Want to Buy a House in NH and Not Sure How to Get Started? Ask a Buyer’s Agent

Buying your first house can be a daunting task. How do you know if you’re ready? Where do you start? Who do you work with? Are there things you need to think about like, “What’s my credit like?” and “Does my credit score make a difference?” What kinds of programs and financing are there out there for First Time Home Buyers? How much money do you need to get started?

All great questions and things to consider when you are just starting out and thinking about buying a home in NH. First Time Home Buyers and almost every other home buyer benefits from the experience of a Buyer’s Agent. Why you ask? Because its a Buyer’s Agents job to guide homebuyers through the process of buying a home. Buyer’s Agents can make this process so much easier for any buyer. Not only do they educate you as to how to buy a home, but they help you save money along the way.

Working with many first time home buyers and teaching First Time Home Buyers Seminars for NeighborWorks and New Hampshire Housing and Finance Authority has taught me what First Time Home Buyers need to know and what kinds of questions they have as they go thru the process of buying their first, second or even third homes.

First, find someone you like and trust and meet with them to discuss the process. Where do you start? Ask friends who they worked with when they bought their homes. Did they like working with that agent? Did they trust the agent? Did they appreciate the information the agent shared with them throughout the process? Would they work with that agent again? If the answers are positive, then call that agent. If not, keep asking other friends and family members. Or attend a class like NeighborWorks in Manchester or Nashua. Talk to the agent that presents at the seminar. Keep talking to people till you find someone that you trust to look out for you, and consider your needs and requirements.

Once you find an agent you trust and want to work with ask your agent for recommendations as to whom they trust and work with for financing.  Buyer’s agents and lenders can lead you through the process of getting preapproved. Buyers feel more comfortable when they work with a lender that can guide them through the process of getting preapproved. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. That’s what lenders and buyers agents are there for. We do this all the time, but you don’t. So ask away. It’s how you learn. If the lenders don’t answer your questions, find another one. Just because you started with one doesn’t mean you have to stay with that lender. You can always ask your agent for another lender recommendation.

What if you want to buy a house but you know that you’ve had issues with credit in the past? Don’t let that stop you. Lenders work with credit counseling companies designed to get you ready to qualify for a mortgage. Many lenders even pay for the credit companies to work with you to improve your credit, often more quickly than you could do it on your own. So ask your lender about credit counseling companies and how they can get you ready to buy sooner.

When  you are ready to meet with a lender you will need to provide them with certain documentation. Many lenders require similar documents. So gather together, 2 years of W2’s, 2 months of bank/financial statements (including any 401k’s or IRAs), 1-2 months of pay stubs, a copy of your driver’s license, and any proof of other income you might receive like SS, disability or a pension. Anyone that might want to finance with FHA financing must prove a SS card too. Veteran’s using VA loans need to proved a DD214 Form. Finally if your self-employed you will need 2 years of tax returns.  It’s  a lot to get together. But it will save you time and energy to get preapproved first.

Once you meet with your lender, they will be able to educate you as to what kinds of loans are out there that you might qualify for. They will be able to explain in more detail what the differences are in Conventional Loans, FHA loans, USDA or Rural Development loans. They can explain  NH Housing  programs & grants that  are available. They will be able to walk you through the process of a VA loan. They will even be able to do a Cash Flow for you once you find that perfect house. That will show  you how much you will need for closing costs and for a down payment. It will also tell you what your monthly payment will be.

So you’ve got you financing in order. What’s next?  Talk with your agent about what you think you might be interested in. What kind of house or condo are you looking for? Where do you want to live? Are schools important to you ? Do you want to consider short sales and bank owned properties? What are the benefits or pitfalls of bank owned and short sales? What kind of financing is available for those properties?

Once you’ve sat down and discussed what you are looking for ask your agent to send you properties that meet your requirements. There are many programs that allow buyer’s agents to do that automatically on   a daily basis.

When you find properties that you like and think can work for you, let your agent know you’d like to see them. She’ll schedule a time that works for everyone.  Bring a camera, and paper and pens to write notes about the houses you see. You see so many that it can be very confusing, especially when just starting out. Your agent can point out issues with houses that might disqualify them from being financed the way you want to finance.

