Jan Kennemer | Arlington Real Estate, Alexandria Real Estate, Falls Church Real Estate


For first-time homebuyers, going from property buyer to property owner may seem virtually impossible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of buying a home.

Now, let's take a look at three questions that every first-time homebuyer needs to consider:

1. What is my "dream" residence?

One first-time homebuyer's definition of a "dream" residence may differ from another's. As such, you should consider what you'd like to find in a dream house before you begin your real estate search.

Creating a checklist of "must-haves" and "wants" in your house often serves as a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist will enable homebuyers to consider what they'd like to find in a dream home and plan accordingly.

Also, it is important to establish realistic expectations before you kick off a home search.

Many terrific houses are available in cities and towns nationwide, but no home is likely to have every feature that you desire in a dream residence.

Therefore, if you establish realistic expectations for your home search, you can avoid potential let-downs as you explore a broad array of high-quality houses.

2. How will I pay for a home?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know what you can afford to spend on a home before you enter the real estate market.

Many banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss your mortgage options. These lenders can outline the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, help you assess your credit score and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.

Furthermore, lenders can answer any mortgage questions that you may have. They can help you evaluate your current financial situation and enable you to obtain a mortgage that won't force you to revamp your day-to-day budget.

3. How do I begin searching for a house?

Beginning a home search is easy, particularly for first-time homebuyers who work with expert real estate agents.

An expert real estate agent understands what it takes to find a wonderful house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, he or she will do everything possible to help you navigate the housing market quickly and effortlessly.

Typically, an expert real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and submit home offers on your behalf. This housing market professional also will offer honest, unbiased recommendations throughout the homebuying journey to help you select a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

When it comes to exploring the housing market, there is no need to work alone. Fortunately, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you get the best results possible during the homebuying journey.

Want to acquire your first home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to owning a top-notch house.


Buying a house should be a fast, seamless process. However, problems sometimes may arise that prevent you from acquiring your dream house in a timely fashion.

Ultimately, it is important to be proactive to minimize the risk of encountering time-consuming hurdles during the homebuying process. Fortunately, we're here to help you identify and address such problems before they can slow you down.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid delays as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Enter the Housing Market with a Plan in Hand

An informed homebuyer is better equipped than others to enjoy a successful homebuying journey. In fact, this buyer should have no trouble narrowing his or her homebuying criteria to speed up the homebuying cycle.

When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to consider what you want to find in your dream residence. That way, you can enter the housing market with a list of homebuying criteria in hand and tailor your house search accordingly.

Remember, it is your duty as a homebuyer to do everything possible to find your ideal residence. If you narrow your house search, you can focus on finding a home that matches your expectations. And once you discover your dream house, you can quickly submit a competitive homebuying proposal.

2. Get Your Home Financing in Order

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference for a homebuyer. If a homebuyer receives pre-approval for a mortgage, this individual will know exactly how much he or she can spend on a residence. As a result, this buyer can explore residences that fall within a specific price range, increasing the likelihood of a fast homebuying journey.

To obtain a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach a homebuyer about a broad array of mortgage options. Perhaps most important, each lender can help a homebuyer weigh the pros and cons of assorted mortgage options and ensure a buyer can make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with an Expert Real Estate Agent

There is no need to let problems escalate that otherwise could slow down the homebuying journey. Fortunately, if you hire an expert real estate agent, you can get the help you need to accelerate the homebuying cycle.

An expert real estate agent understands the ins and outs of buying a house, and as such, will make it simple for you to streamline the homebuying process. He or she will offer lots of recommendations as you pursue your dream house. Plus, when you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer right away.

The homebuying journey can be long and complex, particularly for a homebuyer who chooses to work alone. But if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Ready to acquire your ideal residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of encountering time-intensive obstacles as you search for your dream home.


A seamless home search may be a dream come true for property buyers. Yet for those who want to accelerate the homebuying journey, problems sometimes may arise that make it tough to streamline a home search. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to speed up a home search and find your dream house without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you expedite the homebuying journey.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations

You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea what you want to find in a dream home. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, however, you could simplify your house search.

