Erin Callahan | Holyoke Real Estate, South Hadley Real Estate, Northampton Real Estate




Ready to buy a house? It pays to be proactive, especially if you hope to streamline the process of acquiring a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.

A superb house is likely to stir up interest from large groups of homebuyers. Fortunately, with a proactive approach, you can stay ahead of the homebuying competition and boost your chances of securing a wonderful house.

Ultimately, there are several best practices for proactive homebuyers, and these practices include:

1. Search for Homes Early and Often

The early bird catches the wom. Much in the same vein, a proactive homebuyer is better equipped than others to achieve his or her desired results.

Keep a close eye on the housing market – you'll be glad you did. If you monitor home listings in your city or town, you can quickly identify potential properties that you may want to buy.

In addition, evaluate housing market trends and patterns. With this housing market data in hand, you can differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Meet with several banks and lenders in your area. By doing so, you can explore a variety of mortgage options and select one that complements your finances.

There is no shortage of mortgage options at your disposal. For example, many homebuyers prefer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which guarantees they will pay the same amount each month for the life of a mortgage. On the other hand, some homebuyers choose a 15-year adjustable-rate mortgage, which features lower upfront payments that gradually increase over time.

If you're uncertain about which mortgage option to select, there is no need to worry. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals who can help you make an informed decision.

Perhaps best of all, meeting with mortgage professionals guarantees you can receive expert responses to your concerns and questions. These mortgage professionals will devote the necessary time and resources to assist you and make it simple for you to select a great mortgage.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to enter the housing market, there is no reason to wait. In fact, if you contact a real estate agent today, you can immediately launch a successful homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is dedicated to your homebuying success. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals, ensuring you can start the homebuying journey on the right foot. Then, this housing market professional can help you narrow your search for your dream residence.

In most instances, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new residences as they become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional also provides a one-of-a-kind homebuying resource. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Don't wait to kick off a homebuying journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a proactive homebuyer.


Getting settled in your new neighborhood is a big task. There are boxes to unpack, utilities to organize, new schools to register for, and new neighbors to meet. You have to learn new routes to work, and if you moved because of an employment opportunity, a new job to learn.

On top of that, you have to figure out new traffic patterns and where to find the best grocery stores, how to get to the post office or find the library and other services. You’re trying out new restaurants, exploring the sights and just getting settled in. 

Then, you fall ill on the weekend, or your child discovers broken glass the hard way. With all the busyness and activity, that last thing on your mind is having to deal with an unexpected medical emergency. You realize that while you signed all of the paperwork in HR at your new job, you didn’t really read it and follow instructions to find a local doctor, determine the nearest hospital or urgent care that takes your insurance or even locate a pharmacy.

This common scenario can derail your relocation experience and make navigating an emergency even more difficult.

Follow this guide for locating the necessary emergency services ahead of time:

  • Dedicate a few hours to locating a nearby urgent care to deal with minor issues. Ask neighbors, school teachers, and co-workers for recommendations. 
  • Urgent care facilities often are open on the weekend or later hours to care for simple infections and respiratory illnesses like a cold or flu, scrapes and bruises, sprains and other minor issues that need immediate attention but not hospitalization.
  • Find the nearest 24-hour pharmacy. Call ahead to make certain they take your prescription coverage.
  • Find the nearest hospital that has a trauma-level 24-hour emergency room and that takes your insurance.
  • Be sure to locate an emergency dentist too. A dentist specializing in emergency care may be able to save a broken or knocked out tooth while waiting to get into your regular dentist might be too late.

Learn directions to these locations from your home, your work and your children’s schools. Drive by each location to become familiar with the proper entrances for emergencies. Keep the addresses and phone numbers of these locations in your contacts. List them by “pharmacy,” “urgent care,” or “hospital” along with the business name, since during an actual emergency you may not be able to recall the business name. Keep a printed or hand-written list on your refrigerator or another visible location in your home for older children or childminders. 

Pets have emergencies too. Not all pet hospitals handle emergencies, so locate the nearest one to you and find a veterinarian that has a nearby clinic or makes house calls.

