Dympna Atwell - RE/MAX Executive Realty | Hopkinton, MA Realty, Holliston, MA Realty


A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didn’t have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether you’re the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isn’t something you should take lightly. You’ll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

It’s also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspector’s website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what you’re getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers aren’t sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

You’ll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspector’s job easier and allow them to focus on the service they’re providing you.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if you’re buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.


Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.

As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.

A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.

You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.

Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.

Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.

Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.


Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

When inquiring about renting a home or condominium, you may not immediately be aware if the property is being self-managed by the owner or by a property manager or management firm that the owner has hired. There are some benefits and downsides to each. You should first ask who and how the property is being managed. This just could give you an indication of what to expect in your relationship.

Benefits of an Owner Landlord

One of the benefits of renting from a landlord who owns the property is that they have a direct vested interest in maintaining the house. This could mean that they may be more responsive and make repairs properly. Property owner landlords do not like replacing tenants and filling vacancies, so they will often treat their good tenants very well.

Negatives of an Owner Landlord

Often, the biggest downside of an owner landlord is they have too close of a personal connection with a property. They may have even done much of any remodeling or repair work themselves. They can take it personally if there is damage or a repair that needs addressing. This makes them more prone to inspecting the property more frequently. They also are more personally affected if a tenant is late with making a rent payment. They may not have the resources or be willing to spend the money, to keep a property properly maintained.

Benefits of a Property Manager

A professional property manager works as a liaison between the tenant and the owner. This keeps the owner at arm's length, making the relationship more professional and less personal. A property manager has their own reputation to maintain and should try to keep both the tenant and owner happy. A property manager often solely works on managing properties and can spend more time making sure a property is maintained.

Negatives of a Property Manager

Some would argue that the negative to working with a property manager is that they are a paid third-party with no “skin in the game” so to speak. Many property managers also manage their own properties and may manage so many properties they may not have enough time to pay sufficient attention to yours. So property managers are largely impersonal companies and may not offer the personal touch you desire.

Due Diligence Is Key

To key between selecting a professional property manager or an owner tenant usually lies in performing your due diligence before signing a lease. Ask for reference and see our reviews. Any landlord or property manager will ask for references from you. Do not be afraid to perform your own due diligence before making a decision on renting from them.


Looking to buy or sell a house in the near future? Hire a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving the best possible homebuying or home selling results.

Ultimately, there are many great reasons to trust a real estate agent throughout the homebuying or home selling journey, including:

1. A real estate agent boasts comprehensive industry experience.

When it comes to buying or selling a house, there is no reason to work alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who possess extensive industry experience and understand what it takes to buy or sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

An experienced real estate agent is easy to find – all you have to do is search.

With a simple online search, you can discover dozens of qualified real estate agents in your area. Then, you can reach out to local real estate agents and find one who can help you navigate the homebuying or home selling journey.

2. A real estate agent can help you accelerate the process of buying or selling a home.

The process of buying or selling a house can be time-consuming. Conversely, a real estate agent understands what it takes to streamline the homebuying or home selling cycle.

For a homebuyer, a real estate agent will help this individual discover a great home in no time at all. In fact, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses as they become available and ensure a homebuyer can narrow his or her home search. That way, a real estate agent will make it simple for a homebuyer to quickly and effortlessly complete the property buying process.

On the other hand, a real estate agent will help a home seller add a property to the real estate market and optimize the property's value. This housing market professional will even negotiate with homebuyers on a home seller's behalf to boost a seller's chances of generating a profit from a home sale.

3. A real estate agent knows how to handle tough situations.

Buying or selling a house should be a fast, seamless process. However, this rarely, if ever, is the case.

Luckily, a real estate agent knows how to handle difficult situations and ensure a homebuyer or home seller can overcome assorted hurdles. He or she can help an individual alleviate stress and proceed with confidence throughout the homebuying or home selling journey.

If you need a helping hand as you get ready to buy or sell a house, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is a real estate expert, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help you accomplish your homebuying or home selling goals.

Employ a real estate agent today – you'll be happy you did. With a real estate agent at your side, you can increase your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying or home selling journey.


Image by Andy Dean Photography from Shutterstock

In past housing markets, it was common for investors to flip houses. Unfortunately, when the housing bubble burst, many buyers couldn't update and sell the homes they'd bought. After a bit of a downturn, the trend has picked back up. However, savvy investors know that the housing market has much tighter margins than it has in the past. If you’re thinking about getting into the house-flipping game, consider the following tips as you get started.

Here are some tips to protect your potential investment:

  • Not every housing market is profitable: Many homes can be purchased, renovated, and potentially sold in every part of the country. But some locations do not have the sort of economic growth that makes property flipping viable. Know your market and local property values. Keep in touch with what’s happening in the community and be prepared with a plan B in case the home doesn’t sell.

  • Do your homework. There are fewer deeply discounted homes available to investors. Plan to pay the full price in cash but arrange a contingency to have the home inspected. If the inspection reveals issues, especially with primary systems such as electrical and plumbing, walk away. Or, offer the seller a lower price to account for needed repairs, and potentially get a better deal. Anything revealed during the inspection that the seller did not fix your responsibility to repair or replace before you can flip the property.

  • Respect your margins. Unlike in reality shows the profit made from buying and selling a home is not as large as it appears. When you find undervalued homes, you need a cushion built-in for the rehab. If the difference between what you paid and the new selling price is insignificant, it’s not a sound investment. Avoid purchasing property that requires thousands of dollars of repairs or upgrades. You'll end up with a lovely home, but little to no income to show from it.

  • Constantly monitor the inventory. Fewer homes on the market mean finding one with flip potential is more difficult. 

Seek help from a professional

Maintain a close relationship with your real estate professional so that when potential homes come on the market, you’re the first to hear. Your real estate professionals know the local market. They watch the trends and know who is buying, who is selling, and who is holding. They also know which repairs and upgrades are essential to make a quick sale. Let them guide you.




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