Tag Archive for: Realty Network Group

Jessica Agosto

Educating homebuyers and sellers is essential and shouldn’t be overlooked in today’s market. Yet, a noticeable gap has become more evident in what consumers understand about real estate and what they should know. Enter Jessica Agosto! Realty Network Group’s newest REALTOR®, Jessica, believes some consumers aren’t being educated enough about the real estate process. “There’s much to learn about our industry, myself included, but I hope to dispel some of the barriers that exist for my clients,” expresses Jessica.

Spanish-speaking and lower income families have a special place in Jessica’s heart. She wants to set them up for success whether they’re looking to buy or sell. “What they think could be unobtainable, might not be the case at all,” repeats Jessica. She naturally loves to help people. She’s worked in customer service positions for over twenty years in various capacities, such as an administrative assistant, assistant supervisor, legal secretary and a paralegal. Her skill set will furthermore aid Realty Network Group as she’s bilingual, with the ability to speak, read and write Spanish. Growing up amongst a diverse population in Brooklyn, NY, has equipped her for client-agent interactions, especially when diversity plays a role. For the past fourteen years, Jessica has resided in Scranton. She’s very familiar with the city and the Greater Scranton area.

“I chose Realty Network Group because I’ve trusted them from the start,” explains Jessica. “During the pandemic, when we purchased our first home, we relied upon a real estate agent from their company, Maria Muchal Berta. It was a wonderful experience. Why wouldn’t I join them?! I love their reputation in the area in addition to their training and support. They may be smaller in size to other competing Brokerages, but they certainly don’t lack experience!”

What other strengths does Jessica possess you might ask? She has a knack for creativity and decor, which will be an added benefit to her seller clients as she supports them in staging their homes. Growing up in New York City, she also has that ‘city girl hustle’ allowing her to get things done, quickly and efficiently. Earning everything she has and doing things out of the goodness of her heart, has made her community-focused over the years. She’s served as PTA secretary at Charles Sumner Elementary, has been involved in parish ministry through Mary Mother of God Church helping their youth group deliver meals to the homebound and homeless, and volunteers her time with her children’s sports booster clubs.

Besides spending time with her clients and those in the local community, Jessica cherishes time with her family, her husband of fifteen years, daughter and three sons. She loves to paint, travel and create new memories.

Are you excited to look for a home, but don’t know where to start? Jessica Agosto is the REALTOR® who can lead you toward realizing and living the American dream. Call her today at 570-815-5159.

Maureen Langan

She’s a homeowner, she’s a lifelong Scranton resident and she’s Realty Network Group’s newest real estate professional, Maureen Langan. Her strong knowledge and deep experience of the area make her a compelling match for those looking to buy or sell real estate in the Greater Scranton area. “We’re thrilled to welcome Maureen to our family of REALTORS® at Realty Network Group,” professes Dianne Montana, the Managing Broker of the company. “Maureen’s a Scranton native with a deep love for the city and its surrounding communities. This will be an asset not only to her clients but also to what she brings to the table for our firm.” Furthermore, she has an intimate understanding of the city’s real estate market and its unique neighborhoods, which will continue to serve others seeking Scranton as a destination.

Maureen recently joined Realty Network Group with over two years experience in local real estate. “I have a passion for helping others,” asserts Maureen. “From start to finish, I want my clients to know I’m wholly committed to them and their needs. I’m dedicated to listening to their concerns, helping them be at ease and guiding them through either the homebuying or selling process.” Maureen’s goal is providing exceptional service to her clients. She works hard, boosting her clients’ confidence, alleviating some of the stress that often enters into the real estate transaction.

