Home Buying

Can I Buy A Home With No Money Down?

If you’re trying to buy a home, you may feel discouraged by the 20% down-payment that most lenders require. However, saving up for a 20% down payment on a six-figure home is simply unrealistic for many home buyers. You may qualify for a program that doesn’t require you to put any money down to purchase a home.

The most common programs include:

Credit Union Loans

Credit unions are owned by members instead of a board of directors. If you’re not already a member, consider researching local credit unions to see if you meet criteria. Some credit unions offer loans with no down-payment, to members with good credit who earn 80% or less of the median income for the area.

USDA loans

If you don’t need to live in Boston proper and are okay living in a town of less than 10,000 people, this loan could work for you. These are the criteria for a no-interest loan through the United States Department of Agriculture. The federal organization may also be able to help if you earn low or moderate income for your area.

VA loans

This program is for retired military members or their surviving spouse. You need an excellent credit score and a special appraisal to qualify for a Veteran’s Administration home loan with no money down.

Longwood Residential is Here to Help.

The city of Boston is currently on target to meet its goal of 53,000 new housing developments by 2030. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to match our clients with their perfect home. Consider attending one of our first-time home buyer seminars if you have never purchased a home. You may also want to think about other homeownership options, such as buying a condo. With determination, planning and having access to the right resources, home ownership can be a reality, much sooner than you think.

What is a short sale?

You’ve probably heard of the term “short sale” if you’re looking to buy a home. However, many people don’t have a clear understanding of what a short sale really is. When you agree to complete a short sale with a seller, it means that the lender has given them permission to sell their home to you for less than what’s owed on it. Common reasons for this include the borrower’s inability to continue making payments or depreciated value on the property.

From the lender’s perspective, agreeing to a short sale is better than having to foreclose on the property. For sellers, going through with a short sale has less of an impact on their credit rating than a foreclosure, and it allows them to get out of a mortgage they can no longer afford.

A Short Sale Must Be Approved by the Lender

Now that you understand what a short sale is, it’s important to realize that the process doesn’t transpire just because the seller wants it to. The lender must approve of the short sale first, since it means they must accept less for the property than what is owed on it. The seller needs to submit proper documentation to the lender, proving that they can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. Lenders tend to look more favorably on this practice, as opposed to someone just abandoning their property.

Benefits and Considerations of a Short Sale for Buyers

A short sale gives buyers the opportunity to acquire a home at fair market value without the same risk associated with purchasing a foreclosed property. However, it differs from a traditional real estate sale in several important ways:

  • It may take longer to complete a short sale because it’s more challenging to set a closing date -- lenders require significant documentation before agreeing to a short sale.

  • Buyers purchase the property “as-is,” which probably means they’ll have to invest additional money for repairs or remodeling.

  • The seller may have to pay some money at closing. If the buyer is unable or unwilling, the sale may fall through even though the lender approved it.

  • Inspection fees that a lender may cover in a traditional real estate sale are the buyer’s responsibility in a short sale.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent if You’re Interested in a Short Sale

Purchasing a home via short sale can save you money, but it’s also complex. An experienced agent will anticipate challenges and know how to overcome them. Longwood Residential is available to help you navigate the home buying process. Your agent will help you evaluate all options, including Longwood condos and short sales.

How does rent-to-own work?

When looking to buy a home, rent-to-own can help you secure a property, even if you have poor or insufficient credit. People who are struggling to sell their home, or who would like to sell it to someone who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, can also benefit from a rent-to-own arrangement.

Details of a Rent-to-Own Contract

Many people confuse rent-to-own with a lease-option contract, which is entirely different. In a lease-option, the person occupying the home and making rent payments has the right of first refusal if the house goes up for sale. He or she does not promise to buy it. A rent-to-own deal is a legal contract to buy. A rent-to-own deal is a contract between buyer and seller that typically extends one to two years into the future. The main difference is that it gives the buyer time to obtain acceptable financing and save for a down payment.

Buyers and sellers should include the following information in a rent-to-own contract:

  • The full name of each party, the property address, and the date of the agreement

  • The terms, including amount of rent, payment due dates, grace period, and late penalties

  • The contract should indicate how much of the rent goes towards the purchase price

  • If necessary; a pet policy may be included, as well as a utilities payment schedule, who can reside in the home, and who is responsible for property maintenance during the rental period

The amount of the “option consideration fee,” which is separate from a security deposit, should also be included in the rent-to-own contract. This fee is paid out to the homeowner in exchange for a written agreement to not sell the home to anyone else. When the buyer changes over from renting to owning, the entire amount of the fees collected by the seller should be subtracted from the purchase price.

If you’re interested in rent-to-own as a buyer or seller, please contact one of the Longwood Residential professionals for assistance.

