Donna Plouffe - RE/MAX Professional Associates


Attending a home showing often represents a major milestone in the homebuying journey. But after you take an up-close look at a house, how should you proceed?

There are many questions to consider after you attend a home showing, including:

1. What Did You Think of the Home?

Although it may appear to be love at first sight after you view a property for the first time, it usually is better to err on the side of caution. Thus, after you check out a home, you may want to take at least a few hours to assess the property.

Does the residence fit your budget? Is the property big enough to accommodate your family? And is the residence close to your office? These are just some of the questions that you'll want to consider as you evaluate the pros and cons of a house.

Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent. This professional may be able to offer additional insights into a house that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere. By doing so, your real estate agent can help you determine how to proceed with a residence.

2. Should I Submit an Offer?

The decision to submit an offer on a house is a big one, particularly for those who want to purchase a high-quality property at a budget-friendly price.

Ultimately, you'll want to look at various housing market factors before you submit an offer on a residence. Consider how long a residence has been listed as well as the prices of comparable houses in the same city or town. Furthermore, you'll want to consider the property's condition and whether major repairs will be needed in the near future.

Your real estate agent can help you put together a competitive offer on a house that won't exceed your budget. This housing market professional will enable you to examine the pros and cons of a residence and make it easy for you to decide how to move forward after a home showing.

3. What Are My Options?

Homebuyers have many options after they view a house. They may choose to submit an offer on the residence. Or, if a house fails to meet their expectations, homebuyers can continue to explore the real estate market.

No homebuyer should feel backed into a corner after a home showing. Fortunately, your real estate agent will be able to outline all of your options. This real estate professional will simplify the process of finding your dream house and allocate the necessary time and resources to explain all of the options at your disposal.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can answer any concerns or questions at each stage of the homebuying journey. That way, if you're uncertain about a residence that you recently viewed, your real estate agent will be able to respond to your queries without delay.

Take advantage of home showings, and you should have no trouble discovering your ideal residence.


It doesn't take much for household budgets to get thrown off track, especially if you find yourself spending more at the grocery store, every week, than you need to.

If you're looking for some money-saving strategies to cut your grocery spending, the first step is to identify the source of the problem. Here are five possibilities:

  • Grocery shopping when you're hungry: Although we've all done this at one time or another, there are things you can do to reduce the frequency with which it happens. The obvious solution is to either schedule your shopping trips for after you've eaten or to have a healthy snack before heading to the store. By taking those simple steps, it will be easier to resist impulse purchases, stick to a healthier diet, and avoid buying extra things you don't really need.
  • Shopping with one or more children in tow: Sometimes it's impossible to make child care arrangements when you need to go food shopping. However, when you have kids with you constantly pleading to buy this or that, you'll probably say "yes" for every two times you say "no"! (If you've had a rough day or your resolve is low, the odds might be stacked more in favor of the kids!) The bottom line is that food shopping with children often adds quite a few dollars to your grand total.
  • Not comparing prices: Since we're all "creatures of habit" and tend to switch to "autopilot" when we're doing routine tasks like grocery shopping, most people gravitate toward buying well-advertised name brands or products with misleading buzz words, like "new", "improved", "reduced", "natural", "fortified", "free", or "special". Sometimes those words do mean that you're getting more value, but most of the time, they're just marketing ploys. So it pays to read labels, compare prices, and make informed choices at the grocery store. You'd be surprised at how much money you can save by shopping more mindfully.
  • Having an aversion to coupons: A lot of people have convinced themselves that discount coupons are more trouble than they're worth and that they really don't save that much money. Others have adopted the attitude that it's "beneath them" to clip and use supermarket coupons. One way to reframe the situation is to ask yourself how you'd feel if the store overcharged you $10 every time you shopped. While that's just a hypothetical scenario that would probably never happen, many people are unintentionally boosting their own grocery bill (sometimes by that much) by not using coupons -- especially at stores that offer double coupon value.
  • Not buying in volume: The old cliché that things are "cheaper by the dozen" is as true today as it was generations ago. While it's not practical or cost effective to buy larger quantities of products that are going to spoil, expire, get stale, or become obsolete, it does make sense to selectively take advantage of volume discounts and two-for-the-price-of-one (BOGO) deals.
If saving money at the checkout counter is a priority for you, keep an eye on prices, avoid impulse purchases, and consider taking advantage of worthwhile discount offers whenever they present themselves.

