first time buyer: Busting myths about buying a house - 05/13/19 04:41 AM
For first time buyers who are just getting started in their search for a home, there is plenty of conflicting information out there. You might hear one, or more, of these statements, from well meaning friends or family.
All of the information that you need is on line. 
You don't need an agent--you can just call the sign agent.
You can apply for your mortgage on line. Just fill out the form and wait for approval.
Buying a house is pretty straight forward...why should anyone make a boat load of money of your purchase?
Let me just say that while there is a kernel of truth in (some of) these … (1 comments)

first time buyer: Think you aren't ready to buy a house? - 01/07/19 04:44 AM
Many first time buyers lived through the recession as teenagers. They remember the scary stories of people losing homes and inadequate downpayments contributing to the problems.
We are on more stable ground right now, economically. Lenders are doing a good job of evaluating buyers and the checks and balances in place mean that the loans that they make are, generally, more sound.
So if you are a first time buyer, what is keeping you from moving forward?
While it is easy to 'do your research' online, a lot of that information is incorrect. Most of that misinformation is about how much of … (1 comments)

first time buyer: The Myth of the Millennial Home Buyer - 04/12/18 09:53 AM

I was at an event last week and one of the speakers, very profoundly, said that statistics bear out that Millennial home buyers are behaving much as their predecessors did when it comes to home purchases and other life decisions. They might be making these decisions a little bit later, due to social norms and student debt, but they are, nonetheless making predictable choices. The negative/antecdotal info about the way they behave can really be attributed to a small percentage of the group. My thought is that the same was true of every other group in history. Wasn't there a group … (1 comments)

first time buyer: 10 Steps Toward Buying Your First Home - 01/09/18 05:13 PM
 We all know that practice makes perfect, but what are you supposed to do when you have never bought a home before? How do you get that practice? Why you hire a great Agent with a great team to get you through! It is always a good idea to sit down with a Realtor, or two, and talk to them about the process that they follow and the team of people that they work with. Let me give you a brief description of how I work with my clients.  Initial Conversation: this is when we talk about your goals, your dreams, your fears … (1 comments)

first time buyer: First Time Buyer Advice: Financing Your Home Purchase - 07/12/13 11:30 PM
If you are considering your first home purchase, you need to spend some time considering how you will finance the property.   First time buyers often have different considerations than other purchasers. Their income is often good, but they have not yet had enough time to build up their savings. This can mean that while they can make a monthly mortgage payment, they don't have a big chunk of money to use as a down-payment.   The government recognized this conundrum and created the FHA loan. The FHA loan allows for a lower down-payment, in exchange for an insurance policy payment, made each … (1 comments)

first time buyer: Ready to Buy Your First Northern Virginia Home? - 01/27/13 10:41 PM
You have been renting your place for a while. Your income has gone up and your rent has remained stable. As a result, you have put away some money and are considering buying your first Northern Virginia home. What is next?   Evaluate your Cash-on-hand.  You many have been saving, but you don't want to spend your entire savings when you buy your first house. Determine how much cash you have, and how much you want to keep in reserve for emergencies. What is left over is the amount you can contribute toward your purchase. This will need to cover your … (4 comments)

first time buyer: Definitions for First Time Buyers - 08/27/11 07:07 AM
I have been working with some first time buyers lately and found there are some terms that Realtors use all the time, but which are not always understood by consumers. These are the terms that are used in my market in Northern Virginia. While many of these are universal terms, they may not all be used in your market.
These are intended to be working definitions--not text book definitions.
Agency: Agency has to do with who and how a buyer/seller is being represented in a transaction. I wrote a whole post about this. I would recommend you click on the link … (2 comments)

first time buyer: From College Dorm to Apartment...Baby Steps toward Adulthood - 08/19/11 02:48 AM
Tomorrow we move my youngest daughter into her first college apartment. Last year she lived in a dorm on campus. This is the next step; an apartment that is owned by the school (so rent goes through the tuition account), but  one in which the responsibility for bills and most meals remains with her. This is a very exciting time for her. We have spent the summer assembling the things she needs, from the very big items (a new bed) to the very small (an apple slicer).  This is the time when she begins making decisions about the kind of home … (1 comments)

first time buyer: 10 Less Obvious Things to Consider When Buying a House - 02/22/11 01:06 AM
There are a lot more than 10 things that you need to consider when buying a house, but we all need to start somewhere. The idea behind this list is to get you thinking not just about the activity of buying a house, but about how you will live in your new home!

Where do you work? It might be obvious to you, but I find that not everyone really thinks about how their lifestyle could change by either living close to, or far away from, home.  If you work in the city, but are recharged by the country, is … (67 comments)

first time buyer: Getting Married? Fantasy Wedding Drawing at Reston Town Center, 2/13/11 - 02/09/11 09:31 AM
Fantasy Wedding Drawing at Reston Town Center, 2/13/11 Did you get or give and engagement ring this holiday? If so, be sure to head to the Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia, by Saturday the 12th and register at participating stores for the Fantasy Wedding Drawing that will take place this Sunday, February 13,  at 2 p.m. The winner of the drawing will be married on the Ice Skating Pavilion (sans the ice, of course!) on Saturday, May 28th at 11:30 a.m. with a reception following at Il Fornaio. Some of the featured retailers include (from the Event's Facebook Page as … (5 comments)

first time buyer: Answering your First Time Home Buyer Questions - 01/18/11 01:35 AM