Where is the Best Place to Live in Boston?

According to the website Best Places, Boston is the historic and intellectual capital of the United States. Many residents choose to live in Boston for that reason alone. It’s hard to find Boston’s culture and tradition anywhere else. It can be more challenging to figure out where is the best place to live in Boston. With a cost of living 70 percent higher than the rest of the U.S. and an average home price of $499,000, renting or buying a condo is a better option for a lot of Boston residents.

Condos Available in More Than a Dozen Boston Neighborhoods

Longwood Residential offers Longwood condos for sale in 14 different neighborhoods within the Boston city limits. Our prices are in line with the average condo price in Boston. Limited real estate availability and the desire to save money on purchasing a home are the main reasons people consider condo ownership. Lifestyle is another important consideration. You don’t have to spend your valuable free time mowing and maintaining your lawn. Our staff handles these chores as part of your homeowner’s association dues.

Many of our multi-unit condo towers offer amenities such as valet parking, an exercise room, room service, package delivery, and on-site stores. You have the convenience of a hotel but you get to stay there permanently.

Apartments in Boston

For some people who choose to live in Boston, renting an apartment makes more sense. They need the flexibility to move when the lease is up and may not be able to afford a house or condo. Longwood Residential manages several luxury apartment complexes in Boston. Many have the same upscale amenities as our condos. Please contact us to learn more or arrange a tour.

What Is A Town House?

There are a lot of options when looking for a new place to live, which can be confusing. Besides a private residential home, you might be looking at an apartment, condo, or town house. People sometimes get confused about the differences between these types of housing. An apartment is a unit you rent, while a condo is similar except that you own it. Today we’re going to explore the question: what is a town house?

Town Houses Are Physically Attached to Each Other

You may have heard town houses referred to as row houses. That is because they are physically attached to the units on either side of them, by ‘shared walls.’ Many people prefer the town house at the end of a row, as they do not share a wall with two neighbors. These dwellings can be a single story or multiple stories high. You own your property as well as the land it sits on.

Is a Town House Right for Me?

If you buy a town house in a large complex, you may be required to contribute money each month towards general upkeep of common areas. This fee is called a HOA (Homeowners Association) fee. Most town house owners enjoy having a front and back yard, just as owners of private homes do. Although a town house owner is responsible for their yard, they don’t have as much exterior maintenance to worry about. Other benefits include greater security and on-site amenities. Examples might include a swimming pool, tennis court, and party room.

You may have slightly less privacy living in a town house. Another thing to consider is that you may not be able to decorate the exterior exactly as you like. However, many people find the trade-off for a better sense of security to be worth it. If you have questions or concerns before buying a town house or want to consider looking at a few Longwood condos instead, please contact our staff.

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Sign Up for Our First-Time Home Buyer Program

It’s an exciting time when you decide to buy your first house. It can also be overwhelming. When you rented an apartment, you filled out an application, paid a deposit, and moved in. While the owners checked your financial stability and rental history, applying for a mortgage is much more involved.

You probably have numerous questions in addition to how to qualify for a mortgage. Longwood Residential’s first-time home buyer program can start to address your concerns at our free information session, which we hold periodically. In the market for Longwood Condos but not sure where to start? We'll post our next seminar on Facebook, so follow us there!

What to Expect at Our Free Home Buying Seminars

Longwood Residential hosts these events at our office. We are conveniently located at 1404A Beacon Street in Brookline. Here are some of the helpful topics we plan to address:

  • High-level overview of buying a home and the local real estate market Foyer of luxury home

  • Best practices for getting your offer accepted

  • Evaluating your financing options

  • Differences between buying and renting

  • What to expect during your home inspection

  • Expectations for closing

We also leave plenty of time to answer any questions from attendees. We understand that everyone has a unique situation that won’t necessarily fit into the general information we provide. You are welcome to contact a member of our team, if you have any immediate questions for us regarding buying or selling your home.

Education should be the first step on your exciting journey toward home ownership

Anyone interested in the home buying process is welcome to attend our free events! We just ask that you RSVP to info@longwoodresidential.com, or call us at 617-396-3100. Space for our first-time home buyer programs are limited, so reserve your spot today!

What Are Condos?

If you’re just starting to look at Longwood condos, you may feel some confusion about the differences between a condo and other types of residences, such as an apartment or private home. The simple definition of a condo is that it’s a cross between these two. Your unit is located within a building with dozens or possibly hundreds of other units. However, you do not pay rent like you would for an apartment. You secure a mortgage and live in your condo until you decide to sell it, just like you would with a house.

