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


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The perfect home is not the only thing you'll need to shop for when you want to become a homeowner. In order to get the best terms, the lowest monthly payment and a reasonable interest rate, start doing some homework now -- before you even attend your first open house. 

1. Check Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score should be the first thing you do when you're considering the purchase of a home. Why? Because every lender you speak to will use it as a benchmark for determining the likelihood of you being able to pay off the debt. The better your credit score, the more favorable terms and interest rates a lender might offer you. The earlier you know your credit score, the more time you have to address any issues that might be contained in it. Remember, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this service and keep tabs on your credit score. 

2. Have Steady Employment 

Being able to demonstrate that you are gainfully employed will go a long way toward qualifying for a mortgage loan and being offered attractive interest rates. Aim for at least two years of unbroken employment. Be ready to back up your claims regarding the duration of your employment and the dollar amounts you bring home. 

3. Offer a Sizable Down Payment 

Come to the negotiating table with a lender and with a solid down payment, you'll be able to enjoy lower monthly payments. There's no fast rule regarding the amount of a down payment. That being said, most lenders like you to have at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price as the down payment. There are some lenders, however, who accept less than 20 percent. If your lender accepts down payments that are less than the standard 20 percent, expect to have to purchase private mortgage insurance. This can be anywhere from .05 percent to 1 percent. 

4. Know Your Debt To Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio demonstrates your ability to pay off the mortgage as agreed upon. Most lenders like to see that your monthly debt payments are equal to or less than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. 

In a seller's market, there might be several people vying for the same home. Addressing the items above can make you look more attractive compared to some of the other potential home buyers. 


Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city? If so, you're sure to enjoy a city home.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a home in a big city, including:

1. You can enjoy quick, easy access to public transportation.

Let's face it – owning a car sometimes can be problematic, and the costs associated with fuel, insurance and maintenance can add up quickly. However, you may be able to cut out some of these expenses if you live in the city.

Many cities feature public transportation systems that make it simple to travel from one location to the next. That way, you can avoid the hassles commonly associated with car ownership.

2. You can check out a broad assortment of attractions and entertainment.

The lights are always brightest in the city. Here, you can visit museums, historic landmarks and other attractions any time you choose.

For those who live in the city, you should have no trouble accessing a massive assortment of attractions and entertainment. From live theater performances to sports events, you can enjoy fun experiences in the city year-round.

3. You can visit a wide range of high-quality restaurants.

Foodies rejoice! Cities are home to some of the world's best restaurants, guaranteeing you can sample gourmet cuisine that you may struggle to find elsewhere.

Whether you appreciate traditional pub fare or elegant French dishes, you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for at a city restaurant. Plus, many city restaurants offer take-out menus, ensuring you can get first-rate cuisine delivered to your home.

How can you obtain a home in the city?

You don't need to be a millionaire to purchase a city home. In fact, here are three tips to ensure you can acquire an outstanding city house at a price that meets your budget:

1. Browse the housing market closely.

New homes reach the real estate market every day. As a homebuyer, you'll want to explore the housing market closely to find a residence that you can enjoy both now and in the future.

Examine the prices of recently sold homes in the city. Also, be sure to check out a variety of residences in-person. By doing so, you can understand what you can afford and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with multiple banks and credit unions before you begin your search for a city house. This will enable you to get pre-approved for a mortgage and kick off your home search with a homebuying budget in hand.

3. Work with a real estate agent.

Hire a real estate agent who understands a city's real estate market. This real estate professional will offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying process and avoid the risk of spending too much on a city home.

Use the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can move one step closer to securing your dream home in the city of your choice.


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.


Evaluating the buyer's perspective is a must for anyone who want to achieve the optimal results during the house selling journey. Because if you understand the buyer's perspective, you can promote your residence to the right groups of individuals at all times. And as a result, you should have no trouble generating lots of interest in your house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the buyer's perspective before you list your residence.

1. Review Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses

Your home may be an attractive option to dozens of potential buyers. Meanwhile, if you identify your house's strengths and weaknesses, you can determine what separates your home from other available residences in your city or town. You also can explore ways to transform assorted home weaknesses into strengths.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a home inspection. This evaluation enables a property expert to analyze your home's interior and exterior. After the inspection is complete, you will receive a report that details your house's strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks to a home inspection, you can obtain comprehensive insights into any underlying home problems. You then can take steps to address these issues, and ultimately, boost the likelihood that buyers will fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.

2. Assess the Local Housing Market

Take a close look at the local housing market – you'll be glad you did. With real estate market insights in hand, you can map out your house selling journey accordingly.

Generally, it helps to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. If you evaluate the local housing market, you can determine if a buyer's or seller's market is in effect.

In a buyer's market, many homes may be available, and they may require several weeks or months to sell. Or, in a seller's market, houses may sell shortly after they become available.

By differentiating a buyer's market from a seller's market, you can create a plan to showcase your residence to buyers. Once you have this plan in place, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline the house selling journey.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to evaluating the buyer's perspective, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer homebuyer insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Best of all, a real estate agent will help you quickly sell your house and ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is an expert resource that you can rely on throughout the home selling journey. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at your convenience.

Perform an in-depth analysis of the buyer's perspective – use the aforementioned tips, and you can gain the insights you need to stir up buyers' interest in your residence.




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