Most people are aware that buying a house will be the biggest transaction of their lives. Buying a home is an investment, whether you plan to flip it, rent it, live in it for only a few years or plan to stay for decades. Buying a home in Lynn, Massachusetts is no different regardless of your intentions.
Your priorities are not the same if you only plan to rent out the home or flip it for immediate resale after performing remodeling or a few repairs, but if you intend on living in the house for any length of time, then consider these 8 tips for buying a house in Lynn:
- Get pre-approved for a loan. You may think you know how much you can afford but it is not until the lender examines your finances, income and credit before you know exactly how much. It is pointless to look at homes until you have your price range. Also, look at your credit reports if your lender says it is low. A large percentage of credit reports have erroneous information that you can have corrected and save you potentially thousands of dollars in having a lower interest rate.
- Look at the neighborhood. Are you looking for family friendly amenities like parks, playgrounds, youth athletic teams and shopping? If you are single, a more urban setting is usually more desirable. Many areas look fine in the daytime, but unsafe at night with a high crime rate. You do have to check out the schools if you have children as well since this will substantially affect the resale value of your home.
- Consider resale. Many first time buyers look at their first transaction as a way of building equity so that their next house will be large enough or in the area they covet. If this is your plan, then long-range planning is needed to maximize your investment. Lynn, being a fairly large suburban community of over 90,000, offers you options but consider buying in a neighborhood where families live and are near schools and parks. If you are single, Lynn does have loft residences or small homes near the waterfront that are attractive to single persons who work in Boston but may not be able to afford living there.
- Look at grants and other funding sources. Grants are available for educators, fire and police, union members and farmers. Banks and other lenders have first time buyer programs that offer low interest loans to qualified buyers. Deborah Gold-Alexander is a Lynn real estate attorney who can advise you on what sources are available to you depending on your profession, area where you may want to live and other considerations.
- Track your spending. Many people have little idea where their money goes each month other than for basics such as insurance, gas, and rent and car payments. If you are self-employed or earn your income strictly on commission, lenders will want to see a verifiable two-year history of earnings. Know what you owe and what revenues are coming in.
- Be cognizant of hidden costs. A mortgage is not the only cost when you own a home. If you are buying a condo, there are HOA costs along with other common homeowner expenses such as property taxes, utilities, maintenance and repairs, painting, and the usual wear and tear. Do not buy more than you can afford.
- Who are your neighbors? Living next to college students, businesses, a busy street or new complex just under construction can mean headaches and misery. Some neighborhoods may be high crime areas or which require a constant police presence.
- Know what to bid. Make an offer based on the market price as well as what you can afford. Your realtor should tell you what other similarly sized homes in the area sold for in the past 6 months so that you can recognize an unreasonable sale price. You may want to see what the average cost is per square foot in the area. A visit to the county recorder’s office might reveal that the seller is behind on property taxes so this could be a negotiating chip. If the home is touting a great view but you know that planned construction will ultimately block the view, bring this up to the seller to negotiate a deal in your favor.
These and other home buying tips are just part of what Lynn real estate lawyer Deborah Gold-Alexander can offer you while handling all of your real estate needs including preparing all necessary documents and being your closer attorney. Call her today if you are considering buying a home in Lynn.