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Home Buying Tips

Dreaming of buying a home in Brockton area? 10 steps every first-time buyer should know

BROCKTON — Buying a home can be one of the most exciting but stressful times in a
person’s life, especially for a first-time homebuyer.
We’ve talked to experts and put together a list that can combat the buying jitters to help make
this process as straightforward as possible.
This guide will help you find resources for grants and loans and what to expect on the
journey of buying a home.
We spoke with a local realty group that sells millions of dollars worth of homes annually in
the area. And they gave us their best tips and tricks for success in today’s market.
Whether you plan to buy in the future or are ready to buy now, this guide will help you
So here are 10 steps to becoming a homeowner in Brockton based on our conversations with
Emiel Barbosa and Adelino Vicente, real estate brokers from Vicente Realty at101 Torrey St
in Brockton:

  1. Become Educated, ask lots of questions
    Before diving into the homebuying process, educate yourself by talking to a local experienced
    real estate agent, using online platforms and resources, and attending a first-time
    homebuyer’s class. This step will help you understand the basics of buying a home. You may
    also qualify for grants by just attending and getting the certificate and it’s valid for two years.
    Alisha Saint-Ciel
    The Enterprise

Always ask questions about anything you don’t understand. All the professionals in this
process are supposed to work for you and your best interests.
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  1. Get financially prepared
    Review your financial situation with your CPA or a tax professional to establish savings for a
    down payment, closing costs, emergency funds and other expenses that may arise.
    Obtain a copy of your credit report, work on improving your credit score if necessary, and
    aim for a 680 and higher to get the best interest rates.
    Work on reducing debt. Don’t buy the dream car first. Buy that after you buy a home. Credit
    card debt and car debt can hinder your purchasing power. Do not become a co-borrower for
    others. There is no such a thing as a co-signer. You are financially responsible.
  2. Pick the right real estate agent
    Research and choose a reputable real estate agent experienced in the area you want to buy in,
    who will assist you in finding suitable properties, negotiating offers, navigating the process
    and connecting you with other trustworthy professionals. Always do your due diligence and
    check for reviews, ask about their experience and interview them. Choosing the right
    professional is important. Don’t blindly go with anyone. This can cost you. A suitable
    professional will help uncover good loan programs and connect you with the right home.
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  3. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage
    Contact a loan officer or mortgage broker to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is a
    crucial step as it helps you understand how much you can afford and strengthens your
    position when making an offer. Only look at homes within your budget.
    Sometimes, you may not get approved for the amount you need to buy your desired area, but
    the loan officer can help guide you in the right direction to be ready to buy or how to get more
    buying power.

Another helpful tip is to look into various loans and grants available in Massachusetts.
For example, an FHA loan is a low money down payment program with a down payment as
low as 3.5% depending on your credit score. This is also an opportunity to look for down
payment assistance and grants. A good loan officer and realtor can tell you what offers are in
the area you want to buy in.
You should also look into the NACA program; local banks often have grants; and
MassHousing can help low to moderate-income buyers.

NACA Housing Program: The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America is a non-
profit, community advocacy and homeownership organization. NACA’s primary goal is to

build strong, healthy neighborhoods in urban and rural areas nationwide through affordable
homeownership by making it easier financially and teaching buyers how to become a
MassDREAMS (Delivering Real Equity and Mortgage Stability): This is a Massachusetts
program funded with COVID relief money that provides down payment and closing cost
grants to first-time homebuyers who meet the program’s eligibility criteria and who currently
live in one of the 29 communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19
pandemic: Attleboro, Barnstable, Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River,
Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden,
Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Salem, Springfield,
Taunton, Westfield and Worcester.
MassHousing: MassHousing is an independent, quasi-public agency that provides financing
for affordable housing in Massachusetts. It offers down payment assistance of $30,000 to
$50,000 for eligible homebuyers depending on where you live in Massachusetts.
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  1. Once pre-qualified, lets go home shopping!
    Make a list of your desired home features and criteria to guide your search then start actively
    searching for homes with the help of your real estate agent.
    Attend open houses, schedule private showings and view potential properties. This is when
    your agent needs to be proactive to help you.