What happens next? What do you do when you find the house you love? You and your Buyer’s Agent will work to develop an appropriate offer. You will need a letter of preapproval to accompany your offer to the listing agent along with a deposit check. Then your Buyer’s Agent will negotiate with the Listing Agent and work to come to agreement so that both parties buyers and sellers are satisfied with the offer. Once you have an Effective Purchase and Sales your lender will want a copy of the listing and sales agreement.

Next comes the home inspection. Your agent will recommend someone to do your home inspection. Even veteran home buyers should have a home inspection to prevent you from investing in a home that needs more work than you are willing or able  to do. Home inspectors will inspect every system in your potential house such as the heat, electrical, roof, water, septic, siding, decks and more.  From the basement to the attic and roof. From the windows to the siding and foundation, the home inspector will inspect everything that is readily visible and will provide you with a written report about the house and it’s systems.

From there your Buyer’s Agent and you can choose to continue with the purchase or ask for some repairs to be made to the house. At the same time as your home inspection you should be contacting an insurance agent to make sure you can get insurance on your new home. You also need to check documents like the current deed and condo documents for easements and covenants. Your agent can assist with this.

Once the home inspection is completed satisfactorily, you will need to ask your lender to order an appraisal, one of the last steps in the process. The appraisal is different from the home inspection. The appraiser does look for safety issues, but to a lesser degree than the home inspector. Their primary responsibility is to the lender to insure that the house is both safe and more importantly worth the money that you want to borrow for a mortgage. Once the appraisal is done and Underwriting oks the loan, your lender will give the Clear To Close.

Yay! You’ve made it through the process and are ready to close on your new home. The Title Company which does that actual closing process will contact you and let you know how to proceed and will give you a HUD document which tells what you’ve prepaid, what you need to pay and what the seller’s paying. Your Buyer’s Agent can help you read through the HUD. Then you’re ready to close on your brand new home.

Wasn’t that easy? Not always. But a great Buyer’s Agent can make it easier to understand and negotiate through.

Now to recap.

  1. Find a Great Buyer’s Agent that you can trust to guide you and educate you through the home buying process.
  2. Work with a Great Lender that will help you with all your financial questions and any credit issues/concerns.
  3. Meet with your Buyer’s Agent to discuss the process and the kind of houses or condos you are interested in.
  4. Schedule showings with the agent. Bring your paper, pens and camera with you to your showings
  5. Make an offer based on recent home sales. Everyone wants a deal, including the buyer and seller. Make your offer one everyone can live with.
  6. Have a home inspection and negotiate any essential  repairs. Remember asking for everything can kill the deal. Every home has some more minor repairs, especially if you’re not buying new.
  7. Order the appraisal. Check insurances. Review covenants, easements on the deed.
  8. Work with the lender, title company and your agent for the CLEAR to CLOSE. Your on your way to your brand new home.
  9. Congrats you’ve done it. Now go out and buy some furniture and move in. ENJOY!

Meticulous 3 Bedroom 1.5 bath Cape totally updated Price Reduced to $224,900. Qualifies for 0% down Rural Development Loan

MLS 4386870

MLS 4386870.

10.15 price update

MLS 4375873

Updated price on this 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath cape. Everything’s been updated. Newer roof, siding, windows, new mudroom. Updated kitchen just done in April. Updated baths. Hardwood flooring in front to back LR and DR. Tiled kitchen. Front to back Master with huge walk in closet. Great landscaped lot. Qualifies for Rural Development and FHA financing. Great house for first time home buyers.


MLS 4375873.

MLS 4375873

Financing Your Next Home

Financing your new home can be such a challenging experience to navigate and comprehend. Having worked with a great number of first time and for that matter second or third time home buyers I thought it might be useful information for buyers to have. I know it’s useful information for me to have.

My take from the information below is first and foremost do your research first.  See what kinds of programs lenders have.


Most all lenders have:

Conventional Loans & programs some which  now start at a Deposit of 3-5% and can go up to 20% or more.   Your debt to income ratio or DTI (how much you have in regular bills compared to how much you make) is low on Conventional 43-45% and your credit score needs to be higher than most other at a minimum of 640-660. Up to 9% Closing Costs. Seller Concessions Allowed.

