Martocchia REALTORS® | Boston Real Estate, Cambridge Real Estate, Newton Real Estate


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.


If you’re a first-time buyer, odds are you’ve never seen or heard much about mortgage applications. However, for something as important as buying a home, it pays off to go into the process knowing what to expect.

Mortgage applications aren’t all that complicated in and of themselves. Most of the time, your chosen lender will walk you through the process and answer any questions that arise. However, complications do arise when it comes time to provide documentation on things like your income.

To make things easier for your first application, I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions that first-time buyers often have about their mortgage application process.

Will applying for a mortgage hurt my credit score?

Mortgage lenders will run a credit inquiry to help determine your lending eligibility. There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. A soft inquiry is a quick credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, does. This means your score will be lowered slightly for a few months and then will bounce back.

Mortgage lenders run both types of inquiries. For quick, pre-qualifications, lenders typically run a soft inquiry. Then, as you progress through the approval process, they’re run a detailed credit report (hard inquiry).

What information should I have available?

Lenders will ask you for various documents. The most common things they will ask for include proof of income in the form of  W-2 forms from the previous year and your most recent pay stub. They will also require a record of your other debts, including student loans, auto loans, credit card debt, and any other outstanding debt that you owe. Finally, they will ask for an inventory of your assets. This could include investments, properties, auto titles, and more.

What if I don’t work a conventional job?

People who are self-employed or have unconventional income can still qualify for a loan and will still be required to show proof of income. Lenders may ask for Form 1099 records, tax returns, or any other record or proof of income you have available.

How long does it take to complete an application?

Mortgage applications can be completed as quickly as you gather the required documentation. However, there’s more to getting approved for a mortgage than filling out an application. There will be time needed to process the application, and underwrite your mortgage. This entire process typically takes between 30 and 45 days.

Is it safe to apply for a mortgage online?

Most lenders allow you to start the application process online and their online portals are typically secure. Make sure you check your browser window to ensure that the connection to the site is secured, and you should have nothing to worry about.

Keep in mind that most online applications are designed to get you  prequalified and on your way to getting a mortgage. So, if you want to avoid getting calls from the lender, you might not want to enter any data until you know you’re interested in borrowing at this time.



The holiday season is here and with it is the Christmas carols, sales and...trees. Setting up a Christmas tree is one of the most magical and memorable traditions of the season. At least, it is for those who get to simply put decorations on it or admire it from afar. This year make it the easiest part of the holidays by starting with a well-formed plan.

Admittedly it’s not a very complex plan, but having these few steps sorted out and ready beforehand makes the whole process go much smoother (and stress-free).

Prepare the area you’d like to place the tree beforehand. Avoid windows, radiators, and fireplaces which can lead to your tree rapidly drying out. You’ll want to move everything out of the way to easily bring in and set up the tree. Measure this area out and write it down to bring with you the day of. You’ll want to not only know the height of your ceiling but also the dimensions of the surface area where you’ll be placing your tree in.

You’ll also want to know the measurements of your tree stand. Know what the max and minimum width your stand can support. You don’t want to find out the trunk of your tree is too big or small after you make the cut. If you’re buying a new tree stand, choosing one with a larger water basin will mean less watering throughout the week.

If you plan on bringing home a very tall tree having a large piece of plywood to attach your tree stand to will help keep it balanced and out of danger from tipping. Regardless of the height of your tree placing a sheet of plastic or some tarp down will protect flooring from the tree and potential water damage. It’s not the most glamorous look but nothing a tree skirt can’t hide.

Put the stand on before bringing your tree in. It’s much easier to get a stand on a horizontal tree than trying to muscle up and aim for the “bullseye” from above. Put it tight enough to stay on but loose enough to reposition. When tightening the stand onto your tree you want to make sure the tree is perfectly vertical. Have someone give the thumbs up from a distance that the tree is straight.

