Cathy Duff-Poritzky | Yorktown Real Estate, Cortlandt Real Estate, Somers Real Estate


Buying a house may prove to be a long, complex journey, especially for a first-time homebuyer who decides to pursue a residence on his or her own. Fortunately, many real estate agents are available to help first-time homebuyers make their homeownership dreams come true.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that first-time homebuyers can use to find the right real estate agent in any housing market, at any time.

1. Go Beyond a Web Search

In many instances, it is easy to conduct a web search of real estate agents in a city or town. However, a diligent first-time homebuyer will know to look beyond a simple web search to discover the ideal real estate agent.

Take a look at a real estate agent's website. By doing so, a homebuyer can learn about a real estate agent's industry accomplishments and experience.

Also, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent's office directly. This enables a homebuyer to have a brief conversation with a real estate agent and find out exactly what this housing market professional is all about.

2. Host a Face-to-Face Meeting

A face-to-face meeting may prove to be exceedingly valuable for both a first-time homebuyer and a real estate agent, and for good reason.

During a face-to-face meeting, a homebuyer can ask questions and learn about a real estate agent's industry expertise. Plus, a homebuyer can receive comprehensive insights into what it will take to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Meanwhile, a face-to-face meeting helps a real estate agent learn about a homebuyer's goals. A homebuyer can provide information about what he or she wants in a dream home, and a real estate agent can offer details about what a homebuyer should expect at each stage of the property buying journey.

3. Receive Client Referrals

Although a first-time homebuyer may feel comfortable with hiring a real estate agent after a face-to-face meeting, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Thus, a homebuyer who requests client referrals from a real estate agent ensures that he or she can make the best possible decision.

A real estate agent should have no trouble providing you with multiple client referrals. Then, you can reach out to this housing professional's past clients to find out how he or she has helped homebuyers achieve their desired results.

Spend some time reaching out to a real estate agent's past clients – you'll be happy you did. With additional client insights at your disposal, you can improve your chances of choosing the perfect real estate agent.

Lastly, it is important to remember that a real estate agent should be available to guide you along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional boasts in-depth industry experience, and as such, can share deep insights to help you make informed decisions as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can employ a first-rate real estate agent and gain unparalleled support throughout the homebuying cycle.


Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.


If you're on the fence about whether to attend an open house, there is no need to worry. Ultimately, it is always better to err on the side of caution, especially if you're on the hunt for your dream home. And if you attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular residence is right for you.

There are many reasons why you should attend an open house, and these include:

1. You can assess a house both inside and out.

An open house provides a stress-free opportunity to walk through a house and examine it on your own. As such, an open house is a can't-miss event, particularly for a homebuyer who is actively seeking the perfect residence.

Of course, an open house enables you to learn about a home's condition both inside and out. And if you find that you like a home after you attend an open house, you can always set up a one-on-one home showing with a seller's agent or submit an offer to purchase.

2. You can envision what life may be life if you purchase a particular home.

It's one thing to look at pictures of a home and imagine what it would be like to live there. However, homebuyers who want to do everything possible to find the right residence should attend an open house to fully capture what it may be like if they purchase a particular residence.

Remember, how a home makes you feel can have far-flung effects on your decision about whether to submit an offer. And if you attend an open house, you may quickly discover whether you can picture yourself as the owner of a residence. Or, if you find that you are uncomfortable with a home, you can instantly move on and pursue other houses.

3. You can obtain home insights that you won't necessarily find in a house listing.

A home listing often contains details about a home's age, recent house upgrades and other pertinent information. But a home listing alone rarely provides you with all of the insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to submit a homebuying proposal.

During an open house, you can ask a seller's agent lots of questions about a residence. This will enable you to obtain insights that you otherwise may struggle to discover in a home listing. And as a result, you'll be able to make the best-possible decision about how to proceed with a residence.

Clearly, there are many reasons to consider attending an open house. If you need extra help as you pursue residences and debate whether to attend open houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to find your ideal residence in no time at all.


After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.

Hire an expert home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.

Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.

2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal

Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.

Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.

3. Prepare for Closing Day

As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.

Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.

If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.

A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.

Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.


If you know you’d like to buy a home in the future, you’ve probably thought about saving money for all of the upfront costs that buying a home can bring. Saving the sizable amount of money that it takes for a down payment can be seemingly impossible to do. It’s impossible without making yourself seem miserable for a time, at least. You can save money creatively without sacrificing everything. Below, you’ll find some tips for saving money that work for your life. 


Put Your Money Somewhere Safe


While investing in the stock market may seem like a good idea to put your savings on hyperdrive, it’s risky. When it comes to your savings, try high interest savings accounts and CDs. The latter is a particularly good option because you won’t be able to touch the money for the time period that the CD will mature. You’ll also earn a bit of interest on the funds that are in there. 


If you plan to keep adding to your savings (which you should) a traditional savings account is best. You should have a dedicated account that’s solely for the house fund. Do some shopping around for the savings account that will have the best interest rate and be the easiest option for you. Remember that as boring as a savings account seems, it’s a safe bet for your money. 


Apps Can Assist You


There are plenty of budgeting apps and apps that help you to set aside spare change. You should make use of these tools to help you reach your savings goals. Whether you need some help with budgeting or need to find ways to put your spare change to good use, there’s an app for that. You can even find apps that will reward you for good behavior. These apps may “tip” you a few bucks for going to the gym or completing a project on time. You’re saving money and doing good for yourself at the same time! Saving money for your future home can be fun if you find the right tools to help you.



Set Goals


One reason that many people don’t save a lot of money is that they lack specific goals. If you sit down and look at your budget, you’ll see where you can cut expenses. Then, you’ll be able to have clear cut goals of how much you can save on a weekly or monthly basis. With your eyes on the prize of homeownership, you should be motivated to save where you can. Having specific numbers in mind can be a big help in reaching your long-term goals.