Think about what you want in your dream house, as well as where you want to reside. Then, you can search for houses that have the features you want and are located in your preferred cities and towns.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage at your disposal, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. As a result, you can search for homes that fall in line with your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages and help you find the right mortgage based on your individual needs.

Of course, as you search for the right mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, all of whom are happy to assist you in any way possible.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to support a homebuyer. He or she understands the ins and outs of buying a home, and as such, will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. He or she next will craft a homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. A real estate agent then will help you conduct an in-depth house search. And once you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

A real estate agent also works diligently to help you achieve the best-possible results at each stage of the property buying journey. He or she is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and ensure you can make informed decisions throughout your quest for your dream house.

Want to expedite your home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a home that suits you perfectly.


For the most part, it’s safe to say we all know to come prepared when buying an older home. But did you know that the buying process of a new construction home comes with its own quirks? The customization and relationship with the builder through the process makes for a unique experience when buying a new construction home.

Here’s what you need to know:

Some developments have site registration policies. This means that they require you to come with your agent for at least the first couple visits. Don’t be caught off guard. When planning your viewings be prepared to work with your agent's schedule as well as your own.

Instead of asking to lower the cost ask when negotiating ask the builder to pay closing costs or to include upgrades. You’ll have an easier time getting a yes to these requests as builders don’t like to lower costs and gain a reputation for doing so in the process.

New construction homes aren’t a final product when purchasing. Because of this, it’s critical to get details on paper to protect yourself during the buying process. Details to include are how the home will be finished, any and all timelines, and what will happen if, for whatever reason, the home is not finished in time. Get all of this in writing to create a binding contract.

Ask questions! When touring the model house be sure to ask what comes standard and what is an upgrade. Get costs of upgrades that catch your eye so that you can plan your budget. When planning this budget you will also want to leave wiggle room as this will be a quote and not final cost. Your agent can help you create a list of common features that are standard and/or upgradable as well as ballpark costs.

Budget Tip: When deciding on upgrades know which are easier to have done during construction. Prioritize those over those that can easily be done after. Think upgrades that include wiring or getting into walls and ceiling for whatever reason.

New construction homes often come with a warranty. It’s important to know what this covers and what it doesn’t. Understand your cancellation rights and hire a real estate lawyer to review contracts and any important documents.  

Research the builder and if possible talk to other residents in the neighborhood. Ask them about their experience both during the buying process and living in the development afterward.

One thing that often catches home buyers off guard is when the builder requires you to get pre-approved by their lender even if you use your own lender. This is to safeguard themselves by ensuring you pass their lenders requirements for a safe investment. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may even get better rates and fees from the builder's lender.


As a homebuyer, you likely want to do everything you can to ensure you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Yet problems may arise that hamper your homebuying aspirations. Lucky for you, we're here to help you analyze the property buying journey and ensure you can avoid complications along the way.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can minimize the risk of problems as you search for your dream residence.

1. Learn About the Homebuying Journey

There is nothing quite like buying a home. As such, you'll want to do whatever you can to prepare for the property buying journey to ensure you can limit the risk of encountering potential pitfalls.

Oftentimes, it helps to review housing market data related to residences in your preferred cities and towns. This information can help you assess the prices of available houses in your area and find out how long residences typically stay available before they sell. Plus, this housing market data may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market.

You also should establish realistic homebuying expectations before you enter the real estate market. In some instances, homebuyers require many weeks or months to find the perfect residence. But if you set realistic expectations for the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than ever before to overcome myriad property buying challenges.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage is essential for most homebuyers. If you secure a mortgage before you start your home search, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your home search accordingly.

It generally won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage, either. If you meet with local banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no telling what may happen as you pursue your dream residence. However, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to prepare for any homebuying challenges that might come your way.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to teach you about all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you craft a homebuying strategy, as well as respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. Furthermore, a real estate agent will maintain constant communication with you to ensure you can get the homebuying support you need, exactly when you need it.

For homebuyers who want to minimize complications, hiring a real estate agent is crucial. This housing market professional will set up home showings, help you analyze properties and enable you to submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And as your home closing day approaches, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your house purchase.

Ready to buy a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the property buying cycle.




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