Maribeth Marzeotti, Realtor Associate/Owner, Home Stager, RE/MAX Acclaim, Licensed in MA and CT.


Photo by GaudiLab via Shutterstock

In the rush and excitement to find the perfect home and make it yours, there are some things best learned beforehand rather than through hindsight. Here are some suggestions from first-time homebuyers that would have made the entire process less challenging.

Know where you stand.

If you plan to buy a home, even if it’s a couple years out, you need to assess your current creditworthiness so that you can move the needle to improve your credit score. Making sure that your credit reports show the correct information is not something to leave to chance.

  • Order your credit reports from each of the three major reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).
  • Review all the entries carefully. Sometimes, credit card accounts have different names on the credit report than on your card, so review your statements to match up accounts with their identifiers.
  • If you find mistakes, request a review with the credit agency. All three have error mitigation instructions on their websites. Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Review any slow pays and rearrange your payment schedules so that you’re up-to-date and on-time for everything.

Create your budget.

While this doesn’t work for everyone, a good rule of thumb is to keep your home price within two and a half times your annual income. That means if you make $80,000 per year, set your budget at $200,000 or less. If your income calculation includes dual partners or spouses, but you intend to add children to the household, consider how you might eliminate that second income. If you calculate your purchase based on one income your budget is more secure.

Determine your down payment.

First-time homebuyers typically qualify for FHA loans with just a 3.5% down payment. Others may be eligible for VA, USDA or Conventional 97 LTV programs too. But with less paid down, your mortgage payments increase because the loan is higher and includes the added cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you can put more down to get a better rate and reduce your mortgage payment, consider it. Conventional loans usually ask for a 20% down payment, but you’ll often get better interest rates and lower payments.

Decide on a loan term.

A fix-rate mortgage for 30 years is the norm, but not the only option. You can find loan terms for 8 or 15 years too. If an adjustable rate works for you in the short term, you’ll find those as well, but if you choose an adjustable-rate only because you couldn’t otherwise afford the home, you might want to wait or adjust your budget.

Get pre-approval from your lender.

Your bank looks at all your income, assets, credit history and other aspects. Getting the lender to give you an informal approval helps you determine if you’ll be able to borrow a specified amount of money to buy a home. Use the numbers your lender gives you to refine your budget.

When you’re ready, find a buyer’s agent to represent you in your home search and let the games begin.


Photo by New Africa via Shutterstock

As a homeowner you know there is a lot of upkeep that goes into maintaining a nice home. From weekly cleaning to monthly home maintenance, you put in time, money and effort to give yourself the home life experience you desire. The best living environment to come home to is one that is clean and smells fresh. Try these three easy products to help your home on a daily basis.

Scent Diffusers

Maintaining a home that smells good can be tough. Especially if you live with a family or housemates. There are a lot of different scents, messes, cleaning products and more going on at the same time. Scent diffusers come in all different styles and sizes and can be used throughout the house to give your home consistently fresh and odor-free air. Try a refillable spraying deodorizer in areas of high traffic, or in the mudroom where you leave all the shoes. Use melted wax diffusers in living rooms and bedrooms to add a touch of décor while emitting scent. 

Finally, use oil diffusers in the bathroom to fight odors.TIP: If you can purchase different styles of diffusers that can support scents by the same brand(s) you can use the same smells throughout the house, or at least in adjacent rooms where two conflicting smells might overlap and combine poorly.

Toilet Tank Tabs

One of the biggest pains in keeping a house clean is the toilet. It is an area that always needs attention, especially if you live with others. While you’ll never be able to skip the weekly bathroom cleaning, using cleaning tabs in the toilet tank will help immensely on a daily basis. These tabs contain chemicals to combat bacteria, hard water and stains.

You can normally buy a small pack that lasts a couple months or get great deals on bulk packs that will last you all year. Simply drop the tab in the back of the tank, and the toilet gets a little extra cleaning help with every flush. This will help keep the bathroom cleaner and smelling better every day.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

While this purchase can drastically vary in price, it is an excellent investment that saves you time while helping maintain the home. You can spring for an expensive robot vacuum, but there are plenty of affordable options as well. Having a device that cleans the house while you’re gone or working on other projects is a huge help.

If you have children, pets or housemates it cuts down drastically on the dirt, debris and hair floating around the place. With the help of a robot vacuum you can reduce your sweeping, vacuuming and mopping needs without sacrificing cleanliness.