One of the biggest frustrations we hear occasionally from consumers in this industry is a lack of communication from real estate agents. Maureen believes open communication with buyers and sellers is paramount. She understands that her clients desire an agent they can count on, someone they can trust, who will be available to them in what could be one of the largest sales they’re ever involved in. Her insight into interpersonal communication, being an employee of the Scranton School District for over nineteen years, has provided her a solid foundation in being able to work well with others from various walks of life. It’s through this experience in dealing daily with co-workers, families and students where she’s exercised the virtues of patience, understanding, kindness and empathy. These are traits, which are important to consumers seeking assistance in real estate as well.

There’s a plethora of options for homebuyers or sellers to choose from in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so we asked Maureen why she chose our company? “I joined Realty Network Group for many reasons, but one stands out for me – support,” maintains Maureen. “The support they provide for their agents and clientele is unlike any available. From the very first time I walked through their door, I felt at home. I couldn’t be happier making the transition to Realty Network Group.” As a REALTOR®, she’s looking forward to spreading her wings, connecting buyers and sellers with brand.

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, Maureen’s here to assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 570-575-3947 or via email at mlangan@realtynetwork.net.

Five Things to Consider When Buying in the Spring

There are many considerations a homebuyer should understand when purchasing a home in the spring. Here are five things you might want to consider before you dive in too deep in search for a home:

  • Save for a downpayment. This is something you should be doing well before you begin looking for a home. Having a sizable down payment can help you when shopping for a loan and lower your overall monthly payment as well. The process of saving can be challenging with bills and other monetary obligations in play, but the rewards can pay for themselves over the life of a loan. As a buyer, understand that there are different mortgage options available and with them come varying degrees of downpayments. Some buyers have a misunderstanding that they must come up with 10% to 20% of the purchase price, but that’s just not the case.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this early on is crucial to understanding your budget and making competitive offers while home shopping. If a seller has more than one offer on the table, the pre-approved purchaser will usually be in a better position than the one whose offer wasn’t accompanied by a pre-approval. Furthermore, you won’t over-reach as a buyer. One of the most frustrating things we witness is interested parties not being able to afford homes they’re actively pursuing. With a pre-approval, a conservative range of values provide a clear roadmap for both you and your REALTOR® as you seek your dream home or investment property.
  • As homebuyers emerge from colder weather, especially a winter that’s served up some slick and treacherous conditions, they might look to areas that don’t need to endure the brunt of the season. Perhaps they choose a shorter commute to work in order to spend less time on the roads. Likewise, a garage may be an upgrade for someone who’s never had one and who’s had to deal with the challenges of leaving the house on cold or snowy winter mornings. Spring fever brings these thoughts into the minds of buyers as they set out to find their next home. Thus, it’s essential to determine the locations or neighborhoods you’re leaning toward. If you don’t have specific neighborhoods in mind, take into account factors like proximity to amenities, schools or work to help you narrow down your choices.
  • Understand the current market conditions, such as inventory levels and pricing trends. Should you buy now? Are you in a buyer’s or seller’s market? This will help you understand if a seller is willing to negotiate or if you have to be ready to immediately make an offer when you find something you love. Working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can ensure you’re up on these trends. Presently, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we’re struggling with a deficient supply of homes. Since June 2020, we’ve fallen from a balanced market. Plummeted so much so that our present inventory of residential properties (an absorption rate of 1.95) more closely resembles the lifeless numbers we experienced in this market between February and April of 2022 (with an average absorption rate of 1.44) than anything looking like we’re emerging from this seller’s market.*
  • Some may consider this a shameless plug, but as any market begins to heat up and the temperature changes, it’s critical to have trusted professionals who will guide and support you on your quest toward homeownership. Home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage lenders or advisors, surveyors, real estate agents and the like all play significant roles in helping you attain your real estate goals. Take the time to interview real estate agents, if you don’t have one in mind. Have a series of questions ready that you might have entering this market. How can the agent you’re considering hiring address these concerns? Do they have the experience needed to help you overcome any challenges you might have standing in your way? Learn about their expertise and how long they’ve been in the industry. Also, ask them about current trends in the market. Make sure they’re a good fit for you and a good listener too!

