Marianne Belanger - RE/MAX Vision


Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference as you get ready to search for your ideal house. If you have an excellent credit score, you likely will have no trouble obtaining home financing. On the other hand, if you have a bad credit score, you may struggle to get the financing you need to make your homeownership dream come true.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should try to boost your credit score before you purchase a home, and these include:

1. You can simplify the homebuying process.

Purchasing a home can be challenging, particularly for property buyers who fail to get pre-approved for financing. Luckily, if you request copies of your credit reports, you can find out your credit score and identify ways to improve it. Perhaps most important, you can explore ways to bolster your credit score before you submit a mortgage application and increase the likelihood that you can receive pre-approval for a mortgage.

It usually is a good idea to review your credit reports before you enter the housing market. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you request a copy of your credit report from the three reporting bureaus, you can learn your credit score and plan accordingly.

2. You may qualify for a low interest rate on a mortgage.

An excellent credit score may help you get a low interest rate on a mortgage. Thus, if you have an excellent credit score, you may wind up reducing your monthly mortgage payments.

Of course, a low interest rate on a mortgage may allow you to invest in your home as well. If you use the money that you save on your mortgage to complete home improvements, you could upgrade your residence and increase its value over time.

3. You can select the right mortgage option based on your individual needs.

With an outstanding credit score, there likely will be no shortage of lenders that are willing to work with you. As such, you can review a broad range of mortgage options and choose one that matches your expectations.

If you need to improve your credit score, there's no need to worry. Typically, paying off outstanding debt will help you boost your credit score prior to buying a house.

Furthermore, if you receive a credit report and identify errors on it, contact the bureau that provided the report. This will enable you to make any corrections right away.

And if you need help as you get ready to pursue your dream house, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area and make it easy to obtain home financing. Plus, this housing market professional will enable you to evaluate residences in your preferred cities and towns and find one that you can enjoy for an extended period of time.


A condo offers a great opportunity to enjoy a comfortable living space without the hassle of home exterior maintenance. As such, many property buyers are exploring condos in cities and towns nationwide.

However, buying a condo sometimes can be tricky, particularly for property buyers who are unfamiliar with the real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of purchasing a condo.

Let's take a look at three questions that condo buyers need to consider before they purchase a property.

1. Am I ready for condo life?

Owning a condo and owning a home are two very different things, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Like a homeowner, a condo owner has a property to call his or her own. But a condo community usually has a homeowners' association (HOA) in place that manages exterior maintenance and other tasks. This association also establishes rules and regulations that all condo owners must follow; otherwise, property owners may face fines.

Before you purchase a condo, it is paramount to prepare for condo life as much as possible. To do so, you may want to consult with friends or family members who have resided in condo communities over the years. These loved ones can share their condo living experiences with you to help you better understand what life will be like as a condo owner.

2. How much can I afford to pay for a condo?

Although you know that you'd like to purchase a condo, you still need to find out how much you can afford to pay for a property. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available to help you determine how much you can spend on a condo.

Consult with several banks and credit unions to explore all of your home financing options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your expectations.

In addition, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your condo search. If you enter the real estate market with a budget in hand, you can narrow your condo search and speed up the property buying process.

3. Do I need to employ a real estate agent?

Ultimately, a real estate agent is a must-have for any condo buyer, at any time. This housing market professional can teach you the ins and outs of real estate and ensure that you can make an informed condo purchase.

A real estate agent strives to provide you with an outstanding condo buying experience. To accomplish this goal, he or she will work with you, learn about your condo buying goals and help you plan accordingly.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is unafraid to be honest. He or she will offer condo buying recommendations and suggestions as you check out a variety of properties. This housing market professional is happy to respond to your condo buying queries as well.

Streamline the process of buying a condo – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move closer to acquiring an outstanding condo at an outstanding price.


The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Be Diligent

A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.

2. Know Where You Want to Go

Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.

Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.

Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.


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!


Looking to move out of a big city? Relocate to a small town, and you can enjoy the simple joys of small town life.

Many people prefer the small town lifestyle, and for good reason. In a small town, you won't have to worry about excess traffic or noise. Plus, many homes are available in small towns nationwide, ensuring you should have no trouble discovering a wonderful residence without having to worry about breaking your budget.

Kick off your search for a small town home today – here are three tips to help you secure a terrific small town house.

1. Study the Local Housing Market Closely

What are you looking for in a small town home? Ultimately, you'll want to consider exactly what you'd like to find in a small town house before you conduct your search for the ideal residence.

Creating a checklist of must-haves is essential. With this list, you'll be able to examine available homes in a small town and narrow your search accordingly.

Also, don't forget to examine the prices of recently sold houses in a small town. This housing market data will enable you to differentiate between a seller's market and a buyer's market.

2. Get Financing Before You Start Your Home Search

Can you afford a small town home? It all depends on the financing at your disposal.

Meet with several banks and credit unions to explore your mortgage options. That way, you can learn about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and obtain financing.

If you ever have concerns or questions about home financing, be sure to ask a lender for assistance.

Remember, banks and credit unions employ mortgage professionals who are happy to help you in any way they can. These mortgage experts can teach you about different types of mortgage and offer personalized mortgage recommendations, ensuring you can get the financing you need to make your homeownership dreams come true.

3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to the real estate market, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in small towns and big cities alike and will do whatever it takes to help you find a great house.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent who understands the properties that are currently available in a small town is vital. This real estate professional will offer tips throughout the homebuying process, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at every stage.

Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a small town home. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, this real estate professional will streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Take the next step to acquire a home in a small town – use these homebuying tips, and you can locate a small town home that can serve you well for years to come.




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