Buying your next (or your first) home is a major life milestone. For most of us this will be your single largest investment, your single largest debt, and a decision from which many others will flow.
Your home establishes your base of operations, It will be literally "where you are coming from" and "where you're going" for following seasons of your life.
The home buying process can be exhilarating, stressful, joyful, tedious, and more. Your pace is ours. When you're in a hurry we hustle. When you need to recharge and review your options we pause. Our time is yours.
We consult, advise and guide on this journey. If you want to go to Open Houses or drive areas without us, fine! If you prefer a guided tour approach fine! Our goal is to ensure that you are well-informed (but not drowned in premature, unnecessary information) at each step along the way. We strive to keep your options open until you make the best decisions step by step.
Our primary goal is delighting you in getting what you most want for your family.
We've helped hundreds of people in situations such as:
"Just married" or other new household creations
Moving Up to a bigger home
Moving to a better neighborhood
Moving for a better commute
Moving for a new job or Change of Station
Downsizing for empty nesters
Overwhelmed by the DC Metro area and not sure where to start
Define your goals, understand your options, plan together
Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s very important to involve all decision makers and decision influencers in your family and to educate and prepare everyone as much as possible. Very frequently you'll discover that one person's priorities are different than another's. Frustration results when you try to move forward based on assumptions. Simply knowing the priorities of each person can be very helpful once you start screening properties.
Whenever you would like to talk about your options we are delighted to meet with you.
Talk to a local real estate expert
Figuring out how real estate works in any given area is no small undertaking. We understand the business. We understand this area market. We know the highways and byways and commuting secrets.
When choosing a real estate professional to consult with you in the home search, financing, negotiation, and transaction processes, you should consider their track record, market knowledge, and transaction experience. It never hurts to look at what prior customers said about their service. We can provide contact information for clients we've assisted in situations like yours.
Learn your buying power
Looking at homes online, going to open houses and driving neighborhoods are relatively anonymous ways of getting a feel for a market. When you're ready to schedule personal viewings of homes listed for sale we strongly advise that you have a pre-approval letter from a lender available.
Knowing your budget is critical. If you shop higher price homes first then discover your buying power is much less you will be disappointed in everything you see since you've already shopped higher.
If you find a home you absolutely love and want to make an offer on it before anyone else does you do not want to have to hastily arrange a lender consultation prior to putting an offer together. We have seen people in this situation miss out on homes because they simply weren't ready.
The benefits of pre-approval include:
You’ll know what you are eligible to borrow and be able to plan accordingly
As a qualified, motivated buyer you’ll be taken more seriously when you make an offer
Lenders can tell you if you qualify for special programs that will help you afford a better home (particularly if you’re a first-time buyer).
We are pleased to work with whatever lenders you prefer. We have a short list of responsive, honest, competitive commercial lenders available.
Searching and Viewing Until It Clicks
Searching and viewing
Knowing what you're looking for in a home may involve discovering needs not initially articulated! Of course we begin consulting you about what you “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves," but we also keenly watch and listen while showing homes to you to learn more about your needs.
Sometimes there are more homes to consider available than you have time to see them. More recently, however, the inventory of available homes in our market area has been much tighter.
That said, here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your experience in perspective:
The overwhelming majority of buyers use the Internet and/or mobile apps to search for homes.
Most buyers shop around 2-3 months and may view 8-15 moes.
97% of buyers view real estate agents as important in the home search process.
Sellers pay the commission for the agents who represent the buyers.
The information available on the Internet enables buyers to search as many homes as they have patience to review at any hour of the day or night.
Internet research can be conducted from far away locations. It enables you to get an idea of how much home and what amenities you get for your money in various areas. You can also learn about the community amenities, schools and commuting options.
Whatever your Internet skills you will want on the ground experience of neighborhoods and, of course, in person viewing of homes. In person you'll quickly realize how artful photography and writing may make a room or a house seem better than it really is. Many details of finish and workmanship are best confirmed in person. When you view a house with one of our agents they will point out many points you are unlikely to notice, both good and bad. Their job is neither to persuade you to buy the house or not to buy the house. It is to make sure that you have all the information to make a good decision.
When a house talks to your heart and its time to make an offer our masterful contract-writers and negotiators will swing into action. Although there are multiple standard contracts used in our market area we are well-versed in all of them and will choose the right set of forms to serve you best. After hundreds and hundreds of transactions we know the potential upside and downside consequences of every option chosen in crafting an offer for maximum seller appeal without leaving you inappropriately at risk.
Initial offers must be complete, written and signed or the seller will simply not respond. "What if..," oral, or letters of intent will not get you the property you seek.
Our job includes making sure you understand every document you are asked to sign. These may vary considerably depending on the seller's situation - new construction, resale, bank-owned, short sale, auction, probate, divorce, bankruptcy court or other.
Generally speaking, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Our negotiation expert - formally trained at UCLA, Lockheed Headquarters, Northrup Grumman, RE/MAX and Weichert - will assist in navigating offers and counter-offers until you and the seller agree to go forward or agree to go your separate ways.
Inspections and finalizing your financing
Once a contract for the purchase of the home has been formally ratified and delivered to all parties involved there are three major activities that are start in parallel:
The sellers begin planning their packing and moving if they are not already out of the house.
The buyers complete any lender shopping they were involved in, choose the lender to work with and formally launch their loan approval activities. The buyers may also need to liquidate securities or move their money to the accounts required for settlement.
We will help you select any inspectors required, schedule the inspections, track through closing out contingencies and negotiate required contract addenda to progress the contract to settlement to your maximum advantage.
Whether or not you know it we'll have been methodically guiding you through our checklists of everything you need to handle to take ownership of your home, taking ownership should be a positive joy with no surprises.
This includes making sure you have homeowner's insurance, and utilities lined up for your new home. And you'll be reminded to discontinue billing in your name on these items once you are out of your old home.
The title company will have researched an abstract of title – including a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. Based on this research they will issue a title binder to underwrite your purchase of lender and owners title insurance for your protection in the event of errors in the records or mistakes in the review process.
We will conduct a pre-closing walk through inspection with you to make sure everything is as it should be. Later that day, or perhaps the next day, we will meet with the title company to go over your complete settlement statement. If you use one of our lenders they will also be there. Our and our lender's goal is that every item on the settlement statement is accurate to the penny as disclosed to you in advance.
You will need to have wired funds to the settlement company in advance. All that we do at the settlement meeting is review final documents, have you sign them, and hand you the keys, garage door openers, and so forth.
You can move into your new home immediately after settlement unless the seller has negotiated a limited post-closing occupancy in advance.
ONE END BRINGS MANY BEGINNINGS
Now you have the foundation to begin working on the things that really matter!
It will be important to be careful with how you handle your first days in your home with the youngest, and eldest, members of your family. And also with any pets.
We'll follow up and check in with you from time to time. (Unless you have bought new construction it is not uncommon to receive mail addressed to the former owner, or discover important items they overlooked taking with them.)