Congratulations on deciding to get into the real estate market in Massachusetts! This a big step, and like any big life decision, it is important to be prepared. The best way to get acquainted with property sales is to review real estate laws of Massachusetts. With so many legal implications in home sales, this is a critical step that will make the whole process much easier, and safer, as you go along. Once you are familiar and confident in the local laws, choose an area where you will be looking.
Once you have become confident with local real estate laws and chosen a specific area to look in, it is time to get familiar with the market. Every market is different, and each carries a variety of factors from the local economy to real estate specific supply and demand. Get a feel for what your goal market is asking, and be prepared to begin making a budget for your purchase. Keep in mind the various fees associated with real estate transactions. When selling your home, you should prepare to budget about 6% to commission fees or consider listing your home with a for sale by owner resource like beycome to bypass those fees and save money. Being flexible in both finances and timeline will give you the best advantage when entering into a real estate transaction.
Along with commission fees, another area that could eat up your budget is home repairs and upgrades. If buying, keep in mind that this might be an area where you will need to save some of your budget toward future projects. If selling, know that this is an area where, done well, you can greatly increase your home value, and put yourself ahead of the game with some thoughtful upgrades and repairs.
As you are looking over the Massachusetts real estate market, and getting a sense for both the local real estate market and your own budget, it will be important to take into account what type of financing you are eligible for and interested in. Below are the common mortgages available to home buyers.
203k Rehab Loan
Lenders will use a variety of factors to determine which of these loans you are qualified for. Things that they take into account include income history, money available toward down payment, savings, and credit score. Having a lender go over these options for you is the first step to pre-approval, which you will need to have before starting the search process. You can also bypass fees by using websites like better.com.
When going into the process of applying for a home loan, be sure to have the following documentation available to show:
Social Security Numbers
Addresses for Involved Properties
Proof of Homeowners Insurance
For a simplified process, check out sources like beycome for what you need.
As you get your pre approval processed for a home loan, it would be a good time to start considering what is the most important to you in buying a new home. Perhaps the home itself should have certain specifications, like number of bedrooms or living area size. You might also consider surrounding amenities, like being near a school district of choice or being accessible to shopping.
Once you are ready to start looking at homes, and have a sense of the must haves on your list, keep a list of items that you want to check our as you explore different home options. Some things to consider include:
Closets and other Storage Spaces
Number of Rooms
Numbers of Floors
Garages or Parking
Numbers of Porches or Decks
As for the surrounding area, make sure that you look beyond the house, as well. When you buy a home you are buying into the neighborhood as well. Consider things like the distance between homes, the lot size and what it is adjacent to, nearby parks, or potential noise pollutants like railroad tracks.
Start your search! There are plenty of ways to find homes for sale in Massachusetts. Keep an eye out online, go to open houses, and check local publications for listing alerts. This is the time to get a good feel for what home in Massachusetts for sale are really like, and see how they compare to your plans.
As you are going along in your search, be sure that you are asking the right questions. Beyond the structure of the home, there are questions about the transaction that you will want to confirm before giving an offer. Some of these are:
How do the price comparisons look?
How long have the homes in question been listed for sale by their owner?
Is there a deadline?
How much time do you have to make a decision?
Why are the owners selling the home?
Has it recently been refurbished, redecorated or renovated?
Are there any association fees?
What are the current utilities like?
Do not be afraid to ask questions.
While photos can speak to the basics of what a home is like, it is important to go see homes in person to get a true sense of their state. Photos can easily gloss over issues like cracked foundations, or water leaks. Going to homes in person can either be done by going to open houses, or through setting up private showing at a property.
Have a keen eye when you go in person to look at a house. While you want to make sure it ticks your main boxes, also keep in mind the bones of the home. Check and record any issues with locks, windows, doors, floors, plumbing, water pressure, outlet number and locations, lighting appliances and pests.
If you find a home that you are interested in making an offer on, it is a good idea to look into comparative market analysis to get a feel for how similar homes are valued in your area. Use that guide as a starting point, while also considering details like how quickly the sellers need to move, or even how the season might be affecting the market (Massachusetts snow can really slow down the market in the winter).
