Carol Snider & Laura Snider Cooperman, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Metrowest Real Estate


Buying a home may prove to be challenging, regardless of where you decide to search for a house. However, if you are aggressive in your pursuit of your dream residence, you could speed up your home search.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you stay aggressive during your quest to find your dream house.

1. Keep Track of the Local Housing Market

You know you want to purchase a house in a particular city or town, but residences are selling quickly. Fortunately, if you monitor the local housing sector, you may be better equipped than other buyers to pounce at an opportunity to acquire a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.

Be persistent in your home search. Review the local housing market daily, and if a home becomes available that you want to check out, schedule a showing right away.

Of course, once you find your dream house, don't hesitate to submit an offer to purchase it. Because the longer you wait to submit a homebuying proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer could acquire this residence.

2. Attend Open Houses

An open house provides an excellent opportunity to walk through a residence at your convenience. Then, if you believe a home is right for you following an open house, you can schedule a showing or submit an offer to purchase.

If you attend an open house, take notes when you identify things you like or dislike about a residence. These notes may help you make an informed decision about how to proceed with a home after an open house.

Ask questions during an open house, too. Remember, a seller's agent is on hand during this event, and he or she can provide you with home insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Although you may believe you possess the skills and expertise to quickly discover your dream residence, it never hurts to get extra help. And if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you work diligently to acquire a house that suits you perfectly.

A real estate agent is committed to a buyer's success, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help a buyer accomplish the best-possible results. Therefore, if a buyer wants to purchase a house near a beach, a real estate agent can keep this individual up to date as new beachfront residences become available. On the other hand, if a buyer is operating on a tight budget, a real estate agent will help this individual find a wonderful house that falls within his or her price range.

As you get set to conduct an in-depth home search, it generally helps to prepare for the homebuying journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can take an aggressive approach to accelerate your home search and boost the likelihood of acquiring a house that you can enjoy for years to come.


Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lender’s decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.

Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things you’ll need when it comes to buying a home.

Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.

So, in this post we’re going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.

Types of credit scores

You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).

Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.

However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.

Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if you’ve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.

Build credit; raise your credit score

All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.

Your credit score will be based on five main factors:

  1. Making on-time payments

  2. The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)

  3. Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

  4. Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that you’re struggling financially)

  5. The length of your credit history, or how long you’ve been consistently paying your bills

What score do you need to buy a home?

There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.

A general rule, however, is that it’s always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate. 

Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who haven’t owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but you’ll have to make a larger down payment.


There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you aren’t planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.


Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. As such, you'll want to look beyond the price of a residence as you search for your dream house.

Ultimately, there are many factors beyond price that you should consider as you pursue your ideal residence, including:

1. A Home's Location

For most homebuyers, a house's location is the number one factor when they explore the real estate market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Finding a home in a location that is convenient for you is priceless. And if you know how to conduct a comprehensive home search, you can quickly discover a high-quality home in a wonderful location.

As you prepare to kick off your home search, consider whether you'd like to live in a city or town. This will enable you to narrow your home search.

You also may want to consider homes that are located near work or school. By doing so, you can ensure that you won't have to travel too far to get to destinations that you frequently visit.

2. A Home's Condition

A home may look like a great investment at first, but its condition may have deteriorated over time. Thus, you'll want to take a close look at a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase.

Typically, a homebuyer will complete a property inspection after a home seller accepts an offer on a residence. This inspection will enable a homebuyer to perform an in-depth assessment of a residence and learn about its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a homebuyer can determine whether to move forward with a home acquisition.

If a property inspector discovers myriad issues that impact a home's condition, a homebuyer may want to reconsider his or her offer. At this point, a homebuyer can still walk away from a home purchase. Or, a homebuyer can ask the home seller to complete various home improvements as well.

On the other hand, a homebuyer who falls in love with a house may choose to proceed with a home purchase, regardless of the residence's condition. If you choose this option, however, it is important to consider the potential long-term ramifications of your decision.

