Joleen Rose - ERA Key Realty Services-Bay State Group


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You have been in the same home for several years, but you want to move. You'll need to decide whether to rent or buy and if you decide to buy, what type of home you want. Condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes all have benefits, depending on where you are in life. Many people don’t want to deal with lawn maintenance when they get older. Sometimes, younger people who are focused on their careers would rather not have any maintenance to deal with. However, the perks of owning a single-family home often outweigh the cons, especially if the only con is the maintenance. After all, you can always hire someone to take care of the maintenance.

More Privacy

Even if you are in the city with your neighbors close to you, you have more privacy with a single-family home than you would with a condo or a townhouse. Even though you have a yard with a townhouse, you'll likely share it with the others in the same building. And, when you share a wall with your neighbor, you must be mindful of loud noises, which means you can’t turn the television up as loud as you want. With a single-family home, you can also fence in your backyard for even more privacy.

Add-Ons

When you buy a single-family home, you can add to the value of the property without getting anyone’s permission. If you want to add a garden shed, a detached garage or even a pool, as long as zoning allows it, you can do that. However, if you are buying a house in a neighborhood with deed restrictions, you will probably have to get permission from the property association before initiating these projects.

Additionally, with a single-family home, you can build out additions on as long as you can get the permits. Maybe you have aging parents you want near you. If they don’t want to live in the same house, you can add on an in-law apartment, guest house on the property, or even add a bedroom suite to your house. If you start out small but decide to have more kids than you originally planned, you can add more bedrooms to a single-family house. 

If you plan on adding to your property, you probably want to avoid restricted deed neighborhoods.

Entertaining

Single-family homes are usually better for entertaining as they have more room inside and out. With a single-family house, you can add decks and porches to your specifications. You can even create an outdoor living area complete with a kitchen and screened in patio that you can enjoy yourself or for entertaining large groups. If you do enjoy entertaining, a home with an open floor plan makes gatherings more comfortable because you don’t have walls creating smaller spaces. People can mingle throughout the living room, dining room, kitchen and den areas. Adding French doors out to the deck or patio makes your entertaining space even larger.


Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary – something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.

You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.

2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders

There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.

Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.

3. Review a Mortgage Closely

A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.

For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.

Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.

If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.


Buying a home should be a problem-free experience. Yet issues may arise that make it tough to acquire the perfect house at an affordable price.

Common problems that come up during the homebuying journey include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

Before you search for a home, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off a house search with a budget in hand.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you get approved for home financing in no time at all.

Of course, if you have questions as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask a lender for assistance. Lenders employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries without delay.

2. Temptation to Submit a Lowball Offer to Purchase

Once you find your ideal residence, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase at or below a house seller's initial asking price. But doing so may be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to acquire his or her dream residence as quickly as possible.

If you submit a lowball offer to purchase a house, a seller likely will reject the proposal. Worst of all, a rival homebuyer may swoop in with a competitive offer to purchase this residence – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to buy your ideal home.

Ultimately, it is beneficial to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. If you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and how a residence stacks up against comparable houses in the same city or town, you can craft a competitive offer to purchase. And as a result, a competitive offer to purchase may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller, leading to a fast, successful homebuying experience.

3. Failure to Identify Problems During a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount because it gives you the opportunity to walk through a residence with a property expert and learn about any underlying house issues. Then, if you discover major problems with a house, you can ask a seller to complete property repairs, reduce your initial offer to purchase or walk away from a residence altogether.

Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive expertise – you'll be glad you did. With the right house inspector at your side, you can get the help you need to identify problems during a property inspection.

Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can provide extensive guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can mitigate homebuying problems before they escalate.

Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.


As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to guarantee a quick, seamless homebuying journey. Because if you're not careful, you may be forced to deal with a nightmare homebuying experience.

Ultimately, there are many ways to ensure that you can avoid a nightmare homebuying experience, such as:

1. Narrow Your Home Search

Although you know that you want to buy a home, it pays to consider exactly what you'd like to find in your ideal residence. By doing so, you can narrow your home search and avoid the homebuying nightmare of pursuing residences that fail to meet your expectations.

Think about which features are must-haves for your new home, as well as which features you can afford to live without.

For example, if you require a home that is close to your office, you can search for houses near your workplace. On the other hand, if you want to live in a small town, you can remove city residences from your home search.

Establish priorities as you search for your dream house – you'll be glad you did. If you separate your home must-haves from your wants, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to finding your ideal residence.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

How much can you afford to spend on a house? Create a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of browsing available residences that fall outside your price range.

To determine how much money you have available for a home purchase, it often helps to meet with local banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can provide details about a variety of mortgage options and help you select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

Also, you should check your credit report before you buy a home. You are entitled to a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score and take steps to improve it prior to purchasing a house.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent understands both the homebuyer's and home seller's perspectives. As such, this housing market professional can help you analyze a home seller's point of view and negotiate the best price on any home, at any time.

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will map out a homebuying journey, one that helps you streamline the process of acquiring your ideal house.

Let's not forget about the assistance that an experienced real estate agent can deliver throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can provide expert insights into the housing market and help you make informed decisions, thereby reducing the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.

Take the guesswork out of buying a home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can minimize the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.


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Up to 9.2 million Americans will purchase their first home in 2020. Homeownership is a wonderful and sometimes overwhelming experience. It's exciting to have a place that you can personalize and call your own. However, owning a home can quickly become a burden if you don't plan carefully. Keep in mind these five tips to make your first-time home-buying experience a success.

Essential tips for first-time homebuyers

1. Save until you have a 20 percent down payment.

Paying cash for a home is out of reach of most families. However, there are big advantages if you have at least a 20 percent down payment to offer. This automatically means that you won't have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), something that generally adds a full one percent to the cost of your loan. In addition, a sizable down payment means you'll likely have equity in your home when it comes time to sell.

2. Get pre-approved for a loan.

When shopping for your first home, it's easy to fall in love with a property that may be a little beyond what you can comfortably afford. Getting pre-approved for a loan lets you know what you can safely pay for home payments. Plus, the sellers will know that you're serious about buying and that financing won't be a problem for you.

3. Get your agent's advice on how much to bid.

Real estate markets vary dramatically around the United States. Your local real estate agent is well-suited to help you navigate the market in your particular region. In some high-demand areas, you may need to offer more than the listed price, but in most areas, a seller is likely to accept an offer below the listing price, especially if the property has been on the market for a few months.

4. Be prepared for closing costs.

Closing costs, the money that you'll owe at closing for property taxes, title insurance, the title company's fee and other related costs, can be a surprise to a first-time homebuyer. These costs can vary between 3 and 5 percent of the total purchase price. The average closing costs for a single family home is $3,700 and is due when you sign the purchase papers, usually between 30 and 45 days after your offer is accepted.

5. Make sure you have an emergency fund.

While it may be tempting to sink your all of savings into your new home, what with a deposit, closing costs, insurance and doing any necessary remodeling, it's important to put a few months' mortgage payments in an emergency fund just in case life throws you a curveball. Many things can affect even the most responsible homebuyer's ability to pay their mortgage, things such as illness, job loss or a reduction in work hours. Plus, you'll sleep better at night knowing that you have that financial cushion.