Once you do make an offer on a home, there will contingencies that act as a safety net to both side of the transaction. These contingencies ensure that the process is legal and fair, and will be reviewed on both sides. Basic contingencies include:
Home inspection Contingency
Home Appraisal Contingency
When working in a high demand market, there are times that a lender or agent will choose to forgo some contingencies to move the sale along more quickly. Another area to consider in a high demand market is the need to be an attractive buyer to the owners of the home. A personal letter can go a long way in convincing owners that you are the right buyer. Additionally, offering a larger earnest money deposit could always sway them in your favor.
In general, owners are going to be looking for the bid on their home that will move the most quickly, and be the least likely to fall through for any reason. Being more flexible with timelines and contingencies, as well as having a secured loan and earnest money, will put you ahead of the game in case of a bidding war.
Once an offer is accepted, the contract will be processing for a period of time, typically 30-40 days. During this time it is important to stay alert to the contingencies, and keep on top of your credit and payments. A contact will be written up with important dates that you will want to be sure to fulfill in a timely and accurate manner. Some of the elements of the contract will include earnest money, inspection, and insurance purchasing. A closing date will be set where you finalize all of the paperwork with a title company, making you an official Massachusetts homeowner!
Massachusetts is a beautiful state, steeped in history and keeping pace with all the progress of a modern city. Whether you are more of a historical site explorer, or a nightlife aficionado, you will be sure to find something you love.
Harvard Museum of Natural History: Go back in time, long before Boston was settled, and learn about the natural world at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Microbial life to dinosaurs, this museum covers it all.
Whale Watching: Once you’ve learned about its origins, go see the natural world for yourself! One popular way to get out is to go whale watching with a company like Captain John's, where you can get up close and personal with local marine life.
Cape Cod National Seashore: Prefer sand to sea creatures? No problem! There are miles and miles of beautiful beach to explore at the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Faneuil Hall Market: If you are looking for something more cosmopolitan, be sure not to miss Boston’s Faneuil Hall Market. From home goods to happy hour, there is plenty to see and experience in this marketplace of goods, food, and entertainment.
Ward Ski Area: In the winter, head inland to hit the slopes. Ward Skip Area offers tubing, downhill and even has a racing team.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art: Known as MASS MoCA for short, this museum will satisfy any contemporary art lover.
Take a BNB Getaway: All along Nantucket you can find beautiful and historical bed and breakfasts. Book a stay for a long weekend, and enjoy the area when you are being pampered at your lodging.
Old Sturbridge Village: To visit this historic village is to step back to another period. Learn how Massachusetts residents lived in the 1800s, and enjoy the time away from technology.
Fenway Park: Opened in 1912, this historic ballpark is a must see for baseball fans. Go to a game, or take a guided tour.
Salem, MA: While it contains beautiful beaches and great food and drink, Salem will always be associated with the Salem witch hunts. Whether sipping wine or going on a ghost tour, this is a must-see city in Massachusetts.
Boston University: Boston University is a large research institute and is one of the largest employers in Boston.
Harvard University: One of the world’s most prestigious school’s, Harvard is a well known Ivy League school in Cambridge. Since its beginnings in 1636, Harvard has been the school of eight US Presidents, among other notable alumni.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Known as MIT, this school is another prestigious school in Cambridge, known for its research across engineering, biology, and economics.
University of Massachusetts, Boston: UMass Boston is one of the largest universities in Massachusetts, and the only public university in Boston.
University of Massachusetts, Lowell: UML is the largest public institution in Massachusetts, and has over 18,000 students in over 200 degree programs.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Umass Amherst is the original campus of the group of University of Massachusetts schools, and remains its largest campus with over 30,000 students.
Tufts University: Tufts is a historical school, known for its forward thinking.
Northeastern University: This school prides itself in its work-study programs, as well as its athletic achievements.
Boston College: Boston College is the oldest college in Boston, and thrives today with more than 10,000 students.
Becker College: This is the second oldest school in Massachusetts, and is also the home of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute.
Boston Crawling: Leave your bar crawl to the professionals with this company’s guided (and optionally themed) bar tours around Boston.
Bully Boy Distillers: Enjoy a handcrafted drink as Boston’s first even craft distillery.
Four-Handed Illusions Boston: An intimate magic show is sure to be a night to remember at this small theater operation.
The Hideaway Lounge: If you are in Easthampton, be sure to check out this cozy joint with great food and drink options.
The Spirit of Boston: Take to the sea or a meal on a dinner cruise on a beautiful vessel like The Spirit of Boston.
