Bob Barcelos | Methuen Real Estate, Lawrence Real Estate, Andover Real Estate, Salem Real Estate


Ready to buy a home? You'll likely need a mortgage to ensure you can afford your dream residence. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions are happy to help you discover a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

Ultimately, meeting with a mortgage lender may seem stressful at first. But this meeting can serve as a valuable learning opportunity, one that allows you to select a mortgage that is easy to understand and matches your budget.

When you meet with a mortgage lender, here are three of the questions to ask so you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision:

1. What mortgage options are available?

Most lenders offer a broad range of mortgage options. By doing so, these lenders can help you choose a mortgage that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Fixed-rate mortgages represent some of the most popular options for homebuyers, and perhaps it is easy to understand why. These mortgages lock-in an interest rate for a set period of time and ensure your mortgage payments will stay the same throughout the duration of your mortgage.

Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages may prove to be great choices for many homebuyers as well. These mortgages may feature a lower initial interest rate that rises after several years. However, with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you'll know when your mortgage's interest rate will increase and can plan accordingly.

2. Do I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Pre-approval for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea, and for good reason.

If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be able to enter the homebuying market with a budget in mind. That way, you can pursue houses that fall within a set price range and avoid the risk of overspending on a home.

On the other hand, you don't need to be pre-approved for a mortgage to submit an offer on a home. But with a mortgage in hand, you may be able to gain an advantage over the competition, one that might even lead a home seller to select your offer over others.

3. How long will a mortgage last?

Many mortgages last 15- or 30-years – it all depends on the type of mortgage that you select.

A lender can explain the length associated with various mortgage options and highlight the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.

Moreover, you should ask a lender if there are any prepayment penalties if you pay off your mortgage early. This may help you determine whether a particular mortgage is right for you.

When it comes to finding a lender, don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to discover a lender that offers a mortgage with a low interest rate. Plus, it enables you to find a lender that makes you feel comfortable.

If you need assistance in your search for the right lender, be sure to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide details about local lenders and ensure you can accelerate your push to acquire your dream residence.


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Rental properties are becoming extremely common in the world we live in today. Many people are realizing the huge profits they can make from rental properties, and the need for these rentals isn’t going away any time soon. If you’ve ever wanted to be a landlord and rake in some cash on the side, you’re not alone. However, buying rental property isn’t always easy and there are some things you should understand before getting the keys to your new home.

Make Sure You’re Ready

The fact of the matter is, owning rental property is harder than it looks. From insurance and laws to home repairs and dealing with tenants, it can all be a very time-consuming and stressful job owning a rental property. And if owning property isn’t your full-time gig, the process can be even more difficult. Make sure that you do your homework and that you’re prepared for anything that can happen regarding your new property. Research everything that needs to be done for a rental owner, then also look up how to manage tenants properly. Also, managing a property takes a lot of time and energy, especially if it’s your first time. It's also important to have the right schedule while managing a property. While you can still have a full-time job, you should have the flexibility to meet with the tenants and take care of repairs or issues when needed.

Keep a Proper Budget

When owning rental property, you’re owning a home that can see damage, which can be very costly. And if you don’t have the money to handle repairs and disasters when they strike, then you could have a home just sitting there with no tenants interested. This is why you should always budget for the unexpected. Some examples of what can go wrong include:

  • Broken dishwasher
  • Damaged pipes
  • Irrigation issues
  • Carpet damage
  • Damage to walls
  • Window damage
  • Be Cautious of a Fixer-Upper

    While you’ve always had a dream about buying a fixer-upper and creating something incredible, this dream doesn’t pan out for many. That’s because many of these people bite off a little more than they can chew, and they don’t have the time, energy or resources to really build something profitable. Therefore, you should be very cautious before trying this method for yourself. It is possible to make money from a fixer-upper, but it takes tons of work and can be very difficult, especially if you’re buying your very first rental property. Dealing with one of these properties might require spending thousands on materials, hiring professionals, dealing with plumbing issues and possibly dealing with structural damage.  While you may be very tempted, try looking for a property that needs a few simple renovations and one that is priced below market value.

    Preparation is Key

    Before you jump into buying a rental property, consider the three tips outlined above to have confidence throughout the process. This will ensure that you're well-prepared for what's to come. Fixing a home, dealing with tenants and paying for insurance can all be stressful, so it's best to understand these responsibilities before purchasing a rental property.


    Shopping for a new home is difficult and time-consuming. With all of the homes listed for sale, it’s tempting to want to visit all of them. However, if you’re juggling house-hunting with your work and personal life, then you likely won’t have time to set aside many hours to visit several homes.

     This is where you can use technology to your advantage. With free, modern tools online you can find out plenty about a house and the neighborhood it’s in without ever having to go and visit it. Better yet, you can do so in just a few minutes right from home.

     In this article, we’re going to teach you how to become a real estate investigator from the comfort of your own couch, helping you save time while hunting for the perfect home for you. 

     Know what you’re looking for

    While it’s okay to browse homes for pleasure, when it comes to getting serious about buying a home you’ll want to keep your search as specific as possible. Think about what you or your family need in a house and neighborhood, rather than focusing on idealized versions of those things.

