Rosemary Scalera - CENTURY 21 McLennan & Co


Let's face it – there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations

How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.

2. Get a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.

Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.

Take control of the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.


Household odors are impossible to avoid entirely. Things like cooking smells and pet odor are not what we want our home to smell like when visitors stop by. However, they can be difficult to subdue, especially in the cold months when we ted to keep our windows shut, and thus keep the odors contained within our homes.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common household odors and how to manage and eliminate them. We’ll also dispel a few myths about containing odors.

Cooking odors

While the smell of food may seem delicious when you’re hungry, it can be nauseating if it is lingering in your house the next day. Certain smells seem to stick everywhere and are hard to get rid of. Fish, pork, and heavily seasoned dishes can taste great but have a tendency to outstay their welcome in the form of unpleasant smells.

Here are some tips for vanquishing those leftover odors from your kitchen:

  • Cook with the windows open. Open up the windows and use any ventilation systems that you might have over your home oven.

  • Have a cookout. For particularly stinky dishes like pork and frozen fish, cook them outside on the grill.

  • Grease management. If you must cook inside, use a splatter shield over frying pans to limit grease from getting all over your kitchen.

  • Thoroughly clean up. Wipe down your kitchen surfaces with a vinegar and citrus based cleaner and don’t leave any dishes in the sink.

Pet odors

Everyone loves their pets. The odors that come with them? Not so much. Here are some tips in eliminating pet odors.

  • Wash the pet’s bedding. If you have a dog or cat who sleeps in the same area every night, be sure to wash their bedding as regularly as your own.

  • Don’t mask smells, remove them. If a pet has an accident indoors, it’s important to disinfect and thoroughly clean the area. Air fresheners and candles will only mask the odor temporarily.

  • Carpet cleaning. Your carpets and hardwood floors cover a huge surface area of your home. Chances are your pet frequents those areas even more than you do. Regularly cleaning your carpets and mopping your hardwood floors is an important step to limiting pet odor.

Refrigerator odor

We’ve all heard about the box of baking soda technique for eliminating refrigerator odors. However, unless you dump out the baking soda and scrub the interior of the refrigerator with it, it probably isn’t doing anything to limit odors. Baking soda companies may market their product as a way to reduce odors in the refrigerator, but the reality is that it would take a much larger surface area for it to affect the air in your refrigerator.

Instead, clean the interior of your refrigerator frequently with a vinegar and water-based solution, and make sure you throw out leftovers before the start to smell off.

Shoes and closet

If you’re looking for a new use for that baking soda that was sitting in your refrigerator doing nothing, this is the place for it. Sprinkle baking soda (or Gold Bond) into shoes and on the carpet of the floor before cleaning your closet.

Make sure to wash your seasonal clothes after the season. If you have unwashed sweaters, gloves, or scarves in your closet sitting there all summer they will begin to emit an odor.


After you add your house to the real estate market, it may be only a matter of days before you receive the first offer on your residence.

Ultimately, the initial offer on your home may prove to be the best proposal for a number of reasons, including:

1. The offer matches or exceeds your expectations.

An informed home seller understands the condition of his or her house, and as such, sets realistic expectations for the home selling journey.

For a home seller, it is paramount to conduct a home appraisal before you list your residence. With this appraisal, you can learn about your residence's strengths and weaknesses and price your house accordingly.

Furthermore, a home appraisal will help you understand the true value of your home. And if you receive an initial offer that matches or surpasses your expectations, you should have no trouble accepting the proposal and moving forward with a home sale.

2. The offer corresponds to the current state of the real estate market.

Operating in a buyer's market is far different from operating in a seller's market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

In a buyer's market, there is an abundance of high-quality houses and a shortage of property buyers. This means a buyer's market typically favors property buyers over property sellers.

On the other hand, a seller's market usually favors property sellers. This market includes many property buyers and a shortage of top-notch houses. Thus, the likelihood of receiving a terrific first offer may increase in a seller's market and decrease in a buyer's market.

As a home seller, it is essential to allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about the housing market. If you understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market, you can identify a great initial offer on your house.

3. The offer is a must-accept in the eyes of your real estate agent.

When it comes to selling a house, it often is a wonderful idea to work with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional may prove to be a difference-maker at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will help you list your residence, promote it to potential homebuyers and set up home showings and open houses. That way, he or she can make it easy for you to generate substantial interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. This housing market professional will help you differentiate between a mediocre initial offer and a stellar one and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Lastly, be sure to analyze the initial offer on your home closely before you accept it. By taking a diligent approach to this home proposal, you can evaluate the pros and cons of it and make the best possible decision based on your individual needs.


