Dave Tedoni | St. Louis Real Estate, Maryland Heights Real Estate, Ballwin Real Estate


An informed homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a successful property buying experience. In fact, an informed homebuyer likely will understand the ins and outs of the local housing market – something that could make it simple for this individual to discover a great residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ultimately, it helps to review the local real estate market closely before you embark on the homebuying journey. Lucky for you, there are many things you can do to analyze the local real estate market and gain the homebuying insights you need to succeed.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you study the local housing sector so you can navigate the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Assess the Prices of Recently Sold Houses

Oftentimes, it is a good idea to review the prices of recently sold houses in cities or towns where you plan to search for your dream residence. If you understand how much home sellers are receiving for their residences, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall in line with your budget.

It is important to remember that city houses may be more expensive than comparable residences in small towns, too. Thus, you should budget accordingly based on where you choose to search for a home.

2. Find Out If Homes Are Selling Quickly

Take a look at how quickly homes are selling in cities and towns where you want to live. With this housing market data in hand, you can determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of available houses. Or, in a seller's market, homes may sell within days of being listed.

If you are operating in a buyer's market, you may be able to take your time to find your ideal house. Comparatively, in a seller's market, you should be prepared to act quickly to acquire your dream residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing sector. That way, a real estate agent can help you become an informed homebuyer in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will provide insights into the housing market in your preferred cities and towns and help you hone your house search. Then, a real estate agent will help you search for your dream residence. And once you find a house you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

As you prepare for the homebuying journey, it may be beneficial to learn about the local real estate sector. By doing so, you can gain comprehensive housing market insights that you can use to streamline your home search. As a result, you could speed up the process of finding and purchasing your ideal house.


Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lender’s decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.

Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things you’ll need when it comes to buying a home.

Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.

So, in this post we’re going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.

Types of credit scores

You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).

Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.

However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.

Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if you’ve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.

Build credit; raise your credit score

All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.

Your credit score will be based on five main factors:

  1. Making on-time payments

  2. The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)

  3. Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

  4. Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that you’re struggling financially)

  5. The length of your credit history, or how long you’ve been consistently paying your bills

What score do you need to buy a home?

There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.

A general rule, however, is that it’s always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate. 

Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who haven’t owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but you’ll have to make a larger down payment.


There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you aren’t planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.


As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.

1. Your Dream Home

Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.

If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.

Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.

Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.

For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.

A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.

As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.


Seeing your desire to buy a waterfront property through is a big accomplishment. Before you sign on the dotted lines, there are a few things that you should know about the process of choosing the perfect waterfront property for you. 


Decide What You Need


The first step in finding the right property of any kind is understanding your own needs. How do you want to use the property? Will it be your year-round home, or will you be there only a portion of the year? Really map out what your priorities are when it comes to searching for waterfront properties. From here, you can figure out what areas you’d like to search in and what type of property you want to find to suit you. What types of activities will you be doing at your property? Will a lake property do the job or do you need an ocean escape? Is canoeing or kayaking a part of your dream, or is simply sitting by the water enough enjoyment for your needs? Answering all of these questions can help you to narrow down your needs for a waterfront property. 


Touring Properties


As with any other type of home search, you should take the time to scope out the properties that you’re interested in. This means not only looking at the properties themselves but looking at the communities and neighborhoods as well. What does the area have to offer you? Is it near a town or nestled away in a secluded spot? Remember that with a typical house the size of the home is what contributes to the majority of the value of the home. With a waterfront property, the surroundings are key. The closer to the water you are, the more valuable your piece of real estate is. Consider all of the typical factors when looking at properties along with the additional concerns of being close to the amenities and natural pleasures that you crave. 


Other Important Things To Consider


Other things that you should consider in finding your perfect piece of waterfront heaven are things like:


  • How close is the beach?
  • Does the beach or lake have easy access?
  • Is there an adequate amount of privacy at this property?
  • What kind of view is there?


The more breathtaking the views and the more space between you and your neighbors will give you an advantage not only in your own living situation but in renting out the property and even selling it in the future. 


There are a lot of things that go into making the decision of finding the right waterfront property. Sometimes, hiring an experienced realtor in the area can be just what you need to understand all the aspects of your investment from the area to the type of home you choose. Don’t be afraid to hire an experienced realtor to help you in your search.   



You may think of downsizing as something that makes sense when you have an empty nest. Larger families do, of course, need more room. Downsizing can also be financially strategic and rewarding for you and your family if you have the opportunity to do so.


How Much Is Your Home Worth? 


There comes a point in your life when the amount of money that your home is worth is very important. Maybe you need the money for retirement and are looking to move to a cheaper city or state. Maybe it’s time for you to pursue your goals and dreams. Whatever the reason, your home is a very large asset.  


If you downsize, you’ll have a bit more money available to invest for your future. You may even consider buying an investment property. If all of your money isn’t tied up in a home, you’ll have a bit more freedom to do other things with your money.


A Smaller Home Means Smaller Expenses 


When you downsize your home you end up with much lower expenses for your housing. You’ll save big on both utilities and home maintenance. You’ll be surprised as to how much extra cash you’ll have each and every month that you’ll be able to use for other things like investing, travel, or other expenses. You’ll have the ability to do things beyond simply achieve that one dream goal of home ownership. 


What If You Don’t Already Own A Home?


There’s a lesson to be learned here for renters as well. If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you may want to think small. A smaller home that can suit your needs will allow you to save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage on your home. Remember that a mortgage payment is more than just the cost of the home. You’ll need to include things like taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance, heating, electricity, and more. The smaller the house that you buy, the less all of these things will cost. Think of what you could do if you invested that extra money that you saved on all of these things each month. 


What Would You Do With The Money You Save?


Having a big, beautiful home is a fantastic goal to achieve. You may have other dreams that you want to pursue in addition to owning a home. While downsizing isn’t for everyone, many people use the money they save to do some pretty incredible things like:


  • Travel
  • Go back to school
  • Buy a vacation home


The Negatives Of Downsizing


If you move into a smaller home, there are a few drawbacks. For one, you’ll have less storage and will actually need to downsize your amount of belongings as well. You’ll also have less room for visitors if hey come to stay. If grandkids frequent your home, you may be hesitant to sell and find a smaller place. It may also be difficult to find what you’re looking for at a certain price in a specific area. Think carefully before you decide to downsize and see if it has the right benefits for you.