ACCC Provides Prospective Homebuyers in Massachusetts Essential Tips on how to Purchase a Home

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National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling offers consumers important guidelines on buying a house

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With a housing marketing that is extremely competitive in many areas across Massachusetts, it is even more important that potential homebuyers are aware of all necessary steps that need to be taken before buying a house.

The housing market is constantly changing and prospective homebuyers need to be aware of the fundamentals and latest trends in the purchasing process. To help assist consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling is providing a set of guidelines to successfully purchase a house.

“With a housing marketing that is extremely competitive in many areas across Massachusetts, it is even more important that potential homebuyers are aware of all necessary steps that need to be taken before buying a house,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is located in Newton, MA. “Although there are a lot of different things to think about – from securing a mortgage to deciding on priorities when it comes to location, amenities and budget – knowing what needs to be done in advance will make the home buying process less stressful in the long run.”

According to Real Estate Boston, the average median cost of a home in many Massachusetts cities and towns broke the $1 million mark in 2015. Some towns such as Newton and Winchester saw a 20 percent increase in median home costs. Concord saw the biggest jump with a 24 percent increase in June 2015 hitting a median cost of $1,050,000.

American Consumer Credit Counseling is providing tips prospective buyers should think about before purchasing a home:

1.    Set a budget – Calculate all expenses to figure out an affordable monthly payment plan. Do not forget to include the down payment, property taxes (which can vary widely from community to community), additional insurance that may be required (such as flood insurance), and closing costs in this budget.

2.    Check credit – A consumer’s credit score is one of the most important factors when qualifying for a loan to buy a house. Be sure to take steps to improve your score and check for any errors so they can be fixed before applying for a loan. If there is a bad history in your credit report, be prepared to explain it to the lender.

3.    Consider taking a home buying course - ACCC and other nonprofits offer first-time homebuyers courses that provide a wealth of information and advice on virtually every aspect of the home-buying process. These classes are also required with certain types of loans.

4.    Compare mortgage options – Do your research. Different mortgages offer pros and cons, such as lower interest rates or a smaller down payment. Look for the mortgages with the lowest interest rates and the best money saving options.

5.    Research utility costs – Do research and ask all necessary questions about the home’s average energy and utility bill to prevent any surprises down the road.

6.    Consider all expenses – The cost of purchasing a home is usually the largest, but not nearly the only expense consumers will face. Make sure to budget for additional costs such as moving expenses and maintenance. Pay attention during the home inspection so that you know if there are any major – and potentially costly – issues that need to be addressed. If you do not have one already, be sure to set up an emergency fund in case of any unexpected occurrences, such as a broken washing machine.

7.    Consider the pros and cons of new versus older homes – although new homes may have a larger ticket price up front, many come with appliance and structure warranties that could save you money in the future should anything become faulty.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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Marissa Sullivan
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