Hopkinton MA Real Estate | Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty


Buying a home should be a quick, simple process. However, the homebuying cycle sometimes proves to be a hassle, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.

Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to become a smart homebuyer – here are three tips to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Check Out a Broad Array of Houses

Purchasing a home can be a fun, exciting journey, especially if you explore a wide range of residences.

Remember, the more residences you check out, the more likely it becomes that you'll find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

When you review houses, be sure to analyze each property's interior and exterior closely. That way, you can identify any problem areas and determine whether these issues are potential deal-breakers.

Also, don't hesitate to check out the same house multiple times. It never hurts to take a second look at a house. And if you find that you enjoy a home after a second walk-through, you may be ready to submit an offer on this residence.

2. Set a Homebuying Budget

Before you make an offer on a house, it is important to consider exactly what you can afford. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend in the hopes of acquiring your dream house.

Many homebuyers get pre-approved for a mortgage – something that may prove to be exceedingly valuable.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will know exactly how much money he or she can spend on a home. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and map out his or her home search accordingly.

Furthermore, consider your monthly expenses prior to submitting a home offer. Electricity and assorted utility expenses can add up quickly, so you'll want to account for these costs. And if you want cable and internet services at your new home, you'll want to evaluate these potential expenses as well.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional, and as such, will help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to understand your homebuying needs. He or she then will help you develop a homebuying strategy, one that ensures you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble acquiring a wonderful residence. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new property listings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will guarantee you can get the best results possible throughout the home selling journey.

Don't leave anything to chance as you kick off your home search. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home shopper in no time at all.


Nothing can quite compare to the emotional cocktail of excitement, fear, and anxiety of being a first-time home buyer. Being a homeowner is made out to be a huge milestone in life, and rightly so. Have you ever signed your name 37 times in a row? It's enough to intimidate anyone. By the end of the entire homebuying ordeal, you will have signed your name so many times that you'll feel like you should have just made yourself a signature stamp. You're in for quite the bumpy road being a first-time home buyer, some highs, some lows and everything in between. 

The lows? 

Oh boy, where to start? Did you know your credit score before you started looking for a home? Sure, maybe you have a credit card you keep some line of credit in your name. However, a house? It’s a whole different ball game! What is a good credit score? They did not teach us this in high school, but thank goodness we all know the order of math operations as P.E.M.D.A.S. (parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) right? What’s an escrow? What if the inspector missed something? When is my first mortgage payment due? You’ll have so many questions about being a first-time homebuyer, so do yourself a favor and get a realtor who can adequately answer all those questions! A great realtor can make the entire process feel like a cool Island breeze.

The highs? 

House shopping honestly is so much fun! Getting to figure out your unique taste in the architecture of your home is a fantastic experience. Sure, there are things that you must specifically look for to fit your needs, after all, you'll be spending the next 20-30 years of your life in this house if you do it right. The day you close on your home is exciting as well, disregarding the whole signing your name a thousand times. The moment comes with a sense of pride and accomplishment that you'll feel on closing day. Looking for your first home can be a long process, and sometimes can take months to years depending on the market. So, when it finally happens, and all the stars line up you can't help but feel a great sense of accomplishment. High five yourself on that day, cause all the stress and worries that you had in buying your first home are finally coming to a close. Now you can focus attention on the fun part: home improvement! 

 Being a homeowner can be such a fun-filled adventure, but hold on, because it will be a bumpy ride. Let your professional realtor navigate those bumps for you.


Selling a house may prove to be a high-pressure situation, particularly for an individual who is listing a residence for the first time. However, if you share your home selling plans with family members, friends and other loved ones, you may be able to receive additional support throughout the home selling journey.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to inform your loved ones about your plans to sell your house, and these reasons include:

1. You can respond to any concerns or questions before you finalize your home selling decision.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind, and as such, they probably are unafraid to tell you exactly what they think and how they feel. Therefore, it may be beneficial to tell your loved ones about your intention to sell your house, as you'll be able to receive unbiased feedback about your decision.

Although loved ones might not always agree with your decision to sell your home, it is paramount to open the lines of communication with them. And if you tell loved ones about your plans to sell your house, you can clear the air with them before you list your residence.

2. You may be able to gain extensive home selling insights.

In many instances, loved ones may have sold a house in the past, and you may be able to learn from their prior home selling experiences.

Loved ones may provide you with home selling insights that you might be unable to obtain elsewhere too. Then, you can use these insights to increase the likelihood of a successful home selling experience.

3. You can take the first step to promote your house to potential buyers.

Loved ones can help spread the word about your house to dozens of potential buyers. Thus, if you give loved ones advanced notice about your home selling plans, you may be better equipped than ever before to stir up significant interest in your house.

Of course, once your house is listed, it usually is a good idea to share your home listing with loved ones as well. Loved ones then can share your home listing with co-workers, friends and others, thereby improving your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.

As you get ready to list your residence, you also may want to seek out a real estate agent. Because if you employ a real estate agent, you can get the expert help you need to accomplish your home selling goals.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you put together a successful home selling strategy. This housing market professional can help you showcase your residence to interested buyers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling concerns or queries throughout the home selling journey.

Want to achieve the optimal results when you list your house? Collaborate with your loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you should have no trouble getting the best price for your residence.


Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.

Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.

However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.

Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment

Estimated time: 2+ years

The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.

Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.

Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life

Estimated time 6+ months

One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.

Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved

Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)

Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.

Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.

Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.

Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.

Step 4: House Hunting

Estimated time: 30+ days

It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.

Step 5: Making an offer and closing

Estimated time: ~50 days

Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.


This Single-Family in Grafton, MA recently sold for $330,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Donna Coakley McGowan - Millennium Realty.


216 Brigham Hill Rd, Grafton, MA 01536

Single-Family

$329,900
Price
$330,000
Sale Price

7
Rooms
3
Beds
1/1
Full/Half Baths
Mature Landscaping sets the stage for this Fantastic Ranch Home. From the Tiled Mudroom, to the Skylit Family Room you won't believe everything this sweet home has to offer including.....3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths - newly updated full bath -, and Skylit Family Room with slider to Screen Porch overlooking a private 1/2 Acre setting. What else? Fully applianced Kitchen, Gleaming Hardwood and a 1st Floor Laundry! Quick Access to Mass Pike makes commuting a breeze and plenty of nearby restaurants and shoppes. Pictures on Friday!!

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