8 Steps to Buying a Home The Boston Metro Area

Just 5 miles from downtown Boston, Revere boasts one of the state’s best beaches. Logan airport is very near as are major medical and academic institutions and recreational outlets. It is no wonder that Revere is a most desirable place to live. So you if are thinking about a home, here are 8 steps to buying a home in Revere that you should seriously consider.

  1. Have a down payment ready. The days of no money down to purchase a home are long over. Most lenders require a down payment of 20% of the purchase price, or less if you have considerable cash on hand, so this is your first priority. You can ask family members to loan you money or your parents or siblings could gift you the money as couples may gift up to $28,000 in any one year to an individual without incurring a gift tax.
  1. Get pre-qualified. You will not know how much you can afford until a lender advises you based on your income and assets what your loan may be. Once you have this information, you can begin to narrow down the homes and even the areas of the city.
  1. Know what you are looking for and the amenities you want. Are you planning on a family or expanding it? Do you want a spare bedroom or space for an aging parent? Many people work at home so a home office is preferable or they want public transit nearby to commute into Boston. Others want a backyard, have their children be able to walk to schools or have a home near the beach. Regardless, be sure you and your spouse are in agreement over what you would like in a home. Your loan amount can limit you, however, so you may have to settle for a condo or townhouse rather than a single family dwelling, at least for a few years until you build up equity and can afford a larger home.
  1. Choose a real estate agent and attorney. Massachusetts law requires that a lawyer be present at the closing and have certain material responsibilities. Most banks or lenders will have their own attorney but there is no prohibition on retaining your own to represent your interests. Many instances a lender may agree to have your attorney also act as the closing attorney if he or she is a title agent and has other necessary qualifications. Most real estate attorneys work with real estate agents who are highly competent and knowledgeable and can refer one to you unless you have your own. Agents know the areas of the city very well as well as the market and whether a home owner for a property you are interested in is asking for a reasonable price. Your agent will show you the homes in your price range as well as the ones with the amenities and features you want and advise you on what the area offers.
  1. Visit the homes and explore the areas. If there are areas that have the homes and features affordable and attractive to you, drive through them and ask your agent or attorney about the schools, crime rate, demographics, restaurants, shopping, public transit, recreation and other aspects. Look at homes and streets on the block where your potential home is located and see if they are well maintained. Ask if there is going to be construction in the area in the next year or so. When you visit the home, turn on the lights, stove and operate the garage opener and test the shower pressure and toilets. Look for and ask about damage or structural problems.
  1. Make the offer. Consult with your agent about a reasonable offer. If the house has multiple offers, you may have to go above the asking price. Offers and counteroffers are not uncommon these days. Once a price is arranged, the buyer’s and seller’s will negotiated a purchase and sales agreement for signature by the parties.
  1. This is the most vital part of the home buying process. Your buying the house is contingent on it passing inspection. Your agent or attorney can refer a reputable home inspector to look for structural damage, termite or other infestation and problems with drainage or other matters. If any are found, you can ask that the seller make the repairs first, pay you for the repairs, renegotiate the price or not continue with the purchase. You should note that inspections, while recommended, are not mandatory and you can make the decision to waive a home inspection.  Some potential buyers may have friends or family members in the building trades and feel comfortable with their inspection and expertise.
  1. Consult with your attorney about the necessary documents, taxes and insurance, issues with the home and seller and anything else prior to the closing. Many issues arise during a real estate transaction including clouds on title, failure to disclose material issues about the home, problems with financing, taxes and a seller who wishes to back out, among others. Your attorney should be experienced enough to have dealt with any issues that commonly, or uncommonly, arise in real estate sales so that you can be adequately advised regarding your options.

Deborah Gold-Alexander is a Revere real estate lawyer with 30-years’ experience in real estate matters in Revere, Boston and the surrounding communities such as Winthrop, East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose and the North Shore including Lynn, Lynnfield, Saugus, Swampscott, Marblehead, Nahant, Salem, Peabody, Danvers, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham, and other communities. She has represented buyers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate transactions and can represent you from the planning stage through escrow to ensure your home buying experience is a smooth and rewarding one. But if issues do arise, she can make sure your interests are fully protected and your options fully explained.