1st Time Home Buyers

We are currently in Week 4 of our monthly November series, “The Biggest Blunders of Home Buying” based on my popular free ebook for Massachusetts home buyers. I wrote this because I see first-time buyers making the same mistakes over and over. Our monthly series schedule is as follows:

  1. Finance First, Look Later
  2. Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House
  3. Get Everything in Writing
  4. Get a Home Inspection
  5. How to Find the Right Attorney

If you missed one of the previous articles, feel free to check them out. Now on to our next topic: get a home inspection.

Biggest Blunder #4: Get a Home Inspection

I really wish I didn’t have to include this as one of my 5 biggest blunders. Getting a home inspection seems pretty obvious, right? I’m glad you think so. But you wouldn’t believe how many first-time buyers come to me due to problems they experience because they waived their right to a home inspection.

I have one rule about this: never, never, never, never NEVER buy a home without having it inspected.

If you’ve made an offer and are looking for a home inspector, you need to find a trusted professional who has an eye for detail, professional accreditation and relevant experience. This article by MSN Real Estate, 4 tips for finding the best home inspector, goes into an interesting explanation about why you shouldn’t always hire the first person your real estate agent recommends to you.

For my Worcester legal real estate clients, I recommend that they use a home inspection as a negotiating tool. I help them leverage this to make sure they achieve their goals.

If you’d like more tips and must-do action items, get my ebook, “How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home (It Will Save You Thousands of Dollars And Hours of Time)” on the homepage of my Worcester real estate lawyer website.

Or, if you have questions for a Worcester real estate lawyer, I’d love to be of assistance. Call me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Real estate matters can get complicated. But I have one simple rule that applies across the board with no exception: GET IT IN WRITING. Unfortunately, many people fail to stick to this rule and unforeseen challenges inevitably pop up.

Before we delve into this topic, I wanted to let you know that I’m bringing you this monthly November series, “The Biggest Blunders of Home Buying” based on my popular free ebook for Massachusetts home buyers. I wrote this because I see first-time buyers making the same mistakes over and over. Our monthly series schedule is as follows:

  1. Finance First, Look Later
  2. Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House
  3. Get Everything in Writing
  4. Get a Home Inspection
  5. How to Find the Right Attorney

If you missed one of the previous articles, feel free to check them out. Now on to our next topic: get everything in writing.

Biggest Blunder #3: Get Everything In Writing
First-time homebuyers are trusting people. Often, they believe and trust what a seller or their agent says. But legally, all transfers of real estate must be in writing to be enforceable. This is called the Statute of Fraud, and it prevents oral agreements from being enforced where the transfer of land is involved.

Bottom line, you must be specific as to what you want—and what you don’t want—when it comes to buying your first home. Don’t only get specific verbally; put it in writing. If you want all of the seller’s possessions removed from the premises prior to closing, put it in writing. You might feel silly or feel like you are pointing out something obvious, but why take the chance?

For more tips and must-do action items, get my ebook, “How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home (It Will Save You Thousands of Dollars And Hours of Time)” on the homepage of my Worcester real estate lawyer website.

If you have questions for a Worcester real estate lawyercall me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

This week we continue with our Worcester real estate series, “The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home.” This series is based on my popular free ebook for Massachusetts home buyers, which I wrote because I see first-time buyers making the same mistakes over and over. Here is our monthly series schedule:

  1. Finance First, Look Later
  2. Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House
  3. Get Everything in Writing
  4. Get a Home Inspection
  5. How to Find the Right Attorney

Now, this next topic is important so let’s get to it: Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House.

Biggest Blunder #1: Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House
Location, location, location. This is not the first time you’ve heard this, and it won’t be the last. The most common blunder first-time home buyers make is looking at the house first, then the neighborhood or location second. This is a big mistake. Let’s discuss why.

Buying a home today is not like buying a home 50 years ago. You are not going to buy a house and stay in it the rest of your life. In fact, did you know that the average homeowner changes homes every 5-7 years? This is a concept your grandparents (and maybe your parents) may not understand. But times have changed. This is your FIRST home…not your last. You are allowed to grow out of the first home.

