Jim Sheridan | Burlington Real Estate, Billerica Real Estate, Reading Real Estate


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First-time homebuyers have more choices than ever before when it comes to picking a home. While for many, a home translates to “house” there are other home ownership options to consider. Condominiums, or condos, are an excellent choice for first-time buyers for several reasons. Depending on where you live, they might be more widely available than detached homes. Here we’ll go over 5 reasons condos are great for first-time homebuyers.

Spend Less Up Front

In most places, a condo has a lower purchase price than a house. You might think that this is simply because of less square footage and decreased privacy, but depending on the development you can have it all for a much lower price. A lower cost will also mean a lower minimum down payment required for a mortgage. This will save you money you can spend on other things like appliances or furniture.

Let the HOA Handle It

Condo properties all have a property management body typically known as a Homeowners’ Association. These organizations have rules for living in the community and also charge an additional fee. For that fee, the HOA of your condo building will handle upkeep of all public spaces and building exteriors. This can include parking structures, fencing, gates, landscaping, outdoor lighting and even more depending on the particular complex.

Customize Freely

Even though you don’t own the entire property, you own your own condo unit. This means you have the freedom to customize the interior as you see fit. Paint, paneling, hardwood floors—it’s all up to you. Unlike with many rentals, you can drill as many holes and hang whatever you’d like on the walls. Some condos will even allow you to replace built-in appliances like stoves with those of your choice, giving you even more options for customization.

Use Community Amenities

Some condo communities offer excellent amenities to their residents. Spas, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, fitness centers and even small general stores are all things you can find included in some complexes. There might also be communal space available for hosting parties and other large groups as well as organized community events. Each condo community has different offerings and different ways of paying for them, so research carefully. You may need to pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee to the HOA in order to access the amenities.

Invest in the Future

If you eventually decide to move out of your condo, you can keep it as an investment property. With the increasing popularity of private home vacation rentals, you can generate excellent side income by renting the space to others. Just make sure that you’re following all the community rules for vacation renting. It’s also a good idea to consult an accountant to help you take the best advantage of the investment opportunity without getting in tax trouble.

The availability of condo property depends highly on area. However, in some parts of the United States, condominium real estate is even more active and popular than it is for detached single-family homes. This means there are plenty of qualified real estate agents and brokers who specialize in finding you the perfect condo for your budget and lifestyle needs.


For first-time homebuyers, going from property buyer to property owner may seem virtually impossible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of buying a home.

Now, let's take a look at three questions that every first-time homebuyer needs to consider:

1. What is my "dream" residence?

One first-time homebuyer's definition of a "dream" residence may differ from another's. As such, you should consider what you'd like to find in a dream house before you begin your real estate search.

Creating a checklist of "must-haves" and "wants" in your house often serves as a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist will enable homebuyers to consider what they'd like to find in a dream home and plan accordingly.

Also, it is important to establish realistic expectations before you kick off a home search.

Many terrific houses are available in cities and towns nationwide, but no home is likely to have every feature that you desire in a dream residence.

Therefore, if you establish realistic expectations for your home search, you can avoid potential let-downs as you explore a broad array of high-quality houses.

2. How will I pay for a home?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know what you can afford to spend on a home before you enter the real estate market.

Many banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss your mortgage options. These lenders can outline the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, help you assess your credit score and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.

Furthermore, lenders can answer any mortgage questions that you may have. They can help you evaluate your current financial situation and enable you to obtain a mortgage that won't force you to revamp your day-to-day budget.

3. How do I begin searching for a house?

Beginning a home search is easy, particularly for first-time homebuyers who work with expert real estate agents.

An expert real estate agent understands what it takes to find a wonderful house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, he or she will do everything possible to help you navigate the housing market quickly and effortlessly.

Typically, an expert real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and submit home offers on your behalf. This housing market professional also will offer honest, unbiased recommendations throughout the homebuying journey to help you select a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

When it comes to exploring the housing market, there is no need to work alone. Fortunately, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you get the best results possible during the homebuying journey.

Want to acquire your first home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to owning a top-notch house.


Photo by Avi Waxman on Unsplash

Many people view purchasing property as a long-term goal, some see it as a rite of passage. Either way, buying a home for the first time can be an incredibly stressful experience. Those who are going through this process for the first time might be worried about making mistakes that may leave them with the wrong house or a high-interest rate. There are a few common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make that everyone should know.

