Pam DeGemmis - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


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Whether you’re buying a house or selling a home, the smartest move you can make is to hire a real estate agent to represent your interests. But before you do, take these important steps so you can be best prepared for the next stages.

Have An Idea Of What Kind Of House You Want To Buy

If planning to purchase a new house, prepare for your real estate agent interview by figuring out what kind of house you’re interested in. For this, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the various house style terms, like ranch, colonial, craftsman, Tudor, etc. Knowing these terms and knowing what you want will enable you and your agent to communicate easier, and your agent will be able to more quickly find the kind of homes you’d be interested in.

Get Your Financing In Order

Nothing’s worse than finding the house of your dreams, only to find out you can’t get approved for a mortgage. Before you do anything else, get your financing in order. Speak to a lender about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much you’re approved for and how much house you can afford. Your pre-approval status is also a powerful bargaining chip if for some reason you need to compete with other bidders.

Be Ready to Move

If you hire a good real estate agent to sell your house, you could be looking at a closing date just 30 days away. A good agent can have potential buyers ready to close fast. Are you ready for that? Before hiring your real estate agent, make sure you’re ready to move. Have a contingency plan in place if you need to move out quickly, including:

  • Storage facility
  • School documents for your children
  • Place to move into
  • Cleaning company
  • Know Where You Stand With Your Existing Mortgage

    You should have a very clear understanding of where you currently stand with your existing mortgage if you’re thinking of selling. You need to know the minimum of what you need to sell your house for so you can make the profit that you hope to gain. Also, go through your mortgage paperwork to ensure there will be no surprises regarding special clauses or contingencies when it comes to selling the house. Depending on the restrictions of your mortgage, there may be caveats as far as transferring title or changing terms.

    Ask About the Real Estate Agent’s Track Record

    During your interview with a prospective real estate agent, it’s fair to ask them what their track record is. Real estate agents keep tabs on how many houses they’ve bought and sold in any year, so the agent will be able to rattle off their “statistics” for you. Be sure to ask how long their houses stayed on the market, too, since that will reflect on the agent’s salesmanship skills.

    These steps will ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll be ready to hire a real estate agent to buy or sell your home!


    If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. In fact, this mortgage will enable you to spend up to a certain amount on a house. But in many instances, it pays to buy less house than what you can actually afford.

    Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a house below your means, such as:

    1. You might not have to worry about significant home maintenance.

    A small house likely means less home maintenance than would be required in a large house. Therefore, you may be able to spend less time worrying about keeping your residence looking great if you acquire less home that what you can afford.

    Of course, let's not forget about the money that you might save by purchasing an affordable residence. If you buy an inexpensive home, you may be able to use the money that you save to hire professional home cleaners, landscapers and others to help you enhance your residence's appearance.

    2. You'll be better prepared than ever before for unexpected expenses.

    There is no telling when a family emergency, natural disaster or other dangerous situations may arise. Fortunately, if you spend less on a house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to handle the expenses commonly associated with these unforeseen events.

    Purchasing a cheap house may prove to be valuable if you encounter costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line too.

    For example, your home's roof won't last forever, and you likely will need to fix or replace it at some point. But if you purchase a budget-friendly home, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to cover the costs associated with various home repairs.

    3. You'll have more money that you can use to personalize your house.

    The money that you save on a house today may be used to upgrade your home both now and in the future.

    For instance, if you want to install a deluxe swimming pool or fire pit in your backyard, spending less on a house now may provide you with the financial resources that you need to fund these projects. And if you complete a broad range of home renovations, you may be able to increase your house's value as well.

    Deciding how much to spend on a house can be a tough decision for any homebuyer, at any time. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of residences that fall within your price range.

    A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. He or she also will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available and ensure that you can discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    Consider your budget closely as you prepare to kick off a home search. By doing so, you should have no trouble finding a terrific house at an affordable price.


    As a homebuyer, it is easy to envision finding the perfect house, submitting an offer on it and acquiring it right away. However, it is important for buyers to consider the worst-case scenarios as well.

    A buyer who understands the worst-case scenarios that he or she may encounter during the homebuying journey can plan accordingly. That way, this buyer will be better equipped than others to avoid various homebuying worst-case scenarios altogether.

    Now, let's take a look at three common homebuying worst-case scenarios, as well as how buyers can avoid these situations.

    1. You find your dream home, but it falls outside your price range.

    If you enter the housing market without a mortgage in hand, you may need to act quickly to acquire the necessary financing to purchase your dream house. But once you kick off a search for a mortgage, you may find that the cost to acquire your dream home falls outside your budget.

    When it comes to getting home financing, it often helps to be proactive. Fortunately, if you meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search, you can determine exactly how much money you can spend on a residence.

    Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals. With these mortgage experts at your side, you should have no trouble getting pre-approved for a mortgage at your convenience.

