Peggy Burke | Stafford Real Estate, Woodbridge Real Estate, Dumfries Real Estate


If you plan to buy a home in the near future, there is no harm in attending an open house. However, for those who want to get the most out of an open house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to attend an open house.

1. Review the Home Listing

Although you may have already reviewed a home listing, it may be a good idea to take a second look at it. That way, you can double-check to ensure that a residence matches your expectations prior to attending an open house.

As you review a home listing, think about your short- and long-term plans too. If you believe a home corresponds with these plans, now may be the right time to check out this residence in-person.

2. Examine Your Homebuying Budget

When it comes to preparing to attend an open house, it may be beneficial to assess your homebuying budget. By doing so, you can ensure a residence falls within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you launch a home search. If you have a mortgage at your disposal, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a home. And as a result, you can set up home showings and attend open houses for residences that match your budget.

3. Prepare a List of Questions

An open house provides an opportunity to walk around a residence and decide whether it is right for you. It also enables you to receive comprehensive insights into a home. Thus, you should put together a list of questions to ask during an open house.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially if you're on the fence about buying a particular home. And if you enter an open house with a list of questions in hand, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine whether to submit an offer to purchase.

Lastly, as you prepare to pursue your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can obtain expert guidance throughout the property buying journey.

A real estate agent can help you prepare for any open house, at any time. He or she first will meet with you, discuss your homebuying options and help you map out a homebuying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events for residences in your preferred cities and towns. And if you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase.

For those who want to take the guesswork out of buying a home, it helps to work with a real estate agent. Contact a local real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of assistance as you search for your ideal residence.


There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.


The home inspection may seem like a standard thing that you need to go through in the process of buying a home. Really, you’re paying for the home inspection, and it’s a huge opportunity for you. As a home buyer, you should look at the home inspection as an educational event for homeowners. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the property that you’ll be living in. From water that may have been present in the basement to a leaky roof, you’ll get to know your new home and how everything works.


When you hire your home inspector, he or she may seem like they are talking to experts. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask questions during the inspection so that you can clarify what the inspector is talking bout.


Is This Problem Urgent?


It’s a good idea to see how soon any problems in the house need to be fixed. If the roof needs to be replaced within 3-6 months and your finances are tight, it’s something that you’ll want to know about. While home inspectors will reserve their opinions about a property overall, professionally, they can tell you how big of an issue certain things are. You may need to hire a certified professional who specializes in a certain area like plumbing or electricity for further evaluation in many cases. For your own knowledge, it’s a good idea to know what needs to be done around the property and when.             


Take Notes


You’re never going to remember where everything is in the house on the first pass. It’s a good idea to carry a notepad with you when you’re going through the home. Make notes of any major issues, where they are, and how to fix them. This way, even after the inspection report is sent, you’ll have something to refer back to.  


Is This At The End Of Its Lifespan?


Your home inspector will take a look at all of the moving parts of the home that you’re about to purchase. This includes the appliances. Is the dishwasher on its last leg? Will you need a new refrigerator very soon? Is that creak in the floor more than just a problem with a floorboard? If you find out what to expect from both the major and minor issues in the home, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from the property overall. 


Home inspectors give you an overview of the condition of a home. Inspectors will tell you that there is no home that comes completely clean when it comes to an inspection. Even a brand new home that was just built will have some issues. While it may not be the most fun to find out that your new home needs a new roof, at least you and your realtor will know what needs to be brought to the negotiation table if you decide to go through with the purchase of the home.



This listing recently sold for $400,000.

13226 NICKLESON DR, WOODBRIDGE, VA 22193  

Residential
$400,000
Price
$400,000
Sale Price
4
Bedrooms
4
Baths
Great house next door to King Elementary with a buffer between!What a plus. Complete renovation in 2008. Is is really a great place to call home.Huge Master with the other bedrooms large as well.Front porch for family and friends to spend time and back deck of the same.Large level fenced back yard for your enjoyment...trex deck...dont miss this one. Schedule a showing today.


Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary – something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.

You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.

2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders

There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.

Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.

3. Review a Mortgage Closely

A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.

For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.

Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.

If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.




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