Blog :: 02-2019

Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group is Northern Virgina's most trusted local, independent resource for real estate news and insight. Our team has its finger on the pulse of the real estate market in Alexandria and the surrounding counties. Here you'll find the latest market updates, local news, and tips for buyers and sellers.

How To Pick A Neighborhood You'll Love When Buying A Home

How To Pick A Neighborhood You’ll Love When Buying A Home

Real estate and details go hand in hand and when you’re buying a home there are a lot of details to consider. When you purchase a home you’re making a commitment to more than just the home itself. You’re also committing to the neighborhood it’s located in.
 


In most cases, you’re going to be living there for at least a few years and on average homeowners stay in their homes 7 years. There are certain things you should consider before you purchase a home and the neighborhood it’s located in is one that can often go overlooked.

 

Crime- what you consider safe might not be the same as someone else. Do your research and look into crime statistics for neighborhoods that you’re interested in. Check out the local police department website or visit www.crimereports.com.

 

crime

 

Parking- is a garage or assigned parking important to you? Think about if you desire to come home and know exactly where you’ll park or if you don’t mind looking for parking. Another consideration is parking for when you have guests visit. If you’re throwing a dinner party is there a place for your guests to park either in the form of your driveway, visitor spaces, or street parking?

 

 

Walkability- do you want to have the ability to walk to metro, the grocery store, or shopping and dining? Many home buyers look for a home with a high walk score. Neighborhoods that have a high walk score often experience higher home values due to their prime location.

 

 

Homeowner’s or Condo Association – this is a question that comes up a lot and some homebuyers don’t want to be in a neighborhood that has one. Association management varies by neighborhood and like anything else some are excellent and truly provide value while others are poorly run and a complete disaster. Work with your agent and do your research to obtain as much information as possible if you’re considering moving into a neighborhood with a homeowner’s or condo association. I’ve had clients who love them and clients who have moved because of them.

 

Amenities- if you prefer a neighborhood with certain features such as an outdoor pool, fitness center, tot lot, lake, or walking trails you’ll be able to eliminate certain neighborhoods and focus your search on those that have what you’re looking for.

 

 

Think about what’s important to you for a neighborhood to feature and consider the little details in your day to day life. Your commute, hobbies, and lifestyle are all something to think about when selecting a neighborhood to purchase a home in. Do your research and lean on your agent to help you get answers to your questions.

 

If you know what you’re looking for you will end up making a choice you love both with your new home and the neighborhood it’s in!

 

Additional Resources

Do Not Buy The Best Home On The Block via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison

 

Looking For The Right Neighborhood via Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate Broker/Owner of House To Home

 

 

Homes For Sale In Amberleigh Alexandria Va 22315 - Market Report February 2019

 

Homes For Sale In Amberleigh Alexandria Va 22315 - Market Report February 2019

Amberleigh is located in Alexandria off of Beulah Road. The tree lined streets provide a peaceful setting and privacy all while being within minutes of popular Kingstowne.

 

 

What’s The Neighborhood Like?

Amberleigh consists of 502 townhomes constructed between 1981 and 1988. There are six different models; Ashleigh, Oakleigh, Ridgeleigh, Stoneleigh, Timberleigh, and Woodleigh. Homes in Amberleigh typically range from 2-3 bedrooms and 2-3 full baths. Residents have access to basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts. There are multiple tot lots throughout the community and an active neighborhood association puts on events throughout the year for the community. Residents can also access walking trails through a peaceful wooded area in Amberleigh Park.

 


 

What’s Nearby Amberleigh?

Amberleigh is conveniently located in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria. As with many neighborhoods in the area, major commuter routes, dining, shopping, and daily needs are all easily accessible. Festival At Manchester Lakes, Hilltop Village Center, and Kingstowne Towne Center are shopping centers that are closest to the neighborhood.

 

Festival at Manchester Lakes has a grocery store, bank, pet store and many dining options. Check out Johnny’s Pizza if you’re in the center, it’s one of our local favorites.