Living in a Condo Can Be the Best of Both Worlds

condo poolWhen you own a private home, you alone are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep. This includes both inside and outside of the home. As a condo owner, you have the benefits of owning your own place with less responsibilities. Part of your monthly mortgage payment goes to association dues to help with the upkeep of common areas. As a mortgage holder at one of our Longwood condos in Boston, this could include the pool area, private fitness room, party room, and several other areas accessible to all residents.

You have very little freedom to decorate or renovate as you see fit when you live in an apartment. This isn’t true of life in a Longwood condo. Since you own the entire inside structure of your unit, you can do what you would like to make it feel like home. However, you can’t make any changes to supporting walls since that would affect neighbors on either side of you.

Contact Us to Learn More

Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you still have questions about living in a condo or would like to learn more about our current properties available.

Free Home Buying Seminar Thursday, February 23rd!

Join us at 6:00 PM on Thursday, February 23rd for a fun, informative and FREE Home Buying Seminar.  This short presentation - perfect for first-time homebuyers or anyone looking for a refresher on the process - will feature info and tips from real estate agents, lenders, home inspectors and real estate attorneys.  

 

Topics will include:

  • Overview of the home buying process
  • Snapshot of the local market
  • Secrets to get an accepted offer
  • Comparing financing options
  • Preparing for home ownership
  • Buying vs. renting
  • Home inspection process
  • What to expect at the closing table
  • Q&A

 

WHEN:  6:00 to 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 23rd 2017

WHERE:  Longwood Residential office @ 1404A Beacon Street in Brookline

WHO:  Anyone interested in the home buying process!

RSVP:  info@longwoodresidential.com (limited space!)

 

Food and refreshments will be served!

February 23 Home Buying Seminar - Flyer

RSVP:  info@longwoodresidential.com

Preventative Maintenance for Your Older Home

The craftsmanship on homes built before the 1960s is superior to what you can find today. However, original heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical wiring don’t fare so well. Owners of older homes should budget for unplanned repairs or replacement of major equipment. Creating a schedule of preventative maintenance for older homes is essential as well.

What to Include in Your Checklist of Preventative Maintenance for Older Homes

People didn’t have the expectation for indoor comfort when your older home was built that they have today. In fact, most didn’t have central air conditioning. If you don’t have the budget to install central air or the time to figure it out, a whole house fan will do. Place it in the ceiling on the second floor to get a breeze in each room of the house.

Many older homes have inefficient boilers installed. You will save money over time by replacing it with a more modern and energy-efficient heating system. Once installed, be sure to arrange for annual preventative maintenance. It’s also essential to change air filters quarterly.

Another problem with older homes is that they often have hot water pipes wrapped in asbestos. Since this material can cause serious health hazards, arrange for a professional HVAC company to remove it as soon as possible. An inexperienced person completing the job could cause you to have asbestos in the air of your home.

Upkeep of your wiring system is an important part of preventative maintenance for older homes. If your home has knob and tube wiring, plan to upgrade to a modern system. Older types of wiring are not always grounded, which means you could get a shock just by touching it.

Steel plumbing pipes prevalent in older homes clog easily from internal rusting. Plan to replace them if you don’t want to deal with frequent clogs or unexpected pipe bursting. Once the new pipes are in, use as little toilet paper as possible and don’t place anything in the toilet other than that to prevent future clogs.

Preventive Home Maintenance

preventative home maintenancePreventative home maintenance just makes sense, especially when you consider that an unexpected repair can set you back thousands of dollars. For starters, rain gutters can eliminate many problems associated with excess moisture. However, you need to keep them free of leaves and other debris. You can prevent rotting wood by aiming the sprinkler away from the house. When you shower, turn on a fan or crack a window to prevent moisture from forming that leads to mold and mildew.

Weekly, Monthly, and Seasonal Preventative Home Maintenance Chores

Developing a schedule of preventative home maintenance tasks now is the best way to avoid costly repairs later. Every week, plan to remove all debris from window sills and around the foundation of your home. You should also vacuum all carpets. Some of the things you can do monthly include:

  • Vacuum heat registers, refrigerator coils, and vents
  • Pour boiling water down drains to ensure they are not clogged
  • Clean exhaust fan filter and blades in kitchen
  • If you have a frost-free refrigerator, clean its drain pan
  • Look for leaks on your dishwasher

If you discover issues such as a clogged drain or leaky dishwasher, find out which tools you need to repair them and attend to the job right away.

Prepare for the warm and cool weather seasons in advance by weather-stripping around doors and windows. Changing the filter on your air conditioner and furnace is also important. Be sure to check your wood-burning fireplace and gas heater as well.

You can prevent a tragedy by making it a point to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every spring and fall. Everyday safety habits, such as turning off appliances and not overloading power cords, can also prevent a costly emergency or serious injuries.