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Tips for Finding the Home of Your Dreams in Virginia

Finding the Home of Your Dreams

Looking for a property in Fairfax County, perhaps in the Town of Vienna?  It doesn’t matter whether it is a regular listing or a for sale by owner.  If you have been looking you know that the best homes are garnering a lot of attention and offers are being made on the spot.

You have to be ready to make a decision

The first thing you can do to increase your chances of being prepared when you find the right home is to review your financial situation.  This would include knowing how the new mortgage lending environment affects your current situation.  It is particularly important if you are self employed.  You’ve heard about getting a conditional approval before actually shopping for a home.  Today, it is more important than ever.

Your Credit Score Will Impact the Cost of Your Virginia Mortgage

cherry blossoms at the Washington Monument

The second item to review is your credit history making sure it is clean and accurate.  You can request a free annual credit report to accomplish this.  You may want to do this in conjunction with a mortgage broker as it is part of the financial review that takes place during the processing and underwriting of your mortgage loan.

Research and Educate

Next, do a lot of research, your online due diligence.  Use calculators, understand the costs and responsibilities of  home ownership.  Talk to people in the areas in which you are interested.  More than likely, they’ll be delighted to talk about “their” Northern Virginia neighborhood.

Time and Treasure

Purchasing the home of your dreams in Fairfax County requires resources both of time and treasure.  One of the cornerstones of underwriting is the cash flow one must have to service the debt of the new purchase mortgage.  Another cornerstone is to be aware of the required cash at settlement you will be using in the transaction to purchase your new home in Virginia.  All the cash required at settlement must be verified prior to the release of the closing documents.  Last minute transfer of funds from one account to another may create underwriter nervousness and delay settlement because of new requests for documentation.  Before moving any money around, please consult with your loan officer on this topic to save you from grief.  There are lender specific requirements regarding verification of funds.

Find Someone to Represent Your Interests

You will need to invest your time to become familiar with the homes, features and price ranges currently being offered in your target market.  Ask your friends and associates for the names of effective realtors in their area.  These are the people you will want to interview for possibly creating a working relationship.  With homes coming on the market and quickly being snapped up especially here in Vienna, McLean and Arlington you will want to enlist the services of a buyer agent, someone who will represent your interests.  You should be asking about their experience, how long they’ve been in the market and what price ranges they specialize in.

If you find the right house at the right price, buy it

This is both the first step and the final goal.  There are two tactics you can take to achieve this.  Will you actively seek the Fairfax real estate you want and then negotiate a fair deal or will you passively browse the available listings hoping to stumble upon a deal?  You will probably have more luck with the former as one real estate agent draws this analogy:

“It’s like when you find a dress that you like, and you wait for it to be on sale, and then the sale comes and they don’t have your size.  Theoretically, you saved 20 percent.  But you don’t have your dress.”

Finally, negotiate effectively

As you evaluate the market data be sure to do so in an objective manner.  When it comes to buying a property in Northern Virginia one must remember it is not just about price.  There are other factors for any buyer and seller to consider such as the current inventory and whether it is growing or shrinking, the adequacy of the earnest money deposit, the timing for the settlement to take place, any contingencies which must be addressed and whether you as a buyer have the ability to close the transaction.

Get with a seasoned loan officer to review your credit and obtain that conditional AUS approval.  Having that in hand will give you an edge when it comes time to present and negotiate the home of your dreams purchase offer.



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