 

Kingstowne Towne Center is home to Kingstowne 16 Movie Theater, Pasara Thai, East Moon Bistro, HomeGoods, World Market, TJ Maxx, La Madeline, two grocery stores and many other dining and retail options.

 

 

Hilltop Village Center is within walking distance from the neighborhood and the sought after Wegmans grocery store is located in this shopping center. Within Wegmans is The Pub, a great place to pop in for lunch, happy hour, or dinner before you do your grocery shopping. You’ll also find Burtons Grill, LA Fitness, Green Turtle, Verizon, Hair Cuttery, Hilltop Dental Care, First Impression Orthodontics and many other retail and dining locations in the center.

 

The Springfield Transportation center is minutes away from Amberleigh. Franconia-Springfield metro (blue line), VRE, Amtrak, and Greyhound are all available. Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon, the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center and Fort Myer are all nearby as well.

 

 

What Schools Will The Kids Attend?

Children living in Amberleigh will attend Island Creek Elementary and Hayfield Secondary Schools. To learn more about these schools visit the GreatSchools website. 

 

Amberleigh Real Estate Market Update

Below is a review of home sales in Amberleigh during 2018.

•Number of Sales: 24

•Highest Priced Sale: $445,263

•Lowest Priced Sale: $365,300

•Median Sales Price: $432,520

•Median Days on Market: 7

•Median Sale Price to List Price Ratio: 99.53%

 

Year to date there has been 1 home sold in Amberleigh, there are currently 1 pending sales and 1 active listing

 

If you are considering buying or selling in Amberleigh and have questions reach out and let’s connect. I welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and business.

 

Receive an estimate of your homes current value by visiting www.northernvalocalmarketvalues.com – free and no obligation!

 

View homes for sale in Kingstowne 

Island Creek in Alexandria, Va 22315 - February 2019 Market Update

 

Island Creek in Alexandria, Va 22315 - February 2019 Market Update

There are over 1200 homes in the Island Creek neighborhood in Alexandria Virginia. As you drive into the neighborhood you’ll find single family homes, townhouses, and two styles of condos; garden and townhouse style.

Island Creek is conveniently located off Beulah Street in the Kingstowne area. Residents enjoy plentiful amenities and the convenient location; two outdoor pools, tot lots, tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts are all available for residents to use. There’s an assortment of jogging and biking trails through the community and a private lake. Island Creek features a club house that can be reserved for parties or special events.

 

What’s Nearby Island Creek?

Minutes to public transportation and major highways this community offers easy access for commuting to work. Fort Belvoir is less than 5 minutes from the neighborhood. The Springfield Town Center is just minutes from Island Creek and home to Top Shop, Michael Kors, Forever 21,

Dicks Sporting Goods, Macy’s and many more retail options. There are numerous dining options in the town center; Maggianos, Nando’s Peri Peri, Chuys, and Yardhouse just to name a few. The town center also offers valet parking. Hilltop Village Center is within walking distance of Island Creek and home to Wegmans, LA Fitness, Green Turtle, Burtons Grill and many other retail locations. Residents of Island Creek find access to daily needs, commuter routes, public transportation, shopping, dining, and entertainment all very convenient.

 

What Schools Do Kids Attend?

Children that live in Island Creek will attend Island Creek Elementary and Hayfield Secondary Schools. Visit this website for more information about these schools including reviews and test scores. 

 

The following is a review of activity in Island Creek during 2018.

•Number of Sales: 45

•Highest Priced Sale: $860,000

•Lowest Priced Sale: $310,000

•Median Sales Price: $512,500

•Median Days on Market: 32

•Median Sale Price to List Price Ratio: 99.03%

 

 
 

As of this post there have been 7 homes sold in 2019 and there is currently 1 home for sale.

