Jenny Mendez Isenburg | Boston Real Estate, Brookline Real Estate, Natick Real Estate


When you buy a home, there’s more to shop for than just the right place to live. Before you settle with a lender, you should shop around a bit. You want to be sure that your lender has your very best interests in mind when you’re in the midst of making one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime. Below, you’ll find some of the most important questions that you need to ask a lender while you’re in the process of buying a home.


Do You Offer Any Special Programs?


Choosing the right lender involves choosing a firm that offers the types of programs that will be helpful to your specific situation. You should look for a lender that offers a wide array of loans to suit your needs. Beware of any lender who tries to push you into a certain type of loan, especially if you don’t feel that it is a good fit for you. 


Do You Understand The Terms Of Certain Types Of Loans?


If you are seeking a certain type of loan, you probably should tell your lender that upfront. Of they seem familiar with it and have worked with the loan before, you’re in good hands. If the type of loan that you’re looking for is more uncommon, then you may need to shop around carefully for the right lender who understands your needs. 


Do I meet The Qualifications For Specific Loans?


The requirements for the same loan at two different lenders could be different. Things like your credit score could be a big factor. If you have a less than desirable credit score, this would also prompt you to want to look around a bit. You should know that different lenders have different terms and looking at a few lenders could be beneficial to you.


What Are The Mortgage Rates?


You’ll need a general ballpark idea of what rates will be for you when you finally secure that home loan. Keep in mind that rates fluctuate often and that an estimate will be just that. It’s not a number that will be set in stone, however, it will give you a good place to start as you shop around for a loan. 


Do You Help With Down Payments?


There are many down payment assistance programs available and your lender can help you to navigate them. The more you put down, the better your interest rate will be. If the amount that you’re able to put down on a home is a factor for you, definitely discuss it with your lender.


Can You Provide Pre-Approval Proof?


In hot real estate markets, you’re going to need some proof that you’re pre-approved in order to have the upper hand once you put in an offer on a home. Your lender should be able to provide your real estate agent with a certified letter of your pre-approval and the amount. 


Choosing the right lender is just as important as choosing the right realtor and the right home to buy. It’s just another part of the home buying process!


Image by Ryan R Fox from Shutterstock

It can be a stressful endeavor to purchase a home. As one of the most significant investments in life, it is important to understand the steps and fees you may encounter beyond the sale price. When you are searching for a property, keep the expense of closing in mind.

What Are Closing Costs? 

Closing costs are the various expenses and fees that are separate from the purchase price of your house. They apply to the end of the process. Charges include taxes, inspection, title insurance, and title search, as well as some upfront expenses such as homeowner’s insurance.

Closing costs generally range from two to five percent of the purchase price. The final fee is dependent on your location. Most of the expenses are for state and local government, lenders, and legal processing. You can save on some of these by working with a mortgage broker who is experienced and knowledgable about local laws.

What Should You Expect? 

  • Appraisal: This fee goes towards making sure that the price of the home matches the actual worth of the property.

  • Escrow payment: When it comes to timely preparation of the documents, you can trust a good escrow company to take care of the paperwork on your behalf. Prompt preparation of your papers can make a significant difference as it can enable you to close on time.

  • Title/attorney fee: The title and attorney fees are put in place to ensure the transfer of the home's deed occurs without issue. To ensure that it all goes smoothly, work with a highly reputable title company. 

  • Lender fees: The lender fees may include a wide range of items like transfer fees or administrative fees. A broker commission may be part of the cost.

Other fees could include loan interest and loan insurance. Your realtor can help you to save money during your closing and prepare you for the process, work closely with them to determine the fees that may be negotiable.


A first-time homebuyer often proceeds cautiously as he or she navigates the real estate market. However, if this homebuyer discovers the "perfect" home, the risk to overspend to acquire this residence may prove to be too much to resist.

It is important for a first-time homebuyer to understand what it takes to purchase a house at a price that matches or exceeds his or her expectations. That way, a homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house and reduce the likelihood of breaking his or her homebuying budget.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that a first-time homebuyer can use to minimize the risk of overspending on a house.

1. Assess the Housing Market Closely

The housing market frequently fluctuates, and a first-time homebuyer who identifies real estate patterns and trends may be better equipped than others to pay the right price for a residence.

Having the ability to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market is key. If a homebuyer understands the differences between these markets, he or she should have no trouble submitting a reasonable offer on a house based on the current housing market's conditions.