So one piece of advice that I offer my clients consistently, is to buy what you need now. Look for things that other people who are in your position in 5-7 years will look for too.

Despite all the warnings out there, another mistake I see home buyers make frequently is that they try and buy the best house in a lousy neighborhood. Do it the other way around: buy a lousy house in a great neighborhood.  Now, when I say lousy, I’m referring to cosmetic problems (not foundational or structural problems) that can be remedied with a little TLC.

If you’re interested in buying a condo, you have to check out this section in my ebook where I go into detail about one of the most important aspects of a condo: the management.

The last word I want to leave you with, is that this house can’t be all things: the bachelor pad, the 4-kid house, and the retirement home. It won’t accommodate all phases of your life.

You can get my ebook, How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home (It Will Save You Thousands of Dollars And Hours of Time) on the homepage of my Worcester real estate lawyer website.

If you have questions for a Worcester real estate lawyercall me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

As a Worcester Real Estate attorney, I’m in the position to see the multiple and varied mistakes that first-time homebuyers often make. I even wrote a free ebook for my potential buyers about it because I see these mistakes being made over and over. Throughout the week of November,  I’ll highlight several of the topics in this ebook, “The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home.” Our series will include important topics such as:

  1. Finance First, Look Later
  2. Buy the Neighborhood or Location, Not the House
  3. Get Everything in Writing
  4. Get a Home Inspection
  5. How to Find the Right Attorney

Now, let’s dive right in to the first topic: Finance First, Look Later.

Biggest Blunder #1: Finance First, Look Later

One of the first mistakes I often see from first-time home buyers is that they get really excited about purchasing their new home and they dive right in to looking at homes online and scheduling showings in-person. But overlooking financing first is a big oversight.

If you’ve never undergone the process of applying for a mortgage before, you’ll be surprised to learn that the process is very involved and takes so long. You’ll have to gather many things together first for the mortgage officer, including verification of employment, bank statements, pay stubs and proof of deposit funds on loans.

It’s important to finance first because it’s a waste of your time to look for homes that are out of your budget. And conversely, you might be looking at homes that might not meet all your needs because you’re looking in too low of a range.

For more information on this important topic, check out my free ebook that includes a helpful checklist, “The Top 10 Questions You Must Ask Every Mortgage Officer” when looking to get a loan.

You can get my ebook, How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home (It Will Save You Thousands of Dollars And Hours of Time) on the homepage of my Worcester real estate lawyer website.

If you have questions for a Worcester real estate lawyercall me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Fixed or Variable: Which Mortgage is Best for You?

by Jack Morrison on November 3, 2011

While preparing to buy a home, you have many choices to make: condo or townhome…two bedrooms or three… in-town location or suburb…the list can go on and on.

One of the decisions you have to make when it comes to financing your purchase is deciding between a fixed mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage. We’ve listed out a few advantages and disadvantages to each.

Fixed Mortgage:

  • The obvious pro, or advantage, is that the fixed mortgage rate remains constant over the term of your mortgage. And in 2011, interest rates are as low as they have been in a number of years.
  • Most of the time, it’s in your best interest to consider a fixed rate over a variable mortgage.
  • If you’re the type of person who wants to know what your payments are going to be for the entire 30 years, this is the way to go.
  • The only variation in a fixed rate mortgage occurs when your insurance or taxes go up or down.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM):

  • In general, ARMs are less expensive on a monthly basis for the term of the loan.
  • Some are 3-, 4-, 5- and 7-year fixed interest rates. After this time period, the rate fluctuates annually or semi-annually, depending on the terms and conditions of the note.
  • An ARM is a good option if you know you’ll only be in your house for 3-5 years. This occurs frequently with people whose jobs require them to move.
  • The disadvantage of course, is that if you stay in the house longer than you anticipated you may be paying a much higher monthly bill than if you had initially decided on a fixed mortgage.