If you’re trying to decide whether it’s best to move from your current home or to make the necessary improvements on the home, it’s not an easy decision. One thing you may have to consider is how to get the capital in order to have those home improvements done. 

There’s a variety of options available to you in order to secure a loan to renovate your home. Whether you need to renovate the kitchen, build out from your current property, or replace the heating system, there’s ways that you can get the money to complete these necessary updates. 


One thing to consider about any of the options discussed is that you don’t want to be paying for home improvement loans until you need to update everything once again. If you’re preparing to sell your home, making improvements is a wise choice, as it can increase the return that you’ll get on your home. 

Don’t Run Out Of Cash


 If you cannot complete the improvements that you started, you may not be able to get another loan to complete them. You can typically borrow between 80 and 90% of your home equity. The downside to refinancing your home or taking out home equity lines of credit is that you’ll need to pay closing costs once the loan is approved. In other words, you’ll need to put out some cash in order to get some cash. 

Use Your Own Cash

If you have some cash saved up, it’s wise to just do one project at a time. This can take some time, but can be more economical in the long run. If you don’t need to complete your repairs in a hurry, then using your own savings is a good idea.

Refinance Your Home

If you would benefit from a lower interest rate, refinancing your home can be a great option. As long as the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed the number of years that the updates will last, refinancing makes sense. 

Home Equity Credit Line


If your mortgage is locked in and working for you, home equity lines of credit are always a good option. You can draw money out as you need it and pay it back as you go. You won’t need to pay interest until you use the money and the loan is good for 10 years. The downside is that if you don’t make the payments, you could lose your home.   

Home Equity Loans

This type of loan allows you to borrow a fixed amount and then pay back the loan with a fixed monthly installment. A 15 year term is typical of this type of loan.


Construction Loans


A construction loan can be used to build a house or to make large-scale renovations. These loans are short-term and not always easy to find access to. Not to mention that they are heavily managed and perhaps the least popular option presented here. 


FHA 203K Loans


This type of loan is generally used to purchase a home that is in need of much repair. The downside is that you’ll need mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. Less complicated repairs often offer a more streamlined FHA loan of up to $35,000. 


FHA Title 1 Loans


These loans provide up to $25,000 for home improvements. The money is insured by the federal government and can be obtained from approved lenders. Homeowners don’t need access to equity in order to get one of these loans and they are available in 20 year terms. 


These are just some of the options that are available to you as a homeowner seeking ways to get cash to make improvements to your home. You can tap into other types of personal loans including credit cards. Really, you need to do what’s best for your finances. It’s good to know that there’s options available to you to improve your home.


Ready to sell your house? Ultimately, you should conduct a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market, and for good reason.

A home appraisal enables you to better understand what your home is worth. Plus, an expert home appraiser will be able to offer comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses so you can prioritize assorted home improvement projects accordingly.

Preparing your home for an appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If you allocate time and resources to get your house ready for an appraisal, you can increase your chances of getting favorable results during the appraisal itself.

What does it take to prep your house for an appraisal? Here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Consider a Home Appraiser's Perspective.

A home appraiser has an eye for detail, one that helps this professional understand whether a house is a viable long-term investment. Meanwhile, a home seller who steps into a property appraiser's shoes may be better equipped than others to enhance his or her residence.

For example, a home seller should evaluate a house's interior and exterior prior to an appraisal. And if you notice chipped paint on a home's walls, cracked shingles on a home's exterior or other cosmetic issues, you should address these problems immediately.

Even minor cosmetic issues can negatively affect a home's value. However, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty to correct these problems may be able to improve his or her house's appearance before a home appraisal.

2. Conduct Plenty of Housing Market Research.

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Learn about the local housing market, and you can find out what you'll need to do to differentiate your residence from similar properties.

An home seller should learn about the prices of recently sold residences as well as homes that are currently available. That way, you can set realistic expectations for your home appraisal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent.

A home appraisal can be a stressful experience, especially for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you streamline the home appraisal process.

Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the home selling process. He or she can connect you with qualified home appraisers in your area and ensure you can find a home appraiser who will provide honest, unbiased feedback about your residence.

A real estate agent also will help you maximize the value of your house. This housing market professional will ensure you can set a fair price for your residence and market your home to the right groups of homebuyers. He or she will even set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf to further simplify the home selling process.

When it comes to getting a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for a home appraisal.




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