Spring is a fantastic time to do some cleaning, a thorough one, not only of your residence, but also of the clutter which could be standing between you and purchasing a house or investment property. Tackling these five things can prepare you for success, in any market, as you journey toward homeownership.

 

* Greater Scranton Board of REALTOR® data

 

For more, check out our buyer FAQs.

Seven Things to Fix Before You Sell

Selling your home can be stressful enough and it may not necessarily be anything related to listing your home nor the transactional components after it’s under contract. There can be all sorts of “to-do” lists ahead of you from moving preparations to closing another chapter of your life. Depending upon the age and condition of your property, one of these challenges might be all the pre-listing work that’s almost unavoidable. Did you know there are things you should tackle before listing your home for sale? And, if you repair those items, you could stand to make more profit from your sale? The question becomes how to discern what items must be fixed and what can wait, prior to listing your home.

 

We’ve highlighted seven things you must fix before selling your home:

Right at the top of the list appears the presence of mold, which can be hideous and occasionally unhealthy for occupants of a particular room or maybe even those residing in the house itself. Mold spores can be nasty and chances are, if they exist, they cause havoc. Furthermore, buyers are completely turned off by the presence of mold. When it affects areas, particularly the basement or can be found on drywall or in bathrooms, it signals a deeper problem. In real estate, we always say that unwanted water is the root of all evil. If mold rears its ugly head, then there’s most certainly a water/moisture issue. As a homeowner, who’s getting ready to place their home on the market, any evidence of mold or water-related damage is a must-fix prior to listing. When homebuyers come into contact with mold in a listing, they usually will assume the worst: What else has the property owner been neglecting? If there’s mold on this wall, I can only imagine what’s behind it. There’s a snowball effect with water issues, at least in the mind of potential purchasers. Water and mold can signal doubts about the overall condition of the home.

Related to water, we discover two other areas that need attention before putting your home on the market, and they are roof damage as well as plumbing concerns. Leaky roof shingles or leaking pipes won’t put prospective buyers’ minds at ease and could be allowing unwanted water into your home, creating all sorts of problems. A roof that’s missing shingles or shows the existence of disintegrating ones, could indicate that water is creeping in through the attic or worse yet, into the framework, walls and ceilings of the house. If there’s roofing material that needs replacing, we would advise calling a licensed roofer to inspect the roof and identify all areas, which need to be corrected. Broken plumbing is another area that will need addressing before buyers preview your residence. If your plumbing is impaired, it could mean that you’re paying for an excess in water each month on your invoice or you might have a big problem on your hands. This complication, if not remedied, can lead to much more significant water damage. Again, whether it’s mold, water seeping in through the foundation, spoiled shingles or busted pipes, we highly recommend the right professionals are called to address the concern as soon as possible.

What do they say about a poor foundation? We understand that even a well-built home, is no longer so, if the foundation gets weak and is in need of repair. A solid foundation is essential for a home’s architectural stability. If and when cracks begin to appear, the owner should begin to monitor them and see if they get wider or larger over time. If you’re about to list your home and you suddenly notice cracks, it’s important to enlist the service of an inspector or structural engineer. They can provide you with next steps, if they identify any issues with the structural integrity of the foundation. Of course, it goes beyond cracks in walls or the foundation. If you notice any shifting, uneven floors, leaning walls or sunken ground around the exterior of the home, you would be wise to get it inspected, before a buyer sets foot on your property. You’ll rarely ever sell buyers on foundational or structural problems, which exist in the property. They might imply that other issues are lurking on site.

