Catherine Albiani - Sales Associate - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth | Winchester, MA


There is no one-size-fits-all plan to find and purchase a home. In some instances, a buyer instantly discovers a great residence at a budget-friendly price. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer many weeks or months to find the perfect house.

Although the homebuying journey varies from person to person, there are several things that a buyer can do to simplify the property buying cycle. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly and effortlessly find your ideal residence.

1. Establish Homebuying Expectations

As a homebuyer, it is important not to get too high or too low during the property buying journey. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you should have a good idea about what to anticipate as you search for your dream house.

Oftentimes, it helps to put together homebuying criteria. Think about where you want to find your dream house, as well as the home features you want. With this information at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.

2. Create a Homebuying Budget

Like most homebuyers, you probably have only a finite amount of money to spend on a new house. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. These financial institutions can provide insights into adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage options and offer details about mortgage terms. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage that complements your financial situation.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

You may want to pursue a house on your own, but this approach may prove to be problematic. A homebuyer who conducts a home search without expert assistance may miss out on the opportunity to find and buy a terrific house at an affordable price. Perhaps even worse, without housing market guidance, a buyer may wind up overpaying for a residence that fails to match his or her expectations.

If you want to achieve the optimal results during your quest for your ideal residence, you should hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is ready to guide you along the homebuying journey and help you make informed property buying decisions.

A real estate agent will go the extra mile to make the homebuying cycle as simple as possible. He or she will teach you about the real estate market, learn about your homebuying goals and help you hone your house search. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. And if you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a quick, stress-free property buying experience.


Shopping for a home is an exciting time for any hopeful homeowner. After weeks of scouring listings looking for the perfect home in the ideal location for you and your family, it can seem like you’ve found the needle in the haystack.

When it’s time to go visit that home, it’s easy to put on rose-colored lenses and overlook issues that should, at the very least, be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not you should make a bid on the home and how much you should offer.

Today’s post is all about preparing you for that first viewing. We’ll give you tips on what to look out for and how to factor these things into your equation when it comes to making an offer.

Check the listing for omissions

Even if a home looks perfect on paper (or on its website listing), it’s still quite likely that there are things you’ll want to know about before considering an offer. A home listing should attempt to address several questions you might have. But ultimately, it’s main goal is to attract interest in the home.

So, what type of things should be in the listing that the seller might leave out?

  • Poor street conditions, heavy traffic, and blind driveways are all things that will factor into your decision but most likely won’t be mentioned in a listing

  • Odors of any kind can be off-putting and difficult to remove. Some homeowners may not even know that their home has an offensive odor if they’ve become used to it.

  • Room omissions. If the home is listed as having two bathrooms but there are only photos of one, this could be a sign that there are problems with the second bathroom that the seller doesn’t want you to see quite yet.

Top dollar home repairs

A professional home inspection will be able to give you an idea of the kind of money you’ll need to spend on renovations in the coming years. But why wait? When touring a home, ask questions about the last time important renovations and repairs were made.

Roofs, septic systems, and electrical work are just a few of the things that are expensive to repair or replace. If the previous homeowner has a small family or lives alone and you plan on moving in with a houseful of kids, you might find that your impact on the septic and electrical systems of the home are too much for the house to handle. You’ll want to take this into account before considering a bid on the home.

Utility costs

The cost of heating a home in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be hefty if the home isn’t properly sealed and weatherproofed. Ask the current homeowner what they spend per month on utilities to get an idea of what you might be spending.

Then, take a look at the windows and doors. Cracks, malfunctioning locks, and worn weatherstripping are all signs that the home will need some work to be energy-efficient.

Don’t ignore the little things

Small fixes may not seem like a big deal when viewing a home. They can even deceive you into thinking that you’re getting a good deal by buying a fixer-upper for a price that’s lower than the market average.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that small fixes around the house are a sign that bigger problems are also being neglected. Don’t be too quick to assume the house will be a good deal before getting it professionally inspected.


