The Peggy Patenaude Team | Andover Real Estate, North Andover Real Estate, Boxford Real Estate


If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.


If you have walked into your kitchen at midnight, put on the lights and watched an army of cockroaches scatter into the dark crevices of your cabinets, then you know you have a bad situation on your hand. Cockroaches are not just terrible insects, but they can contaminate food and spread germs around the home. Follow these simple process to get rid of cockroaches in your home once and for all.

  • Eliminate food and water sources. Cockroaches need stores of food and water to survive, so the first step in getting rid of them involves cutting them off from food and water. Always clean up spilled or leftover food or use sealed containers to store them. Your kitchen appliances, cabinets and even behind the refrigerator should be cleaned thoroughly every night to remove grease and spilled food. Their water sources include leaky pipes and wet drains, so they should be fixed and dried respectively. Place wet items like sponges and toothbrushes in an airtight bag to dry.
  • Eliminate hiding places. Roaches love hiding in dark and damp places during the day, so you should focus on ridding your home of spaces like these. Clean up any clutter you have around such as cardboard boxes. You should also seal up cracks and holes in your walls with caulk to prevent entry. Make sure your under-cabinets are not damp and inviting for them.
  • Use bait. Applying cockroach bait is also a simple and effective way of getting rid of cockroaches. While pesticides are not always advisable because of their likelihood of contaminating surfaces like countertops and appliances, baits are more straightforward and safer to use. Place bait in the areas of the highest cockroach traffic such as behind cabinets and countertops, around the sink and bathroom fixtures and pipes that come into the home.
  • Use Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). Insect Growth Regulators are synthetic chemicals that work to disrupt the natural life cycle of insects, functioning as a form of birth control for them, the idea being that if an insect cannot reach adulthood, then it becomes impossible for it to reproduce.

When finished with all these, there is the need for patience in waiting for results to become complete. Always bear in mind that getting rid of cockroaches is a constant process that has to be carried out regularly. Not sure of what kind of bait or IGR to buy, ask for recommendations at your local supermarket.


You know you want to pursue a home, and as such, likely plan to attend lots of house showings in the near future. Before you check out a residence in-person, however, it generally is a good idea to prepare as much as possible. That way, you can use a home showing to learn about a residence, evaluate a house's pros and cons and determine if a particular home is right for you.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you attend a home showing, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Must-Haves

It often helps to make a list of "must-haves" prior to launching a house search. With this list at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and schedule showings for residences that offer the features you want.

You may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will help you hone your house search to residences in cities and towns where you want to live. Then, you can set up showings to view residences in these areas.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

You likely have only a finite amount of money you can spend on a residence. If you start a house search with a budget in hand, you can search for homes that fall in line with your finances and schedule property showings accordingly.

Typically, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can learn about different home financing options. You then can select a mortgage and start to schedule showings for residences that correspond to your budget.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

If you want to buy a house as quickly as possible, you may want to start scheduling home showings right away. This will enable you to find and relocate to a new home without delay.

On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to home showings. In this scenario, you may want to keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. Because if you do so, you can pounce at opportunities to view quality residences as soon as they become available.

As you get ready to pursue your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can set up home showings and offer tips and recommendations to help you streamline your house search. In addition, if you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can instantly respond to them.

When it comes to home showings, it may be beneficial to prepare. If you consider the aforementioned factors prior to a house showing, you may boost the likelihood of finding your dream house. Perhaps best of all, you could speed up your home search and discover a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.


If you intend to buy a house, you probably will check out a lot of home listings over the next few days and weeks. However, it is important to note that not all home listings are created equal, and how you analyze home listings may dictate your homebuying success.

Ultimately, there are several factors that homebuyers need to consider as they assess home listings, and these factors include:

1. Price

The price of a home is one of the key factors – if not the most important factor – that a homebuyer needs to consider in a home listing. Because if you ignore a home's price, you risk wasting precious time and resources as you pursue a home that falls outside your price range.

When it comes to buying a home, it pays to develop a budget ahead of time. That way, you'll know how much you can spend on a residence and can tailor your home search to fit your budget.

You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to looking at home listings as well. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and explore available residences that won't force you to spend beyond your means.

2. Condition

Are you looking for a fixer-upper or a brand-new residence? Take a look at a home's condition, and you can determine whether a particular residence is right for you.

Oftentimes, a decades-old residence may require myriad upgrades. This means you may need to allocate significant time and resources to enhance the condition of an old house after you finalize your home purchase.

On the other hand, it is essential to remember that a new house may prove to be more expensive than an old residence. And if you're on the lookout for a bargain, you may want to shy away from listings for brand-new houses.

3. Features

Creating a list of must-have home features is ideal, as this will enable you to narrow your search for your dream residence.

For instance, if you want a home that has a big swimming pool, you can browse home listings accordingly. Or, if you would like to buy a house that is located near some of the nation's best schools, you can focus on home listings in cities and towns that feature top-rated schools.

If you want to streamline your home search, it usually helps to look beyond home listings. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you accelerate your search for the perfect residence.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and provide you with the latest home listings. Then, a real estate agent will work with you to simplify your home search and ensure that you can discover a terrific residence at an unbeatable price.

Take the guesswork out of reviewing home listings – use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly evaluate a wide range of home listings and find your dream house.


If you’re a health nut, where you live may be a big factor for you. The neighborhood that you choose could have some impact on your health and lifestyle choices. Your neighborhood will need the amenities that you crave like places for exercise, access to healthy food, and sidewalks for walking. These aspects also add to the community sense that you feel within the neighborhood. Children’s parks, people who go on frequent strolls, and a sense of people spending time outside often are all signs of a “healthy” neighborhood. Below, we’ll delve into these key factors. 


Sidewalks And Bike Trails


Being able to do daily errands on foot along with access to easy outdoor exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle. These amenities provide safety and the ability to access what you need without a car. You can even find public transportation easier to get to and from. As a bonus, you’ll be doing something good for the environment, saving gas and staying out of traffic.  


Nature Is Abundant


Don’t underestimate how much healthier being around nature can make you feel. From lush trees, to parks, gardens, hiking trails, even golf courses all provide access to active activities and natural beauty. Even community gardens are a part of nature that can be good for your health. Having the opportunity to grow or even be around the inspiration of people growing and caring for their own food sources is good for you. The more access you have to nature in the place that you’re living, the healthier that you’ll be.  


Check Out The Social Scene


Sometimes you can get a sense of a neighborhood just by observing it. Are people making connections and out and about together, or do people seem to go off more on their own? Socializing is an important part of health and well-being. Some signs of socially friendly neighborhoods:


  • People are out walking their dogs, chatting
  • Neighbors are out together gathering in a front yard



Gyms And Healthy Food Are Readily Available


Do you see your favorite organic grocery store nearby? Having access to the type and quality of food you crave is important. Maybe there is an abundance of vegetarian and vegan restaurant options nearby. For those days that a workout outside just won’t do, having a gym close by is also a sign of a healthy neighborhood.    

 

Check Out The Traffic


A neighborhood can have all of the above, yet if it has a lot of traffic, you could have a huge issue. Lots of traffic brings two different kinds of pollution- noise and air. Not having access to quiet spaces can often increase stress levels. If you have allergies or asthma, being around a lot of traffic pollution may not help your condition much either. While traffic seems like a small detail, it’s something to consider when you’re looking for a healthy neighborhood.




Loading