The real estate market is fierce, particularly for home sellers of all experienced levels. Thus, it may take you weeks, months or years to sell your residence if you don't prepare accordingly. So what does it take to ensure your home will sell quickly? Here are three tips for first-time and experienced home sellers: 1. Conduct Plenty of Research Before You Price Your Home. Your home may seem priceless, but ultimately, you'll need to establish a fair market price for your residence to generate interest among homebuyers. To determine the right price for your home, consider the pros and cons of your residence. For instance, if you recently had new energy-efficient windows installed in your home or set up an above-ground pool in your backyard, these features may help boost the value of your residence. Conversely, an old furnace or a defective central air conditioning system may lead you to lower your asking price, as these items may need to be replaced in the foreseeable future. Before you price your home, don't forget to look at what similar houses in your area have sold for over the past few months and years, too. And if you hire a professional appraiser to assess your home's value, you'll be able to set an initial asking price that could help your residence stand out in a competitive real estate market. 2. Clean Up Your Home's Exterior and Interior. Typically, you'll want to enhance your home's curb appeal before you add your residence to the real estate market. By doing so, you can improve your house's chances of making a positive first impression on prospective homebuyers. You also may want to commit significant time and resources to bolster your residence's interior. From de-cluttering your home to revamping the interior of your house's kitchen and bathroom, there is a lot that you can do to give your residence a distinct look and feel. Therefore, if you spend some time cleaning up your home's exterior and interior, you may be able to make it easier for homebuyers to fall in love with your residence instantly. 3. Partner with an Experienced Real Estate Agent. Hiring an experienced real estate agent should be a top priority, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced home seller. Because with an expert real estate professional at your side, you can simplify the process of adding your residence to the real estate market and ensure your house garners plenty of interest from prospective homebuyers. A real estate agent will offer guidance and support throughout the home selling process, enabling you to optimize the appearance of your home. Plus, this professional will help you handle negotiations with homebuyers and empower you with the knowledge and insights needed to maximize the value of your house. Employ an experienced real estate agent to assist you during the home selling process – you'll be glad you did. This real estate professional will make it simple for you to promote your house to large groups of homebuyers and finalize a sale without delay.

Living in the heart of a big city puts you moments away from major sports competitions, live theater, five-star restaurants and top paying businesses. Rent or buy a house in a major city and you won't have to worry about transportation. Cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Newark are connected via trains, subways, bus lines and international airports.

It's not all fun and games at the heart of a big city

Many people who live in these cities don't own a car. That's where you could definitely save money by renting an apartment or buying a house in the heart of a big city. Unfortunately, there may be more ways that you could lose money if you rent or own in these popular areas. To see if you're ready to head for the heart of town, consider these residential money guzzlers.

  • City taxes - Ask around. You'll find that taxes in big cities are nothing to wink at. This includes property and income taxes. You could easily save four to five percent or more by moving outside a major city.
  • Housing costs - Rents and mortgages are generally higher at the heart of a major city than they are in towns 20 or more miles away from downtown, uptown and midtown areas. A time when this isn't the case is if you move to a beach front home. Apartments and houses at the heart of cities like New York, Chicago and Miami are not cheap. You could save one hundred dollars or more a month on an apartment and thousands on a house if you choose a home away from hot spots.
  • Lower food prices - Dining at a restaurant can cost less if you dine further away from town.
  • Taxis - This includes traditional and newer taxi services like Uber and Lyft. Depending on how far you are going, hailing a taxi in a major city could run you $20 or more to travel less than 15 miles.
  • Live entertainment - It's hard to turn away from live stage plays, outstanding jazz performances, indoor concerts and the chance to watch a professional sports game from box seats or the front row. Getting away from these entertainment temptations could encourage you to find fun ways to entertain yourself at home. It could also save you the $100 or more that you'd spend on a ticket and refreshments at a single live entertainment event in the heart of the city.
  • Clothes - You certainly won't have to hunt for boutiques, malls and upscale shops if you move to the heart of a big city. Regularly shop at these stores and you could be out several hundred a year.

Moving further away from the center of a major town could save you money. You could yield bigger savings if you move to an area near public transportation. Taking public transportation can save you gas costs. It could also save you auto maintenance costs. Pull this off and you could save hundreds or more a year. You could also save thousands on a new house.


Buying a vacation home is something that many dream of, but for some it’s not just a dream. And it’s certainly not something that is only for the rich and the famous. Maybe you have been saving for one your whole life, got a large bonus at work that you want to use as a down payment, or are just going out on a limb; there are several things to consider before taking the plunge and buying a vacation home. Cost: First and foremost, what kind of financial position are you in? Are you able to put down 20% and if not will you be able to afford the potential higher interest rate that goes along with less money done? If you are planning to buy farther away, can you afford the airfare cost for as often as you’d like to spend there? Can you afford the inevitable maintenance that will be necessary? You certainly do not have to be a millionaire to purchase a vacation home, but it’s important to know what you can afford and cannot afford. Location: Do you want to buy a vacation home that is within a couple of hours from your home? Or would you rather buy one a plane ride away that may be in a location that’s warm year round? Or do you want to buy a home in another country? This is certainly something that should be determined before beginning your search. Condo vs. Single-Family: Do you want the privacy of a single-family home or do you want the amenities that come along with living in a condo? There is a level of privacy that comes with owning a single-family home versus a condo, as well as there are condo fees to consider. This decision may not matter much to you, but it’s important that everyone involved agrees on the type of home they would like to buy. Rent It: Do you plan on renting out your vacation home when you are not there? Are you looking at homes in locations where renting is possible? Can you afford the home if you do not rent it out? If you can’t afford the home without renting, how often do you need to rent to be able to afford it? Do you want the hassle of renting it? It’s important to consider this possibility even before you begin your house hunt. Buying a vacation home is extremely exciting, but it’s a large investment. It should be well thought out and planned out. But, once you have those details worked out— go out and buy the vacation home of your dreams!



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