Lisa Oleksak-Sullivan - Westfield, MA Real Estate, Longmeadow, MA Real Estate, West Springfield, MA


Looking to buy a house without having to break your budget? Put together a homebuying roadmap, and you can increase your chances of finding a top-notch house that falls within your price range.

Ultimately, there are many things to consider as you put together a homebuying roadmap, such as:

1. Your Dream Home Definition

Differentiate your dream home must-haves from your wants – you'll be glad you did. If you can determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house, you can narrow your home search accordingly.

For example, if you need a home with multiple bedrooms to accommodate your entire family, you should include this information near the top of your homebuying roadmap. You then can kick off a search of multi-bedroom homes and move closer to finding your ideal residence.

2. Where You Want to Live

Do you enjoy life in the big city? Or, would you prefer to settle down in a small town? Think about where you would like to call home so that you can effectively plan your homebuying journey.

Ideally, you should try to refine your home search to a small collection of cities and towns. This will enable you to speed up your home search and ensure you can find a house that suits you perfectly.

Keep in mind your day-to-day activities as you consider where you want to live too. For instance, if you work in the city, you may want to pursue houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, you may be able to purchase a small town home for less than what you would have to pay for a city residence and commute into the city for work.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Determine how quickly you'd like to finalize a home purchase. That way, you can map out exactly how you want to approach the housing market.

If you are committed to buying a house as soon as possible, you'll need to be proactive. The top houses sell quickly, and if you don't act fast, you risk missing out on your dream residence to a rival homebuyer.

Conversely, if you can afford to be patient, you can avoid pressure throughout the homebuying process. In this scenario, you can pursue houses at your convenience. And once you find the right home, you can submit an offer and finalize your home purchase.

When it comes to creating a homebuying roadmap, it generally helps to get support from a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can provide plenty of assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you develop a successful homebuying roadmap. Furthermore, he or she can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available and make it easy to discover a wonderful residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to get started on the process of purchasing a house? Consider the aforementioned items as you create a homebuying roadmap, and you can plan a successful homebuying journey.


Purchasing a home in a buyer's market may seem like a fast, simple process. However, it is important to realize that homebuyers constantly compete for the best residences in cities and towns nationwide. And if you're not careful, you risk missing out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house.

What does it take to secure a home in a buyer's market? Here are three tips to ensure that you can do just that.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

A buyer's market features a large assortment of top-notch residences and a shortage of property buyers. As such, this market heavily favors homebuyers, and property buyers who examine the real estate market closely may be able to boost their chances of purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

For homebuyers, it is essential to establish criteria for your dream residence. With homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can narrow your search for the ideal residence and accelerate the homebuying process.

Don't forget to check out homes in-person, either. If you set up a home showing or attend an open house, you'll be able to envision what it's like to own a home and determine whether a residence is right for you.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

What good is shopping for a house if you cannot afford to pay for it? Fortunately, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage to understand exactly how much you can spend on a new house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to offer insights into a variety of mortgage options, respond to your mortgage concerns and questions and help you select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Pre-approval for a mortgage is vital for homebuyers, particularly in a buyer's market. If you have a mortgage in hand when you explore available homes, you may even be able to avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to navigating a buyer's market, a real estate agent can deliver outstanding support.

A real estate agent can teach you about the intricacies of buying a home and help you streamline the homebuying process. He or she also will be available to respond to your homebuying questions, ensuring you can make informed decisions as the homebuying journey moves forward.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you alleviate stress as you search for your dream home. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. By doing so, a real estate agent enables you to focus on what's important – purchasing a first-rate house at a price that matches your budget.

Buying a home can be challenging, even in a buyer's market. But with the aforementioned tips, you can simplify the homebuying process and move closer to securing a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.


Open houses can be a great way to get to know a home and the neighborhood it sits in. Sure, the seller will be trying to put their best foot forward on the big day. But, you’ll still be able to get a chance to tour the home relatively uninterrupted.

But what should you look for in particular when attending an open house?

There are a number of things you can learn at an open house. Many prospective buyers spend the time looking at things like paint color and cosmetic touches that can easily be changed, and very little time considering important factors that should go into their home buying decision.

So, in today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the lesser known things you should be looking out for when you attend an open house. That way, you’ll know which houses are worth considering further and which ones should be left behind.

Not enough storage space

If you find yourself constantly running out of storage space (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to make sure the home has ample space to store your belongings. If it doesn’t, see if you can find ways to repurpose areas for storage, such as spare bedrooms or garage space.

Overly scented areas

It’s perfectly normal for a seller’s agent to place one or two choice candles in the home during an open house.

However, if you notice some rooms have an overpowering smell of candles or air fresheners, there’s a good chance it’s there to mask offensive and hard to remove smells. Pet and cigarette odors are among the worst culprits.

The windows, doors, and cabinets should work like a dream

When attending an open house, take note of how well the doors open and close. If appropriate, ask the seller’s agent if you can try out the windows and cabinets as well.