 

View homes for sale in Island Creek 

 

Whether it’s Island Creek or another Kingstowne area neighborhood I welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and business. A personalized and seamless real estate experience is always my number one priority. If you have questions about buying or selling please reach out, I’d be delighted to connect with you.

Keep Calm and Remember You Work For Your Client

Keep Calm and Remember You Work For Your Client

The market in Alexandria and most areas of Northern Virginia is tight right now; inventory is beyond low and homes that show well and are priced right are receiving multiple offers within hours of coming on the market. When these are the conditions we are working in some agents stress and egos run high.


The barrier to entry in our profession is far too low and when the market is good you could shake a tree and 20 Realtor’s® will fall out. There are incredible agents, terrible agents and everything in between. I’ve always felt agents who aren’t in this business to serve their clients need to get out but, I digress.


I have clients who have been looking for a home and we were set to see a listing that had just come on the market overnight. We all noticed the home was listed as 6 levels and realized every level had been duplicated causing what should have been 3 to show up as 6. I gave her a call and let her know I thought there was an error and we both chuckled about a townhouse being 6 levels. She was so appreciative that I called. It took maybe 2 minutes of my time and is something I hope someone would do for me. Let’s face it, typos can happen, there’s a lot of info that gets input for a listing.

 

 

Fast forward to the showing going very well and my clients wanting to make an offer. I gave her a call back because I feel it’s important to connect with the agent on the other end in the form of a phone call when my clients want to make an offer. She was equally as kind as the first call and thanked me for contacting her to see what would be appealing to the sellers to include in the offer. We all already knew there would be multiple offers and being able to tell my clients what the sellers were looking for helps give them more to work when deciding what to include in the offer.

 

 

I’m in place to serve them and provide them with as much information as I possibly can. In this case my clients offer was chosen and the other agent disclosed they had an offer that was slightly higher but, the agent never called to ask any details. He had emailed the offer and listed in the offer that it expired in 24 hours. Because there was no conversation the details aside from price weren’t what the sellers were looking for.
 

 

The fallout rate with contracts is high right now and building a rapport with the other agent goes a long way. I have no doubt we’re going to have a smooth transaction because there’s a mutual respect that’s been created. We each represent our client’s best interests but, all parties are working towards the common goal of settlement.

 

It’s a two way street when it comes to agents working together – real estate is a team sport. In the past few months alone I’ve been called old school, asked why am I not emailing or sending a text, and even been told by one agent that she doesn’t take calls about offers, just email it and wait to find out if it’s accepted. In that case my clients decided not to offer all together because they felt that agent would make the process difficult.
 

shaking hands

 

We’re in place to serve. It’s our responsibility to a client to advocate for their best interests at all times. Keeping calm and showing respect in order to achieve the best possible outcome every time is a must. Anything less than that is a disservice to the client. Agent to agent relationships are important and can make or break a transaction.

Hayfield Farm Homes For Sale Alexandria, Va 22315 – February 2019 Market Update

 

Hayfield Farm Homes For Sale Alexandria, Va 22315 – February 2019 Market Update

Hayfield Farm is the best of both worlds. Very conveniently located but, the neighborhood also offers privacy. As you drive through you’ll see well-established trees and landscaping. It’s common to see residents out walking; during the summer as you drive through you’ll often see residents headed to the pool. Kids are frequently out playing and riding their bikes. The peaceful setting while still being within minutes to anything one might need is highly sought after.

 

Looking For A Home In Hayfield Farm?

Interested in finding homes for sale in the Hayfield Farm neighborhood of Alexandria VA? Click that link to find homes currently available in this area of Alexandria.

 

Hayfield Farm neighborhood home

 

What’s The Neighborhood Like?

Construction of the neighborhood began in the mid 1960’s and the last homes were completed in 1972. Hayfield Farm offers different home styles including; colonial, rambler, split level, and split foyer. There is no HOA for the neighborhood but, community members are encouraged to join the Hayfield Citizens Association.

 

What’s Going On Nearby the Hayfield Farm Neighborhood?

