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


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.


What Is The Disclosure Statement?


Disclosure statements are used in many of life’s situations. This is the place where the buyer is able to learn about the ins and outs of the property that they are about the buy. Examples of items that would be on a seller’s disclosure are:


  • Water in the basement
  • Updates made to the home
  • Known pests
  • Paranormal activity
  • Death on the property
  • Past fires
  • Nearby major construction projects
  • Title 5 sewerage issues 


Disclosures Serves As Protections


The disclosure statement serves as a protection for both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer’s perspective, through this information, they are able to understand a bit more about the property that they are potentially buying. 


On the seller’s side of things, the disclosure statement serves a s legal protection of sorts. The seller is obliged to reveal anything about the property that could potentially affect the value or affect the living conditions.


How Does The Seller Make The Disclosure


Each state and even each city within a state varies in the way a disclosure is conducted.  The statement can be composed of dozens of documents that need to be signed by the seller. Other states have disclosure document forms that consist of a series of yes or no questions about the home. Sellers may also be required o present communications between neighbors, owners, and agents. In some states, the disclosure statement is valid for up to 10 years, allowing buyers to collect damages if something wasn’t properly presented on the statement.  


How Do Sellers Know What To Disclose?


The basic rule of thumb is that if you know something about your property, you should disclose it. If you try to hide something, it could come back to meet you in the form of a lawsuit, even years later. Many states have legal requirements as to what should be revealed on these documents.  


What’s Disclosed To Buyers?


The disclosure doesn’t have to be all bad. This document is also an opportunity for sellers to present any of the improvements that they have made to the home. Make sure that you include all of the upgrades, renovations, and improvements that you have made to the home that you’re selling. This can help to impress buyers as to how well you have taken care of the property.


It’s easy as the buyer to check some of these improvements as you can find out if the work was done with or without permits by checking with the city’s zoning reports. Work that was done without a permit may have not been completed according to code. This could pose some serious health and safety risks to you and your family. 


Problems that you’ll want to disclose as a seller include pest problems, property line disputes, disturbances in the neighborhood, liens on the property, and appliance malfunctions. 


Remember that the disclosure doesn’t substitute the buyer’s right to a professional inspection of the property. It’s important for buyers to know as much about a property as they can in order to be sure they’re making a good investment.


Want to purchase a home? Spring may prove to be a great time to acquire your dream residence.

Many home sellers add their properties to the spring real estate market annually. Meanwhile, homebuyers can browse a large selection of houses in spring and move closer to transforming their homeownership dream into a reality.

What does it take to secure a home in spring? Here are three tips that spring homebuyers need to know.

1. Browse the Housing Market Closely

Although many homes will be available in spring, it is important to find a residence that matches your budget and lifestyle perfectly. Thus, you'll want to browse the housing market closely and search for a property that you can enjoy for years to come.

Purchasing a house is a major decision, and as such, you'll want to allocate substantial time and resources to find a home in spring. Evaluating online home listings is ideal, and you should find out how long a home has been available, the home's age and other home information before you submit an offer on a residence.

Spring remains a popular season for open houses as well. Therefore, you may want to visit a residence to get an up-close look at a property and determine whether it fulfills your needs.

2. Submit a Competitive Offer

When it comes to submitting an offer on a home in spring, you should try to put your best foot forward.

Ultimately, submitting a competitive offer is paramount for a homebuyer. If you submit an offer that matches a home seller's needs, you can accelerate the homebuying process. On the other hand, a homebuyer who submits a "lowball" offer on a residence could miss out on a golden opportunity to acquire his or her dream residence.

Conduct plenty of research before you submit an offer on a house. By doing so, you'll be able to provide a proposal that corresponds to your budget and a home seller's expectations.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

The spring real estate market may be tough to navigate alone due in part to the sheer volume of properties that is available. Lucky for you, real estate agents can help you overcome any obstacles along the way and ensure that you can purchase your dream home quickly.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. This real estate professional can keep you informed about new homes in your area and help you handle negotiations with a home seller. Plus, your real estate agent is always happy to respond to your homebuying queries and will do everything possible to streamline the process of purchasing a residence.

With a friendly real estate agent at your side, you can explore a wide assortment of high-quality houses and find a terrific residence in spring. Employ a real estate agent to minimize guesswork as you search for a home in spring, and you can discover your dream home in no time at all.


After you accept a homebuyer's offer on your residence, he or she likely will complete a home inspection. Then, the homebuyer may choose to move forward with the home purchase, rescind or modify his or her offer or ask the home seller to complete home improvements.

Ultimately, a home seller is likely to have many questions following a home inspection, including:

1. What did the homebuyer discover during the home inspection?

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your residence before you add it to the real estate market. By doing so, you can boost your chances of generating substantial interest in your house. Plus, when a homebuyer performs a home inspection, he or she is unlikely to find any problems that may slow down the home selling process.

An informed home seller may conduct a home appraisal prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This appraisal enables a home seller to identify potential trouble areas within a residence and explore ways to address such problems.

If you failed to perform a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. For home sellers, it is important to see a home inspection as a learning opportunity. And if a homebuyer identifies problems with your residence during a home inspection, you should try to work with him or her to resolve these issues.

2. Should I stand my ground after a home inspection?

Be realistic after a home inspection, and you'll be able to make the best decision about how to proceed.

For example, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty may address major home problems prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This home seller will dedicate the necessary time and resources to correct home problems and ensure a homebuyer is able to purchase a top-notch residence.

But what happens if a homebuyer identifies problems during a home inspection, despite the fact that a home seller already tried to correct various home issues?

A home seller should consider the homebuyer's inspection report findings closely. If minor home repairs are needed, he or she may be able to fix these problems to move forward with a home sale. Or, if a homebuyer is making exorbitant demands, a home seller may feel comfortable allowing the homebuyer to walk away from a home sale.

3. How should I proceed after a home inspection?

A home inspection can be stressful for both a home seller and a homebuyer. After the home inspection is completed, both parties will be better equipped than ever before to make informed decisions.

If a homebuyer encounters many problems with a residence, he or she will let the home seller know about these issues. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs, offer a discounted price on a home or refuse to perform the requested home maintenance.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal for a home seller, particularly when it comes to home inspections. A real estate agent will negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf and ensure you streamline the home selling process.




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