Judy Korzenowski - BHHS Commonwealth | Newton, MA Real Estate, Brookline, MA Real Estate


Regardless of when or where you search for a house, a home buying checklist is essential. With this checklist in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly discover a residence that suits you perfectly.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to incorporate into your home buying checklist.

1. Your Home Buying Timeline

Account for how much time is available to find and purchase a house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of getting the most out of the time and resources at your disposal.

As you create a home buying checklist, consider how much time you have before you need to relocate from your current address. Then, you can see how much time you have to pursue your dream home and evaluate the steps you will need to take to make that process run smoothly.

2. Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Consider what you absolutely require from your new home. For instance, if you need a house that is close to your office in the city, you should check out homes in or near the city itself. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your children, you should hone your search to residences that have two or more bedrooms.

Of course, it helps to create a list of home wants and needs when you develop a house buying checklist. With the ability to evaluate your home needs at any time, you will be better equipped when deciding if a particular house is right for you.

3. Your Home Buying Budget

You know you want to purchase a house, but your current financial situation may be limited. Fortunately, if you prepare a home buying budget, you will know how much you can spend on a residence and map out your search accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with credit unions or banks before you begin a home search. Credit unions and banks can teach you about different types of mortgages and how they work. Plus, these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

For those who want to streamline the home buying journey, it's a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can help you craft a home buying checklist, as well as provide tips and guidance as you search for your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. First, a real estate agent will help a buyer evaluate the local real estate sector and narrow their home search. A real estate agent will also help a buyer discover a home that matches their expectations. Finally, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Craft a home buying checklist today – you will be happy you did. Once you have a home buying checklist, you can more seamlessly navigate the house buying journey.


Applying for a mortgage is one of the biggest decision that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. As such, it is important for a first-time homebuyer to dedicate the necessary time and resources to employ the best mortgage lender – without exception.

So what does it take to hire the ideal mortgage lender? Here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer quickly and effortlessly choose the right mortgage lender.

1. Consider a Variety of Lenders

There is no shortage of top-notch lenders in cities and towns across the United States. Thus, a first-time homebuyer can meet with a variety of credit unions and banks to explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal.

Spend some time learning about lenders in your area. Look at each lender's experience and reputation, and you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to select the ideal lender based on your individual needs.

Furthermore, conduct face-to-face meetings with lenders. These meetings will allow you to learn about a wide range of mortgage options and will make it easy for you to make an informed decision.

2. Ask Plenty of Questions

When it comes to getting a mortgage for the first time, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Instead, ask plenty of questions as you consult with assorted lenders, and you can gain the insights you need to pick a lender that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, particularly when it comes to mortgages. If you meet with various lenders, you can get all of your mortgage concerns and queries addressed without delay.

A first-time homebuyer who asks lots of questions may be able to avoid potential financial pitfalls down the line too. In fact, this homebuyer should have no trouble selecting a great lender who can fulfill his or her mortgage needs for years to come.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – selecting a lender may prove to be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased advice to help you find the right lender in no time at all.

A real estate agent understands the challenges of obtaining a terrific mortgage, and as a result, will do everything possible to help a homebuyer discover a lender that can provide outstanding support day after day. Plus, a real estate agent can even help a homebuyer alleviate stress as he or she searches for the right lender.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the entire homebuying journey, either. Typically, a real estate agent can keep a homebuyer informed about new residences as they become available, set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller on buyer's behalf and much more.

Get the right mortgage any time you choose – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.


Buying a home may prove to be challenging, regardless of where you decide to search for a house. However, if you are aggressive in your pursuit of your dream residence, you could speed up your home search.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you stay aggressive during your quest to find your dream house.

1. Keep Track of the Local Housing Market

You know you want to purchase a house in a particular city or town, but residences are selling quickly. Fortunately, if you monitor the local housing sector, you may be better equipped than other buyers to pounce at an opportunity to acquire a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.

Be persistent in your home search. Review the local housing market daily, and if a home becomes available that you want to check out, schedule a showing right away.

Of course, once you find your dream house, don't hesitate to submit an offer to purchase it. Because the longer you wait to submit a homebuying proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer could acquire this residence.

2. Attend Open Houses

An open house provides an excellent opportunity to walk through a residence at your convenience. Then, if you believe a home is right for you following an open house, you can schedule a showing or submit an offer to purchase.

If you attend an open house, take notes when you identify things you like or dislike about a residence. These notes may help you make an informed decision about how to proceed with a home after an open house.

Ask questions during an open house, too. Remember, a seller's agent is on hand during this event, and he or she can provide you with home insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Although you may believe you possess the skills and expertise to quickly discover your dream residence, it never hurts to get extra help. And if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you work diligently to acquire a house that suits you perfectly.

A real estate agent is committed to a buyer's success, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help a buyer accomplish the best-possible results. Therefore, if a buyer wants to purchase a house near a beach, a real estate agent can keep this individual up to date as new beachfront residences become available. On the other hand, if a buyer is operating on a tight budget, a real estate agent will help this individual find a wonderful house that falls within his or her price range.

As you get set to conduct an in-depth home search, it generally helps to prepare for the homebuying journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can take an aggressive approach to accelerate your home search and boost the likelihood of acquiring a house that you can enjoy for years to come.


First-time homebuyers often gravitate to newly-built homes, and for good reason. In a new build, the buyer often gets to choose finishes, fixtures, and flooring. Newer homes have higher energy-efficiency standards and meet up-to-date codes. Most of all, no one else lived there before you. It’s all virgin territory.

Advantages of new builds
Some new builds offer even more customization, letting the buyer participate in design choices, make minor layout changes, and upgrades to appliances, faucets, backsplashes, and lighting.

Another advantage to a newly built home is that no one else has lived in it. This may be especially important to those with pet allergies or other sensitivities. You already know that no dog or cat dander is hiding in the ducts or illness-triggering spice lurks in the range hood.

Often, new homes come with warranties—ranging as high as ten years— providing protection for expensive appliances such as air-conditioning and heating units, water heaters and spa tubs.

Some disadvantages
With all there is to love in a new build, there are a few disadvantages to consider when making your choice.

  • Ongoing construction: if you’re an early buyer in a new development, expect an impact from dust and noise from other homes under construction. Be aware of debris and hazards on new streets from dropped roofing nails to spilled gravel and traffic slowdowns from construction trucks and trailers delivering building supplies and equipment.
  • Fewer neighbors: in a newly developed neighborhood, you might not have neighbors for a while.
  • Limited services: when a whole area is under development, you may need to drive farther to shop, find fuel, or get to basic services like urgent care facilities.
  • Increased assessments: some communities have extra assessments and taxes on developing neighborhoods to repay the city for water and sewer lines, streets and street lights and other city services.
  • Limited landscaping and greenspace: while under development, common-area landscaping, parks, and playgrounds may need to wait for completion of infrastructure, streets, and other necessities. Many new developments have no mature trees or other advanced greenery, so the “feel” is completely different from a mature neighborhood.
  • Schools and libraries may be farther: until the new development needs its own school, the nearest school may be some distance away.
  • Lifestyle limits: restaurants, nightlife, and cultural events may be more difficult to get to.

Before deciding if a new home works for you, talk to your real estate professional about all your options.


Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.




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