David Higgins - Flavin & Flavin Realty | Everything Quincy and South Shore Real Estate and more!


Many factors come into play when determining whether you can afford to buy a house. Since the monthly rent for an apartment is often close to what a mortgage payment would be, you can't help but wonder if your rent money would be better spent building equity in your own home.

While this is often the case, first-time home buyers often underestimate or overlook expenses that accompany home ownership. Although a mortgage broker or bank loan officer can help you calculate the maximum mortgage you can afford, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

  • Create a detailed budget. By taking the time to figure out how your income stacks up to your monthly expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your financial situation. If you have a good credit score, a positive monthly cash flow, and enough funds to pay closing costs and a down payment, then home ownership may be a viable option. (Your credit score, which you can obtain once a year for free from the three main credit reporting companies, will have a major impact on both your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payments.)
  • Factor in other expenses: Figuring out your current budget is relatively easy, but predicting your future budget as a homeowner can be a lot more challenging. A big part of the equation will depend on the amount of property taxes and school taxes that will be tacked on to your mortgage costs. A real estate agent can provide you with those figures, as well as other information you need to calculate how affordable it would be to live in a particular house. They have access to a wide range of relevant information, such as utility expenses, water bills, and homeowner association fees (if there are any). Since property taxes sometimes cover the cost of services like garbage and yard waste collection, you may not have to factor in those items into your projected budget. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a rough estimate of home maintenance costs -- especially if they're familiar with the history of the home you're considering buying. As the process moves forward, a property inspector can provide you with more details about the condition of the home and whether any costly repairs are likely to be needed soon.
  • Home maintenance and furnishing costs: Other possible expenses to consider when estimating the cost of home ownership include yard maintenance, landscaping, HVAC service calls, electrician services, plumbing repairs, and homeowners' insurance. If you're a first-time home owner, there's also a good chance you'll need to buy some furniture to fill out those additional rooms!
  • Buying your first home definitely takes a lot of planning, budgeting, and research, but the rewards of owning your own home will more than justify the effort!

    Let's face it – you're tired of your current living situation and are ready for a change. Luckily, there are many homes available in your area – you just need to find a residence that fits your needs and budget. The homebuying process sometimes can become time-consuming and exhausting, but we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding a residence and ensure you can discover your dream home quickly and effortlessly. Here are three tips that you can use to speed up the homebuying process: 1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. Why should you look at homes you cannot afford? Instead, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage and search for residences that suit your budget perfectly. Many lenders are available that offer financing for homebuyers nationwide. As a result, you may be able to evaluate a variety of lenders to ensure you're able to get the lowest interest rate on your mortgage. Before you begin your home search, get pre-approved for a mortgage – you'll be happy you did! And remember, if you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be able to improve your chances of a home seller accepting your offer over others (i.e. from homebuyers who still need to get financing) as well. 2. Employ a Home Inspector. After you submit an offer for a residence, you'll want to hire a home inspector who can evaluate this property to the fullest extent. A home inspector serves as an unbiased third-party who possesses the experience and know-how needed to evaluate a residence. Therefore, this inspector will be able to identify any problem areas before you buy a house. With the right home inspector at your side, you can boost your chances of finding the right home without delay. This inspector will empower you with the insights you need to make an informed homebuying decision, one that could deliver significant benefits both now and in the future. 3. Work with a Real Estate Agent. Although you'd like to find a home as quickly as possible, you may lack the time and resources needed to fully review the real estate market. By hiring a real estate agent, however, you can streamline the process of exploring the real estate market in your area. A real estate agent will collaborate with you, learn about your wants and needs and provide information about residences that match your preferences. This professional can even set up home showings and keep you up to date about open houses in your area. Thus, your real estate agent serves as a dedicated housing market resource and will do everything possible to ensure you can find the perfect home. You'll likely discover a broad assortment of real estate agents available in cities and towns across the United States. And to find the right real estate agent, you'll want to meet with this professional and make sure you're comfortable working with him or her as you embark on your search for your dream residence. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble accelerating the homebuying process.

    For those who want to acquire a stellar house at a budget-friendly price, it pays to work with a diligent real estate agent. In fact, some of the top reasons to hire a diligent real estate agent include:

    1. A diligent real estate agent knows all about the housing market.

    Are you still unsure about what differentiates a buyer's market from a seller's market? No worries, as a diligent real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing market.

    A diligent real estate agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to help you become an informed home shopper. That way, you can enter the real estate market with the support and insights that you need to succeed.

    Also, a diligent real estate agent is ready to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions. This housing market professional can serve as an expert homebuying resource who can help you achieve the best possible results during the property buying journey.

    2. A diligent real estate agent can help you establish realistic homebuying expectations.

    Although it may seem simple to look at houses and find one that can serve you well for years to come, the property buying process may prove to be much more complex than you initially thought. However, a diligent real estate agent can help you map out your homebuying journey so you can avoid potential hurdles along the way.

    For example, a diligent real estate agent may encourage you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Because, with a mortgage in hand, you can begin your home search with a clear understanding of how much money you can spend on a house.

