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Nancy & Jerry Congress Realtors Buyer's Booklet

164 North Main Street, Natick, Ma. 01760
508-653-7526
www.nancyandjerry.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS

About the Brokers

receive results

our formula for success

testimonials

 

About the Buying Process

10 tips for first time buyer

mortgage lender and pre-approval

10 things a lender needs from you

basic elements of an offer

importance of a home inspection

frequently asked questions

glossary

 

About the Brokers

You receive results with Nancy & Jerry

PERFORMANCE - You deserve agents who meet your needs and who know the market.  Nancy and Jerry are energetic and make your real estate transaction a successful and satisfying experience. They have been in the Natick / Framingham area since 1976 and know the market.  Residential real estate is their specialty.  Let Nancy and Jerry’s hard work, work for you! 

QUALITY - You want quality service. Nancy and Jerry provide you with personalized and professional service to meet your needs.  They give you the attention to detail, the experience and knowledge that spells quality.  Nancy and Jerry understand they need to stay on top of your transaction and enjoy the challenge of providing quality service.

EXPERIENCE - You deserve REALTORS with experience.  Nancy and Jerry know your real estate market and have positive relations with agents, appraisers, lenders, and title companies.  They listen to you and understand your needs.  With Nancy and Jerry you can depend on a successful closing.  Their enthusiasm and sincerity leave you feeling satisfied. 

A WORD FROM NANCY & JERRY - “As you attempt to choose a real estate agent, please consider our experience.  We have owned and continually operated Congress Realtors since 1976.  As full-time brokers, you will receive the most individualized and customized service available in the area.  Past successes have proven that working as a team gets faster and better results for our buyers and sellers.  We are members of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Multiple Listing Service.

On a personal note, we have been residents of the area since 1971.  Our other interests include gardening, travel, tennis, x-country skiing, photography and gourmet cooking.”

When you want quality results, call us at 508-653-7526.

Our formula for success

When BUYING you want....

The Right Price - achieved by a comparable market analysis.

Your Needs Addressed - sincere agents who understand your desires.

No Problems - the result of experienced agents handling your transaction.

No Surprises - the result of meticulous attention to detail.

A Smooth Transaction – fast, honest and accurate communication.

Call Nancy & Jerry NOW!

Congress Realtors
164 N. Main St. Rte 27
Natick, MA. 01760
508-653-7526
508-655-1118 fax
www.nancyandjerry.com
e-mail: congressrealtors@prodigy.net

Testimonials

Thank you for a  great experience selling our home and finding our new home - so quickly too!
You are the best!
Thanks again,
Jeff & Kelli

“As a first-time homebuyer, I appreciated your advice and experience.  Once again thank you and best wishes for future success.”
K. Brown

Dear  Jerry & Nancy,
You did a tremendous job for us at One Lincoln Place.  If we have anyone with any real estate needs, we will highly recommend you.
Regards,
Jim McGonigle

About the Buying Process

10 Tips for First Time Buyers

1. Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic. There is no perfect home. 

2. Do your homework before you start looking. Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your downpayment and your closing costs

4. Don’t wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage before you start looking. 

5. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion.

6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?

7. Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as type of mortgage terms that suit you best. 

8. Don’t let yourself be house poor. If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals. 

9. Don’t be naïve. Insist on a home inspection. 

10. Get help. Consider hiring a REALTOR® as a buyer’s representative. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. And often, buyer’s reps are paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

Mortgage Lender and Pre-approval

It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they have found their dream home, then they go to get pre-approved. However, in today's market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing the dream home. 

Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone. Based on general questions about your income, debt, assets, and credit history, lenders can estimate how much mortgage you qualify for. However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different things. Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage; you have filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report, and verified your employment, assets, etc. When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be. 

A pre-qualified letter is not verified and in essence, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved. When you are pre-approved, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford. It gives you credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property. 

In addition to being pre-approved, it's important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender. Legitimate lenders include: banks, mortgage bankers, credit unions, savings and loan associations, mortgage brokers, and online lenders. 

Some lenders to avoid: those who lose a form or misplace a file, those who gather information from you in an unorganized manner, those who are not informed about interest rates, points or costs, and those who cannot provide you with the right information.

