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Looking to buy a house without having to break your budget? Put together a homebuying roadmap, and you can increase your chances of finding a top-notch house that falls within your price range.

Ultimately, there are many things to consider as you put together a homebuying roadmap, such as:

1. Your Dream Home Definition

Differentiate your dream home must-haves from your wants – you'll be glad you did. If you can determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house, you can narrow your home search accordingly.

For example, if you need a home with multiple bedrooms to accommodate your entire family, you should include this information near the top of your homebuying roadmap. You then can kick off a search of multi-bedroom homes and move closer to finding your ideal residence.

2. Where You Want to Live

Do you enjoy life in the big city? Or, would you prefer to settle down in a small town? Think about where you would like to call home so that you can effectively plan your homebuying journey.

Ideally, you should try to refine your home search to a small collection of cities and towns. This will enable you to speed up your home search and ensure you can find a house that suits you perfectly.

Keep in mind your day-to-day activities as you consider where you want to live too. For instance, if you work in the city, you may want to pursue houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, you may be able to purchase a small town home for less than what you would have to pay for a city residence and commute into the city for work.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Determine how quickly you'd like to finalize a home purchase. That way, you can map out exactly how you want to approach the housing market.

If you are committed to buying a house as soon as possible, you'll need to be proactive. The top houses sell quickly, and if you don't act fast, you risk missing out on your dream residence to a rival homebuyer.

Conversely, if you can afford to be patient, you can avoid pressure throughout the homebuying process. In this scenario, you can pursue houses at your convenience. And once you find the right home, you can submit an offer and finalize your home purchase.

When it comes to creating a homebuying roadmap, it generally helps to get support from a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can provide plenty of assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you develop a successful homebuying roadmap. Furthermore, he or she can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available and make it easy to discover a wonderful residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to get started on the process of purchasing a house? Consider the aforementioned items as you create a homebuying roadmap, and you can plan a successful homebuying journey.


If you’re on the hunt for a home, you’re undoubtedly excited. You might be eager to ask a lot of questions and get all the information that you can. You’re also probably eager to share quite a bit of information about yourself and your home purchase. While this is a great approach, this isn’t the case for everyone you’re involved with in your real estate transaction. When you’re dealing with the seller’s agent, more information isn’t always better. You don’t need to share as much information with them as you may think you do. Your agent as a buyer is your advocate. They do know a lot of information about you, and they should. Your buyer’s agent knows everything from your budget to your needs and wants. The seller’s agent doesn’t need to know any of this! This is why you hire a buyer’s agent in the first place. Here’s what you shouldn’t divulge to a seller’s agent and why:


Your Opinion Of The House


You’ll want to be as neutral as possible when it comes to how much you like or dislike a house. While it’s perfectly fine to let the agent know that you feel at home in the space and are interested in putting in an offer, you don't need to get into too many details. 


On the flip side, if you have a few things that you don’t like about a house, you should keep those to yourself. You don’t want to decide to put an offer in on the home, only to be seen as a less than serious buyer. In hot markets, you should always give yourself the upper hand. 


Your Budget


You should never let a seller’s agent know how much you’re looking to spend on a home. If sellers know how high or how low you’re willing to go on a home purchase, both the buyer and the seller should get a fair price for the home. Your goal as a buyer is to have your offer accepted at the best possible price. 


Let Your Agent Do His Job


While it can be hard in the midst of excitement, you should really let your agent do most of the talking when it comes to a home purchase. Your agent can help you through everything from negotiations to working with your lender to navigating you through open houses. Your agent may even be able to attend quite a few open houses right along with you. This way, you’ll have someone else to do the talking for you. Just remember the tips above in case you’re flying solo through some home tours. While it’s great to be eager on your home search, it’s never to your benefit to be overzealous.


Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.


If you get an offer to buy your house, there is no need to make a snap decision. Instead, it generally is a good idea to allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze an offer and determine the best course of action.

