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


Online courses are gaining popularity as a way to learn new skills and subjects without enrolling in expensive certificate or degree programs. They’re also great for working adults and parents who don’t have time to leave the house every night to go to a class after work. Better yet, many online courses are free (or come with a free trial), so you don’t have to worry about losing money if you don’t like the course.

You might be wondering, “What can I really learn from an online course that will benefit me as a homeowner?” There are a number of courses relevant to homeowners when it comes to things like the home buying process, budgeting, interior design, and more.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of those courses in case you have some free hours in the evenings and want to learn something new. Read on for our list of the best free online courses for homeowners (or soon-to be homeowners).

Buying a home

Unfortunately, many of us go into the home-buying process knowing little about what to expect. This can be cause for stress and anxiety as you navigate the complicated steps of building credit, getting preapproved, and making an offer.

Udemy offers a one-hour course on home buying that can help you with this process. First, A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you prepare for a down payment, understand the housing market, and teach you about things like home inspections and appraisals.

Personal finance

I often wish that kids were taught more practical finance and budgeting skills in high school so they have an idea of what to expect once they graduate and enter the workforce or apply to college.

Making financial decisions is stressful at any time of your life, whether it’s taking out student loans, buying your first home, or deciding when is the right time to retire. Fortunately, edX has you covered with this free personal finance course from Purdue University.

You’ll learn about retirement savings, the different types of investments, how insurance works, and the role credit plays in your ability to make healthy financial decisions.

Interior design

Decorating and designing the layout of your furniture is often something that we just guess at. Maybe you saw layouts and colors that you liked on Pinterest and tried to emulate them, or perhaps you just buy decorations and furniture just because you like them and not because they fit the style of your home.

If you want to gain a better understanding of basic interior design and decorating, this series of video lectures from Howcast is a great place to start. With 53 short videos you can watch whenever and wherever you want, you can browse and learn at your leisure, then try some of these methods in your own home.


Are you beginning your house hunt as a first-time homebuyer or looking to buy a larger home that fits the needs of your family? No matter your situation, purchasing a home is a large investment and one that should be approached with caution and the use of your head, not your heart. There are multiple types of homes that one can purchase: condo, duplex, multi-family, single-family, etc. And one of those types will be the right fit for you. Let’s take a look at the pros of purchasing and owning a single-family home. Space: Single-family homes provide more space­—more outdoor space, more indoor space, and more parking space. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally this is the case for single-family homes. Take advantage of this luxury of more space by entertaining and fully utilizing it all. Since apartments and condos are usually in complexes, personal space can be minimal, where shared space is generally larger. Decks and backyards (if any at all) are small so that each renter or homeowner has their own space. This also goes for the inside; square footage will be less in the types of properties listed above, especially if they are located in a city. Privacy: Privacy is extremely important to many, and for good reason. With a single-family home you will have much more privacy than when owning other types of homes. Condos and duplexes share walls with other owners’ properties, which means your neighbors are always close by. You may hear them through the walls or be enjoying your separate deck spaces just feet apart. It may not sound like it’s all that terrible, but you never know who your neighbor will be; they could throw parties every night, vacuum at 4 am, or even have triplets that never stop crying. No restrictions: Unless you are purchasing a historical home, there are likely no property restrictions. A single-family home gives you the opportunity to completely turn it into your own and do just about whatever you want on your land (check with your town before renovating/building additions). Condos can have multiple restrictions that include parking, outdoor work, and BBQs. If the pros above sound like what you are interested in, then a single-family home may be the option for you. But be sure to research the market you are looking in to make sure that you can afford this type of home. If you are looking in a very desirable location with a smaller budget then this option may not work for you at this time. But fear not, continue saving and in the future you will be able to purchase that single-family home you’ve been dreaming of.

Months could pass before you find the perfect house buyer, the type of person who you feel confident will take care of your current home after you sell it and move out. The longer it takes to sell your house, the more tempted you could become to lower the price on your house, putting yourself at risk of losing money.

That’s not the only potentially costly temptation that might start nipping at you. To sell your house, you could get tempted to keep certain facts about your house to yourself. It could help you to land a quicker sale. It could also cost you, as there are certain types of information that you are required to disclose to someone before they go through with buying your house.

You can’t keep these things about your house a secret

Each state requires you to disclose different types of information. However, you regardless of where you live, you are required to tell home buyers about problems with your house that lower the property’s value. For example, if you know that you have a hole in the roof, you may need to disclose that information. Painting over water stains on your walls could be a wrong move if you paint in effort to conceal a problem and don’t share the information with a buyer.

Some states require you to complete a disclosure form. In this case, you may have to list out all known defects and problems with your house in writing.

Lead and asbestos problems are items that you may be required to disclose. Again, this depends on the specific laws in the state where you are selling a house.

You may have to sign a disclosure form. Should you knowingly omit a defect from the disclosure form, you could be held legally liable for damages. Two steps that you could take to protect yourself are to get your house inspected by a licensed inspector and have the inspector list out known defects. You could also include legal wording on a disclosure form that protects you from unknown defects that the buyer later discovers at the property.

Allow honesty and transparency to pay off

Selling your home could take longer that you want, especially if the market is tight. A downward shift in the economy or job market could also force your house to stay on the market longer than you anticipated. During this time, continue to maintain your house. You could even add one or more upgrades to your house’s interior or exterior to increase your home’s value and potentially attract a buyer.

What you don’t want to do is decide to keep certain, required information from house buyers. The latter choice could find you in court. Treat home buyers to the same respect that you want when you’re house hunting. Give home buyers the right information that empowers them to make the best decision. After all, the decision to buy your house may impact someone and their family for years,perhaps decades.