Jane C Hoffmann | Boston Real Estate, Milton Real Estate, Quincy Real Estate, Hingham Real Estate


Buyers new to the housing market often don’t know where to start their search. In fact, sometimes they don’t even know for certain in which community they want to make their home. Even knowing the type of house-style they want is a mystery. If they’re the first in their family to own property, narrowing down choices seems monumental.

A great way to start is viewing homes in magazines and online, wandering through Pinterest boards, and visiting open houses. 

Two types of open house events

Open house events are not equal. One kind of open house is a builder's model. Model homes operate more like retail showrooms in that the builder typically sets up an office in the garage of one of the models and then stages one or more homes for buyers to view. The models display options from flooring to appliances and cabinetry, allowing potential buyers to choose what fits their aesthetic or their budget. Builder-grade is the base model, and all other features are optional add-ons.

The salesperson overseeing the builder’s model open house typically works directly for the builder or developer and sells directly to the consumer, just as a retail store does. While the selling agent may appear to champion the buyer, ultimately their employer is the developer, so take that into consideration. This type of open house conforms to typical retail business hours for the housing industry.

The second type of open house is hosted by a selling agent that represents a homeowner. These are one-time planned events with defined hours where the homeowner typically vacates the premises while the seller's agent shows the home to prospective buyers.

When visiting a builder open house, treat the furnishing the way you would those in a furniture store—look and touch, but be respectful. When attending a private home open house, follow this list of do’s and don’ts for bests results.

  • DO sign in. If you already have a buyer's agent, make sure to inform the hosting agent. Remember, real estate agents make their living buying or selling homes so be respectful of and value their time with your honesty.
  • DO give yourself plenty of time. Plan not to rush through the home and even set aside a few minutes to walk around the neighborhood afterward.
  • DO make a list of questions for your agent to ask the seller’s agent.
  • DO have a list of must-haves or likes but remember to be flexible too.
  • DO NOT bring children to an open house. You have no way to know ahead if the home is childproofed or the degree to which the sellers have staged or emptied the home.
  • DO NOT bring pets to an open house.
  • DO NOT look in cupboards, drawers, or closets that the agent indicates as off-limits. If you're genuinely interested in the home, your agent can schedule a private viewing at a later date.
  • DO NOT let making odors such as freshly-baked cookies or candles fool you. Air fresheners may merely mask a hastily removed litterbox, but they might indicate a deeper problem with pet urine in the carpet or mold in the walls.
  • DO NOT arrange with the host for a follow-up visit. That is the job of your agent.
  • DO collect the selling agent’s business card to pass on to your agent.

If you're interested in presenting an offer on a home after an open house or have questions that need answering before you can prepare an offer, DO contact your agent immediately.


Applying for a mortgage can be a lengthy and difficult process. Lenders want to know that they are going to get a return on their investment.

To ensure that they’ll see that positive return they will take a number of things into consideration, such as your income, credit score, employment history, and financial capital.

First-time homeowners often struggle when it comes to these prerequisites since they have fewer years of numbers for lenders to consider. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry--you can still purchase a home.

First-time homeowner loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and a number of private loans enable people to borrow money for a home without paying a huge down payment or having a vast credit history.

One downfall of said loans is private mortgage insurance, or “PMI.”

In this article, we’re going to talk about what private mortgage insurance is, how to avoid it, and how to get rid of it. 

What is PMI?

If you make a down payment on a mortgage that is less than 20% of the loan amount, you will most likely have to pay private mortgage insurance.

PMI exists as a way for lenders to help guarantee they won’t lose money off of your loan. If you make a down payment of 20% or more, then lenders are typically satisfied that they won’t lose money from doing business with you.

PMI is not to be confused with home insurance, which protects you against damage and theft. Rather, it is an additional fee you’ll pay to your lender each month that is added to your mortgage payment.

PMI is calculated based on a few considerations. Lenders will take into account your down payment amount, the value of the mortgage, and your credit score.

In terms of costs, PMI typically costs between .5 and 1% of the total mortgage amount each year.

Avoiding PMI

Naturally, it’s best to avoid paying private mortgage insurance altogether. Private mortgage insurance has no future value for you and your family since it doesn’t count towards building equity and doesn’t protect you from any potential financial harm (your lender is the sole beneficiary of PMI).

Saving for a down payment can take time, and sometimes you’ll need to rent or cut costs while you save. However, if you do take on a loan with PMI, you can still cancel it at a later point.

Canceling your private mortgage insurance

The first thing you should know about canceling PMI is that it usually isn’t easy. You’ll need pay off at least 20% of the home, write a letter to your lender, and wait for an appraisal of the home. Once you’ve done this, you still have to wait while your lender considers your request. In all, this process could take months--months that you’re still required to pay PMI.

Once common way to get out of PMI is to refinance. If the value of your home has increased since the time of you taking on the loan, the new lender likely won’t require PMI. However, you’ll want to make sure that refinancing will get you a lower interest rate and cover the costs of refinancing. 


The long-expected day is finally here; it’s time for you to put into action all your weeks and months of planning. As a first-time mover, you might be worried, excited or stressed. Or maybe you are overwhelmed with all three emotions. It’s normal to feel this way, but you would get through this stage in one piece.

There are certain things you need to set up and stuff you need to avoid to prevent you from having a wrong first-time moving experience. The tips below will guide you on the do’s and don’ts for a first-time mover. 

