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

The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet. There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House: 1. How do you find Open Houses? Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn't right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search. 2. Be prepared Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties. 3. Get to know the area The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information. 4. Check for agency Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation. 5. Take notes Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed. Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.

Are you looking for a deal when buying your next home? Buying a fixer-upper home just might be the way to go but there are some important things to know before you buy. These helpful hints can help you save time, money and a lot of headaches when buying a fixer-upper. Set a budget: You need to know how much money you can afford to spend. You will want to factor in the price of the property plus the cost of the renovations. Remember to plan for the unknown, add at least 10% to it for "overruns". Most projects never seem to go as planned. Plan ahead: Buying a fixer-upper requires more planning. When looking at potential homes you will want to make a list of renovations. Try to come up with an estimated cost of the renovations. You will also want to identify whether or not you have the expertise to do the renovations or if you will need to hire a contractor. Get a home inspection: There are some things that are unseen to the untrained eye. A good home inspection will be able to tell you all of the needed repairs and potential pitfalls. Remember buying a fixer-upper is an investment. Follow the tips on this list and you will be prepared for the project of buying, renovating and owning a fixer-upper.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller it is time to get off the fence. Despite years of bad news surrounding the real estate market, the time has come when it is both a good time to be a buyer and a seller. Why Buy? Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and buy: 1. When investors start gobbling up real estate you know it's a good deal. In 2011, investors upped their buying by 64%.  While it is still not time to start flipping for a profit the clock is ticking down to an uptick in prices. 2. Interest rates are historically low. You have been hearing this for a while but they are hovering right around 4%. 3. First-time buyers are in a unique position. They didn't lose money in the housing market. 4. It's a great deal! Prices are at all-time lows. So you may be saving as much as 40% off a home if you buy now. Why Sell? Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and sell: 1. Inventory is shrinking. Demand is up and in certain areas and price ranges there is limited inventory so putting your home on the market now will most likely result in a sale. 2. Mortgage availability has stabilized. Mortgage restrictions are loosening and especially first-time buyers are able to get mortgages as they were not affected as much by the financial crisis. 3. Unemployment is not as bad as you think. One is 30 Americans is unemployed as a result of the recent financial crisis. There are lots of able buyers out there. 4. Houses are selling and some are even going to bidding wars. Homes that are priced according to the market are selling and selling quickly. 5. Don't wait for prices to increase. This could be a long wait.

If you are looking for a piece of property that you and your family can call home, there are a few important factors to consider beforehand. First, shopping for homes does not have to be difficult if you do it online. One way to do that is by using the “Search Properties” link above. It will help you to find the perfect home in the area of your choice. You can also Sign up for “New Listings Email Alerts” that will email you every day with new listings, price changes, back on the market and open houses. You will have the ability to search the MLS and get the addresses of properties, view full listings sheet, show where the property is on a map, etc. You can keep the homes you like in a saved folder to view at anytime or email them to a friend or colleague. This website also will allow you to sign up for MLS Property Messenger which will alert you of a new property as soon as it comes on the market. Be the first to know about new listings or price drops with the great service. In the end, you and your family want to be as comfortable as possible in your new home, and so it is important that you find the perfect environment for your property. Once you begin shopping for homes, try to search for property that is located in a good area, and more importantly, the property should be close to your work and to your children's schools, as this in turn will ensure that commuting does not take too much out of your time. Do not focus on pricing alone, as this will limit your search. Instead, focus on how much room you are looking for, and make sure that these rooms are spacious enough so that no one feels crowded. Pricing can always be negotiated down the road, and you will find that if you negotiate a price on a home that you truly do like, then you will feel that you got a great deal. In the end, you and your family want to feel comfortable in your home, so it is important to begin your search on the right foot.

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to

do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase:

1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price.

2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments.

3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too.

4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income.

5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.