JoAnn Asselin | Westfield Real Estate, Agawam Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


The homebuying process may prove to be challenging, particularly for individuals who fail to anticipate potential problems. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify and address homebuying hurdles before they escalate.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly anticipate and overcome homebuying hurdles.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The real estate market can be complex. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer should have no trouble resolving potential problems early in the property buying journey.

Examine a wide range of housing market data – you'll be glad you did. Look at the prices of recently sold houses – as well as the prices of available residences – in your preferred cities and towns. With this housing market information, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and plan your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get Home Financing

If you intend to pursue a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Thankfully, banks and credit unions are available to help you obtain a mortgage in no time at all.

Ultimately, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall within your price range. And as a result, you could speed up the process of finding and buying your dream house.

When you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask lots of questions, either. If you allocate time and resources to learn about all of your home financing options, you can determine exactly which option is right for you.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to pursue a house on your own, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property buyer. But if you employ a real estate agent, you can work with a homebuying expert who can help you make your homeownership dream come true.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a great house at an affordable price. He or she can teach you about the housing market and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the property buying journey. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can prepare you for potential homebuying hurdles and ensure you can quickly address these issues.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides as the homebuying journey progresses as well. A real estate agent will set up home showings, help you weigh the pros and cons of different houses and ensure you can submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And as you approach the date of your home closing, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can finalize your house purchase without delay.

Want to avoid homebuying hurdles? You're not alone. But with the aforementioned tips, you can identify and overcome various homebuying hurdles and effortlessly navigate the property buying journey.


Perhaps the ultimate test of your planning and organizational skills is moving to a new house. If you fail to plan ahead and make the necessary preparations, moving can be a stressful and frustrating experience.

On the other hand, if you approach it in a methodical, goal-oriented way, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how smooth the process will unfold.

That's not to say that there won't be a few bumps along the way, but staying focused on the details can help ensure that the experience won't feel like a roller coaster ride!

Depending on how many weeks you have before your actual move, you'll probably want to get rid of stuff you don't need, want, or have room for. Planning a garage sale and a donation truck pickup are often among the first orders of business for families on the move. If a lot of your excess belongings are of questionable value (to anyone), you may want to call a junk removal service. For some people, renting a dumpster is a convenient and affordable way to have household junk hauled away.

Since one person's junk is another man's treasure, you can also get rid of things you don't want by posting them on social networking and classified websites. If the items you want to pass along are even marginally useful, the word "free" will almost always generate a few emails and phone calls from interested people looking to save or make money.

It also helps to have plenty of packing supplies on hand. That would include an ample supply of cardboard boxes, packing tape, permanent markers, and cheap packing material. Although you may be able to get your moving company to "throw in" some wardrobe boxes and other containers into the price of their service, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper are often free for the asking -- especially from friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers, and sometimes retail stores.

One word of caution when it comes to cardboard boxes: Flimsy containers often have a way of tearing and falling apart at the most inopportune times! Another mistake people make is filling large boxes with too many heavy items. Not only are heavy boxes difficult to move, but it also increases the probability of dropping them or having the boxes tear while you're carrying them.

If you're hiring a professional moving company to transport your belongings to a new home, it usually pays to get two or three quotes. As is the case with other services and contractors, you can often save headaches and hundreds of dollars by comparing prices, terms, incentives, and online reviews.

Probably one of the most important methods of making sure things get done in a timely way is writing out your own detailed to-do list and revising it on a regular basis. Unless you commit goals, priorities, and tasks to paper (or a computer file), there's a good chance it will be forgotten about or left to the last minute.


Floods are one of the most terrifying events to occur in any home, especially if it’s the result of a natural disaster. As expected, your priority should be the safety of your family, and while you make arrangements for their protection, you can do the following things before repairs start. 

1. The first step is to cut off the power supply

Be very careful before going in to grab items as flood water could carry an electrical current to electrocute you or even cause a fire, as well as bring bacteria and microbes into your home. Locate your circuit panel and shut off all power circuits, even if the power from the grid is off. Watch out for signs of potential danger, like a collapsed roof. If the home appears unsafe to enter, do not attempt to go inside.

2. Document Everything

Since you do not know how long it will take before the insurance process kicks in, you will need to start compiling documentation of everything. Pictures and videos are essential, as well as written reports about the condition of the home. If the house worsens after the initial damage let your records reflect it. The claims adjuster will carry out another investigation on getting to your property and the more information you offer, the better informed they can be during their assessment.

3. Begin the Repair Process

As soon as you can, drain the water from your home. If you have a sump pump, you can elect to do it yourself, or you could decide to hire an expert for the job. Take extra caution when paying for services if your claims adjuster is not done assessing the degree of the damage. It’s advisable that you keep receipts for whatever you purchase, no matter how unimportant you think it is. 

4. Be Patient and Cautious

If your region was declared a disaster area because of the flood, you might have to spend a long time before you get access to repair services. Protect yourself from repair scams by asking anyone who comes to your home to provide identification and confirmation that they are from your insurance company, as many conmen often use this con to defraud victims.

If you need special help and assistance from FEMA or other relief agencies, don't hesitate to reach out to them.


Thrift stores, consignment shops, or otherwise know as second-hand shopping hold hidden treasures that you can comb through. Everything from limited editions to designer brands or that one item that reminds you of visiting your grandparents' house. When your kids are growing out of clothes every time you turn around thrift stores can be an excellent resource. If you are a collector of any kind, the second-hand stores can be a treasure trove of items. Finding those items that you may only need for a limited time and don't want to invest a lot of money into is where the resale store really helps out. 

Frugal Fashion 

Many resale shops carry a variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories that can clothe everyone no matter what age or size. If you have a person in your family who prefers name brands and gently used items, many consignment stores will have options for them. You can find today's fashions in not only clothing but footwear, wallets, belts, and purses. Think about not only shopping but taking your gently used items and cosign them for either cash or store credit. Store credit you can use to make your dollar stretch even further.

Collecting Treasure on a Dime

As a hobby collecting can be a costly pastime. When you shop in resale stores, your dollar can go further. Places like pawn shops can inventory some high-quality collectibles for a bargain. Investing the time to go into a second-hand location and work your way through the sometimes-disorganized store can pay off in found treasures. You could parlay this type of treasure hunting into an online second-hand store for yourself. 

Keep the Start-Up Costs Down

Using the thrift store as an affordable entry point for purchasing equipment to try a new activity. For example, your kid comes home and announces a new-found interest in learning to snow ski. You can fully equip them without breaking the bank with a little research and a good second-hand store. Whether they take a shining to the sport you or change their mind the next month, you are set. What about taking up a new instrument? Often you can buy from a second-hand store and have the item tuned or repaired for less than a new one. 

Finally, should you live in a climate that doesn't get too cold during the winter but need to have a one or two items on hand just in case, you can get snow boots and winter gear for a bargain. The local thrift store is an excellent resource for almost anything you need or want.


Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.

When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.

Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.

But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.

Setting your savings goals

The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.

Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.

Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.

Save on a timeline

When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.

Lock away your savings

Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.

However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.

Pay off credit cards

It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.

Adjust your spending habits

While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.

Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.

Time for a raise?

If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.