FHA Loans- one of the most popular loans for first time home buyers allows you to put down a Deposit of 3.5% with DTI of 50-55% and a credit score at or above 620. Buyers pay a 1.25% monthly Mortgage Insurance (MI). And Up to 6% Closing Costs seller concessions allowed.

FHA 203k Streamlined Rehab Loan  allows 50-55% DTI with up to $35,000 allowed for Cosmetic or Non-Structural Repairs/Renovations allowed.

VA Loans- allow Veterans to buy homes with 0% Deposit or No Money Down. Veteran’s DTI is stricter at 41-50% as are other No Money Down Loans like Rural Development. Minimum Credit Score is 620-. No MI, mortgage insurance cost.  1.5%-3.3% Funding Fee. No limit to Seller Concessions.

Rural Development aka USDA Rural Development or RD Loans are also 0% Deposit or No Money Down Loans.  However when making an offer on both VA and RD loans all sellers expect an Earnest Money Deposit to hold the property off the market until closing. With RD and or VA you can get your Earnest Money Deposit back at closing if that’s what you choose to do. A .30% MI Mortgage Insurance is needed. 2% Funding Fee which can be rolled in to mortgage. Up to 6% Seller Concessions allowed.

Manufactures Home Loans really depend upon where they are located. Whether they are on their own land, in a mobile home park or a Cooperative Park depends upon which lenders will finance. So when doing your research check out the lenders that finance in the area(s) you want to buy.

NH Housing has more great options for first time home buyers, including grants for down payments or closing costs. Find out more at


This information is meant as a general guide for home buyers from a real estate agents view point. Please check with your lender for more information on the programs they offer.

Find more great information below from these lenders: Barbara Cunningham of St. Mary’s Bank, Bob Tilton of Equity America and Kerry MacDonald “Mac” of Residential Mortgage Services (RMS).







Bob Tilton from Equity America provided this helpful information.












RMS program highlights



Where in the World is Chichester NH?

Where is Chichester, NH and why do you want to be there? Chichester’s a great town 4 mins east of Concord, NH right along Rte 4.

Why do you want to be there?

It’s a small community with an excellent award winning school system. Here’s what GreatSchools.org has to say.


rated 8 out of 10 and 4 out of 5 stars for it’s small class sizes and commitment to improving the curriculum.

The Local Principal, Pamela A. Stiles is Among America’s Best. Check it out here


Chichester is centrally located. 4 mins. from Concord, NH’s Capitol City. 20 Mins from Manchester, NH’s largest city. 45 mins from Portsmouth, NH our coastline. 1 hr to the White Mountains and just a quick 30 minutes to Weir’s Beach @ Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia.

You ask where would I live if I lived in Chichester? Well here’s your answer.


Check out this beautifully upgraded, updated, meticulously maintained home on Mason Rd. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, Great Rm, Eat in Kitchen with Granite counters and breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, front to back master suite with walk in closet and 3/4 bath. walk up attic, professionally painted and landscaped. The open concept kitchen, dining, and living areas, fenced in backyard, patio and fire pit make it the perfect home for entertaining friends and families.

Building Your Dream Home; Why Should Buyers Use a Buyers Agent When Buying New Construction?


Building Your Dream Home

Working with  Builders

Don’t over pay getting a home that the builder wants to build and at the price they want you to pay. Buyers working directly with a builder can lose out financially, emotionally and strategically.  Use a Buyer’s Agent when you plan to build your next home.

Most builders build houses they want to build not the house you want them to build. It makes sense. They know how to build certain houses. Builders that have experience building have the costs down to a science on the houses they are comfortable building. Their crews know how the builders want the job done and can do it quicker without the issues that might arise when they are building a house outside of their usual models, floor plans or styles. Builders have their own established building specifications, options and prices for upgrades such as cabinets, flooring, counter tops and other finishes.

Contractors and Developers usually have a Seller’s Agent representing and marketing the builders interest. That agent’s job is to get you to buy that builder’s houses, with the most upgrades, at the builders price and to protect that builder’s interest. Shouldn’t you have someone to protect yours?

What can a Buyer’s Agent do for you?