    2. You discover a wide range of problems during a home inspection.

    A home inspection likely will be completed in the days after a seller accepts your offer on a residence. And in some instances, an inspection may force you to reconsider whether you want to purchase a house.

    If you encounter problems during a home inspection, you still have lots of options. You can ask a seller to perform assorted home repairs or reduce your offer. Or, you can walk away from a home sale and restart your home search.

    For homebuyers who are worried about any problems that they encounter during a home inspection, it is paramount to look closely at all of the aforementioned options. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.

    3. You employ a real estate agent who fails to help you achieve your homebuying goals.

    Many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide. But if you fail to conduct an extensive search for the right real estate agent, you may struggle to accomplish your homebuying goals.

    When choosing a real estate agent, you should learn about this housing market professional's industry experience. It also helps to meet face-to-face with a real estate agent and discuss your homebuying goals with him or her. This will enable you to determine whether you're comfortable working with a particular real estate agent.

    Enjoy a quick, stress-free homebuying experience – consider the aforementioned worst-case homebuying scenarios, and you can minimize the risk of potential pitfalls throughout the homebuying journey.


    Image by Sandro Porto from Pixabay

    On the basic level of supply and demand, a housing shortage leads to higher home prices. But let's look beyond the obvious at a few other considerations a homeowner might want to make in response to a housing shortage, as well as a few tips for the prospective homebuyer. 

    More Housing, Same Space

    Wondering what the best investment you can make to raise the property value is? Creating extra housing within the existing footprint of the property is one of the best ways to go. Creating an attic or basement apartment in the existing home is one way to go, so is building an entirely new structure to house a granny flat. You could look into garage conversions, see if there are changes that could be made to any existing outbuildings, or break ground and start from scratch. In response to the housing shortage there are many laws being passed to make it easier for homeowners to receive approval for adding additional residences to their property, including simplifying licensing procedures and even overriding some HOAs, including one that just went into effect statewide in California. 

    A Great Time to Sell the As-Is Home

    A housing shortage doesn't just drive prices up, it can cause buyers to quickly snap up houses with cosmetic flaws that would normally linger on the market. If the thought of doing needed house painting or landscaping feels like it defeats the purpose of selling the home, then now might be the right time to put your home on the market. Additionally, if you'd already been planning to sell your home, but have continually been adding to a never ending list of projects to complete before selling, then now is the time to list, while the market is hot, even if you're DIY home improvements are still a far cry from perfect. 

    Getting Into the Rental Market Is a Strong Income Source

    If you're planning to purchase and move to a new home, you may want to re-think selling your current one. Although it may be a strong market for selling a home, the rental market could be robust. If you can afford to keep your current home, you may have an ideal income-producing investment on your hands. 

    3 Tips for the Homebuyer During a Housing Shortage

    If you're looking to buy a home during a housing shortage, don't despair of the shortage. You'll have luck, just expect it to take a bit longer and follow this advice:

  • Work with a top-notch agent. To find the available houses you'll need to work with the agent who knows where to look.
  • Choose where you're most willing to compromise on your 'dream home' in advance.
  • Be ready to move quickly. Have all your paperwork and finances in order, and be ready to go when you find the right place.

  • No one wants to face a homebuying dilemma. Yet problems may arise during the homebuying journey that make it tough for an individual to find and buy his or her dream residence. Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for potential homebuying dilemmas and ensure you can quickly address these issues.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a homebuying dilemma as you search for your ideal house.

    1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy

    If you intend to embark on a home search, it often helps to enter the real estate market with a plan in hand. That way, you can streamline your house search and boost the likelihood of finding a quality home that matches your expectations.

    Think about where you want to live, as well as the features you want to find in your dream home. Then, you can create a homebuying strategy designed to help you discover the right house.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    Obtaining home financing may prove to be problematic for some people. However, if you apply for a mortgage today, you can start your search for your dream home with a budget at your disposal.

    There is no shortage of mortgage options available to homebuyers nationwide. Adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages are two of the most popular options for homebuyers. Meanwhile, banks and credit unions can teach you about adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and other home financing options at your convenience.

    If you meet with banks and credit unions, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions, either. If you learn about all of your mortgage options, you can make an informed home financing selection that may serve you well for years to come.

    3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

    There is no telling when a homebuying dilemma will crop up during your search for your dream residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance with any homebuying dilemma, at any time.

    A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with buying a home. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you address these challenges as you navigate the homebuying journey.

    Typically, a real estate agent will help you craft a property buying strategy, narrow your home search and establish realistic homebuying expectations. He or she also will set up home showings, teach you about different aspects of the housing market and provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions.

    If you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this home too. And if your homebuying proposal is approved, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase as quickly as possible.

    There is no need to stress about homebuying dilemmas. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for potential homebuying problems and resolve these issues before they escalate.