The French Team-Real Estate Services across Cape Cod
The French Team-Real Estate Services across Cape Cod  

Buyers' Guide

1. Discuss the essentials of the property you plan to buy: location, size, price, and features. Choose a Realtor with whom you are comfortable. Your Realtor can sell you any property: other offices', for sale by owners, bank-owned properties, and open houses.

2. As you work exclusively through your Realtor, he or she will grow to know your needs and preferences and will be able to quickly identify properties matching them. Working with one person saves you time and makes the buying process more pleasurable.

When choosing a Realtor, consider the following:

  • Is s/he full time?
  • Is s/he a member of the Board of Realtors?
  • What professional designations, such as the ABR or SRS, does the agent hold?
  • How much experience does s/he have? Can s/he provide you with references?
  • Are you comfortable with him/her?

3. Obtain the names of three good mortgage officers from your Realtor and confer with one of your choosing to be preapproved. This will prevent your spending large amounts of time looking at properties above or below your actual price range... and will strengthen your offer when you find the property you would like to purchase.

4. Call your Realtor to set up an appointment to begin the buying process. Communicating your requirements in the beginning will save time and avoid your being shown properties bearing no resemblance to what you want.

Some people make a decision the first trip viewing homes, condos, or land. Others take longer. The average number of properties seen before purchasing is approximately eight.

5. When you have selected the property you would like to buy, make an offer to purchase it by writing a deposit check. The traditional amounts on Cape Cod are $500 for land, $1,000 for homes and condos. This deposit will be returned to you if an agreement with the seller is not reached.

You will also sign an Offer to Purchase containing the following items of information:

  1. The purchase price.
  2. The amount of deposit.
  3. The balance of deposit to be made when the Purchase and Sale Agreements are drawn (usually the two deposits total ten percent of the purchase price).
  4. The time by which you request a response to your offer (usually 24-48 hours).
  5. The date for the execution of the Purchase and Sale Agreements (usually two weeks after the offer is made).
  6. The date of the closing (usually two weeks after the bank commitment, if there is financing).
  7. Contingencies of the sale, such as perc tests for land, home and pest inspections for homes and condos, and mortgage commitments. Inspections usually are completed by the day the Purchase and Sale Agreements are signed. Bank applications are due the same day, with commitment dates one month later.

6. Negotiating the sale: Dialogue is conducted through your agent. If your agent is the listing broker, he or she will speak directly to the sellers. Otherwise, he communicates with the listing broker.

7. When agreement is reached on price and terms, the offer is fully executed with the signatures of all parties and initials of all parties next to any changes made in the original.

8. Contact the following professionals:

  1. An attorney to review the Purchase and Sale Agreements for you. If you know what lending institution you will be using, you may be able to arrange to use the same lawyer who will be representing the bank.
  2. Home and pest inspectors to conduct inspections as quickly as possible. Bear in mind that the inspections are not a shopping list to re-negotiate the price, but serve two purposes: to educate you about the property and how to maintain it in the years to come and to protect you and allow you to terminate the agreement should serious structural defects be found.
  3. Engineers to do the perc tests and/or septic/site plan for building lots.

9. Immediately after the offer is accepted, complete your mortgage application. The date for filing it with the bank usually coincides with the date of the Purchase and Sale Agreements.

10. The Purchase and Sale Agreements come to you for signing. After reviewing them with your attorney, you will sign all copies and return them with the second deposit (which can be made in the form of a personal check) to your Realtor. They will be signed by the Realtor and the seller, then a fully executed copy will be returned to you.

11. After the bank commitment has been issued, the attorney will do the title search then confirm with a time and place for the closing.

12. When you receive word that the closing has been scheduled, you should:

  1. Contact the electric company for service: 800-592-2000 (NSTAR)
  2. Contact the gas company, if applicable: 877-696-4743 (National Grid)
  3. Contact the phone company: 800-870-9999 (Verizon)
  4. Contact the cable company: 800-COMCAST
  5. Obtain an insurance binder (See, "Trusted Parnters" section)
  6. Confirm with your attorney the amounts of checks required for closing. Remember that they must be bank checks.

13. After the closing, notify the assessor's office of your purchase so that the tax bills will be sent directly to you rather than the previous owner.


Real Estate Tips...

FEMA Flood Maps May Effect Your Property

FEMA has revised their flood maps to take effect June 2014, greatly increasing the flood zones across Barnstable County.  It's important to check the proposed maps at FEMA MAPS and learn about your options for appeal and insurance. 

Learn more about how to sell your property.

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The French Team at oldCape Sotheby's International Realty

6 Rt. 6A

Orleans, MA  02653


Phone: 508 247 9700 x231

Fax: 508 255 4456



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