Hayfield Center is in walking distance from Hayfield Farm. It’s home to House Of Dynasty, McDonalds, Stone Hot Pizza, Hayfield Dental Care, Crest Cleaners and Katana Sushi. For more shopping and dining options Kingstowne Towne Center is just a few minutes from the neighborhood where you’ll find access to multiple grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, and Kingstowne 16 Movie Theater. From May to October the Kingstowne Farmers Market takes place on Friday afternoons in the towne center. Check out Hilltop Village Center home to Wegmans, Burtons Grill, Verizon, Sprint, Green Turtle, LA Fitness, PNC, and many other dining and retail options.

 

Commuting from Hayfield Farm is convenient; access to 395, 495, 95, and Fairfax County Parkway are all within minutes from the neighborhood. Fort Belvoir and a US Coast Guard Station are located on Telegraph Road and just a few minutes from Hayfield Farm. If you’re looking for access to metro the Franconia Springfield Metro Station is less than 10 minutes away, Van Dorn Metro Station is also close by. Both offer service to the blue line.

 

Hayfield Farm home

 

What Schools Will The Kids Attend?

Kids that live in Hayfield Farm will attend Hayfield Elementary and Hayfield Secondary Schools both of which are in walking distance from the neighborhood. To learn more about these

schools check out the GreatSchools site. 

 

Hayfield Farm playground

 

If you are interested in the current homes for sale in the Hayfield Farm neighborhood of Alexandria VA click on the link. Our property information is a direct feed from the MLS and is updated multiple times per day. Just have questions about the neighborhood? Contact me, I’d love to connect and am always happy to answer questions.

 

If you’re a current Hayfield Farm resident and considering selling your home I welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and business. I have years of experience in the Alexandria real estate market and have a successful track record selling homes in Hayfield Farm.

 

Receive an estimate of your home’s value instantly by visiting www.northernvalocalmarketvalues.com – free and no obligation!

Homes for Sale Under 300k in Kingstowne VA

 

If you're thinking of buying a home for sale under 300k in Kingstowne VA, you're in luck! You'll find a good selection of homes to choose from.

 

Why live in Kingstowne VA?

 

Kingstowne VA is a large planned community in Fairfax County, second to Reston. Located on the western side of Alexandria and a suburb of Washington, D.C., this community is one of the best places to live in Virginia.

 

Kingstowne is widely recognized as a home to many military families, mostly because of its proximity to the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, and Washington D.C. Since living on the base is not an option for many military families, they tried to find a location where they can enjoy a semblance of the base but still feel like a regular community.

Proximity to the base is important because they have to be close to work, and Kingstowne is the ideal location. It allows and minimizes commuting time, a huge advantage for military personnel who seek to also have time with their loved ones.

 

Because it is a planned community, it is well-equipped with everything residents would need from schools, recreational facilities, town center, to dining options, and more.

 

Kingstowne Towne Center is home to 2 grocery stores, over 25 dining options and many retail stores. When you want to see the latest release, Kingstowne 16 Movie Theater is also located in the center.

 

When it comes to schools, students in this community attend Fairfax County schools, one of the best school districts in Virginia.

 

If you are looking for an affordable home in a neighborhood in proximity to local amenities and conveniences, Kingstowne is the community for you.

 

The neighborhoods of Kingstowne VA

 

Neighborhood names in Kingstowne are derived from English villages. You'll find smaller neighborhoods with the names of Abbey, Belford, Canterbury, Chancery, Derbyshire, New Castle, Northampton, Stratford Place, and many more.

 

The Kingstowne community is divided into three sections which help residents easily identify a location. There’s North Village, Middle Village, and South Village.

 

The North Village is at the easternmost part of the community and includes Kingstowne Lake. South Village is located at the western border of Middle Village.

Real Estate in Kingstowne

You'll find apartments, condominium units, townhouses, and single-family homes for sale in Kingstowne VA.

 

What kind of home can you buy under 300K?

