Diane & Michael Koughan | Burnt Store Marina Real Estate, Punta Gorda Real Estate


As a homebuyer, it is paramount to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying journey. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to achieve various goals along this journey and acquire your ideal residence faster than ever before.

Setting realistic homebuying expectations can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set realistic homebuying expectations.

1. Assess Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Dozens of homes are available in cities and towns nationwide. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be better equipped than others to determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a quick, seamless homebuying experience.

Oftentimes, it helps to create a list of home must-haves and wants prior to searching for a house. This list can be updated as you proceed along the homebuying journey and will serve as a guide to help you discover your ideal residence.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

With a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Then, you can speed up the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence in no time at all.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions generally offer a broad array of mortgage options. Examine all of your mortgage options closely, and you're sure to find a mortgage that matches your finances.

Also, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with potential lenders. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to help you in any way they can. Thus, you can gain expert insights from these mortgage specialists that could help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a home in any housing market. Therefore, he or she can help you prepare for the real estate market and establish realistic homebuying expectations from day one.

Typically, a real estate agent first will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will help you map out a successful homebuying journey, one that concludes with you discovering your dream house at a budget-friendly price.

A real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey too. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you updated about new residences that become available and help you evaluate houses. And if you want to submit an offer on a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.

Achieving the optimal results during the homebuying journey sometimes can be difficult. But if you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you may be able to streamline the homebuying journey and ensure that you can purchase a great house that suits you perfectly.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.

Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.

There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term “first-time homebuyer” really means.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.

Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?

Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:

  • Someone who hasn’t owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.

  • A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a “displaced homemaker” who has only owned a home a former spouse.

  • People who have only owned homes that didn’t meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.

The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.

Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs

Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.

VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.

This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.

The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You don’t need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.

State, Local, and Private Programs

Each state in the United States offers various buyer’s assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.


The kitchen is the center of the home. It’s where families ultimately end up gathering throughout the day. Whether for breakfast, dinner, to chat over tea or wine it’s a place for connection with those we care about.

And as a room that we spend so much of our time in why shouldn’t it be the best room in the house? Here are five kitchen features to look for while house hunting for your dream home.

Custom cabinetry promises quality, natural wood that has been hand designed by a craftsman. No out of the box carbon copies here. Since time and resources were allocated towards adding custom cabinetry you can also be sure careful planning was as well. The cabinetry should enhance and fit artfully within the kitchen and around architecture capitalizing on space.

A large kitchen island is quickly becoming a necessity for homeowners upgrading their spaces. Providing more than just extra prep space it allows for the family to gather while cooking, working on homework or socializing over cocktails. Look for options that can comfortably seat six to eight people especially if you love hosting others often.

Depending on your preferences you may find your countertops more important than counter space. Quartz and marble countertops are quickly replacing granite. And rightly so, they make for a stunning centerpiece of the room. They are slightly more high maintenance but well worth the effort. If you are so lucky to have these countertops in your new home be sure to pick up some trivets with padded feet and Bar Keepers Friend to preserve their natural beauty.

Natural stone tiling is forever a classic. If you’re seeking a home that is timelessly elegant natural stone is a must-have. Marble is the most coveted. And if radiant heat flooring is on your wishlist for those early Sunday mornings cooking pancakes natural stone makes for a perfect duo.

A walk-in pantry for the home chef is akin to a shoe closet for the fashion forward. Allowing plenty of storage space, a walk-in pantry begs to be filled with cookbooks, specialty ingredients and you’re most prized appliances to be put neatly on display. Consider the proximity of each pantry to your cooking space. You’ll want one that feels like a natural extension to the kitchen and not like you’re going out of your way each time you need to gather necessary ingredients and supplies.

If you have your heart set on any of these features but find an almost perfect home without them leave room in your budget to upgrade after the sale. This way you will not only have upscale features but ones that are completely customized to your exact preferences. You’ll have plenty of time to make these decisions without the rush of balancing out the pros and cons before placing a bid.



This listing recently sold for $482,500.

3280 SOUTHSHORE DR #84B, PUNTA GORDA, FL 33955  

Residential
$482,500
Price
$482,500
Sale Price
3
Bedrooms
2
Baths
SOUTHSHORE GEM! – One of a kind! Take a look at the 3D Tour and “Walk Thru” this 3 Br, 2Ba TOTALLY REMODELED - from the studs out - condominium. Even the ceilings have been raised for a modern “flair”. The air conditioner installed on the lanai creates a 2,600 sq. ft unit completely under air. Enter the etched glass front door into the Top of the Line Kitchen with granite counter tops, glass display cabinet doors, breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances and double sinks. Large walk-in pantry is adjacent to the kitchen. Designer lighting in the living room accentuates your artwork (current artwork does not convey). You are immediately drawn to the gorgeous Harbor View, evening sunsets and boat traffic parading thru the Marina. Plantation shutters and custom shades frame the windows. Large tile leads from the kitchen throughout the Lanai. You are immediately drawn to the gorgeous view. Relax on the 600 sq. ft wind resistant lanai with your beverage of choice. The Master suite area includes a large walk-in closet, bathroom shower with diamond accent tiles, two sinks and built-in bathroom storage. The Master suite features a mesmerizing view of Charlotte Harbor. The two Guest bedrooms are as large as most master suites and has a remolded guest bath that can be shared by your guests. Laundry room includes large sink, washer and dryer. There is plenty to do in this friendly community – Friday night get togethers, theme parties and various card games. MSS has the largest pool in the Marina.


Many sellers aren’t sure how to give a positive spin to their small backyard. We imagine that most homeowners want a large expanse of green with various types of trees and maybe even room for a vegetable garden.

However, there are ways to make a small yard a good thing. After all, less yard means less grass to mow and water and worry over when drought hits.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on making your tiny yard appealing to buyers.

Decorate wisely

Making an area seem more spacious is often a matter of smart decorating. Just like you can make a room appear bigger with bright colors and mirrors, you can make a yard appear bigger with proper landscaping and outdoor furniture.

When it comes to patio furniture, keep it simple. You don’t need a massive set of furniture in a small yard, and filling your yard up with chairs will make it feel crowded.

Choose a few well-placed decorations for your yard, and keep it simple.

Container gardening

A good way to make a small yard feel more in touch with nature is to plant in containers. Sticking to a central theme with your plants will give the yard a sense of continuity and simplicity that will make it feel welcoming.

Container gardening is also a good option for people who live in arid areas prone to drought. You can choose drought resistant plants that are easy to maintain.

Landscaping is key

You know how a cluttered and messy bedroom feels small and unwelcoming? The same is true for a cluttered and unkempt backyard. Cutting the grass and trimming the trees and hedges will go a long way. However, also remember to not use your backyard as a storage space. Tools and equipment that aren’t put away will make the yard feel even smaller than it already is.

Set a focal point

Small backyards don’t need a lot of features and amenities. One key area is enough to satisfy the eye. Rather than choosing several small decorations, stick to one thing. Whether it’s a small box garden, a fireplace, or a well-placed tree, drawing the eye is one way to distract from the size of the space.

Small is a style

The last important thing to keep in mind is that houses with small backyards are usually found in locations where small backyards are expected. You wouldn’t dream of finding a large backyard behind a class brownstone in Brooklyn, and as a result, the small backyards of those builds have taken on a charm of their own.

If you aren’t sure about how to incorporate landscaping and decorations in your tiny backyard, look up some inspiration online for urban backyards that match the style of your home. This will attract buyers who are already looking for something that your home already has--character.