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First-Time Home Buyer in Westwood: 7 Things to Know

Located in historic Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Westwood is a beautiful town widely considered one of the best places to live in the United States. Westwood boasts upscale shopping developments, elegant gardens, many ponds, forested areas, and walking trails. Whether you love spending time outdoors, casting a line at Buckmaster Pond, or strolling downtown while sipping a delicious espresso, Westwood has something for you.

If you're a first-time home buyer in Westwood looking for your dream home, prepare for some competition. As an in-demand Massachusetts community, Westwood welcomes hundreds of new residents yearly. By reviewing these tips and preparing in advance, you'll be poised to purchase the property you want.

1. Connect with an expert real estate agent

The single most important step you can take in your real estate journey is to connect with an experienced realtor. A local Massachusetts realtor can give you in-depth area insights and intimate market knowledge, so you'll be better prepared to start the home-buying process. They have their finger on the pulse of trends, pricing fluctuations, and emerging opportunities. This knowledge empowers them to provide you with accurate information, enabling you to make informed decisions. A realtor can act as your advocate, assisting with every step of home buying, from locating and reviewing listings to negotiating offers. Finally, a realtor can help you get the best deal, offering an objective opinion and working to ensure that your needs are met.

2. Boost your credit score

Generally speaking, the higher your credit score is, the more loan options you will have. You'll also likely pay lower interest rates on the loan when you have a high credit score. In the months before starting your home search, check your credit score and work to boost it as high as possible. Most lenders require a credit score of around 620, while to qualify for a jumbo loan, you'll likely need a credit score of 700 or higher. To enhance your credit score, focus on paying down any credit card debt and ensure all payments are made on time.

3. Decide whether to make a down payment

One of the biggest decisions you'll make as a first-time home buyer is whether to make a down payment. While some loans require a down payment, others do not, and it's up to the buyer's discretion whether to put down a large sum of money at closing. The standard down payment amount is 20%, though others choose to pay more and some less. There are pros and cons to making a down payment. Making a down payment at closing will reduce your monthly mortgage payments. However, you'll need to factor the down payment into your overall budget for buying a property.

4. Explore and compare mortgage options

If you have time, it's a good idea to research and compare different mortgage options from various lenders. Ideally, you'll have four or five different mortgage options to choose from, so you can review multiple interest rates and origination fees. If you have an established relationship with a financial institution, you can start by making an appointment and seeing what they offer. From there, you'll be able to look into other lenders' offerings and make a plan accordingly.

5. Always visit the home in person

As beautiful as a home might look, never purchase a home unseen. While there are exceptions to almost every rule in home buying, experts recommend always visiting a property in person, if at all possible. Real estate photos are designed to show the home at its very best and might not reveal specific problem areas that will need to be addressed prior to closing.

If there's no way for you to physically visit the property in person, but you want to make an offer on it, work with your realtor to arrange a video walk-through. Always ask as many questions as possible during this stage of the home-buying process. If something seems off, if you notice something odd, or have questions about any of the appliances, wiring, or plumbing, be sure to ask.

6. Don't skip home inspections

A home inspection is non-negotiable for many loans, but even if your financing doesn't require one, ask for an inspection anyway. A home inspection is a detailed look at the structure and mechanical systems of the home done by a licensed inspector. At the home inspection, you'll learn about the property, inside and out, and understand if any underlying issues need to be addressed. The buyer isn't required to attend the home inspection, but it's a good idea to go anyway. By attending the home inspection, you can talk to the inspector directly and ask detailed questions about any issue or element you have concerns about.

7. Be prepared to negotiate

Much of your negotiating power depends on the current real estate market conditions. Westwood is a hot market, so you could easily face a bidding war, especially if you're interested in an ultra-luxury property with beautiful amenities. Getting a great deal or scoring a bargain can be much harder when many buyers lobby for the same home. Still, even if you are up against other buyers, you shouldn't be afraid to negotiate.

After the home inspection, you might realize there are specific concerns that need to be addressed with the property or repairs that need to be done. This can be factored into your negotiations. Alternatively, you might decide that you can handle any needed renovations on your own and just ask the seller to cover some of the closing costs. Your realtor can work with you to figure out an offer that makes sense. After your offer is submitted, the seller might come back with a counter, or they might skip over your offer entirely. Even if you are in love with a property, try to remain as neutral as possible at this point and stay open to all possibilities. Your realtor can assist every step of the way, and even if you don't get the first home you make an offer on, you're bound to find another stunning home that fulfills all your needs.

Elena Price can help you find and purchase your first home

Whether you're a first-time home buyer in Westwood or a seasoned investor looking for rental income, Elena Price can help you achieve your real estate goals. An experienced Boston realtor, Elena can assist you with understanding current market conditions and developing an overall strategy so you can purchase the property you want. Contact Elena Price today to start your search for homes in Westwood!

Work With Elena

Real estate is more than looking at homes. You need a local expert that can make the process easier from beginning to end. Whether you are buying or selling, Elena will leverage her 28+ years of experience and connections to get you the most value.

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