Trim the very top of the tree of branches that obstruct the ability to put your tree topper on and any straggling branches that throw off the evenness of your trees triangular shape. Give the tree 24 hours to “settle in” before decorating.

Throughout the first few days of bringing your tree home, you’ll want to keep a very close eye on the water levels in the stand. It will most likely need to be watered several times a day for this time. Always keep those water levels topped off to avoid a dried out fire hazard. Never allow the level to go lower than the stump as your tree will start sealing up with pitch and no longer able to absorb water and stay fresh.


It can be difficult to find the extra savings to put towards your first home as a renter. With rent and utility prices rising, most people’s paychecks are leaving them with less and less savings at the end of the month.

Buying your first home, however, can be a great long-term financial decision. It will help you build equity, and, eventually, you’ll be able to use that equity toward another home or toward retiring.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about some of the ways to save for a down payment while renting an apartment.

How much to save

In order to make the most of your first home purchase, you’ll want to save up as much of a down payment as possible. This will help you receive the lowest interest rate and reduce the amount you’ll pay toward interest.

If you can manage to save 20% of the loan, you’ll also be able to waive private mortgage insurance (PMI), that would otherwise set you back around $100 per month or more.

Smart ways to save while renting

If you’re ready to get serious about saving for your first down payment, let’s talk about the best way to approach your savings plan.

Pay off small debts

If you’ve had that lingering credit card debt that you’ve never quite paid off, now is the time. Take a look at your current debts. Pay off the smaller balances first and focus on debt with the highest interest rate.

This will enable you to start making larger deposits toward your down payment savings sooner and can help you avoid needlessly paying interest on small loans and credit card debt.

Open a dedicated account or CD

The best way to make sure you contribute to your down payment savings plan is to open a savings account or take out a CD (certificate of deposit).

A savings account with a high-interest return is a good option for people who are worried that they may need to access their funds before they’re ready to buy a home.

If you’re comfortable with not being able to access your funds until a set date, then a CD could help you save more money.

Since CDs are a one-time payment, many people choose to combine both CDs and high-interest savings accounts to achieve their savings goals.

Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to shop around for the highest interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher rates than traditional banks and are also easy to sign up for.

Direct deposit a portion of your pay

Opening a bank account or CD won’t do you any good if you don’t commit to contributing to it. If you are paid via direct deposit, visit your HR office and ask them to reassign a portion of your weekly pay to your new account.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to better prepare for your down payment. Don’t  wait! The sooner you start saving, the sooner you’ll be able to purchase your first home.


If you want to buy a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare to enter the housing market, and ultimately, ensure that you can enjoy a speedy homebuying experience.

1. Focus on Specific Cities and Towns

Consider what you want to find in your dream house. Then, you can fine-tune your dream home criteria and narrow your house search.

For example, if you prefer small town living to life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in various towns in your state of choice. Or, if you want to buy a house near your office in the city, you can browse residences in or near the city itself.

Differentiating your dream home must-haves and wants can make a world of difference too. Because if you know exactly what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can streamline your house search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The process of filling out a mortgage application and getting approval from a bank or credit union can be long and arduous. And if you submit an offer a house without financing in hand, you may face a time crunch to get a mortgage as well.

When it comes to home financing, it pays to be proactive. If you start searching for a mortgage today, you may be able to save time down the line.

For instance, if you meet with a bank or credit union, you can learn about a variety of mortgage options. Next, you can select a mortgage that matches your needs, and this mortgage will allow you to enter the housing market with a budget. With this budget at your disposal, you can narrow your search to houses that fall within your price range.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – few homebuyers have the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive home search. Luckily, real estate agents are available to help you discover your dream house in no time at all.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and find out what you want from your dream house. With this information, a real estate agent can provide you with details about houses that fulfill your criteria.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will do everything possible to help you buy a high-quality residence. He or she will teach you about the housing market and provide extensive insights into real estate patterns and trends. Also, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

For those who want to buy a house, there is no need to wait to enter the housing market. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a quick, stress-free homebuying experience.




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