Marianne Belanger - RE/MAX Vision


If you want to find and purchase a great house at a budget-friendly price, it helps to enter the homebuying journey with a plan in hand. Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for all stages of the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips so you can set yourself up for success as you search for your dream residence.

1. Make a List of Home Must-Haves

The definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. To define your dream home, you should craft a list of house must-haves and use this list to streamline your quest to acquire your ideal residence.

Think about which home features you need. For instance, if you require a house that boasts multiple bedrooms, you can tailor your house search accordingly. Or, if you need a home that is close to your office, you can search for a residence that provides convenient access to your office.

You may want to make a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will enable you to focus on available houses in cities and towns that match your expectations.

2. Create a Homebuying Budget

Learn about different types of mortgages – you'll be glad you did. Because if you make an informed mortgage selection, you can begin your home search with a budget at your disposal.

Generally, it is a good idea to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a house search. Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about myriad types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage that can help you make your homeownership dream come true.

If you are unsure about how various mortgage options work, there is no need to stress. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to share his or her housing market insights with you. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you achieve your desired homebuying results as quickly as possible.

Typically, a real estate agent takes an in-depth approach to the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and find out what you want to find in your dream residence. Next, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search to residences that satisfy your needs and keep you up to date about available homes that may suit you perfectly. If you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent then will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Finally, if your offer to purchase a house is accepted, a real estate agent will help you complete the homebuying journey.

Want to acquire your ideal residence? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can put yourself in position to succeed as you pursue your dream home.


As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.


People downsize their living-space for all kinds of reasons. Making the decision to downsize shouldn't be a negative experience and shouldn't feel like your downgrading your home. Follow these tips to level up your lifestyle and home enjoyment while downsizing your accommodations.

Find a space that works for you.

You might be moving from a large home with a big kitchen or dining area to a more compact condo or cottage and feel like you're losing a lot of space. Think about how your current home is laid out and what parts you utilize the most. If you love your big kitchen, then search for a highly functional, if smaller, kitchen space. Pay attention to how you move through your kitchen now, is it fluid to go between different cooking, prep and cleaning areas? You might find that in reality, you run around your kitchen and loose efficiency. Look for a more compact, but well-appointed kitchen in your new home search and find an even better space for the cooking and entertaining you love. 

Modernize your home view.

Your current home may have significant square footage, but how is it laid out? Are there lots of walls and hallways separating your rooms? What height are your ceilings? Does your house have a plethora of windows? Many modern homes have great open layouts. Shared space—a kitchen that opens to your living room, for example—makes both areas feel more substantial. Consider a condo or loft that has extra high ceilings and employ vertical storage to give height and openness to your living space. Finally, windows, windows, windows. Look for a home with large windows, and lots of them. Opening your house up to the beautiful outdoors and letting in lots of natural light gives your home the most added feeling of enlarged space. 

Make your new rooms work double for you.

  • Invest in a home with open kitchen, living, and dining spaces so you can entertain and remain a part of the activity while creating a meal or prepping drinks.
  • Combine your office, guest and craft rooms into one multi-functional space. Use modern storage and office systems to keep your room organized and ready to use for any purpose. Find a great sofa bed for seating and guest use or go old-school with a built-in Murphy bed with added shelving on the exterior. 
  • Use combination appliances like a stacking washer and dryer or upgrade to front loading systems that you can put under the countertop or build a worktable over.
  • Look for outdoor space that maximizes your interior space. French doors or a big sliding door that opens your living or dining room up to your patio expands your useable entertaining space. Find a home with a balcony off the master bedroom and extend your feeling of outdoor space. 

Amenities. Amenities. Amenities. 

In your home search consider narrowing in on communities with amenities that improve your lifestyle. Community gyms, pools, clubhouses, dog parks, and even a golf course are great opportunities to add to your lifestyle and help you make new connections. Properties with large green areas, barbecue pits, and trees make you feel like the whole community is your backyard. Associations that take care of maintaining your yard or washing windows can reduce the time you spend on home upkeep and free you up to live your life.

No matter the reason for your downsize take the smart steps to make it work for you and help you upgrade your living. Before you start your home search consult with your real estate professional about the best way to find the right space for you.


Purchasing a home may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for individuals who fail to prepare for potential house buying hurdles. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to put yourself in position to enjoy a successful homebuying journey, such as:

1. Establish Realistic Expectations

Much in the same way that Rome was not built in a day, you should not expect to find and acquire your dream house right away. If you establish realistic expectations from day one of the homebuying journey, you can identify and resolve potential problems before they escalate.

Think about why you want to buy a home, where you want to reside and other homebuying factors. Then, you can make a list of homebuying goals and criteria. And once you have this list in hand, you can map out your quest to achieve your desired house buying results.

2. Get Your Home Financing in Order

If you find a home you want to buy but cannot quickly obtain financing for this residence, you may lose the house to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you start a home search with a mortgage in hand, you could seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ mortgage specialists who can teach you about all of your home financing options. Next, you can select a mortgage that enables you to acquire your dream residence without spending beyond your means.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Oftentimes, it helps to hire a real estate agent prior to launching a home search. Because if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can gain comprehensive homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a house in any housing market, at any time. First, he or she will learn about you and your homebuying expectations. A real estate agent then will craft a plan designed to help you identify your ideal residence. This housing market professional next will put this plan into action and ensure you can check out a broad array of quality residences. Finally, when you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to acquire this home.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her home, too. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a home inspection and finalize your house purchase. And if you ever have concerns or questions before you complete your home purchase, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

There is no telling what challenges you may encounter when you try to buy a house. With the aforementioned tips, you can minimize risk during the homebuying journey. Perhaps best of all, these tips could help you speed up your quest to find and purchase your dream home.


Ready to kick off your search for the perfect house? You may need to find an expert real estate agent first. By doing so, you can streamline the homebuying process and discover a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.

However, selecting a real estate agent can be tricky, especially for first-time homebuyers. And if you make the incorrect choice, the risk increases that you may encounter problems as you conduct your search for the ideal residence.

We're here to take the guesswork out of finding the right real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at four questions that every homebuyer needs to ask a real estate agent.

1. What is your real estate experience?

Learn about a real estate agent's housing market experience – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional has helped past homebuyers achieve their goals.

Also, ask a real estate agent about how he or she deals with homebuying challenges. This will enable you to find out whether a real estate agent can help homebuyers through tough times, or if a real estate professional struggles when he or she is faced with homebuying hurdles.

2. How do you communicate with clients?

As a homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate agent who is readily available. This real estate professional will keep in touch with you at each stage of the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way.

A real estate agent who prioritizes communication will keep you informed about open houses and new residences as they reach the housing market. As such, this real estate agent may help you accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

3. Can you provide client references?

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will be able to provide client references at any time. If you get in touch with these references, you can gain firsthand insights into what it might be like if you select a particular real estate agent.

If a real estate agent cannot provide client references, this is a surefire red flag. In this scenario, you may want to consider other real estate agents who have proven they know how to deal with potential roadblocks on the homebuying journey.

4. Why should I hire you?

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, it is important to understand how a real estate professional stands out from the crowd. By asking a real estate agent why you should hire him or her, you're sure to receive a unique response that gives you a better idea about what this real estate professional is all about.

Spend some time reviewing multiple real estate agents in your city and town. And if you use the aforementioned questions, you can boost your chances of hiring a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream residence quickly and effortlessly.




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