For Buyers

Tips For Buyers

When you are preparing to buy a new home for your family, you’ll want everything to go smoothly and to be done properly. The following suggestions are sure to help get you started on the right foot. You should also know that while this site is designed to be as informative as possible, the information The Sold By Sisler Team can provide you directly about the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and D.C. real estate markets is even more detailed and complete than anything you will find on the Internet.

We'd be happy to set up an appointment for you to personally view any homes you are interested in and connect you with all the services, lenders, inspectors, or settlement attorneys you may need. We also are a tremendous resource for all the neighborhood details and school information you will need to make a successful purchase of your new home!

Establish a Budget

Once you've decided the time has come to purchase a new home in the D.C. Metro area, you’ll need to check with a lender to determine your credit score and to see for what size loan you're qualified. Having your finances in order ahead of time helps you accomplish this in less time and reduces the chances of problems arising later during the actual sales process. If any sticking points pop up during this stage, you will have the opportunity to take care of them without alarming the seller.

Some of the things you’ll need to know:

  • Annual income
  • Cash amount available for a down payment
  • Loan & credit card balances (Vehicles, etc...)
  • Other factors affecting your income (Tax payments, etc…)

Prequalification is the general term for the process of speaking to a lender about a possible home loan. You provide them with the information described above, and they in turn will give you an estimate of what size home loan you might receive. Ordinarily this can be done over the phone. This estimate presumes the information you have given them is accurate, and is not a guarantee of anything.

That bears repeating: prequalification is not a loan guarantee. Often home shoppers believe that because they are prequalified they are sure to get a loan. This isn't always true. Until you actually apply for the loan no credit check will be run, the lender has yet to even verify the information you have provided. There may be things on your credit report that are inaccurate or that you have forgotten about that may slow the loan process or affect the loan amount.

Regardless, many sellers will require a prequalification letter when you make a purchase offer, so getting one in advance is a good idea. This way you’ll be ready when the time comes. Getting prequalified costs you nothing, and in general it will make your offer look stronger. I'd be happy to help you get started with the process.

Set Aside Your Emotions

Choosing a home that's right for your family is a very personal decision. Some homebuyers may have a "just know" moment when they discover their next home, but it is important that you don't rely too much on an emotional response when preparing to make such a large commitment. At this point it is important to prioritize your homebuying choices and separate your wants from your needs. Many people find writing things down helpful at this stage, since it forces you to put your feelings into words. To start with, ask yourself these questions:

Does the location fit your needs?

Make sure the home you pick is close to the things that are important to you. Consider commute times to your office, shopping accessibility and the school district. Will your family’s favorite activities be easy to pursue nearby, or will you end up spending even more time in the car?

Will your lifestyle fit the home comfortably?

Will your furniture fit in your new home? Are you really willing to carry laundry up and down the stairs? Consider that it may not be worth paying for a yard if you won't actually have the time to maintain and enjoy it. Will you have the space for visiting family and friends?

Is the home near a busy street or intersection?

This might not be a concern for now, but when you consider how long you may end up living in the home you might change your mind. Try to anticipate your changing needs. Remember, at some point you are likely going to sell your next home. Always buy a home with the idea that you will be marketing it someday.

Do you know your wants versus your needs?

There are some features you will “need” in your family’s next home. Examples may include “must have” features like 2.5 baths or maybe a downstairs master bedroom. For many homebuyers, you may “want” to have a large yard for your child or maybe your pet. However, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker if you didn’t have a large yard. Knowing your needs versus your wants is very important.

Because buying your Maryland, Northern Virginia or D.C. home is likely to be your biggest investment, it isn't a good idea to buy it based on ideals. A Dream Home becomes a whole lot more real when you are faced with regular mortgage payments, so it is important you don't pay for features that you won't really benefit from. On the other hand, if you don’t find a home that truly meets your needs don’t compromise. Together we will find the right home at the right price for you and your family’s needs and wants. Use our Real Estate Advice Form and we can get you started on the right foot.

Questions? Just Ask!

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The Sold By Sisler HomeFinder Assistant ™ The Sold By Sisler Team Buyer's Assessment ™