Sandy Lucchesi | Hopkinton Real Estate, Southborough Real Estate, Westborough Real Estate


Saving for a down payment on a house can seem like an insurmountable challenge to first-time homebuyers. You don’t have the benefit of equity built from owning previous homes, and most, if not all, of your income could be tied up in other places like paying rent and bills.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry--you’re not alone. The good news is that there are some other things you might try before giving up on saving for a down payment.

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss a few techniques for saving for a down payment that you might not yet have thought of, and talk about how to can start saving sooner rather than later.

1. Know your options

Many first-time buyers aren’t aware of all of the different mortgage types that may be available to them. VA loans, USDA loans, and more are all available to buyers who don’t have a large down payment saved up.

There’s also the common myth that your down payment needs to be at least 20% percent of the cost of the home. However, this number is more like an ideal figure that will allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Before determining how much you need to save, make sure you understand all of your options.

2. Learn the art of budgeting

Most of us use the term “budget” as a vague word that means the amount of money we can spend.

The true point of a budget, however, is to gain a detailed understanding of where your money goes and to develop a plan.

One good method of budgeting is to do what budget experts call, “giving every dollar a job.” This means that you know where each dollar o your paycheck will go.

There are many tools available for you to use when budgeting. You can use a free app like a spreadsheet from Google Sheets, or a service that connects you your bank account like Mint. Mint will also let you set goals (such as saving for a down payment) so you can track your progress.

3. Asking for a raise

Depending on how long you’ve been at your job and your work performance, it might be time to ask your employer for a raise up front. Many employers are more than happy to reward hard work and dedication, but just don’t hand out money if they aren’t asked.

4. Start that side hustle

There are a lot of ways to earn extra money in a service economy. From waiting tables at night to delivering packages for Amazon, and giving lifts in your car for Uber, there are numerous ways to earn some extra cash in the evenings.

Just remember that you want this project to be something that’s enjoyable or interesting, otherwise it’s easy to burn out from overwork.

5. See if you have employee assistance options

Some employers offer housing assistance programs to their employees as a work benefit. If you haven’t flipped through your HR packet in a while, now might be a good time to make sure you’re taking advantage of your options.


A home inspection is one of the final stages of the property buying journey. If an inspection goes according to plan, a buyer may be able to seamlessly close on his or her dream residence. On the other hand, if problems are discovered during a house inspection, these issues may slow down or stop a home sale.

For property buyers, it helps to plan ahead for a home inspection as much as possible. Thankfully, we're here to help you do just that.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every buyer needs to know about home inspections.

1. A home inspection typically is performed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer to purchase.

With a home inspection, a buyer can review a house with a property expert and identify any underlying problems. If a buyer finds problems during an inspection, this individual can rescind his or her offer to purchase, modify the offer or move forward with a home purchase.

It typically helps to hire a highly qualified and experienced home inspector. By having a skilled home inspector at your side, you can gain the insights you need to determine whether a house is right for you.

2. A buyer is not required to go to a home inspection, but it generally is a good idea to attend.

Usually, a buyer, his or her real estate agent and a home inspector will walk through a house together during an inspection. It also is important to note that a buyer is not required to go to an inspection, but in most cases, it is a good idea for a buyer to attend.

A buyer who attends a home inspection may be able to receive home insights that he or she won't necessarily find in a house inspection report. As such, this buyer can obtain the house insights that he or she needs to make an informed homebuying decision.

3. A home inspection may require several hours to complete.

There is no time limit for a house inspection, but an average home inspection takes several hours to complete. After the inspection is finished, a property inspector will prepare a report that details his or her findings and provide it to a buyer within a few days. Then, a buyer will need to review the report and determine how to proceed.

As a buyer gets ready to enter the housing market, and eventually, perform a home inspection, it helps to hire a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent. This housing market professional can help a buyer find the right home, submit a competitive offer to purchase and conduct an in-depth home inspection. And after a buyer completes a successful home inspection, a real estate agent will help this individual navigate the final stages of the property buying journey.

Simplify the homebuying process – employ a real estate agent, and you can get the help you need to locate and purchase your ideal residence.


Deciding whether to set up a home showing sometimes can be a tough decision. Yet a home showing can make a world of difference for a buyer as he or she searches for the ideal residence.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to schedule a home showing, and these include:

1. You can look beyond a home listing.

A home listing generally offers details about a house's age and features, as well as photographs of different areas of a residence. But a home listing can only provide so much information. Fortunately, a home showing enables you to assess a house in person and decide whether a residence is right for you.

During a house showing, you can walk around a residence and view each room. If you want to further pursue a residence after a showing, you can submit an offer to purchase. Or, if you find a house fails to match your expectations, you can always continue your search for your dream home.

2. You can gain comprehensive insights into a house's condition.

When it comes to evaluating a house's condition, it typically is a good idea to attend a showing. That way, you can get an up-close look at a home's condition and determine whether a residence needs major or minor repairs.

A home showing enables you to analyze a residence both inside and out. After a showing is complete, you can decide whether you are satisfied with the condition of a home and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

3. You can imagine what it would be like if you purchase a home.

A home showing makes it easy to envision what life may be like if you purchase a particular house. As such, a showing may prove to be crucial as you pursue your dream residence.

If you feel good about a house following a showing, you should not hesitate to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. Conversely, if you feel uncomfortable with a residence, you may want to pursue other options.

Of course, hiring a real estate agent may be exceedingly valuable as you search for your ideal house. A real estate agent can schedule home showings at your convenience and provide plenty of tips to help you pursue residences in any housing market. By doing so, a real estate agent will empower you with the insights you need to make an informed decision about a house.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent will provide after you find your dream house, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire your ideal residence. And if you have any concerns or questions as you move along the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Ready to find your dream residence? Schedule a home showing, and you take the next step to acquire your ideal house.


If you find your dream house, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But if you submit a "lowball" homebuying proposal, you risk missing out on the opportunity to acquire your ideal residence.

Putting together a competitive offer to purchase can be easy. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an aggressive homebuying proposal.

1. Study the Housing Market

The housing market fluctuates constantly. If the real estate market favors buyers today, it may shift into sellers' favor tomorrow, or vice-versa. As such, you should study the housing market, determine whether it favors buyers or sellers and craft a homebuying proposal accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area, as well as how long these homes were listed before they sold. With this housing market data in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. And as a result, you can boost the likelihood of submitting a competitive homebuying proposal.

2. Know Your Budget

If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can minimize the risk of submitting an offer to purchase that stretches beyond your financial limits.

To establish a homebuying budget, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions can teach you everything you need to know about different mortgage options and help you select the right mortgage. Plus, if you have any questions as you evaluate your mortgage options, banks and credit unions are happy to respond to your home financing queries.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you hire a real estate agent, you can submit a competitive offer to purchase on any house. In fact, a real estate agent can offer in-depth housing market insights to help you put together an aggressive homebuying proposal that may receive an instant "Yes" from a seller.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. He or she first will meet with you, learn about you and your homebuying goals and create a personalized property buying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you pursue houses in your preferred cities and towns until you find one that matches your expectations. And after you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to submit an offer to purchase that fulfills the needs of all parties involved.

Of course, if your offer to purchase your dream home is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you through the final steps of the homebuying process. Or, if your homebuying proposal is rejected, a real estate agent will help you reenter the housing market.

Avoid the danger of submitting a lowball offer to purchase your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can craft a competitive homebuying proposal and move one step closer to acquiring your ideal home.


Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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