Step By Step Guide To Buying Your First Home In Arlington

So, you’re thinking about buying your first home in Arlington. Awesome!!

Buying a home in Arlington is a big deal both literally and figuratively. It requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey can be exhausting and frustrating. But, don’t worry here is a step by step process that can help you get the keys to your new home in Arlington.

Waverly HIlls real esate agents
Waverly Hills is near Glebewood and Charrydale in Arlington VA

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What are the steps of buying a home?

It’s a waste of time and energy to look at homes that are outside of the budget, so prequalification is the first step for any home buyer. If you choose to work with Nesbitt Realty here are many of the steps that we’ll be taking on the road to home ownership.

Julie Nesbitt
Julie Nesbitt is an Accredited Buyer’s Agent and Top Producing agent.  Put her experience to work for you.
  1. Tour properties — We’ll take a top level tour of some of the properties that are in your budget. This gives the client something concrete and real to think about so that you can decide whether this home ownership thing is for you or not. It also gives us a chance to see which properties most interest you so that we can rely upon our experience to identify communities and properties you may have overlooked.
  2. Revisiting — We’ll revisit those communities that hold the greatest interest and look at everything available in those communities.
    • A few more choices — If none of these really feel right, we’ll find a few more to consider and continue with the search.
  3. Make an offer — When we’ve found the property that stirs the soul, fits the budget and feels right, your agent will prepare an offer. At that time we’ll collect earnest money.
    • The earnest money is evidence that the seller is serious about the purchase and is held in escrow until the sale is completed. We’ll submit a preapproval letter, a copy of the earnest money deposit and the signed offer for the seller to consider.
  4. Negotiations — Sometimes there is a difference between the asking price and the selling price. The selling price is determined by negotiation. We’ll pass drafts of the contract back and forth until the buyer and seller have agreed on all terms.
  5. Loan processing — Your loan officer will then collect additional documentation from the you and from your agent. This documentation will serve the purpose of proving the representations made in the loan application process. The buyer will produce pay stubs, bank statements etc. The loan office and agent will also order an appraisal as required by all lenders.
  6. Settlement — Settlement is the word used to describe the actual transfer of ownership. We’ll settle on the property in a timely fashion on an agreed upon date. Settlement will occur at a title company’s office and a settlement agent will ensure that funds are present as is marketable title.
  7. Ownership — Here’s where the fun begins … as does the responsibility of home ownership.

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I will be with you throughout the home buying process, from the moment you start your search until the moment you close, and for any assistance thereafter.

 

Our Accolades

It’s not hard to find some of our many great reviews, but here are a few awards and accolades for client satisfaction.

Do you really need a property manager?

Although hiring a property management company has many advantages, there is an expense associated with hiring a property manager. In addition to the cost of property management, there are other reasons why property management might not be for you. Consider the following factors to determine if hiring a property management company would be a good decision for your property.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will you live and work near your rental property? Northern Virginia is a very transient area. We have more than our share of military, diplomats, State Department, political appointees and academia.  If you’re getting transferred across the country or around the world, it might be a good idea to let a professional manage your rental. Even simple tasks can get complicated very quickly when you aren’t around to manage the details.
  • Do you want to handle the details of property management? Some landlords look forward to the challenge of finding good tenants. Some landlords find that maintaining a property and managing details is rewarding and enjoy taking late night calls. On the other hand, if you think rental property ownership is a chore and want little or nothing to do with the day-to-day management of your properties, you should probably consider hiring help to manage your property.
  • How busy are you? Even if you find hands-on management rewarding, you may not have much time to devote to your property management business.  If you’ve already got a full-plate, then the last thing you need is more to worry about, thus hiring a management company may be a good way to spend your money.
  • Can you afford the cost? Let’s face it. Hiring a property management company is much more attractive option if you can afford it.  If monthly cash-flow is not an issue, you’ll likely save money by paying a property manager and writing off the expense.  But if at the end of every month cash is tight, you might not want to hire a property manager.
  • Can you afford the risk? Do you understand the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act? Do you know the tenant’s rights? Do you know your responsibilities?  The more you know about property management in today’s litigious culture the more you’ll understand the value of having a professional in your corner.
  • Do you have access to a network of maintenance people? All properties require maintenance. When your tenant calls you in need of repair will you know who to call and what to do in a timely fashion?  If not, yo might want to consider hiring a property manager.

Learn more about our rental property management services in Northern VA

No one knows more about the local real estate market than Nesbitt Realty.