 

For under 300k, you’ll find condos. Some of the condos are located in walking distance to the Kingstowne Towne Center.

 

Many of the condos and townhouses are well-maintained, but there are also a some that will need TLC and they will of course sell on the lower end of the average sale prices in Kingstowne.

 

Condos and townhouses range in price $275,000 - $600,000. Price varies based on square footage, number of beds/baths, and finishes such as hardwood, carpet, or tile floors. Surface parking vs. garage parking also impacts the price range of a condo and townhome in Kingstowne.

 

Single-family homes for sale start from $525,000. Many of the homes offer 3 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms. Among the common features for single family homes are ample-sized rooms, living room with a fireplace, and modern kitchens.

 

Homes priced between $550,000 - $750,000 feature updated kitchens, newly painted walls, and well-maintained front yards and backyards. Many of these homes also have 1-2 car attached garage.

 

Whatever home you prefer and no matter what features are important to you, you can find it in Kingstowne VA.

 

Visit my website http://www.AmandaDavidson.com to find the available homes in the area.

 

Ready to buy a home soon? Call me, Amanda Davidson, at 703-431-3755. Let’s talk about what you’re looking for in a home.

Kingstowne Home Sales January 2019 - Market Update

Kingstowne Home Sales January 2019 - Market Update

 

Ktowne Market Update 1/2019

Supply continues to struggle to keep up with demand in Kingstowne. January experienced strong sales with buyers seeing very little if any negotiation. Median sale price increased from December while the number of homes sold and closed decreased.

 

January 2019 Kingstowne Home Sales

•Number of Sales: 35

•Highest Priced Sale: $824,999

•Lowest Priced Sale: $215,000

•Median Sales Price: $439,213

•Median Days on Market: 22

•Median Sale Price to List Price Ratio: 98.33%

 

Is It A Buyer’s Or A Seller’s Market?

It is a seller’s market in Kingstowne. There are currently 30 homes for sale, 17 of which are located in The Crest Of Alexandria, a 55+ active adult community. There is currently less than a one month supply of inventory. If you are thinking about selling your Kingstowne home this spring find out why winter might be a better time.

 

View homes for sale in Kingstowne

 

Kingstowne Sign

 

Low Inventory in Kingstowne

Kingstowne housing inventory remains very low. Homeowners in Kingstowne have an excellent opportunity to sell quickly and for top dollar in the current market conditions. Homes still need to be properly priced and show well in order to entice buyers. Home buyers are attracted to homes that have a reasonable amount of updates and homes that meet these criteria are frequently seeing multiple offers.

 

 

 

If you’re a home buyer in Kingstowne the market is moving quickly and you have to be prepared to act accordingly. Work with an agent who has the availability to tour homes with you as soon as they become available. Low inventory increases the odds of other buyers being interested in the same properties and factoring that into your strategy is important to achieve a successful purchase.

 

Receive a free home value estimate within minutes. Our home value tool is just a guide, and to be used solely to receive an estimate. If you’d like to receive a free current market analysis reach out to me and let’s connect! 703-431-3755 or amanda@amandadavidson.com.

 

See homes for sale in Kingstowne 

 

Additional Kingstowne Real Estate Resources

Kingstowne Home Buyer Tips 

 

Kingstowne Home Seller Tips 

 

Selling Your Kingstowne Condo 

How To Make Your Home More Appealing To Buyers

How To Make Your Home More Appealing To Buyers

It’s the time of year that I’m frequently meeting with homeowners who are considering selling this spring. Each meeting varies with questions that come up with the exception of one and that’s always what can I do to make my home more appealing to buyers? Every seller understandably wants to know how to make their home standout and make buyers want to make an offer.

 

home exterior

 

There’s nothing I love more than when a seller takes the time to follow my advice doing the items that really make their home shine. Inventory is low in our area but, that doesn’t mean proper preparation isn’t imperative and the little details make a big difference. When your home makes the right first impression on buyers it will sell faster and for more money.

