Buying your home in Northern Virginia?

Buying a home is an intimidating event for most people. However, with a little up-front planning, it's not too complicated. So you know exactly what to expect, I like to provide my buyers with a road map of the entire deal. Here are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

Shopping for homes? Click here to see my homes, or contact me today to get you more information on any home in the area.

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase
There are plenty of things you'll want to take into account prior to beginning your home search. You'll want to create a check list of features you want to have, get an idea of what school districts you want to live in, and start planning around your budget. A good guideline to follow is that your mortgage payment should be close to a third of your monthly income.

Step 2 – Get with a real estate agent
This is where David Houghtaling comes in. I'd be more than happy to book a time to meet with you and speak with you about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll discuss everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Northern Virginia area, the mortgage industry, to any other economic factors that might affect your purchase today or in the future.

I can also assist you with getting started on your loan. David Houghtaling partners with some of the finest mortgage professionals in Northern Virginia, so you'll be in great hands. They can help you choose which kind of loan is best for you, as well as help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Begin looking
After our first meeting, I'll start finding available homes on the market that are great for you. I'll research many of the houses and eliminate the duds, and then we'll set up appointments to view the homes when it's most convenient for you.

When we view homes, I'll identify good features and bad ones. And I'll ask you to tell me about things you like and don't like. Most often, buyers amend their list of must-haves as we tour houses and some things become more essential than others. If such is the case, I'll search the listings again and trim it down to the home of your dreams.

Step 4 – Know the market
My awareness of the Northern Virginia home market is a fundamental advantage in your home search. I am informed of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I can communicate what areas are "hot" and require immediate action and the others that are "cold" and allow for careful examination.

As we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you if the asking price has room for bargaining or if I believe the home is "priced to sell." Be careful and be sure to ask your agent plenty of questions, as every REALTOR® will convince you they know the home market. If it doesn't seem like they know everything, call me at (571) 435-8037 or e-mail me at, and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. My knowledge of the market will help you stay a step ahead throughout the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find the house you've been looking for
I'm confident we'll find the house of your dreams in the Northern Virginia area. When that happens, I'll meticulously develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored to suit your needs, including a lot of contingencies, such as getting financing, completing the inspection, and a clean title.

Let David Houghtaling guide you through finding your dream home in Northern Virginia When we send in your offer, you'll probably need to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit given to a home seller to secure the offer to purchase the property. The amount is typically put towards the cost of closing. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows ample time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most contracts don't close on the first offer. It's widely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it alarm you. We'll discuss whether or not to consent to the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and move on.

Market conditions will play a vital role in how aggressively we negotiate the contract. In addition, we'll work within your financing budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll assemble a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Get your loan
Once the contract is finalized, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-approved, this shouldn't take very long at all. However, you'll want to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll handle all the property information your lender needs to close the loan.>

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) outlining your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of accepting your application. The estimate rests on the loan amount. RESPA requirements mandate that it has to contain all closing costs and fall within a tight range of accuracy, and I'll analyze the estimate and let you know if it all looks permissible.

Then we'll close on your house. This should happen at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and relaxing affair.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, simply contact me at (703) 220-0406 or send me an e-mail.