Martha’s Vineyard Home Buyers Guide

Jen Hawkins O'Hanlon, REALTOR®


What we do as buyers agents…

  • You will have a personal property scout who will keep you top of mind when new listings become available
  • Work for you for FREE, our commission is almost always paid by the SELLER!
  • Find properties that meet your desires, while researching Zoning, HOA costs, taxes, etc.
  • Help secure financing with a trusted lender.
  • Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best contractual terms and price.
  • Constantly update and communicate with you through the home buying process.
  • Share expertise on the local market and surrounding area to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Step 1: Get Prequalified  – Benefits to you as a Buyer

  • Turns you into a Qualified Buyer.
  • Knowledge of type of loan and amount you qualify for, down payment costs, monthly payments, closing costs and possible lender credits.
  • Many sellers require a pre-qualification letter with any offer if the buyer will be applying for a loan.

Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank

Important Note: 2% of the purchase price is paid by the buyer, to the Land Bank, at the time of closing.
Step 2: Let’s Go Shopping! List and Qualify all the Features of a Home

  • ‘Must-Haves’- If a property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • ‘Should-Haves’- If a property hits all of the “must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute-Wish List’- if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!!
It is super important that you are reasonable, a home is probably not going to have every detail you are envisioning.

Step 3: Contract Details & Earnest Money Deposit

In Massachusetts, we have an Offer to Purchase contract, which requires an initial deposit (usually about $5,000) and then we have a Purchase & Sale Agreement that gets executed after the Offer. Often, up to 10% of the purchase price will be paid with the signed Purchase & Sale Agreement, about 3 weeks after the date of the
accepted offer. It is customary to use an attorney, rather than a title company, to handle the closing here on the Island.

Step 4: Inspection

Home Inspections are a great way to ensure that everything in the house is working properly and there are no safety issues. This also gives a new owner a guide for planning future maintenance and house updates.

  • We have a list of licensed inspectors that we recommend.
  • Cost is typically between $700-$1,500
  • Buyers often choose to have a Radon and
  • Water test is done as well, during the home inspection.

Step 5: Loan Approval

If you have applied for financing, a Loan Approval means you are ready to close on your new home. A reason to celebrate!

Step 6: Final Walk-Thru

The day before your closing, you will have the opportunity to walk through the house to make sure the sellers have removed all belongings and to double check that the house is in the
agreed upon condition before you close.

Step 7: Closing Time!

  • All of your time and efforts have paid off.
  • Follow the attorney’s instructions on wiring funds.
  • Take your drivers license or official ID with you to sign paperwork.

Our Goal: Serve and Educate

  • Our services are free to you!
  • We are not afraid to fight for you.
  • We are full-time agents with years of experience who know and understand the market.


As a team, we work in harmony for the benefit of our clients. We handle multiple transactions at once and are able to execute a complex marketing strategy by leveraging team resources. We can be in several physical locations at once to ensure showings are always possible for our buyers and sellers. Our clients benefit from the combined experience of our agents and administrative staff.

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