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


If you plan to sell a house for the first time, it pays to think about how you'll price your house. By doing so, you can establish a competitive price for your residence and boost your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three pricing tips that every first-time home seller needs to know.

1. Perform Housing Market Research

Although you may have bought your home in the peak of a buyer's market, it is important to note that the real estate sector constantly fluctuates. This means the value of your home today is unlikely to match its value from a few years ago.

Before you price your house, you should take a look at a variety of housing market data. This information is readily available and will enable you to take an informed approach to the real estate market.

For example, a first-time home seller should examine the prices of available houses that are similar to his or her own. With this housing market data, a home seller can find out how his or her residence stacks up against the competition.

It also helps to review the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market and set realistic pricing expectations for your residence.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is exceedingly valuable, particularly for a first-time home seller who is uncertain about the value of his or her house.

During a home appraisal, a property appraiser will examine a residence's condition, as well as various housing market data. Then, this appraiser will provide a comprehensive report that includes a property valuation.

By completing a home appraisal, a first-time home seller can receive expert property insights. Plus, the appraisal enables a home seller to identify a property's strengths and weaknesses.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is committed to client results. As such, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help a first-time home seller set the right price for his or her house.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a home seller and learn about his or her property selling goals. This housing market professional then will provide extensive housing market insights to ensure a home seller can establish a competitive home price from day one.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses and do everything possible to help a home seller optimize the value of a residence. Also, if a home seller has questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at any time.

Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can establish a competitive price for his or her home.


In the internet age, we’ve all seen dream homes on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram that seem to encompass everything we’ve ever wanted in a home.

Sometimes, obsessing over dream homes can be detrimental to us--making us feel bad about our own living situation or discouraged about ever being able to afford the home we truly want.

However, dream homes can serve a purpose when it comes to identifying what we really want out of a home.

In today’s post, we’re going to use the idea of a dream home “wish list” to help you narrow down what really matters to you and your family in your next home.

Step 1: Start by making a list of your dream homes

This is the easy part. If you’re like me, you probably have a Pinterest board or bookmark folder just for home inspiration.

Put all of the dream homes on your list. The order doesn’t matter, and you’ll find out why below.

Step 2: For each home, write down one or two of your favorite things

Is it the square footage? The location that’s perfect for your commute or for trips to your favorite places? Or, is it just the color scheme of the kitchen?

No aspect is too small for this list--it all depends on what you like, not what the price tag is.

Step 3: Go over your list and try to put the items in order of how much they matter to you.

An example would be:

  1. A cheerful, bright colored kitchen

  2. A cozy office to wok quietly in

  3. A two-car garage

  4. A playroom for the kids

  5. A location that’s close to the water

Looking over these five things, there are only two items that can’t be found in most houses, a two-car garage and a location that’s near the water. And, this house-hunter didn’t even list those items as the most important.

So, what can we learn from this exercise? Oftentimes, the things we’re looking for the most in a home can be things that we can do later, like interior decorating or designating spare rooms to serve as an office or playroom.

Step 4: Use your top 3 when house hunting

Now that you have the top three things that you’d find in your dream home, take this list with you on your house hunt. Try to seek out a home that has a combination of these items and one that will be the most practical for your family.

You might find that these conveniences, such as being closer to your work for a shorter commute, will pay off in the long run, as they’ll let you spend more time with our family and make each day a little bit easier.


For most college students and recent grads, the prospect of buying a home seems slim and distant. With the cost of a college education growing each year and the price of houses inflating, it can seem daunting to begin to save for a down payment or build credit.

 However, there are ways to start planning now for buying a home, even if you are burdened with student debt and rising rent.

 In this article, we’re going to do just that. If you’re a recent grad or a current college student, read on for a guide to buying a home.

What do you need to buy a home

Once you graduate college you might be wishing you could have taken an elective called “How to Be an Adult 101.” There are many personal finance problems in life that just aren’t taught in school, from saving for retirement, to borrowing for a house or car, to investing in stocks and bonds.

So, what are the main things you’ll need to buy a home? Before you start applying for mortgages, you should know that just because you can get approved doesn’t mean you should buy a home.

Purchasing a home is a huge investment and one that most homeowners take decades to pay off. With high interest rates and private mortgage insurance (PMI), the cost of owning a home can be immense.

To avoid PMI and get a good interest rate, you’ll need a few things.

Credit score

Your credit score is one thing that lenders take into consideration when determining how risky it is to lend to you. They want to know that they’ll receive a return on their investment and that you won’t stop paying your mortgage. A good way to gauge this is by looking at your financial history.

Your credit score mainly takes into account the following five things:

  1. Payment history - 35%: Do you pay your bills (utilities, loans, etc.) on time each month?

  2. Credit usage - 30%: How much of your maximum credit have you used? If you max out your cards this can reflect poorly on your ability to manage money. However, if you don’t use any accounts you might have a hard time building a payment history.

  3. Length of credit history - 15%: The longer you’ve been paying bills the more trustworthy you are to lenders

  4. New credit - 10%: If you recently opened or attempted to open cards this will temporarily lower your credit score as it could be a sign of financial duress

  5. Types of credit - 10%: store accounts, credit cards, loans, etc. Having a variety of credit types will boost your score.

