Kate Hogan -Amherst, MA real estate, Hadley, MA real estate, Northampton, MA real estate
Kate Hogan - Amherst & Pioneer Valley Realtor


Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, you’re in luck. Today’s post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing you’ll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of credit…

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Don’t open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you won’t want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You can’t withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you won’t need to dip into these funds before they’ve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if it’s your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that you’ll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, you’ll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You won’t be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Don’t be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if you’re happy with your current job.

If you’ve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.



307 Westfield Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040

Single-Family

$254,900
Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
Nicely maintained 3 bedroom home for sale in a sought after neighborhood, close to all area amenities. Charming inside and out. Spacious yard with flowering trees, garden space, and one car garage. Inside you will find a beautifully renovated eat-in kitchen, living room, renovated bath, 3 bedrooms, and a glorious sunroom where you can relax and find peace. Wood floors throughout. A bonus room in the basement along with storage and laundry. Want be close to everything yet feel like you are on vacation? Come see this!
Open House
Saturday
June 19 at 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 307 Westfield Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040    Get Directions

Similar Properties




307 Westfield Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040

Single-Family

$259,900
Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
1
Baths
Nicely maintained 3 bedroom home for sale in a sought after neighborhood, close to all area amenities. Charming inside and out. Spacious yard with flowering trees, garden space, and one car garage. Inside you will find a beautifully renovated eat-in kitchen, living room, renovated bath, 3 bedrooms, and a glorious sunroom where you can relax and find peace. Wood floors throughout. A bonus room in the basement along with storage and laundry. Want be close to everything yet feel like you are on vacation? Come see this!
Open House
Saturday
June 19 at 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 307 Westfield Rd, Holyoke, MA 01040    Get Directions

Similar Properties



Image by Andy Dean Photography from Shutterstock

Designing your dream kitchen is a fun and exciting step in your home build or remodel. You’ll want to find the perfect cabinets, countertops, and sink for your new space. In addition to the aesthetic of the pieces you select, be sure to consider their functional value. Here are some smart ideas to keep in mind when designing your space. 

Intentional Storage Solutions

You’ll want to have functional spaces that store your belongings in a well organized, easily accessible way. Consider pull out cabinets that have built-in racks for your pantry stock or food storage containers. Kitchen items can get lost in deep cabinets, select medium depth to shallow cabinets with shelves to keep things within reach. Introduce lazy susan cabinets to activate otherwise wasted space. Look for options with shelves that rotate out when the door is open. Hidden trash drawers are perfect for keeping your space tidy, closing up food smells and opening up floor space.

Space for Appliances

One of the more difficult things to account for is space for smaller appliances like food processors, blenders and mixers. You need to store them but you also need space to use them. Building your kitchen from scratch allows you to make smart decisions about where and how you will use appliances. Instead of creating two spaces for your appliances, consider creating cabinet space or shelving that has built-in electrical outlets. This allows you to use the appliances in the same place that you store them.

Workspace

You may be concerned about having ample space for meal preparation. Consider adding an island or introducing workspace through pull-out counter spaces or cutting boards. Including vertical storage solutions like pegboards, hooks, and shelving will help to keep counters clutter-free.

Before you work through the design aspects of your kitchen remodel, think about how you’ll use the space and design it meet the unique needs of your household.


Composting is the act of taking food scraps and yard waste in order to feed the soil and create a more nutritious blend for any plants that you are growing in your home. It's a concept that has many benefits. Not only does composting help you to grow a healthy and nutritious garden, but it also helps reduce the amount of waste that you send to the landfill each week.

More and more households are looking to start composting in order to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their commitment a sustainable lifestyle. If you want to try your hand at this simple practice, here's what you need to know:

Every Compost Pile Consists of Three Elements: Browns, Greens and Water

In order to create an effective compost pile, you need equal parts of brown materials and green materials. Brown materials include dead leaves, sticks and branches from trees. Green materials are not always the color green. They are essentially natural waste products, such as lawn clippings, fruit scraps or vegetable peelings. You can even add coffee grounds to your compost pile.

Still have questions about what you can and cannot compost? Here are a few examples of what you can safely add to your compost bin:

      • Nutshells
    • Eggshells
    • Wood chips
    • Hair and pet fur
    • Houseplants
    • Shredded newspaper
    • Fruit peels
    • Vegetable waste

    Here are a few things that you should keep out of your compost pile:

    • Dairy products
    • Meat scraps
    • Pet waste

    You Only Need a Few Supplies to Start Composting

    Some people avoid composting because they think they are going to need a lot of supplies and intricate set up in order to compost effectively. However, you only need a few basic supplies in order to get started. These include:

    • A scrap pail that is located in your kitchen.
    • A designated compost bin.
    • A place in your yard to put the compost.

    Composting Is Easy and Everybody Can Join In

    Once you have your supplies ready, you can easily create a composting process in your own home. Here are some steps to take when you begin composting:

    • Leave your pail out in a prominent spot to remind everyone in the house to put compost materials there. Regularly add products to the pail throughout the day.
    • Every day, take your pail to the compost bin and dump it out.
    • Once per month, turn your compost bin so that the materials mix up with one another and continue to decompose.
    • Monitor the material at the bottom of the pile. When it appears as rich soil without any scraps, it is ready to be added to your garden. You will usually have ready-made soil at least once every six months.

    Composting Has Endless Benefits

    Not only is composting easy, but it's incredibly beneficial. Here are a few of the benefits that you will uncover when you start composting:

    • You will have easy access to rich soil that provides you with incredible results. In addition, you will have less of a need for pesticides or chemical fertilizer. This will save you time and money in your gardening.
    • You will keep unnecessary items out of landfills, which helps to reduce methane emissions and create a greener environment.

    Whether you are going to pursue backyard composting or indoor composting, you will find that it's easy to get hooked on this process that helps reduce waste and improves the soil. As you are pulling up bright, ripe vegetables from your garden later this summer, you will see just how beneficial your compost pile can be.




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