Tina McManus | Beverly Real Estate, Salem Real Estate, Hamilton Real Estate, Danvers Real Estate


If you plan to attend an open house, it usually pays to be prepared. That way, you'll know exactly which questions to ask during an open house and can ensure that you can gain the insights that you need to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Now, let's take a look at three key questions to ask a listing agent during an open house.

1. Why is this home for sale?

Although a home listing provides plenty of information about a residence, it is unlikely to explain why a homeowner is selling his or her house. Thus, you should use an open house to find out exactly why a home is for sale.

In many instances, a listing agent will be honest and forthright about why a homeowner has decided to add his or her residence to the real estate market. Once you receive an answer to your query, you can better understand whether a house matches your expectations.

On the other hand, if a listing agent hesitates or shies away from your question, you should be skeptical. At this point, you should continue to dig for more information about a residence to learn about any potential flaws.

2. Are there any home problems that I need to know about?

An open house enables you to get an up-close look at a residence. Furthermore, the event allows you to find out about a residence's pros and cons from a listing agent.

Ask a listing agent about any home problems – you'll be glad you did. The listing agent should be able to provide you with plenty of insights into a home's condition, ensuring you can make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer.

A listing agent is likely to be honest with you about any problems with a house. By doing so, this agent will reduce the risk of a homebuyer later rescinding an offer after a home inspection.

3. Have there been any offers on the house?

It is important to find out if there is any competition for a house, especially if you discover your dream residence. Thus, during an open house, you should ask a listing agent if any offers have been submitted on a residence.

If a listing agent responds "Yes" to your query, you may want to act fast to submit a competitive offer on a house. Because if you wait too long to make an offer on your dream residence, you risk losing this house to a rival homebuyer.

Lastly, if you need help getting ready for an open house, you should collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide deep insights into a residence before you attend an open house. Therefore, a real estate agent will help you take the guesswork out of getting the most out of any open house, at any time.

Want to optimize the value of an open house? Ask the aforementioned questions, and you can get the information that you need to fully evaluate a residence.


When it comes to buying a house, it usually pays to be flexible. Because if you take a flexible approach to the real estate market, you'll be open to checking out dozens of residences and can improve your chances of finding a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Although flexibility can play an important role in a successful homebuying journey, buyers sometimes struggle with stubbornness. Fortunately, we're here to help you become a flexible homebuyer who can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a flexible homebuyer.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The real estate market constantly fluctuates, and a sector that favors buyers one day may favor sellers the next. However, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can pounce at the opportunity to acquire your dream residence, regardless of when that opportunity presents itself.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a quick, seamless process. Typically, you'll want to meet with local banks and credit unions and learn about a wide range of mortgage options. Once you have mortgage information, you can select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

Remember, pre-approval for a mortgage opens the door for a successful homebuying experience. It can help you establish a budget for your dream home by providing you with a set amount that you can spend on a residence. As a result, after you find an ideal house that falls within your price range, you'll have the flexibility to move quickly to acquire this residence.

2. Consider Houses in a Variety of Cities and Towns

Evaluate your homebuying goals – you'll be glad you did. If you understand where you want to live, you can explore houses in a variety of cities and towns that fit your criteria.

For example, if you want to live near family members or friends in a particular area, you can narrow your home search accordingly. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to live in the same city or town as these loved ones. Instead, you can search for houses in assorted cities and towns near your loved ones and ensure you're never too far away from them.

On the other hand, if you want to buy a home that is close to your office in the city, it may be worthwhile to consider houses both inside and outside the city itself. City living generally is more expensive than living in the suburbs, so you'll want to assess your finances closely before you buy a city house. Or, if you prefer small town living, you can always purchase a more affordable residence outside the city and take public transportation to work.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you become a flexible homebuyer. In fact, this housing market professional will offer expert guidance during the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you evaluate many houses and ensure that you can find one that suits you perfectly.

Ready to pursue your dream house? Consider the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as a flexible homebuyer.


If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably learning many new vocabulary words. Pre-approved and pre-qualified are some buzz words that you’ll need to know. There’s a big difference in the two and how each can help you in the home buying process, so you’ll want to educate yourself. With the proper preparation and knowledge, the home buying process will be much easier for you.  


Pre-Qualification


This is actually the initial step that you should take in the home buying process. Being pre-qualified allows your lender to get some key information from you. Make no mistake that getting pre-qualified is not the same thing as getting pre-approved.


The qualification process allows you to understand how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will look at your income, assets, and general financial picture. There’s not a whole lot of information that your lender actually needs to get you pre-qualified. Many buyers make the mistake of interchanging the words qualified and approval. They think that once they have been pre-qualified, they have been approved for a certain amount as well. Since the pre-qualification process isn’t as in-depth, you could be “qualified” to buy a home that you actually can’t afford once you dig a bit deeper into your financial situation. 


