Preparing To Be A Home Owner In Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia home buying preparing to be a home owner steps Dave Martin Realtor

Throughout the Northern Virginia region our local economy and employment numbers continue to be strong, which is continuing to entice more home buyers to enter the market place. Northern Virginia, including the Kingstowne Neighborhood here in Alexandria, is experiencing a strong seller's market condition with very little inventory for prospective home owners to choose from, and where they often find they must compete with one or more other hopeful home buyers. In a strong competitive market such as this it is important for you to avoid these Seller's Market Mistakes.

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

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Even if you are in a less competitive market or part of the country than we have in N. Virginia at this time, having pre-approval will always give you a negotiating advantage over someone who does not have pre-approval, and understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

However, selecting the loan officer to work with is not the first real estate professional to sign-up for your team. Instead, the first member of your real estate team you should sign-up is your real estate agent (Buyer Agent). Why? Well, your buyer agent is the only person that has a fiduciary responsibility to you (This is established by means of a document often called a "Buyer Broker or Buyer Agency Agreement"). One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that they should have relationships with a variety of lenders and should be able to advise you as to which of them may best be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

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Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so.


To protect your interests and make certain that you make the best decisions possible, it’s important that you have an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent that has your best interests at heart.

We are committed to keep you informed and on top of the local Northern Virginia real estate market. You can be certain that we will provide all the information you need to make the best choices for you and your family — even when that best choice is to do nothing. We have been helping individuals, couples and families to purchase and sell homes in Fairfax, Alexandria and the surrounding areas of Northern Virginia for the last four decades, and we would love the opportunity to help you, too. Whether you are buying your first dream home or next, we will take the time to answer all your questions and always give you the best advice available so that you can make your dream home a reality.

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