Didier Lopez | Framingham Real Estate, Ashland Real Estate, Marlboro Real Estate


Let's face it – purchasing your dream home may prove to be an uphill climb, particularly for a homebuyer who fails to prepare accordingly. Lucky for you, we're here to help you make your homeownership dream a reality and ensure you can discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to pursue your dream house.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

Finding your ideal house can be quick and easy if you establish homebuying criteria before you launch a home search. In fact, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying journey.

To create homebuying criteria, you first should think about cities and towns where you want to live. Next, analyze houses in your preferred cities and towns and consider home must-haves and wants. Once you know exactly what you want to find in your dream house and where you want to reside, you can schedule home showings and move closer to finding your ideal house.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

Homebuyers rarely have all the money they need to buy a home. Thankfully, banks and credit unions offer a wide range of mortgage options to make it simple for homebuyers to purchase residences. And if you meet with banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.

Obtaining a mortgage may help you streamline your house search because it enables you to establish a homebuying budget that you can use to hone your quest to find your dream home. Perhaps best of all, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may help you resist the temptation to spend beyond your means to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Navigating the housing market on your own can be challenging for first-time and experienced homebuyers alike. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you take the guesswork out of pursuing your dream house.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to complete a successful home search. He or she will meet with you, analyze your homebuying goals and map out a homebuying strategy. Then, a real estate agent will work with you to help make your homeownership dream come true.

As you conduct your home search, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns. He or she also will set up house showings and offer insights into the local real estate market. Furthermore, if you find your dream house, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if your homebuying proposal ultimately is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you through the final stages of the homebuying process.

Start your search for your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of a successful homebuying journey.


Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or buying a home together, it’s important to break down how you’ll merge your finances together. 


While it’s one of the least romantic conversations that you’ll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below you’ll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.


Be Honest


In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. There’s a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and it’s important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:


  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

It’s important to know how another person’s habits will affect you as a whole when you’re thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someone’s spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.



Have A Plan For How You’ll Divide Expenses


It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 


Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the “expenses.” This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.


Use A Joint Account For Expenses


You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldn’t be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 


Make Contracts


No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, it’s always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, you’ll always have a contract that you can refer back to. It’s also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, it’s important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     


Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.


We all know that buying a home is a significant decision that comes with a great deal of financial planning and preparation. However, few of us are taught the ins and outs of actually obtaining a mortgage to make your dream of homeownership come true.

Mortgages are a complicated business that is always changing, both with fluctuations in market rates and with policy decisions.

But, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, it’s important to understand all of your options when it comes to mortgages.

In today’s post, we’re going to address the 20% down payment myth, where that number comes from, and what your options are when it comes to applying for a mortgage.

Where does the 20% down payment number come from?

For most people, 20% of a house is a serious amount of money that would take years to save up. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and don’t have any equity to use from selling another house, 20% may seem like an impossible amount to save within the time you want to buy a home. Fortunately, there are several ways to buy a home without having 20% in cash saved up.

But first, let’s understand where that number comes from.

Most mortgage lenders will want to ensure that lending to you is a safe investment of their money. They want to know that they’ll earn back what they’re spending. To do this, they use several methods.

First, they’ll check your credit history to see how often you pay your bills in time. Then, they’ll want proof if your income and financial stability. Finally, they’ll ask for either a down payment or a guarantee that you will pay them back. Here’s where that 20% comes in.

If you don’t have 20% of the mortgage amount saved for a down payment, you will typically have to pay something called private mortgage insurance. This is an extra monthly fee, on top of your mortgage payments with interest, that you pay to ensure the lender that they’re seeing a return on their investment.

Most homeowners put much less than 20% down

If you’re feeling bad about the amount of money you have saved for a down payment, don’t be! In fact, most first-time homebuyers put, on average, just 6% down on their first home.

Since first-time homeowners don’t have the benefit of equity they’ve accumulated by making payments on their previous mortgage, they often have to come up with down payments out of pocket.

Other options besides a 20% down payment

There are several ways to secure a mortgage without putting 20% down on the home. First, check to see if you are eligible for any loans that are guaranteed by the government. These can come from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the USDA single-family home program.

The third option is to take on private mortgage insurance until you’ve paid 20% of your mortgage payment.

Private mortgage insurance can be paid to an insurance company or to the federal government in the case of FHA loans, you can put down as low as 3.5%.


Between these three options, you should be able to find a mortgage that you can afford and one that will give you the best possible financial stability in the long-term.


Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:

1. Determine Where You Want to Live

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.

Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.

Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.

Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.


An informed homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a successful property buying experience. In fact, an informed homebuyer likely will understand the ins and outs of the local housing market – something that could make it simple for this individual to discover a great residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ultimately, it helps to review the local real estate market closely before you embark on the homebuying journey. Lucky for you, there are many things you can do to analyze the local real estate market and gain the homebuying insights you need to succeed.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you study the local housing sector so you can navigate the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Assess the Prices of Recently Sold Houses

Oftentimes, it is a good idea to review the prices of recently sold houses in cities or towns where you plan to search for your dream residence. If you understand how much home sellers are receiving for their residences, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall in line with your budget.

It is important to remember that city houses may be more expensive than comparable residences in small towns, too. Thus, you should budget accordingly based on where you choose to search for a home.

2. Find Out If Homes Are Selling Quickly

Take a look at how quickly homes are selling in cities and towns where you want to live. With this housing market data in hand, you can determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of available houses. Or, in a seller's market, homes may sell within days of being listed.

If you are operating in a buyer's market, you may be able to take your time to find your ideal house. Comparatively, in a seller's market, you should be prepared to act quickly to acquire your dream residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing sector. That way, a real estate agent can help you become an informed homebuyer in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will provide insights into the housing market in your preferred cities and towns and help you hone your house search. Then, a real estate agent will help you search for your dream residence. And once you find a house you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

As you prepare for the homebuying journey, it may be beneficial to learn about the local real estate sector. By doing so, you can gain comprehensive housing market insights that you can use to streamline your home search. As a result, you could speed up the process of finding and purchasing your ideal house.




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