Buyer’s agents work with a variety of builders not just one.  Their allegiance is to the buyer not the builder. In order to do that they need to  have experience working with a  variety of different builders. Buyer’s agents need to know what kind of follow through different builders have, or in some cases don’t have. They know which ones to recommend and which ones to stay away from.

As a Buyer’s Agent, I’ve worked with a variety of builders at different levels and based on that experience I’ve seen the quality workmanship, the ethics and the collaboration of a variety of builders. I’ve witnessed first hand which ones do quality work and which ones don’t. In depth discussions with builders has shown me which ones will make concessions and changes to floor plans or home styles and which ones prefer not to or just won’t. Home styles, standards and finishes as well as base and upgrade prices vary widely as does the area that a builder is willing to build in.

Finding a Buyer’s Agent that has had experiences with a variety of builders will be a valuable asset to you when you get ready to build your next new home.  Ask your agent to show you a variety of builders not just one. Then compare apples to apples. Look at the standards of each builder, as well as the style of the house. Is hardwood included? Are granite counter tops included? Is Central AC? Or are these all upgrades? If they are upgrades what are the additional costs?

Will the builder make changes to their “normal” floor plan or to the exterior of the house? Or do they just want to build the houses they’ve been building? Another important thing to know is how long have they been building? What kind of Warranty do they have? Do they resolve issues after you’ve closed on your new home?

As a Buyer’s Agent I consider myself an educator and an advocate. My job is to not only know the quality of the builder but to speak up and advocate for my buyer. My job is to understand the building process and walk the buyers through it. My goal is to get the buyer the  home they want, with all the standards, options, finishes and in the style they desire at the best price in the town or neighborhood they like.

When you get ready to build your new home call a Buyer’s Agent that’s experienced with a variety of builders and contractors. Don’t depend on their Listing Agent to advocate for you and get you the home of your dreams at the price you want to pay. It’s not their job. It’s Mine.


Beechwood Builders – 160 Soleil Mountain Laconia NH


Diamond Edge Realty & Development

255 Bunker Hill Rd Auburn NH – Closed Listing – $480,000


160 Soleil Mountain – Active Listing -$550,000


Douglas Hill Construction

61, 63 & 65 Pearson Rd Merrimack

Active Listings $429,900- $449,000

A Home IN NH Top Picks

A Home In NH



39 Mason Rd.
Chichester, NH 03258
3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 car garage
Decorator and Gardener’s Dream
Great Room, Open Concept Gourmet Kitchen, Stainless Steel Appliances, Granite Countertops
Formal Dining Room, Breakfast Bar, and Eat In Kitchen
Great for Entertaining, Patio, Fenced, Fire Pit out Back
Just Listed $350,000


39 Mason Rd

Single Family Cape in Candia
3 Bedroom, 2.5 Baths, First Floor Master Suite
Office with Cabinetry, Finished Lower Level
Cape, with spacious front to back bedrooms
on 3.4 acres zoned Residential Agricultural
Priced to Sell at $299,900


371 chester rd jpg

Single Family Home West Manchester
85 Fenton St.
Manchester, NH 03102
3 bedrooms, 2 baths, Front to Back Master with Walk in Closet and Balcony
Dining Rm with Fireplace, Front to Back L Shaped Living Rm
Hardwood floors, Breezeway with Sliders to Composite Deck.
Hardscaped patio, walkway and wall
Listed $259,000
85 Fenton St pic


5 Bernards Rd., Merrimack, NH 03054
2 bedroom, 2 full bath condo at Society Hill
End unit near pool and tennis courts
Master Suite with updated bath, & walk in closet
Tiled Dining Room, open concept to Living Room, with Sliders to the balcony
Listed at $125,500
5 Bernards Rd Society Hill
207 Merrimack St (444 Union St.)
Manchester, NH 03103
4 Units
2 Two Bedroom Units, 2 One Bedroom Units
Recently repaired and renovated ($20,000)
Coin Operated Laundry Room
Off Street Parking-5 spaces
Just Listed $245,000
Click on the picture for more info.
207 Merrimack St jpg

Click this link for Full Listings on all the above properties.


Call Barbara Potvin to see these two great Detached Condos at RiverWalk Bedford,  55+ Housing 603-620-2103.