Information for Buyers
Buying a home on Cape Cod can be an exciting event. There is no place quite like this area. The towns and villages of Cape Cod all have their own unique character. You will find over 500 miles of coastline; pristine beaches, ponds, rivers, and streams; charming harbors, arts, culture, antiques, fun shops and restaurants.
Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision must be made carefully
Why Do You Want To Buy?
Are you tired of paying rent? Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Are you looking for a rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Would you like to retire on Cape Cod, perhaps in Falmouth or Chatham? Would you like to own a 2nd home and enjoy all that Cape Cod has to offer? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
Has Your Income Grown?
Property ownership is an excellent investment; whether you are looking for your dream home, a rental property, or to expand your investment portfolio. Owning real estate is one of the least risky ways to build equity or to obtain a greater return on your initial investment.
Please feel free to contact Doug Azarian by phone (508) 360-4600 or by email Doug@CapeCodDreamHomes.com to assist you with your home purchase or sale.
A common question that arises as buyers begin to house hunt is whether to negotiate on another home before their existing home is under contract. You may want to take into consideration if you will be using equity from your current home when purchasing. Additionally it is necessary to understand your financing options when narrowing down your choice of home. When financing it is advised that you prepare a file to provide to your lender that typically contains:
- Financial statements
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- Recent pay stubs
- Tax returns for two years
- Copies of leases for investment properties
- 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Check Your Credit Rating
Your credit score will have a huge impact on what type of property you can buy, and at what price. It is first recommended to check your credit rating with an experienced lending institution so that we can determine what you can afford. The lender will research your credit ratings from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. We will be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the residential, construction, and commercial and investment real estate fields.
Be Careful With Your Finances
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.
Your sales associate can play a critical role in this step, overseeing the entire process from the first consultation to providing guidance through your mortgage, title, and closing services. Consider your agent to be your Trusted Advisor, Skilled Negotiator, and Expert Facilitator. Doug Azarian is an involved Realtor leader with a MBA in Finance, 27+ years of experience as a company Owner/Broker and top producing sales agent, and understands the market and transaction process as well as any agent on Cape Cod.
Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
- Look for a full-time agent – one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few agents: Are they familiar with the area in which you are interested?
- Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available at night and on weekends.
- Ask about their credentials and education: A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
- Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
- Ask for a list of properties they have sold or a list of references, check for testimonials.
- Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick an agent, with whom you feel comfortable.
- Make sure your agent is a REALTOR! Ask about the difference.
Exclusive Buyer Representation
When you hire me, you get a support team of sales associates as a buyer’s agent to fully represent you.
- I will work exclusively on your behalf throughout the process, ensuring your interests are fully represented unless you agree otherwise.
- I become legally and ethically obligated to work for your best interests, assisting you in defining your goals and helping to formulate a plan to meet them unless you agree otherwise.
- Informed agents know their community and its inventory.
- You will be able to rely on me as a market resource.
Although it is probable that your search will begin online, it is recommended that you select a sales associate early in the process. Once your sales associate develops a sense of what your are seeking, they will be better able to monitor new listings coming on the market that might be of interest to you. I will receive and deliver to you, updates of properties that meet your criteria
Work with a REALTOR®
All of the Kinlin Grover sales associates are proud to be Realtors, members of the National Association of Realtors. As Realtors we must uphold to high standards of professional conduct and adhere to a strict code of ethics. I am a member of 2 Multiple Listing Services resulting in a comprehensive inventory of real estate for sale on Cape Cod.
In Massachusetts there is a state regulation that requires agents to disclose to the parties who they are representing.
- All agents are obligated to deal with both buyers and sellers fairly and honestly.
- Seller’s agents are expected to negotiate the best price and terms for the seller.
- Buyer’s agents represent the buyer.
- Dual Agency can occur when the listing agent works directly with the buyer and this requires the proper disclosure to all parties.
Once those preparations are out of the way, it is time to find the right property for you. Searching for a home on Cape Cod can be an exciting prospect but daunting as well when you consider all of the options available.
Take a Drive, Go Online, Read the Papers
Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas.
Search the print media and online sites. My website is designed to help you make more informed choices. You will be able to use specific criteria to help focus in on the property for you. You can save your searches so you will be notified automatically.
Narrow Your Search
Select a few properties that interest you the most and have your real estate agent make appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term resale value of the properties you are considering.
Time to Buy
Truly there is nothing that can compare to walking into a home, feeling its space, architectural details, floor plan, finishes, etc. Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, your real estate agent can help you make an offer that the seller will accept. A good agent will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. An agent can also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer.
How Much Should You Offer
By comparing properties currently listed for sale, pending sales, and recently sold, one can develop a general or relative sense of a properties worth. This can be deceiving however when taking into account some important factors such as the location of the property, its condition, market conditions at the time, what the terms of sale may have been, proximity to beaches and boating, and the extent of water views or access to the water which is so desirable in areas like Cape Cod.
Whether you are buying or selling a home on Cape Cod, Doug Azarian can prepare a Market Analysis that include comparisons, trends, use of other valuation models, and adjustments for features to help you determine what the market conditions are at the time of your purchase or sale.
Making an Offer
Once you determine what is fair, reasonable and most likely to succeed, it is time to have your agent prepare an offer. In Massachusetts there is a 2 step process. The first step is the initial “Offer to Purchase” or “Contract to Purchase” and the 2nd step is “The Purchase and Sale Agreement”.
The Offer Strategy
The Offer or Contract to Purchase will introduce your initial bid and requested terms and conditions to the seller and their agent. The price, terms and conditions you propose versus the asking price and expectations of the seller are the basis from which you will negotiate. It is important to have a strategy with your agent to achieve your goal to purchase.
The Offer must be written, endorsed, and include a good faith deposit of “earnest money”.
Often buyers include contingencies which include provisions to secure financing and obtain a home inspection. Doug can help provide a list of licensed local inspectors, mortgage providers, attorneys, etc. to help guide you through the process.
Once you have an accepted Offer the next step is to execute a “Purchase and Sale Agreement” where terms are more defined, additional earnest money is required, and a closing date is identified.
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agentwill hold the deposit in escrow(real estate company may hold escrow also) and will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.
How to Hold Title
You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the timeframe that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. You may elect to have different inspectors inspect the property, if you wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (e.g. roof, HVAC, structure). If you are purchasing a commercial property, then you will need to have an environmental audit done on the site for the lending institution.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
Appraisal and Lending
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution, via a third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase. Make sure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate person at the association by the required time. Fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing the application. If you are required to meet with the association for your approval, make an appointment as soon as possible for the interview. Most associations require a certificate of approval before move-in. Your closing agent will request that the original copy of this approval letter be brought to the closing, so that it can be recorded with the deed in the county public records.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.
•Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
•Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant roofing materials. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
•Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you do not subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
If you have come this far, then this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends:
Final Walk -Through Inspection – More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities – I will provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.
Be Prepared – I will be ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. Something at the property breaks down, or some other minor detail – no need to worry. I have encountered these problems before so Iwill do everything possible to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor.
Closing - The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing so that you may receive these items at this time.
Congratulations! You now own a piece of “Old Cape Cod”.