Make yourself available to look at homes. Your dream home, newly listed, will not wait for
you. You’re competing with others. Go during daylight, slowly look everywhere and bring all
decision-makers to your first showing.

  1. Make an offer, once you fall in love with a home
    Once you fall in love with a home make an offer, work with your agent and ask the right
    questions: How much should I offer? How much is this home worth? Learn and research the
    Ask for how much comparable homes are selling for in the area. Tell your agent about
    concerns you may notice.
    If you see something you’d like included in the offer — a lawnmower, a piece of furniture,
    appliances or even a classic car you see in the garage — this is the time to tell your agent.
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    Offers will include price, contingencies, type of financing, timing and closing date.
    You will also include an EMD (earnest money deposit), typically of $1,000, to go along with
    your offer to show you’re serious.
    Remember the pre-qualification letter, now’s when it will be shared with the seller to show
    the seller you have taken the necessary financial steps to acquire their home if given the
  2. Offer is accepted now it’s inspection time
    Schedule a professional home inspection to identify all the good, not so good or potentially
    significant issues with the property, put your phone away, and follow your appraiser
    everywhere, ask questions. Remember, this is for you and paid by you, and for a large
    investment you’re about to make.
    Review the inspection report and determine if you want to move forward, withdraw your
    offer, negotiate some repairs, or ask for a lower purchase price. Always remember to act in
    good faith.

Remember to seek guidance from your agent and your attorney and, most importantly, to
buy something you love because you will own it and your loan will be for 30 years and no one
should pressure you to make this decision.
It is sometimes necessary to bring additional professionals in if you find some issues and
your inspector recommends further inspection.
Vicente Realty has seen situations where structural engineers, plumbers, roofers and
contractors are brought in for further inspections and recommendations. Your initial home
inspector generally makes this recommendation. Do not ignore them.
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  1. If you are satisfied with your find, you can move on to the
    purchase and sale contract
    Sign the “purchase and sales agreement,” a legally binding contract outlining the terms and
    conditions of the sale, once you are content with everything from the inspection.
    This will be reviewed and explained by your real estate attorney. You will also make another
    deposit at this stage, usually larger.
    All deposits are credited to you at closing. Everything is negotiated since the offer needs to be
    included in this new and more extensive contract, and this will be shared with your financial
    institution and all parties once signed.
    You can breathe a little now, you’ve completed an important stage, but we are not done yet.
  2. Now the bank or your lender will do their job to securing
    financing for you
    Finalize your mortgage application and provide the necessary documentation to your lending
    professional. Sometimes, it might feel like they repeatedly ask you for the same thing: smile,
    breathe and give it to them.
    Pre-qualification is not an approval, and it’s not clear to close. They will work on
    underwriting the loan. The lender will order an appraisal to determine if you’re not
    overpaying for the property.

A lender will not lend more money than the value of a property. This is a good protection for
you and them. The attorney will conduct a title search to ensure there are no legal claims
against the property, and the attorney will purchase title insurance at closing on your behalf
to protect your ownership rights and the title on your home.
You will also get quotes from insurance agents to protect your purchase. Select what suits you
best. The attorney will make sure the person selling you the home legally can and will also
make sure the asset has a clear and marketable title in case you want to sell it in the future.
Once the attorney is done with their job, you have provided all your loan officer is looking for
and the property value is confirmed by a third-party appraisal accepted by the lender — the
next step will be finance commitment and ultimately clear-to-close.
Remember, we talked about breathing earlier. Once you’re given a clear-to-close by your loan
officer, you can now breathe a little more. We are almost there.

  1. You did it, closing and happy dance time
    Work with your real estate agent, attorney and lender to prepare for the closing, ensuring
    how much the final amount you will need to bring to the closing day, if wired, or in the form
    of an official bank check. Verify all this on a phone call or in person, never via email due to
    Do a final walkthrough to ensure the property’s condition is the same as when you last saw it,
    if any repairs negotiated have been completed and that kind of thing.
    Vicente Realty suggests doing this one to two days in advance. The day before closing, drive
    by and ensure the home is still standing before you sign the final documents. Attend the
    closing meeting to sign all required paperwork with your attorney, bring remaining funds,
    ask questions, and once signed by both seller and buyer and it gets recorded at your county
    registry of deeds you’re can officially take ownership of the property.

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