By making smart home purchases, you can increase your quality of living without breaking the budget or your back cleaning. Ask your real estate agent for advice on the best purchases to keep your home beautiful for your next showing.


As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to generate interest in your residence. That way, it won't take long to start receiving offers to purchase after you list your home.

There are many signs that homebuyers may soon submit offers to purchase your residence, and these signs include:

1. Buyers are setting up home showings.

Even a single home showing is a positive sign for a home seller. And if you find that buyers are submitting regular requests to view your residence, it may be only a matter of time before you receive many offers to purchase your house.

Typically, it helps to be flexible when you sell your house. If you make it simple for buyers to view your house at their convenience, you may increase the likelihood that the right buyer will check out your home and submit an offer to buy it.

2. The same buyers have viewed your house multiple times.

An interested homebuyer may request to view your house more than once. In this instance, you may receive an offer to purchase from this buyer sooner rather than later.

As always, it pays to accommodate as many home showing requests as possible. If you make it easy for a buyer to view your residence multiple times, you can help him or her make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase your home.

3. Buyers have lots of questions about your house.

A home showing gives property buyers an opportunity to check out your house in-person. It also may lead these buyers to reach out to you for additional information about your home.

Remember, you should be ready to provide homebuyers with as much information as you can about your residence. If you offer homebuyers the information they request, you can help them determine whether your house is the right choice based on their individual needs.

For home sellers who want to go above and beyond the call of duty to stir up interest in a house, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will help a seller navigate the property selling journey and achieve the optimal results.

First, a real estate agent will meet with a house seller and set the stage for a successful property selling experience. He or she will offer insights into the local housing market and help a seller establish a competitive price for a residence. Then, a real estate agent will schedule house showings and open house events. And if a seller receives an offer to purchase, a real estate agent can recommend whether this individual should accept, decline or counter the proposal.

Want to streamline the house selling journey? Work with a real estate agent – you'll be happy you did. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to showcase your residence to potential buyers and maximize your house sale earnings.


This Single-Family in Dudley, MA recently sold for $365,000. This Colonial style home was sold by Maribeth Marzeotti - RE/MAX Advantage I.


350 Dudley Southbridge Rd, Dudley, MA 01571

Single-Family

$379,900
Price
$365,000
Sale Price

7
Rooms
3
Beds
2/1
Full/Half Baths
This is the house you've been waiting for! Young Colonial set on 1.76 acres of privacy. This home has an updated, contemporary style & an open floor plan with 9' ceilings. Stay cool in the summer w/Central Air. Great for entertaining w/separate dining room & a great room w/hardwoods, large windows, cathedral ceiling, recessed lighting & propane fireplace. The eat-in kitchen has hardwood floors, upgraded cabinets & newer stainless appliances. Updated lighting fixtures throughout! An office completes the first floor. Upstairs the master suite also has a cathedral ceiling & separate sitting area & walk-in closet. Two other bedrooms w/Jack & Jill bathroom between! BONUS, 2nd floor laundry! Walkout basement is waiting to be finished, but is already plumbed for another bathroom. Enjoy the outdoors on your Farmer's Porch or on the deck off the kitchen. Land backs up to Silvestri Pond. Dudley/Charlton Schools & low taxes! 10 minutes from Tree House Brewery.

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This Single-Family in Dudley, MA recently sold for $465,000. This Contemporary style home was sold by Maribeth Marzeotti - RE/MAX Advantage I.


61A Ramshorn Rd, Dudley, MA 01571

Single-Family

$479,900
Price
$465,000
Sale Price

11
Rooms
5
Beds
4/1
Full/Half Baths
Looking for lots of space and privacy? This house has it all! Plus a GUEST HOUSE by the SALT WATER POOL! The former garage was renovated into 2 extra bedrooms & full bath. Could be returned to a garage, or add a garage in front. Kitchen renovated 3 yrs ago with granite and stainless steel appliances & has a large pantry & slider door to large Trex deck overlooking the spacious backyard. Living room & hall have gleaming hardwoods w/inlaid pattern. Separate dining room also w/hardwoods, tray ceiling & access to deck, overlooking sunken family room w/cathedral ceiling. Also 1st floor office. Master BR w/sitting area, walk-in closet & large bath with hot tub! Mini-split system for central air on 1st floor and master BR. Guest House has open floor plan with LR, kitchen and 3/4 bath. Pool has built in self-cleaning system - no pool vacuum required! Audubon land abutting home. Freshly painted interior. The fully finished basement has several storage rooms. Town water! Title V in hand.






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