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Being a first-time homeowner can be exhilarating and fun at times, with lots of freedom to make it your own space. You don’t have to answer to any landlord or roommate! But, it also comes with responsibilities.

When something breaks, it’s not an easy call to that landlord anymore. You’re the one in charge of any repairs, maintenance, finances, and improvements over the long haul.

Plus, making your home more “yours” and becoming a member of your community also are part of your to-do list now. You’re not a renter anymore but putting down roots.

This first year will have some highs and perhaps some lows, and most of it will be very new for you. Here’s some guidance on everything you may encounter as you get your feet wet. Our 20 tips below provide a good overview of what you can do to maintain your home AND make you a happy homeowner:

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We will wrap up our series with today’s article but stay tuned next week for a bonus article on maintaining your new home!

You are almost a homeowner! But before you can celebrate, you’ve got to gear up for a successful settlement day. And that means no surprises, no delays, and no leaving without the keys to your new home.

There is a lot to do on the days leading up to your closing and settlement. You’ll be better prepared and on top of everything if you know what to expect.

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You don’t want any surprises when you close on a home. As a buyer, ensuring a smooth transition to becoming a homeowner should be set in motion well before you sit down with the sellers that day.

Here’s our handy breakdown with your pre-closing to-do’s. That way you’re all prepared for when your settlement day arrives.

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Even though you’re buying a home when you purchase a condo unit, you’re actually buying into a “business.”

You’ll have the chance to review a stack of “condo docs” or condominium documents once you’re under contract to purchase a unit.  These documents will give you a better idea of the financial outlook of this particular condo community.

Both you and your lender need to know what you are getting into with this purchase.  This is a very important step when purchasing a condo unit. You will share in the financial responsibility of this condominium community with your neighbors.  And your lender won’t give you a loan if there’s something amiss.

That’s why it’s so important for you to determine how stable and financially sound this “business venture” is before taking it on.  And that’s where reviewing condo docs comes in.

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You don’t want any nasty surprises after you move into your new home, right?!  Getting a professional home inspection is one very important step you need to take once you’re under contract.

Your contract may include a contingency that gives you a certain number of days to complete an inspection.  Once you have the results, you may ask for repairs, renegotiate the price, or even cancel the contract if needed.

No home is perfect but at least a professional inspection gives you some guidance on what you are facing. Only you can decide what you are willing to accept or undertake if you decide to buy this home. If any red flags arise, then you’ll need to decide what a deal breaker is or not.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect.

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Once you’re under contract to buy a home, you want the final stages of the mortgage process to go smoothly – you don’t want anything to sidetrack the sale from here on out!

Nothing is a done deal yet even when you’re under contract. Both your future home’s appraisal and your ability to lock in a good mortgage rate can affect the outcome of your purchase.

So here’s what you need to keep in mind when you reach this stage.

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Love Buying a Home series – Week 8
Our step-by-step series will take you through the entire home-buying process — from finding a buyer’s agent to settlement day, and all the details in between. Every first-time buyer will find this information-packed series easy to follow and understand. Make sure to tune in for the next few […]

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House hunting can be overwhelming, time consuming, and yes, even exhausting some days. But there’s no reason it has to be that way if you follow some simple strategies that will streamline your search and make you “shop” productively.

But before you can even start looking at homes, you need to go through several steps in the buying process. You’ll need to carefully consider your budget, location ideas, and the criteria (number of bedrooms, etc.) of your future home.

By doing all this prep work, your house hunting experience can be fun!

Our search strategies also will help you make it more enjoyable and easier overall.  And better yet, you’ll have the confidence and the ability to put in an offer and, ultimately, have a successful closing.

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This article is for those move-up buyers who plan to buy their new home first, and then sell their current home. This means that your lender must approve you to buy first, and you’re not required to sell your current home in order to finance your next one.

We are going to cover everything you need to know to make sure you don’t end up with two homes at the same time (at least for too long).

We’ll show you how to buy and sell at the same time when you can financially buy a new home first, and then sell your current home afterward AND not have to carry two mortgages for long.

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Today’s mortgages are not “one-size-fits-all.” That means you’ve got lots of options out there that could fit your budget and finances. This is good news for many home buyers!

However, you do need to do your homework first so that your mortgage application can be processed properly and with success. The lending environment can be complex and complicated at times. Lenders, underwriters and mortgage insurers must all complete certain steps before they can have your financing in place.

But once your mortgage situation is all set, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate with the sellers and move forward on a purchase. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

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This article is for those move-up buyers who need to sell their current home first before buying their next home.  Most likely, your lender has approved you only for selling first, then buying.

At this point, you should know your criteria for this next home, your budget, and a neighborhood you’d like to focus on for your home search. You want to be fully prepared and ready to go whether you are selling or buying first.

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Coming up with a lump sum of money for a down payment can be scary and daunting to many first-time buyers. You definitely don’t want to wipe out your entire savings to purchase a home.

It doesn’t have to be a roadblock to homeownership!

Once you’ve got your monthly budget all set and know approximately how much home you can really afford (see our fourth article in the series), the next step is dealing with your down payment.

Here’s some guidance on where you can find cash for your down payment and also a rundown of some great homebuyer assistance programs that can help reduce the amount taken out of your own pocket.

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Extra $$ For Your Home Purchase

- Did you know there is a LEGAL way to not pay your property taxes in DC for 5 years?  Yep!  That’s right.  We know all about it, let us show you how that’s possible…
- Did you know there is a program in Maryland where you can pay half price for a newly built home?  We know about that one too, let us share that with you…
- Did you know there are ways to get up to $75,000 in down payment money if you buy a home in DC?  We know it sounds crazy and unbelievable, but it’s absolutely doable and true and we’d be more than happy to tell you all about it…
- Did you think Arlington was SO out of your price range?  Think again! We know of a program where first-time buyers with moderate incomes can get assistance for up to 25% of the purchase price and can use it for closing costs and a portion of the down payment.  We’ll help connect you…

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It was so great working with you.  You made the whole house buying and HPAP process totally manageable and 200% worthwhile.  Thanks again for all of your help and time.  Janice

Let us help you determine which of these programs are right for YOU and your specific financial situation & home buying goals!

Get extra $$ for your home purchase.
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Our Real Estate Vision

Welcome to DWELL Residential Brokerage – a modern, fresh approach to real estate

Here at DWELL, we believe that real estate is an important financial tool to help you get from where you are­ to where you want to be, literally. Real estate has the power to create so much.

Think about it—where you live defines the type of life you live in so many ways. It can affect how you feel, the length of your commute, who you spend time with, what you spend time doing, the amount of time you can spend socializing not to mention your entire financial world.

We want you to see the possibility, live your dream life and understand how real estate can make it all happen…..

THE DWELL MANIFESTO

1. DWELL IN POSSIBILITY

Perhaps you’ve gotten stuck in a rut or have forgotten about those dreams you had as a child. We want to reignite the spark to DREAM BIG and then help you get to where you’re going.

Do you drive through a certain neighborhood on your way to work and think it’s out of your reach? Have you resigned yourself to the fact that you will have a SUPER long commute and there’s nothing you can do about it? Do you feel like it’s all just out of reach?

It. Is. All. Possible.

You just have to open up yourself, your mind, and your heart to all of the things that you really want out of life.

You’re probably saying: “OK – how do I do that?” Keep reading.

2. DWELL IN YOUR NEEDS, WANTS & DREAMS

To most people real estate means price range, home type, and location. We’ve flipped this old mindset on its head. To us, real estate begins with the most important piece – YOU!

It’s so basic … look inside yourself and you’ll find the answer to all your real estate questions and frustrations. You need to honestly answer questions about YOURSELF and what you want your life to look like. Here are some to get you started:

  • What’s your true lifestyle? Are you a home body? Do you love having people over? Are you out every night walking or biking to the nearest new hot spot? Do you work late and need to be close to the office or a quick commute. What is your actual reality?
  • Where and when do you feel most happy, thrilled, engaged?
  • How important is a car and parking space to you? Dream of a car-free life where you can walk or bike everywhere? Or, does driving into your very own parking spot get your engines revved?
  • Do you like to garden and enjoy quiet, outside space when you come home?
  • Would you prefer to commute to get more space or do you want to live in the middle of the city?
  • Would you prefer to live in a small home so you have the funds to travel the world or for a favorite hobby? Do you want a place large enough to entertain all your friends and family?

Your answers to these types of questions (and we have a lot more to ask you) are life-changers, life determiners, and real estate is the gateway.

3. DWELL IN ABUNDANCE AND WITHIN YOUR MEANS

At this point you might be saying – this sounds expensive. Not so my friend. DWELLing in possibility does not mean getting in over your head or being house poor.

Once we get down to the TRUTH about what you want we’ll show you how to meet your budget and still make it a home and location that is perfect for you and what you’re all about.

One of the absolute best ways we can help you save money is through homeownership assistance programs for first-time buyers and for those with moderate incomes. You’d be amazed to see what is out there for the taking in DC, Maryland, and Virginia!

Get a list of places to get FREE money now!

Many state and local governments (DC, Arlington County, Alexandria, Montgomery County) offer programs that can ease the cost of your home purchase. Even banks and other lenders have programs or grants to help buyers so you’re not wiped out financially.

Each program varies on how you save money. It can come down to help with your down payment or closing costs, a tax credit, an outright grant, or eliminating the dreaded PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). But, it all adds up to more money in your pocket, rather than in your home, and you still have the home you dreamed about!

Turn up your Speakers (or pop in those ear buds) and listen to Jenn’s Radio Interview discussing more ways to save BIG!


Jennifer Myers on “The Next Big Thing”

"It was so great working with you. You made the whole house buying and HPAP process totally manageable and 200% worthwhile. Thanks again for all of your help and time." - Janice

4. DWELL IN THE FACT THAT YOU MIGHT BE FEARFUL (and do it anyway)

It will probably be the biggest purchase of your life. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a serious transaction and there’s a good chance you’ll feel a little scared along the way.

Do. It. Anyway.

Mark Twain once said, “ Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. When you feel scared it means you are outside of your comfort zone, and in this case, maybe that's a good thing. Buying a home, putting down roots and making it your own will bring you much more joy than anything else, not to mention the tax benefits. That check in your pocket every year is something to be excited about!

5. DWELL IN CONFIDENCE THAT YOUR DREAM HOME IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER

We are not here to sell you a house. We are here to HELP you find a HOME.

We’re on your timetable and will never rush you. We won’t go anywhere and will keep working with you until we know you are pleased with the end result.

Buying your first home is a large financial investment and is essentially the stepping stone to your next home, so we’re committed to helping you make it right the first time.

“Jennifer made us feel comfortable from the very beginning. If you’re a first time homebuyer looking for the perfect combination of expertise and energy, she’s just what you need. She made the process easy and walked us through everything step by step. She was very patient with us as we figured out what kind of home we wanted and then was aggressive in helping beat multiple offers to get our dream home.” - Julia & Chris

6. DWELL IN THE CLARITY THAT ANY HOUSE CAN BE MADE INTO A HOME

Potential. You’ve got it and so does your future home. Our job is to help you see it.

We are real estate experts and LOVE nothing more than uncovering the hidden potential of a property. Your dream home exists and sometimes all it takes is a little imagination….and elbow grease. We can point out quick, easy and FUN ways to make your dream home a reality. We do this all the time with our own home purchases and we can show you how easy and inexpensive it can be.

We’ve also got great partners that can turn any town home, condo or single-family house into a home AND keep it humming for years to come. After all, it is more about YOU making your DWELLing into YOUR home. Maya Angelou said it best – “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”.

7. Dwell in the certainty that your Realtor will help you achieve your real estate dreams

“I highly recommend you to everyone who even mentions the words home or buyer. Thanks so much!!” - Jaclyn

We understand what it’s like to be a first-time buyer or seller and are excited to start the journey with you. We’ll listen to you, answer your questions, provide our insight, throw in some humor … and together, we’ll chart the best path to take.

And if you’re not a “first-timer,” your concerns, wishes, and ideas will get the respect they deserve. We’ll help you sort through what you really want and make this real estate experience the best yet.

We know the local DC metro market and mean business when it comes to making each transaction, negotiation, and closing go more smoothly.

But we never forget we’re dream makers too. We truly believe we can make your real estate experience an enjoyable journey that will change your life for the better.

Our founder, Jennifer Myers, an award-winning real estate agent with over 10 years of experience, is excited to share this philosophy by opening DWELL and selecting a top-notch team of agents that will help carry on her mission.

We’re thrilled to be located in DC’s trendsetting H Street corridor. Our convenient location lets us handle residential sales, leasing, and property management in the District, Virginia, and Maryland.

DWELL in your potential – Let us show you how!

Where Do You Dwell