Alison Brown, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage President’s Elite, CRS, CBR


For those who want to buy a house, it helps to consider your options closely. That way, you can make an informed home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you prepare to conduct a home search:

1. The Local Housing Market

Assess the local housing market before you dive headfirst into a home search – you will be glad you did. If you analyze the housing market in towns and cities where you want to live, you can determine if a buyer's or seller's market is in place. Then, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

To differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market, you should find out how long recently sold houses were available before they were purchased. You also may want to track houses as soon as they become available and see how long it takes them to sell. If residences linger on the housing market for many weeks or months, the real estate sector likely favors buyers. Or, if houses are purchased shortly after they become available, the real estate sector may favor sellers.

2. Your Home Must-Haves

Think about the features you want to find in your dream house. This will help you hone your house search to residences that match your expectations.

Oftentimes, it helps to enter the housing market with a list of home must-haves. This list can be updated throughout your house search and may help you simplify your quest to find your dream residence.

As you craft a list of home must-haves, be sure to include any house amenities you simply cannot live without. For instance, if you require a home that boasts a state-of-the-art air-conditioning system, you can search for a residence that offers this amenity. On the other hand, if you need a home that is located just minutes from your office in the city, you can search for a house in or near the city itself.

3. Your Homebuying Budget

You may have only a finite amount of money to spend on a house. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know precisely how much money is at your disposal. You then can search for a house that corresponds to your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about your home financing options and help you select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Lastly, as you get set to embark on a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into the homebuying journey. Plus, he or she is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns, at any time.

If you want to streamline the process of finding and buying a wonderful residence, it helps to plan ahead for the homebuying journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can review your options and boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.


Before you launch a home search, you should put together a property buying plan. That way, you will know exactly what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey and can tailor your house search accordingly.

There are many things you can do to ensure your homebuying plan will work perfectly, and these include:

1. Create Homebuying Goals

You know you want to acquire a house. Now, you just need to establish homebuying goals so you can make your property buying vision a reality.

To create homebuying goals, you should consider where you want to reside and what you want to find in your ideal residence. Remember, you can always modify your goals as you navigate the homebuying journey as well.

Don't forget to be realistic as you establish homebuying goals. For example, if you want to acquire a mansion but don't have the finances to do so, you should lower the bar for your home search.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

A mortgage generally is a must-have to purchase a house. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence. And as a result, you can narrow your house search based on the finances at your disposal.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about the ins and outs of home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. If you work with these specialists, you can gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to receive comprehensive support as they craft a homebuying plan, hiring a real estate agent is paramount. A real estate agent boasts extensive housing market expertise, and as such, will help you create an effective property buying strategy.

A real estate agent devotes time and resources to learn about you and your homebuying goals. Next, he or she will work with you to create a custom homebuying strategy. And when you are ready, you can put this strategy into action.

Furthermore, a real estate agent offers in-depth guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. Also, a real estate agent will help you submit an offer to purchase your dream home. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid overpaying to acquire your ideal house.

Take the guesswork out of developing and executing a homebuying plan – use the aforementioned tips, and you can simplify the process of finding and acquiring your dream residence.


If you’re hunting for a new home and have come across one that fits all of your requirements and more, it can seem like the only thing you can do is make an offer and wait.

However, your first choice could also be another buyer’s dream home. And, if a higher bid isn’t feasible, you have to find other ways to win over the seller. One way this can be achieved is through writing a letter to the owner of the home.

If you’re bidding on your dream home, writing a letter the the owner can be anxiety inducing. Choosing what to reveal and finding the right words can be scary, even for the most seasoned writer.

So, in this article we’re going to walk you through writing a letter to a seller to give you the best possible chance of winning the bid for a new home.

Tell them why you love their home

If you’ve fallen in love with certain aspects of the home, there’s a good chance the sellers did too. Be personal in your explanations. Rather than just say you love the location, mention that it is a perfect distance to walk to the playground with your children or pets. This will help buyers better understand you and your story.

If you have family who lives nearby, or if the home has features that can greatly improve the life of you, your family, or your pets, be sure to mention this in the letter as well.

Don’t press or plead, just be polite

It can seem desperate and off-putting to receive a letter pleading with you to sell your home to someone. So, when you’re writing your letter and you come to the end, simply thank the buyer for their time and for reading, compliment them once more, and wish them luck in their new home.

