Donna Plouffe - RE/MAX Professional Associates


If you are thinking of buying a home, you probably have been getting your finances for some time. First-time homebuyers need the right information to avoid making big mistakes when they purchase their homes. The leap into home ownership is a big one, and you’ll want as much information with you along for the ride. Below, you’ll find a crash course on mortgages for first-time homebuyers. 


Think Ahead


Every homebuyer needs to prepare ahead of time for the process to be smooth. Research different lenders in your area and see what their rates are. If you talk to your lender about your goals and what type of loans you’re looking for, you’ll understand all of the costs that you’ll face ahead of time. You don’t want any surprises when it comes to signing a contract for a home.


Every Mortgage Is Different


It’s easy to think that all home loans are created equal, but they aren’t. The diversity in types of home loans is why you need to research and meet with a lender ahead of time. Talk to your real estate agent and see who they suggest. Your agent is a useful resource because they want your entire transaction to go smoothly for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of mortgages, and you need to make sure you’re getting the loan that’s right for you. Be sure you understand the specifics of each loan before you sign on.       


What You Need In Order


Before you even head into the home buying process, there are a few things that you’ll need including:


  • Cash for a downpayment
  • A budget
  • Knowledge of all of your finances
  • Where you’d like to look for a home
  • An idea of how much you can spend on a home
  • Information to get pre-approved including tax returns, proof of income, and bank statements


Once you have saved up cash for a downpayment, it’s time to take a look at your budget. Can you afford a monthly mortgage payment in the price range that you hope to buy? How much money will you have left over each month? Should you adjust your expectations? 



You’ll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that you’re ready to buy a home. It’s recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payments will be on the mortgage. So saving is the next big step in securing a mortgage in the smoothest possible way.     


Deciding whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house can be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you assess the pros and cons of a homebuying proposal and ensure you can make an informed decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether to accept an offer to buy your home.

1. Examine the Current Housing Market

The current housing market may play a role in your ability to stir up interest in your house. In addition, the real estate sector may impact whether you're able to receive multiple home offers at or above your residence's initial asking price.

To understand the present state of the housing market, you should look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If houses are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market. Or, if houses linger on the market for many weeks or months before they sell, you may be operating in a buyer's market.

Ultimately, a seller's market may lead to many offers on your house in the foreseeable future. If you receive an offer that fails to match your expectations when you're operating in this type of market, you may want to decline or counter the proposal in the hopes of receiving superior offers down the line.

On the other hand, it usually requires hard work and persistence to sell a house in a buyer's market. And if you receive a competitive homebuying proposal in a buyer's market, you may want to accept this offer.

2. Consider Your Home's Condition

The condition of your house may prove to be a critical factor as you debate whether to accept an offer. If you assess your house's condition closely, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible decision about a homebuying proposal.

If you feel a home offer is fair based on the current condition of your house, you may want to accept the proposal. Conversely, if you feel a buyer has submitted a "lowball" proposal based on your home's condition, you should not hesitate to reject or counter this offer.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to evaluating a homebuying proposal, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of accepting an offer and determine the best course of action.

Typically, a real estate agent will present a buyer's offer to you and offer recommendations about how to proceed with this proposal. As you assess all of your options regarding a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will be able to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have too.

Ready to take the guesswork out of reviewing a homebuying proposal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of deciding whether to accept an offer to purchase your home.


If you want to enhance a home's interior before listing a residence, it often pays to hire a professional cleaning company.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to work with a home cleaning company, such as:

1. A home cleaning company can quickly and effortlessly clean a house, regardless of size.

A home cleaning company employs friendly, diligent professionals who will do whatever it takes to transform your house's interior from drab to fab.

Typically, a home cleaning company will learn about your home interior goals and help you set realistic expectations. The company then will send out professionals to clean your residence from top to bottom and ensure that you are satisfied with the final results.

With the right home cleaning company, you won't have to worry about how your home will look to potential buyers. In fact, a home cleaning company will go above and beyond the call of duty to guarantee that your house is show-ready in no time at all.

