Gina Thibeault | Georgetown Real Estate, Groveland Real Estate, Topsfield Real Estate


Let's face it – the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.

Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.

You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.

1. Assess Your Financial Situation

If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.

It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.

For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.

2. Obtain Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.

You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.

Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.

Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.

Get ready to buy a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.


A closing represents the final stage before a buyer acquires a house. At this point, a buyer and seller will meet and finalize an agreement. And if everything goes according to plan, a buyer will exit a closing as the owner of a new residence.

Ultimately, there are several steps that a buyer should complete to prepare for a home closing, and these are:

1. Review Your Home Financing

Typically, a lender will provide full details about your monthly mortgage payments for the duration of your home loan. This information is important, as it highlights exactly how much that you will be paying for your house.

Assess your home loan information prior to a closing. That way, if you have any home loan concerns or questions, you can address them before your closing day arrives.

If you allocate the necessary time and resources to review your home financing, you may be able to alleviate stress prior to closing day. In fact, once you know that all of your home financing is in order, you can enter a closing with the confidence that you'll be able to cover your mortgage expenses.

2. Perform a Final Walk-Through

A final walk-through provides a last opportunity to evaluate a residence before you complete your purchase. Thus, you will want to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that a seller has completed any requested repairs and guarantee that a house matches your expectations.

Oftentimes, a final walk-through requires only a few minutes to complete. The inspection generally may be completed a few days before a closing as well.

It is essential to keep in mind, however, that a final walk-through won't always go according to plan. If you give yourself plenty of time for a final walk-through, you should have no trouble getting the best-possible results.

Try to schedule a final walk-through at least a week before a closing. By doing so, you'll ensure that a seller can perform any requested repairs prior to closing day.

3. Get Your Paperwork Ready

During a home closing, you'll likely need to provide proof of home insurance, a government-issued photo ID and other paperwork. If you get required documents ready ahead of time, you won't have to scramble at the last minute to retrieve assorted paperwork for your closing.

If you need help preparing for a home closing, there is no need to worry. Real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will help you find a house, submit an offer on it and conduct a house inspection. Plus, this housing market professional can provide recommendations throughout the homebuying process to help you achieve your desired results. And as closing day approaches, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions too.

Prepare for a home closing – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can seamlessly navigate the home closing process.


If you plan to conduct a house search, there is no reason to settle for inferior results. Instead, you should dedicate the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive search for your dream house.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why it pays to perform an in-depth home search. These include:

1. You can avoid the risk of buying a subpar house.

As a homebuyer, it is paramount to discover a residence that meets or exceeds your expectations. Because if you purchase a house that falls short of your expectations, you may suffer the consequences of your decision for years to come.

For example, if you want to acquire a home quickly, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase the first house you view in-person. You might even choose to ignore house problems that are discovered during an inspection.

In the aforementioned scenario, you may wind up purchasing a home that will require costly, time-intensive repairs in the foreseeable future. Perhaps worst of all, you may struggle to generate equal value for your residence if you decide to re-sell it at a later date.

2. You can boost the likelihood of finding a house that matches your budget.

If you have a limited homebuying budget at your disposal, there is no need to leave any stone unturned in your quest for your ideal residence.

By dedicating time and resources to conduct an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to find a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Plus, you may be able to pounce at the opportunity to buy a home that matches your budget as soon as this residence becomes available.

3. You may be able to capitalize on a buyer's market.

A patient homebuyer may be able to wait out a seller's market, i.e. a real estate market that features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of sellers. And in this situation, a buyer could capitalize on a buyer's market, i.e. a real estate market that boasts an abundance of sellers and a shortage of buyers. As a result, this buyer could choose from a wide selection of top-notch residences in a buyer's market and select a residence that offers a great combination of affordability and quality.

If you plan to pursue a home soon, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of support throughout the property buying journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to conduct a thorough home search. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and offer expert homebuying recommendations. Also, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal.

Simplify the homebuying process – work with a real estate agent, and you can streamline your house search.


Buying is home is a lengthy and, at times, stressful process. So, it can be discouraging when your offer is rejected.

If you’ve recently had a purchase offer rejected by the homeowner, don’t worry--you have options.

In this post, we’re going to cover some of those options so you can start focusing on your next move and potentially even make a second offer that gets accepted.

