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In the months of June and July, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation conducted an online survey on home-buying. The survey included questions about each consumer’s home-buying prospects, what types of issues they are worried about when it comes to buying a home, and even tested some of their knowledge on certain areas of the home-buying process including credit, mortgages, real estate agents, home insurance, home inspections and some legal aspects.

Consumers do seem to know a lot about the home-buying process. In particular, consumers showed an understanding of credit reports, credit history and the meaning of credit worthiness, the fact that special mortgage products exists for first-time home buyers, what dual agency for real estate agents means, factors that affect home insurance, and the legal requirements of removing lead paint. But there are some things many consumers do not know. Consumers struggle with information pertaining to APR (annual percentage rate) and its meaning, the functions of a real estate agent, and what home inspectors look for.

Here are highlights of the survey results:

  • About 75% of those surveyed intend to buy a home in Massachusetts in the next five years.
  • The two greatest areas of concern for those surveyed is understanding the home-buying process (about 45%) and being able to find an affordable home (about 75%).
  • Home buyers find the home-buying process intimidating, with just over 75% of consumers finding it somewhat (55%) or very (24%) intimidating.
  • Home-buying topics that are understandable:
  • Credit report (94% correct)
  • Credit history/worthiness (98% correct)
  • Special mortgage products exist (98% correct)
  • Dual agency of real estate agents (75% correct)
  • Factors that affect home insurance (85% correct)
  • Lead paint removal/legal (92% correct)
  • Home-buying topics that appear to be confusing:
  • APR as a tool to shop around (38% correct)
  • Real estate agent functions (33% correct)
  • What home inspectors look for (58% correct)

For more information about home buying, visit our webpage on buying and selling a home, or our page with various links on home buying. For more information on consumer rights and resources, call our Consumer Information Hotline at (617) 973-8787 or send us an email.

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