Homebuying Tips from Successful Buyers

Juan Fausto and Myrna Blankcarte are graduates of the Homebuying 101 class at Allston Brighton CDC.  They purchased their first home in Allston in 2004 and graciously agreed to share their experience by answering some of our questions.

How long did it take you to find a property?
It took us four months to make an offer on a property, however we went through a process of deciding if we wanted to stay in this country or go back to Mexico.  We may still go back to Mexico, but we decided instead of paying so much money in rent it was better for us to invest in our future by purchasing our first home.

What were the factors that led you choose your loan?
We investigated different mortgage products online.  In the end, we worked with a loan officer who was recommend by a friend, a decision we were comfortable with because of our increased knowledge.  The loan was with no downpayment and a low-interest rate.

Why did you decide to buy in Allston?
We wanted to stay in the city.  Allston has everything we want in a neighborhood.  It has access to public transportation, community resources, and is close to our jobs.

Did you have to sacrifice something in order to buy your first home?
We decided to sell our car after we purchased our condo.  We realized that we did not need it, since we have access to public transportation and can walk anywhere.  As homeowners, we need to prepare for unexpected housing expenses.  Selling the car gave us an opportunity to save more for these expenses.

What are the challenges you face as a homeowner?
Homeownership has made us feel committed to the neighborhood.  There are more responsibilities and time commitment involved with being active in the community and our condo association.

Do you have any suggestions for prospective buyers?
Homebuyers need to educate themselves about the homebuying process, both through the class and through their own research.  It is really important in your research to learn about the various programs for first-time homebuyers offered by the state and your city.  The services that community agencies such as Allston Brighton CDC provide are extremely important, but many people are unaware of everything they have to offer. Early on in the process buyers should get pre-approved, to help figure out how much they can afford.  We recommend that people to work with a loan officer they feel comfortable with and who speaks their language.  It is important to identify your preferences and priorities, for example if you plan to buy a two-family it is very important to educate yourself as a landlord before you purchase the home.