1.  Reassess your offer, not the seller

You could spend days guessing the reasons the seller might not have accepted your offer if they didn’t give you a straightforward answer.


However, your time is better spent addressing your own offer. Double check the following things:

  • Is your offer significantly lower than the asking price?

  • If so, is it lower than comparable sale prices for homes in the neighborhood?

  • Does your offer contain more than the usual contingencies?

Once you’ve reassessed, you can determine if a second offer is appropriate for your situation, or if you’re ready to move onto other prospects with the knowledge you’ve gained from this experience in hand.

2. Formulate your second offer

So, you’ve decided to make another attempt at the house. Now is the time to discuss details with your spouse and real estate agent.

Out of respect for the seller’s time and their timeline for selling the home, you should treat your second offer as your last.

So, make sure you’re putting your best offer forward. This can mean removing those contingencies mentioned earlier or increasing the amount. However, be realistic about your budget and don’t waive contingencies that are necessary (commonly appraisals, inspection, and financing contingencies).

3. Consider including a personal offer letter

In today’s competitive market, many sellers are fielding multiple offers on their home. To set yourself apart from the competitors and to help the seller get to know your goals and reasoning better, a personal letter is often a great tool.

Don’t be afraid to give details in your offer letter. Explain what excites you about the house, why it is ideal for your family, and what your plans are for living there.

What shouldn’t you include in your offer letter? Avoid statements that try to evoke pity or guilt from the seller. This seldom works and will put-off most buyers to your offer.

4. Moving on is good time management

If you aren’t comfortable increasing your offer or if you receive a second rejection, it’s typically a good idea to move onto other prospects. It may seem like wasted time--however, just like a job interview that didn’t go as planned, it’s an excellent learning experience.

You’ll walk away knowing more about the negotiation process, dealing with sellers and agents, and you might even find a home that’s better than the first one in the process!


You’ve been binging on HGTV and DIY network every weekend while you save up your money and you’re ready to take the plunge. Your agent tours you through several potentials and there it is … the perfect corner lot, the mediocre house with the awkward layout, chopped up floor plan, aging kitchen, and dated bathrooms. It’s just waiting to reveal shiplap behind the cracked plaster, original hardwood floors under the stained and dusty carpet, and other treasures you can only dream about until their uncovered.

You make the deal … now it’s all yours. Where do you go from here?

Find the right professional
Ideally, a contractor with renovation experience toured the property with you, casting a professional eye over potential problems and exciting possibilities before you made the deal. If not, engage one now. Renovations require specific knowledge of structural issues like which walls to safely remove giving you that open-concept floor plan and which might be load-bearing. Experienced pros know when to call in an engineer to determine whether to expose the beams or if the wiring needs pulling. 

Make a plan
As with any project, make a basic plan before you start. Unlike new-builds, however, your plan might be more general until you’ve removed walls and studs, discarded old cabinets and fixtures, and revealed the location of existing drainpipes, wiring, support structures, and other hidden gems. With everything visible determined, it’s time for demolition. Just know that with a renovation, once demolition starts, plans can change. A supporting beam here, an unmovable drain there, a hidden chimney under that plaster … could derail your perfect original plans. When that happens, a pro can help you figure out what do.

Don’t underestimate time
Watching a 57-minute renovation on television might give you an unrealistic expectation of how long it might be until your home is ready. After all, you don’t have a trove of assistants ordering cabinets, changing out flooring samples and visiting showrooms to cull through items for you. Choice fatigue (the inability to choose between too many choices) can stymy a project for a novice.

Normal delays, hidden issues
You’ve planned, then modified the plans after the demo, selected, deselected, then re-selected the cabinets, flooring, and fixtures. Now it’s time to get approvals and permits. Moving a project through the approval process in your municipality could be smooth sailing or rife with delays. Your professional contractor should help you navigate this process, but waiting for a permit can add days, or weeks to a project.

In addition to the normal delays, your demolition may uncover other issues that require remediation. These include lead, mold, asbestos, termite damage, shifting foundations, broken pipes, and myriad other possibilities. Bringing wiring up to code and changing out electrical panels consumes precious time and adds to the delays.

Before taking on a fixer-upper, seek the advice of a real estate professional with renovation experience to help you make a plan, and plan for contingencies.




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