Gregory Shugal | Brookline Real Estate, Boston Real Estate, Cambridge Real Estate


Let's face it – paying monthly rent for your tiny apartment is no longer feasible. Instead, you need a bigger place to live, i.e. a house that you can enjoy for years to come. As a first-time homebuyer, exploring the real estate market may sound like a fun, exciting opportunity – and it is! However, you need to prepare for the housing market, and by doing so, you'll be able to improve your chances of finding your dream residence quickly and effortlessly. So what does it take to find the right home? Here are three ways to boost your chances of buying your ideal house: 1. Save Money Before You Buy a Home. You'll likely need to find a lender that can offer you a mortgage with an interest rate that fits your budget. And if you save money before you buy a house, you could improve your chances of getting a mortgage with a lower interest rate. Typically, having enough money to cover several months worth of a home's mortgage may make you a better candidate for a mortgage than other potential homebuyers. It also is important to keep in mind that saving money now may help you pay closing costs and other fees that frequently arise during the homebuying process. 2. Look at Both Your Income and Debt. Ideally, you'll want to establish a budget as you prepare to explore the real estate market, as this will allow you to determine which houses you can afford. When you create your budget, be sure to consider both your annual income and outstanding debt as well. Evaluating these factors will enable you to better understand your yearly expenses and ensure you're able to search for homes that fit your budget perfectly. Don't forget to consider your future earnings as you develop your budget, too. For instance, if you're a student who already has a job lined up after graduation, you may be able to handle a larger monthly mortgage payment. On the other hand, if you have a baby on the way, you may want to account for the expenses associated with a newborn as you pursue a residence. 3. Monitor Your Credit Score. For homebuyers, your credit score reigns supreme in the eyes of lenders. Thus, spending some time monitoring and improving your credit score may make it easier for you to move one step closer to landing your dream house. Remember, you're eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) annually. And if you review a copy of this report, you can understand where your credit score currently stands. If your credit score is low, you can improve it by paying off any outstanding debt. Furthermore, if you find an error in your credit report, be sure to notify the agency that provided the report to you to ensure you can fix this mistake; otherwise, the error could impact your ability to buy a house. Being a first-time homebuyer sometimes can be challenging. But if you use the aforementioned tips, you may be able to bolster your chances of purchasing your dream residence.

Stopping by local garage sales in search of bargains and treasures is a lot like panning for gold. Some days you'll be sifting through a lot of rubble before you discover the hidden gems. Other days, you'll hit the mother lode, right away! Whether you're looking for cheap books, antique furniture, unique jewelry, retro clothing, statues, gardening tools, or gently used toys, you can expect to stumble upon some very interesting and worthwhile items -- usually at extremely low prices. Keys to Bargain Hunting Success Many people who attend garage sales on a regular basis seem to have developed a system to ferret out what they're looking for, spot bargains, and negotiate the lowest possible prices. They often don't even get out of their cars if the items displayed fail to catch their interest. Yard sales attract a wide variety of people, but the ones who find the best stuff at the lowest prices know the value of persistence, getting an early start, and advance planning. Many are quite adept at surfing the Web, clippings ads, and using social media to find promising yard sales to check out. The Seasoned Garage Sale Hunter In addition to a natural curiosity about the unexpected treasures they might find in their travels, they recognize the following underlying truths about garage sales.
  • There are two main reasons that people hold garage sales: to make extra money and to get rid of things they no longer need or want. In most cases, they're highly motivated to make sales and do not expect to rake in boatloads of money. If they happen to be in the process of selling their house and getting ready to move, they should be especially motivated to clear out all their garage sale inventory. The last thing they want to see is an interested customer with a wad of cash in their hands walk away because the price wasn't right. If you make a reasonable offer, chances are they'll either accept it or make a counteroffer. By cultivating some basic negotiating skills and learning to have fun with it, you can pick up some amazing deals in your neighborhood.
  • At first, going to garage sales may seem like a hit-or-miss proposition. However, persistence pays off. Good timing, a little bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time will eventually work in your favor. It's sort of a "numbers game," so if you plan to visit a few different yard sales in one morning, you're bound to find all kinds of worthwhile treasures and bargains.
  • If you know what you're looking for and have a pretty good idea of what its worth, you'll be in a good position to make reasonable offers and walk away with exceptional deals.
Whether you're looking for a used guitar, an inexpensive desk for a college student, or some hard-to-find first-edition books, you never know what you're going to discover when you dedicate a Saturday or Sunday morning to some serious garage sale shopping!

When you stop and think about all the preparations involved in putting your house on the market and avoiding mistakes, it can feel overwhelming! The good news is that you don't have to go it alone.

An experienced real estate agent can provide you with invaluable guidance on everything from effectively staging your home to complying with seller disclosure requirements.

One aspect of selling your house in the shortest amount of time (and for the highest price) is doing everything you can to make a great first impression on prospective buyers. You've probably heard the old expression "Presentation is everything." While that might be a slight overstatement when it comes to selling your house, it is a concept that is well worth keeping in mind. The overall impression prospective buyers take away with them after they've viewed your property will have a powerful impact on whether they decide to include it on their "short list."

Let There Be Light!

Sometimes the simplest changes can produce the biggest results. One example is lighting. If a room is inadequately lit, then you're not going to be showing it to its best advantage. Spaces that are too dimly lit can come across as dreary, shadowy, and uninviting. If you have bedrooms or other living spaces that don't have a ceiling light, for example, it might be worth the expense of having an electrician come in and correct that. Otherwise, homebuyers may find it frustrating and off-putting when they flip a wall switch, and it only turns on a ceiling fan, a floor lamp, or nothing!

Dimmer switches are often an easy and inexpensive solution for rooms that seem either too bright or too dark. Prospective buyers like the feeling that they can adjust the lighting in any room to match their immediate needs and mood.

Letting in as much natural light from the outside is another way to create a bright, cheerful ambiance in your home. Using decorative curtain ties to pull back curtains as far as possible can add a nice finishing touch while allowing as much outside light to shine in as possible.

If you happen to notice that your curtains are wrinkled, faded, tattered, heavy looking, or noticeably dated, you might want to consider replacing them with newer, more cheerful versions. The appearance and age of your curtains can have a lasting effect on the impression house hunters get from your home.

While we're on the topic of windows, keeping them impeccably clean is a goal worth prioritizing. That can be a difficult thing to keep up with if you have young children and pets who are always leaving smudges on glass and mirrors, but the cleanliness of windows is a small but important detail that will be noticed by potential buyers.

Although there are dozens of things to keep in mind when trying to make a great impression on home buyers, your real estate agent will help you identify cost-effective strategies for putting your best foot forward.


Spacious 3 bed in the heart of Coolidge Corner. Great views over beacon, 1 block from Trader Joes and on the C train. Just first month's rent due for move in. An unbeatable deal. No pets or undergrads please.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts

Spacious 3 bed in the heart of Coolidge Corner. Great views over beacon, 1 block from Trader Joes and on the C train. Just first month's rent due for move in. An unbeatable deal. No pets or undergrads please.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts



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