    A diligent real estate agent may ask you to differentiate between "must-haves" and "wants" for your dream residence. And with a homebuying checklist in hand, you can narrow your home search and accelerate your quest for the perfect residence.

    3. A diligent real estate agent can help you handle homebuying negotiations.

    Let's face it – homebuying negotiations can be tricky, particularly if you're forced to work with a stubborn home seller. But with a diligent real estate agent at your side, you can get the assistance you need to purchase your dream house at your ideal price.

    A diligent real estate agent can negotiate with a home seller on your behalf and keep you up to date at each stage of a negotiation. Then, as homebuying negotiations progress, a diligent real estate agent will be able to offer tips and guidance to help you make informed decisions.

    In addition, a diligent real estate agent can help you minimize stress throughout homebuying negotiations. If these negotiations become too stressful, a diligent real estate agent will do everything possible to help you stay calm, cool and collected as well.

    If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, hiring a diligent real estate agent is a must. This housing market professional will do what it takes to ensure you can purchase a wonderful residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.


    Are you a productive homebuyer? If not, you may miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

    A productive homebuyer understands the ins and outs of the real estate market. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to purchase a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

    Ultimately, operating as a productive homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to ensure that you can become a productive homebuyer in no time at all.

    1. Narrow Your Home Search

    If you know what you want to find in a dream home, you can maximize the time and resources at your disposal.

    For example, if you prefer a home in a big city, you can start searching for houses in the city of your choice. Or, if you enjoy the unparalleled serenity of small town life, you may want to focus exclusively on houses in various towns.

    You also should consider your day-to-day activities as you kick off your home search. If you attend college classes every day, you may want to find a house close to school. Comparatively, if you regularly take the bus to work, you may want to consider homes that provide quick, easy access to public transportation.

    2. Establish a Price Range

    Although you know that you want to buy a home, you may have no idea what it will cost to obtain your dream home. However, if you enter the housing market with a home price range in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying process.

    Meet with banks and credit unions in your area. That way, you can learn about myriad home financing options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances.

    Don't forget to ask bank and credit union professionals for mortgage recommendations and suggestions as well. These mortgage specialists are happy to teach you about many mortgage options and ensure that you can make an informed home financing decision.

    3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

    A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will do everything possible to help you optimize your productivity. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the homebuying process, you can increase the likelihood of getting the best possible results.

    A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller's agent on your behalf and help you get the best price on a home. By doing so, this housing market professional will ensure that you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.

    Let's not forget about the advanced housing market knowledge that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands the challenges of buying a home and will help you identify and overcome these difficulties. He or she will even answer any homebuying questions, at any time.

    Become a productive homebuyer today – use the aforementioned tips, and you can maximize your productivity as a homebuyer and reap the benefits of a quick, efficient homebuying journey.


    There are countless reasons a homeowner might want to sell their home and buy another. Some want to move for a change of scenery or to relocate for work. Others are parents with a recently empty nest who want to downsize to something more affordable that meets their needs.

    The good news for second time homebuyers is that you already have an idea of what to expect when buying a home. The research, paperwork, disappointments, and delays that come with buying a home can all be prepared for. However, if you have the burden of selling your old home, finding a temporary place to live, and then moving into a new one, your responsibilities can be doubled or tripled.

    In this guide, we’ll go over how to prepare for selling your old home and moving into the new one. We’ll cover some common mistakes and offer some advice to keep you sane throughout this daunting (but exciting!) process.

    Buying or selling first

    For most homeowners, selling first makes the most sense financially. Holding onto a second house often means having to make two mortgage payments at once. Similarly, selling first will give you a much clearer idea of your budget for your new home.

    Depending on market conditions, your home may or may not sell for as much as you were hoping. It’s important to keep this in mind before signing onto a new mortgage.

    Moving logistics

    Once you sell your home, you’ll have to work out living and storage arrangements until you are ready to move into your new home. It may seem easy at first--just rent for a couple months until your move-in date, right? It isn’t always that simple, however, as deals can sometimes fall through and you can find yourself with a move-out date from your own home without having finalized a deal on your new home. Because of this, many homeowners elect to may their current mortgage for an extra month or two until they can move in to their new home. 

    Research your options for short-term living and storage in your area. See if you can work with moving companies who will give you a discount for helping you move twice; once to the storage facility and again to your new home.

    One way around this is to time your move out and move-in dates so that you don’t have to worry about storage. Some homebuyers will even move into the new home before officially closing on the home (i.e., take possession before closing). While this may be convenient, it can also be dangerous for the buyer and the seller.

    Plan meticulously

    One of the best piece of advice we can give is to stick to your schedule and keep good records during your buying and selling processes. Make sure whoever buys your home is aware of your plans for moving out and that anything that could delay those plans (inspection issues, moving logistics) are taken care of.  

    Keeping track of all this information can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to keep a daily list or planner of the things you need to take care of, and never be afraid to reach out to your real estate agent who will often be able to advise you on the best way to make your move as smooth a process as possible.




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