10 Things a Lender Needs from You

1. W-2 forms or business tax return forms if you're self-employed for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.

2. Copies of at least one pay stub for every person signing the loan.

3. Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.

4. Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years. 

5. Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, e.g., a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account. 

6. Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.

7. Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension. 

8. Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts of any outstanding balances.

9. Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans. 

10. Addresses where you have lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
 

The Basic Elements of an Offer

Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate. Therefore, you need to enter into a written contract, which starts with your written proposal. This proposal not only specifies price, but all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they'd help with $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that's included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you won't have grounds for collecting it later.

REALTORS® usually have a variety of standard forms (including Residential Purchase Agreements) that are kept up to date with the changing laws. When you use a REALTOR® these forms will be available to you. In addition, REALTORS® cover the questions that need to be answered during the process.

If you are not working with a REALTOR®, keep in mind that you must draw up a purchase offer or contract that conforms to state and local laws and that incorporates all of the key items. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area.

After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will usually be presented to the seller by your REALTOR®, by the seller's REALTOR® if that's a different agent, or often by the two together. In a few areas, sales contracts are typically drawn up by the parties' lawyers.

What the offer contains

The purchase offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It's important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a "blueprint for the final sale." These purchase offer items include such things as:

  • Address and sometimes a legal description of the property
  • Sale price
  • Terms -- for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount
  • Seller's promise to provide clear title (ownership)
  • Target date for closing (the actual sale)
  • Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it's a check, cash or promissory note, and how it's to be returned to you if the offer is rejected -- or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason
  • Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller
  • Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like
  • Type of deed to be given
  • Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses
  • A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing
  • A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire
  • Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and discussed in detail below

Contingencies

If your offer says "this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event," you're saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase order:

  • The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can't be found, the buyer won't be bound by the contract.
  • A satisfactory report by a home inspector "within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer." The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure that all the details are nailed down in the written contract.

Negotiating tips

You're in a strong bargaining position -- meaning, you look particularly welcome to a seller -- if:

  • You're an all-cash buyer; or
  • You're already pre-approved for a mortgage; and
  • You don't have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.

In those circumstances, you may be able to negotiate some discount from the listed price. On the other hand, in a "hot" seller's market, if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the list price (or more) to beat out other early offers.

It's very helpful to find out why the house is being sold. Keep this consideration in mind:

  • Every month a vacant house remains unsold represents considerable extra expense for the seller;

Earnest money

This is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. A seller is understandably suspicious of a written offer that is not accompanied by a cash deposit to show "good faith." A REALTOR® usually holds the deposit, the amount of which varies from community to community. This will become part of your down payment.

Buyers: the seller's response to your offer

You will have a binding contract if the seller, upon receiving your written offer, signs an acceptance just as it stands, unconditionally. The offer becomes a firm contract as soon as you are notified of acceptance in writing. If the offer is rejected, that's that, and the sellers could not later change their minds and hold you to it.

If the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date, or the basement pool table you want left with the property, you may receive a written counteroffer, with the changes the seller prefers. You are then free to accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer. For example, "We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except that we still insist on having the pool table."

Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject it, or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side's proposal.

Importance of a Home Inspection

As a buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. A professional home inspection is something you must do, whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. An inspection is an opportunity to have an expert look closely at the property you are considering purchasing and getting both an oral and written opinion as to its condition. 

Beforehand, make sure the report will be done by a Massachusetts licensed home inspector, a list of same can be found @ http://www.mass.gov/dpl/Consumer/fspagehi.htm . By personally attending the home inspection you will have a chance to ask questions about the property and get answers that are not biased. In addition, the oral comments are typically more revealing and detailed than what you will find on the written report. Once the inspection is complete, review the inspection report carefully. 

You have to include an inspection clause when you present your offer. It must be written in as a contingency; if you do not approve the inspection report, then you are not obligated to continue with the purchase. Most real estate contracts automatically provide an inspection contingency. Home inspections vary in price and are paid for by the buyer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have you been a real estate broker? Nancy since 1975 and Jerry since 1969. Combined years of experience over 60 years.

