Marianne Belanger - RE/MAX Vision


If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. In fact, this mortgage will enable you to spend up to a certain amount on a house. But in many instances, it pays to buy less house than what you can actually afford.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a house below your means, such as:

1. You might not have to worry about significant home maintenance.

A small house likely means less home maintenance than would be required in a large house. Therefore, you may be able to spend less time worrying about keeping your residence looking great if you acquire less home that what you can afford.

Of course, let's not forget about the money that you might save by purchasing an affordable residence. If you buy an inexpensive home, you may be able to use the money that you save to hire professional home cleaners, landscapers and others to help you enhance your residence's appearance.

2. You'll be better prepared than ever before for unexpected expenses.

There is no telling when a family emergency, natural disaster or other dangerous situations may arise. Fortunately, if you spend less on a house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to handle the expenses commonly associated with these unforeseen events.

Purchasing a cheap house may prove to be valuable if you encounter costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line too.

For example, your home's roof won't last forever, and you likely will need to fix or replace it at some point. But if you purchase a budget-friendly home, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to cover the costs associated with various home repairs.

3. You'll have more money that you can use to personalize your house.

The money that you save on a house today may be used to upgrade your home both now and in the future.

For instance, if you want to install a deluxe swimming pool or fire pit in your backyard, spending less on a house now may provide you with the financial resources that you need to fund these projects. And if you complete a broad range of home renovations, you may be able to increase your house's value as well.

Deciding how much to spend on a house can be a tough decision for any homebuyer, at any time. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of residences that fall within your price range.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. He or she also will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available and ensure that you can discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Consider your budget closely as you prepare to kick off a home search. By doing so, you should have no trouble finding a terrific house at an affordable price.


What should you expect after you make an offer on a residence? There are several steps that will take place between the time you submit an offer on a house to the date you finalize a purchase agreement, including:

1. Acceptance or Rejection of Your Initial Proposal

A home seller will have a short period of time to accept or reject your initial offer.

If a home seller accepts your proposal, you'll be able to move forward in the homebuying process. Conversely, if he or she rejects your offer, you may be forced to restart your home search.

On the other hand, a home seller may counter your offer as well. In this scenario, you likely will be given a set amount of time to accept or reject the counter-proposal. Or, you may be able to further negotiate with a home seller in the hopes of finding common ground.

The time between when you submit an offer on a home and receive a home seller's response to your proposal can be stressful. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures that you'll be able to stay up to date. This real estate professional will even help you put together a competitive offer on any home, ensuring that you can boost your chances of getting an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

2. Completion of a Home Inspection

Although a home seller has accepted your initial proposal, you'll still want to conduct a thorough home inspection to identify any major property issues.

For example, if a house has a faulty roof or defective hot water heater, an expert home inspector will be able to uncover such problems immediately. That way, you can learn about issues that may impact the long-term value of a home as part of an inspection.

If you find out about major issues with a home during a property inspection, you can rescind your initial offer and walk away from a house. Comparatively, if you still want to buy a home in spite of problems that were discover during an inspection, you can ask the home seller to complete home repairs or upgrades. You also may want to consider asking for a price reduction if major home repairs or upgrades are needed.

Ultimately, a home inspection will help you make an informed homebuying decision. After a home inspection, the ball is in your court, and you can choose to move forward with the purchase of a home, revise your initial offer or remove your proposal altogether.

3. Relocation to Your New Address

The final step of the home selling process involves closing on a home and relocating to your new address. At this point, all you'll need to do is pack up your belongings from your current location and move them to your new home.

Purchasing a home may seem impossible at times, but the homebuying process often gets easier as it progresses. Plus, homebuyers who collaborate with an experienced real estate agent can receive plenty of support as they navigate each stage of the homebuying journey.


In a competitive housing market--like the one we have today--sellers are fielding numerous offers, especially in desirable urban and suburban hubs.

If you’re hoping to buy your first or second home, it can be tough to make offer after offer with no success.

However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your time house hunting is well-spent and to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to win a bidding war on your dream home.

All-cash offer

The most effective way to ensure that your offer is accepted is to make it in all cash. Cash offers drastically simplify the real estate transaction process, making things easier on the seller.

Most buyers, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to make an all-cash offer on a home. However, people who are downsizing after their children moved out or are buying a retirement home may find themselves in the ideal financial situation to be able to leverage a cash offer.

If that sounds like you, consider a cash offer as part of your bidding strategy.

Waive the financing contingency

If you’re new to real estate contracts, you might be wondering what a contingency is. Essentially, a contingency is an action that needs to be completed before the contract becomes valid and the sale becomes final.

There are a number of different contingencies that can be found in a real estate contract. However, the most popular are for inspections, appraisals, and financing.

If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage to purchase the home, a financing contingency protects you in case you aren’t able to secure the mortgage in time. In other words, you’re not on the hook for a home you can’t pay for.

In some special situations, buyers might decide to waive the financing contingency, signaling to the sellers that there won’t be any hang-ups or delays from the buyer regarding financing the home.

Waiving this contingency comes with risks (namely, being responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the home). However, there are ways to safely waive a contingency.

The most common approach is to get a fully pre-approved letter from a lender. The important distinction here is that your mortgage needs to be pre-approved and underwritten (not just pre-qualified), otherwise you again risk getting denied the mortgage in the last moments before buying your home.

Crafting a personal letter

Sometimes all it takes to win a bidding war is to be the seller’s favorite candidate. Take the time to write them a personalized letter. Explain what you love about their home and why it’s perfect for your family.

Avoid talking about big changes you’ll make. Remember that they probably put a lot of time and money into the home, making it exactly the way they want it, and won’t appreciate you making huge plans to undo their work as soon as they’re out the door.


Using one, or a combination of, these three techniques, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge over the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.


When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot of excitement that surrounds the search and purchase of the property. In the process of buying a home, however, there are many things that buyers forget to take into account during their search and budgeting. Below, you’ll find some information to help you be prepared as a buyer to consider your home purchase from all angles without missing a beat.  


The Expense Of Closing Costs


Remember that closing costs will be somewhere in the 3-5 percent range of the purchase price of a home. Amidst all of your savings, you’ll need to consider this a part of your expenses. Closing costs need to be paid upfront in most cases. You can roll your closing costs into the financing, but it depends on the circumstances. There are no guarantees that the lender will agree to it. Your realtor can also sometimes negotiate for the sellers to pay the closing costs, but in a seller’s market this is quite rare. Be prepared with your closing costs and understand how much you’ll need to spend so that you have an appropriate amount for the downpayment and the other expenses that you’ll incur during the process of buying a home.  


The Cost Of Maintaining A House


Many buyers forget about all of the costs that they will need to pay for after they finish buying the house. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, you’ll need to pay for things like utilities, routine home maintenance, furnishings, and more. If you completely deplete your savings for the purchase of the home, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for you to pay for additional needs in the house. 


The Cost Of Furnishing And Decorating A Home


You may move into a home with a few pieces that you have previously owned. You could also need a lot of things from a bed to a sofa. All of these items can add up. You may even have to worry about little things like window shades, curtains, lamps, light bulbs, and more. 


Home Repairs Can Cost A Pretty Penny


If something needs to be done in your home, the repairs can cost you quite a bit. If you’re not paying attention during the home inspection, you’ll be in for some surprises. That’s why you need a good realtor to help you through the process. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars. New appliances are an expense you should plan for. Other major work that needs to be done around the house can also dip into your savings significantly. As a buyer, you need to be prepared for any of these expected or completely unexpected costs.           


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.




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