Being Pre-Approved


Getting pre-approved requires a bit more work on your part. You’ll need to provide your lender with a host of information including income statements, bank account statements, assets, and more. Your lender will take a look at your credit history and credit score. All of these numbers will go into a formula and help your lender determine a safe amount of money that you’ll be able to borrow for a house. Things like your credit score and credit history will have an impact on the type of interest rate that you’ll get for the home. The better your credit score, the better the interest rate will be that you’re offered. Being pre-approved will also be a big help to you when you decide to put an offer in on a home since you’ll be seen as a buyer who is serious and dependable.  


Things To Think About


Although getting pre-qualified is fairly simple, it’s a good step to take to understand your finances and the home buying process. Don’t take the pre-qualification numbers as set in stone, just simply use them as a guide. 


Do some investigating on your own before you reach the pre-approval stage. Look at your income, debts, and expenses. See if there is anything that can be paid down before you take the leap to the next step. Check your credit report and be sure that there aren’t any errors on the report that need to be remedied. Finally, look at your credit score and see if there’s anything that you can do better such as make more consistent on-time payments or pay down debt for a more desirable debt-to-income ratio.


Selling a house may prove to be a high-pressure situation, particularly for an individual who is listing a residence for the first time. However, if you share your home selling plans with family members, friends and other loved ones, you may be able to receive additional support throughout the home selling journey.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to inform your loved ones about your plans to sell your house, and these reasons include:

1. You can respond to any concerns or questions before you finalize your home selling decision.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind, and as such, they probably are unafraid to tell you exactly what they think and how they feel. Therefore, it may be beneficial to tell your loved ones about your intention to sell your house, as you'll be able to receive unbiased feedback about your decision.

Although loved ones might not always agree with your decision to sell your home, it is paramount to open the lines of communication with them. And if you tell loved ones about your plans to sell your house, you can clear the air with them before you list your residence.

2. You may be able to gain extensive home selling insights.

In many instances, loved ones may have sold a house in the past, and you may be able to learn from their prior home selling experiences.

Loved ones may provide you with home selling insights that you might be unable to obtain elsewhere too. Then, you can use these insights to increase the likelihood of a successful home selling experience.

3. You can take the first step to promote your house to potential buyers.

Loved ones can help spread the word about your house to dozens of potential buyers. Thus, if you give loved ones advanced notice about your home selling plans, you may be better equipped than ever before to stir up significant interest in your house.

Of course, once your house is listed, it usually is a good idea to share your home listing with loved ones as well. Loved ones then can share your home listing with co-workers, friends and others, thereby improving your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.

As you get ready to list your residence, you also may want to seek out a real estate agent. Because if you employ a real estate agent, you can get the expert help you need to accomplish your home selling goals.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you put together a successful home selling strategy. This housing market professional can help you showcase your residence to interested buyers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling concerns or queries throughout the home selling journey.

Want to achieve the optimal results when you list your house? Collaborate with your loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you should have no trouble getting the best price for your residence.


Like any aspect of home maintenance, keeping your house safe for family and visitors requires awareness, planning, and attention. If you don't prioritize home safety and security, then there's a greater chance "Murphy's Law" will come into play when you least expect it.

Realistically speaking, the concept that "If something can go wrong, it will (and at the worst possible time)" certainly does not have any basis in fact. Everything that happens is the result of "cause and effect."

Fortunately, we can exert control over cause and effect and use it to our benefit. Here are several safety tips to keep in mind and implement to increase the probability that your home will be a safe place to live, visit, and perhaps grow old in.

  1. Fire safety is of paramount importance. It runs the gamut from making sure you have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to having second floor escape ladders and designated meeting places and exit plans.
  2. Proper lighting, both inside and out, can not only discourage burglars, but it also reduces the risk of mishaps, such as tripping, falling, or twisting an ankle.
  3. Shower and bathtub safety is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial for senior citizens and households that have elderly visitors, such as grandparents. A combination of safety railings and non-slip safety decals, stickers, or appliques on the tub floor would be your first line of defense against slips and falls in the bathroom.
  4. Stair safety is also well worth focusing on. It can be improved in your home in a number of ways, including the installation and reinforcement of hand rails. Making sure stairs are properly illuminated, especially at the bottom, can also help prevent falls and stumbles. Another preventative measure is to put a strip of brightly colored tape across the bottom step in your basement so that people realize there's one more step to go before they reach the floor. Any momentary confusion about that can result in falls and injuries.
  5. Protective equipment, such as goggles, work gloves, dust masks, and other safety gear may be necessary for certain types of cleaning, home repair work, tree pruning, or construction activities around the house and yard. Ladder safety and awareness is another important topic when it comes to reducing falls and injuries around the house.
  6. Ensuring child safety is a challenging priority, and can include everything from preventing access to dangerous household chemicals and medications to locking up gun cabinets and placing barriers around swimming pools, windows, and hot stoves. Hardware stores and other retail businesses often carry baby gates, child-resistant cabinet locks, toilet bowl safety clips, electrical outlet covers, and even rubber cushioning for the edges of coffee tables and fireplace hearths.

While this list of safety tips is not all-inclusive, it will hopefully encourage you to become more vigilant and attuned to all the different potential hazards in and around your home and property. If you're concerned about a specific area of home safety, there are free checklists, pamphlets, and articles available through government agencies, educational institutes, non-profit organizations, and the Internet.




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