What special training have you had? We both have Realtor designation and have annually taken real estate continuing education classes provided by Greater Boston Real Estate Board and others.

Why do you feel you and your company would be the best to handle our home buying process?  We are long time owner/brokers of a successful local real estate office. We also feel that working as a team gives our customers and clients the special attention they deserve. 

What is the usual amount of the earnest money deposit? The amount of the deposit is determined by agreement of the parties. Usually it is  5% of the purchase price with a $1,000. deposit at the time of the offer and the balance with the execution of the purchase and sales agreement.

Where can I find the local properties that are for sale? You can find information on properties that are listed for sale at www.nancyandjerry.com

Why should I use a buyer’s broker? A buyer’s broker represents only your interests and will assist you in determining property value, negotiating terms and conditions, handling all transaction details, searching all property listings, and obtaining professional advice with contracts, inspection, and mortgages.

Glossary

acceleration clause 
A provision in a mortgage that gives the lender the right to demand payment of the entire principal balance if a monthly payment is missed.

amortization schedule
A timetable for payment of a mortgage loan. An amortization schedule shows the amount of each payment applied to interest and principal and shows the remaining balance.

assessed value
The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.

balloon mortgage
A mortgage that has level monthly payments that will amortize it over a stated term but that provides for a lump sum payment to be due at the end of an earlier specified term. The principal and interest on the loan are amortized over a longer period than the actual term of the mortgage.

betterment
An improvement that increases property value as distinguished from repairs or replacements that simply maintain value.

bona fide
In good faith, without fraud.

cap
A provision of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that limits how much the interest rate or mortgage payments may increase or decrease. See lifetime payment cap, lifetime rate cap, periodic payment cap and periodic rate cap.

capital improvement
Any structure or component erected as a permanent improvement to real property that adds to its value and useful life.

chattel
Another name for personal property.

earnest money deposit
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

easement
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.

eminent domain
The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.

encroachment
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another’s property. 

encumbrance
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements or restrictions.

grantee
The person to whom an interest in real property is conveyed. 

grantor
The person conveying an interest in real property.

HUD-1 statement
A document that provides an itemized listing of the funds that are payable at closing. Items that appear on the statement include real estate commissions, loan fees, points and initial escrow amounts. Each item on the statement is represented by a separate number within a standardized numbering system. The totals at the bottom of the HUD-1 statement define the seller's net proceeds and the buyer's net payment at closing. The blank form for the statement is published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD-1 statement is also known as the "closing statement" or "settlement sheet."

joint tenancy
A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant equal interest and equal rights in the property, including the right of survivorship.

negative amortization
A gradual increase in mortgage debt that occurs when the monthly payment is not large enough to cover the entire principal and interest due. The amount of the shortfall is added to the remaining balance to create "negative" amortization.

principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI)
The four components of a monthly mortgage payment. Principal refers to the part of the monthly payment that reduces the remaining balance of the mortgage. Interest is the fee charged for borrowing money. Taxes and insurance refer to the amounts that are paid into an escrow account each month for property taxes and mortgage and hazard insurance.

quitclaim deed
A deed that transfers without warranty whatever interest or title a grantor may have at the time the conveyance is made.

tenancy by the entirety
A type of joint tenancy of property that provides right of survivorship and is available only to a husband and wife. Contrast with tenancy in common. 
tenancy in common
A type of joint tenancy in a property without right of survivorship. Contrast with tenancy by the entirety and with joint tenancy.

two-step mortgage
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that has one interest rate for the first five or seven years of its mortgage term and a different interest rate for the remainder of the amortization term.

wraparound mortgage
A mortgage that includes the remaining balance on an existing first mortgage plus an additional amount requested by the mortgagor. Full payments on both mortgages are made to the wraparound mortgagee, who then forwards the payments on the first mortgage to the first mortgagee.

 

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Nancy & Jerry Mazzola

Nancy & Jerry
Congress Realtors
Natick, MA 01760

508-653-7526
Contact Us

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Nancy & Jerry - Congress Realtors
508-653-7526 | Contact Us
Licensed in Massachusetts - Established in 1976
164 North Main Street - Natick, MA 01760
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved

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