Hopkinton MA Real Estate | Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty


Home showing preparation is key for any homebuyer. In fact, if you know how to get ready for a home showing, you may be better equipped than other buyers to assess a house and determine whether to move forward with an offer to purchase.

Ultimately, there are many ways that a homebuyer can prepare to attend a home showing, and these include:

1. Create a List of Questions

A home listing provides plenty of information, but it also may leave many unanswered questions about a house. Fortunately, if you craft a list of questions about a home prior to a showing, you can gain comprehensive home insights during this showing.

There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask about a house during a showing. Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you may complete in your lifetime. And if you prepare a list of questions before a showing, you can take an informed approach to this showing and gain the insights you need to determine whether a house is right for you.

2. Perform Plenty of Housing Market Research

The housing market constantly fluctuates, and a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. Thus, it generally is a good idea to study the housing sector closely to determine whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.

In a buyer's market, there is no shortage of high-quality residences available. And if you attend a home showing in a buyer's market, you may be able to take your time to decide how to proceed with a residence.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a limited number of top-notch residences. This means you likely will need to act quickly if you want to acquire a deluxe residence following a showing in a seller's market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

The housing market can be complex for both experienced and first-time homebuyers. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can offer expert guidance at a home showing and ensure you can achieve the best results during your home search.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to acquire a home in any housing market. As such, he or she will help you plan ahead for a home showing and guarantee you can obtain in-depth home insights during this event.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you find houses in your preferred cities and towns and submit offers on residences. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions.

Take the guesswork out of attending a home showing – consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the support you need to discover your dream house in no time at all.


Your outdoor lighting is perhaps one neglected area of your home. For both safety and beauty, the outdoors deserve a certain amount of attention when it comes to lighting. There are plenty of ways that you can make your outdoor lighting both welcoming and practical.


Layer It


Just as you would inside your home, you should try to layer your lighting. To do this, you should include many different kinds of lighting especially lighting that brightens the outside walls of the home, highlights landscaping elements, and even some overhead lighting.


Use Decorative Lighting


Decorative lanterns and lamps are an easy way to add lighting to your outdoor spaces. You can let them stand on their own, spread them out, or you can group them and line them up in certain areas like a wall or a table. Candles are also a great way to multi-purpose practical lighting with decorative lighting. 


Light Your Steps


It’s important to provide adequate lighting on stairs and decks. Anywhere that people can trip is a place that needs adequate lighting. Solar powered lights are perfect for these uses.


Use String Lights


String lighting hung overhead can be perfect for courtyards, decks, roofs, or even trees and shrubbery. If you don’t have anything to hang string lights from, you can always get creative using posts and planters. This is a great non-permanent solution for you to have some pretty lighting available.


Don’t Draw Too Much Attention To Your Property


While you want adequate lighting on the outside of your property, you also don’t want to draw attention to an area of your yard. The whole neighborhood doesn’t need to know that you’re out on your deck, hanging out. Choose lighting that provides an inviting glow without an overpowering brightness.            


Use Table Lamps


You may have thought that table lamps are only for the indoors, but think again. Your outdoor setup can be the same as your indoor setup. Put table lamps down on your outdoor tables for adequate illumination. Be sure that the lamps you’re using are rated for the outdoors. 


If you use the right techniques and always be sure that you’re following safety protocols,  you can find success with your outdoor lighting scheme. When your home is properly lit, the best part is that you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors of your home much more thoroughly during seasonable times. You’ll also have an increased sense of security and comfort in and around your home. It’s well known that burglars are deterred from intruding on well-lit properties. Set up your outdoor lighting right and get the outdoor season off on the right foot.


Although you may commit substantial time and resources to clean your home, it may prove to be exceedingly difficult to keep your residence looking spectacular day after day. However, with a home cleaning service at your disposal, you can employ friendly, skilled cleaning professionals to ensure your home will dazzle consistently.

Each home cleaning service is different, and you'll want to know what to ask each professional cleaning company before you hire one. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of hiring a professional cleaning company – here are three questions to ask a home cleaning business.

1. Are you insured and bonded?

When it comes to finding a professional cleaning service, employing a company that provides peace of mind is essential. Thus, if you hire an insured and bonded home cleaning service, you can rest easy knowing that your property and belongings are protected when cleaning professionals visit your residence.

An insured and bonded home cleaning company offers protection in the event that your property is damaged or any of your belongings go missing during a home cleaning. Therefore, you'll know that you are working with a proven home cleaning company that goes the extra mile to safeguard its clients if you choose a professional cleaning service that is insured and bonded.

2. Do you guarantee your services?

Is a home cleaning company open to feedback and suggestions? If not, you may want to search elsewhere for support, and for good reason.

Typically, a professional cleaning company will guarantee its service if its staff feels confident that it can deliver the best support possible during every home cleaning visit.

On the other hand, a home cleaning business that fails to offer guarantees may leave you high and dry. And if this company makes mistakes along the way, you might be stuck dealing with the consequences of these errors.

3. How do you establish your rates?

No one should be forced to break their budget to hire a professional cleaning company. Fortunately, you can find out exactly what it costs to clean a single room in your house or your entire residence if you ask about a home cleaning company's rates.