 

Donate and Purge
De-cluttering your home is something every seller has to do. You want your home to look spacious and organized; less is more. Buyers are easily distracted and having a bunch of items on your kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, in the shower, closet’s, under the bed and anywhere else you can think of that detracts from your home. Think about a model home as you go through each room in your house. You may even need to consider a storage unit – the garage and basement are not to be used for storage when selling your home. Every area needs to be ready to greet buyers and make the right first impression.

 

Keep It Neutral
Paint is the most common way to personalize a home 
but, when it comes time to sell personalized isn’t what you are going for. You want to appeal to as many buyers as possible and the best way to do that is neutral walls. Neutral doesn’t mean white, in fact you should stay away from white because it will make your home feel cold and uninviting. Stick to beige or gray tones.

 

kitchen interior

 

It’s The Little Things
When I mentioned above that the little details make a big difference I am talking something as small as a loose doorknob or kitchen cabinet handle or even just a burned out lightbulb. Every home has minor items that can easily be corrected and those little items add up in the eyes of a buyer. Go through each room and look for imperfections, pretend you’re a buyer walking through your home.

 

living room interior

 

Curb Appeal
Buyers see the exterior of your home first. I have a lot of buyer clients who drive by a home before contacting me for a tour. If they don’t like what they see from the exterior many never ask to see the interior. Pull the weeds, clean up any loose leaves, put some mulch down, and make sure the bushes don’t need trimming. Look at your front door, that’s where buyers are going to enter first. Does it need to be cleaned, painted, or replaced? Look at the gutters and roof to be sure they’re in show-ready shape as well. If you see shingles lifting or the gutters are loose have a qualified roofer in to repair them.

 

Select an agent with a proven successful track record and they will be able to go through your home with you and give you advice that’s custom to what your home needs. They have a trained eye on what to look for and recommend. Properly preparing your home to go on the market can’t be done overnight, it takes planning ahead and working closely with your agent. Allowing ample time to have your home show ready always pays off in the form of a faster sale for more money.

Additional Home Selling Information
Staging Your Home 

Prepare Your Home For Sale On A Budget 

 

 

Condos For Sale In Eton Square Alexandria, Va | February 2019 Market Update


Condos For Sale In Eton Square Alexandria, Va | February 2019 Market Update

Eton Square is located in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria. The garden style condos have a brick and siding exterior with attractive archways. The generous amount of windows in the condos provide for wonderful natural light to fill each room. Some condos feature 2 level floorplans.

Eton Square Amenities

Residents enjoy use of tennis courts, an outdoor pool, tot lots, and a fitness center.

View condos for sale in Eton Square 

 

What’s Nearby Eton Square?

The neighborhood is conveniently located off South Van Dorn Street and Kingstowne Village Parkway. Living in Eton Square provides walkability to Kingstowne Towne Center. The center is home to two grocery stores, Kingstowne 16 Movie Theatre, Pasara Thai, East Moon Bistro. Bonefish Grill, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Cava and many other dining and retail locations. Commuting from Eton Square is also convenient – the neighborhood is within minutes of 495, 395, 95, and Fairfax County Parkway. There are two metro stations nearby, Van Dorn and Franconia-Springfield. Hilltop Village Center and Springfield Town Center are less than five minutes away both with plentiful options for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Whether it’s daily needs, entertainment, or commuting Eton Square puts you within minutes of all of them.

 

 

What Schools Will The Kids Attend?

Eton Square is located on either side of Kingstowne Village Blvd. Depending on which side you live on will determine which school your children attend. Schools associated with the neighborhood are Franconia Elementary, Hayfield Elementary, Hayfield Secondary, Twain Middle, and Edison High Schools. You can visit the Fairfax County School boundary locator to determine which schools are associated with an address in Eton Square. Visit GreatSchools for more information about these schools.

 

Eton Square Real Estate Market

The following is a review of activity in Eton Square since February 2019.

