Audrey and Jerry Giuliano | Reading Real Estate, North Reading Real Estate, Lynnfield Real Estate


The single most difficulty first-time homebuyers face is being able to save up the down payment. From student loans to medical bills; wanting to start a family or live in a more expensive city; coming up with those funds keeps many potential buyers out of the market.

In fact, if you don’t have your down payment saved up yet, you probably don’t think you can buy, but a recent report called the Realtors Confidence Index Survey Report claims that over eighty percent of first-time homebuying transactions take place with less than the common twenty-percent down payment.

Thankfully, there are programs out there just for you. These grants and funds may be just the boost you need. 

USDA Loans

If you’re interested in living in an area designated as rural, you may qualify for a home loan using a program set up by the Department of Agriculture. The USDA loans help low- and moderate-income buyers purchase homes in rural areas. While a down payment isn’t required, buyers must meet income eligibility requirements. They also must agree to live in the house as their primary residence. Specific addresses apply for these loan guarantees, so if you’re already looking at a rural home, double check the location to see if it qualifies.

National Homebuyers Fund

This non-profit corporation helps potential homebuyers with their down payment grants and closing costs, mortgage credits, energy efficiency financing, and other programs. To take advantage of these programs, the buyer must also qualify for FHA, VA, USDA, or conventional loans and be a low-to-moderate income earner. The program does not require that the buyer be a first-time homeowner so former homeowners who are looking to re-enter the market may qualify. Also, it’s FICO score and debt-to-income ratios are flexible.

HUD Neighbor Next Door

Purchasing a home through this program works to encourage buying in areas selected for renewal or revitalization. It provides funds for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency medical technicians to purchase in these neighborhoods. This incentive is substantial, with up to fifty-percent reduction in the list price of an eligible home via a bid-selection process. 

If you’re interested in the HUD program and qualify in one of the public servant categories, contact a HUD-registered real estate broker for assistance. Or, contact your neighborhood real estate professional and ask about local programs in your area.


After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.

1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary

Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.

Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.

2. Remain Patient

Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.

It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.

Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.


Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.

When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.

Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.

But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.

Setting your savings goals

The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.

Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.

Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.

Save on a timeline

When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.

Lock away your savings

Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.

However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.

Pay off credit cards

It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.

Adjust your spending habits

While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.

Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.

Time for a raise?

If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.


When it’s time to buy a new home, you’ll hear a lot about the importance of location. How can you choose a place? Whether you’re moving around the corner or across the country, there are a few essential things that you should know in order to select the best place for you to live. Read on for some questions that you should ask yourself when trying to find a good fit for a  location to live. 


What Should Be Close?


There’s more to a home than what schools are nearby or how close you are to work. While these things are essential, you’ll need to understand more about our lifestyle to find an excellent location. You’ll have to look at your life and your family’s life on a day-to-day and weekly basis. What types of activities do you enjoy? How close do you want to be to a grocery store, a gym, or a shopping center? How close do you want to live to the city? The mountains? The beach? Does your family enjoy outdoor recreation like hiking or walking through the park? Making sure that the things that are important to you and your family are accessible will be a big part of choosing a location to move.


How Walkable Is The Neighborhood?


If your kids will be walking t school, or you enjoy daily strolls with the family dog, the walkability of a neighborhood is important. Many places allow you to walk everywhere right out your front door to the grocery store or the hair salon without ever setting foot in a car. You may even want to be able to walk to a bus or subway in order to get to work each day. Walkability is an important aspect to consider when looking at home locations. 


Who Lives Nearby?


You may want to consider who lives nearby when looking at different neighborhoods to move. If you wish to live near family or know some good friends who live close, this could be a good starting point for finding the right location to live. It’s always easier to make the transition to a new area when you know a few people.


How Quiet Is Too Quiet?


Some people love peace and quiet. Other people need a lively environment that allows them to access the hustle and bustle any time they choose. Knowing your want for peace is a big lifestyle choice and a large part of selecting a location to live in. The closer you move to a big city, the easier your access to the more exciting side of life will be. The further away you live from the city, the more likely you are to have more quiet.      


If you recently sold your house, you will need to move quickly to pack up your belongings and relocate to a new address. In addition, you probably will want to clean your house as much as possible prior to a homebuyer's final walk-through.

Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to clean a home before you move, including:

1. Straighten Up Your Home While You Pack

Home cleaning can be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who wait until the last minute to perform various home cleaning tasks. If you clean up after yourself while you prepare for your upcoming move, you can avoid the stress of completing extensive home cleaning right before moving day.

Wiping down home countertops, walls and ceilings usually is a great idea. By doing so, you can keep these spots clean while you plan for your move.

Also, don't forget to empty the attic and basement and remove dirt, dust and debris from these areas. This will ensure you can clean these areas once and for all before moving day arrives.

2. Remove All Clutter from Your Home

There is no reason to let clutter slow you down as you prepare for an upcoming move. Instead, clear out clutter immediately, and you can clean your home and reduce the number of items that you'll need to move to your new address.

Today, there are several ways to get rid of clutter. In many instances, you can sell excess items as part of a yard sale or online. Or, you can always donate these items to local charities or give them to friends or family members.

Regardless of what you decide to do with clutter, it is essential to remove clutter from your house as soon as you can. That way, you can cut down on clutter and increase the likelihood of a quick, seamless moving day experience.

3. Hire a Cleaning Company

Cleaning a home from top to bottom can be a lot of work. Plus, if you're already allocating significant amounts of time to packing for an upcoming move, you may lack the necessary time and energy to improve your house's interior and exterior.

Many home cleaning companies are available in cities and towns nationwide. These businesses employ friendly, highly trained professionals who are happy to help you clean your residence prior to moving day.

If you plan to hire a home cleaning company, don't wait to contact this business. Because the longer you wait to book a home cleaning company, the more likely it becomes that this business won't be able to accommodate your cleaning needs before you move.

Lastly, if you need help finding a cleaning company in your area, you can always consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you sell a home, as well as connect you with first-rate cleaning companies in any area, at any time.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble cleaning your house in the days leading up to your move.




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