After examining the process of selling on Cape Cod, it is now time for a buyer's perspective. For more information on selling your home, start at Part 1 of the series here.
"OK Agnes, I am ready to buy a home on the Cape...uummmm...help?"
"That's wonderful news! Owning a home is a dream many people want to realize and we take great pride in helping them do it. I'll approach from the perspective of first-time homebuyers and hit relevant points for all buyers along the way."
"The first thing you should do is learn how much you can spend on a home. Most people finance (get a mortgage) for real estate transactions and even if you will be buying in cash you still need to set your limits. In the case of financing, talk to a local bank or mortgage broker who will lead you through the process of getting pre-qualified. In short a bank evaluates your total income, liabilities and assets to help you decide how much home you can afford. You should always do this before you even think about looking for houses for two reasons (really the same reason but with two points). First, don't waste your time dreaming of gold-plated faucets and kids playing on the dock by looking at $900,000 waterfront homes if you won't be able to afford one. And, just as crucially, don't waste your time looking at $200,000 homes thinking that is all you can afford when, in reality, you could qualify for a $350,000 purchase price. Over the years we have seen both situations and with rates as low as they are these days, people are often surprised at how much they can actually afford. When you have an idea of a reasonable price range you and your realtor can move to the next steps."
"OK. I talked to a bank and qualify for a $350,000 purchase price. How do we get started?"
"Well this is an exciting point in your search for a home. And we proceed in a lot of different ways depending on the client. Some people are very engaged in the search and spend a lot of time driving around to find appealing neighborhoods, as well as looking online for homes of interest. A great place to start is on our website. By signing up you can save searches and your favorite homes (check out the screen grab at left) as well as get in touch with us for an in-person viewing of listings you find interesting. Other clients are very hands off and prefer a more curated approach in which we, as agents, present properties we think are a good match. It is important to have a good conversation with your agent early in the process so that you are both clear on which style you prefer. We love working with both types of clients (and everything in between) and take pride in that 88% of our business comes from repeat customers or referrals from past clients."
"I've started looking, but holy cow there is a lot out there."
"First, start with locations. If you currently live and work in Brewster why not start by searching for homes there? Then you can narrow price range and refine the search (i.e. including garages or minimum number of bedrooms) to suit your needs. Also you can use our 'What's New' search to keep an eye out for anything that pops up on the market that you may like but otherwise doesn't match your criteria (like a house on the Dennis and Harwich line that is two minutes from Brewster, but is otherwise exactly what you want).
Well thanks Agnes, you have given us a lot to think about and hope that some of these suggestions for buyers are useful to our readers too. Feel free to contact us with questions about buying (or selling) on the Cape and stay tuned as our next installment will go into finding your dream home and getting an offer accepted.