Lauren Brooks | Newton Real Estate, Needham Real Estate, Brookline Real Estate


Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.


The long-expected day is finally here; it’s time for you to put into action all your weeks and months of planning. As a first-time mover, you might be worried, excited or stressed. Or maybe you are overwhelmed with all three emotions. It’s normal to feel this way, but you would get through this stage in one piece.

There are certain things you need to set up and stuff you need to avoid to prevent you from having a wrong first-time moving experience. The tips below will guide you on the do’s and don’ts for a first-time mover. 

Take Down Items in Your Yard You Want to Travel With

Your movers will help you dismantle certain things during the move, but these items might be limited to just indoors. If you have equipment in your back yard like gym equipment, sheds or trampoline, it’s advisable you dismantle it before the day of the move. Doing this ensures items are not left behind on the day of the move. 

Do Not Leave Valuable Items for Movers to Pack

Leaving things behind for movers to pack will slow things down and would make your packing disorganized. Movers might place essential documents where you might not quickly locate when you get to your new home. Take the time to pack crucial documents like passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, expensive jewels, heirloom and other items you deem valuable before the day of the move and have it tagged ‘VALUABLES.' That way, you avoid getting things mixed up or missing.

Do Not Let Your Kids or Pets Run Around During the Move

Allowing your kids and pet run around unsupervised when the movers are busy would slow them down and might lead to a domestic accident. To avoid this type of incident, have your kids out of the house either on a play date or visiting family - and you can crate your pets or board them for the day. 

Cleaning Your Old Home

Cleaning your old house on the same day the movers are transporting your property might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. Movers need free entry and exit while moving your belongings and cleaners need people out of their way while they are cleaning. They would end up getting into each other’s way if you have them working at the same time. 

Avoid Disconnecting Appliances at The Last Minute 

Before the big day arrives, ensure devices are disconnected and ready to be moved. Get your electricians and plumbers to help you disconnect appliances you can’t detach yourself. Have your refrigerator dried and prepared to be transported a week before the move to avoid moisture dripping into the shipment. 

Having all of these sorted out before your big day would ensure you do not have a bad moving experience, especially as a first-time mover.


The single most difficulty first-time homebuyers face is being able to save up the down payment. From student loans to medical bills; wanting to start a family or live in a more expensive city; coming up with those funds keeps many potential buyers out of the market.

In fact, if you don’t have your down payment saved up yet, you probably don’t think you can buy, but a recent report called the Realtors Confidence Index Survey Report claims that over eighty percent of first-time homebuying transactions take place with less than the common twenty-percent down payment.

Thankfully, there are programs out there just for you. These grants and funds may be just the boost you need. 

USDA Loans

If you’re interested in living in an area designated as rural, you may qualify for a home loan using a program set up by the Department of Agriculture. The USDA loans help low- and moderate-income buyers purchase homes in rural areas. While a down payment isn’t required, buyers must meet income eligibility requirements. They also must agree to live in the house as their primary residence. Specific addresses apply for these loan guarantees, so if you’re already looking at a rural home, double check the location to see if it qualifies.

National Homebuyers Fund

This non-profit corporation helps potential homebuyers with their down payment grants and closing costs, mortgage credits, energy efficiency financing, and other programs. To take advantage of these programs, the buyer must also qualify for FHA, VA, USDA, or conventional loans and be a low-to-moderate income earner. The program does not require that the buyer be a first-time homeowner so former homeowners who are looking to re-enter the market may qualify. Also, it’s FICO score and debt-to-income ratios are flexible.

HUD Neighbor Next Door

Purchasing a home through this program works to encourage buying in areas selected for renewal or revitalization. It provides funds for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency medical technicians to purchase in these neighborhoods. This incentive is substantial, with up to fifty-percent reduction in the list price of an eligible home via a bid-selection process. 

If you’re interested in the HUD program and qualify in one of the public servant categories, contact a HUD-registered real estate broker for assistance. Or, contact your neighborhood real estate professional and ask about local programs in your area.


There is much misinformation in the world of plumbing. For instance, people believe that when you flush the toilet, the water moves clockwise in the southern hemisphere due to the rotation of the earth. The truth is that such a movement does not occur at all. The rotation of the planet cannot have an effect of that magnitude on the toilet. Other myths follow a similar pattern. They begin with a popular idea and then misapply it. A water heater is not an exception when it comes to misinformation and myths. Here are some common water heater myths:

A water heater can explode

This myth is based on the fact that anything that involves pressurized water or gas tends to blow up. This belief is wrong because the water heater has safety measures that shut the heater down or releases heat when pressure builds up. Therefore, a water heater cannot explode. Call up your local water heater repair company when the device rattles.

DIY water heater repair is straightforward 

It is not advisable to repair your water heater system on your own without consulting the professionals that know how to do it better. Setting up a new heating element may appear straightforward, but it can result in slow heating and dangerous leaking gas if you do not install it correctly. You might be tempted to engage in DIY water repair especially when you need the fix completed as soon as possible, but you should remember that the system is more complicated than it appears. Therefore, it is more reliable to call on local water heater repair company to help you fix issues relating to your water heater. 

Tankless water heaters are costlier than other types of water heater 

The fact is that the installation of a tankless water heater requires expensive venting. This type of setup depends primarily on the location where you prefer to install your system. One of the features of a tankless water heater is that it is highly efficient, allowing buyers to recover the installation cost over a few years. 

Tankless water heaters can produce unlimited hot water

Tankless water heater does not have endless hot water. It works by heating water on demand. Hot water emanating from the tankless system is in greater supply because the water is not coming from a tank. 

The answers above have debunked some of the popular myths about your home water heating system. Rather than believing a myth about the water heater, it is advisable to contact professionals to help you fix any problems with your water heater.


Photo by: Sebastien Gabriel via Unsplash

You have a great trip planned, but you want to bring all your friends and family along with you. Well, let technology help. You don’t have to be a celebrity or a tech genius to enjoy documenting your travels. You can preserve your travel memories as they happen and keep everyone up-to-date back at home with videos, pictures and journal entries. Utilize your social media accounts or keep it a private, closed group. No matter the destination or mode of transportation, applications on your cell phone make sharing and saving your travel experiences simple.


Choose the One for You

How do you choose which app is right for you? Do you know anyone who has experience documenting their travels? Ask around and see who in your circle of influence can make recommendations. Get online and do some research of your own. Your phone app store is a great place to start. Be sure to read the reviews that pertain to each particular app. When traveling internationally, make sure that you will have access to the internet to post anything you want to share. Also, watch for ease-of-use from the reviewers.

Take it for a Spin

Once you have decided which application you are going to use, download it and give it a test run. Before you travel, recruit a few friends or family members to help you out as a test audience. Now, document your daily routine for a few days and see if you like how this app displays or functions, and determine its ease of use.
Does it have all the features that you would like? For example, do you want to live-stream some of your trip? Do you want to upload several pictures at once? Does it have a journaling area where you can document your thoughts and feelings about your trip? Then as you use it, ask your friends and family to give you feedback. Do they find it easy to get the updates and see your pictures and comments? Or do they find that they get too many notices when you post? This allows you to see whether the app is a good fit.
Sharing your travels with those back at home is a wonderful way to bring them along on the adventure.



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