Venu Boston: If you are looking to dance, Vanu Boston is the place to be.
Moe’s Tavern: Located in Lee, Massachusetts, Moe’s Tavern is a must see for beer lovers, with 17 rotating craft beer taps.
The Pub: This Amherst pub is locally loved, and a regular stop for UMass students and faculty. Check out their daily specials for great food on a student budget.
The Beachcomber: When you are in Cap Cod, you go to The Beachcomber. A local staple, this beachside bar is the place to be on your next coastal visit.
Ralph’s Diner: Located in Worcester, this funky bar is known for its quirky ambiance and its great live music.
Deciding to sell your home is a huge step, and being fully prepared will ensure that you are able to sell your property quickly, making as much money as possible off of the transaction. Consider your budget as you prepare to sell your house. Some things to keep in mind for costs include marketing your home, investing in upgrades to make it more sellable, or fixing repairs that would hinder you from putting it on the market in the first place.
Closing costs are another financial aspect to keep in mind. Massachusetts homes for sale by owner are on the rise, and there are plenty of useful resources online to help you if you go this direction. Selling your home yourself will cut down on the closing and transaction costs that come with home sales.
Since you have already made a budget, you should have an idea of how much money you have available to spend on repairs and upgrades. First, go through your home and make note of all necessary repairs that need to be made. Once everything is running properly, use the information you gathered from looking at comparable homes to decide if there are some upgrades you can invest in to make your property stand out to more buyers.
Keep in mind those issues that buyers across the market are going to be interested in. Massachusetts buyers are going to be considering elements like heating source, roof condition, and age of home. Here are some questions to consider:
What were other homes sold in your area like?
Is your home in a better or worse state than they were during the sale?
How many repairs can you handle yourself?
Is the damage severe enough to require professional help?
If you are on the selling end of a residential transaction, it is important to be sure that you have as much information as possible before making your listing public. Do research to be sure that your home is adequately priced for the area to be sure you are attracting the most, and the best, possible buyers. Looking at similar homes in Massachusetts sold in a recent time period (within the last sale quarter), will give you a good idea as to how you can price your own home.
To get an idea of other listings that are for sale by owner, lookup homes that are specifically found by searching “Massachusetts home for sale by owner.” Get an idea for the overall market by looking at the average median for home costs in Massachusetts.
As you find homes that look comparable to your property, make a list of their stats and price. It is also a good idea to go see homes in person. Find similar homes to yours that are on the market, and check out their open house. This will give you a much better idea as to how your home holds up to the rest.
While looking at houses that are similar in age, size and location, keep an eye out for any elements that make other homes more appealing than yours. Seeing how others upgrade their homes might give you a sense of some changes that you can make to increase your price and volume of offers.
Once you have made the repairs and upgrades needed to attract potential buyers, it is time to get the word out about your property. There are a lot of ways to market your home from print advertisements to websites. Getting your information online in places like Craigslist will go a long way in letting the local market know that your home is ready to sell.
beycome offers several services to help your real estate marketing campaign including:
Listing on your Local MLS
Listing on top real estate sites
Full listing on beycome
Virtual Tour & YouTube© Video
Printable promotional items
Full legal offers online
Home Visit Manager
Open House Scheduler
While many people are active online, it is also important to market your home in other ways. Common options are yard signs, newspaper ads, or fliers. Be sure all relevant contact information is available when you are putting out these ads so that potential buyers can easily reach out to place their offer.
Remember when you are selling your home that it is not just the structure that you are selling, but the whole experience of the home. Don’t forget to include information about nearby schools, shopping centers, proximity to town, etc. If there is something you enjoyed about the area you lived in, there is a good chance others will appreciate knowing about it, too. Use that to your advantage and include it in your marketing efforts.
Along with contact information and property details, be sure that your advertisements look great. This is the first impression the buyer will have of your home, so you want it to be a good one. Consider hiring local designers or photographers to help with your product. With so many homes on the market in Massachusetts, you want yours to stand out.
Your property is a valuable part of the Massachusetts real estate market, and buyers should know that! When you decide to sell a home yourself you cut out the costs associated with have an agent, and make sure that potential buyers know just how unique your property is. Working with a company like beycome ensures you have the tools you need to make this dream a reality, and get the most out of your home sale you can.
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