Gordon Avery | Westfield Real Estate, Southwick Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


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If you are ready to move into a luxury home. You'll find options in most locations in any state you desire. Before you choose, especially if you plan on moving to another state, you should first tackle some other questions.

Work

Do you need to keep working to enjoy the lifestyle you have now? If you do, can you find work that will provide you with a similar income? If you own a business, how hard will it be to get that business going in another state? If your business is conducted online only, that is one less thing you will have to worry about — but you do have to find out how businesses are treated in the state you choose to move to. It is not beneficial to run a business in some states because of the extra taxes and regulations that some states have.

Urban, Suburban or Rural

It’s no secret that you can get more house for the money in certain states, and, breaking it down further, more house for the money in certain areas of the state. For example, to get a luxury home with at least five bedrooms near or in a large city, you’re going to have to shell out much more than you would if you picked the same house 100 miles away from the city, as long as the location is not near another large city or a tourist area.

Are you looking for something that doesn’t take a ton of maintenance? You might prefer a luxury home in the city with a small yard. If you like the idea of spreading out, having a large pool, hot tubs, stables, riding trails, ATV trails and other amenities on your property, you’ll have better luck finding that in a rural area.

Commuting and Schools

If you have school-age children, check the rating of the schools. Just because you live in a luxury neighborhood doesn’t mean that the schools for that neighborhood have a good rating. Additionally, you might have to take your children to school if you live too far out for the school bus. And, on the subject of commuting, if you have to work to maintain your lifestyle, you’ll have to commute if you choose a rural luxury home. How long is the commute? Is it something that you can manage or will that commute take too much time away from your family?

Nightlife and Attractions

If you like to go out a lot, living an hour out of town might not be for you, as much as you like a property. If you have to be in the thick of things, you might prefer a luxury neighborhood in an urban or suburban setting. If you want peace and quiet, and prefer connecting with nature, then you might choose a rural luxury home, such as a large ranch or a home with large acreage.


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Buying your first home is exciting and you will spend a lot of time working with your real estate agent. However, before you begin searching for the right agent, here are some helpful hints to help you get started off on the right foot and make sure you are ready to purchase a home.

Check Your Credit Report

One of the most important things you can do before you start the home mortgage process is to verify the information on your credit report. Errors in your credit can result in higher interest rates or denial of credit. You can access your credit report free from all three major credit agencies. Review all items for accuracy and if you find any errors, take the time to have them corrected.

Familiarize Yourself with Loan Programs

There are many loan programs to help first time buyers. Depending on your specific situation, you may be eligible for a loan guarantee from the Veteran’s Administration, the Federal Housing Administration or other loan programs. Before you meet with a loan officer for the first time, take the time to understand what loan options you may qualify for. Keep in mind, many states have first-time buyer programs, which can be of benefit to you as well.

What You Should Know About Down Payments

If you suddenly hit a windfall lottery winning or are considering borrowing money on your credit cards to fund your down payment, slow down. There are specific requirements for down payments including the “seasoning” of the funds. Before you apply for a mortgage, make sure you know about down payment gifts, how to document the funds you are using for your down payment and other rules, which may pertain to your specific situation.

Understanding Mortgage Application & Loan Terms

Your home will be the most substantial investment you make in your lifetime. Make sure you are being an informed consumer and familiarize yourself with the most common mortgage application and loan terms. The application form for a home mortgage is a Fannie Mae Form 1003 or Freddie Mac Form 65. Once you have filled out this application, you will also receive a good faith estimate (GFE) from the mortgage lender. You will also be learning other words like points, annual percentage rate, closing costs and escrow. Do not be afraid to ask your lender to explain what these all mean to you.

Loans are often quoted in years and term. For example, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is exactly what it sounds like. You are accepting or applying for a mortgage, which will be paid over 30 years at the same interest rate as you see at closing. Other terms may be more confusing, for example an adjustable-rate mortgage may be quoted as 5/5, which means the rate is fixed for the first five years and adjusts every five years thereafter. Make sure you understand these terms before you sign any loan documents.

Preapprovals Increase Bargaining Power

Once you have determined what you can afford to pay for a home mortgage, which can be determined using any number of mortgage calculators found online, you should apply for a preapproval. Do not confuse a preapproval with a prequalification, they are not the same although oftentimes you will hear them used interchangeably. Here is the difference:

  • Prequalification — this process involves you providing the lender with information pertaining to your income and current expenses. You give the lender an idea of the strength of your credit and based on information provided, they can give you an estimate of how much you can borrow at what interest rate.
  • Preapproval — this process is significantly different because you will provide the same documents you would provide for a full mortgage application. The lender will request up to three years of your tax returns, bank statements, they will pull your credit, and they will verify your bank activity. Once this process is complete, the lender will give you a letter that tells you exactly how much of a mortgage you qualify for to use when shopping for your home.