Finally:

If it is possible your child or pet has ingested something poisonous, memorize the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222.

Put this number in your phone and post it on your refrigerator. Be sure to share it with babysitters and pet-minders.

For assistance locating other emergency services in your neighborhood, talk to your real estate professional for recommendations.


If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.



As a first-time homebuyer, it is easy to feel plenty of optimism as you search for your dream residence. And if you find your ideal house, it may seem likely that a home seller will accept your offer on the residence right away.

However, it is important to remember that a home seller might reject a first-time homebuyer's proposal, regardless of whether this homebuyer submits a competitive offer. In this scenario, a homebuyer needs to know how to move forward and continue to pursue his or her perfect residence.

What should a first-time homebuyer do if a home seller rejects an offer on a home? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Learn from the Experience

If a home seller rejects an offer on a house, there is no need to worry. In fact, a first-time homebuyer may be able to resubmit an offer and find out why a home seller rejected his or her initial offer.

For example, a first-time homebuyer may lack financing at the time that he or she submits an offer on a house. But if a homebuyer gets approved for a mortgage and returns with a new offer, he or she may be more likely than before to gain a home seller's approval.

On the other hand, a homebuyer should be ready to move forward with a home search if necessary. Thus, if a home offer is rejected, try not to get too emotional. Instead, a homebuyer should be prepared to reenter the housing market and start his or her search for the perfect home from stage one.

2. Don't Dwell on the Past

For a first-time homebuyer, it can be frustrating and annoying to conduct a home search, find the ideal home and receive a rejection after a proposal to buy the house is submitted. But there is no reason to dwell on the past for too long, as doing so may force a homebuyer to miss out on opportunities to pursue other residences.

Remember, the housing market often features dozens of outstanding houses to match all homebuyers' price ranges. This means if you receive a rejection on one home proposal, you can always restart a home search. And ultimately, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble discovering a terrific residence, even if his or her initial offer on a residence is rejected.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to submit a competitive offer on a house. Therefore, he or she will help you prepare a fair offer on a home before you submit it.

If a home offer is rejected, a real estate agent can help you alleviate stress. This housing market professional may be able to explain why the offer was rejected and help you plan your next steps in the homebuying journey.

Don't worry if your first offer on a house is rejected – conversely, use these tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring a stellar residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.


A homebuying plan is a must-have, particularly for those who want to enjoy a successful property buying experience. Lucky for you, there are many things you can do to execute a homebuying plan to perfection.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put your homebuying plan into action and achieve the best-possible results during the property buying journey.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Goals

As you craft your homebuying plan, it generally is a good idea to establish milestones. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Of course, it is paramount to set realistic homebuying goals. Think about why you are pursuing a home in the first place, and you can map out your homebuying plan accordingly.

It may be beneficial to hone your home search as well. If you narrow your house search to a select group of cities and towns, you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline the homebuying journey.

2. Maintain Flexibility

Although you may devote many hours to craft an effective homebuying strategy, it is important to remember that problems may arise as you search for your dream residence. Fortunately, if you maintain flexibility, you will be ready to adjust your homebuying plan as needed.

If you have to modify your homebuying strategy, there is no need to worry. Instead, adjust your plan and continue your pursuit of your ideal residence. Because if you are flexible as you search for your dream home, you can minimize stress and boost the likelihood of discovering a residence that may serve you well for an extended period of time.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to developing and executing a homebuying plan, you do not have to work alone. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you find and purchase a terrific residence at an affordable price.

By consulting with a real estate agent, you can receive expert homebuying support. A real estate agent knows what it takes to acquire a first-rate home at a budget-friendly price, and as such, will work with you to ensure your homeownership dream can come true.

If you are unsure about where to search for homes, for example, a real estate agent can help you determine where to pursue residences. He or she also can help you get in touch with banks and credit unions so you can obtain home financing. Plus, a real estate agent is ready to help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them too.

For those who want to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey, you may want to craft a property buying plan. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get the most out of a homebuying strategy and ensure you can quickly find your dream residence.




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