Yet, sometimes it’s not what lies behind the walls that’ll turn off buyers, but the cosmetics of the walls themselves. Wallpapered and tarnished walls in a home can immediately turn off prospective buyers from pursuing a home purchase. Wallpaper dates a home. What was trendy in a wall print, whether it be a pattern or floral arrangement, can lose its luster over time. Wallpaper can be a nuisance, plain and simple, and perhaps this is why many sellers don’t want to remove it prior to their home’s market release. Yet, this could be a mistake. Taking the time to remove wallpaper will put more money into your pocket. Of course, there’s another option as well – Sometimes it’s possible to skim coat (or mud over) wallpaper. Skim coating is the process of putting a thin layer of a compound over wallpaper, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any loose or bubbly areas of the paper remaining as this can cause your paint to bubble after it’s been applied. Skim coating isn’t ideal, but it could be an option, especially if you have stubborn, older wallpaper that’s really clinging to the surface of the walls. Tarnished walls are another eyesore potentially stopping a home from selling. Dirty, dingy walls give the idea that a home is unkempt, even if it isn’t. The quick fix is paint. It’s straightforward, it’s cheap and there’s an extensive palette to work with in updating your home to match with furnishings that are already present or to give a room a certain appeal if you’re vacating prior to selling. While you don’t have to be a professional painter to tackle unappealing surfaces in certain rooms in your home, proper preparations, time and effort should be given to the task to ensure the job looks clean-cut and inviting.

Another concerning area we see in homes that turn buyers right off is an outdated kitchen. Sure, usually there’s not much you can do with the size of a kitchen: Maybe it’s small, maybe it’s galley in nature, maybe it lacks an island or much counter space. Still, you can dress up the countertops and cabinets and go bold or neutral and appeal to mostly anyone in the market to buy. Paint obviously plays a role here and lighting too, in some cases. There are ways to open up even a small kitchen. Smaller kitchens have their advantages at times in that they use less materials when renovating the space. Sellers would be wise to make sure their appliances work, aren’t too outdated and match the renovation taking place. Remember, the kitchen is the focal point of the home, at least in the mind of many buyers and sellers alike. Even if you’re not a cook or don’t care to do much entertaining in this space, chances are potential buyers might be and they desire a kitchen which is suitable to their needs. Having an outdated kitchen could prevent your home from selling. Don’t overlook how important the kitchen is to those who enter it, hoping to make an offer.

 

Running a tight ship – a well-maintained home – can alleviate concerns from homebuyers as they preview your property. If you do some pre-listing homework and address major problem areas before buyers arrive, you’ll surely build buyer trust and increase your home’s appeal, in the meantime. All the best and remember, we’re here to help you on your home-selling journey.

 

There are other ways your home’s value can be affected, read about them here.

Joe Walsh

Realty Network Group’s newest REALTOR®, Joe Walsh, is extremely goal-oriented and goal-driven. As a business owner of a landscaping company, he understands first-hand the desires of many homeowners locally. He’s had a knack for making properties pop – highlighting the exterior features of homes (maybe in your neighborhood), drafting recommendations to owners about how to enhance their properties and actively listening to his clients’ needs as they seek to operate within a certain budget. Of course, landscaping and real estate are more associated than most would care to admit.

We recently sat down with Joe to understand more about this connection as well as learning about what he brings to the table as he begins a new career path in real estate. “Landscaping is a lot like selling your real estate services,” remarks Joe. “I help owners discover what it takes to elevate their home’s appearance. How can we make it more appealing for every season? Likewise, in real estate, I’ll need to aid sellers in drawing buyers to their doorstep. How can we make the home pop and stand out to potential buyers?” His landscaping venture has helped him with his business side. He believes his reputation in real estate will flourish just as it has with running his landscaping business.

Joe knows that building a credible reputation marketing and selling homes for his clients will entail building connections and collaborating through both businesses. Joe is a highly motivated individual and our Realty Network Group family is excited to see what he can accomplish in the months and years ahead. Furthermore, he has an appreciation for the uniqueness of each home in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). “The diversity of homes in our region is fascinating to me. We have older homes with character, exquisite homes you won’t find anywhere else, newer construction… you name it! I’ve always had a great appreciation for much of the architecture in NEPA and I look forward to beginning this journey with buyers and sellers alike.”