3. Your Future

It is paramount for a homebuyer to find a house that he or she can enjoy for years to come. Therefore, a homebuyer should consider his or her future before finalizing a home purchase.

For example, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to evaluate houses that are close to schools. Conversely, if you eventually want to work in the big city, you may want to consider homes that will make it easy to commute into the city day after day.

Don't forget to hire a real estate agent to help you during the homebuying journey too. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a broad range of top-notch houses that won't force you to break your budget.


Photo by Mostafa Safadel on Unsplash

The penthouse is the pinnacle of real estate in many markets -- and places like New York and Miami -- have plenty of options to choose from. It's easy to get caught up in great decor or fall in love with a view, but there are other considerations as well. Here's what to think about when you shop for a luxury penthouse unit. 

Expect to Pay  a Premium: Most penthouses are priced above similar sized units in the same building, so be prepared to spend a little more for that amazing view and those amenities. A single penthouse spanning the top floor will command more of a premium rate than one that shares the floor with one or more other units. 

You Can Still Negotiate: While a penthouse will command a higher price than any other unit in a specific building or location, you can and should negotiate the best deal. In cities with a glut of inventory in this price range, you may be able to secure a better price, simply by presenting the right offer. Your real estate agent can help you determine how flexible a price is and what fair market value is for a home you are considering. 

Inventory Impacts Price: In high-rise dense cities like New York, there are always penthouse properties available. Outside of cities, though, you may have fewer options  In vacation and resort areas with coveted views, there are only a small number of penthouse properties to begin with, and they are not all on the market at the same time. Act swiftly if a property you truly want becomes available to avoid missing out. 

Visit at All Hours: If you will live in the penthouse property, you should visit it during the day, at night and on weekends. Because this property is near the roof, it may also be near HVAC and elevator equipment -- these can get noisy when in heavy use. Newer penthouses have insulation and soundproofing, but older ones may not, so the home could be noisier than you expect when everyone else in the building is home. 

Is the view guaranteed? A building that faces the ocean and is directly on the beach will have a view that is not interrupted by future construction, but not all penthouses fit this description. You should be aware of zoning and building possibilities -- could a taller building be placed in front of yours -- disrupting your view? Your agent can help you discover if this nightmare scenario is a risk factor in any home you are considering. 

Buying a penthouse is different from other luxury property purchases, because the view and position of the home offer so much and contribute to the price. Be aware of the setup of the building and its location -- and be ready to move if a penthouse becomes available in a market with scant inventory. Your real estate agent can watch for new listings and help you be first in line to view new luxury properties as they arrive in the marketplace and ensure you don't miss out on the home of your dreams. 


Let's face it – the mere thought of informing family members about your decision to pursue a new home may cause your blood pressure to rise. However, there are many reasons why it often is beneficial to notify family members about your decision to kick off a search for a new residence. These reasons include:

1. You can identify and address potential homebuying hurdles.

Your family typically has your best interests in mind. As such, family members can help you plan ahead for the homebuying journey and resolve any potential conflicts.

For example, family members can help you analyze prospective home financing options. They may even be able to put you in touch with local banks and credit unions that can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have home financing in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.

2. You can gain homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Family members who previously bought homes may be able to provide you with property buying insights that you probably won't receive elsewhere. With these insights, you'll be better equipped than ever before to understand the housing market and make the best-possible homebuying decision based on your individual needs.

Of course, family members may be able to keep you informed about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns too. Because if family members know where you want to find a home, they can help you accelerate your property search.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Your family is there for you during good times and bad. If you inform family members about your decision to pursue a new home, they can provide you with comprehensive support throughout the property buying journey. As a result, family members can work with you to help you achieve your desired homebuying results in no time at all.

When it comes to getting help in your quest to discover your dream house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance as you proceed along the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. A real estate agent next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy and notify you about new homes that become available that match your property buying criteria. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. Lastly, if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase so you close on this residence and move into your new house.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – hire a real estate agent today, and you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




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