Safe Harbor Realty
Safe Harbor Realty~ Karen Martin, Nicole Martin Wood

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"Your Guide to Buying Your Dream Home"

Buying a home is a significant and exciting milestone in life, but it can also be a complex and overwhelming process. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade to your dream home, careful preparation is key to ensuring a smooth and successful experience. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to prepare for your home buying journey.

1. Talk to an Experienced, Local Real Estate Agent-

 Your real estate agent can help and advise you on many of your next steps. A professional real estate agent can be your greatest ally in the home buying process. Look for an agent with local expertise, a proven track record, works full time and has strong communication skills. They can guide you through the entire home buying process, from searching for homes, preparing all the paperwork to negotiating the deal and navigating the closing process. Be sure your Realtor works full time and can answer your questions and meet the important time lines in your home purchase contract.

2. Define Your Budget:
The next step in preparing to buy a home is to establish a realistic budget. Consider your current financial situation, including income, expenses, and any existing debts. Use online calculators Visit
 to estimate how much you can afford, factoring in down payment, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. This will give you a clear understanding of your financial limits and guide your search for the perfect home.  Your real estate professional can give you an estimate on typical costs in your area.

3. Save for a Down Payment:
Saving for a down payment is a crucial aspect of home buying. The more you can put down upfront, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. Aim for a down payment of at least 10% to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add to your overall costs. Create a dedicated savings account for your down payment and set up automatic transfers to ensure consistent progress.

4. Check Your Credit Score:
A good credit score is essential for securing a favorable mortgage rate. Obtain a copy of your credit report  Get a copy here Free
from the major credit bureaus and review it for any inaccuracies. If your score needs improvement, take steps to boost it by paying down debts and making timely payments. A higher credit score can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

5. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage:
Before you start house hunting, it's wise to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Your real estate agent can recommend a lender that suits your needs best. This involves submitting financial documents to a lender who will then provide a pre-approval letter indicating the loan amount you qualify for. Having a pre-approval not only streamlines the home buying process but also signals to sellers that you are a serious and qualified buyer.

6. Identify Your Priorities:
Make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves in a home. Consider factors such as location, size, layout, and amenities. This list will serve as a guide during your home search, helping you narrow down options and make informed decisions. Give this to your agent, who can send you home listings directly from the MLS.

7. Research Neighborhoods:
Explore potential neighborhoods to find the one that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Consider factors such as schools, safety, amenities, and future development plans. Visiting neighborhoods at different times of the day can provide valuable insights into the community dynamics.
8. Attend Open Houses:

Attend open houses to get a feel for different properties and gather information about the local market. Take notes and ask questions to help refine your preferences and make informed decisions.

9. Prepare for Closing Costs:

In addition to your down payment, budget for closing costs, which typically range from 3% to 5% of the home's purchase price. These costs include fees for appraisal, inspection, title insurance, and other administrative expenses. Being prepared for these costs ensures a smooth and stress-free closing process. Your real estate agent can advise on typical costs in your area.

10. Stay Flexible:
Finally, be prepared to be flexible. The home buying process can be dynamic, and you may encounter unexpected challenges or opportunities. Stay open-minded and adaptable to ensure a positive experience.

By following these steps and thoroughly preparing for the home buying process, you'll be well-equipped to make informed decisions and turn your dream of homeownership into a reality. Happy house hunting!  To view homes visit
 and call Realtor Karen Martin  I love to help you in your journey to obtain your dream home. 

Karen Martin, Author, Realtor, Certified Buyer Expert 
Safe Harbor Realty Westport, MA 

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What our clients are saying  

Karen was fantastic. She did a great job staging, marketing, and photographing my house. It was so great I got a fantastic offer on my house. Highly recommend her. From Karen - Eddie received $45,000 over asking price for his home. He was thrilled!


~ Eddie Papa

Karen sold my mom's home in Dartmouth for me everything was up front and open she did all the foot work and paper work I had no time to do . She handled all of the details perfectly she called me at every turn to keep me in the loop she helped me make good decisions that needed to be made I was so satisfied with her professional and personal skills I recommended her to friends. Sousa Family Dartmouth Ma * update from Karen- I was able to help Sue sell her home in Dartmouth MA and move closer to her son and grandchildren.


~ Sousa Family

We have bought & sold quite a bit of properties over the last 35 years & have had the fortune of working with some very fine Real Estate agents. We had a property for sale that didn't sell last year and Karen contacted us, telling us she could sell our property. We lived out of state and hadn't done much work on it, other than repairs & maintenance. It was in need of extensive remodeling and the septic system needed to be replaced. Karen focused on the positives in her Marketing of the property and got quite amount of interest in the property. She was relentless & must have showed that property 2 dozen times until she found the perfect match for our property. It was by far the hardest sale of the year for her, but her determination paid off. Like we said in the beginning , we have worked with some very fine Real Estate agents over the years, but none as determined as Karen. If you want your property sold, Karen will sell it for you. We highly recommend her !!!! Gordon & Janice


~ Gordon & Janice

" Karen worked very hard for us, Selling our home in Freetown, then helping us find a new home in Westport, We want to thank her for everything she has done to make the transaction seem easy. We will be recommending her to our family & friends." -The Edwards Family, Westport, MA


~ Edwards Family

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