Joe is a well-rounded individual. He loves to ski, golf and travel. He’s an avid mountaineer and hiker. He believes there’s endless possibilities out there and many things to see and do.

Joe exemplifies much of what we look for in a real estate professional: He’s knowledgeable about the area; he knows it well. He grew up in the Green Ridge section of Scranton and now resides in a lake house at Lake Spangenberg in Jefferson Township. Moreover, his landscaping enterprise has clientele throughout much of our region. Through his family and schooling, he’s learned the importance of treating others the way you would want to be treated, and that’s a motto he lives by, and it shows. He understands the value of hardwork and dedication to his clients’ needs. Finally, he brings a diverse skill set to the table. This will serve his clients well as they seek his services.

“Realty Network Group made me feel like I found a home base from the moment I sat down for the initial interview. The support I’ve received from Amy (Kiesinger Bohenek), Halle (Stevens) and others has me very excited to be part of the ‘team.’ The success I’ve witnessed from other agents, who started with this company in recent years has me motivated. It’s a tribute to their training and support staff.” Training is a key to becoming a successful real estate agent, but again, so are other intangibles. Joe possesses many great qualities, which should serve him and his clients well.

If you’re in search of an enthusiastic and determined professional to help you find your next home or sell your current one, contact Joe Walsh today at 970-787-5098 or via jwalsh@realtynetwork.net.

Last year had its challenges, no doubt. The sales volume coming from all the companies associated with the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® was down about 11.7% year-over-year in relation to the previous one (2022). The number of transactions was down about 5.4% year-over-year and surprisingly, the average sales price also decreased from $202,511 in 2022 to $189,148 in 2023 (-6.6%). Yet, many still found success in a market that had begun to turn. Our region still favors sellers (no doubt), but those days appear to be coming to end for the immediate future. The months supply of homes is creeping in the direction of a three months supply. We’re still a reach from the lower side of average, around five months, but these trends can accelerate when the market is changing — it’s done it before.As challenges persist, there can be uncertainty about your situation as a homebuyer or seller when faced with the state of the local market. How is buying or selling different now than it was four years ago? One could argue, now is the time when (a) you don’t want to go at it alone, and (b) you should rely on those real estate professionals who deliver results and who have experience in various types of market conditions. We have many agents who have this pedigree! We have a wonderful “team” of professionals at Realty Network Group. Additionally, these are our top performers for 2023…

 

Top Producers
Ann E. Cappellini
$5,445,613

 

Top Producers
Halle Stevens
$5,029,288

 

Top Producers
Maria Muchal Berta
$4,503,750

 

Top Producers
Ann A. Sheroda
$4,084,800

 

Top Producers
Melissa C. LeStrange
$3,933,000

 

Top Producers
Scott J. Weiland
$2,433,260

 

Top Producers
Dana A. DeLeo
$2,228,960

 

Top Producers
Heather A. Luklanchuk
$1,960,350

 

Top Producers
Amy L. Kiesinger Bohenek
$1,492,400

 

Top Producers
Theresa DeMario Plisko
$1,475,800

 

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, these agents are a great starting point. Get started today by reaching out to one of our top performers!

Realty Network Group saw five additions to its REALTOR® family, five new faces in 2023. It was a good year to get into real estate, learn from our trainer/Associate Broker as well as learning from each other. This group was a special group that would even collaborate at times and bounce ideas off one another. It was also a group that stretched our coverage zone into Susquehanna and Bradford counties in addition to the Back Mountain and beyond. They also learned in a market that emerged from a frenzied seller’s market to a much tamer one (a year with a lot of fence-sitting). The skills agents learn during these transitions are invaluable and serve them well for years to come, if they stick with it.