Answering your First Time Home Buyer Questions
Right after the new year, I saw an ActiveRain contest ActiveRain Challenge: Never Answer the Same Question Twice (5000 points). 
I love a good contest, so I started a series of 'Ask Holly' questions from First Time Buyers. These questions were not actual questions, but rather paraphrased questions that I have received over the years. The response was great (and I even earned a Feature!), so I thought I would post those that I have done so far in a single post.  I am planning to continue this format and welcome the submission of questions that I … (2 comments)

first time buyer: What if I Change My Mind? Can I get out of a Contract? - 01/12/11 02:14 AM
Dear Holly,
I have been working with a Buyer's Agent and feel like we are getting close to writing a contract
 for my first home. I am very nervous about writing a contract--so much could go wrong! My sister says not to worry, I will be able to get out if it if I change my mind. That doesn't sound right to me.
How easy it to get out of a purchase contract for a home?
First Time Buyer
The contract to purchase a home varies from state to state. As a Realtor practicing in Virginia, my knowledge of contracts … (39 comments)

first time buyer: Buying Your New Home often Means Compromise - 01/10/11 11:33 PM

Dear Holly,
My fiancée and I have been looking at houses on line and putting together our list of 'Needs and Wants.' We are at an impasse. I feel that we need a garage and she feels that we need a gourmet kitchen. We agree on everything else, but since she likes to cook, and I love working on my car, we can't seem to get past this.
The houses that we have both liked--at least so far--do not have both. What would you recommend to help us  decide which one is more important?
Thanks for your help,
First Time Buyer
Trying to get … (3 comments)

first time buyer: How Do I Begin The Process of Buying My First Home? - 01/07/11 12:00 AM
Dear Holly,
I currently rent a townhouse in Alexandria and am thinking about buying something in Reston,VA, closer to where I work. I am pretty nervous about this, but I have been out of college for about 6 years, I have a secure job and it seems like the right time--all my friends have started buying townhouses and condos.  I love that my expenses are manageable and that I get a chance every year to reconsider where I live. With all of the negative press about people buying, and then losing, their homes, I am hoping you can talk to me … (0 comments)

first time buyer: First Time Home Buyers--Who Will Be Living There? - 10/04/10 11:59 PM
In the Washington D.C. Metro area, and specifically Northern Virginia, the search for a first home can be a particular challenge. Single family homes are often out of reach for all but the most successful first time buyer (and even then, only those who are disciplined savers), which leaves the First Time Buyers with a choice of purchasing a townhouse or condominium.With the townhouse and condo options, First Time Home Buyers have to very clearly define their needs. Often this means figuring out who will be living in the property.Will you be living alone, with a significant other, or do you want the … (0 comments)

first time buyer: First Time Home Buyer-Speak--Translating It for Success - 10/03/10 11:54 PM
Working with first time home buyers can be challenge for both the Realtor --and the Buyer. The defining of  a First Time  Buyer's needs is a challenge for all involved. Often the information provided provided by the buyer is really a list of 'wants' based in information gleaned from HGTV shows and on-line websites. By working with a Realtor who is familiar with the local area, the process of refining the list can happen almost organically.  Trying to do it on your own, by contrast, can be an exercise in frustration.Here is an example of what most First Time Home Buyers will tell … (11 comments)

first time buyer: An End to Conspicuous Consumption? - 02/01/09 03:43 AM
Have the days of conspicuous consumption really ended? What will become of all the McMansions built during the era of 'unlimited prosperity?'  Will they sit vacant?  I doubt it.  We are not a society that does well with deprivation.
When my husband and I were starting out, we looked around for a long time before we bought a very small townhouse that we could afford. It was not in the town that we wanted to live in, but it was in the town we could afford.  After 2 years we sold that townhouse and we moved in to a bigger townhouse.  … (4 comments)

first time buyer: When You Are Ready to Buy A Home...What Next? - 11/12/08 02:15 AM
All of the calls I have received from ActiveRain have been from first time home buyers. This is a unique category of buyer because they have no experience (good or bad) to bring to the table.  As an agent, I consider it my duty and obligation to ensure that we have a relationship of complete trust before we begin the process of finding a home. This often means many phone conversations, emails and long in-person meetings before we establish a Buyer Agency relationship.
My Real Estate classes recommended that I consider at first time home buyer a client in much the same … (1 comments)

first time buyer: How I work with Relocation to Northern Virginia - 08/06/08 04:06 AM
Moving can be scary.  You have a lot of choices--you probably have a new job or career.  You may not have friends in your new community, which will mean not only will you have to find and meet new friends, but you have to pick an area that will allow you to do that. You may know where you need to be generally, but not know the area well enough to be specific.

As an Accredited Buyer Representative, I am often your first 'touch-point' with your new city, town or community.  You may know the area where you want to … (0 comments)

first time buyer: First Time Buyers Can Make the Difference! - 10/30/07 12:28 AM
In Northern Virginia we have seen a decided slow down in sales.  Things will sell, if prepared and priced properly, but not necessarily on the Seller's time line. 
I think that WHEN the market turns around, it will be in large part due to the first time buyer.  The way I see it, when you have listings at the top of the market sitting for months on end, it is due to the listings a tier below sitting, too.  Those listings are sitting because the listings in the starter-detached home market or the large townhouse market are not selling.  It goes … (2 comments)

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