We hope this brings some clarification to helping you make your decision. One last tip: did you know if you make one extra monthly payment per year on a 30-year mortgage starting at the beginning of your mortgage term, it reduces the length of time you have to pay back your loan from 30 to 22 years? Just food for thought.

If you have questions for a Worcester real estate attorneycall me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thinking of Buying a House? Just Do It!

by Jack Morrison on November 2, 2011

It’s time for a change. If you’ve had that inkling for some now telling you to do something different, go ahead. Listen.

If you’re living at home or in an apartment, now is the best time to enter the real estate market due to unprecedented interest rates and the abundance of quality inventory (homes).

So how do you get started? First, make sure your mindset is realistic. What do I mean by that? You must look at your immediate needs and concerns. One mistake buyers often make is that they look for a house that meets all of their life needs rolled into one—bachelor (or bachelorette) pad, honeymoon suite, family home and retirement home.

Not Your Grandparents’ Real Estate market
Years ago you could look for the house that had it all. Our grandparents (and possibly parents) lived in the same house through their empty nester or retirement years. Times have changed.

If you’re looking for your first home, try a condo. Condos often provide access to major metropolitan areas. With a family, you may not want that. You might also be close to an area with a good nightlife, dining and other amenities that young professionals would find desirable.

Tailor your search to your needs right now. Although your first home may be smaller, it’s good enough for your needs at this stage. The average American changes homes every 5-7 years. Look for something short-term as opposed to “the last house I’ll ever get into.”

Free Ebook: “How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home”
Interested in hearing more? Resetting expectations is just one of the subjects I cover in my free ebook, “How to Avoid The 5 Biggest Blunders When Buying Your First Home…(It Will Save You Thousands of Dollars And Hours of Time).”

To get your free ebook today, visit http://massrealestateclosinglawyer.com/. Submit your name and email address and the ebook will be emailed to you.

If you have questions for a Worcester real estate lawyercall me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. 

When you’re buying a house, you’re looking to get the lowest price possible. When you’re selling a house, you try to sell it for as much as possible. With these conflicting motives, no wonder real estate deals fall through as much as they do. So how can this be solved? By approaching a real estate transaction with a “win-win” attitude in mind.

A win-win attitude has to occur with both parties to be effective. The seller has to realize he’s selling for a fair prize, and the buyer has to realize he’s buying it for a fair price. If you’re on either extreme, negative feelings start to enter in. A buyer could feel buyer’s remorse that they’ve paid too much and can back out of the deal. A seller can feel like they’re giving too much away and refuse to do any repairs after the inspection.

In fact, check out this article, 5 Things Buyers do That Turns Sellers Off (And Kills Deals). A few of the turnoffs include making unjustified lowball offers, renegotiating mid-stream and mis-leading or setting the seller up. Although it is a buyer’s market, strategic negotiation and sincere consideration still go a long way. Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy Worcester real estate lawyer manage your expectations can make all the difference as well.

In general, both parties are more apt to get the deal done if they think they’re being treated fairly. If one feels like they’re being taken advantage of, the process will go slower and more painfully; and, there’s more motivation to kill the deal based on a miniscule detail, such as a $100 chandelier.  On the other hand, if both the buyer and seller feel they’re getting a good deal, they’ll work together.

If you’re buying or selling a house and need a Worcester real estate lawyer, call me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. I work with new homeowners every day to help them get the house of their dreams in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible.  

You’ve heard it all your life: buying a house is one of the best investments you can make. In some ways, that’s still true. But in recent years as home prices started plummeting, that statement seems far from the truth as homeowners continue losing money on their so-called “investment.”

In today’s economy, you need to change your perception. When looking at a place to live, you need to think about putting money into the house not only for investment purposes, but as the cost it takes to live in a nice home—a place you can take pride in. Maintenance and upgrades are a fact of life.

If you’re selling a house, you may be feeling bad about the discrepancy between how much you’ve put into the house and how much the market value actually is. But you shouldn’t feel bad. Thousands of people across the country are in a similar—if not worse—situation than you are in.

