Spring has arrived in Northern Virginia, well if you don’t count the nights where it still is getting below freezing and that means one thing in the local real estate market. The warmer weather and longer days mean house hunting is gathering steam for many local home buyers.
But before you start driving around and visiting open houses, you should follow these important house hunting tips.
Getting pre-approved for a home loan is one of the best tools you have when searching for a home, especially when you have competition. I’m not talking about filling out a form on-line. It’s about talking to a local lender, having them review your credit and financials to give you a strong pre-approval letter.
If you are pre-approved, the home seller takes your offer seriously and trust me they will have their Realtor® call your lender to check on your qualifications.
2. Get to Know the Neighborhood
If you have a specific home in mind, it’s best to visit the area more than once, at different times of the day and week. If it’s a townhouse neighborhood check the parking situation. Try your commute out during rush hour to see if it works for you.
3. Have a List of Your Wants and Needs
Have a detailed house hunting checklist outlining your wants and needs, and make sure that your list covers the type of home (e.g. house or condo), the location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and home features that you are looking for.
One mistake that home buyers make during their home search, however, is having a wish list that is too strict. Be flexible. I’ve had buyers who had an absolute “I don’t want this style of home” and you guessed it, that’s the one they fell in love with. You don’t want to get stuck searching for the perfect home that may not exist.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Examine Everything
While you are house hunting you won’t have time to look in every nook and cranny in a house. A seasoned Realtor® will be able to help guide you on the big items in home to give you an idea of any “gottchas” to look out for. After you are under contract you’ll have a full home inspection to find out more about the house.
5. Consider the Weather
Relocating from another state or country? When buying a home in Northern Virginia you my want to think about the difference in weather from your current area. Do you want or need a garage here for your car in the winter? Do you want a yard for a garden or maybe a no maintance condo instead?
6. Order the Home Inspection
It’s crucial to have a certified home inspector examine the home you are interested in buying, even a home that has just been built. This is the best way to identify any major repairs that need to be made.
If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed while house hunting and competing with other home buyers, having an experienced Northern Virginia Realtor® there to guide you through the process and keep you focused on the next steps.
We want you to be able to find the best home in the best location, and we are here to help. So if you are searching for a home this spring, talk with us about what you are looking for in a home and we can find it together.