When Buying & Selling Homes, Here’s What You Need to Do First

When Buying & Selling Homes, Here’s What You Need to Do First

  • Frank Snodgrass
  • 03/20/23

Finding your dream home can be one of the most significant milestones of your life. Whether you are relocating to Washington, D.C., or have finally saved enough money to purchase a new home in your ideal neighborhood, finding the right home can be incredibly exciting. It can also be an emotional roller coaster. Considered one of the country's most competitive real estate markets, Washington D.C.'s real estate market can be challenging to navigate, even if you have previously bought a home.

While house hunting in the D.C. area can be a struggle, it shouldn't be impossible. Fortunately, with the right resources and support, you can navigate buying and selling in the Washington, D.C., real estate market. Here's everything you need to know about buying and selling your home in Washington, D.C.

Get pre-approved for a home loan

Before purchasing your new home, one of the most important things to consider is financing. How do you plan to pay for your new home? For most buyers, there are two options: purchasing a home with cash or securing financing to pay a mortgage.

While some homebuyers can purchase a home outright, 78% of home buyers will need to get pre-approved for a mortgage through a lending institution. To get pre-approved for a home loan, you will need to provide the following information to your mortgage lender:

  • Tax returns
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • W-2 forms or other proof of income
  • Government-issued identification
  • Bank statements and other proof of assets
  • Credit history
  • Rental history (if applicable)
Once you present this information to your mortgage lender, they will determine how much you can afford and what your interest rate will be. Once you know your budget, you can move forward with your house hunt.

Prioritize your needs

Once you have determined how much house you can afford, now is the time to decide what you need in your new place. If you are trying to sell your current house, what do you need from your new home that your existing house can’t provide you? This can be an issue of space, location, or other underlying factors. Create a wishlist and prioritize the most essential items on your wishlist. What neighborhood do you want to live in? If you have kids, is the school district important? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? If you have kids or pets, do you need a yard? By weighing what is most important to you, you can focus on your ‘must-haves’ during your house hunt.

Hire a real estate agent

After you have made a wishlist for your new home, now is the time to hire a local realtor. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, your real estate agent is your greatest advocate during your house hunt. Working with a local expert is essential if you are trying to sell your existing home while trying to buy a new property. So what qualities should you look for in an agent, and how do you know who to work with?

When choosing an agent, you should work with an agent with extensive industry experience, expertise in your local real estate market, great interpersonal communication skills, and strong ethics, among other qualities. While there are many qualified agents in the D.C. area, you should ideally work with someone you feel comfortable with to help guide you on your real estate journey.

Prepare your house for the market

If you are buying and selling in the Washington, D.C., area, you should ideally be working with the same agent. Working with the same agent for both steps of the transaction can save you time. Your listing agent understands what you are lacking in your existing home and will help you find what you need in your new home. Once you have chosen an agent, they will need to prepare a marketing plan to get your current home sold.

Your agent will likely schedule a meeting with you before listing your home. To determine a list price, your agent will present a comparative market analysis (CMA), a snapshot of recent market activity in your neighborhood. The comparative market analysis will demonstrate comparable properties that have sold in your neighborhood within the last three to six months. These properties will ideally be of similar size, age, and condition to your own home. By comparing the sold prices of these homes, you and your agent will determine the fair market value of your home.

Once you and your agent have agreed on a list price, your agent will come up with an individualized marketing plan to get your home sold for top dollar. Along with a marketing plan, your agent will suggest other methods for getting your listing market-ready.

  • Clean your house from top-to-bottom.
  • Declutter every room in your house
  • Hire a professional photographer/videographer to capture the best images of the property
  • Hire a professional home stager to highlight the best features of every room
After you and your agent have completed all these steps, your agent will put your house on the market, and you can now focus on the house hunt.

Begin your house hunt

While you wait for your existing home to sell, you and your agent can begin the house hunt for your new property. Your agent can provide valuable insight into some of the city’s neighborhoods, showing you the nearby amenities. Meanwhile, you and your agent should be scheduling showings. As you begin touring different homes, pay attention to your surroundings. What condition is the house in? Was the information presented in the listing representative of what you see in the home? Check light switches and water faucets. Is everything in working order? Along with the home’s interior, observe what is going on outside. How is the neighborhood? Do you feel comfortable with the location? How are the noise levels?

By paying attention to these details, you can decide what you are comfortable living with and what are dealbreakers for you. If this house isn’t what you are looking for, keep searching. Once you find your dream home, act fast. Work with your agent to submit an offer. Once you and your agent are satisfied with the purchase price and terms, your agent will present your offer to the listing agent. Once they accept your offer, you are one step closer to purchasing your dream home.

Are you searching for homes for sale in Capitol Hill? Trust Frank Snodgrass with all of your Capitol Hill real estate needs. Whether you are searching for Capitol Hills houses, condominiums, or townhouses, Frank will guide you through every step. Contact Frank today to begin your house hunt.

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