Massachusetts Home Buying – Is the Purchase and Sale Deposit the Same as the Down Payment?
Being a Massachusetts home buyer is a bit different than buying in some other parts of the country. Here in Massachusetts we have a two part contract system. It consists of the “Offer to Purchase” and the “Purchase and Sale Agreement.”
Initially, at the offer stage it is customary to put a deposit of $500 to $1,000 along with the offer in order to bind the agreement.
Ten days to two weeks after the offer comes the Purchase and Sale Agreement. This is the actual complete document that will have all the terms and conditions of the sale. At Purchase and Sale signing, the buyer will put down a more substantial deposit in order for the seller to feel secure about taking the property off of the market.
The question then arises – is the Purchase and Sales deposit the same as the “down payment?”
The customary amount for the P&S deposit is equal to 5% of the purchase price you will be paying for the property. And, I would not advise putting down any more than this. There is really no reason to do so.
Unless you are in the situation with an FHA or VA loan in which you will be able to put a low down payment, 5% will not be a significant enough amount to qualify as your complete down payment. This is still merely a deposit that holds the property off of the market.
When the P&S is signed and executed, the deposit check is cashed and the funds are put into an escrow account. There they will stay there until your closing at which time this money is brought forward and applied to your purchase.
At the time of your closing you will be bringing “good funds,” usually a bank check, for the remaining amount of your down payment as well as any closing costs.
As a Massachusetts home buyer you should know – there is a definite distinction between the Purchase and Sale deposit and your down payment.
Spring represents a lovely time to buy a house. As such, many homebuyers enter the spring real estate market with a common goal – to find the best house at the best price.
What can you do to separate yourself from the homebuying competition? Here are three spring homebuying tips that you need to know:
1. Plan Ahead
The housing market moves quickly, and homebuyers who lack the necessary real estate skills and know-how may fall behind the competition. On the other hand, homebuyers who prepare for the spring real estate market should have no trouble discovering the perfect house.
Evaluate the real estate market closely. Consider your finances and the size of the house that you would like to purchase. Also, examine the prices of houses in your area and how long these homes have been available.
Ultimately, a diligent homebuyer will plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, this individual will be ready to browse properties and submit offers on residences as soon as springtime arrives.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Homebuyers who receive pre-approval for a mortgage can set realistic expectations for the spring housing market. These homebuyers will know exactly what they can afford, and as such, can narrow their home search.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will require you to meet with a bank or credit union and consider all of the financing options at your disposal. Each lender will be able to explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and respond to your mortgage concerns and questions as well.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer may stand out from the competition. This individual will be able to streamline the process of submitting an offer on a home. Plus, this homebuyer may be able to boost his or her chances of receiving a “Yes” from a home seller.
3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent won’t take shortcuts, and as a result, will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find the perfect home in spring.
Hiring an experienced real estate agent may seem difficult due to the sheer volume of real estate professionals that are available. However, homebuyers who consider a real estate agent’s reputation and credentials may be able to work with a great real estate professional who can guide them along the homebuying journey.
How do past homebuyers rate a real estate agent? Does a real estate agent possess many years of experience? And how will a real estate agent handle tough negotiations with a home seller? These are just some of the questions for a homebuyer to consider when he or she evaluates a real estate agent.
In addition, homebuyers will want to hire an experienced real estate agent who is available to answer their homebuying queries. This real estate professional will allocate the necessary time and resources to support a homebuyer and ensure that this individual can make informed decisions.
Employ an experienced real estate agent to help you find a home in spring. With this real estate agent at your side, you can move closer to purchasing your dream residence