Without further ado, in case you missed the five agents we welcomed in 2023, here they are…

Halle Stevens one of the new agents to join Realty Network Group
Halle Stevens

 

Florence Avvisato one of the new agents to join Realty Network Group
Florence Avvisato

 

Alicia Miles one of the new agents to join Realty Network Group
Alicia Miles

 

Sonia Hegedty one of the new agents to join Realty Network Group
Sonia Hegedty

 

David Boland one of the new agents to join Realty Network Group
David Boland

 

If you are thinking about pursuing the field of real estate, be part of our team! If you’re looking for a Brokerage that truly cares about your success, look no further than Realty Network Group. See what we offer. Let’s talk!

When it comes to moving, you have two options: Do-it-yourself (DIY) or hire professionals. Both have their pros and cons, and it’s important to weigh them before making that final decision. In this article, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of DIY moving.

Pros of DIY Moving

One of the main benefits of DIY moving is cost savings. Hiring professional movers can be expensive, especially if you have many possessions or are moving long-distance. By rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself, you can save a significant amount of money. Maybe this is the third or fourth time you’re moving, and you’re practically a pro at this point.

Another perk of DIY moving is the control you have over the process. You can pack your belongings the way you want, especially over time (in most instances) and handle them with care. Depending on the nature of the transaction and timeline of the parties involved, you can also choose the most convenient time for the move and have flexibility in the schedule.

Cons of DIY Moving

One of the biggest drawbacks of DIY moving is the physical labor involved. Moving heavy furniture and boxes can be exhausting and time-consuming. It requires strength and stamina, while the risk of injury is a possibility as well. Furthermore, if you’re not physically capable or have health issues, DIY moving may not be an option at all.

Another disadvantage is the lack of professional expertise and equipment. Moving professionals have the experience and knowledge to handle fragile items and navigate through difficult spaces (or at least reputable ones should!). This is what movers do, year-round. They also have the right tools and equipment to make the process more efficient. Without these, you may risk damaging your belongings or injuring yourself.

DIY moving can be a cost-effective and flexible option for those who are physically capable and have the time and energy to handle the procedure. However, it’s important to consider the physical labor involved and the lack of professional expertise and equipment. For a smoother and less stressful experience, hiring professionals may be worth the investment.

Hiring Professionals

One popular option that many people consider is hiring professionals to handle their move. While this may come with a cost, there are several advantages that make it a popular choice. 

Pros of Hiring Professionals

One of the main advantages of hiring professionals for your move is the access to their professional expertise and experience. Professional movers have the knowledge and skills to handle fragile items, navigate through difficult spaces, and ensure that your belongings are transported safely. They are trained in proper packing and loading techniques, and can efficiently handle the logistics of the entire operation. The keyword there is trained. By opting for professionals, you can have peace of mind knowing that your move is in capable hands.

Another benefit of hiring professionals is the time and energy savings it affords. Moving can be an exhausting and time-consuming process, especially if you have a lot of possessions or are moving over a great distance. Though, moving over short distances can be tiresome too. By hiring professionals, you can focus on other important tasks related to your move, such as setting up utilities or transferring your address, while leaving the “heavy lifting” to the movers. This is sure to reduce stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.

Keep in mind however, that not all moving companies are created equal. While some may pack up your items, others may not. Realistically, it’s best to have everything boxed up and ready to be carried out the door by the time the moving company arrives. Additionally, it’s vitally important to ask key questions before hiring a moving company to ensure you’re on the same page.

Cons of Hiring Professionals

One of the drawbacks of hiring professionals is the cost involved. Professional movers can be expensive, especially if you own a larger home or are moving over a significant distance. The cost will depend on factors such as the square footage of your home, the distance of your move and the services you require. It’s important to consider your budget and weigh the cost against the benefits provided by moving professionals.

