Margo Delaney | Cambridge Real Estate, Arlington Real Estate, Belmont Real Estate


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There are many parts and pieces that go into relocation. Finding the perfect home is, of course, an important step in the process. But once you have found a residence in your new city or town, it is crucial to consider other home-ownership factors that will affect your monthly and annual expenses. As part of your relocation preparation, research what other fees and bills you may need to pay outside of your mortgage. 

If you’re moving to a new state, review the escrow process and any new, or different, closing costs that may increase the amount you’ll owe. Understand what annual property taxes will be assessed and fees you will be responsible for. Homeowners Associations may also function differently in your new city or state. Closely review all paperwork and research what costs are normal for the area. Know what your requirements are as a homeowner, so you don’t agree to anything outside the norm or incur fees from not aligning to your contract.

Utility costs vary from city to city and state to state, but even within the same city, prices can be different from neighborhood to neighborhood. While you’re house hunting, include a visit to the electricity, water, gas and trash company websites that service the homes you’re considering. For electricity and water, learn what the costs are per unit, time of day and any special programs available for conservation. See what bins your new trash company offers and how much they charge per month. There might be different sizes available to you at different pricing, along with compost or yard waste bins and lower to even free rates for recycling. Your new city may also have monthly fees for general upkeep of parks, greenbelts and other public services.

When you consider the monthly mortgage payment you can afford, it’s smart to take these other costs into account. You might be able to make a mortgage payment, but a high electricity or water bill might put your monthly outgo outside your budget. It’s easy to forget about these little (or big) costs. Make your move easy and successful by planning for monthly and annual costs outside of your mortgage.


Finding the ideal home for your family's needs is no easy task, but if you stay organized and focused, the right property is sure to come along!

One of your most valuable resources in your search for a new home is an experienced real estate agent -- someone you trust and feel comfortable working with.

They'll not only set up appointments for you to visit homes in your desired price range and school district, but they'll also help keep you motivated, informed, and on track. Once you know and have shared your requirements (and "wish list") with them, your agent will be able to guide you on a path to finding the home that will best serve your needs -- both short- and longer term.

In addition to proximity to jobs, good schools, and childcare, you'll probably want to pick a location that's close to supermarkets, recreation areas, and major highways. If you have friends or family in the area, then that would also be a key consideration.

While your immediate needs are a good starting point for creating a checklist of requirements, it's also a good idea to give some thought to what you may need in the future. Plans to expand your family, possibly take care of aging parents, or adopt pets are all factors to consider when looking at prospective homes to buy.

If you have college-age children or recent graduates in the family, you might have to save room for them in your new house. Many grads need a couple more years of financial and moral support from their parents (not to mention home-cooked meals) before they're ready to venture out on their own. Houses with a finished basement, a separate in-law apartment, or even a guest cottage on the property are often well-suited for multigenerational households.

In many cases, people tend to buy a home based on their emotional reaction to it, and then justify the purchase with facts. For example, if the price was right and a particular house reminded you of your childhood home, then that combination of elements could prompt you to make an offer on the house -- assuming those childhood memories were happy!

Sometimes prospective buyers might simply love the look and feel of a neighborhood or the fact that there's a spacious, fenced-in back yard in which they can envision their children or dogs happily (and safely) playing.

According to recent surveys, today's buyers are attracted to homes that have energy efficient features, separate laundry rooms, and low-maintenance floors, counter tops, and backyard decks. Gourmet kitchens, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink, a home office area, and outdoor living spaces are also popular features. Although your tastes may differ, many house hunters also like design elements such as subway tiles, hardwood floors, shaker cabinets, pendant lights, and exposed brick.

When it comes to choosing the home that you and your family will live in for the next few years, your top priorities will probably include a sufficient amount of space, plenty of convenience, and a comfortable environment in which you and your loved ones can feel safe, secure, and happy for the foreseeable future!


The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.

You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.

3. This probably isn’t your last home

While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”

So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.

5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract. 


Want to make your homeownership dream a reality? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and a first-time homebuyer can move closer than ever before to acquiring his or her ideal residence.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to receive pre-approval for a mortgage, including:

1. You can establish a realistic homebuying budget.

Entering the housing market for the first time can be challenging. In fact, many first-time homebuyers struggle to establish realistic expectations before they begin their home search. And as a result, these homebuyers may end up spending too much for a house.

Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables a homebuyer to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. This ensures a homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.

Pre-approval for a mortgage also allows a homebuyer to map out his or her homebuying journey. With a plan in place, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to acquire a top-notch residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

2. You can speed up the homebuying journey.

Although a first-time homebuyer can always submit an offer on a home without a mortgage in hand, doing so may be tricky. In some cases, it may even slow down the homebuying process, especially if a homebuyer has to allocate significant time and resources to find a mortgage lender.

On the other hand, a homebuyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage should have no trouble accelerating the property buying cycle. This homebuyer will know exactly how much money is at his or her disposal, and as a result, can speed up the homebuying journey.

3. You can gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.

In many instances, a home seller may be more likely to accept a proposal from a first-time homebuyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage versus an offer from a buyer who still needs to obtain a mortgage.

A homebuyer who has a mortgage likely won't have to wait too long to acquire a house. Conversely, a homebuyer who needs to apply for a mortgage after an offer has been submitted may need to wait many weeks or months to complete a home sale.

Clearly, there are many great reasons for a first-time homebuyer to receive pre-approval for a mortgage. For homebuyers who want to ensure the best results possible, it certainly helps to collaborate with an experienced real estate agent too.

An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will do whatever it takes to help a homebuyer streamline the property buying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and negotiate with a home seller on a property buyer's behalf. Plus, he or she is happy to provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help a homebuyer make his or her homeownership dream come true.

Take the next step to acquire your dream residence – get pre-approved for a mortgage today, and a first-time homebuyer can get the necessary financing to purchase his or her ideal house.


Purchasing a condo should be fast and easy. However, negotiations with a condo seller can quickly become stressful and may put your chances to acquire your dream condo in danger.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of negotiating with a condo seller to ensure you can purchase your ideal property.

Here are three tips to help you navigate tough negotiations with a condo seller.

1. Consider the Condo Seller's Perspective

Think about the condo seller's perspective and try to find common ground with this individual. By doing so, you and the condo seller may be able to agree to terms that meet the needs of both sides.

When you initially submit an offer on a condo, ensure your proposal accounts for the condo's condition and the current state of the real estate market. That way, you'll be able to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer that falls below a condo seller's expectations.

Also, maintain open lines of communication throughout the negotiation process. This will allow you to listen to a condo seller's concerns and respond accordingly.

2. Collect Plenty of Housing Market Data

If a condo seller believes you are unwilling to pay a sufficient price for his or her condo, it is always a good idea to present housing market data to back up your offer.

Explore the housing market closely to learn about the prices of comparable condos in nearby cities and towns. This will allow you to see how a particular condo stacks up against similar properties in terms of price and condition.

In addition, check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area to identify housing market patterns and trends. With this real estate market information at your disposal, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to continue to negotiate with a condo seller or consider other properties.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent will negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf. Therefore, he or she will help you minimize the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with condo negotiations.

Typically, a real estate agent will submit an offer on a condo and wait to hear back from a condo seller. If a condo seller decides to negotiate, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the negotiation process.

A real estate agent will listen to your condo buying concerns and questions and respond immediately. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions during negotiations with a condo seller. This real estate professional will even share your concerns with a condo seller to help you get the best results possible.

When it comes to a negotiating with a condo seller, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of condo negotiations. And ultimately, you may be able to move one step closer to buying a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations.




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