The Home Buying Process from the Realtor Perspective

I have been in hundreds of homes in just the past few months, all over Northern VA and DC. I know the general layout of the house before I even go into it, just by seeing the outside. I usually know if my clients are going to hate it before we even step foot into the house, even though they insist on seeing it. Recently I picked up the hardest client I will ever have, I mean this couple is pickiest, most critical, biggest pain in the rear ever…

It’s me and my husband!

We’ve been throwing around the idea of possibly moving and I have had an interesting perspective shift on the process. It’s interesting to be on the other end of the advice I normally give buyers just starting out, things like must haves v. would be nice, what are the deal breakers, are you looking for location or the most you can get for your money regardless of location? The list goes on and on.

So last night we sat down and ranked a list of things we’re most concerned with, kind of like an¬†anonymous¬†ballot to see if we were on the same page. ¬†Interestingly, we were generally on the same path, which makes it much easier to start narrowing down the home search. I wanted to share some items you may want to consider based on the type of property you’re looking to buy:

Condos
Older condos are cheaper and generally bigger – are you willing to get a bigger space in an older building?
Are you looking for a traditional layout or loft style?
Condo fees – are you trying to stay within a strict budget? Maybe you can rule out any building with a condo fee above $X
Condition – are you looking for something turn key or a project?
Location – do you want a specific metro stop? Proximity to other metros?

Townhomes
Some have assigned parking while others have garages – do you have a preference?
Some have a small deck, but no yard or patio – do you have a preference or is 1 a deal breaker?
Do you care if 2 bedrooms are on the top floor versus 3?
Guest parking – are there spots for guests? What about street parking?
HOA Fee v. Condo Fee – some townhomes are condo ownership, meaning their monthly fees are higher – does that play into your search and price range?

Detached Homes
What style floor plan do you like most? Open? Formal?
Is the yard important or room for a deck/patio?
Does the neighborhood and schools rank up high on your list? What about the commute?
Condition – does it need some updating?
Does the Master have a bathroom or do you share one with the other bedrooms? Do you care?
Is there a basement? Is it finished or can it be?
Is a garage a must have?
Is there an additional HOA monthly/annually? (Most Arlington homes don’t have one, but this would be something like the Reston Association fee paid by everyone in Reston)
That’s just a start! There’s so much to consider, I was reminded how overwhelming it can be…normally my standard answer to clients is “I don’t have to live there, so it’s whatever is important to you.” But I can’t use that this time! I’ll be doing some more posts from the process if we do decide to move, I am sure i’ll be learning things all over again.