Susan McPherson - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth | Natick, MA Realty, Sherborn, MA Realty, Dover, MA Realty


Shopping for a new house can seem like an overwhelming experience because there are so many factors to consider.

The top priorities for the majority of house hunters include the quality of the school district, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the overall condition of the house. Price is also a major consideration, as is square footage, commuting distance, and the character of the neighborhood.

In many cases, house hunters have specific requirements in mind, ranging from privacy to the layout of the rooms.

Although your search will be much more efficient if you know exactly what you want, the process of looking at houses will help you clarify your preferences, needs, and design ideas for your next home. Touring houses online and browsing home decorating websites can give you a lot of useful ideas, but nothing compares to actually visiting houses and taking a close look at everything the property has to offer.

Working with an experienced real estate agent is often the best way to find a home that checks off most of your priority items and meets your expectations. Searching the real estate market on your own is like going on a self-guided tour of a large historical site or tourist attraction. Without expert guidance, you could easily overlook some of the best aspects of the property, and you could also miss some "red flags" and negotiating opportunities that only a trained real estate professional could recognize.

Other than price, location, size, and property condition, what are other key features you might want to keep your eye out for? Everyone has different priorities and "wish lists," but when you know what you want, you'll be a lot more likely to be satisfied with the outcome! While there is no shortage of house hunting checklists online, here's a quick overview of some of the features and property characteristics you'll want to keep in mind.

Although you'll generally want to have a home inspector take a close look at any home you've made an offer on, there are a few key things you can notice before you even get to that stage. The condition of interior walls, the roof, and basement are three areas worth paying close attention to. Wet basements are not uncommon, but they can cause damage to your foundation and many things you might want to store there. Wet basements are also breeding grounds for mold spores, so a chronically wet basement can potentially be hazardous to your health, too -- especially if you or your family is prone to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency is a good source of information on indoor air quality issues.

There are literally dozens of other details you'll want to pay attention to in prospective homes, including amount of storage space, the size of the back yard, privacy -- or the lack, thereof -- the house's distance from the street and other houses, the neighborhood noise level, the amount of street traffic, the reputation of nearby schools, and convenience to shopping centers, medical facilities, transportation, recreation, and entertainment. Other desirable features include a nice patio or deck, a garage, a fully functional HVAC system, updates to bathrooms and the kitchen, and enough room in the house for your growing family, overnight guests, and the occasional holiday party.


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.


A home showing represents a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. However, there may be instances in which a buyer is unsure about whether to attend a house showing. Lucky for you, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of scheduling a home showing.

Now, let's take a look at three questions to consider before you attend a house showing.

1. Is a home the right size for me?

Take a look at a home listing and find out the square footage and number of rooms in a house. That way, you'll be able to determine whether a house is the right size for you without setting foot inside the residence itself.

Of course, you should consider your immediate and long-term plans as you evaluate a home's size. If you plan to start a family soon, for example, you may want to search for a home that offers sufficient space for you, your spouse and your children. Or, if you intend to retire in the foreseeable future, you may want to pursue a small home that requires minimal maintenance.

2. Is a home located in one of my preferred cities and towns?

Think about where you want to reside. Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of preferred cities and towns and narrow your home search to these areas. And if you find a home you want to check out in one of these cities or towns, you then can schedule a property showing.

In addition, it is important to remember that a big city home may prove to be more expensive than a comparable residence in a small town. If you decide to pursue a house in a big city, you may face increased competition for city homes in comparison to small town residences too.

3. Could a home be my dream residence?

Ultimately, if there is even a small chance that a home could be your dream residence, it may be beneficial to set up a showing. If you attend a showing and find a residence is your ideal house, you can submit an offer to purchase this home. On the other hand, if you attend a showing and find a residence falls short of your expectations, you can simply continue your pursuit of your dream house.

As you conduct your search for your ideal residence, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns and much more. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Consider the aforementioned questions before you schedule a home showing – you will be glad you did. And if you decide to attend a house showing, you will be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular home is right for you.


Believe it or not, even a first-time homebuyer can become a property buying expert. If you plan ahead for the homebuying journey, you can quickly and easily navigate the path from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you master the homebuying journey.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home in the foreseeable future, it generally is a good idea to create property buying criteria. That way, you'll know what you want to find in your dream residence and can map out your home search accordingly.

For instance, if you prefer big city life, you may want to hone your house search to a select group of cities. On the other hand, if you want to own a house that offers a large backyard and an in-ground swimming pool, you may want to search for homes that fall in line with your expectations.

2. Get Home Financing

As a homebuyer, you likely will need to secure a mortgage so you can acquire your dream residence. Fortunately, there is no shortage of banks and credit unions across the United States that are happy to help you obtain home financing.

Take a look at the mortgage options available from a variety of banks and credit unions – you'll be happy you did. By conducting an in-depth evaluation of your home financing options, you can make an informed mortgage selection.

Of course, home financing can be complicated. And if you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask a bank or credit union for assistance. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can provide mortgage insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure how you'll navigate the homebuying journey, there is no need to worry. Dozens of real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can offer comprehensive homebuying insights.

For those who want to master the homebuying journey, it often is beneficial to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you about different aspects of the homebuying journey. Plus, he or she is ready to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions as you search for your ideal residence.

In addition, a real estate agent offers extensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. From the moment you start your home search to the moment you finalize your home purchase agreement, a real estate agent is available to help. Best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress as you consider houses and ensure you can make the best-possible home purchase decision.

As you get set to enter the real estate market, you should strive to become a homebuying expert. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can master the homebuying journey and discover and buy your dream residence in no time at all.


If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.

As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.

1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.

To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.

Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.

2. Establish a Budget

Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.

A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.

Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




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