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


The process of buying a house may prove to be long and complicated. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take before you pursue a home to streamline the homebuying cycle, and these include:

1. Create a Homebuying Checklist

It helps to start the homebuying process with a homebuying checklist in hand. This checklist will enable you to differentiate between home must-haves and wants, resulting in a fast, efficient homebuying journey.

Think about what you require from a home. For example, if you need a house that is located close to your office in the city, you should include this information in your checklist.

Also, if you want a house that features a built-in swimming pool, you can include this information in your homebuying checklist. But keep in mind that a swimming pool likely is a non-essential item. And if you find a home that is virtually perfect but lacks a swimming pool, it may still be a good idea to pursue this house.

2. Establish a Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a house? This question frequently plagues buyers as they proceed along the homebuying journey. Luckily, you can determine how much money is at your disposal if you develop a budget.

To budget effectively, it helps to meet with local lenders. Banks and credit unions generally offer a wide range of mortgage options and can help you make an informed mortgage decision.

In addition, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to entering the real estate market. Because if you have a mortgage, you can pursue houses that fall within a specific price range and reduce the risk of overspending to acquire your dream house.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it is beneficial to have a homebuying expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.

A real estate agent understands housing market patterns and trends and can help you plan ahead for a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying queries as well.

Furthermore, a real estate agent acts as a guide throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and help you finalize a home purchase. By doing so, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to prepare. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can get the support you need to plan ahead for the best- and worst-case homebuying scenarios. That way, you'll be able to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles before they escalate.

Ready to buy a house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to pursuing your dream residence.


It’s not always easy to move up to that dream home. Finding that special place that meets all your needs AND fulfills all your desires requires clarity on your part and diligence on the part of your real estate professional. After all, if you don’t know what you both need and what you want, your agent certainly won’t know what to look for.

The “I’ll know it when I see it” concept of house-hunting is rarely fruitful unless you define “it” clearly.

Make a list

Grab a notebook or use your smartphone to keep a list of what you need and what you want. The list will grow and even change over time, so keep the notebook with you. You'll find inspiration in something you see on the television while you wait in the dentist's office, and you need to write it down immediately.

Take a shot

You’ll walk through a store display and see "just the thing" that goes with the design in your head. Snap a picture of what you like with your phone so you have it on hand. 

If while walking through an open house, a certain style connects with you, but you don’t know how to describe it, take a photo so you can show your agent. Even if that house doesn’t have ALL the things you want, some house might.

Have an open mind

If a property has most of what you want, be open to the possibility of a limited renovation to get the rest. The important thing is its bones; it’s basic structure. Some designs lend themselves to easy add-ons, but most don’t, so if the home you choose has a complicated roofline, make sure it also has the room inside to make your layout changes since adding on is more difficult. On the other hand, simple structures such as ranch-style or mid-century modern might more easily accommodate the addition you envision.

Keep options open

Consider pairing up a renovation contractor with your real estate agent to determine if your changes work with an available listing. Similar to what you see on home-buying television shows, getting a contractor’s expert eye on the property could mean the difference between finding the home with the right structure or missing out entirely getting what you really want.

Find out if your agent can suggest a reputable contractor or find one through a friend or verified listing service. Even if your dream home isn’t already out there … it can be.


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.


You know you want to pursue a home, and as such, likely plan to attend lots of house showings in the near future. Before you check out a residence in-person, however, it generally is a good idea to prepare as much as possible. That way, you can use a home showing to learn about a residence, evaluate a house's pros and cons and determine if a particular home is right for you.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you attend a home showing, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Must-Haves

It often helps to make a list of "must-haves" prior to launching a house search. With this list at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and schedule showings for residences that offer the features you want.

You may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will help you hone your house search to residences in cities and towns where you want to live. Then, you can set up showings to view residences in these areas.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

You likely have only a finite amount of money you can spend on a residence. If you start a house search with a budget in hand, you can search for homes that fall in line with your finances and schedule property showings accordingly.

Typically, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can learn about different home financing options. You then can select a mortgage and start to schedule showings for residences that correspond to your budget.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

If you want to buy a house as quickly as possible, you may want to start scheduling home showings right away. This will enable you to find and relocate to a new home without delay.

On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to home showings. In this scenario, you may want to keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. Because if you do so, you can pounce at opportunities to view quality residences as soon as they become available.

As you get ready to pursue your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can set up home showings and offer tips and recommendations to help you streamline your house search. In addition, if you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can instantly respond to them.

When it comes to home showings, it may be beneficial to prepare. If you consider the aforementioned factors prior to a house showing, you may boost the likelihood of finding your dream house. Perhaps best of all, you could speed up your home search and discover a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.


Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.