In a buyer's market, there is an abundance of available houses and a shortage of property buyers. This market favors homebuyers, and as a result, a property buyer may be better equipped than ever before to acquire a great house at an affordable price at this time.

Conversely, a seller's market favors home sellers and includes a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundance of homebuyers. In a seller's market, a homebuyer may need to submit a competitive offer on a house, or he or she likely risks losing a residence to potential rivals.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Want to stick to a homebuying budget? With a mortgage in hand, a first-time homebuyer will know exactly what he or she can spend on a house and narrow a home search accordingly.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow a homebuyer to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available and choose a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Also, be sure to ask potential lenders plenty of questions about various mortgage options. By doing so, a homebuyer can boost his or her chances of making an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help a first-time homebuyer explore houses that fall within a specific price range, thereby reducing the risk that a property buyer will overspend on a house.

In addition, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house, and as such, will do everything possible to guarantee a property buyer can acquire a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.

Avoid the temptation to pay too much to buy your dream house – use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.


There is no need to struggle as you pursue your dream home. In fact, there are many things you can do to ensure the homebuying journey is quick and easy.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a seamless property buying experience.

1. Know Where You Want to Reside

It often helps to narrow a home search to a small group of cities and towns. That way, you can focus exclusively on residences in a set area and speed up your house search.

As you consider where you want to live, it generally is a good idea to review your short- and long-term plans. For example, if you intend to return to school soon, you may want to search for houses near some of the nation's top colleges and universities. On the other hand, if you want to start a family, you may want to focus on homes close to parks and other family-friendly attractions.

2. Establish a Homebuying Budget

Most homebuyers will need to get a mortgage so they can acquire their dream residence. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about home financing and help you make an informed mortgage selection.

Typically, banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can educate you about all aspects of home financing. These specialists are ready to respond to your home financing concerns and questions and help you find a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask mortgage specialists, either. If you work with mortgage specialists to assess all of your home financing options, you can select a mortgage that will serve you well for the foreseeable future.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to searching for a home, you don't have to work alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available throughout the country, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.

A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the property buying journey fast and easy. First, he or she will learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. Then, after you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you acquire this home.

In addition, a real estate agent will work with you to finalize a home purchase. As a home closing date approaches, a real estate agent will help you plan accordingly. By doing so, he or she can help you purchase your dream residence without delay.

For those who want to enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey, it helps to plan ahead. With the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and limit the risk of encountering various problems as you search for your ideal house.



 Photo by Ricarda Molck via Pixabay

More and more communities are creating spaces for both individual homes and multifamily townhomes. Both styles offer lots of space, comfortable living and access to a neighborhood's amenities -- but there are some key differences that might make one style more suitable for you than another. Learning more about the differences between these styles of home can help you make the best possible decision for your family and needs. 

Luxury Townhomes vs. Single Family Homes -- What's the Difference? 

When luxury homes and townhomes are in the same neighborhood, they often have similar design styles, interiors and access to amenities, but there are some key differences to be aware of. Consider the following when you choose your next home. 

Your family size: How much space do you need, both now and in the future? A growing family may find that a bedroom is needed for each child and that more living space is better -- or will be in the future. Singles or retirees may need a guestroom and space to entertain, but not a lot of extra bedrooms or living space, so a smaller, more compact townhome may be the best bet. 

How much maintenance will you do? Do you love to garden, enjoy caring for the yard and the exterior of your home? If so, then a single family home will give you the space you need without being burdensome when it comes to maintenance. If you prefer to enjoy landscaping, hardscaping and even external maintenance and features that are cared for by someone else, then a townhome is likely a better option. 

How do you feel about stairs? It may not matter now, but there may be a day in the future that a single level home serves you better than a home with stairs. Many, but not all townhomes are multilevel, so be sure you are comfortable with steps (or have space to make accommodations later). SIngle family homes are often (but not always) on a single level, making the entire home accessible. 

Will you resell the home? If you expect to move again in a few years, then consider the resale value of the property. Your realtor is the best source of information here and can help you determine if one type of home moves more swiftly in your current location. Some markets can't keep up with demand for low-maintenance townhomes, while others have a huge demand for family homes. Knowing the preferences in your own area can help you determine how easy it will be to sell if you need to. 

Which Home is Right for You? 

Consider both your current needs and any potential future changes when you choose between these models. If you know you will have kids and want a big yard in the future, then a single family home is likely your best bet, even if you are not expecting right now. If you are enjoying your golden years, there may come a time that a big property and the care it needs may be too much for you -- investing in a stunning and comfortable townhome now will ensure you are comfortable later.