Taking the Fear out of the Mortgage Process

We get a lot of questions from people thinking about buying a home – whether for the first time or for the first time in a long time. Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that will demystify the process.

You might also want to read our post “Budget Like It’s 1999 and Other Tips for First Time Homebuyers”!

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Taking Fear Out of the Mortgage Process

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

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Email The Belt Team for our list of trusted lenders. They can walk you through the process in great detail and explain each step along the way, estimate monthly payments and tell you how much cash you’ll really need to have.

Contact us to set up a FREE Buyer Consultation. We will show you our “7 Steps To Your Dream Home”!

Search The Belt Team’s state-of-the-art home finder site.

300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Sunday October 30th

300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180 is listed by The Belt Team and is OPEN SUNDAY, Oct 30th from 2-4PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome home to this beautiful custom colonial, built by award-winning Sekas Homes, in a fabulous Vienna location…perfect for commuters, excellent schools & close to many amenities!  This home offers decorative finishes which create an added level of detail and architectural interest. Exceptional features include 3 finished levels with 5 bedrooms, 4 full & 1 half baths, two-story entry, an angled wood staircase, attractive moldings & pillars, shining hardwood floors, a fabulous gourmet eat-in kitchen, a spacious owner’s suite, and a finished lower level with rec room, wet bar, exercise room, bedroom & full bath (perfect for an in-law/au pair/guest suite).  Outdoor details include professional landscaping, back deck & fully fenced-in back yard.

Price and LOTS more photos of 300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180

Call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

Homes For Sale Madison HS

Homes Foir Sale Madison High School

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Oct 30

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 is listed by The Belt Team and will be OPEN SUNDAY, Oct 30th from 1PM to 3:30PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome home to this beautiful colonial in a fabulous Vienna location…perfect for commuters, excellent schools & close to many amenities! This property offers 4 bedrooms & 4.5 baths, shining hardwood floors, a striking 2-story entry foyer, an eat-in kitchen with granite & stainless steel appliances, a separate dining room, a main level private den/study, a spacious owner’s suite, and a finished lower level with rec room, 2 “bonus” rooms & full bath. Outdoor details include a wonderful covered front porch and spacious back deck.

Call Kevin Kleifges to schedule a showing – 703-242-3975

Price and LOTS more photos of 8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

8300 First Ave Vienna VA

Selling Your Home During The Holidays – Good Idea or Bad?

Northern VA Home sales As Thanksgiving approaches, we often get the question, “Should I wait to go on the market until after the holidays?” or “My home is on the market now, should I take it off during the holidays?”. Well, the answer is “It depends“! Here are some things you might want to consider if you’re thinking of selling your home during the holidays (and you can start here with a FREE online estimate of what your home is worth.)