In this interesting article, Real estate’s new reality: Homes are shelters before investments, one homeowner states that she shifted her thinking. It “wasn’t so much ‘this is a fantastic investment’ as ‘this house really suits our needs, and we see ourselves staying here over the long term’.” 

An article in the Wall Street Journal, A Home is a Lousy Investment, has been the subject of a heated debate recently. The writer, Professor Robert Bridges, states that “while houses are possessions and part of a good life, they are not always good investments on the road to financial independence.”

A home is a place where you love, live, laugh and sleep. It’s where you create memories for years to come.

Just because you don’t make money on your house, it doesn’t mean it was a bad investment. It could just be a sign of the times. Don’t let this little nuance stop you from buying and pursuing the American dream of homeownership and taking pride in the place you live.

To speak to a real estate lawyer in Worcester, call me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. I work with new homeowners every day to help them get the house of their dreams in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible.  

Understanding Buyer’s Remorse and How to Overcome It

by Jack Morrison on July 20, 2011

Buyer’s remorse: you’ve probably felt it before. You make a great new purchase you absolutely have to have, only to find you come home and instantly regret it. Perhaps you made the purchase on a whim. Or you moved to fast in making a decision. Or, emotion swayed you into feeling something you don’t feel anymore.

Regardless, the last thing you want to feel buyer’s remorse about is a real estate purchase. Some folks are so afraid of buyer’s remorse and regret, they’ll put off making any decision at all.

Let’s get into a few reasons that homebuyers may feel remorse:

  • The buyer didn’t do their homework. They didn’t research enough into the location, or the school system, and they’re regretting the decision.
  • A family member or close friend went to see the house and didn’t approve.
  • The buyer thought they were making a good purchase, but because of the economy and negative media reports they begin to get nervous.
  • The buyer put an offer on a short sale that was accepted, but because of the long period of time short sales take, doubt starts to set in.

Buying a home is a huge undertaking. It’s natural to feel cold feet once the buoyant enthusiasm of thinking about your dream home wears off. You’ll wonder if you made the right decision. But the uncertainty shouldn’t paralyze you from moving forward and taking advantage of the current buyer’s market. This article outlines five good tips for feeling more comfortable with your decision.

Get your finances in order, hire qualified professionals and do your homework. Then, you’ll be able to move confidently forward.

To speak to a real estate lawyer in Worcester, call me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. I work with new homeowners every day to help them get the house of their dreams in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible.  

 

You might face anxiety about the thought of buying or selling a home. And rightfully so—this is a big decision. But are you overly afraid to the point that you put off making decisions? The media has programmed us to believe that we should hunker down and wait out the economy. However, this shouldn’t keep you from making smart, strategic decisions that will positively impact you and your loved ones. As the saying goes: “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” 

 Many people procrastinate on buying or selling a home because they’re afraid of the future. Afraid of running out of money and not being able to afford payments. Afraid that they’re going to sell and take too much of a loss. Afraid that if they make a decision too fast they’ll regret it later.   

Does this sound like you? If so, here are a few things that will lessen the fear: 

  1. Seek and obtain professional guidance. Hire a trustworthy and experienced Worcester or Clinton real estate agent and Worcester real estate attorney who will help expertly guide you.
  2. Education yourself about the process. Knowing what to expect will help you make informed decisions.
  3. Talk to others who have been down the same road. You’ll find out what they wish they had known or what they would do differently.  

So go ahead and buy that house—what are you waiting for? Before interest rates rise, before you risk losing the house of your dreams, before your neighbor puts their house up for sale first, go ahead and make a decision. By planning, organizing, and doing a little research, you’ll be well prepared. And pleasantly surprised to find that the anxiety has melted away. 

To speak to a Worcester, MA real estate lawyer, call me, Attorney Jack Morrison, at 508-852-7800. Or, reach out via our contact form. I work with new homeowners every day to help them get the house of their dreams in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible.