Thinking about buying a home in Fairfax Station? If you’re unfamiliar with the area or are new to home buying, it might seem like a complicated process. But actually, with a little planning and preparation, it’s pretty straightforward. Here’s what to do to successfully buy a home in Fairfax Station, VA.
10 Steps to Buying a Home in Fairfax Station
Step 1: Review your finances
Before you officially start the home-buying process, it’s a good idea to take a good look at your finances. How much money do you have saved for a down payment? How much do you spend per month, and how does that compare to what you make? Do you currently have any outstanding debts?
Want an estimate of how much you might expect to pay per month at various home prices, interest rates, and down payments? Our mortgage calculator can help!
Step 2: Shop for a loan and get preapproved
Before you start touring homes, it’s a good idea to start speaking to lenders. There are a couple of advantages to doing this. For one, lenders will be able to ID any potential hangups in your finances that could prevent you from qualifying for a loan.
Additionally, a lender will be able to get you preapproved. Getting preapproved for a loan kickstarts the application process, which in turn speeds up your overall closing time. It also shows sellers that you’re able to be approved for a loan. Both of these factors are very appealing to sellers, and they can make you a stronger buyer compared to those who aren’t preapproved.
Step 3: Find an experienced Fairfax Station agent
Working with an agent can make a big difference in your home purchase—both in the price you pay and in the overall ease of the process. Your agent will handle all the communication, scheduling, and paperwork for you. He or she will arrange tours and inspections, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure you’re always on schedule to close on time—just to name a few things!
Step 4: Figure out what you want in a home
It can be easy to get caught up in the home search… and quickly find yourself burnt out on touring homes that don’t have what you need or aren’t in your budget. Save yourself the headache (and the heartache) and take some time to determine what’s most important to you in a home. Separate your absolute must-haves from items of lesser importance.
When using a home search to find the right fit, be sure to specify ALL your needs. If a home doesn’t have all your needs, it’s not the right home!
Step 5: Search and tour homes
Once you track down a few homes you’d like to see, your agent will schedule some showings. When you walk through a home, try to focus on bigger, more important features, like the size and structure of the home, rather than minor aesthetic details, like paint colors or wallpapering. It might be helpful to take pictures or make notes to keep track of all the homes you see.
Step 6: Make an offer
Once you find a home you love, it’s time to make an offer! Work with your agent to determine a competitive offer price—you’ll likely work with a Neighborhood Sold Report (or comparables) to do this. Your agent will also help you determine which contingencies should be included (such as an inspection and appraisal), as well as realistic dates for completing each step of the process, right up until the close.
Step 7: Negotiate
Just because you make an offer, doesn’t mean the home is yours just yet! Oftentimes, a seller will issue a counteroffer with modified terms or price. They may even refuse your offer entirely if they feel it is unfair or they’ve received a better offer. In some cases, if the seller receives multiple offers, they will ask each of the buyers for their “highest and best offer”—which usually indicates you’re competing in a bidding war amongst similar offers.
Ultimately, though, you and the seller will come to terms and will both sign a purchase agreement. At this point, you’re under contract.
Step 8: Get an inspection & appraisal
Most offers include a “due diligence” period, which gives you, the buyer, a set amount of time to do some research into the home to make sure you still want to buy it. Typically, this includes a home inspection, an appraisal, and a title check.
Should any issues arise—a maintenance problem, a low appraisal, etc.—you may ask the seller to fix the problem, give you some credit towards repairs, or reduce the price of the home. Should the seller refuse, you have the option to walk away from the sale.
Step 9: Finalize your mortgage approval
During and after the due diligence period, you’ll be working with your lender to complete your loan application and approval. This part of the process typically requires a lot of signing, submitting, and faxing.
Step 10: Sign, pay & close!
At last! On a predetermined day, you, your agent, your attorney, and the seller’s agent and attorney will sit down to complete the final closing paperwork. You’ll pay your closing costs and receive the keys to your new home! Congratulations!
Ready to Buy in Fairfax Station?
Thinking of making a move in the Fairfax Station area? We'd love to help! Contact us today to find out more about what the Move with Marion team can do for your home-buying goals.