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Condo Buyer’s Guide

Guide to Buying Condos in Arlington VA by Orange Line Condo

Interested in purchasing a condo in Arlington but don’t have any idea of how things work? No need to fret; here’s a guide to help you go through this exciting process.

1. Assess your finances.Make sure that you’re in good financial shape before proceeding to look for a condo. It’s also helpful to determine your wants and your needs as it helps you focus on your main goal. Do some research and don’t hesitate to ask your agent questions regarding interest rates, closing costs, and other things you think you need to know in buying a condo.

Whether you can or cannot afford a condo depends on a number of factors so be honest about your monthly income, credit rating, and how much outstanding debt you have. It’s wise to calculate numbers as early as possible just to get an idea of just how much buying a condo will cost and just how much you can actually afford.

Tip: Being able to obtain your selected lender’s pre-approval boosts your attractiveness to sellers’ eyes. It also speeds up the mortgage procedure. Northern Virginia requires buyers to secure a pre-approval letter when making an offer.

2. Get a real estate agent. Hiring a real estate agent can ease most of the load off of your shoulders. Our main goal is to help you find a home that fits your needs and lifestyle. As a real estate agent, it’s our job to represent your interests in the buying process and help you realize your real estate goals. Coming up with a comprehensive market report about the neighborhood you are interested in enables you to compare prices, and that’s just one of the insights that we can provide. A real estate agent is your partner in this potentially life-changing undertaking.

3. Look for a condo. Looking for the condo of your dreams is probably the most fun you’ll have in this whole process. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to get an idea of what’s available out there. Utilize the World Wide Web and its offerings of various credible websites that feature current real estate listings in the area of your choice. As your real estate agent, it’s also my job to scour Arlington to look for condo options and schedule viewings for you. It’s easy to get carried away in this process, but don’t stray from the list of needs that you have set for yourself and your expense window. It also helps to keep an open mind and to welcome compromises.

Tip: You should check out what the commute and the neighborhood is like. Even if you’re looking specifically at condos that are near the Orange Line, some districts might suit you better than others. Hop a train and find out what it’s really like in a particular area at different times of the day and on different days of the week.

4. Make an offer. When you have found a condo that suits you perfectly, it’s time to make an offer (along with that pre-approval letter you’ve secured beforehand). Making an earnest money deposit is an indication that you are a serious buyer. Your offer may or may not be accepted – if there’s a counteroffer, and there usually is, this is the time for your agent to negotiate on your behalf until you and the seller finally agree on terms. Once settled, you’ll need to review the contract and finalize the paperwork on the mortgage that you need.

5. Inspect and have the condo appraised. An honest seller would disclose any issues regarding the condo. For further assurance, it’s wise to hire a professional home inspector to perform checks (and this is usually one of the contingencies of the sale). Undisclosed problems found will give you the upper hand and allow you to renegotiate or even cancel the purchase if you consider these issues unacceptable. Minor issues can be solved with repairs. A licensed appraiser hired by your lending company will also appraise the condo to give an estimate of its current market value, which affects the loan that the lender will make.

6. Close the deal. Once everything is settled and repaired upon inspection and appraisal, it’s time to officially close the deal. Make sure to review documents you need to sign. Closing costs also need to be paid and a closing date should be settled. On the day of the closing, you will receive the following documents (original or photocopied): HUD-1 Settlement Statement, promissory note, affidavits, and title deed. Go through everything again with your real estate agent and attorney, and once everything’s acceptable, it’s time for the seller to hand over the keys to your new home.

Congratulations on a successful purchase!