Usually, a professional cleaning company will be open about its rates and explain exactly what it offers as part of its service packages. In some instances, a home cleaning business may even provide discounts if you agree to multiple cleaning appointments or refer other customers as well.

Understand exactly what types of cleaning services you need so you can find a home cleaning company that will be able to offer the right support. By doing so, you'll be able to shop around for professional cleaning services in your area and find one that matches your budget perfectly.

Devote the necessary time and resources to find a professional cleaning company to enhance the quality and appearance of your residence. With a top-notch home cleaning business at your side, you can improve your house in no time at all.


When you’re ready to buy a home, there’s an anxious excitement that’s within you, making you feel like a small child on Christmas night. One question that is probably burned in your mind throughout the home search process is, “How long is this going to take?” 


If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll likely be using some programs through the Federal Housing Administration, also known as the FHA. With any kind of home loan, there’s many variables that can affect how long the process will take. This can be due to many factors including the seller’s circumstances and the nature of your loan. 


When you’re securing a home loan backed by the FHA, you may wonder how long it’s going to take for the entire process to finish from beginning to end. 


Variables That Affect The Loan Process


Underwriting

This is one of the variables that can fluctuate the most in the home loan process. Once you have found the home that you love, the lending process can take a few weeks beyond the point where you sign a contract. This part could entail many different steps that may become hurdles for you as a borrower. Your loan officer can also have an impact on the length of the process. Some loan people are just faster than others! 


Keep in mind that you can’t close on an FHA loan until you get through the underwriting process. In the underwriting process for an FHA loan, it will be assured that you meet all of the criteria necessary for securing the loan, such as the standards that have been established by the HUD (Department Of Housing and Urban Development).      


Closing On An FHA Loan


While it’s difficult to say the exact amount of time that it will take for a loan to process, there’s some things you can do ahead of time to prepare. If you apply for an FHA loan before you have even found a home, you’ll expedite the process a bit. If you have been pre-approved prior to making an offer on a home, you’ll likely be in a better position than if you haven’t yet met with a lender. This will also make the underwriting process move a bit faster for you, provided there aren’t any major red flags on your paperwork.  


FHA Appraisals


FHA appraisals do differ a bit from appraisals for a home with a more conventional loan. With an FHA appraisal, the appraiser must look for things in two main areas including any health and safety issues and determine the market value of the property as well. This process will most likely only take a few days. Part of the appraisal process may include the appraiser looking at similar properties in the area in order to get a bit of a comparison on the value of the property. 


Can You Speed It Up?

If you have everything in order before you even decide that you’re ready to go on the house hunt, you’ll discover that the process of securing an FHA loan will be a bit smoother. Talk to a lender before you start the process so you can familiarize yourself with the requirements. Once you can present the lender with the right documents, they’ll be able to do their job with little intervention on your part.


When you budget to buy a home, you sit down, do the math, and try to estimate what all of your monthly costs will be. There are so many monthly costs that come with being a homeowner that can make the whole process complicated. Sure, you have taken the standard costs into account like home insurance, property taxes, and even utilities. But there are a few out-of-the-box costs that you’ll need to consider for your house hunt.


Flood Or Other Natural Disaster Insurance


Natural disasters are costly and devastating. Many homeowners who live in areas that are affected by natural disasters like floods and earthquakes often opt for additional coverage for their homes. Premiums for earthquake and flood insurance often end up being very high. As a natural disaster strikes, these premiums can go up even more. If you live in one of the high-risk areas for natural disasters, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent ahead of time to plan for the additional costs that these special kinds of insurance will incur.


Water Costs During A Drought


There are many areas across the US that suffer drought conditions from time to time. Your water bill can skyrocket during these times. It’s best to continue conserving water and watch your bill closely in order to try and save some costs. There’s not a whole lot you can do otherwise to control your bill. You’ll need to stay prepared with some extra cash on hand in case of these emergencies and know that costs can rise due to different environmental conditions.  


Tax Hikes And Special Assessments 


As a homeowner, you’ll need to prepare for different kinds of assessments and tax increases. If your condominium complex needs significant repairs then you’ll probably end up paying an assessment to help offset the costs. This is what comes with belonging to a homeowner’s association. 


You can’t prevent that the town is building a brand new school that requires a tax increase, nor can you prevent roof damage on one of the buildings in your complex. Financially, this is a hidden cost of homeownership that you should be prepared for. 


Unexpected Maintenance Costs And Home Furnishings


Once you move into a home, you’ll need to prepare for the unexpected. The dishwasher may need to be replaced. The roof may need repair. The walls may need some paint. 


When you buy a home you may also need a bunch of things to furnish the home. These could include dishes, pots and pans, sofas, beds, and more. You don’t want to leave your new home completely empty! You also don’t want to be without vital appliances like an oven or a sink for too long if they are outdated or in disrepair. This is why it’s a good idea to have extra money on hand to deal with any of these costs.


The best rule of thumb to follow when buying a home is to always be prepared with a but of extra cash on hand to avoid major issues down the road.           





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