Kathy Craig - ERA Key Realty Services


The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Be Diligent

A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.

2. Know Where You Want to Go

Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.

Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.

Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.


Everyone defines the term "quality of life" differently, but if you asked 100 people, you'd probably hear a lot of similar answers.

According to a Gallup study entitled "The State of American Well-Being," the  basis for a good quality of life includes having a sense of purpose, feeling good about what you do every day, having supportive relationships, being motivated to achieve your goals, being able to effectively manage your finances, having the energy and health to pursue your interests, and sharing a sense of community pride. Feeling safe and liking where you live were also key ingredients in the formula for a high quality of life .

The Gallup/Sharecare report focuses on several aspects of community life, such as the role local governments play in offering amenities and resources to citizens. The study concluded that "communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes."

While factors such as the quality of school districts and low crime rates are often foremost in the minds of house hunters, there's also a lot to be said for communities that offer public recreational facilities, educational programs, cultural events, and services that promote health, safety, and a clean environment.

Advantages that can help make one community more desirable and family friendly than another can range from free outdoor concerts and public tennis courts to the availability of farmers' markets and clean, updated playgrounds. Other features which can positively impact the quality of life in a community include well-maintained roads and bridges, the availability of dog parks, community parades, and programs to encourage the proper disposal of drugs, electronics, household chemicals, and recyclable products.

At the neighborhood level, quality of life is often measured by factors like noise, the condition of nearby properties, the overall safety and security of the area, and the amount of street traffic. Clean air, mature trees, and friendly neighbors can also contribute to a wholesome living environment that can be enjoyed for generations.

While there are many advantages to designing your own home or buying new construction, one might need to make short-term sacrifices when it comes to things like noise, neighborhood aesthetics, and other temporary inconveniences. Your real estate agent or home builder can probably fill you in on things like construction timetables and project completion dates.

If you're in the market for a new home, it's always a good idea to clarify in your own mind what you and your family needs to feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Creating a priority list of needs, desires, and preferences not only helps you stay focused in your real estate search, but also increases the probability that you'll be satisfied with your new home on a long-term basis.


You know you want to make your homeownership dream come true sooner rather than later. At the same time, you still have no idea about how you'll acquire a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Navigating the housing market can be tricky, especially for those who are operating with limited finances at their disposal. Lucky for you, we're here to take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a wonderful residence at a price that won't break your budget.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you buy your dream house at the lowest-possible price.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The real estate market may seem complicated at first. Fortunately, homebuyers who collect and review housing market data can become real estate experts in no time at all.

Ultimately, homebuyers who know the ins and outs of the real estate market may be better equipped than others to get the best price on a house. These buyers can identify patterns and trends within housing market data and determine whether they're operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Then, once a buyer finds his or her dream house, this individual can submit a competitive offer to purchase that meets the needs of all parties involved in a home sale.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

Getting pre-approved for home financing allows you to enter the real estate market with a good idea about how much you can spend on a residence. Thus, you'll be able to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay for a residence – and avoid overspending on a house – if you obtain pre-approval for a mortgage.

To receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. That way, you can get the information you need to make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent is essential for a homebuyer who wants to purchase his or her dream house at the right price. In fact, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you can avoid paying too much for your ideal residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. He or she next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy, one that allows you to quickly and effortlessly discover a high-quality and affordable residence. After you find your ideal house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase too. And if a seller accepts your homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the property buying journey.

Ready to make your homeownership dream a reality? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can find a top-notch house at a price that matches your budget.


An open house is a big deal, particularly for a homebuyer who is intent on finding his or her dream residence as quickly as possible. If you plan ahead for an open house, you can make the most of this event.

Ultimately, there are many reasons for a homebuyer to craft a list of questions prior to an open house, and these reasons include:

1. You can optimize your time and resources.

Let's face it – few homebuyers have time and resources to spare. And if you attend an open house, it is important to do everything possible to maximize its value.

With a list of questions in hand, you can attend an open house and learn everything you want to know about a residence. Then, when you have answers to your questions, you can decide whether to submit an offer on a residence or continue your search for your dream house.

2. You can obtain in-depth home insights.

In many instances, homebuyers will attend an open house and leave with many questions about a residence. Yet homebuyers who create a list of questions prior to an open house can quickly gain the insights they need to identify their ideal home.

For homebuyers who want to obtain in-depth home insights, preparing a list of questions prior to an open house is a must. Homebuyers who ask questions about a house's interior, exterior, condition and age can learn about many different aspects of a residence. As a result, these buyers can use all of the information at their disposal to determine whether a house matches their expectations.

3. You can make the best-possible decision regarding a home.

Buying a house is rarely a simple decision. Fortunately, attending an open house with a list of questions can help a buyer make an informed decision about any residence, at any time.

When pursuing homes, there is no reason to leave anything to chance. By preparing questions before an open house, a homebuyer can take a data-driven approach to evaluate a house. And after a comprehensive assessment, a buyer can move forward with a home offer or reenter the housing market.

As you get ready to attend an open house, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you may be able to achieve your homebuying goals faster than ever before.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and its intricacies. As such, a real estate agent can keep you up to date about open house events and help you plan accordingly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to take the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Prepare a list of questions before you attend an open house – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you should have no trouble discovering your ideal residence.


Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:

1. Determine Where You Want to Live

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.

Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.

Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.

Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.




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