Do you have a new year resolution to go from renting an apartment to owning your own Northern Virginia home? To help make your transition from renter to owner easier, here are six things you can do to help yourself.
Be honest – are you ready?
Owning a home is a serious time and financial commitment. Are you comfortable living in the same neighborhood for the next ten years? Do you have a job that provides a steady income? Are you willing to put in the extra work that comes with owning a Northern Virginia home, such as keeping up with yard work and home maintenance?
Know what you’re non-negotiables are
Before you start going out and looking at Northern Virginia homes, realize there is no such thing as a perfect home. Knowing that each house will have things you like and dislike will save you time and frustration. What you do need to realize though are what things you are absolutely not able to compromise on (such as location), and what things you are willing to work with (the upstairs bathroom that needs remodeling).
Establish your budget
Buying a Northern Virginia home requires a serious financial commitment. You need to have the down payment ready (usually 20% of the asking price), as well as mortgage payments each month. As all homeowners will tell you, there are always situations that come up, such as a pipe bursting or the washing machine breaking down. Make sure you have an “emergency fund” set aside for miscellaneous home repairs. It’s recommended that you save 1% of the purchase price every year to help cover these unexpected costs.
Compile all the necessary paperwork for filling out a loan, such as proof of employment and past tax forms. It would also be a good idea to have the contact information from your landlord(s) from the past two years readily available.
If you are serious about buying a Northern Virginia home, get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Most sellers will not look at a buyer who isn’t already pre-qualified. If you want to go one step further, you can get pre-approved for a loan. It’s take more time than to be pre-qualified, but it shows sellers are you a serious and financially responsible buyer.
Ask for help
Looking for a Northern Virginia home can be an overwhelming process. Make sure you have people around you who will give you honest feedback and second opinions. Also think about working with a real estate solutions company like our team at Homes Re-Imagined to help navigate the waters of being a first time home buyer.