Sterling Stone Real Estate & Co | Chelmsford Real Estate, Westford Real Estate, Needham Real Estate


Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs. 

A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property. 


Closing Costs Defined


Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.


Everything Included In Closing Costs


Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.  


At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.     


Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time


The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.


Compare Rates And Lenders


It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you. 


The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!     



If you are preparing to buy a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to check out lots of home listings. That way, you can browse dozens of residences at your convenience and boost your chances of finding a terrific house.

Ultimately, there are several factors that homebuyers should consider as they evaluate house listings, and these factors are:

1. A Home's Age and Condition

A home's age and condition are key considerations for all homebuyers, at all times. If you assess a house's age and condition in a home listing, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Oftentimes, a home seller will provide the year that a residence was built in a house listing. A seller also may include details about any home upgrades and when these were performed, such as the installation of a new roof or heating and cooling system.

Study a house's age and condition closely – you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate these factors in a home listing, you can narrow your home search as needed.

2. A Home's Price

You know that you want to acquire a house, but you need to consider how you'll pay for a residence too. Fortunately, a home listing includes a house's price, ensuring you can find out whether a residence falls within your price range.

If a house exceeds your price range, you may still want to check it out as well. Remember, the initial asking price of a house is not set in stone, and you may be able to negotiate with a home seller.

For a buyer who reviews a house listing and is unsure about whether to pursue a residence based on its price, assistance is available. In fact, if you meet with local lenders, you can evaluate many mortgage options, get pre-approved for a mortgage and establish a homebuying budget.

3. A Home's Location

Think about whether you want to live in a city or town as you assess home listings. By doing so, you can perform a fast, efficient home search and increase the likelihood of discovering a house in your ideal city or town.

Furthermore, it usually is a good idea to think about your day-to-day activities prior to looking at home listings. If you want to own a house that's close to your office in the city, you may want to review home listings for residences in or near the city itself. Comparatively, if you prefer small town living, you can examine home listings in small towns across the United States.

If you need assistance during your home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide timely, accurate home listings for residences as soon as these houses become available. As a result, a real estate agent can make it easy for you to pursue many outstanding residences and find one that you can enjoy for years to come.


Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.

What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.

1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos

The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.

Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.

Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo

Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.

Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.

In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.

A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.

For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.

Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.

Simplify the process of buying your first condo – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.


No two vacation residences are alike. As such, it pays to be diligent as you conduct a search for the optimal vacation home. Otherwise, you risk purchasing a vacation house that fails to accommodate your long-term needs.

Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to find a vacation home that complements you perfectly, such as:

1. Establish Vacation Home Must-Haves

Think about the features you want in your vacation home. By doing so, you can hone your vacation house search to residences that offer the features you want.

For example, if you want a vacation home that includes a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, you can focus on finding a house that offers this system. Or, if you would prefer a vacation house that boasts an in-ground swimming pool, you can explore residences that offer this amenity.

Don't forget to make a list of preferred cities and towns for your vacation home, too. With this list in hand, you can check out residences in cities and towns that meet your expectations.

2. Create a Homebuying Budget

A homebuying budget is crucial, particularly for an individual who wants to purchase a vacation residence as quickly as possible. Because if you know how much you can spend on a vacation residence, you can focus on houses that fall in line with your finances.

To establish a homebuying budget, it often helps to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help you evaluate different mortgage options for a vacation home. Plus, if you have any mortgage concerns or questions, these specialists are happy to respond to them.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to searching for a vacation house, there is no reason to work alone. In fact, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring a quality vacation residence.

A real estate agent works with a homebuyer and helps this individual achieve his or her desired results. Thus, if you want to find a vacation home in a warm-weather destination, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you would like to purchase a budget-friendly vacation residence, a real estate agent will help you map out your house search accordingly.

Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides throughout the vacation homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to help a homebuyer achieve the best possible results. They will work closely with you throughout the property buying journey, and as a result, will make it simple for you to purchase a first-rate vacation residence.

Kick off a successful vacation home search – use the aforementioned tips, and you could accelerate the process of purchasing a superb vacation residence.


Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.

But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.

In today’s article, we’re going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, we’ll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.

1. Shopping for homes preemptively

Once you decide that you’re interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, it’s tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.

It’s best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?

You’ll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?

These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.

2. Not knowing your budget

It’s a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.

Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.

3. Borrowing the maximum amount

While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.

Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasn’t worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.

4. Forgetting important expenses

If you’re currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which you’ll have to budget for.

However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that you’ll have to figure into your monthly budget.

5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt

While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, it’s usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.

The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the seller’s interests. It isn’t selfish to want to know exactly what you’re getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.




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