Strategic Planning: The Smart Way to Buy a New Home in Massachusetts

buying-new-homeWhile buying a new home is definitely not something that can be called an “impulse buy,” due to all of the steps and requirements needed to finalize a purchase, not being prepared to buy a new home in advance can cause many prospective home buyers to make purchases that they otherwise might have avoided. Learning how to overcome common pitfalls in order to get the right home at the right price will help you to make smarter decisions that will pay off for many years to come.

Tip #1 – Are You Ready?
Some people think they are ready to buy a new home, but just because you want to, doesn’t mean you are ready. When it comes time to buy a new home in Massachusetts, you’ll want to make sure that you are good with the idea of staying in one place for at least ten or more years so you can get a solid return on your investment. You’ll also want to make sure you are financially responsible enough to stick with a 15 or 30 year home loan at a credit union. Buying a home is much more of a commitment than signing up for a five year car loan.

Tip #2 – Do You Have Money Saved?
Before you start shopping around for houses, speak with your New Bedford credit union representative about saving toward a down payment. The more you are able to invest in the beginning, the less you’ll have to finance and the lower your monthly payments will be for the life of the loan.

Tip #3 – How Much Debt Do You Have?
When it comes time to buy a new home in Massachusetts, you’ll want to make sure that all of your other debts are current or paid off before even applying for a home loan at a credit union. Credit cards should be paid down and auto loans should be paid off to help you be more financially sound.

Tip #4 – How’s Your Credit?
Before you apply for a home loan at a credit union or look to get pre-approved for a home loan, get a copy of your credit report and check to make sure everything is correct. If there are any problems or discrepancies, fix them as soon as possible to improve your score. Your credit score will make a big difference in the amount of money you pay each month and over the life of your loan.

Tip #5 – How Much House Can You Afford?
This is a good thing to know before you start looking at properties. Speak with a representative at your New Bedford credit union and find out how much house you can afford to buy according to credit and lending standards. Getting pre-approved for a home loan will put you in a solid position when you are ready to make an offer and can help you avoid looking at homes outside of your price range.

Tip #6 – What Type of Loans are Available?
Speak with your New Bedford credit union to find out what type of loans and options are available for a home loan at a credit union. Home loans can vary in the number of years required for repayment, ranging from 15 to 30 year loans, based on the total cost of the home and the amount of payment you can reasonably afford. Discuss your options with a representative to find out which opportunities are best for you and your unique situation.

Tip #7 – Do You Have a Realtor?
It is a good idea to work with a professional realtor. Despite the fact that there are many home buying tools and options available on the Internet today, you are better off working with a pro. An exclusive buyer agent can help you come up with valuable strategies throughout the bidding process to help you get the best deal on the house of your dreams.

Tip #8 – Have You Checked Around?
Even with a professional realtor working on your side, it’s a good idea to check sales trends of similar homes in the same neighborhood that you are looking to ensure you don’t bid too high. Compare sales prices of homes with similar square footage and amenities from the last three months to get a good picture of what you should expect.

Tip #9 – Is the House Worth It?
One of the biggest mistakes that many first-time home buyers make is to not hire a home inspector to work on their behalf to check out the home before making a bid. While a home appraisal and home inspection are required as part of the process, hiring a separate, professional contractor to visit the home on your behalf and verify the value of the home, is worth its weight in gold. A good home inspector can warn you of any potential problems or issues that could end up costing you a lot of money over time.

Tip #10 – What is Your Time Table?
It is important to set goals as to how you want the purchasing process to go, but make sure to give yourself enough time to consider the prospective property and go over your options before jumping into a bid. Make a list of the things you like and dislike about homes in the area. Make another list of “nice to have” features and another list of “have to have” features that you would want to have in a new home. Discuss your needs and research your options, giving yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision.

Ready to Buy a New Home in Massachusetts?
If you think you are ready to buy a new home, speak with your New Bedford credit union representative at St. Anne. Getting a home loan at a credit union is a great way to ensure that you get the best interest rate, loan term and opportunities available based on your credit, budget and needs. Consider getting pre-approved for a home loan so you’ll be ready to make a bid when you finally locate your dream home. Contact St. Anne Credit Union today for details about getting a home loan at a credit union and how to join the credit union if you are not already a member.