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Buying or selling a home? Louis Wolfson & Co. can help.

Purchasing a home is intimidating for many people. However, with some up-front planning, it isn't very complicated. I like to furnish buyers with an outline of the entire deal so they understand exactly what they can expect. These are my nine steps to buying a home. Should you have questions regarding this information or if you're ready to get started, just contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase
There are several things you need to contemplate before you start looking for a home. It's likely that you'll want to create an index of features you want to have, get a feel for what school districts you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. A good rule to follow is that your mortgage payment should be close to 30 percent of your net monthly income.

Step 2 – Speak with a real estate agent
That's where I can help. We'll book a time to get together so we can talk about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your plans for the future. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, schools in the Needham area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that might affect your buying decision today or in the future.

I'll also assist you in getting started on your loan. I partner with some of Needham's best mortgage professionals, so you'll be in great hands. They'll assist you with determining which type of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start your home search
Following our initial meeting, I'll begin finding available houses on the market that are good for you. I'll research most of the homes and exclude the bad ones, and then we'll book appointments to view the homes whenever it's convenient for you.

When we tour houses, I'll call attention to positive features and bad ones. And I'll ask you to talk about things you like and dislike. It's common for buyers to change their must-have list as we view homes and some items become far more important than others. If that happens, I'll go back through the listings another time and narrow it down to the home of your dreams.

Step 4 – Understand the housing market
Your agent's knowledge of the Needham market is a leading factor in your house search. And I can assure you I'm mindful of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I can let you know some districts are "hot" and call for immediate action and the ones that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful analysis.

As we view homes, I'll let you know if the seller's asking price has room for bargaining or if I believe the house is "priced to sell." Any REALTOR in Needham will tell you they know the market, but be mindful, and be sure to ask your agent lots of questions. If things don't add up, call me at (617) 799-3326 or e-mail me at , and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. My market knowledge will help you stay a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find your dream home
I'm confident we'll find your dream home in Needham. When that happens, I'll meticulously create your purchase offer. The offer will be tailored with your needs in mind and the home, including some contingencies, such as acquiring financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clear title.

Upon sending in your purchase offer, you'll want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to a seller to secure an offer to purchase the property, and it's usually put towards the cost of closing. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close on the home within 30 to 60 days after. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most deals aren't closed on the beginning offer – it's extremely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it discourage you. We'll talk over whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and go on.

How aggressively we negotiate the deal depends on market conditions. In addition, we'll work within your budget. And at the end of the day, we'll put together a contract that is best for you.

Step 7 – Secure financing
Upon finalizing the contract, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-approved, it shouldn't take much time at all, but you'll want to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll care for all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) outlining closing costs from your lender within three days of taking your loan application. This estimate is formed from the loan amount, and RESPA requirements order that it has to involve all closing costs and fall within a close range of accuracy. I'll analyze the estimate and let you know if it all looks okay.

Then we'll close on your house. This will probably happen at a title company or escrow office and will most often be a smooth and comfortable occasion.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, simply contact me at (617) 799-3326 or e-mail me at .

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