Another potential deterrent is the lack of control over the process. When you hire professionals, you’re relying on them to handle your things and ensure their safe arrival at their new destination. While even the most esteemed moving companies take great care in their work, there’s always a risk of damage or loss. It’s important to do your research and choose a trusted and dependable moving company to minimize this risk. Do you need moving insurance? Though most moving companies are insured, this would be something to look into as well. You might need to protect various items over and above what the mover’s insurance policy would cover.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re taking the move upon yourself or hiring a moving company, decluttering is essential. “Decluttering is key when selling your home,” expresses Christina M. Keller, REALTOR® with Realty Network Group. “Before the home goes on the market, a homeowner needs to begin cleaning and eliminating waste. Buyers need a clear vision of how their possessions will fill the space. Removing excess furnishings enables them to image the home as their own, without distractions. After an agreement is made between the parties, the seller can use the moving process as another time to organize and prioritize what makes the move and what gets purged.”

Hiring professionals for your move can offer several conveniences, including professional expertise, time and energy savings in addition to peace of mind. However, it’s important to consider the associated costs and potential lack of control over this operation. Ultimately, the decision between DIY moving and hiring professional movers will depend on your specific needs, budget and preferences.

 

Here are two other articles you might find helpful:

Moving and downsizing when a pet is involved.

Launching a new business from home while moving.

If you’ve entered the world of real estate as a first-time homebuyer and your head is saturated with questions, then acknowledge that you’ve come to the right place. If the whole process of searching for and purchasing a home has you feeling batty, then be relieved to know you’re completely normal. There are many steps, which you undergo as a buyer, many of which you’ll discover below. If this is your first-time buying a home, we suggest the followings steps as you move forward. Remember, we’re always standing by to provide any assistance you might need.

Commit to the purchase

Sometimes those uncomfortable feelings creep up as you embark on the buying process. These feelings can certainly be good as you want to make sure you’re ready to buy. It is, after all, a large investment you’re undertaking. Homebuyers of all stages in life, but especially first-time ones, should review their financial situation and see how much home they can actually afford. Evaluate factors such as your monthly income and expenses. During this process you’ll also want to bear in mind your debt as well as your credit scores. What are other important benchmarks while evaluating your finances? Saving up for a down payment, having a stable salary, having an emergency fund and knowing you won’t have to move within five to seven years or less make judging if now is the right time to buy a little easier. When you’re serious about purchasing a property, have funds set aside for a down payment, closing costs and other related expenses.

Stay up to date with your credit score

As mentioned above, this a step not to be overlooked. In the months leading up to your home search, stay on top of your credit. Mortgage lenders like to see consistency and predictable behavior patterns from potential buyers. Paying your bills on time is critical, therefore make every effort to do so. Another thing you’ll want to keep tabs on is your credit utilization ratio. This is generally defined as your total credit used versus your total credit available. The lower, the better, and aim to stay below 30%. Your credit history (average age of your credit), new lines of credit and a mix of credit can also affect your score, and in turn, mortgage approval. Speaking to a lender about these things will help provide you context and give you direction as you journey toward homeownership.

Seek out a lender and preapproval

Another consideration to take into account is obtaining mortgage pre-approval. You’ll want to minimize any surprises as well as show the seller you can afford their property. By getting pre-approval for a mortgage and knowing you can purchase a home in a certain price range, you’ll have a clearer picture of your purchasing power. It’s imperative to understand how much home you can afford from the start. This will give you confidence when submitting an offer to a seller, through your real estate professional, once you’ve found the right property. Seek out the expertise of a few different lenders, including at least one local bank. You want to land the best deal, so don’t settle for only one quote. See what interest rates they’re offering and how that will affect your payment. Adjusting the down payment, amount borrowed and the loan term will also affect your monthly principal and interest payment. The lender you choose will also analyze your debt-to-income ratio to see what loan programs you’re eligible for. Popular loan options include: conventional, FHA, VA and USDA.

Wish list

As you begin to assemble your wish list — exciting, isn’t it? — it’s crucial to consider any needs you currently have and any future ones you might be able to anticipate. Create a list and prioritize your needs over your wants. What is essential for you and your family? Think about size, layout and other features. Your research will expose you to different neighborhoods and school districts. Consider your proximity to good schools and amenities that might be of value to you.

