Buying a home in MassachusettsBuying a home in Massachusetts is different from doing so in most other states. To start with, you are legally required to retain the services of an attorney. When you decide to buy a house in most states, your real estate agent draws up an offer on a standard form. Then there’s often a bit of haggling, after which the buyer and the seller sign the form, making it a binding purchase contract, subject to any contingencies written in. However, in Massachusetts, this process has two steps:
- The buyer’s agent writes up an offer on a short standard form. The two most commonly used ones are published by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. However. As soon as the offer has been signed by the seller, you are in contract to proceed with the deal, and the seller can’t accept other offers.
- Once the contingencies are satisfied — and sometimes following further haggling over issues arising from the inspection or appraisal — a longer, more detailed contract is drawn up. This is known as a Purchase and Sale Agreement — or P&S for short. And it normally lasts, intact, all the way to closing.
Refinancing in MassachusettsJust as when you’re buying a home, in Massachusetts, you must be represented by an attorney when you refinance your mortgage. It’s the law. If you find a good one, who specializes in real estate, this can be a good thing. Yours may steer you away from bad deals and toward better ones. And she might save you from making a serious mistake. At the very least, having a professional on your side can relieve some of the stress. A couple of categories of unexpected closing costs frequently trip up those refinancing in the state:
- Don’t expect the “principal balance” on your existing mortgage statement to be the whole amount you’ll have to pay to redeem your mortgage. There’s often extra interest accruing during the time leading up to closing and don’t forget you pay interest in arrears (for the preceding month)
- Your lender may well require a payment from you to an escrow account for items such as future property taxes and homeowners insurance. Make sure you allow for those when calculating your closing costs
Top MA mortgage lendersThe most popular mortgage lenders in Massachusetts are a mix of national brands and smaller, regional banks. According to ValuePenguin, the five biggest MA mortgage lenders are: Citizens Bank, Bank of America, Quicken Loans, Santander Bank, and Guaranteed Rate. If you want to explore some more options for your mortgage, see:
- The Best Mortgage Lenders for 2023
- The Best Mortgage Refinance Companies for 2023
- Individual Mortgage Lender Reviews