Darlene Alferes - New Bedford, MA Real Estate, Fairhaven, MA Real Estate, Dartmouth, MA Real Estate


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If you're a first-time homebuyer and you've already started exploring available properties, you might think to yourself, "Why do I even need a buyer agent?" After all, you've been looking at homes for sale and the realtors who showed you the properties were very nice and helpful. But here's the deal: Those realtors are seller agents. They represent the home seller. They are legally, morally and ethically bound to get the best possible deal for the seller -- not for you as the buyer! This is just one of the reasons why first-time homebuyers can really benefit from working with a buyer's agent. Here are some more advantages.

Buyer Agents Work for You -- The Buyer

Once you're prequalified and your buyer agent understands the features you want in your first home, the agent will locate for-sale properties that fit your criteria. Not only that, but the buyer agent will coordinate and schedule showings of those properties for you. You don't have to do all of the legwork. And remember: As your representative, the buyer agent is out to find the best possible deal on a first-time home purchase for you.

Buyer Agents Are Great Negotiators

Every home sale and purchase is bound to hit a snag or two along the way. It's a lengthy process to buy or sell a home, and it's also a highly emotional transaction for buyers and sellers. It is, after all, the largest emotional and financial transaction that most people will make in their lifetime. Therefore, the negotiating skills of a buyer agent will be of great benefit to you as a homebuyer. If something starts to go wrong, they know how to negotiate a fix and they know professionals within their network who can help iron out problems -- from titling companies to real estate attorneys and even contractors to fix unexpected problems with the property.

Buyer Agents Are Property Experts

If you look at a home, do you know all the potential problem spots to examine to ensure that it won't have hidden costs? For example, can you tell if the plumbing is too old and will need major repairs within five years? Can you assess the age and functionality of the furnace, hot water heater and other features? Probably not -- but the buyer agent can because he or she has that experience.

Best of all, buyer agents don't charge any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. They split the commission with the seller agent who works for the home seller. For all these reasons and more, it makes great sense to put the expertise of a buyer agent to work for you!


If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.

1. Define Your Dream Home

Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.

Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.

2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review

Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.

Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.


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.


If you plan to buy a home in the immediate future, there are several concerns that you should address before you embark on your house search. In fact, some of the most common homebuying concerns include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

You know you want to purchase a house, but obtaining financing sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, if you meet with various banks and credit unions, you can review all of the home financing options at your disposal and map out your home search accordingly.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask a bank or credit union relative to home financing. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. These specialists can respond to your home financing concerns, and as a result, help you make an informed mortgage selection.

2. Tight Homebuying Timeline

If you are tasked with relocating to a new home as quickly as possible, you may have to conduct a fast house search. But if you explore ways to maximize your time and resources, you could boost the likelihood of conducting a successful home search, regardless of your homebuying timeline.

Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of homebuying tasks that you need to complete. You then can establish goals designed to help you stay on track with your homebuying timeline.

You also should keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. That way, if a great home at a budget-friendly price becomes available, you can instantly pounce at this homebuying opportunity.

3. Establishing Realistic Homebuying Expectations

The homebuying journey offers no guarantees. If you enter the housing market with realistic expectations, however, you can avoid potential disappointments during your home search.

To establish realistic homebuying expectations, it generally is a good idea to make a list of home must-haves and wants. This list will allow you to hone your house search to residences that meet your criteria. It also can help focus on available residences that fall within your price range.

In addition, it often helps to hire a real estate agent before you conduct a house search. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about finding and purchasing a house. Plus, he or she can provide expert insights at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when you are ready to submit an offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal and submit it to a seller. If a seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent then will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Address your homebuying concerns, and you can minimize risk as you begin your search for your ideal residence.


If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector

The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.

In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.

You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.




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