Problems with these items can be signs of poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, or neglect.

Traffic and neighbors

If you’ve found what you think is the perfect home, it can be easy to see the world through rose-colored lenses.

However, it’s important to take them off when looking around the yard. Take note of the traffic level, and the amount of privacy the home receives. If you like the home, it’s also a good idea to stop by the neighborhood during rush house to gauge how traffic would affect your commute.

Air flow issues

Improper ventilation can lead to mold growth, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure bathroom vents and fans work properly, and check windows for condensation.

In rooms with sinks, check around the base of the sink and counter for signs of water damage or mold.

Large cracks in foundations or ceilings

While small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a home are completely normal, large ones can be dangerous.

They can allow water and pests to enter the home, causing all types of costly damages.


Keep those six tips in mind when you attend the open house, and be sure to bring a list of any other questions you might have for the seller’s agent.


There are a number of steps involved in buying a home. One of the many important things you should do before closing on a new home is to get the house properly inspected.

Buyers sometimes avoid getting a professional inspection for a number of reasons. Some are on a tight budget and want to save a few dollars. Others have time constraints and want to close as soon as possible. And, many buyers believe that omitting an inspection is a way to show trust in the previous owner.

In this article, we’ll talk about why getting a home inspection is such an important part before closing on a real estate deal.

Inspection costs

Closing on a home comes with a number of expenses. Application fees, origination fees, underwriting fees… the list goes on. If you’re buying a home, you might be tempted to opt out of getting the property inspected to save money.

The cost of an inspection ranges anywhere from $200 for smaller homes, to $400 or more for large homes. However, the cost of not getting your home inspected can be much greater. Even if you’re knowledgeable when it comes to houses, there are a number of things that only the experts can diagnose.

Having a professional inspect the home is the only way to ensure that there aren’t any issues that will come back to haunt you (and your wallet) in the months and years to come.

Saving time

Many buyers are eager to close the deal and begin moving into their new home as soon as possible. Sometimes buyers need to vacate their old home before a certain date, others try to time their move around holidays or school vacations.

There are other ways, however, to make sure you get the house inspected in time. First, make sure you’ve included a home inspection in your purchase agreement. This will avoid wasted times debating whether or not you are entitled to inspect the home.

Next, call multiple inspectors in your area for quotes and availability. Delaying this step can make you lose time, and inspectors might charge you more if they have to squeeze you into their schedule.

The best time to schedule an inspection is as soon as your offer is accepted.

Maintaining a good relationship with the seller

It may seem like an act of diplomacy to waive a home inspection. In reality, however, nearly all sellers will understand that you are simply doing due diligence to make sure the process runs smoothly for both of you.

Sellers might sometimes offer you the findings of a previous inspection that they had done. In this case, it’s still important to have your own inspection done so that you can walk through the home with the inspector and listen to their feedback. You can’t be sure of the accuracy of any old reports, and the previous inspector is only accountable to the seller.


Having a home professionally inspected is almost always a good idea. It can save you time and money in repairs that could have been avoided.



Purchasing a house can be tricky, particularly for those who are dealing with a high-pressure negotiation. Luckily, we're here to help you get the best results from any homebuying negotiation, at any time.

Now, let's take a three must-haves for those who are getting ready to negotiate a home purchase.

1. Housing Market Data

An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper. As such, this individual will obtain a large assortment of housing market data that he or she can use to make the best buying decision.

For homebuyers, it is important to understand how one house stacks up against comparable residences in any real estate market. That way, a homebuyer can submit a competitive offer that is based on pertinent housing market data.

Examine the prices of recently sold houses similar to the one that you'd like to buy. Also, check out the prices of comparable houses that are currently available. And with this housing market data at your disposal, you can boost your chances of getting the optimal price for your dream residence.

2. Self-Confidence

Let's face it – a homebuying negotiation is stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased many residences over the years. But if you remain confident throughout a negotiation, you can take a calm, cool and collected approach, even when times get tough.

A confident homebuyer will have no trouble standing his or her ground during a negotiation. And if this individual is uncomfortable with a home seller's counter-proposal, he or she will be willing to walk away and restart a home search.

Furthermore, a confident homebuyer will remain open to new ideas and consider the home seller's perspective. This will enable a homebuyer to examine both sides of a negotiation and proceed accordingly.

3. An Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, there is no need to handle a negotiation on your own. Fortunately, an experienced real estate agent is happy to offer guidance at each stage of a homebuying negotiation.

An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a great home at an affordable price. As a result, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will act as a liaison between a homebuyer and home seller. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts or rejects your proposal to purchase a home. He or she also will provide recommendations and suggestions to help you transform a stressful negotiation into a successful one.

Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. He or she will provide you with the support you need to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout a homebuying negotiation.

Get ready for a homebuying negotiation – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can move one step closer to finalizing a home purchase.




Loading