When it comes time to move into a new house, it’s difficult not to get overwhelmed with excitement. You’re moving to a new home with new opportunities. However, there are a lot of factors that go into finding the right home.
If you’re house shopping, you need to think about what’s best for your family, your lifestyle, and your budget. Making the wrong decision now can negatively affect your life for the next few decades. We want to help you make sure that doesn’t happen.
Buying homes in Alexandria, VA is relatively straight-forward. However, you can never go wrong by doing a little homework to secure your happiness in the near and distant future. Keep reading for the top seven considerations to make sure you make the right choice.
1. Getting Approved for the Right Loan
Before you even start window-shopping for homes online, we recommend getting a clearer picture of your financial situation. Do you know your credit score? What is your debt-to-income ratio?
These factors play a huge role in the types of home loans you can get approved for. In some cases, if your credit score is too low, you may have difficulty getting approved for a loan at all. Alternatively, you may only get approved for loans with steep interest rates.
We recommend getting pre-approved to determine your budget and get a better idea of what your monthly payments will look like. If you don’t like the interest rates available to you, it may be worth it to spend a few months raising your credit score.
2. The Costs
Next, when buying homes, it’s wise to understand all of the costs involved in homeownership. Don’t jump headfirst into a mortgage assuming the monthly payments will be your only expense. The costs of buying and owning a home include, but aren’t limited to:
- Closing costs
- Realtor fees
- Inspection fees
- Moving costs
- Yearly home maintenance and repairs
- Property taxes
- Home insurance
- And more
Make sure you account for these expenses in your budget. Nearly 80% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck because they stretch themselves too thin. Avoid making their mistake and find a home you can comfortably afford.
3. Your Lifestyle
When choosing which house to buy and where to settle when living in Alexandria, you also need to consider your lifestyle. Obviously, your home needs to suit your current way of life. However, you may also want to plan ahead to make sure the house you buy can accommodate a growing family.
Additionally, you’ll want to think about other logistics, such as your hobbies. For example, if you like outdoor recreational activities like boating, camping, four-wheeling, etc., you’ll want a home with plenty of storage space to house your equipment.
When buying homes in Alexandria, you also need to think about location. How close do you want your home to the city? What is your ideal distance from work?
Certain schools are only available for children who live in specific school districts. What school districts do you want your kids to have access to?
Do you prefer a neighborhood with close neighbors and a tight-knit community or do you require more solitude? If you have kids, what parks or playgrounds are nearby? Is the neighborhood considered safe?
There’s a reason the exact same house in two different locations can vary greatly in price. Location is one of the most significant considerations for house-hunting.
5. The Local Housing Market
Before you commit to buying a house, you should also check with your realtor to understand the local housing market. Is the current real estate industry a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? The difference could cost or save you thousands of dollars.
In a seller’s market, there is a high demand for a product low in supply. In real estate, this means few homes for sale and several interested buyers. This scenario gives sellers leverage to raise prices and orchestrate bidding wars on their homes.
In a buyer’s market, there is a lot of supply and little demand. This is your best-case scenario. A buyer’s market in real estate means there are plenty of homes and few interested buyers, resulting in lower prices.
You may not have the option of waiting for the market to change. However, comparing house prices is important, and buying houses at the right time could save you tens of thousands of dollars.
6. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or are looking to buy your 10th home, it always helps to have an experienced real estate agent at your side. Some people will argue that it’s more cost-effective not to use a realtor. However, realtors can use their honed negotiation skills to get you the best price possible.
Additionally, realtors have a lot of important insight into communities and neighborhoods. They can help you find the right houses for families or whatever else you looking for. Lastly, most realtors have valuable connections with other local businesses like lenders, contractors, landscaping companies, and more.
7. Home Design and Features
Finally, when buying homes in Alexandria, VA, you need to think about your preferred home style. Do you want an old Victorian home or something more modern? Because of Virginia’s rich history, there are dozens of different styles of homes in Alexandria – make sure you’re fully aware of your options.
Additionally, there are different home sizes you need to consider. Larger homes will allow you more space and provide room for guests and a growing family. However, a smaller home will be less expensive and easier to maintain.
Figure out what your priorities are and align them with your budget.
Looking at Buying Homes in Alexandria, VA?
We don’t think buying homes in Alexandria should be a difficult process. Whether you’re new to the area or are just looking to move into a new home, we can help. Contact us today to get in touch with one of our experienced real estate agents.
And if you’re looking for more information about the local housing market, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go.