Stay Within Your Budget

The first step for any renter is to establish a realistic budget. Without a budget you will not be able to make an informed decision about the type of property that you are able to afford, and you may eventually find yourself struggling to pay your rent.

When drawing up a budget you need to consider your fixed costs. These are payments that must be made monthly and they cannot be altered. You need to subtract your fixed costs from your monthly income. These could include car insurance, travel costs, school fees, and debt repayments. Then, you should also subtract your living expenses such as food, entertainment, and medical bills. Once you have subtracted all these costs, you will be able to determine the amount that you have available to spend on rent per month. It is important to be realistic when you draw up  your monthly expenses; and it is a good idea to include an additional amount to be set aside for emergencies, savings, and unexpected expenses. Once you have a clear idea of your rental budget, you may then start looking for a property that suits both your lifestyle requirements and is within your budget. This is a good time to contact a Rental Agent. Rental Agents have access to all the available rentals. They can ensure that you get good value for money; and best of all, they cost the renter nothing.

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703 765 0300

 

How FHA is Helping Buyers Obtain Condo Financing

First-time buyers are hurting. It’s hard for them to save for a down payment, credit restrictions remain tight, and there are few affordable homes for them to choose from. What’s more, wage gains are modest, home prices keep going up, and now interest rates could be heading up, too. The Federal Reserve has sent signals that it could start raising short-term interest rates as early as this month and more rate hikes could happen throughout 2016.

VRE 35And yet there’s some good news, too, because FHA has announced changes to its rules to make it easier for buyers to get federally insured financing for condominiums. This is important because condos have traditionally been one of the best ways for new home owners to get into home ownership.

Under administrative changes FHA has announced, second homes are no longer considered “investment property” for purposes of determining the owner-occupancy ratio of a condominium project.

Prior to the change, if someone who owns a unit in a condo project uses the unit as a second home, that unit doesn’t count as part of the project’s 50-percent owner-occupancy threshold, which FHA requires. Under that rule, if fewer than half the units are owner occupied, someone who wants to buy a unit in the project can’t get FHA-backed financing. That hurts if FHA is the only viable financing option.

But the FHA change has wider implications than that because it sends a signal to conventional and other mortgage financing sources that it might be time for them to rethink their owner-occupancy ratios as well.

FHA announced two other changes: a streamlined recertification process, and an expansion of the types of insurance condo owner associations can have for their project to be eligible for FHA financing.

These three changes are key because they address one part of condo financing that has nothing to do with the creditworthiness of the borrower: they address the hoops the condo project has to go through before FHA will permit a borrower to apply for its mortgage insurance.

It’ll be helpful to watch how things change in the months ahead to see if the eased requirements lead to more households obtaining FHA financing for condo purchases. But for now, REALTORS® can take satisfaction in knowing FHA responded to concerns NAR had been raising for the last three years. And more changes are in the works, according to the agency. Details are in the video above.

The FHA announcement is one of the stories in The Voice for Real Estate for the week of November 23, 2015. Another segment looks at NAR’s new member benefit for keeping REALTORS® integral to real estate as transactions increasingly go digital. Under the benefit, REALTORS® get free access to two products from zipLogix®: its forms software program and its transaction management platform

5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

A Single family house at 5428 Grist Mill Woods Way Alexandria VA 22309
Grist Mill Woods is in Alexandria 22309

1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.

3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

4. Start saving.Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

5. Get your credit in order.Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

6. Determine your mortgage qualifications.How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

Condos at 2001 15th St N #615 Arlington VA 22201
Odyssey is in Arlington 22201

7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.

8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

9. Calculate the costs of home ownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

10. Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Mistake 1: Disregarding what you can afford.

Budgeting isn’t easy, but the fact is, if home buyers don’t set a budget for what they can afford for a house, things can go terribly wrong. The recent subprime mortgage crisis is a perfect example. Banks may say home-buying hopefuls can afford an amount they actually cannot afford.  Budgeting is one way to ensure you don’t get trapped by knowing what you can and cannot afford to remain financially comfortable.

Create a budget that includes your major expenses. Examples of major expenses could be student loan payments, transportation costs (gas, car payments, etc.), credit card bills, cable bills and telephone bills. Also be sure to include expenses that come only once a year, like holiday bills or taxes. Add all this together and subtract it from what your earnings — the result is what you can afford on a house.Home buyers who skip this step could end up either badly wanting something they can’t afford and/or putting themselves at risk financially.

Mistake 2: Skipping Mortgage Qualifications.