My lease is up end of April, when should I start looking? Nervous first time homebuyer wanting a condo in Alexandria/DC area. Thanks.

Asked by Holley Snyder, Alexandria, VA Sun Nov 4, 2012

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Chad Gray’s answer
Chad Gray, Agent, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Mon Nov 5, 2012

You've received some great advice so far! Here's a quick summary of what I would recommend to a family member or friend:

1. Find a lender you trust and get pre-approved for a loan. Also, ask your lender about new rules regarding documentation requirements and make sure you can provide everything.

2. Find a great Realtor. Have him or her start sending you properties that meet your criteria, so you can get a better idea of what you can afford, what's available and narrow down your list of areas where you might be interested in living within the Alexandria/DC areas.

3. Enjoy the process of finding your new home! With a great lender and Realtor, there should be little to no stress.

If you need a referral to a great Realtor, let me know.

Chad Gray PA, Realtor
Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

100% of clients rated our service as "EXCELLENT"!
1 vote
Delaine Camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Sun Jan 13, 2013

Each purchase has its own timeline and process, so it never hurts to start now. You can research neighborhoods, organize your preferences and talk to your financial institution now. Please, let me know if you have any questions about Alexandria or other parts of Northern Virginia. I can definitely get you started on the right foot and lead you to where you want to be.
0 votes
5108donovan, Home Buyer, Alexandria, VA
Thu Nov 22, 2012
for a great deal in arguable the best neighborhood in alexandria
0 votes
Janice A All…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Sun Nov 11, 2012
It does not hurt to begin preparation now. You will find the earlier you begin, the easier your purchase will be and you will gain more knowledge and understanding of the process. It will allow you to plan efficiently and effectively therefore scheduling your purchasing process on your time schedule and not that of someone else.
0 votes
Yoshita R. H…, , Alexandria, VA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
Hello Holley,

It would be my pleasure to assist you as a first time homebuyer. I remember what I went through without any assistance when I bought my first property. I also live in Alexandria and would enjoy the process with you.

Please feel free to give me a call.

Champion Homes Realty
12643 Galveston Court
Manassas, VA 20110
571-282-1972 Mobile
0 votes
Will Nesbitt, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
Now is a good time to start looking. We specialize in Alexandria condos if you haven't picked an agent yet.
0 votes
Erik Weissko…, Agent, fairfax, VA
Mon Nov 5, 2012

My colleagues below have provided some excellent insight. I believe if you wish to should put your lease terms to the side. The time to look is now. If you find say a "perfect" place at a terrific "value" the terms of your lease may be worked with..or the terms of the contract. Perhaps the seller does not wish to move until April? Perhaps your landlord would be happy to see you go early so he/she could collect a higher rent from someone else.

My point is..there are a host of options and it's best to begin the exploration process earlier than later. At a minimum you will have a greater understanding of the market and the offerings available.

With that would be my pleasure to offer up my 25 years of experience to learn about financing, what lender to use and why, how the process works..etc.

Feel free to contact me for a no obligation consultation. I make this have nothing to lose and much to gain.

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
Re/Max Distinctive Real Estate, Inc.
0 votes
Melissa Bark…, Agent, Washington, DC
Mon Nov 5, 2012

I would recommend before the year is over you find an agent who will be your buyers rep/agent and a lender. Have the lender get you an idea of price range that you can afford to buy that way you can start to look at buildings/neighborhoods in that price range.

I would have the agent you select start to email you properties on the market after the first of the new year for those neighborhoods/buildings of interest. You will need a pre-approval letter from a lender as part of the sales contract, so make sure you have that in hand when you start to go out and look at properties. If you find a place you like early in the process, say Feb, you can still settle in April. Be sure to give yourself enough time between settlement and when you have to move-out. You might want to paint, re-finish the floors, put in new carpet, etc before you move-in.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or need further assistance.

0 votes
Robert Lepel…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
Dear Holly:

Asking a Realtor if one should buy is tantamount to asking your hairdressor if you new a new hair style. LOL. I usually suggest to my clients that they consider larger condo complexes because there is an ecomomy of scale. For example if you live in a "cute" fourplex that has been converted into condos, should the roof need replacing, there are only four owners to split the costs. Find the neighborhood that fits your living, shopping, commuting requirements. Travel around to various open houses. Take in the costs versus convenience of living in DC versus Virginia. Note: New construction costs more than resales.

If there should be an issue as to down payment, there are many first time homebuyer programs. Your REALTOR should assist you selecting one or more. Always use an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR). They are certfied and know how not only to obtain the best deal, but to give you valuable counsel with the transaction including protecting your interests in preparing and bargaining the terms of the contract.

Please let me know if I may be of assistance. Both my wife & I love to sell condos.

Best regards - Bob Lepelletier - Associate Broker, REALTOR, ABR, GRI & SFR at Keller Williams Realty Alexandria/Kingstowne Office (703) 310-7880 &
0 votes
Misty Mount, Agent, Yorktown, VA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
Now is the time to start the process with a lender. Its always good to look at properties online just to give yourself an idea of cost and HOA/condo fees. Maybe even drive around and look at neighborhoods. Your prequal letter will only be good for 60 to 90 days and since you cant move until May alot of the properties on the market now may be gone by then. But its never too late to get educated. Start talking to agents in the area.
0 votes
Ann Shack, Agent, McLean, VA
Sun Nov 4, 2012
Now is a great time to buy. Interest rates are historically low and the City still has money to help first timers like you. Let's meet and talk more about these issues so. You can feel like you are makiing a good decision.
0 votes
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