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Top 2 Ways to Buy Your First Home with Less Work and Less Money

Top 2 Ways to Buy Your First Home with Less Work and Less Money


When buying your first home in Arlington – or anywhere – there are some fundamental things to put into place to help you get the best home possible for you with the least effort on your part and for the smallest amount of bucks out of your pocket. Here goes!

1. Have a plan. The key components of this are timing, money and who.

-When do you want to buy, and what is this based on? Can there be flexibility in the timing? Flexibility is one of the keys to having more negotiating power when making an offer.

-Where is the money for the purchase coming from? If a loan, get a referral from your agent. They know the best ones. Service to get you to closing, not just a great rate, is important. You need to close on the house in the time you have agreed to in your contract with the seller, so you are not in default. When you say you will buy it on a certain date, the lender needs to make sure all flows well and you can close on that date, with certainty!

A Top Notch Buyer Representative saves you time and money.

A Top Notch Buyer Representative saves you time and money.

-Who is going to lead you to success? Choosing a Buyer Representative is important. A study showed that buyers consider buying a house for an average of 13 months before they select a Realtor. And then guess how long they take to select a Buyer Representative? Only 1 week. And it’s such an important decision to make. What this leads the experts to believe is that, for the most part, not a lot of thought is put by buyers into selecting a great agent, and one that will work well with a buyer’s needs and personality. Some buyers choose to work with the first agent that they meet in public. It’s highly recommended to choose one wisely.

2. Reduce your time spent on searching and buying. Time is money – imagine considering to buy a house and then the interest rates increase to a point that you cannot buy the house you want? Wouldn’t that be a bad thing?

The best time reduction technique or choice is to get an agent to represent you 6 months to a year out from when you want to buy. Let them do the work!

I hear every week from buyers, when I am out in the field working, that they are just checking things out and online, figuring out what they want to buy and where before engaging an agent. That they do not want to “waste” an agent’s time early on to help them determine this.

One, if they help you through the process and work with you until closing, they are paid by the seller when you close on your house. It is their choice as to how they plan to use their time in their business. No skin off their teeth, as the saying goes, huh?

Two, a great agent can determine your needs and wants with a great complimentary consultation in an hour or less.

There is no substitute for a top notch Buyer Representative. If you decide to do the work early footwork of what you think it takes to get started by yourself – which might be ill-informed by online information or what someone might tell you – no fault of your own, this takes a lot of time and work. The information that you find online, that you might elect to use as resources, can be incomplete, incorrect and not up to date. Can one believe all they read on the internet? Note that none of the real estate portals that the public has access to are real time. That’s why perhaps you showed up for an open house that was listed in the MLS as being open, and the unit had since gone under contract and the open house was canceled. Not fun, especially if you planned your day around it – or there was freezing rain – like buyers told me last weekend when this happened to them.

More on timing: There is work that needs to be done to establish your ability to buy a house. For instance, perhaps there is an erroneous item that shows up on your credit report and it takes time to get it removed before you can have a lender look at your true credit score and thereby get the best loan rate possible. A higher rate often means that you will not be approved for as expensive of a house.

I hope this was helpful! If you would like a complimentary hard cover book that we at Keller Williams have designed just for first time home buyers, please let me know. Or ask questions, and I will be delighted to help! Have a great day!


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You may have heard that the US real estate market, in general, has become a “seller’s market” recently, with the DC area, INCLUDING ARLINGTON, VA, right at the top. There are fewer houses on the market which results in multiple offers, escalation clauses and competitive bidding. Great news for sellers, but what about if you are a buyer? Here are some tips for being a savvy buyer in today’s market:

1. Put down a large down payment. ARLINGTON sellers often like to see that. It may give them a feeling of comfort. Their perception is that you can afford the house and that a bank will approve you. In order to do this, you should plan ahead, getting your financing in order in advance of your home search. That way you can move quickly when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Pick a great lender. Make sure you’ve selected one who responds to your calls and emails promptly. That will be a good indicator that he or she will be ready to move quickly when the time comes to make your offer.

3. Get a top notch agent who specializes in the Arlington market. Specialization generally means more focus on and  more knowledge of an area. Then, be prepared to make an offer on a home that you like. You’ll want to see houses the same day they are first listed. This will require you to rely on the expertise of your agent. He or she has access to homes often immediately when they come on the market and can keep you posted on houses you may be interested in, if you cannot see them right away. If your agent is working diligently in their market and are well-connected in the real estate community and in their neighborhoods of speciality, they may even know about homes coming on the market – before they come on!

4. Be flexible. This means being especially flexible with contingencies. Offering shorter contingencies like a home inspection, appraisal and financing can entice sellers to choose your contract over another in a competitive situation, if timing is important to them.

As always, I’m here and ready to help you buy, or list and sell, your home. We are specialists in Arlington, and work in the rest of VA, MD and DC as well, if your search is taking you elsewhere. money

Ken Courtade

The Yes I Ken! Team


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So you think you’re ready to buy a home in Arlington, or the DC area? Here are some important things to consider before you begin the search for your new home:

1. Know your credit score: be sure you are aware of your credit history and FICO score. A lender will be looking at this information to decide what kind of borrower you will be, so this is imperative.

2. Pick the right agent who knows Arlington and Arlington homes – is a specialist here: Do your research first. Not only should your Realtor be experienced overall, especially in the area you are searching in, but you should feel comfortable with and have trust in her or him.

3.Get pre-approved for your loan first. This will save time and potential headaches down the road.

4. Be realistic about the house you are looking at: Think about what you can change and what you can’t. Ask yourself what you would be willing to live with, and/or what the cost would be to change it.

5. Don’t get too emotionally invested in one house. If it means overextending your budget it is probably not the right choice.

I hope this helps. We love giving consultative advise to our clients, and love sharing it with folks who are considering buying in Arlington or the DC area.

Getting it SOLD (and BOUGHT!) – for YOU!

Ken Courtade

The Yes I Ken! Team


Licensed in VA, DC & MD


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