Having student loans as a college graduate can often give your credit score a leg up on others who don’t have a credit history. However, to boost your score you’ll want to keep making on-time payments and consider using a credit card if you can afford it.

Employment history

Most recent college grads cringe when they hear that their employment history is important to lenders. However, you might be pleased to know that being a full-time student is something lenders take into consideration.

They will, however, need to see employment history from your current employer, and the more you can prove that you have a stable job the better.

Down payment

One of the most important things you can do right now is to save for a down payment. Designate a portion of your paycheck each week to a separate savings account if you need to in order to hold yourself accountable. The bigger down payment you can make, the better your interest rate and the more money you’ll save over the length of your mortgage.

Finally, don’t let increases in your salary change your lifestyle. Staying frugal will help you avoid “lifestyle inflation” or spending more simply because you make more. Decide what you value, and choose purchases wisely.


Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


When it comes to selecting a home, every situation is a little different. Do you purchase a house because of its size or is the location more important? Both factors play a crucial role in determining your choice, but the unique details in your life can help you decide which is more important. 

When realtors talk about a home, they often stress the importance of location. However, if you are newlyweds starting a family and you want to buy a home on a tight budget, you might favor the size of the house over the location. On the other hand, if your purchase is to build your portfolio or to be your forever home, location might matter more than size. When considering size versus location, let the steps below guide you.

Sacrificing Location for Size

While location is important, you may need more space for a home office, a workshop, or a large play area. If that is the case, consider size over location. If home size is your focus, the location doesn’t need to be trendy. Choose size over location for these reasons:

  • You Have Children: If you have children, it’s preferable to search for a bigger home. Looking for a larger house in many cities might mean you move to areas where you can get better value for your money. While these areas might not be your dream neighborhood, or ideal for your work commute, they may be a great place to begin a family. 

  • You Have A Large Household: If you have a large family or have multiple adults in the same household, you may be looking for additional space for everyone. A bigger house means you could add play space for your kids, a lawn for your pet, office space, more bathrooms, and outdoor space. 

  • You Need More Space for Guests: If you often have people coming to stay with you; your in-laws, friends, or family members — then having more space or guest room will improve your quality of life. Finding a larger home that meets your housing needs is important, and if having room for guests fills you with joy, then size is important.

Choosing Location over Size

  • You Plan to Rent Out Your House: If you are buying your home intending to rent it out either on a long-term lease or as a holiday rental, your choice of location plays a vital role. Proximity to points of interest and public transportation determine your rental’s demand and supply, and it will have a significant effect on your profit. 

  • You Have Kids That Are Still in School: If you have school-age children, you would want to consider the type of schools available in the area. If there is a specific standard of education you want for your children, ensure you inform your realtor about this before the house hunt process begins. 

  • You Plan to Sell Your House in the Near Future: If you intend selling your home sooner rather than later, you need to be strategic when picking your neighborhood. Location is the crucial factor that affects your resale value — if you are buying a house intending to sell in an abbreviated time, it’s essential you pick an area that will increase your home’s value in the short run. 

Both the location of your home and its size are vital things to look for when house hunting, but your decision on which is more important should be a factor of what you need now. Talk to your realtor about your motivation for buying a home and get their professional advice on what fits your needs the most.


Image by Steve Heap from Shutterstock

If you love vacationing at the same place every year you may consider investing in a timeshare property. This can often help control vacation costs and planning time. However, owning a timeshare home may not be not the right choice for everyone. It is important to understand that a timeshare is not like other real estate because you do not own the property yourself. Carefully consider what that means before signing a timeshare contract.

Should You Invest in a Timeshare?

Timeshare properties are homes that are co-owned. Similar to condominiums, the units usually have several rooms that allow more than one family to share the space at the same time. Each owner has the right to use the home for scheduled periods each year. If you are considering a timeshare investment, here are the advantages and disadvantages associated with owning such property. 

Advantages

  • You have a vacation home every year: If you own a timeshare property, you save some vacation planning time each year. You won’t have to deal with booking hotel arrangements or spend time determining a destination.

  • Scheduled time: If you vacation during the same timeframe every year, this is a great option because you won’t have to worry about having good accommodations available to you when you want to use them.

  • Cost-efficient: When you calculate how much you spend on hotel bookings whenever you go on vacation, you may realize it is more cost-efficient to buy a timeshare property. 

Disadvantages

  • Your vacation is restricted: Owning a timeshare property makes it difficult for you to vacation whenever and wherever you’d like. If you like to visit new destinations or vary your vacation weeks each year, a timeshare may not be the best fit. 

  • Additional expense: If you opt to exchange the timing or destination of your timeshare stay, you may meet with considerable fees during the process. You may also be billed for routine maintenance, utilities, taxes, and other fees related to the timeshare complex itself. 

  • Difficult to sell: It is often difficult to sell a timeshare if you decide you do not want it anymore. You might end up selling at a loss as timeshare value tends to depreciate over time.

Before investing in a timeshare home, weigh your cons against your pros to determine if it is the right decision for you. You might find it just as cost-effective to purchase a vacation home in your favorite location that you own outright. In some cases, you could even rent it out to other vacationers when you’re not using it to help pay for the mortgage. Contact your real estate agent for professional advice on buying the right vacation home for your situation.




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