Not Applying for a Mortgage First

You may want to get out there and find the home of your dreams right away but it is important to apply for a mortgage first. First, it shows any potential seller that the person they are working with is serious about buying a home. This is key because it will convince the seller to negotiate in good faith. Furthermore, when you apply for a mortgage, the lender will provide a maximum loan amount. This gives the borrower a budget with which to work.

Talking to Only One Lender

Be sure to speak with more than one mortgage lender. One lender might offer a certain interest rate to the borrower, another lender might be willing to offer a lower interest rate on the same loan. Other lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points. Having multiple offers increases your leverage during the negotiation process.

Buying a Home that is Too Big

Be sure to focus on more than just the price tag. While this is a key expense, it is not the only one. Potential homeowners should also consider home insurance, real estate taxes and home maintenance costs. These additional costs may result in the purchase of a home that is too large for their budget. Be sure to take every cost into account when looking for a home to avoid financial stress.

If you are looking to buy a home, consult with a real estate professional to help you secure the right deal on the home of your dreams.


Many people think of their first home as a “starter home.” This refers to a home that is fairly small and typically is for young people who are just starting out in a new phase of life. These types of homes are generally not thought of as “forever homes.” Many times, as families expand, they will move on from their starter homes to bigger and better homes. This includes living in desirable neighborhoods and adding extra comforts that the first home may not have had. Other times, people expand on their starter home in order to make more room for children and the needs of a growing family. These homes truly are jumping off points. Studies show that the idea of starter homes is disappearing. It could be that the requirements of first-time homebuyers are changing and therefore the types of homes that are being sought after are few and far between. The expectations of buyers have increased greatly. Buyers would like adequate space and hope that their first home is not only in a great location, but ready for them to move in without much work as well. Really, buyers are looking for everything anyone would want in their forever home in their starter homes. So, is it a smart idea to search for a starter home, only to move a few years later? The answer is multi-faceted. Starter homes are typically the homes that you can afford at the present time in your life. If you decide that you can save up longer and go for the house you really want, that may be a smarter financial decision for you. There’s always an option to wait for more homes to go on the market while you rent a place. If you do decide to go for a starter home, here’s some tips for you: Don’t Try To Get Everything You Want For A Low Price Buyers tend to have wish lists of the things they desire in a house. While that’s a great idea, don’t expect to get everything you want in your starter home. Manage your expectations along with the cost of the home. See Where You Can Expand Many homes have great potential, but buyers have what they see set in their minds and fail to see what can be done in the future. Look at homes with open eyes and picture the possibilities. Know There Will Be Work Involved Purchasing a starter home means that you’ll usually need to participate in home improvement projects. Don’t go for a home that needs major work done if you’re not up for the challenge. Typically, you’ll need to be able to get your hands dirty by doing things like changing out wallpaper, painting walls, or sanding cabinets. These are the little projects that make your house your own.

Buy A common misconception amongst the general public is that using a real estate agent when purchasing a home will be costly. What consumers don't realize is that they won't actually be saving themselves any money by foregoing the use of a buyer's agent. Buyers may inaccurately assume that they'll get a better deal by working directly with the listing agent of a specific property they're interested in, rather than by adding a buyer's agent to the mix. This belief is grounded in the ideology that if there's only one agent involved, only one agent is being paid. While this is true, the money-saving theory behind this type of one-agent-transaction is being misconstrued. There is, in fact, only one agent being paid, in this case the listing agent, however, this agent will receive the full commission from both sides of the negotiation. The same monetary value is wielded whether one agent or two agents are involved in the contract making this alleged shortcut inconsequential. The drawbacks of dealing directly with a listing agent as a buyer, are however, substantial. The listing agent is contractually obligated first and foremost to the seller. The listing agent represents the seller's best interests by law. By hiring a buyer's agent, buyers are actively ensuring that their best interests are not an afterthought, and are on the contrary, of the utmost importance to their agent. If you are a potential buyer, looking to purchase a new home or make a real estate investment, allow a real estate agent to act on your behalf. A successful buyer's agent is not only obligated, but happy to hold you, the buyer, as his or her number one priority in every part of the purchasing process. As your buyer's agent, my job would be to help you, help you. How can I help you today?



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