Shari Sagan McGuirk - Marblehead MA Real Estate, Swampscott MA Real Estate, Salem MA Real Estate


Shopping for a home is an exciting time for any hopeful homeowner. After weeks of scouring listings looking for the perfect home in the ideal location for you and your family, it can seem like you’ve found the needle in the haystack.

When it’s time to go visit that home, it’s easy to put on rose-colored lenses and overlook issues that should, at the very least, be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not you should make a bid on the home and how much you should offer.

Today’s post is all about preparing you for that first viewing. We’ll give you tips on what to look out for and how to factor these things into your equation when it comes to making an offer.

Check the listing for omissions

Even if a home looks perfect on paper (or on its website listing), it’s still quite likely that there are things you’ll want to know about before considering an offer. A home listing should attempt to address several questions you might have. But ultimately, it’s main goal is to attract interest in the home.

So, what type of things should be in the listing that the seller might leave out?

  • Poor street conditions, heavy traffic, and blind driveways are all things that will factor into your decision but most likely won’t be mentioned in a listing

  • Odors of any kind can be off-putting and difficult to remove. Some homeowners may not even know that their home has an offensive odor if they’ve become used to it.

  • Room omissions. If the home is listed as having two bathrooms but there are only photos of one, this could be a sign that there are problems with the second bathroom that the seller doesn’t want you to see quite yet.

Top dollar home repairs

A professional home inspection will be able to give you an idea of the kind of money you’ll need to spend on renovations in the coming years. But why wait? When touring a home, ask questions about the last time important renovations and repairs were made.

Roofs, septic systems, and electrical work are just a few of the things that are expensive to repair or replace. If the previous homeowner has a small family or lives alone and you plan on moving in with a houseful of kids, you might find that your impact on the septic and electrical systems of the home are too much for the house to handle. You’ll want to take this into account before considering a bid on the home.

Utility costs

The cost of heating a home in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be hefty if the home isn’t properly sealed and weatherproofed. Ask the current homeowner what they spend per month on utilities to get an idea of what you might be spending.

Then, take a look at the windows and doors. Cracks, malfunctioning locks, and worn weatherstripping are all signs that the home will need some work to be energy-efficient.

Don’t ignore the little things

Small fixes may not seem like a big deal when viewing a home. They can even deceive you into thinking that you’re getting a good deal by buying a fixer-upper for a price that’s lower than the market average.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that small fixes around the house are a sign that bigger problems are also being neglected. Don’t be too quick to assume the house will be a good deal before getting it professionally inspected.


Buying a home can be fast and easy for just about anyone. However, becoming the "perfect" property buyer can be challenging, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.

The perfect homebuyer understands what it takes to land his or her ideal house at the best price. As such, he or she will know how to handle difficult homebuying situations and streamline the process of going from property buyer to property owner.

Ultimately, becoming the perfect homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to help you acquire your ideal residence quickly and effortlessly.

1. Study the Real Estate Market Closely

The real estate market has many ups and downs, but the perfect homebuyer will know the ins and outs of the housing sector. By studying the real estate market closely, this property buyer will be able to identify the right opportunities and overcome any potential homebuying hurdles.

Spend some time looking at the prices of homes that are currently available. This will allow you to find homes at price that you like – and homes at prices that you don't like – and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

Also, take a look at homes that recently sold in cities or towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.

2. Know What You Can Spend on a Home

The perfect homebuyer should have no trouble avoiding the temptation to overspend on a house. In fact, this homebuyer will understand how to get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will ensure that he or she can establish a property buying budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will enable a homebuyer to learn about the mortgage options that are available from a variety of lenders. Plus, a homebuyer can ask questions and discuss myriad mortgage options with these lenders.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will be able to enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Then, this property buyer can narrow his or her search for the ideal residence.

3. Collaborate with a Housing Market Professional

Becoming the perfect homebuyer may require you to receive housing market guidance at times. Fortunately, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get top-notch support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you. He or she will be able to provide homebuying recommendations to help you make informed decisions. Also, a real estate agent will be able to keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, guaranteeing that you can speed up the homebuying process.

When it comes to buying a home, it is essential to do whatever it takes to acquire a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to doing just that.


Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.

