Judy Kuhtreiber, Realtor | Shrewsbury Real Estate, Marlborough Real Estate, Southborough Real Estate


Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, you’re in luck. Today’s post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing you’ll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of credit…

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Don’t open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you won’t want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You can’t withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you won’t need to dip into these funds before they’ve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if it’s your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that you’ll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, you’ll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You won’t be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Don’t be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if you’re happy with your current job.

If you’ve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.


Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.

1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.

The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.

It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.

2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.

Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.

In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.

On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.

Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.

3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.

When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.

Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.


Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.

To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.

On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.

Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.

Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.

A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.


FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who don’t have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.

Today we’re going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.

What are FHA loans?

FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is “guaranteed” by the federal government.

Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you don’t have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.

When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.

This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.

How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?

To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.

As with all things, it’s a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.

Down payment requirements

To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. You’ll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.

Credit score requirements

While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), you’ll need a credit score of 580 or above.

Previous homeowners and FHA loans

A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since you’ve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.

If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.


Ready to acquire your dream home? Although you might have already located your ideal residence, you may need to negotiate with a home seller. By doing so, both you and a home seller will be satisfied with the final results of a property transaction.

However, a homebuying negotiation sometimes can be tricky. And if you fail to keep your cool throughout a negotiation, you may miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.

What does it take to remain calm during a homebuying negotiation? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Take Your Emotions Out of the Equation

Don't take it personally if a home seller wants to negotiate. Instead, view it as an opportunity to ensure all parties involved in a home sale get the best results possible.

In many instances, it's easy for homebuyers to let their emotions get the best of them. But if you feel overwhelmed by stress and frustration, it is essential to take a step back and assess the situation. That way, you can avoid making any rash decisions that could put your chance to purchase a top-notch house in danger.

Try to maintain a positive outlook throughout a homebuying negotiation. Also, don't hesitate to reach out to family members and friends for support, as these loved ones likely can help you analyze any homebuying hurdles and find ways to overcome them.

2. Know Your Options

You may invest many hours in a homebuying negotiation, and you might even make various concessions along the way. But despite your best efforts, there are no guarantees that your homebuying negotiation will be successful.

For homebuyers, it is important to remember that there are plenty of houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Therefore, if a homebuying negotiation goes sour, you can walk away and start a new search for a terrific home.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, a real estate agent can make it easy to streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence. This housing market professional can serve as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will do everything possible to deliver exceptional results for all parties involved in a homebuying negotiation.

Your real estate agent can take the guesswork out of a homebuying negotiation. This real estate expert can respond to any concerns or questions you may have throughout a negotiation. In addition, he or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed homebuying decisions.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress during a homebuying negotiation. He or she will provide you with world-class guidance, enabling you to stay calm, cool and collected as you search for your ideal residence.

Don't let your emotions overwhelm you during a homebuying negotiation. Conversely, use the aforementioned tips, and you can maintain your composure throughout a homebuying negotiation and boost your chances to acquire a first-rate house.