Bill Mamak - RE/MAX East of the River | South Windsor CT Real Estate


Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you're deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you'll live around for likely many years. You're also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard... the list goes on. So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you're ready for home ownership.

The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:

  1. I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
  2. I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
  3. My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
  4. I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
  5. I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
  6. I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.

There are countless reasons a homeowner might want to sell their home and buy another. Some want to move for a change of scenery or to relocate for work. Others are parents with a recently empty nest who want to downsize to something more affordable that meets their needs.

The good news for second time homebuyers is that you already have an idea of what to expect when buying a home. The research, paperwork, disappointments, and delays that come with buying a home can all be prepared for. However, if you have the burden of selling your old home, finding a temporary place to live, and then moving into a new one, your responsibilities can be doubled or tripled.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to prepare for selling your old home and moving into the new one. We’ll cover some common mistakes and offer some advice to keep you sane throughout this daunting (but exciting!) process.

Buying or selling first

For most homeowners, selling first makes the most sense financially. Holding onto a second house often means having to make two mortgage payments at once. Similarly, selling first will give you a much clearer idea of your budget for your new home.

Depending on market conditions, your home may or may not sell for as much as you were hoping. It’s important to keep this in mind before signing onto a new mortgage.

Moving logistics

Once you sell your home, you’ll have to work out living and storage arrangements until you are ready to move into your new home. It may seem easy at first--just rent for a couple months until your move-in date, right? It isn’t always that simple, however, as deals can sometimes fall through and you can find yourself with a move-out date from your own home without having finalized a deal on your new home. Because of this, many homeowners elect to may their current mortgage for an extra month or two until they can move in to their new home. 

Research your options for short-term living and storage in your area. See if you can work with moving companies who will give you a discount for helping you move twice; once to the storage facility and again to your new home.

One way around this is to time your move out and move-in dates so that you don’t have to worry about storage. Some homebuyers will even move into the new home before officially closing on the home (i.e., take possession before closing). While this may be convenient, it can also be dangerous for the buyer and the seller.

Plan meticulously

One of the best piece of advice we can give is to stick to your schedule and keep good records during your buying and selling processes. Make sure whoever buys your home is aware of your plans for moving out and that anything that could delay those plans (inspection issues, moving logistics) are taken care of.  

Keeping track of all this information can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to keep a daily list or planner of the things you need to take care of, and never be afraid to reach out to your real estate agent who will often be able to advise you on the best way to make your move as smooth a process as possible.


Pets are part of the family. They look to us for food, protection, and a daily routine. In return, we get the joys of having a tiny, furry best friend (or in my case a huge, slobbering goofball of a dog). When you want to go away on vacation, however, pets become an added layer of planning that makes the process much more stressful and complicated. The good news is you have options. Depending on your pet, your destination, and your financial situation, some options may be better than others for you. In this article, we'll go over pet planning for when you go away on vacation so you can rest assured knowing your pet will be safe so that you can do what vacations are meant for: relax.

Where are you going?

Depending on your destination and the type of pet you have, it might be possible to bring your animal friend along. Pet friendly hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and rental homes are all ways that allow you to keep you and your pet together during vacation. If you don't have the money to spend on expensive hotels, you could try out campgrounds or staying with a friend or relative in the area. There are also websites designed for couch-surfing that sometimes allow pets.

What's your pet's personality?

We hold pets to a pretty high social standard. If someone scooped you up and took you to a strange place away from your family for a week you might be a little nervous, right? Your pet is no different. Depending on your pet's comfort level, boarding could be an option. However, it's a good idea to test this out for just a night before going away on a long vacation. Similarly, you could try having your pet stay at a friend or relative's house for a sleepover to gauge their reaction. Training and conditioning could be all it takes to help your pet feel comfortable away from you or your home while you're on vacation.

Calling in a sitter

A less expensive option to boarding your pet is to have a pet sitter stay at your home while you're away. Odds are you might have a teenager or college aged relative who wouldn't mind having your home to themselves for a week to get away from their parents and siblings. If you aren't lucky enough to have a relative who's up to the job, you can almost definitely find someone on pet sitter websites or on Craigslist. People who work from home, or college students are often happy to stay at your place and watch your pets for a small fee. They get free TV and WiFi for a week, and you get the assurance that your pet and home is being taken care of; everyone wins. If you're worried about leaving your pet with a stranger, don't worry--we understand. Fortunately, most sites come with references and testimonials and you can always meet your pet sitter in person before handing them the keys to your home.



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