Spring is in the air in the Greater Washington DC area!
Do you know how I can tell?
We are competing with many contracts for almost every house and condo for sale within walking distance to a Metro station.
If you are a first time home buyer, follow these steps for success to find your home
- Talk to a lender before you begin looking for a home. A reputable local lender will help you determine your price range. He/she will also explain the types of loan packages and explain the options to find the best plan that works for you and your needs. A qualified local lender will be available evenings and weekends to write a lender letter for the property you want to buy. If your lender works 9-5, find someone else and remember,
Your lender should be available evenings and weekends because that is when you likely find the home you want to buy.
The lender will write a letter that will be submitted to the listing agent when you make your offer.
- Do you have enough money to cover closing costs? Remember to save an additional 2-5% on top of the money for the down payment which is typically 2-5% of the home price. Here's another place where a good lender will offer advice and explain their home buying programs, points etc. I cannot stress enough the importance of a communicative lender! This person should be an intrinsic, valuable asset to your home buying process. Don't cheat yourself by going with the lowest quote lender or someone you found online. You don't want to miss out on a dream house because your lender won't answer your phone calls or emails.
- Choose to work with an experienced true buyers agent. You are making one of the biggest purchases of your life. You deserve to have an advocate on your side! Don't settle for a dual agency situation or even a designated representative. Educate yourself about buyer representation and understand the rules of real estate.
- Have you driven your daily commute? Google Maps has a great tool allowing you to pick the time of day you would drive from one point to another. Google offers you a general idea of the commute but until you experience it, you can't know how it will make you feel.
Against our advice, our client kept telling us he liked to drive and wouldn't mind commuting to downtown Washington DC every day from Aldie Virginia. After a bit of badgering from me, he finally did the inbound drive on Route I66. That afternoon, we stopped looking at houses in Aldie. The stop and go drive took him 2.5 hours one way!
- Consider the not-so-perfect house. Working with a true buyers agent, you will learn how to evaluate houses and property. Within a relatively short period of time, you will know if a house has good bones and if the neighborhood suits your needs. If the bathrooms and kitchen need updating but the house is otherwise perfect, consider buying it. If you can look past the cosmetic fixes, you could find your diamond in the rough! And in time, you will be able to design your home with the features that meet your needs and taste.