  • If your home is already on the market, it may be a good idea to stay on the market. Buyers who are looking at homes during the holidays are usually “Real Buyers” and not just “lookie-loos”. Tom Reilly, Lead Buyer Specialist for The Belt Team, says “I have multiple buyers who are VERY motivated to buy during this timeframe, especially since interest rates are forecast to rise next year.” And Gail Belt, Founding Partner of The Belt Team says, “My experience is that Buyers who are out looking at property during the holidays tend to be serious buyers. There may not be as many people looking at your house, but the ones who come NEED to buy or they wouldn’’t be out looking at this time of year.” Beth Dadisman, The Belt Team’s Showing Partner added, “My husband and I have moved 3 times in January. So we were some of those serious buyers looking in December!”
  • During the holidays, many Sellers take their homes off the market. This means we often see inventory drop and therefore if you’re on the market, you may have less competition. Kevin Kleifges, Belt Team Listing Partner, says: “It depends on your situation. I’m advising most of my sellers to stay on the market. We can work with you to restrict showings on special days like Thanksgiving. But selling now before Spring competition picks up might be in your best interests.” Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team adds, “If you do go off the market now, consider coming back on immediately in the new year. In many areas, homes sell for more money in January-February than they do in the typical “Spring Market”  of March-April.
  • What is your true motivation? Do you truly want/need to sell? If you’re just “testing the market” (IE – if you are not realistically pricing your home to what TODAY’S Buyers are willing to pay), then now is NOT the time to go on the market. Your home will likely not sell, and then when Spring arrives – your home will be “stale on the market”. Tom Hanton, Realtor Partner with The Belt Team says “Prospective Buyers will wonder what’s wrong with your home and why it’s been on the market so long.” (This is true at any time of year. Overpricing stigmatizes your home and hurts your eventual bottom line significantly.)
  • Set your expectations properly.” says Kevin. “Plan accordingly and prepare yourself & your family to be ready to juggle preparation & showings with other seasonal activities. (And if you have little ones, maybe Santa’s upcoming visit will encourage them to keep their rooms clean!)”
  • Some Sellers really should wait until Spring. While most homes look better in the Spring when the trees fill out & flowers are in bloom, this is not usually a reason to wait for Spring. (That’s what everyone does and that just means more competition.) However, some homes are an exception to this rule. For example, Terry Belt shares, “We had a listing that backed to a cemetery. And while some people like that idea (quiet neighbors!), most people don’t like the reminder when they look out the window of their home. This is an item that can severely impact salability and price. In this case, we advised our Sellers to wait a few extra months and put their home on the market when trees were fully blossomed and the cemetery was not visible. You cannot get rid of extraneous factors like a cemetery, but you can mitigate their impact.”
  • If you do go on the market, don’t forget that Buyers looking at your home are trying to picture themselves & their families in your home. This is hard to do if your home is over-decorated with holiday knick knacks. “You may want to be a little more restrained than you normally would be when putting up your decorations” says Tom, “Too many decorations can also make your rooms look smaller than they really are. In addition, Winter is a dark time of year, so make sure you keep your home as light-filled as possible. Open the drapes, raise the blinds and turn on all your lights. The few extra pennies will be worth it!

If you need help working through what is the best time to put your home on the market, contact The Belt Team – or give Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges or Tom Hanton a call at (703) 242-3975. Every situation is different and we would be happy to help you figure out what is best for YOU!

FREE online estimate of what your home is worth.2424Best Real Estate Agents in Northern VA

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Oct 23

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 is listed by The Belt Team and will be OPEN SUNDAY, Oct 23 from 1PM to 4PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome home to this beautiful colonial in a fabulous Vienna location…perfect for commuters, excellent schools & close to many amenities! This property offers 4 bedrooms & 4.5 baths, shining hardwood floors, a striking 2-story entry foyer, an eat-in kitchen with granite & stainless steel appliances, a separate dining room, a main level private den/study, a spacious owner’s suite, and a finished lower level with rec room, 2 “bonus” rooms & full bath. Outdoor details include a wonderful covered front porch and spacious back deck.

Call Kevin Kleifges to schedule a showing – 703-242-3975

Price and LOTS more photos of 8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

8300 First Ave Vienna VA

Selling Your Home in 2017? Easy Tip to Do NOW!

If you’re thinking of selling your Northern VA home in 2017, it’s never too early to prepare. Here’s an easy tip to get you started!

If you’re thinking of selling in the January to April timeframe, now is a great time for a photo shoot. Get some shots of the autumn leaves. Then when you put your home on the market this winter or early next year – when things are dead and brown – you’ll still be able to showcase your home at its best!

(Don’t forget to email The Belt Team and ask for our FREE Report “Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Selling A House”)

Inverness at Penderbrook Fairfax TH

Snow landscapes made lovely shots to show in that “in between” time in February-March, when it’s almost Spring, but the flowers aren’t blooming yet.

Snow Day in Vienna VA

(If you’re really organized, you can do what some of our past sellers have done and sign your listing now so we can have our professional photographer come out and shoot photos for you!)

Give Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges a call at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a pre-listing walkthrough. Fall and winter are a great time to start thinking about the updates and repairs you might need to make in preparation for next year. And you’ll want to talk to them first to ensure you don’t waste time or money on things that really aren’t necessary.

