Donna L Testa, CBR, CDPE, SRES

Donna L Testa





  • Determine how much you can afford.

Mortgages are more complicated that many people think. Get expert advice before you start looking at houses so you won’t find your dream home that you can’t afford.

  • Call a mortgage company (I can refer you to several) and get a pre-approval.

A pre-approval should involve providing documents so they know exactly what you can afford and are not guessing. I have several mortgage companies that I use on a regular basis and they will provide you with your pre-approval but in addition to that they are great resources.

  • Check your credit score and repair any errors.

            You are entitled to a free report each year. Don’t be surprised.

  • How much should you put down for a down payment?

Did you know you can buy a home for as little as 3.5% down? You should determine how much you need to put down to get your total payment affordable. It may make sense to put down less and keep more money in your “rainy day” fund.

  • Ask your mortgage agent about money saving first time home buyer programs.

           There may be rates specially for you.

  • Do you qualify for VA, USDA or FHA loans?

           These programs have qualifications that do not fit every person and every home.

  • Should you pay points?

           If you have a lower down payment then you should not pay down points. If you have extra money then it depends if you plan to live in the home long enough              to get to the break-even point. Your mortgage agent can help you determine how long this is.

  • Don’t use all your savings.

           Mortgage underwriters will insist you have some extra savings. Things break and there are many items that you need to buy for your home in the first few                   months. Be prepared.

  • No credit purchases from offer to closing.

           Once you have applied for your mortgage, it is important that you do not buy anything on credit. Buying a car, furniture etc. will impact your income/ payment               ratio and can disqualify you. This includes deals that are 0% interest for an extended period.

  • Don’t underestimate the cost of homeownership.

           Have you accounted for an increase in utility costs, repairs and buying new items for the house whether needed or just for fun.

  • Know repair and renovation costs.

           Get a real estimate form a contractor if the house needs some work. Remember HGTV is not real! Repairs typically take more time and more $$$ than these               shows imply. There are also renovation loans to consider if you want to buy a real fixer upper. 


As an experienced agent, I can help you find all the write partners we need to get you to find the right home and make sure that you can afford it.

Donna Testa

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Commonwealth Real Estate


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