•Number of Sales: 22

•Highest Priced Sale: $322,999

•Lowest Priced Sale: $193,000

•Median Sales Price: $280,000

•Median Days on Market: 42

•Average Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 98.25%

 

 

 

Current Inventory for Eton Square

•Active Listings: 1

•No Pending Sales

If you are contemplating selling your Eton Square condo use our home value tool for an instant free estimate of its value. For a more precise value reach out to us and let’s connect. We’d be delighted to learn about your selling goals and provide you with a free market analysis.

Interested in buying in Eton Square? Contact us to be put on a waiting list to be notified when a new listing becomes available.

We are well versed in the Alexandria real estate market and welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and business. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about buying or selling in the area.

Browse homes for sale in Alexandria

 

 

Mortgage Pre-Approval vs. Mortgage Pre-Qualification | There's A Difference

Mortgage Pre-Approval vs. Mortgage Pre-Qualification | There’s A Difference

I was recently having a conversation with a first time home buyer and the question came up of whether there’s a difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification. The simple answer is yes there’s a big difference. Read this article to find out what the difference is and why it matters when you’re buying or selling a home.

 

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?

For starters a mortgage pre-approval is not a guarantee you will get the loan but, it’s the closest you can get to that guarantee. There are still conditions such as locating a property, no change in your creditworthiness, and likely a satisfactory appraisal that will have to be met. The appraisal can vary in some cases. Aside from that, the pre-approval being issued means the lender has run your credit, verified your income, verified your employment, and reviewed your financial resources such as savings or retirement accounts.

 

checklist

 

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Qualification?

A pre-qualification means a lender has given an estimate of what you may qualify for based on information you have provided. The lender may or may not run your credit. Verifying income, employment, and financial resources is not part of a pre-qualification. It simply gives you an estimate of how much you can borrow.

 

What’s The Difference In Being Pre-Approved And Pre-Qualified?

Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval is a far more in-depth process. You will have completed a loan application and submitted financial documentation to your lender vs. just stating what your income is. The lender will run your credit and process the application through an underwriting process in order to then issue the pre-approval.

 

approved

 

Why Is A Pre-Approval Stronger In The Seller’s Eyes?

Having a pre-approval attached to your offer is stronger than a pre-qualification in the seller’s eyes because they then know a lender has obtained and verified your financials. It’s not just a ballpark estimate of what you may qualify for based of what you stated to the lender. If you have no idea what your financial situation is and are just starting to think about purchasing a home getting a pre-qualification is a good start. When you’re ready to buy and it’s time to start touring homes, a pre-approval is a must.

 

How Does A Pre-Approval Benefit A Buyer?

A pre-approval doesn’t just benefit a seller. It also benefits a buyer because it will determine what loan programs are the best option, the amount of your down payment, and give you an idea of what your interest rate will be. It doesn’t lock in your rate but, it does provide an estimate based off what rates are when it is issued.

 

It will also inform you of what the maximum sale price is that you are pre-approved for. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the max amount but, it gives you a baseline to work from so that you and your agent know what price range to look for homes in.

 

If you’re still not convinced that you need to get pre-approved vs. pre-qualified here are a couple closing thoughts.

 

Think about if you find a home you want to make an offer on and your agent finds out there are other offers on the home. If you haven’t been pre-approved yet it takes time to accomplish that step and in the meantime the seller may elect to accept someone else’s offer. You could opt to submit an offer with your pre-qualification letter but, the odds of a seller selecting your offer over one that has a pre-approval attached are slim to none.

 

 

I advise my sellers not to even consider an offer that doesn’t have a pre-approval included with it. If I’m working with a buyer I will not show homes until my client gets pre-approved. Excellent agents who have a high level of expertise do the same. As a buyer when you are ready to buy a home getting pre-approved is one of the first steps. It not only shows sellers you’re serious it also sets you up for a successful purchase.
 

Additional Resources -
Tips For Paying Off Your Mortgage Early via Anthony Sarandrea