Revise and review

It can be tempting to send your letter immediately after writing it, especially if writing is you don’t like writing in general. However, it’s always a good idea to revise. I suggest writing your letter one night, then reading it again the next evening to give yourself time and distance from it--this way you’ll be reading it with fresh eyes and will be able to find any wording that sounds strange or confusing.

It’s also a good idea to run your writing through a free proofreader like Grammarly. And, finally, there is no substitute for having an editor. Ask one of your friends or family members to read the letter and give you feedback.

Stand out from the crowd

There are a few things you can include in your letter to set you apart from other potential buyers. Including a family photo will help the sellers put a face to the names you mention in the letter.

It can also be helpful to print and mail the letter, rather than sending it electronically. Since we so rarely receive a physical copy of a letter these days (unless it’s from a bill collector), it can be nice to receive something positive in the mail for a change.


Want to acquire the perfect home at the perfect price? You're not alone. As such, you'll likely need to allocate significant time and resources to your home search if you hope to transform your dream into a reality.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you navigate the real estate market so you can move closer to purchasing a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips so you can buy your ideal home at a price that matches or exceeds your expectations.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Goals

Although you may have lofty dreams of purchasing a deluxe house quickly, it may take some time to find a house that fulfills your needs.

Setting realistic expectations for a home search is ideal for property buyers. With realistic goals, you may be able to avoid disappointments and frustrations along the homebuying journey.

Evaluating the current real estate market often offers a great way to help you map out your homebuying plans. This will enable you to examine the prices of assorted homes, determine which houses you like and define a price range for your ideal house.

Also, it never hurts to look at the prices of recently sold houses, either. This will allow you to see how quickly residences are selling and determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

You know that you want to own a house, but how do you intend to pay for it? Ultimately, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage – something that can help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. Then, you can choose a mortgage that will help you avoid the temptation to overspend to acquire your ideal home.

When you consult with banks and credit unions, be sure to ask plenty of mortgage questions as well. That way, you can learn about the ins and outs of various mortgage options and select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is happy to help you make your homeownership dreams come true.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences as they become available and offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she will even negotiate with property sellers on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home, in any real estate market.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. In addition, a real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions, guaranteeing you can make informed decisions time and time again.

Ready to acquire your dream home at your dream price? Use these tips, and you should have no trouble purchasing a terrific house without breaking your budget.


Believe it or not, buying a condo can be a quick, easy process, particularly for those who understand their homebuying needs.

Ultimately, there are several factors to consider before you purchase a condo, including:

1. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a condo? You should evaluate your homebuying budget closely to ensure you can cover all of the costs associated with condo living.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can browse a wide range of condos and find one that matches your budget perfectly.

Furthermore, don't forget to account for homeowners' association (HOA) fees before you buy a condo. HOA fees will vary depending on the condo community, and you should learn about them in advance so you can budget accordingly.

2. Property Size and Location

How much space do you need to accommodate your family? Consider the short- and long-term ramifications of a condo purchase, and you should have no trouble finding a condo that is the right size for you.

If you're uncertain about how big of a condo that you'll need, don't hesitate to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market expert will learn about your homebuying needs and help you narrow your search for the ideal condo.

Also, be sure to consider the location of a condo. If you want to find a place to live near school or work, you should search for condos that will help you cut down on your commute time.

3. Condo Rules and Regulations

Condo living is different from living in a traditional house. In a condo community, you'll have your own property, but there may be numerous condo rules and regulations in place that you'll need to follow at all times.

For example, many condo owners cannot modify a property's exterior without first getting approval from an HOA board. This means if you want to paint your condo bright pink or upgrade the property's windows, you'll need to ask the HOA board for permission.

Examine a condo community's rules and regulations prior to purchasing a condo. This will enable you to review the HOA board's mandates and determine whether you would feel comfortable following these rules and regulations.

When it comes to finding a condo, there is no need to look for a property on your own. Conversely, if you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of searching for a top-notch condo.

Finding a real estate agent with condo experience is essential. This real estate professional will set up condo showings, keep you informed about new condos as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. That way, this real estate agent will make it easy for you to acquire a first-rate condo at a budget-friendly price.

Kick off your search for the perfect condo today, and you can move closer to securing a condo that will serve you well for an extended period of time.




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