If you don’t have the money, you can’t buy the house. It’s that simple. In the Washington Metropolitan Area, it is essential that homebuyers get pre-approved by a local lender prior to beginning their home search. This tends to scare potential buyers who fear a long, arduous process that they’re not quite ready to attack. Suffice it to say, that since virtually all of our personal information is online and immediately available, the loan process is now relatively simple. Getting a mortgage approval upfront will save you the grief of falling in love with something you can’t afford and will also put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right home.
Be sure to use someone reputable and it’s always best to use someone local. Just like big real estate companies have “good” agents and “less-than-good” agents, so do big mortgage companies. Your loan officer can make the difference of getting the money to the settlement on time…or not. It’s fine to compare rates and terms (in fact, it’s important to do so), but make sure that you’re comparing “apples to apples” and that you get a Good Faith Estimate in writing from all potential lenders. Click here for a list of our preferred lenders
While the Internet is a great tool for beginning your search and for keeping on top of market changes, nothing compares with physically viewing properties. It’s important for us, as your agents, to hear your reactions (both negative and positive) to properties that we visit together. You may think that you’ve described exactly what you want, but your definition of a “chef’s kitchen” and my definition may not always jive … until I’ve had a chance to actually see a kitchen with you and hear your reaction. We pride ourselves on listening and on being able to help you fine tune your search, but that initial interaction in properties is what makes this possible. We like to think of ourselves as educators, as opposed to salespersons, and we want you to learn about the market so that you’ll know “the” house when you find it.
Don’t let anyone tell you differently…no matter how rational and educated you try to make this process, there will be something emotional that draws you into the home you choose. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is to let emotion totally take over…especially in the negotiating process. Don’t let a seller’s refusal to repair a small item scare you away from the house that is otherwise perfect. On the other hand, you need to be realistic about your ability to tackle projects and problems – so don’t bite off more than you can chew!
It’s important to have a home inspection contingency in your offer to purchase. This will allow you to have the house professionally inspected and to require repairs (or even choose to “walk” from the deal) as part of the negotiations. The home inspector you choose should be certified and should be willing to include you in the inspection, answer your questions, provide a written report and be available “after the fact” as any issues or problems arise. Click here for our preferred home inspectors
This is another key part of the process. The title company or settlement attorney will prepare all the paperwork for settlement, research the title, assure clear title, and issue title insurance. As a buyer, you get to select the settlement company. Make sure you find good people to work with and provide that person with all the pertinent documents in a timely manner. Click here for our preferred Settlement Companies