Tag Archives: #firsttimehomebuyers

Your Best Options as a First-Time Homebuyer

If you’re looking to buy your first home, you’re likely balancing several factors. Because both mortgage rates and home prices have risen this year, it costs more to buy a house than it did even just a few months ago. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your plans on hold.

Here are two tips to help you get started.

Prioritize Your Wish List

If you’re having trouble finding a home in your budget that checks all the boxes, it may be worth taking another look at your list of what you want and what you really need. 

According to the latest First-Time Homebuyer Metro Affordability Report from NerdWallet, your wish list can have as much impact on your search as your finances: “Your budget isn’t all that you need to be concerned about. Your wish list and desired location may carry just as much weight.”

It’s all about prioritization. If you’re serious about purchasing your first home soon, be flexible in what you’re looking for to open up your pool of options. Work with a local professional — not your Uncle’s cousin’s son from 50 miles away. Most properties come and go quickly. Local realtors have the best access to information about when homes become available. We also know what the current successful strategies are to have an offer an accepted.

Remember, making a concession on your wish list now doesn’t mean you’ll never have everything you want. After you’ve moved in, you can always add certain features to make the home your own. Countertops can be changed. Cabinets added. Basements finished. In many cases, there’s really no rush.

Increase Your Search Radius To Consider More Locations

Some areas may have more homes within your target price range than others, but it may require you to be flexible on your location.

For example, if you’re a remote worker, you may be able to expand your search radius. As Fannie Mae explains: “…continued remote work flexibility is likely giving many the ability to live farther away.”

The median selling price in the Boston area for a single family home in April was $845,000. On Cape, it was $675,000.

So, if you’ve vacationed on Cape for years and always wanted to live here full time, now could be your chance. Buying on Cape is less expensive and there’s a big difference between driving to Boston twice a week, as opposed to daily.

The Cape also offers more open space and lifestyle options.

If you’re serious about purchasing your first home this year, revisiting your wish list and desired location can help. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to explore all the options here on Cape – and beyond, if you’re interested – so you can achieve your homeownership dreams.


The move to our new home was very successful. (Getting our new furniture delivered is another story!) We chronicled the day for you on our YouTube series Mari Makes the Move. You can see it here.

Selling and buying was a new experience for us as we lived in our previous home for 28 years. We learned a lot that we’ll be sharing with you in the weeks ahead.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank


Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. These days, if you’re looking to purchase your first home, you’re probably concerned about what’s happening in the housing market, how much you need to save, and where to start.

Here are three tips to help you confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

1. Consider All Options Because Inventory Is Low

As we all know, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. So, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums and townhouses can be an excellent way to increase your choices.

According to Bankrate: “Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single family homes.”

Condos and townhouses are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.

You might also consider expanding your area of interest. A few miles could make a difference in price and homes to choose from.

2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think

Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Acccording to Bankrate: “One of the biggest misconceptions among consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”

Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers | MyKCM

Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.

Some loan options require as little as 3.5% down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. 

3. This Isn’t the Time to Take Uncle Harry’s Advice

Finally, no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a professional.

Well meaning relatives like Uncle Harry, who “knows a little something about real estate,” or family and friends, who bought houses a decade or more ago, are not your best sources of information and advice about today’s housing market.

(They might be the ones telling you that you need 20% for a downpayment!)

If you’re just starting out, a real estate professional can help you with the initial steps, including educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved.

Once you’re ready to begin your search, we can help you understand the market where you’re interested and search for available homes.

And when it’s time to make an offer, we can advise you on what the current trends and expectations are and help your offer stand out above the rest.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss what’s possible. It’s important to have the correct information to make an informed decision.

…and remember. We know of what we speak. We’re selling and buying now, too. Check out our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube Channel, Mari Sennott Plus. We’ll be posting new episodes soon.


Thanks to everyone who came by the Sandwich Office of Today Real Estate on Saturday to have their valuable documents shredded by Great White Shred. Our goal was 100 “boxes” and we reached 93, even though the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. We plan on doing it again late summer/early fall.

Thanks as well to Kristy Sassone from First Home Mortgage for the assist with coffee and donuts and our raffle prize sponsors Jason Goldstein Photography, JDs Burgers and Sushi, Tomatillos, and Penguins Ice Cream.

Enjoy your week.

Mari and Hank

Fixer Uppers Are Not Always a Good Deal

First time home buyers are sometimes tempted to purchase a property that needs some work. The price of a fixer-upper is less and if potential buyers are handy — or think they are — the opportunity to save money is enticing.

But, according to a recent article on the ValuePenguin website, buyers may end up spending more after renovations than they would have spent had they gone ahead and purchased a move-in ready home.

While a fixer-upper may have a lower purchase price than a comparable turnkey house ⁠— a property that needs no major improvements before you move in ⁠— the money that sometimes is needed to fix the house often exceeds expectations.

On average, those who responded to a national survey and bought turnkey houses said they spent $250,496.00, while those who purchased fixer-uppers bought their homes for $199,819.00. After renovations, those who stayed within budget spent an average of $246,891.00 in total. That’s not much of a savings. (Remember this is a national survey, not one based on Cape Cod home prices.)

Of those who bought fixer-uppers, 44%  said they went over budget, spending on average 38% more than expected, according to the survey. Among those who went over budget, the average total cost of buying and renovating the home came to $275,741.00 ⁠— approximately $25,000.00 more than the average cost of a turnkey house.

Some renovation projects seem to be more budget unfriendly than others. Home buyers who needed to install a new HVAC  system, do major plumbing work, or make basement renovations were the most likely to spend more than they planned.

Not surprisingly, those fixer-upper homeowners who overspent were more likely to regret their purchase, than those who stayed within their renovation budgets, according to the article.

If you’re thinking about buying a fixer-upper, consider more than just the price. Be realistic about the costs of bringing the home to the condition you want and plan for the surprises you may encounter along the way. Also, be wary of friends who say they can help you with renovations. They may not know as much as they claim and might not be available when the time comes to actually do the work.


Our buyers and sellers guides for the fall are now available. Please visit our video website for more information. Thanks…


…and for those of you concerned about the status of the economy and whether now is the time to get involved in the real estate market, the chart below should be encouraging.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank