Welcome to Rhode Island!!
Donnie Bennett


5 Things to know when buying in 2016Midnight is barreling down on us – along with all our hopes, dreams, wishes and expectations for it!!

I can’t say that I have the best track record of making (and STICKING) to my New Year’s Resolutions. But what I know, after years of using the mirage of a new year as a great excuse to set and meet some goals, is that it’s very, very helpful to get a head start with ramping-up to new habits, behaviors, targets, goals and achievements as quickly as possible.

After all… the hardest part is always the beginning!! And tomorrow is your new day to do just that!

If you’re one of the millions who has an eye on 2016 as the year in which you’ll buy a home (whether it be your FIRST or your FIFTIETH), here are FIVE THINGS you can do now to put yourself on the right path:

#1. CHECK YOUR CREDIT. Take my word for it: there is no bad surprise that’s worse than a bad CREDIT surprise. Okay, maybe there is one thing worse – a credit surprise you receive while you’re in the midst of trying to buy a home!

Recent studies have revealed that a record high number of real estate transactions are falling apart AFTER the contract is signed, and that credit “issues” are a leading cause of these deals dying on the vine. Your best chance at catching and correcting score-lowering errors (and other derogatory items BEFORE they destroy your personal American Dream) is to start checking and correcting while you still have time on your side.

#2. DO YOUR RESEARCH. The more rapidly that the real estate market changes, the more it makes good common sense for SMART BUYERS (like you) to study up before jumping in to the buying pool. And there’s never any better time to do anything… than RIGHT NOW! You can start doing online and in-person research into topics ranging from:

**TARGETING YOUR AREA’S OF CHOICE: Whether you’re relocating or simply trying to narrow down the local neighborhoods to focus on – in preparation of your 2016 house hunt -NOW is always a great time to start your online research into decision-driving factors like tax rates, school districts, neighborhood character and even prices in various areas. Resident ratings and review sites like Zillow, Trulia and others (new ones pop up all the time) can help you make the neighborhood-lifestyle match you desire.

** GETTING FAMILIAR WITH MARKET VALUES: Once you narrow things down – you’re going to want to know other things about the market. Asking prices for homes in your target area, sales prices and market dynamics, including how long homes typically stay on the market and whether they generally go for more or less than the asking price, so you can be smart about how you search. And yes, here in Rhode Island, there ARE areas where homes still sell for more than asking price, even as you’re reading this! As a matter of fact… a recent article I wrote goes in to more detail about the 2016 spike that’s expected. Read all about it here: ★ FORTUNE MAGAZINE NAMES PROVIDENCE/WARWICK AS #1 IN THE NATION FOR PROJECTED REAL ESTATE GROWTH IN 2016 ★

** LEARNING YOUR BUYING POWER: Choose your Real Estate and Mortgage professionals. If you don’t already have your pros picked out, (and YES… to be SELF SERVING, *I* do practice Real Estate all over the Ocean State and the surrounding areas) NOW is the time to get me on the phone or to drop me an email message. Being an experienced REALTOR® I have my rolodex filled with names of top local Mortgage professionals. If you’re not looking for real estate in my area I have a nationwide referral network and can match you with great experts to meet your needs. Also… for those buyers who think that they can’t AFFORD to hire a REALTOR® – you should be made aware of this little fact… we work for FREE (as far as you’re concerned) because we get paid by the SELLING side!! The fact is… you can read a bunch of articles about mortgages and get yourself pretty far down the path toward qualifying for a home loan, but you can only get a personalized action plan for a smooth road ‘home’ by talking with a local mortgage broker and having them assess your basic financial health. They might say you need to move funds around, pay a bill down (or pay it off) or produce some sort of documentation from your employer. And the time to start all that is NOW.

** GET EDUCATED ON SHORT SALES & REO PROPERTIES: Distressed property sales are not for the fainthearted. If you want to target upside down or foreclosed homes, or are planning to house hunt in an area where many of the listings are described as short sales or foreclosures, you must be informed and mentally prepared about what you can expect from a distressed property transaction – BEFORE you get your heart set on a short sale or foreclosed home.

** OTHER TIPS: Online house hunting is a powerful tool – especially when the weather is cold, wet or icy! But there comes a point in your house hunt where you’ve just GOT to just get out IN to the actual homes you’re seeing online in order to get a strong, accurate sense of what home features, aesthetics and location characteristics correlate with what price points. If you ARE planning on using me or any other professional real estate agent then the rule of thumb is that you should NOT enter ANY HOME, or make ANY APPOINTMENTS on your own. This is a job for your REALTOR® to organize (also it helps to keep the service FREE to you).

#3. FLUFF UP YOUR CASH CUSHION. So, you’ve saved up your 3.5% down payment (lowest down payment allowable with an FHA loan). Perhaps you saved a little extra for closing costs. Or maybe you’re even one of those über-aggressive (and highly sought after) “20% down buyers”. No matter how much you’ve saved, you’ll inevitably find that you could always use a bit MORE once you activate your home buying action plan. Mark my words – after closing, you’ll crave extra cash to do some repairs, upgrade a couple of things, buy appliances or even just to hold on to, in order to minimize your anxiety about depleting your savings!

With that said… if home-buying is your personal action plan for 2016, don’t go hog wild on spending or creating debt. Wait until AFTER give yourself the gift of a beautiful new home.

#4. SHED SOME STUFF. Sell it. Donate it. Give it to relatives who’ve always coveted it. Just get rid of it. If you do it before you being your search, you can kill four birds with one stone: (a) getting some cold hard cash to go toward your savings, (b) getting some tax receipts so you can deduct the value of your donations next year, (c) clearing the mental clutter that physical clutter creates and (d) prepping for your move in advance.

#5. SIT STILL. SIT VERY, VERY STILL. Sometimes, the best way to further our goals is to stop tripping ourselves up. In that regard, commit right now to refraining from making any major financial moves until you buy your home. Don’t quit your job to start that personal chef business (yet), don’t pull a bunch of cash out of your savings account (without getting clearance from your mortgage pro first), and don’t start buying cars and boats… even jewelry or cell phones… on credit!! Even if you do love the idea of putting a nice red bow on some amazing gift for someone special… save it for AFTER you are firmly planted in your new home, and ONLY then if you can afford to make your purchase without taking away from your household expenses.

I hope that this information is helpful to even one person. And I wish you a very safe, healthy and happy new year!!

For more information… or for details on any specific property you might be consider buying (whether money is no object, or every penny counts)… please reach me anytime to get REAL ANSWERS to your REAL ESTATE questions… 7 days per week. My team and I serve residential buyers and sellers all over New England… with affiliates around the world! Are you a FSBO SELLER? Call me for my complete guide to SELLING YOUR HOME ON YOUR OWN!

Thanks for visiting my website. Rhode Island is my home, and I’m always here to help.


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Donnie Bennett

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Donnie Bennett

Team Leader, Residential Expert, REALTOR®


401-269-9615401-269-9615 main


931 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 2006 - Warwick, RI 02886

Donnie Bennett, REALTOR®​ Serving Rhode Island