Addie Finley | Billerica MA Real Estate Real Estate, Lowell MA Real Estate Real Estate


An open house enables a buyer to check out a residence in-person and determine if this home matches or exceeds his or her expectations. However, a buyer who fails to plan ahead for an open house may struggle to make the most of this opportunity.

Ultimately, there are several things you need to consider before you attend an open house, such as:

1. Your Home Must-Haves

Make a list of must-have home features – you will be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can check out a house in-person and determine if it has the features you require.

You also may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns prior to launching a house search. This list will allow you to hone your home search – and your search for open house events – to a small group of cities and towns.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

As a homebuyer, it is crucial to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence. If you enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of attending an open house for a residence you may be unable to afford.

To establish a homebuying budget, you should review your current finances. You may want to meet with banks and credit unions as well. And if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know exactly how much you can spend on a residence when you start your house search.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

There is no guarantee that attending one open house will help you find your dream residence. But if you maintain flexibility, you can attend a variety of open house events and boost the likelihood of discovering a residence that falls in line with your expectations.

Furthermore, you should be ready to act quickly if you attend an open house and want to buy a residence following the event. In this scenario, you should be prepared to work diligently to put together a competitive offer to purchase the home.

As you get set to attend an open house, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can keep you up to date about open house events in cities and towns where you want to reside. Plus, a real estate agent can attend an open house with you and provide plenty of homebuying tips and insights.

Let's not forget about the support a real estate agent provides once you find a house you want to purchase, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Consider the aforementioned factors closely before you attend an open house. By doing so, you can prepare for an open house and use the opportunity to determine if a residence is right for you.


The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and it’s really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in today’s post we’re going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isn’t always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also don’t have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, you’ll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, it’s worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but haven’t quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or you’ve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who aren’t quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once you’ve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

You’re also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money you’ve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.


For those who want to simplify the homebuying process, crafting a budget is ideal. Because if you tailor your house search to your finances, you can eliminate the risk of spending beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.

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

1. Analyze Your Financial Situation

Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Once you have your credit report, you can assess your credit score and take steps to improve it as needed.

Getting your credit report can help you identify outstanding debt and other financial issues that may make it tough to acquire a house. If you can correct these issues today, you can eliminate the risk that they could impact your ability to buy your dream residence in the near future.

2. Consider Your Homebuying Expenses

The price of a home is one of many financial considerations that a buyer will need to evaluate during the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you map out your homebuying expenses, you can ensure that you'll have the finances available to cover these costs as you pursue your dream home.

For example, a property inspection may be used to assess a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase. This inspection will require you to hire a professional home inspector, so you will need to make sure you have the money available to cover the cost of this homebuying expense.

You should consider home closing costs as well. And if you start saving for home closing fees and other homebuying expenses, you won't have to worry about scrambling to get the money to cover these costs as you navigate the property buying journey.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage is a must, regardless of your homebuying goals. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can analyze your home financing options and select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages and how each type of mortgage works. Plus, if you have any mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are ready to respond to your queries right away.

As you prepare to pursue your dream house, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you streamline your search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top mortgage professionals in your area, help you plan ahead for various homebuying expenses and much more.

If you want to conduct a successful home search, it may be a good idea to prepare a homebuying budget. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can craft a homebuying budget so you can accelerate the process of acquiring your dream house.


As a homebuyer, you likely will want to do everything possible to secure your dream house at a budget-friendly price. Yet for those who are dealing with an aggressive property seller, achieving the optimal results may prove to be challenging.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the homebuying process so you can acquire your ideal residence at an affordable price – even if you're forced to deal with an aggressive home seller.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you deal with an aggressive property seller and accomplish your desired homebuying results.

1. Remain Patient

It may be tough to deal with an aggressive home seller at times, but those who stay the course can buy a house that matches or exceeds their expectations.

Remember, a patient homebuyer generally is a happy homebuyer. If a buyer avoids rash decisions and remains calm, cool and collected when dealing with an aggressive seller, he or she can boost the likelihood of making the best-possible choices throughout the property buying journey.

2. Focused on Your Desired Results

The ultimate goal of the homebuying journey is to find and buy a house that you can enjoy for years to come. In some instances, an aggressive seller may make it difficult for you to accomplish your goal. But if you prioritize the end results of the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than others to secure a terrific residence.

If you focus on the big picture, you may be able to reduce the risk that minor issues with an aggressive home seller could slow down the property buying journey. And if you do whatever it takes to achieve your desired homebuying results, you may be able to find unique solutions to various problems.

Don't forget to maintain open communication with a seller. If you open the lines of communication with a seller, both you and a seller can work together to ensure all parties are satisfied with the results of a home sale.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to deal with an aggressive seller, you may want to hire a real estate agent. That way, you'll have an expert negotiator at your disposal.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller and his or her agent on your behalf. By doing so, a real estate agent will minimize the risk of potential property buying delays.

Let's not forget about the frequent updates that a real estate agent provides during a negotiation with a property seller, either. A real estate agent will keep you informed about seller negotiations and ensure you can move along the homebuying cycle. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at your convenience.

Manage the homebuying journey like never before – use the aforementioned tips, and you can avoid the headaches commonly associated with dealing with an aggressive property seller.


The US government has been helping Americans achieve their goal of homeownership for decades. Through programs offered by the Federal Housing Authority, the USDA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, millions of Americans have been able to afford a home who would have otherwise struggled.

The focus of today’s post is one such service: loans offered through the USDA Rural Development program.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but are worried about being able to save up enough for a down payment or build your credit score in time, USDA loans could be a viable option.

Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about USDA loans:

Do I have to live in the middle of nowhere to get a USDA loan?

The short answer is “no.” rural development loan eligibility for your area is laid out on a map provided by the USDA. Most of the suburbs outside of major cities, as well as nearly all rural areas, are covered by the rural development program.

Can I qualify for a USDA loan if I’ve previously owned a home?

Yes. You may be eligible for a loan as long as you’re not the current owner of a home that was purchased through the rural development program. So, for example, if you own a home financed through the USDA and wanted to buy a second home and rent out the first one, you wouldn’t be able to finance your second home through the USDA.

How does the USDA loan guarantee work?

When you buy a home, a lender asks you to make a down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, the government (USDA, VA, or FHA) insures the down payment on your home rather than you paying it up front.

Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?

Unlike other subsidized loans, rural development loans require a “guarantee fee” rather than PMI (private mortgage insurance). The guarantee fee is 1% the total mortgage amount and this can typically be financed into the loan (so you don’t have to pay up front). In addition to the guarantee fee, USDA loans also charge an annual premium for the lifetime of a loan.

What are the qualifications for a USDA loan?

To find full eligibility information, complete the survey on the USDA’s eligibility website to find out if you qualify. However, the general qualifications are:

  • U.S. citizenship

  • Buying a home in a qualifying area

  • 24 months of income history

  • A credit score of 640 or higher for streamlined processing

  • Income high enough so that your monthly payments do not exceed 29% of your monthly earnings

What is the direct loan program?

The USDA really offers multiple urban development loans. The guarantee program, for which most single families utilize, and the direct loan program. Direct loans are designed for families who have the greatest need. You can also find out if you’re eligible for a direct loan by filling out the questionnaire on their website.






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