Joyce Crommett, Westborough MA Real Estate, Southborough MA Real Estate, Northborough MA Real Estate


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.


Being in the market for a new home can be both an exciting experience and a scary one! It not only represents a huge financial commitment, but it also forces you to step out of your "comfort zone."

That's especially true if you're a first-time home buyer. When you make the switch from being a renter to a home owner, you no longer have the "luxury" of depending on your landlord for repairs, yard maintenance, or help with plumbing emergencies. Now, when the AC quits or the furnace conks out, the responsibility (and cost) of getting it fixed rests squarely on your shoulders!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the possibility of incurring major expenses during the first couple years of owning a home. While there are (usually) no guarantees that household mechanical systems won't fail or that other crises won't befall you as a new homeowner, there are choices you can make that will reduce the chances of being saddled with unexpected expenses.

Buying a home with a newer roof, energy-efficient appliances, updated HVAC system, and a dry basement are four ways you can sidestep many predictable problems down the road. Wear and tear will eventually take its toll on everything from hot water heaters to microwave ovens, but if you can postpone having to replace appliances, roofs, and climate-control systems for several years or more, it will be a lot easier on you and your budget!

So all things being equal, home ownership will be more pleasurable and affordable if you choose a home with recent upgrades, replacements, and improvements -- preferably, those done within the past five or ten years. Besides comparing the maintenance history of houses you're considering, there's also the essential step of hiring an experienced structural inspector. When you've narrowed down your house-buying possibilities to one preferred home, a property inspector can help you identify "red flags" and potential problems before you close on that house.

As your real estate agent will probably tell you, if any major problems are identified in the home inspection process, you may be in a position to renegotiate the agreement or withdraw your offer, entirely. Since legalities are often complex and every real estate transaction is different, however, it's always essential to consult with an experienced real estate attorney whenever questions, problems, or complications arise in a real estate purchase or sale.

While it's a good idea to "expect the unexpected" when purchasing and moving into a new home, it pays to work with a team of trusted advisors. Working with a seasoned real estate agent, a knowledgeable real estate attorney, and a reputable property inspector will help make sure that your experience is both satisfying and relatively problem free! Knowing what you want and being adamant about what matters most to you should also serve you well in the house buying process.


Ready to submit an offer on a house? Not so fast. First, you'll want to consider a few key questions, including:

1. Can I afford to buy a house?

If you find a house you like, make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. By doing so, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming problems down the line.

Ultimately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a homebuyer who is ready to submit an offer on a home.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will understand exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. As a result, this homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.

2. Should I submit a "lowball" offer?

For many homebuyers, it may seem like a good idea to submit a "lowball" offer on a house. But doing so may be problematic for a number of reasons.

If you submit a lowball proposal, a home seller is unlikely to take your bid seriously. As such, this home seller may dismiss your offer and move on to other proposals quickly.

In addition, a lowball offer may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

When you locate the perfect residence, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you submit a fair proposal that meets or exceeds a home seller's expectations, you can avoid the risk of losing your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

3. How much should I offer for a residence?

We've already established that a lowball offer is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Now, you'll just need to determine what differentiates a fair proposal from a lowball one.

A fair proposal accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller. It should be based on the current state of the housing market as well as the condition of a home.

For instance, if you're operating in a buyer's market, there is likely to be a broad assortment of homes available. This means a home seller may need to lower his or her expectations due to the sheer volume of quality residences currently on the market.

Don't forget to study the prices of recently sold homes in a particular city or town too. This housing market data will help you better understand how a residence you're considering stacks up against comparable houses so you can submit an appropriate offer.

4. Do I need a real estate agent?

A real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a home, and for good reason. This real estate professional can help you prepare an offer and will negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Hire a real estate agent before you submit an offer on a house – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can secure a great house at a price that fits your budget.


Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Needs

No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.

Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.

It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.

For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.

2. Your Budget

You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?

Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.

Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.

Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.


For those who are on the lookout for a great house, it may be beneficial to explore homes in small towns. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a small town residence, and these include:

1. You can avoid the hustle and bustle of big city living.

Purchasing a house in the city may prove to be difficult. In many instances, competition for houses near city attractions and landmarks is fierce. Also, owning a home in the city may require you to pay high costs for taxes, parking and more.

Comparatively, small town living often provides a breath of fresh air, particularly for those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of a big city. Small town homes are available in a variety of sizes and styles. Perhaps best of all, purchasing a small town house typically won't force you to break your budget.

2. You can live close to loved ones.

If family members and friends live in a small town, it may be beneficial to join them. And if you kick off a search for a home in the small town of your choice, you can live near loved ones.

Of course, prior to starting a small town home search, you may want to learn about the local housing market. If you possess housing market data and insights, you can tailor your property buying strategy accordingly.

3. You can find a superior house at a budget-friendly price.

Small town homes may be more affordable than their big city counterparts. Therefore, a buyer who wants to find the best value for a home may want to narrow his or her house search to properties in small towns.

When it comes to searching for a small town home, there are lots of exceptional options available across the United States. As such, determining exactly where to pursue a small town home sometimes can be challenging.

Thankfully, hiring a real estate agent is a viable option for all buyers, at all times. A real estate agent can teach a buyer about the housing market in any small town. By doing so, this housing market professional can help a buyer take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a small town residence.

A real estate agent is happy to provide plenty of assistance at each stage of the property buying journey. He or she will set up small town home showings and keep a buyer up to date about properties that match this individual's criteria. Plus, if a buyer finds his or her ideal small town residence, a real estate agent will help this individual submit a competitive offer to purchase.

For those who want to pursue a small town residence, there is no reason to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent today, you can receive extensive support as you conduct a search for a home in the small town of your choice.




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