Choose a qualified buyer’s agent

This is why it can be beneficial to work with a real estate professional who has a thorough grasp on local market conditions and is very informed about the area you’re interested in. Never underestimate the benefits of teaming up with a REALTOR® or real estate agent, who will represent your best interests and guide you through the buying process. A buyer’s agent will assist you in your search, direct you through showings, offer you sound advice, help you submit an offer, negotiate with the seller, anticipate the next steps, leading you to settlement and beyond.

Home inspection and negotiation

Once you believe you’ve discovered the home, which is a good fit for your situation, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection with a properly licensed home inspector to identify any potential issues or problems. This can help you negotiate repairs or price adjustments before finalizing the purchase. Remember, when you write up an offer, you can negotiate a number of items other than price, such as repair work or renovations to be included/completed prior to closing.

Under contract

If you’re uneasy about signing a contract, such as an agreement of sale or buyer’s agency agreement, review the documentation with your agent and seek other legal advice, if necessary. It’s important to review all documentation, including the mortgage terms, homeowners’ association (HOA) rules, if applicable, and all other legal obligations related to the home.

Closing costs

It’s easy to forget these upfront expenses as you set sail toward homeownership. In exchange for the services provided by your lender, attorney and/or title company, you’ll need to pay costs for inspections, appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, transfer tax, etc. at or before closing.

Overall, the homebuying process is exciting, but it can be challenging, notably if it’s your first-time. Taking these steps and considerations into account will encourage a smoother homebuying experience.

If you’d like to review these tips as well as download our guidebook for even more strategies in homebuying, click here.

Visit our first-time homebuyer page for more information.

David Boland

For more than twenty-five years David has worked in the hospitality industry, coming together with some of the most renowned chefs in the country to provide unparalleled experiences for diners and special event guests in settings both intimate and grand. Customer-service-obsessed and eminently skilled at building relationships, David has met the incredibly high expectations of clients of the finest restaurants in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. In his role as a general manager, whether in a fine-dining restaurant or a high-end event venue, no detail escapes his attention. Maximizing every opportunity for both his employers and his clients has always been the hallmark of David’s career.

David recently joined Realty Network Group and he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of a growing team and a thriving local business. Like his colleagues there, some of whom he’s known since childhood, David adheres to the highest standards of integrity and is deeply committed to building a collaborative culture. His deep roots in the area – including several of his seven siblings, who live and work locally – have resulted in his building a distinct network. His commitment to the growth and prosperity of Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) and its residents is stronger than ever.

While excited to be connecting buyers and sellers throughout our market, David is particularly drawn to the idea of helping people find homes (their first home, their forever home, their investment home, whatever that may be). In prioritizing getting to know his clients and understanding their values, dreams and vision for their lives, David is an ideal collaborator and guide for anyone looking to make a home in NEPA.

David has the ability to see the potential of a property beyond its surface traits, as evidenced by his personal investment in a turn-of-the-century Victorian home and his ongoing efforts, with his partner Patrick, to restore the home’s original character and grandeur, while making it both beautiful and livable. Recently featured on the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Historic Hill House Tour, this beautifully revitalized home is a great example of David’s eye for interior design, his respect for history, while still having a disposition for the future, and his interest in building community and investing in his beloved hometown.

David Boland is native to our region, having been born and raised in Clarks Summit, where his parents still reside, and now as a resident of Scranton’s historic Hill Section. He loves antiques and has a special talent for upcycling vintage furniture and other elements of home décor. A skilled cook and entertainer in his own right, David can frequently be found at the Co-Op Farmer’s Market in Scranton, at one of the area’s garden centers, sourcing great local ingredients, refining his home landscaping and updating the seasonal décor for his wrap-around porch.

If you’re in need of the services of a REALTOR®, who has his eyes on the details, who looks out for your best interests throughout the real estate process, contact David Boland today at 773-791-0329 or via dboland@realtynetwork.net.