    A good way to do this is to sit down and make a list of your budget and the five most important things you’re looking for in a home. These could be things like distance to work, being in a certain school district, or having a certain number of bedrooms. Once you have these details in mind you can begin your search.

    Search tools

    There are a number of search tools for locating homes near you. The key to searching, however, isn’t the tool you use but how you search. Refer to your list for things like room numbers, square footage, and location.

    If you don’t come up with as many hits as you’d like, try setting up email or text alerts so you can be made aware of the new results for your area.

    Once you have a list of about ten properties, you’re ready to start researching them further to see which sellers you want to contact to view the home.

    Researching a potential home

    Many people are surprised at the number of things you can learn about a home just from a Google search. However, Google will be an indispensable tool in your search for the perfect home.

    Let’s start our search on Google Maps. Type in the address for the house you’re researching and see if there are any photos of the home that aren’t on the listing page. Next, enter the satellite view of the home to get an idea of the layout of the home and property.

    While you’re in Google Maps, it’s a good idea to browse the local area for businesses, hospitals, schools, parks, and other services that might affect your decision. Then, set a driving route between the house and your place of work to find out how long it would take you to get to work if you moved there.

    Once you’re done in Google Maps, head back to the Google search page and browse the results for the address. This could show you information on previous owners, prices, and crime statistics. All of this will be useful information in your search.

    Repeat this search method for the rest of your homes on your list and you’ll be narrowing down potential homes to visit in no time.


    Ready to buy a condo? With help from an expert real estate agent, you can make your condo ownership dreams come true.

    An expert real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can purchase a top-notch condo at an unbeatable price. In addition, this real estate professional will make it easy to discover a superior condo without delay.

    Ultimately, an expert real estate agent can make a world of difference during a condo search. But it is important to note that there are many factors to consider as you evaluate a real estate agentl.

    Key factors that a condo buyer should consider when he or she assesses a real estate agent include:

    1. Industry Experience

    How many years has a real estate agent worked with condo buyers? Has a real estate agent been successful in his or her efforts to help condo buyers? And how will this housing market professional handle difficult negotiations with a condo seller? These are some of the questions to consider as you examine a real estate agent's industry experience.

    When it comes to assessing a real estate agent, industry experience is key. A real estate professional who understands the ins and outs of buying a condo should have no trouble helping you purchase a superb property that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    2. Communication Skills

    How a real estate agent communicates with his or her clients says a lot about this professional.

    If a real estate agent strives to stay in touch with clients via text, phone and email, this housing market professional likely will be able to keep a condo buyer informed at each stage of the property buying cycle.

    On the other hand, a real estate agent who fails to prioritize effective communication may struggle to help a condo buyer. This housing market professional may be unavailable if a condo buyer has concerns or questions. As a result, a condo buyer is unlikely to get the support that he or she needs to make an informed property buying decision.

    Meeting directly with a real estate agent can give you a better idea about his or her communication skills. If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face discussion, you may want to consider moving forward with this housing market professional.

    3. Client Referrals

    What are previous condo buyers saying about a real estate agent? Request client referrals from a real estate agent, and you can find out how he or she has supported condo buyers in the past.

    Client referrals enable you to understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent and can provide you with insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Moreover, client referrals can help you accelerate the process of choosing the right real estate agent to guide you along the condo buying journey.

    For condo buyers, there is no need to worry as you prepare to enter the housing market. Instead, use these tips, and you can find a first-rate real estate agent who will ensure you can purchase your dream condo.


    When your family is searching for a home, it’s an exciting time for the adults, but if there are children involved, it can be a difficult task. Children don’t have to be left in the dark during a home search. Children of all ages can be involved in the process of finding a home. Read on for tips on how to make your kids feel a part of the home search process. 


    Young Children


    Preschool-aged children might seem not to be aware of the fact that your family is searching for a home, but they can still very much be a part of the process. One thing to remember about young children is that you shouldn’t give them too many options. Once you have narrowed down the homes to a few and the time to buy a home is close, it’s a good time to tell your toddler about the fact that you’re moving. While you probably don’t want to take your kids along with you on all of your home viewings, you can bring the children with you. Even the opinions of the tiniest among us can help contribute to a final decision. 


    School-Aged Children


    Older children may be more challenging to deal with during a move. These kids are more aware of the changes to come and maybe more reluctant of the entire process. It’s best to include children this age (around 6-9 years old) in conversions about your plans. Where do you hope to move? What neighborhood will the home be? Show them pictures of potential new homes. Allowing kids this age to share their thoughts on location and the types of houses you’re looking at can help to ease fears and anxieties. Remind your kids that the final choice is up to the adults but that you appreciate and welcome their input. 


    Older Children And Teenagers 


    Pre-teens and teenagers can play a part in the house search. Make sure that they understand that there’s no pressure on them to pick a house but their input is essential to you. Teens are tweens should be encouraged to come along on house tours to help give an opinion on the properties in person. 


    The older the kids that are involved, the more you should value and welcome your input.  Make sure that you reassure your teens, letting them know that they can continue their favorite activities. Do a little research on the new community first, or allow your kids to do a bit of research themselves.                     





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