Amy Uliss - Ashland MA Real Estate, Framingham MA Real Estate, Natick MA Real Estate


Looking to buy a house? Ultimately, you'll want to attend at least a few open houses in your city or town. By doing so, you'll be able to understand exactly what you'd like to find in your dream house.

Before you attend an open house, there are several factors to consider, and these include:

1. Your Homebuying Budget

With a budget in hand, you can narrow your search for the ideal home. That way, you can avoid the temptation to attend open houses for residences that fall outside your price range.

To establish a homebuying budget, take a look at your current financial situation. Then, consider your future expenses like those related to student loans or children and plan accordingly.

In addition, it never hurts to get pre-approved for a home loan. If you gain pre-approval, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and review a broad array of houses that match your budget.

2. Your Homebuying Checklist

If you're living to a warm-weather climate, you may want to own a home with a swimming pool. Or, if you plan to reside near the ocean, you may consider houses where you can dock your boat nearby.

Create a homebuying checklist before you visit open houses. This will allow you to streamline your home search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

Also, it may help to separate your homebuying checklist into "wants" and "must-haves." Although your dream house may not include all of your homebuying checklist "wants," you can use these categories to determine exactly what you'd like to find in your ideal residence.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you planning to move next week or in the next several weeks? Some homebuying journeys are faster than others, and you'll want to map out your property buying journey based on when you need to move.

For example, if you've accepted a new job in the city, you may need to move quickly to relocate. This may require you to act so you can get settled in a new home before you begin your new job.

Comparatively, if you're in no rush to relocate, you can take a wait-and-see approach to the housing market. And if you attend an open house and like what you see, then you can submit an offer to acquire a residence.

If you're unsure about how to approach open houses, there is no need to worry. In fact, many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide to assist homebuyers.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into a home before a homebuyer attends an open house. Plus, this housing market professional can provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and will even negotiate with a home seller on a buyer's behalf.

Get ready for an open house – consider the aforementioned factors, and a homebuyer should have no trouble exploring a broad array of residences and finding one that he or she can enjoy for years to come.


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.


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.


Photo by Fizkes via Shutterstock

Few things are more exciting than buying a house and making it your home. Knowing when it’s the right time to buy derives from your personal circumstances, but some external elements and market realities affect when it’s right to buy too.

Here are some of the things that can affect your decision to purchase a home, and the timing to do it.

  • Interest rates. Right now, interest rates are low, making housing affordable. Keeping an eye on rates can save you money. You can get pre-approval for a mortgage that locks in a low rate, so check out the programs offered by various lenders to see which one has the most useful option for you.
  • Inventory levels. Listed homes in your area that fit your budget, and your criteria, ebb and flow. Develop a relationship with a qualified real estate market specialist to keep tabs on inventory levels, so you know when to buy.
  • Increased prices. Supply and demand drive up prices, so if prices begin to increase it may be time to step into the market. Again, your real estate agent can keep you apprised of price fluctuations in the market.
  • Income levels. You might simply be waiting for a promised raise or that bonus to plump up your down-payment cache. When that’s the case, notify your agent of your expectation and the timing so that they begin looking for you just ahead of when you’re ready to make the purchase.
  • Income tax refunds. Although using the IRS as a savings account is a poor financial strategy, sometimes, you end up with a bigger refund than you’d anticipated. When that happens, and you receive the extra funds, it might be time to make homeownership a reality.
  • Investments. When an investment gives you an unexpected return, it might be time to reinvest it into a home.

If any of these are true, you may be financially ready. When making any financial decision—especially huge ones such as buying a home—it's essential to contemplate the reason behind your decision. What do you believe a home provides you? How does it fit into your future goals? Are you willing to tie up your funds in a non-liquid investment? Are you prepared to handle the maintenance? Do you have time for upkeep?

When you feel positive about your answers, reach out to your agent for advice, and to start looking for your new home. 


Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.




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