Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
Drove the in-laws around Burke. They also liked the feel as much as we do. Didn't go to any open houses though. But driving through the duplexes that I had liked the interior layouts from the pictures (and floorplans) I really didn't like the way the lots were laid out. The curvy streets with tiny odd spaces between oversized units (because they're all two houses in one) actually made the place feel more claustrophobic than THs. Though I did like other duplexes across the street better. I don't know man. I know there must be THs that we'd like because I love my friends TH in Reston. But at the same time, I'm starting to think we should hold off until we have an even larger downpayment, have gotten a couple more raises, have this car paid off and could buy a second one, and just buy a house, maybe biking distance to the VRE or metro. Because aside from a few THs, the SFHs, even on the teeny-tiny lots in old Burke, just look so much more inviting. So the question is, when to get pre-approval such that we're ready to jump on something if something really good does actually come on the market at a price we'd be ready to pay this year? Lease is up in September, need to renegotiate it at the end of June. Student loans will also be paid off in June-ish, may or may not have money from Dad's boat by then. Really the _only_ reasons to buy this year rather than next are the possibility that interest rates will rise significantly in the interim without any reductions in selling prices, and the surety of the $8k from the Fed this year that probably won't be repeated next year. If it weren't for those two things? I definitely think we'd sit tight one more year and build up a larger cushion and downpayment before buying, while holding out hope that SFHs that we'd like will come up for sale for under $350k.
Remax thinks you'll be kicking yourself for not buying this year.
Remax should invest in other areas - they always have the most awful commercials. We had our TH listed with a remax agent once - they didn't sell it. They were greedy agents who just told us to list it under the market value and someone will buy it. So we sold it without them by giving 3k to a agent for putting it in the MLS and of course lowering the price. The price point brought the people not the agent.I would have kicked myself if I listened to the Remax Realtor!
Cara, you can usually get pre-approval in a matter of minutes or hours (e.g., online at Penfed). And every time a credit report is pulled, I think your FICO scores go down, so you don't want to do this until you must (learn from my mistakes, grasshopper!). My advice would be if you are concerned that you don't know how banks might behave when you begin to look in earnest, you could apply for pre-approval then, ONCE, and ask them to make that current for as long as they will. (Last year my bank made the approval good for 6 months, but this year, their rules were limited to 3 months, though they extended it one month maximum at my request). Then if you still haven't found the right place for the right price, you could keep shopping for a home without current financing preapproval, and apply again the same day you find the right place.Unless you think your dream place will sell within hours and the seller won't agree that your prior approval is a good sign that you would again be pre-approved!!
Ace: yes, your FICO score goes down, but by 1 point. In other words, I wouldn't bother worrying about it.
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