Photo by Arek Socha via Pixabay 

In a bid to afford homes in high-value areas, many homeowners turn to income from short-term rentals to cover a high mortgage payment. You can benefit from this option with some caveats:

  • Location really matters. A lot. You might advertise your home as near the coast when it’s really 20 miles inland and get a few bites. But eventually, the reviews catch up with you, and you lose out. Be honest about where your rental sits. Market what is available: access to public transportation, quiet parks, sports arenas, theme parks, etc. only if they truly are accessible.
  • Consider hosting rather than leaving your home to strangers. That means you stay on the property while they are there. You’re in control of who comes and goes. Your renters can’t sneak in a dozen of their buddies without paying for them.
  • Make sure your HOA and municipality allow it. Many homeowners associations explicitly forbid subletting or short-term rentals, so if that’s your plan, read those pesky covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCR’s) before you buy. Municipalities also have codes regarding hospitality properties. Many require licenses, permits or fees, and some require occupancy taxes on the nights guests rent your home.
  • Your homeowners’ insurance coverage may not protect you from damage or liability when you’re using your home as a business. Talk to your insurance agent before you post your home online and pay the extra premiums to make certain you’re covered.

Before you decide to turn your home into a short-term rental, know the rules and the risks or the rewards may not be worth the trouble. Your real estate professional is your best resource for discovering properties in your area suitable for a short-term rental, so make that phone call today.


If you receive a "lowball" offer to purchase your house, your first reaction may be to respond with an immediate "No." However, it is important to evaluate any offer to purchase your house closely. Because if you weigh the pros and cons of rejecting an offer to purchase your home, you'll be better equipped than ever before to make an informed decision about any homebuying proposal you receive.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider before you reject an offer to purchase your residence.

1. Your Home's Price

What you may consider to be a lowball offer to purchase your home may actually be a competitive homebuying proposal – it all depends on the current state of the housing market. Thus, if you analyze the housing market, you can find out how your home's price stacks up against the prices of comparable houses and review an offer to purchase accordingly.

If you find your home's price falls in line with similar houses in your city or town, you likely have a competitive initial asking price in place. And if a buyer's offer to purchase your home falls short of your house's initial asking price, you may want to decline the proposal.

On the other hand, if your home is priced much higher than comparable residences in your area, you may want to adjust your home selling expectations. In this instance, you may find a lowball offer to purchase turns out to be a competitive homebuying proposal. As a result, you may be more inclined to accept the proposal based on the current housing market's conditions.

2. Your Home's Condition

Oftentimes, buyers will account for potential home repairs or upgrades they will need to complete if they acquire a house. This means a buyer may submit an offer to purchase below a seller's initial asking price due to the fact that a house may require assorted repairs or upgrades in the near future.

Take a look at the condition of your home – you'll be glad you did. If you find your home is in need of significant repairs or upgrades, you may want to consider these projects before you reject a buyer's offer to purchase your house.

3. Your Home Selling Goals

It generally is a good idea to start the home selling journey with goals in hand. That way, if an offer to purchase your house allows you to achieve your home selling goals, you can accept the proposal. Or, if an offer to purchase your house moves you further away from accomplishing your home selling goals, you can reject the proposal.

As you get set to complete the home selling journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can help you assess any offers to purchase your house, at any time. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you determine how to proceed with an offer to purchase and ensure you can make the best-possible decision.


This Single-Family in Reading, MA recently sold for $725,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Catherine Albiani - Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - The Shanahan Group.


38 Bear Hill Rd, Reading, MA 01867

Single-Family

$724,900
Price
$725,000
Sale Price

10
Rooms
4
Beds
2/1
Full/Half Baths
Outstanding opportunity you don't want to miss. No expense spared on this impeccable renovation. New Wiring, New Plumbing, New Windows, Gorgeous new kitchen with Quartz counters and stainless steel appliances, 2 New full bathrooms also with Quartz counters and that's just some of the main level upgrades. The lower level has been completely transformed into a bright, welcoming space proving mudroom off the garage, generous home office space, Family room and over-sized half bath with laundry hookups. Move right in, unpack your bags and enjoy this cute neighborhood close to all Reading has to offer. Easy access to Rt28, 95 and only 1.5miles from Reading center.

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