How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?
First time buyers often have a few myths in their minds about how much time it takes to buy a house.
Experienced home shoppers who have owned homes are typically aware that buying a house is a 2-3 day event, including the home inspection.
Well-meaning family members often plant seeds of doubt and misunderstanding in the minds of first time buyers. For example, a young Marine Captain was referred to me for help buying his first home. His father said to him, “Don’t make a decision until you have seen 100 homes”. Geez, there were only 28 homes that fit his wish list in the entire county, and half of them were 18+ miles away from Quantico at the western end of the county. I said, “You are going to see MORE than 100 homes.” Pause. He looked surprised. “We are going to use the virtual tours in the MLS to let you see inside all the homes you care to see, then you are going to pick your top 5 houses for physical showings.” That made sense to the young Marine. In one day he browsed through over 100 virtual tours, walked through 5 houses, picked his favorite house, made an offer that was accepted, and took his kids to see the the National Mall.
Before you begin shopping for a home, you will get your home financing pre-approved by a competent mortgage banker. Don’t worry about finding one, we know the best in the business. That may take a week to process.
With your pre-approval letter in hand, and knowledge of what you want to invest in a house, you will meet me to review needs and wants for the house in your head. We will enter your wish list into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database that has every listing of every home for sale from every broker. The MLS will screen the market for the homes with the features you want, in the areas where you want to live, at a price you would pay. We look at a few listings together so I can show you how to read them, then I email them to you so you may review them at home, at your own pace.
Next, you go home and review the listings on screen, then on paper. Divide the list into an A list and a B list. The A list is a list of houses that right away, on paper, have potential. The B list are houses that are nice, but they don’t have potential.
Then take your A list for a drive on your own to see where the houses are located. Where are they located in relation to shopping, commuting, and fun stuff? What do the neighborhoods look like? Could you see yourself living there? You may discover that some of your A houses become A+ houses, while other A houses slide into the B pile.
Next, we will get together and I will make arrangements for you to see inside your A and A+ houses to see how they stack up against each other.
When I take folks to see their A houses there is usually one house that reaches out and touches their heart. They begin visualizing how their furniture would be placed in the house. They pick a spot for the Christmas tree. The house has sold itself. They want the house. It’s my job to organize the paperwork with the price, and terms that will get the house for them at the best value, on their time-line, with the fewest hassles.
The folks who used the home shopping method I just described used the MLS to scan thousands of houses to pick out the list of homes that best fit their needs. Next, they picked out the best of the best. Then they spent their time looking at only the best houses, not wasting their time on other houses that would not fit their needs.
The method for finding a house described above has helped over 1,600 families find a house during my 25+ years in real estate. I don’t say that to brag or boast about my track record. I share that with you to let you know that the method has worked reliably for a lot of nice people like you, over and over again. If it worked for them, chances are, it will work for you.
Would you like to start getting your list of A houses by email, with new listings the day they come on the market? I'm Erick Blackwelder and I've helped a lot of nice folks like you buy homes in Northern Virginia. Give me a call at 703-677-1120, and let’s talk about what’s important to you so that we can get the most powerful real estate software system working for you. Call me now at 703-677-1120. I’m often in appointments during the day, and my voice mail will answer, so don’t be shy about leaving a message. I will be happy to call you back. If you call 703-677-1120 after 5:30 PM east coast time, please tell my voicemail what time zone you are in, when to call, and the number to call you back the next business day.
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