Ultimately, there are lots of reasons why you should analyze a home offer, and these include:

1. You can boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your house.

An offer may fall at, above or below your house's initial asking price. However, regardless of the offer that you receive, it pays to perform a full evaluation to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.

For many home sellers, it is beneficial to conduct a home appraisal prior to listing a residence. That way, when a home offer arrives, a seller can compare the proposal to a property valuation and proceed accordingly.

2. You can weigh the pros and cons of all of your options.

Let's face it – deciding whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal can be tough. Luckily, analyzing an offer enables you to weight the pros and cons of each option, making it easier than ever before to make an informed choice.

Oftentimes, creating a list of pros and cons can be helpful. This list will enable you to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each potential home selling decision. Then, you can use your list to guide the decision-making process.

3. You can receive expert housing market insights before you finalize your decision.

Imagine what it would be like to take a data-driven approach to decide whether to approve a homebuying proposal. Now, you can, thanks to the wealth of housing market data that is readily available to sellers.

As a home seller, you should have no trouble examining the prices of comparable houses that recently sold in your city or town. You then can use this housing market data to determine whether a proposal is "fair" based on the current real estate market's conditions.

Of course, as you assess a home offer, it often helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a house – regardless of the real estate market's conditions. As such, he or she will enable you to conduct an in-depth review of any homebuying proposal, at any time.

A real estate agent also is happy to help you after you determine whether to accept, reject or counter a proposal. If you accept an offer, a real estate agent will help you move forward with the home selling journey. Or, if you reject an offer, a real estate agent will show you how to promote your house to potential buyers to boost your chances of receiving better proposals in the future. And if you counter an offer, a real estate agent can negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf.

Evaluate a home offer closely – you'll be glad you did. If you perform a deep analysis of a homebuying proposal, you can assess a home offer from multiple angles and make the best-possible decision based on your individual needs.


When selling a home, most sellers are eager to sell quickly. Especially when living out of their home while simultaneously showing it. One of the biggest determinant factors for house shoppers right now is the staging. Whether they recognize it or not the atmosphere you create within your house helps buyers imagine themselves living their day to day within its walls. It creates a canvas for them to dream up all the memories they will create in their new home.

But keeping your home staging level clean and organized at all times while living out of it isn’t the easiest of tasks. Afterall, there’s a reason all of our homes don’t look like the inside pages of a home decor magazine.

If you want to put your home’s best “foot” forward, however, it, literally, pays to put in the time and effort to live differently for a few weeks.

Here are a few tips on how to get your house show-room ready:

Start with a deep clean. Some people like to hire a cleaning company to come in and do the job for them. But there’s no reason you can’t get the same results on your own. Plan to dedicate a week to clean your home top to bottom and a whole lotta elbow grease to get every nook and cranny.

Give your home a facelift. Repaint your walls, rent a carpet cleaner (or hire a service) and power wash the exterior. When repainting considers switching to a modern, neutral color palette to appeal to prospective buyers.    

Declutter, declutter, declutter! This is a step many sellers dread but is so worth the effort. Donate and get rid of everything you no longer use or need. When you’re finished go the extra step and rent a storage unit to stash away extra furniture, off-season items, and family mementos.

You want to create as much space in your home as possible. Taking a minimalist approach that strips your unique personality from the decor allows potential buyers to see how the house can become theirs. You don’t want to distract buyers and have them wonder about what kind of people you and your family are. Additionally, keep closets, drawers, and cabinets tidy because they will get opened! And keep desk and counter surfaces clear of paperwork and other stuff we always seem to allow to accumulate in these spaces.

Add greenery. Potted plants and fresh cut blooms will be like the icing on the cake. This is always what makes the biggest difference in making a room feel pulled together and comfortable. If you’ve ever flipped through the pages of a home decor magazine you may have noticed this is a trick they use in all of the rooms they showcase.

Living out of your home while showing it isn’t a walk in the park, but it can be easy if you are prepared ahead of time. These simple tips will put you ahead of the competition and have bidders in no time!