The Papineau Team | Andover Real Estate, North Andover Real Estate, Boxford Real Estate


Although being a first-time buyer can seem overwhelming, there was one advantage to the entire process: You didn’t need to sell another property. If you would like to move out of the home that you’re currently living in and are in the process of buying a new place, your life is about the get complicated! Hold tight to your realtor and get ready for quite the ride. 


Since it’s often unrealistic to pay two mortgages at once, there’s a certain way that you must complete the transactions so as not to cause a huge financial headache when moving from one place to another. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to deal with buying a new home and selling your current one simultaneously in most cases.    


The good news is that it can be done! Read on for tips to find out how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible. 


First, you’ll want to understand the housing market that you’re in. You’ll know what strategies you need to employ if you understand the type of market that you’re dealing with. If the two homes are in completely different areas, this research will be even more important to you. 


Buying


While you’re searching for a new home and selling your current one, you’ll want to leave your options open. That means not locking yourself down to just one home. Of course, you’ll only put in one offer at a time, but knowing what’s out there for you to buy is important in case the purchase falls through on the first prospective home. This way you won’t have much chance of being “stranded” once your old home sells. 


Selling


You want your home to be sold in a timely manner. This means that your old home should be well-priced and ready to sell. Work with your realtor on staging, pricing, and holding open houses. The more effort that is put into marketing your home, the better chance you’ll have of selling it. Extra time on the market means that you’ll have a bigger headache when it comes to buying your new home. Selling quickly is not a bad thing so long as you have some other place to live. You can also put a contingency in the sale stating that you need to find suitable housing before you can move. Realtors can do a lot when their sellers are cooperative and proactive.           


Should You Buy First?


If you sell your home first, you’ll have an easier time getting a mortgage on a new home. The problem here is that you’ll need to find some sort of temporary housing before you even head out on the house hunt.


If you buy a home fist, your buying power may be less than if you sold your current home. Your debt-to-income ratio will be higher, giving you less money to spend on a new home.


While buying and selling a home simultaneously can be complicated, if you strategize correctly, you’ll be able to go through the entire process with ease.   

 



Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.

Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.

However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.

Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment

Estimated time: 2+ years

The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.

Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.

Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life

Estimated time 6+ months

One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.

Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved

Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)

Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.

Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.

Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.

Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.

Step 4: House Hunting

Estimated time: 30+ days

It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.

Step 5: Making an offer and closing

Estimated time: ~50 days

Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.


If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.

Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies you’ll find in today’s real estate purchase contract.

Contingency clause definition

Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions aren’t met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).

Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.

The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.

The main contingencies

  • Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.

  • Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if they’re unable to secure suitable financing for the home.

  • Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.

  • House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.



Believe it or not, buying a condo can be a quick, easy process, particularly for those who understand their homebuying needs.

Ultimately, there are several factors to consider before you purchase a condo, including:

1. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a condo? You should evaluate your homebuying budget closely to ensure you can cover all of the costs associated with condo living.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can browse a wide range of condos and find one that matches your budget perfectly.

Furthermore, don't forget to account for homeowners' association (HOA) fees before you buy a condo. HOA fees will vary depending on the condo community, and you should learn about them in advance so you can budget accordingly.

2. Property Size and Location

How much space do you need to accommodate your family? Consider the short- and long-term ramifications of a condo purchase, and you should have no trouble finding a condo that is the right size for you.

If you're uncertain about how big of a condo that you'll need, don't hesitate to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market expert will learn about your homebuying needs and help you narrow your search for the ideal condo.

Also, be sure to consider the location of a condo. If you want to find a place to live near school or work, you should search for condos that will help you cut down on your commute time.

3. Condo Rules and Regulations

Condo living is different from living in a traditional house. In a condo community, you'll have your own property, but there may be numerous condo rules and regulations in place that you'll need to follow at all times.

For example, many condo owners cannot modify a property's exterior without first getting approval from an HOA board. This means if you want to paint your condo bright pink or upgrade the property's windows, you'll need to ask the HOA board for permission.

Examine a condo community's rules and regulations prior to purchasing a condo. This will enable you to review the HOA board's mandates and determine whether you would feel comfortable following these rules and regulations.

When it comes to finding a condo, there is no need to look for a property on your own. Conversely, if you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of searching for a top-notch condo.

Finding a real estate agent with condo experience is essential. This real estate professional will set up condo showings, keep you informed about new condos as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. That way, this real estate agent will make it easy for you to acquire a first-rate condo at a budget-friendly price.

Kick off your search for the perfect condo today, and you can move closer to securing a condo that will serve you well for an extended period of time.


Let's face it – there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations

How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.

2. Get a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.

Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.

Take control of the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.




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