The preapproval process gives you bargaining power because you are able to meet with your real estate agent knowing that provided there are no changes in your financial situation or your credit, you are guaranteed a mortgage in the amount of the preapproval at the terms listed.

When you start the home buying process, there is a lot to learn. Most first-time buyers will be required to take a first-time home buying course before their lender will move forward. Your real estate agent can also provide you with a lot of information you will need to get started on solid footing on the path to home ownership.


If you plan to buy a home in the immediate future, there are several concerns that you should address before you embark on your house search. In fact, some of the most common homebuying concerns include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

You know you want to purchase a house, but obtaining financing sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, if you meet with various banks and credit unions, you can review all of the home financing options at your disposal and map out your home search accordingly.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask a bank or credit union relative to home financing. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. These specialists can respond to your home financing concerns, and as a result, help you make an informed mortgage selection.

2. Tight Homebuying Timeline

If you are tasked with relocating to a new home as quickly as possible, you may have to conduct a fast house search. But if you explore ways to maximize your time and resources, you could boost the likelihood of conducting a successful home search, regardless of your homebuying timeline.

Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of homebuying tasks that you need to complete. You then can establish goals designed to help you stay on track with your homebuying timeline.

You also should keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. That way, if a great home at a budget-friendly price becomes available, you can instantly pounce at this homebuying opportunity.

3. Establishing Realistic Homebuying Expectations

The homebuying journey offers no guarantees. If you enter the housing market with realistic expectations, however, you can avoid potential disappointments during your home search.

To establish realistic homebuying expectations, it generally is a good idea to make a list of home must-haves and wants. This list will allow you to hone your house search to residences that meet your criteria. It also can help focus on available residences that fall within your price range.

In addition, it often helps to hire a real estate agent before you conduct a house search. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about finding and purchasing a house. Plus, he or she can provide expert insights at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when you are ready to submit an offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal and submit it to a seller. If a seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent then will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Address your homebuying concerns, and you can minimize risk as you begin your search for your ideal residence.


Generally, the length of the homebuying journey depends on the individual. In some instances, a buyer will purchase the first house that he or she views in-person. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer several weeks or months to find a house that matches his or her expectations.

There is no need to rush the homebuying journey. But if you know what to expect when you pursue your dream house, you may be able to seamlessly navigate the property buying cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the homebuying journey.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly. And as a result, you may be better equipped than other property buyers to discover a great house at an affordable price.

As you put together homebuying criteria, it is important to consider your long-term plans as well. For instance, if you enjoy city life and want to spend as much time as possible in the city, a house in the city may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to raise your family in a small town, you may want to hone your search to houses in small towns.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A home purchase likely will require you to obtain a mortgage. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with several banks and credit unions so you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you're on the lookout for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns – and much more.

Typically, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you find and buy your dream home. He or she initially will learn about your homebuying goals and develop a custom homebuying strategy for you. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. And if you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you craft an aggressive offer to purchase this house.

Let's not forget about a real estate agent's homebuying expertise, either. If you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed home purchase.

Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble finding and acquiring your dream house.


The homebuying journey is exciting, particularly for an individual who is pursuing a residence for the first time. Ultimately, there are many questions that a buyer should consider before he or she searches for a house for the first time, and these include:

1. What is my "dream" home?

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the homebuying journey involves defining your dream residence. Because once you define your dream residence, you'll be able to narrow your house search and move closer to purchasing your first home.

Think about what you absolutely require in a new home. For example, if you want to own a house in a region where the weather is hot and humid year-round, you may require a central air conditioning system. Or, if you want to enjoy a fast, easy commute to work, you may want to pursue residences close to your office.

2. How much can I afford to spend on a house?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential. Because if you have a mortgage in hand when you begin your house search, you may be able to gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages.

In addition, don't hesitate to get expert insights into assorted mortgage options. The longer you wait to get pre-approved for a mortgage, the longer you may need to wait to kick off your home search. Thus, you risk missing out on a potential dream house if you fail to get your home financing in order.

3. Do I need to hire a real estate agent?

Hiring a real estate agent is a must, especially if you plan to embark on the homebuying journey for the first time. In fact, a real estate agent can help you quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will offer comprehensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent then will keep you up to date about houses that match your criteria and set up home showings. And when you find a home that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.

Let's not forget about the advice that a real estate agent will provide, either. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you and will provide feedback throughout the homebuying journey. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your first house – employ a real estate agent, and you can receive plenty of support as you move along the homebuying journey.




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