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


Saving for a down payment on a house can seem like an insurmountable challenge to first-time homebuyers. You don’t have the benefit of equity built from owning previous homes, and most, if not all, of your income could be tied up in other places like paying rent and bills.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry--you’re not alone. The good news is that there are some other things you might try before giving up on saving for a down payment.

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss a few techniques for saving for a down payment that you might not yet have thought of, and talk about how to can start saving sooner rather than later.

1. Know your options

Many first-time buyers aren’t aware of all of the different mortgage types that may be available to them. VA loans, USDA loans, and more are all available to buyers who don’t have a large down payment saved up.

There’s also the common myth that your down payment needs to be at least 20% percent of the cost of the home. However, this number is more like an ideal figure that will allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Before determining how much you need to save, make sure you understand all of your options.

2. Learn the art of budgeting

Most of us use the term “budget” as a vague word that means the amount of money we can spend.

The true point of a budget, however, is to gain a detailed understanding of where your money goes and to develop a plan.

One good method of budgeting is to do what budget experts call, “giving every dollar a job.” This means that you know where each dollar o your paycheck will go.

There are many tools available for you to use when budgeting. You can use a free app like a spreadsheet from Google Sheets, or a service that connects you your bank account like Mint. Mint will also let you set goals (such as saving for a down payment) so you can track your progress.

3. Asking for a raise

Depending on how long you’ve been at your job and your work performance, it might be time to ask your employer for a raise up front. Many employers are more than happy to reward hard work and dedication, but just don’t hand out money if they aren’t asked.

4. Start that side hustle

There are a lot of ways to earn extra money in a service economy. From waiting tables at night to delivering packages for Amazon, and giving lifts in your car for Uber, there are numerous ways to earn some extra cash in the evenings.

Just remember that you want this project to be something that’s enjoyable or interesting, otherwise it’s easy to burn out from overwork.

5. See if you have employee assistance options

Some employers offer housing assistance programs to their employees as a work benefit. If you haven’t flipped through your HR packet in a while, now might be a good time to make sure you’re taking advantage of your options.


Buying a house should be a worry-free experience. Yet problems may come up that prevent a property buyer from achieving the optimal results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you quickly identify and address various homebuying hurdles.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you minimize stress as you navigate the homebuying journey.

1. Plan for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

An informed homebuyer should have no trouble enjoying a worry-free property buying experience. In fact, this buyer will understand the best- and worst-case scenarios and know exactly what to do – even in a stressful homebuying situation.

In the best-case scenario, a homebuyer will instantly find his or her dream house, submit an offer to purchase this residence and receive an immediate "Yes" from a seller. Then, this buyer can finalize a home purchase and move into his or her new residence.

On the other hand, the worst-case scenario likely will force a homebuyer to miss out on the opportunity to acquire his or her ideal residence. This scenario may involve a failure to agree to terms with a seller due to many potential homebuying problems.

Homebuyers will want to do everything they can to avoid the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, if you learn about the housing market, you can gain the insights you need to plan ahead for the property buying journey. And as a result, you can increase the likelihood of finding and buying your dream house in no time at all.

2. Get a Mortgage

Let's face it – purchasing a home is your dream, but you probably don't have the necessary finances to buy a house on your own. Therefore, you may need to get home financing before you can make your homeownership dream come true.

Applying for a mortgage may seem stressful, but lenders are happy to help you in any way they can. If you consult with multiple banks and credit unions, you can review a variety of home financing options.

Don't hesitate to ask questions as you complete a mortgage application too. If you address your mortgage concerns and questions with a home financing professional, you can alleviate the stress commonly associated with applying for a mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to minimize stress at each stage of the property buying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. He or she will keep you up to date about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you find a house that you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive property buying proposal.

Remove stress from the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a worry-free homebuying experience.


The homebuying process sometimes can be tough to navigate. Fortunately, we're here to help you achieve the optimal results throughout the homebuying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three questions that every homebuyer needs to consider as he or she pursues a home:

1. What is my "dream home" definition?

If you know what you want to find in your "dream home," you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline your home search. Thus, it generally helps to establish a list of home must-haves and wants to guide you along the homebuying journey.

As you check out a broad range of houses, don't forget to update your list of home must-haves and wants too. By doing so, you may be able to further accelerate your home search.

2. What can I afford to pay for a home?

The prices of homes vary based on location, size and other factors. As such, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage to ensure you know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be fast and simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.

Of course, you should ask plenty of questions any time you meet with mortgage specialists. This will enable you to evaluate myriad mortgage options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.

3. How can I quickly and effortlessly achieve my homebuying goals?

The homebuying journey differs from buyer to buyer. However, homebuyers who work with real estate agents typically can boost the likelihood of achieving the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she can teach you about the real estate sector and help you narrow your home search. Also, a real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you and will offer unbiased recommendations to ensure that you can make an informed homebuying decision.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying cycle, either. A real estate agent will keep you up to date about available houses that match your homebuying criteria. In addition, he or she will set up home showings that enable you to check out residences in-person. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is ready to respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. As a result, a real estate agent will allow you to quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

When it comes to buying a house, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to make your homeownership dream come true.


You've found your dream home – at least, you initially thought you discovered your ideal house. But following the home inspection, you're starting to have second thoughts about whether you want to purchase a particular residence.

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a homebuyer. It enables a buyer to receive expert insights from a property inspector about a house's age and condition. Thus, if a home inspection reveals myriad problems with a residence, a homebuyer still has an opportunity to walk away from a home sale.

Ultimately, there are many factors for a homebuyer to evaluate after a home inspection, including:

1. The Home's Condition

When it comes to evaluating a home's condition, there may be more than meets the eye. Fortunately, a home inspection enables a property inspector to take a deep look at a house's interior and exterior and provide detailed findings.

If a home's condition fails to match your expectations, don't hesitate to walk away from a home sale. By doing so, you can reenter the housing market and begin your search for the perfect residence once again.

On the other hand, if a home's condition is not a deal-breaker, feel free to move forward with a home sale. And in a short period of time, you'll likely soon be the owner of a great house.

2. The Home's Age

A home's age may dictate whether substantial home repairs or improvements may be needed down the line.

For example, a home's furnace usually needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If a 30-year-old residence still has its original furnace in place, this device may need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

A home inspection should provide clear-cut insights into potential home improvements that you may need to perform in the near future. Use these insights to your advantage, as they may help you if you try to renegotiate the price of a house.

3. Long-Term Home Improvements

Spend plenty of time with a home inspector and don't hesitate to ask this professional plenty of questions. Remember, he or she is available to help you make an informed homebuying decision. And if you learn about potential long-term home improvements now, you may be able to avoid severe home problems down the line.

If a home inspector discovers roof problems or other substantial house issues, take his or her recommendations seriously. That way, you can avoid the danger of buying a "money pit," i.e. a house that may prove to be more trouble than it's worth.

Lastly, if you need help at any point during the homebuying journey, reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best home inspectors in your area and allow you to minimize stress throughout the homebuying cycle.

Ready to make your homeownership dreams come true? Consider the aforementioned factors after a home inspection, and you can move one step closer to purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.




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