2. A home cleaning company can help you save time.

If you're in a hurry to get your house ready for the real estate market, a home cleaning company can provide plenty of assistance.

In most instances, it won't take long to find and book a home cleaning company. Many professional home cleaners are available in cities and towns nationwide. And if you reach out to a home cleaning company today, you can set up an appointment to get your house cleaned in the next few days or weeks.

Perhaps best of all, a home cleaning company guarantees that you won't have to spend time cleaning your house's interior. Instead, you can leave your home cleaning to a team of professionals and focus your time and energy on other home selling tasks.

3. A home cleaning company can offer long-term recommendations.

After your home is cleaned, you'll want to do everything possible to keep your house looking great until it sells. Fortunately, a home cleaning company can offer expert recommendations so that you should have no trouble maintaining a pristine residence.

Usually, a home cleaning company is happy to respond to any concerns or questions, at any time. As a result, this company will provide an unforgettable home cleaning experience, one that makes it simple for you to bolster your home interior's appearance.

If you need extra help as you evaluate the home cleaning companies in your area, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. In addition to helping you get the best price for your residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with local home cleaning companies. That way, you won't have to search far and wide to collaborate with a proven home cleaner.

Ready to list your house? Schedule a cleaning with a professional home cleaner – you'll be thrilled you did. If you clean your home, you can improve your home interior's appearance and help your residence stand out to potential buyers.


The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:

1. Closing Costs

There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.

2. Property Taxes

Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.

Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.

3. Utilities

Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.

To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.

It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.


Photo by Alex D'Alessio on Unsplash

Purchasing a foreclosure property is a great opportunity to own a home at an extremely affordable price. While many people successfully buy foreclosed homes and are happy with their decision, before making this large financial commitment, it’s a good idea to understand what you might be walking into—before you buy.

Homeowner Left Home in Disrepair

In many foreclosure situations, a home is left in poor condition. If the homeowner couldn’t keep up on their mortgage payments, there is a high probability they’ve neglected general upkeep and maintenance too. Common problems associated with foreclosed properties include:

  • Improvements made on the cheap and not up to code.
  • Garbage or other forms of waste strewn about the home.
  • Odors from rotting food left in an unplugged refrigerator.
  • Termites, rodents or other pests scurrying about.
  • Mold conditions due to leaky roofs, burst pipes or drippy plumbing.
  • Appliances or fixtures intentionally damaged.
  • If a home needs significant repairs, even if they're well-priced, it still might be a poor investment.

    Vandalism has Occurred

    When a home is left empty for a prolonged period of time, unfortunately, vandals or squatters sometimes identify these homes and enter them illegally. Problems to consider include:

  • Broken windows, doors and other areas of the home.
  • Graffiti on the interior and exterior of the house.
  • Evidence of drug activity or unsanitary waste left behind.
  • Stolen items including fixtures, appliances, copper piping or other items deemed to be of value.
  • Added up, these types of events might negate any savings you'd get on a foreclosed price.

    Expensive to Make the Home Habitable

    Even if no disrepair or vandalism is present and the home looks to be a good investment, it’s a smart financial strategy to tally up the general costs of any repairs and cleaning needed to see if these expenses outweigh any savings.

    For instance, if a prolonged leaky roof created a serious mold situation or structural problems, you could be talking about thousands of dollars for the cleanup and repair alone. Any major repairs necessary to get the home up to living conditions may not be worth the investment, especially when you add in other minor repairs or desired cosmetic work.

    Difficulties with Lenders

    In foreclosed homes, lenders sometimes won’t want to give a mortgage to borrowers looking to purchase what they deem as a risky property. They’ll look at appraisals and, if it falls below the purchase price, they may deny you a mortgage. You also might encounter problems with the bank (or lender) currently in possession of the house. 

    Always do your homework. Understanding the pitfalls associated with buying a foreclosed home will help you to make an educated decision. Hire a qualified inspector to carefully comb through the home and talk to neighbors about the house’s history. Once you gather solid information, you can better determine if purchasing a foreclosure is a smart investment.




    Loading