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


Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.


The ultimate goal of a home search is to find a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. To enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience, you need to prepare accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a successful homebuying experience.

1. Narrow Your House Search

Think about where you want to live. By doing so, you can refine your home search and look for houses in your preferred cities and towns.

Also, creating a list of homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. This list can include home must-haves and wants, and ultimately, will help you further narrow your house search.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Purchasing a house can be simple, particularly for those who get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget. Then, you can pursue houses that fall within your price range and speed up your search for your dream home.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it is important to review all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Meet with banks and credit unions and discuss various mortgage options. This will allow you to learn about the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and find a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with banks and credit unions. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals will do everything possible to help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A rewarding homebuying experience may be tough to achieve if you decide to pursue a house on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can provide plenty of guidance along the homebuying journey and ensure you can accomplish your desired results.

If you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of purchasing a house. First, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will craft a homebuying strategy to help you achieve the best-possible results as quickly as possible.

In addition, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events, set up home showings and help you analyze the housing market. If you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this home. Plus, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.

When it comes to simplifying the homebuying experience, hiring a real estate agent is essential. Because if you have a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

Ready to find your dream house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience.


Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.


Buying is home is a lengthy and, at times, stressful process. So, it can be discouraging when your offer is rejected.

If you’ve recently had a purchase offer rejected by the homeowner, don’t worry--you have options.

In this post, we’re going to cover some of those options so you can start focusing on your next move and potentially even make a second offer that gets accepted.

1.  Reassess your offer, not the seller

You could spend days guessing the reasons the seller might not have accepted your offer if they didn’t give you a straightforward answer.


However, your time is better spent addressing your own offer. Double check the following things:

  • Is your offer significantly lower than the asking price?

  • If so, is it lower than comparable sale prices for homes in the neighborhood?

  • Does your offer contain more than the usual contingencies?

Once you’ve reassessed, you can determine if a second offer is appropriate for your situation, or if you’re ready to move onto other prospects with the knowledge you’ve gained from this experience in hand.

2. Formulate your second offer

So, you’ve decided to make another attempt at the house. Now is the time to discuss details with your spouse and real estate agent.

Out of respect for the seller’s time and their timeline for selling the home, you should treat your second offer as your last.

So, make sure you’re putting your best offer forward. This can mean removing those contingencies mentioned earlier or increasing the amount. However, be realistic about your budget and don’t waive contingencies that are necessary (commonly appraisals, inspection, and financing contingencies).

3. Consider including a personal offer letter

In today’s competitive market, many sellers are fielding multiple offers on their home. To set yourself apart from the competitors and to help the seller get to know your goals and reasoning better, a personal letter is often a great tool.

Don’t be afraid to give details in your offer letter. Explain what excites you about the house, why it is ideal for your family, and what your plans are for living there.

What shouldn’t you include in your offer letter? Avoid statements that try to evoke pity or guilt from the seller. This seldom works and will put-off most buyers to your offer.

4. Moving on is good time management

If you aren’t comfortable increasing your offer or if you receive a second rejection, it’s typically a good idea to move onto other prospects. It may seem like wasted time--however, just like a job interview that didn’t go as planned, it’s an excellent learning experience.

You’ll walk away knowing more about the negotiation process, dealing with sellers and agents, and you might even find a home that’s better than the first one in the process!


A home showing enables a property buyer to get an up-close look at a residence. After a showing, a property buyer can determine whether a house matches his or her expectations. And if a property buyer likes a house, he or she may be ready to take the next step in the homebuying journey.

Ultimately, a showing is crucial for a property buyer. And if you fail to plan accordingly for a home showing, you risk missing out on the opportunity to identify your ideal residence. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for a house showing and ensure you can use this opportunity to your advantage.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a house showing.

1. Create a Checklist

You may have already learned about a home from a listing. However, there is only so much information available in a home listing. But if you craft a checklist prior to a house showing, you'll be better equipped than ever before to get the insights you need to determine if a home is right for you.

Include any questions you have about a home in your house showing checklist. Also, you may want to include areas of a home you want to review during a showing in your checklist.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There is no reason to rush through a home showing. Because if you fail to allocate the proper amount of time to conduct a showing, you may struggle to obtain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a house.

Clear your schedule for at least an hour before and after a showing – you'll be glad you did. This should give you sufficient time to arrive at a home and take an in-depth look at all areas of the property.

Of course, if you find that one home showing is insufficient, there is no need to stress. You can always schedule a follow-up showing to further review a residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about buying a house. Plus, he or she can help you get the most out of any home showing, at any time.

Typically, a real estate agent will attend a house showing with you. He or she can provide home insights as you walk around a residence and respond to your property buying concerns or questions. In addition, a real estate agent is happy to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions. And if you're ready to submit an offer to purchase a home following a showing, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

As you get set to attend a home showing, you should prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for a home showing and use this opportunity to decide whether a particular residence will be able to serve you well for years to come.




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