If you’re wondering about Northern Virginia Market Statistics – click the links below to find out: How fast are homes selling? What’s happening with prices? Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Sunday Oct 16

10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181 is listed by The Belt Team and is OPEN SUNDAY, October 16th Noon-3 PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome to Hunters Valley North in Vienna, Virginia. This is a unique community of homes backing to Difficult Run Stream Valley Park with an excellent network of trails on neighborhood lots in the heart of Vienna/Oakton’s horse country. A true oasis of tranquility yet minutes to all the amenities of Vienna, Oakton, Reston and more. This home sits on a wooded 1.37 acre lot, features a flowing open floorplan, loads of natural light, 5 bedrooms (including a main level bedroom suite), hardwood floors, bay windows, a large masonry fireplace with gas insert, an updated master suite, a finished walk-out lower level, loads of storage space, a side-loading 2 car attached garage and a fabulous tiered back deck. Excellent schools, great for commuters and perfect for equestrians. Close to riding rings, stables, paddocks and connected to Fairfax County trails.

Price and LOTS more photos of 10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

Homes For Sale Madison HS

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 – Just Listed by The Belt Team

8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182 was just listed by The Belt Team. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome home to this beautiful colonial in a fabulous Vienna location…perfect for commuters, excellent schools & close to many amenities! This property offers 4 bedrooms & 4.5 baths, shining hardwood floors, a striking 2-story entry foyer, an eat-in kitchen with granite & stainless steel appliances, a separate dining room, a main level private den/study, a spacious owner’s suite, and a finished lower level with rec room, 2 “bonus” rooms & full bath. Outdoor details include a wonderful covered front porch and spacious back deck.

Call Kevin Kleifges to schedule a showing – 703-242-3975

Price and LOTS more photos of 8300 1st Avenue Vienna VA 22182

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

8300 First Ave Vienna VA

300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Sunday October 9th

300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180 is listed by The Belt Team and is OPEN SUNDAY, Oct 9th from 1-4PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome home to this beautiful custom colonial, built by award-winning Sekas Homes, in a fabulous Vienna location…perfect for commuters, excellent schools & close to many amenities!  This home offers decorative finishes which create an added level of detail and architectural interest. Exceptional features include 3 finished levels with 5 bedrooms, 4 full & 1 half baths, two-story entry, an angled wood staircase, attractive moldings & pillars, shining hardwood floors, a fabulous gourmet eat-in kitchen, a spacious owner’s suite, and a finished lower level with rec room, wet bar, exercise room, bedroom & full bath (perfect for an in-law/au pair/guest suite).  Outdoor details include professional landscaping, back deck & fully fenced-in back yard.

Price and LOTS more photos of 300 Kingsley Rd SW Vienna VA 22180

Call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

Homes For Sale Madison HS

Homes Foir Sale Madison High School

10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open Sunday Oct 9

10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181 is listed by The Belt Team and is OPEN SUNDAY, October 9th Noon-3 PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

Welcome to Hunters Valley North in Vienna, Virginia. This is a unique community of homes backing to Difficult Run Stream Valley Park with an excellent network of trails on neighborhood lots in the heart of Vienna/Oakton’s horse country. A true oasis of tranquility yet minutes to all the amenities of Vienna, Oakton, Reston and more. This home sits on a wooded 1.37 acre lot, features a flowing open floorplan, loads of natural light, 5 bedrooms (including a main level bedroom suite), hardwood floors, bay windows, a large masonry fireplace with gas insert, an updated master suite, a finished walk-out lower level, loads of storage space, a side-loading 2 car attached garage and a fabulous tiered back deck. Excellent schools, great for commuters and perfect for equestrians. Close to riding rings, stables, paddocks and connected to Fairfax County trails.

Price and LOTS more photos of 10519 Walter Thompson Dr Vienna VA 22181

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell in Vienna this year. The Belt Team is Vienna’s #1 Real Estate Team. (Sellers –  you’ll be interested to know that Belt Team Sellers sell FASTER and for MORE money than average! Special info for Vienna Home Sellers.)

Homes For Sale Madison HS