Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


No one should be forced to break the bank to secure a terrific house. However, a first-time homebuyer may be more likely than others to overspend on a residence, particularly if he or she fails to understand the ins and outs of the housing market.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you what it takes to browse the real estate market effectively so you can find a house that matches your budget.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a first-time homebuyer purchase an affordable residence.

1. Examine the Housing Market Closely

Many great houses are available, and a first-time homebuyer should review a broad range of residences closely. By doing so, this homebuyer can establish a price range for his or her home search.

Evaluate the prices of residences that are currently available in your city or town. That way, you can find out what it costs to afford a home that may serve you well both now and in the future.

Also, assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data in hand, you can find out whether you're about to enter a buyer's market or seller's market and plan accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage can help you map out a homebuying budget before you enter the real estate market. Thus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference for any first-time homebuyer, at any time.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions in your area. These lenders can teach you about different mortgage options and help you select one that corresponds with your budget.

In addition, be sure to ask plenty of questions about potential mortgage options before you make your final mortgage decision. This will allow you to understand the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and choose a mortgage that can help you avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to pursuing a house for the first time, don't leave anything to chance. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the process of purchasing an affordable residence.

A real estate agent helps take the guesswork out of looking for residences. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and set up home showings on your behalf. Plus, this housing market professional will do whatever it takes to guarantee you can obtain an affordable house that surpasses your expectations.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying journey. And if you encounter challenging negotiations with a home seller, a real estate agent will step in and help you get the best price for a residence – without exception.

Ready to purchase a house for the first time? Use these tips, and you can acquire an affordable residence that you can enjoy for years to come.


If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.



A home inspection often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. If an inspection shows that there are no underlying problems with a house, you should have no trouble moving forward with a home purchase. On the other hand, if an inspection reveals a variety of structural problems with a house, you may need to reconsider your purchase decision.

Ultimately, a homebuyer who knows what to expect during a home inspection can plan accordingly. This buyer also may be better equipped than others to accept the results of an inspection and make an informed choice about whether to move forward with a home purchase.

What does it take to achieve the best-possible results during a home inspection? To find out, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can prep for a house inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

There is no shortage of home inspectors available in cities and towns nationwide. However, employing an expert home inspector will require you to conduct an in-depth search.

When it comes to finding an expert home inspector, it pays to search far and wide. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of identifying major and minor house issues during an inspection.

2. Assess Every Area of a House

Oftentimes, a home inspection takes several hours to complete, and for good reason. In order to fully evaluate a residence, you'll want to be diligent. That way, you can minimize the risk of missing potential problems as you perform a home assessment.

As you walk through your house with an inspector, don't hesitate to ask questions too. In fact, a home inspector may be able to provide insights into home problems and repairs that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you find your dream house, as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, this housing market professional likely will walk through a house with you during an inspection to ensure you can get the support you need to make an informed homebuying decision.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to consult with you before and after a home inspection. Prior to an inspection, a real estate agent will help you put together a plan to assess a house. Meanwhile, after an inspection, a real estate agent can discuss the inspection results with you and help you determine the best course of action.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. This housing market professional can help you streamline your search for your dream house, submit a competitive offer on a residence and ensure you can purchase a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

A home inspection may seem daunting at first. Luckily, if you plan ahead for a home inspection, you can use the assessment to gain the insights that you need to determine whether a house is right for you.


If you’re in the market to buy a home, you have a lot of options. Do you want to buy a fixer-upper? Should you get a home close to the city or nestled in the suburbs? How much can you spend on a home to get the amount of space you’ll need for you and your family. There are so many variables that exist in the decision to buy a house.


One thing that many buyers want but aren’t sure of is the concept of a “move-in-ready” home. Sometimes, move-in-ready means that a home is brand spanking new. There should be no work in the house that needs to be done because everything is installed new during construction. As soon as construction is completed, you should be able to move right into the home. 


Other homes that are deemed ready to move right in are those that are relatively new and have very little work to do. If a home has a roof that’s caving in, it’s not move-in-ready. If a home needs paint, it’s a sure bet that you can move right in. You may just need a bit of elbow grease in some of these situations. It’s your job to let your real estate agent know what you are looking for and what your budget is. Read on to discover the benefits of buying a move-in-ready home. 


You Can Enjoy It ASAP


It takes a lot of work and a lot of cash up front to buy a home. You want to enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner rather than later. If you buy a home that needs little to no work, you’ll be able to enjoy it sooner. There’s no waiting period to move in when you buy a house that’s in excellent condition. You can just start living.


New Upgrades


If you buy a home that you can move right into, you will often get things that are trending at the moment. The best of appliances, technology, and security are just some of the benefits that you’ll be able to enjoy when you buy a home that doesn’t need a lot of work. 


Good Location


Many times, you’ll find move-in-ready homes in great locations. These homes will also give you a great resale value once you head to sell the house in the future.


Motivated Sellers


Whether you buy a brand new home or a home that has been upgraded, these sellers are often very motivated. Builders want to get paid for the work they have done. Sellers of upgraded homes wish to get their homes off of their hands and get a return on their investment.


Finding a move-in-ready home may take some time, but the benefits are definitely worth it.          


For the most part, it’s safe to say we all know to come prepared when buying an older home. But did you know that the buying process of a new construction home comes with its own quirks? The customization and relationship with the builder through the process makes for a unique experience when buying a new construction home.

Here’s what you need to know:

Some developments have site registration policies. This means that they require you to come with your agent for at least the first couple visits. Don’t be caught off guard. When planning your viewings be prepared to work with your agent's schedule as well as your own.

Instead of asking to lower the cost ask when negotiating ask the builder to pay closing costs or to include upgrades. You’ll have an easier time getting a yes to these requests as builders don’t like to lower costs and gain a reputation for doing so in the process.

New construction homes aren’t a final product when purchasing. Because of this, it’s critical to get details on paper to protect yourself during the buying process. Details to include are how the home will be finished, any and all timelines, and what will happen if, for whatever reason, the home is not finished in time. Get all of this in writing to create a binding contract.

Ask questions! When touring the model house be sure to ask what comes standard and what is an upgrade. Get costs of upgrades that catch your eye so that you can plan your budget. When planning this budget you will also want to leave wiggle room as this will be a quote and not final cost. Your agent can help you create a list of common features that are standard and/or upgradable as well as ballpark costs.

Budget Tip: When deciding on upgrades know which are easier to have done during construction. Prioritize those over those that can easily be done after. Think upgrades that include wiring or getting into walls and ceiling for whatever reason.

New construction homes often come with a warranty. It’s important to know what this covers and what it doesn’t. Understand your cancellation rights and hire a real estate lawyer to review contracts and any important documents.  

Research the builder and if possible talk to other residents in the neighborhood. Ask them about their experience both during the buying process and living in the development afterward.

One thing that often catches home buyers off guard is when the builder requires you to get pre-approved by their lender even if you use your own lender. This is to safeguard themselves by ensuring you pass their lenders requirements for a safe investment. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may even get better rates and fees from the builder's lender.




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