Washington DC First Time Home Buyers
ARE YOU READY TO BE A HOME OWNER?
At District Partners at Compass, we are always ready and gratified to work with first time home buyers. This is a new process for them and ultimately, we want it to be easy, enjoyable and successful. We are also realistic. The market is experiencing a tightening of inventory. As prices go up, new challenges emerge. This is where having an experienced Realtor on your side is essential. We will help educate and prepare you. We will identify homes that fit your needs and wants and ultimately, we will help put you in a position for success.
Many people equate home ownership with renting or leasing but with added advantages – the freedom to have pets and paint walls and landscape, and the idea of owning something that will continue to gain value over time. While all these are fine and good, a home purchase comes with added responsibilities – paying a mortgage and property taxes, absorbing the cost of home maintenance and homeowners insurance. Preparing for this event requires you to take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.
Questions For Washington DC First Time Home Buyers:
Are you ready to buy?
You’ve finally made the decision to buy your first home. You’re nervous and excited and you’re ready to go – you’ll do some shopping and when you’re finished you’ll have your perfect dream home, right? Not so fast. There’s a few important steps to take.
How much can you really afford?
For many first time buyers, the realization that their income doesn’t quite match their wish list can be disappointing. That’s okay. It’s better to be realistic than to take on a crushing mortgage that puts you in the hole each month. You can always buy a more modest home now, let it accrue value and look to purchase your “dream home” in a few more years. Also, you want to have some money in reserve for unexpected repairs and expenses.
What is your DTI or debt-to-income ratio?
Be ready for this term because it’s an important one. You’ll need to determine what portion of your income you can apply to your new purchase. Your current level of debt pays an important role. DTI is something that lenders take very seriously. In today’s lending environment, your total debt (meaning home mortgage and other expenses) should not be more than 45% of your gross monthly income. Housing debt itself shouldn’t exceed 37%. Your lender may opt to stretch rations as far as 49.99% for total DTI but we strongly encourage you not to exceed 40%.
What do you want?
Do you want your own yard? Are you enthralled with gardening or do you shudder at the thought of digging in the dirt and lawn maintenance? Perhaps you’d rather just pay a monthly fee and have everything done by an HOA or Condo Association. There are numerous possibilities and choices. Some neighborhoods offer community gardens which can be a wonderful option for those who live in condos and townhouses. Mixed-use development buildings can offer amazing lofts with retail and restaurants on the ground floor. Some buyers crave the energy of a busy urban environment and some want peace and quiet. The wonderful thing about the DC metro area is the diversity of choices and options.
So, if you are ready, we can help.
You’ll need a good agent who will work hard and have your best interests in mind. Our team is dedicated to helping you find the right home at the best possible price. We will help prepare you for the challenges of getting through the process and we will be there for you after you close. We want you to find a house that will make you and your family happy and successful in real estate ownership. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work for you!
When you choose District Partners to represent you in the acquisition of your first home in the Washington Metro area, we will ask what you want and how much you can afford. Then, we’ll find a way to merge these two priorities and help identify the best choices possible. We will assist you in getting pre-qualified by a strong and reliable lender. We will advise you on every aspect of the buying process, we will guide you through the selection of properties and we will negotiate the terms of your contract.
Objectives and priorities.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when visiting a home. Prospective buyers usually get a quick sense of what they like and don’t like about a particular listing. It’s important not to be too swayed by first feelings or impulses however. Look at the big picture, not just cosmetic features. Think long and hard about price, about the overall size of the house and the neighborhood. Walls can be painted and counters can be replaced but the location is there to stay. Also, research local business and community trends that could have a positive or negative affect in the future.
Hire the services of a reputable real estate settlement company. We can recommend several lawyers or title agencies in the area that are trustworthy and dependable. The transferring of title can be complicated, especially with older homes that have gone through several changes in ownership over the years. The amount spent on a title company and title insurance is a worthwhile precaution given the legal fees that arise from a clouded chain of title.
Making the offer.
This is the moment of truth, the point where the excitement begins and where hearts can be broken. You will have to face the challenge of negotiations which can include rigid sellers and opportunistic agents. The seller will probably counter your offer and may even reject it outright. Don’t get too caught up in the first house you find. Be prepared to go the distance.
Get all the essential inspections done. A home inspector will check for termites, structural integrity, faulty wiring, plumbing and a host of other important issues. This is a crucial part of the home purchase and can result in needed repairs being addressed, either directly or through financial consideration at closing. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars but they are well worth it. There are several inspectors in the area that we would be happy to recommend.
The last item before a successful closing is the final walk-through, the District Partners team at Compass will be there with you of course, just as we will be with you every other step of the way. This will be your last opportunity to make sure that all is in order prior to final signing. And then, you get the keys and it will finally become real. Congratulations – you’re a home owner.
If you're looking for more information for Washington DC first time home buyers, contact us today!