Some of the most common homebuying fears include:

1. I will pay too much for a house.

Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.

If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.

Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.

An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.

2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.

If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.

A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.

Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.

3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.

What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.

A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.

For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.

Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.


Dotting the I's and crossing the T's on a home loan application may seem like a daunting task, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer. However, those who know what to expect when they fill out a home loan application may be better equipped than others to obtain a home loan that matches or exceeds their expectations.

When it comes time to fill out a home loan application, you'll need to provide a variety of information, including:

1. Personal Information

Allocate the necessary time and resources to provide as much personal information as possible on your home loan application. That way, you can make it easy for a lender to create a file for all of your home loan information.

Typically, your lender will ask for your Social Security number, date of birth, current housing information and school information. Provide accurate personal information at all times, and if you're uncertain about how to answer certain questions, consult with a home loan expert for additional support.

2. Employment Information

Where have you worked, and how much have you earned while you've worked for various companies in the past? As you complete your home loan application, you'll need to provide employment information to verify your current and past employment and income.

Usually, a lender will want you to provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers for any employers over the past two years. This will allow a lender to verify employment as part of the home loan application process.

You also will need to offer copies of your two most recent pay stubs to a lender. This will enable the lender to confirm your current income.

Lastly, if you are self-employed, you likely will need to provide a lender with a profit and loss statement for the past two years.

3. Financial Information

Tax forms, bank account information and asset details are some of the key parts of the financial information section of a home loan application.

Ultimately, the financial information section helps a lender verify if you have any outstanding credit lines, rental property and much more. This information will help a lender make an informed decision about your loan application and determine how much you are eligible to receive toward the purchase of a new house.

If you ever have questions at any stage of the home loan application process, don't hesitate to reach out to a home loan expert for help. This professional will be able to offer comprehensive insights to help you complete a timely, accurate home loan application.

In addition, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with various lenders in your area. With this housing market professional at your side, you can learn about different lenders and find one that can help you get the right home loan.

Finalizing a home loan application may seem like an uphill struggle. But if you act as a diligent homebuyer, you should have no trouble reviewing all sections of a home loan application. And as a result, you can provide a lender with relevant information and boost your chances of getting the perfect home loan.


 If you're in the process of searching for the ideal home for you and your family, there are many things to think about and evaluate.

While factors like the quality of neighborhoods and school districts may top your list, another important feature worth prioritizing is convenience. Since life is already complicated enough, it makes sense to simplify your daily routines whenever possible! The perfect time to set the stage for a simpler, easier lifestyle is when you're shopping for your next home. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when looking for ways to help make life easier

Short commutes: When you consider all the advantages of living close to your job or business, the benefits are undeniable! A relatively short daily commute not only helps you manage your stress level, but it also enables you to spend more time with your family... and less time dealing with rush hour traffic! A shorter commute can also save you money on gasoline, wear and tear on your car, and highway tolls.

A first-floor laundry: Unless you find ways to streamline and simplify your weekly laundry tasks, it quickly becomes a burdensome chore! Having to carry loads of laundry up and down basement stairs can definitely be tiring -- both physically and mentally. (It can be even more unpleasant if you buy a house with an unfinished basement.) The solution, of course, is to tell your real estate agent that you'd strongly prefer a home with first floor (or even second-floor) laundry hookups. Persuading your family to cooperate with organizing and sorting their own laundry items is also a good goal, but is easier said than done!

Two-car garage with remote control: After a hectic day at the office (or wherever you happen to work), there's nothing like the convenience of an automatic garage door and a spacious, private parking area waiting for you at home. In addition to the convenience, it's nice knowing your cars will be much more secure in an enclosed garage. It's also a great way to stay dry and warm when unpleasant weather is around.

Proximity to stores: The ideal location for your next home is close to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other services you and your family use on a regular basis. As is the case with job commuting distances, if you can live within a half an hour of places you need to drive to frequently, it makes day-to-day life much easier. While few neighborhoods are "a stone's throw" from everywhere you'll want to go, being close to supermarkets and other essential conveniences can save you time and provide you with a quick solution to having no milk, bread, or dinner food in the house!

So if you are getting ready to buy, or currently in the market, connect with your agent on the essentials you would like in your new home today.




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