GUIDE | How to buy a home in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC
The Select Team is your top resource for all things real estate in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Read our expert tips for buying a house in this comprehensive guide.
Setting clear home buying goals
Clear goals allow you to set a realistic timeline and reasonable expectations for your transaction. Consider the following:
- The type of house you will feel most comfortable living in
- The kind of neighborhood you want
- Your checklist of absolute must-haves in a home, as well as features and amenities you can do without
- Regular professional, personal, and social routines
- Hobbies, recreational activities, and other lifestyle interests
- A realistic timeline for your home search and buying processes
Finding the right agent
Your real estate agent serves many important functions: a knowledge expert, a dependable representative at the negotiation table, and a confidante for your every concern throughout the home buying process. It’s crucial to find the right match for your home buying needs.
A dependable real estate professional must have:
- Up-to-date real estate market knowledge
- Expertise and familiarity with the local area
- A strategic and innovative problem-solving mindset
- Straightforward and facts-based communication and negotiation skills
- A dependable local professional network
- Responsiveness and accessibility
This is where The Select Team shines. This top-producing and award-winning group of local real estate experts is all you need to make your real estate dreams in the Washington, DC metro a reality.
Financing a home purchase
Before shopping for a home, know what you can afford. A mortgage pre-approval will provide you with this information.
Pre-approval comes in the form of an official letter from a lender to whom you submitted your financial records for review. You can also use this letter as a powerful bargaining chip when you are competing for a hot property. Send it to the seller as part of your offer package. This will convince the seller that you have the means to pay for their property.
There are different types of loans you can avail for your home purchase. Here are three of the most common options:
- Fixed rate mortgage – Typically set at periods of 15, 20 or 30 years, with a fixed interest rate.
- Adjustable rate mortgage – A loan that starts off with low interest rates early in the mortgage period. The interest rates gradually increase based on market conditions after the adjustment period.
- Jumbo mortgages – These apply to properties priced above federal loan limits. In Northern Virginia, loans above $726,525 qualify for jumbo mortgages, while in Washington, DC the conforming loan limit is $679,650.
Consult with your agent from The Select Team to get connected with the most accommodating and trustworthy mortgage brokers in Northern Virginia today.
Searching for the right home
Need advice on how to zero in on your ideal home? Here are some tried and tested tips:
- Don’t depend solely on online listings and photos. Tour the property in person to see the entire house and its surrounding neighborhood firsthand.
- Visit your top options more than once. See what the area is like at different times of the day, on different days of the week. Talk with potential neighbors and get their personal assessments of the area.
- Work closely with your agent. Trust local area experts to spot the best matches for your needs and preferences in a virtual sea of options.
Start your home search with these comprehensive area pages:
- Arlington, VA
- Springfield, VA
- Prince William County, VA
- Alexandria, VA
- Fairfax County, VA
- Washington, DC
Making a strong offer
Once you’ve chosen your top options, work with your agent to craft an offer letter that will stand out among the rest. Your letter should include:
- An attractive offer price that is still reasonably based on comparative properties
- Your pre-approval letter
- A personal letter that details your motivations for buying the property
Be prepared for any response from the seller. If a counteroffer is presented, work with your agent throughout the negotiation process. If you get rejected, be ready to move on to the next option on your shortlist.
Completing contingencies before closing the deal
When your offer is accepted, sign a purchase agreement with the seller and act fast to get the following steps done:
- Complete a mortgage application
- Get professional inspections and appraisals done
- Get a title review done and purchase title insurance
- Gather all documents required for closing
- Prepare for your move
After these contingencies are met, you can close the deal with your seller. Congratulations on a successful home buy!
Different folks have different ways of buying a home, but mostly, they follow a set of guidelines to keep them on course. The problem is that there are so many information and tips available online. It’s easy to confuse which ones are real and helpful to those that are absolute and complete myths. As a result, a lot of home buyers do extra work or spend more for something that hardly help speed up the process or guarantee a successful transaction. Click here to read about the five biggest home buying myths to save you time, effort, and even money.
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Catch up with the latest home buying advice from Washington, DC metro area experts, The Select Team. Visit this page often for fresh reads and resources updated regularly.