Take Down Items in Your Yard You Want to Travel With

Your movers will help you dismantle certain things during the move, but these items might be limited to just indoors. If you have equipment in your back yard like gym equipment, sheds or trampoline, it’s advisable you dismantle it before the day of the move. Doing this ensures items are not left behind on the day of the move. 

Do Not Leave Valuable Items for Movers to Pack

Leaving things behind for movers to pack will slow things down and would make your packing disorganized. Movers might place essential documents where you might not quickly locate when you get to your new home. Take the time to pack crucial documents like passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, expensive jewels, heirloom and other items you deem valuable before the day of the move and have it tagged ‘VALUABLES.' That way, you avoid getting things mixed up or missing.

Do Not Let Your Kids or Pets Run Around During the Move

Allowing your kids and pet run around unsupervised when the movers are busy would slow them down and might lead to a domestic accident. To avoid this type of incident, have your kids out of the house either on a play date or visiting family - and you can crate your pets or board them for the day. 

Cleaning Your Old Home

Cleaning your old house on the same day the movers are transporting your property might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. Movers need free entry and exit while moving your belongings and cleaners need people out of their way while they are cleaning. They would end up getting into each other’s way if you have them working at the same time. 

Avoid Disconnecting Appliances at The Last Minute 

Before the big day arrives, ensure devices are disconnected and ready to be moved. Get your electricians and plumbers to help you disconnect appliances you can’t detach yourself. Have your refrigerator dried and prepared to be transported a week before the move to avoid moisture dripping into the shipment. 

Having all of these sorted out before your big day would ensure you do not have a bad moving experience, especially as a first-time mover.


So many great features that make up many clients’ dream homes can actually be a hindrance in selling a home down the road. While certain features in a home may be attractive to you, remember that all buyers are not looking for the same thing. Beware of the following perks and how they can affect your plans to sell a home in the future.


Schools Nearby


While having schools close in the neighborhood is a plus, not everyone sees it that way. A nearby school is fantastic if there are young children in the family, however, if a buyer doesn’t have young children, living near a school could be seen as a hinderance. Not only will there be an excess of foot traffic in the area, but there will be a lot of traffic, in general, each school day as buses and cars head to and from the school. The extra noise factor from the school may also turn off some buyers. 


Being In The Heart Of The City Or Town


Some people love to be in the heart of the action. A bustling neighborhood with tons of shops and restaurants and constant activity can be the life that you or someone you know is looking for. If you buy a home on one of these main stretches, but, it could be a hard sell should you decide to move. These property locations are targeting a specific kind of buyer and it could be hard to find them. Unless you live in a strictly urban area, you may want to think twice about the property location. Not only could it be a hard sell later, but you as an owner may get sick of the constant action very quickly. 


A Swimming Pool


If you live in a place where the weather is always warm and a pool is a requirement, then putting a pool in your home makes sense. In more variable temperature regions, a pool is not always the best idea. Pools require a lot of maintenance and can be a significant investment. Think of how much of the year a pool is actually usable in your area. The biggest issue with swimming pools is that while they are a luxury, they really don’t add value to the home. In some cases, a pool can end up detracting value and interest from a property. 


A Big Yard


While a large backyard can be attractive, not every homeowner wants to care for such a large amount of space. These large yards can take a significant investment of both time and money to maintain. A large yard attracts a certain type of buyer. Not that you can restructure property lines, but know that bigger isn't always better when it comes to a home’s outdoor space.      



It’s well into the new year again, and most people have penned down a few resolutions to help improve their personal growth. Constant efforts to enhance personal growth is not so much of a shocker as it happens to be a life-long task. No wonder tips for improving personal growth is one of the most searched topics on the web.

While personal growth and development seem like a huge task to have to bear as you age, a few tips in the right direction can help you expedite the process and shoot you to a level where you must make only minimal changes and adjustments.

Experts recommend practicing these few tips to expedite your personal growth and development. Do well to check them out. Good luck with your goals!

  1. Pursue Your Passion. You will only get distracted if you keep listening to the crowd. Learn to stand out. Pursue the things you have a passion for and don’t let anyone talk you down. Totally ignore naysayers!
  2. Dream with a Dose of Realism. It is fantastic to dream and make big plans but remember to be realistic in your baby steps. Making unrealistic expectations of yourself early on will derail your growth because you won’t give yourself time to develop stability at each stage of growth. To save time, energy, resources, and to save you the feeling of being incompetent, it is advisable to make achievable plans. 
  3. Learn to Accept Who You Are. Nowadays, everyone wants to be someone else. You fight so hard to be like someone, and that person is putting in a tough fight to be like someone else entirely and on and on goes the vicious circle. The first step to expedite your personal growth and development is self-acceptance. Everyone makes mistakes. That is what makes you human. Learn from your mistakes and create a better version of yourself instead of fighting so hard to be someone else. Life is not a ‘Freaky Friday' show. Learn to love yourself!
  4. Be Creative. Creativity is the key to expediting your personal growth and development. Allow your mind to wander. Learn a skill or two and work towards perfecting them every day. Get involved in anything creative. Spend time with creative people. Just be creative!
  5. Baby Steps. Personal growth can get overwhelming sometimes. You feel like you are not producing the results your efforts deserve at some point. It happens to everyone. Be kind to yourself and take each day as it comes. Yes, you must give it your best shot, but learn to appreciate the little growth you see daily. You won’t get there overnight. That doesn’t mean you won’t get there eventually. Take baby steps!

If one of the steps you want to take this year is property ownership, reach out to your real estate professional to learn what steps to take to attain your dream.




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