Christine Natale | Real Estate, Lowell Real Estate, Melrose Real Estate, Essex County


If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.


Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:

1. Determine Where You Want to Live

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.

Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.

Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.

Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.


Building a fence on your property can be a great way to secure privacy, add curb appeal, or give your kids and dog a great way to play safely. There are a few things that you should know about building a fence before you take the project on. You need to be sure that everything is in place so that the project will go smoothly. 


Know What You Want


If you know the purpose of the fence, you’ll need to decide on the type of fence that will best serve what you’re looking to achieve. If you live in an area governed by an HOA for example, you may need to get clearance just to start the project. The Association may have rules and regulations as to what type of fence they’ll allow you to put up. Many variables should be answered before you leap into the project of building a fence. 


Decide On The Materials The Fence Will Be Made From


Once you know the type of fence you need, you’ll choose what that fence will be made of. If you get a wood fence, that may require a bit more maintenance than other types of fences. Materials you can choose from include:


Chain link

Vinyl

Wrought iron

Aluminum 


There are many advantages and disadvantages to these materials so do your research and discover which one will be best for you. You can even mix and match fencing materials. You may be able to use one type of fencing material in the front of your home and another kind of fencing in the back. You can get as creative as you need to be.       



Use Natural Borders


If fencing isn’t your thing, you can create borders around your property using natural barriers like shrubs, bushes, or trees. Using natural barriers is a surefire way to add curb appeal and gain some privacy as well.


Research Fencing Types


As with anything in your home, a little research can go a long way. You want to take the time to see what the best kind of fence is for you to put up. Another thing to do before you put up a fence is to talk with your neighbors. You don’t want to start a big project that will be right on their property line and get them upset with you. Depending on the nature of your neighborhood, you may even need a written agreement with your neighbors before you build a fence.     



If you intend to find your dream house, it helps to establish a homebuying strategy. That way, you can enter the real estate market with a plan in place to accomplish your desired goals.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying strategy.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

If you know where you want to reside, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be better equipped than other buyers to accelerate the homebuying journey.

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants usually is a great starting point for homebuyers. This list typically forces homebuyers to think about what separates an ordinary residence from a dream house. And once a homebuyer crafts a list of home must-haves and wants, this buyer can search for residences that meet his or her expectations.

2. Budget for a Home

In most instances, homebuyers lack the necessary financing to buy a house. Luckily, lenders are available that can help a homebuyer assess mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.

Budgeting for a home is a major part of the homebuying process. Because if you know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, you could speed up your house search.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, when you find the right mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no requirement to hire a real estate agent before you pursue your dream house. Yet the advantages of hiring a real estate agent can be significant, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For homebuyers, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price. A real estate agent also collaborates with a homebuyer and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a buyer can achieve the optimal results.

If you want to purchase a house as quickly as possible, it may be a good idea to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying aspirations. He or she next will work with you to craft a homebuying strategy and launch a successful house search.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will help you overcome any potential homebuying hurdles. A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house and will help you identify and address such issues before they escalate. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent will respond to them.

Enter the real estate market with a plan in hand – take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can create an effective strategy to streamline your search for your dream residence.


This Single-Family in Billerica, MA recently sold for $395,000. This Split Entry style home was sold by Christine Metros Natale - Christine Metros Natale, Broker.


9 Pratt, Billerica, MA 01821

Single-Family

$399,999
Price
$395,000
Sale Price

7
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
Contractors, Handyman, Flippers. Great opportunities with this 7 room 3/4 bedroom split entry. Located in desirable Tower Farms, close to the center of town, public transportation, highway access. Hardwood under carpets on the first floor. Finished family room with fireplace and bar for entertaining. Nice floor plan with spacious rooms, Town Water & Sewer. Prive yard on 25000 sq foot lot, plenty of parking, garage. Property is sold as-is. Contingent upon a license to sell in Probate Court. NO FHA. This property may not qualify for FHA financing.

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