Yes," your real estate agent can help you take the next step toward acquiring your dream home.

Before you begin a home search, hire a real estate agent – you'll be happy you did. A real estate agent can simplify the homebuying process and help you achieve your homeownership dreams.


One question that crosses many homebuyers’ minds is “Will it be cheaper to buy or build a home?” There’s many pros and cons of both new and older construction homes. The price you pay is a big part of how the entire decision breaks down.


Initial Costs


Prices for existing homes vary widely based on where you live. The same principle goes for buying land and constructing a home. You can check on the specifics of the price per square foot in your area for more details. These costs could have the biggest impact on how you go about the path to homeownership and what area you decide to settle down in. 


Keep in mind that new homes are often more spacious. This drives the cost per square foot down, yet there’s more square footage in the home. 


Cost Of Upkeep


Any kind of home has its regular maintenance tasks and costs that are included with the job of homeownership. Landscaping, the servicing of appliances, the upkeep of filters, and heating and cooling system maintenance are all a part of owning a home. If you buy an older home, however, you’re guaranteed to have a few more costs to worry about. If appliances are on their last leg or the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’re going to need to foot the bill for the replacement cost. 


A new construction home can have issues as well, but it’s less likely to happen. The problems that happen in a new construction home are more likely to be due to building issues. Newer homes can, however, have a protection of up to 10 years with a new construction warranty. 


The Great Outdoors


When you buy an existing home, one of the major perks of it is that the landscaping is mature. There’s no need to plant grass, bushes, and flowers because there’s usually something in place. It’s less of an expense to have something to work with when it comes to landscaping. Trees that have been strategically placed can often add a lot of value to a property. 


On the other hand, building a new home can add years to the process of a finished landscape for a home. You’ll need to deal with tedious upkeep and spend thousands of dollars to get the property’s outdoor spaces looking green and beautiful. 


Energy Efficiency And Technology


If you buy a new home, you have the advantage of keeping up with the latest technology and energy efficiency standards. New construction homes are usually much more efficient than older homes. In a new home, you also have the advantage of being able to install smart technologies like thermostats and security systems to streamline with construction. These tools make your home more secure and easier for you to manage. 


There are a few different advantages to both buying an existing home and buying a new construction home. Your needs and your budget will determine the decision that’s right for you.


Saving money is never an easy task. And saving money for a down payment on a home is especially difficult. Between trying to pay down debt, whether it is student loan or credit card debt, a car loan, insurance, rent, spending money and trying to save for retirement and your emergency fund, how does that leave any money left to save for a down payment? Let’s take a look at a few smart ways to save for a down payment. First things first: how much you are able to spend? This will determine how much you need to save— 20% of the total home cost. Once you have that figured out you can begin to plan what it will take to save that amount. It should be your goal to save 20% or more, although there are ways around that number. Cut expenses: Cutting expenses is one of the ways to start saving more money. First, take a look at the things that you spend money on each month that you don’t necessarily need. Do you buy groceries and then go out to eat 3 or 4 times week? Cutting down to only going out once a week will save you some big bucks at the end of the year. Can you cut down on any of your utilities such as cable and Internet? What about your rent? Could you get roommates to alleviate the cost of rent or move to a lower cost apartment? Invest: Investing your money, smartly, is the quickest way to increase your money and build your down payment amount. Investing, in general, will not make you crazy amounts of money really quickly (unless you’re one of the lucky few) but it does add up faster than money sitting in your savings account or under your bed. Consider opening up a CD, an IRA account (there are restrictions), or investing in the stock market. It will take a couple of years for this to really build, but the returns will be worth the wait. Be sure to read up on the best option for you and keep an eye on the market if you are planning on investing in an IRA account or stocks. Automate Savings: If you have the funds but just aren’t the best saver then the easiest way to save more money is to automate it, either through your work or bank. Automating your savings will make it seem like that money was never there, therefore making it easier to forget about it and keep it in savings. You’d be surprised how quickly your money can add up. Additional Income: If you really want to speed up reaching your savings goal then you may want to consider adding another source of income. There are so many ways to earn more money such as selling your crafts online, blogging, a second job, etc. Saving all of the money you earn will expedite your savings. There are also other sources of income such as a bonus, or tax return that are not a part of your regular income. These types of income should also be saved towards your down payment to reach your goal sooner. If purchasing a home is of utmost importance to you, but you are lacking the down payment then it is extremely important to make saving a priority. As detailed above, there are many ways in which you can accelerate the process of earning and saving more money.

When you find a home that you love, you probably already have been pre-approved by a bank for a certain amount that will enable you to buy a home. Once you put in an offer on the home and it’s accepted, however, you may need to take a step back. The appraisal can help you to know what the value of the home actually is. The bank may decline your loan based on the appraisal This is one of the most important steps to obtaining the financing that you need to purchase a home. 


What Is An Appraisal? 


In a nutshell, an appraisal protects the bank from investing in a property that’s worth less than what they’re paying for it. This process also protects you as a buyer from buying a property that’s worth less than what you’re expecting it to be worth. 


Although the appraisal makes sense financially, it doesn’t mean that the process won’t be emotional for you as a buyer and for the sellers as well. The appraisal can in fact make or break the purchase of what you consider as your dream home. There’s a lot of data that’s collected for the appraisal, which can cause nerves to be shot on both sides while the value of the home is being calculated.     


What’s The Difference Between The Inspection And The Appraisal?


A home appraisal is much different than an inspection. The home inspection is important in its own right. As a buyer, you hire a home inspector to find any potential problems or hazards that could be big issues for you in the future as a homeowner. While property appraisers will make note of glaring issues, they won’t check out the nuts and bolts of the home like a home inspector will. The home inspector checks out everything from the air quality to the chimney to the toilet and sinks. There’s many things that will affect your home appraisal. In other words, if you’re a seller, you want to get major issues fixed before you put your home on the market. Home inspections will be very important for different reasons to you as a buyer since it will be valuable to you in the future. Appraisers may request an inspection if they notice something serious within the home, but they are more interested in the value of the property than the direct problems that are within the home. 


Who Will Pay For The Appraisal?


Generally, the seller will pay for the home appraisal along with the closing costs. This can be a few hundred dollars. In certain circumstances the buyer may agree to pay for the appraisal, however.   


What Goes Into Calculating The Worth Of A House?


Appraisers look at many different factors including: 

  • The square footage of the property
  • The number of bedrooms
  • How many bathrooms the home has
  • The condition of the home
  • How much have comparable properties have sold for in the area
  • Safety issues
  • Other factors pertaining to health and safety            


The appraisal process can seem complicated, but once you’re educated on the matter, you’ll be prepared when it gets to that point in the home buying process.




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