Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need! | MyKCM

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area.

Thinking about buying? Call/text us at 703-242-3975

Slaying Home Buying Myths

We get questions from first-time homebuyers like this all the time:

  • Do I have to have a perfect credit score?
  • Do I need 20% cash for my down payment?
  • Aren’t interest rates really high?
  • Can I really afford to buy?

Check out what Keeping Current Matters has to say about the myths related to buying a home:

Slaying Home Buying Myths [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.

The Belt Team has a Buyer Specialist whose expertise is First-Time Homebuyers. If you’re looking for someone to walk you through each step of the process, call Beth Dadisman at (703) 577-1144. Or click here to schedule a FREE consultation.

Search our FREE State-of-the-Art Search Site

Here’s how you might feel after you buy your first place! We helped these first time homebuyers find their dream home and go to settlement just last week! The Belt Team is ranked in the Top 20 Real Estate Agents in the State of VA (out of 30,000 agents). Don’t you deserve the BEST?!

The Belt Team Specializes in First Time Homebuyers

Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market

WHat Is My Home Worth

Here’s an update from “Keeping Current Matters” about the state of the national real estate market. In general, in Northern VA, we are seeing similar things to what KCM reports, but not in 100% of the areas. For most of you, this means it’s a GREAT time to sell!

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more info on YOUR neighborhood.


Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market | MyKCM

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the winter, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

National Association of Realtors

“Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8%…which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace.”

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com

“More than two-thirds of the markets are seeing less inventory now compared to a year ago.”

 Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most. As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41% cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011.”

 Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic

“The lack of affordable supply is really driving up home prices.”

 Peter Muoio, Chief Economist at Auction.com

“Tight housing inventory remains a constraining factor limiting stronger sales growth… We expect further price growth to entice more homeowners to list their homes, particularly as existing homeowners have greater equity.”

Bottom Line 

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.


Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE personalized consultation. Find out if your home is in a Seller’s Market or a Buyer’s Market!

WHat Is My Home Worth

“Four Months Is Cray-Cray”

We often share with your the research that is brought to us by Keeping Current Matters. Recently, they quoted Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com. He said

“The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply—measured by NAR to be four months in January.  For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.”

I read that and thought, “Wow if four months is cray-ray, what is two months?” You see, places all around Northern Virginia are sitting at two months or less of housing inventory. That’s a Seller’s Market folks.

Search our state of the art home search site.

Low Inventory in Northern VA - Keeping Current MattersBuyers – you gotta be prepared. Sellers – NOW is the time.

Buyers – it’s not always price that wins a contract. Talk to your Realtor about price, AND about strategies in terms of:

  • Earnest money deposit
  • Whether or not to waive home inspection
  • Whether or not to waive financing contingency
  • Whether or not to waive appraisal contingency
  • Closing date
  • Escalation clauses
  • Introduction letters
  • Other important terms to the seller (example: they may want to rent back for a short time)
  • Finding homes to buy that are off market or before they hot the market

Sellers – preparing your home & pricing right up front will net you the MOST. Talk to your Realtor about strategies to elicit multiple offers. (Click here for an INSTANT online value estimate of your home and then call 703-242-3975 for a FREE personalized consultation.)

P.S. – Beware of selling on your own without a Realtor. You may save commission dollars, but you will likely net less on your bottom line. According to NAR, only 2% of Buyers purchased a home from a Seller they didn’t already know. 92% of Buyers used the internet and of those, 95% used an agent, builder or builder’s agent. So selling on your own can severely limit your exposure and consequently your final yield.


Keeping in mind the definitions that less than 3 months inventory is a Seller’s Market, 3-6 months is a Balanced Market, and more than 6 months is a Buyer’s Market – where do the towns and cities of Northern Virginia stand today:

Buyer’s Markets

  • Great Falls – 6.7 months

Balanced Markets

  • Dunn Loring – 5 months
  • McLean – 4 months

Seller’s Markets

  • Alexandria – 1.6 months
  • Annandale – 1.4 months
  • Arlington – 1.8 months
  • Ashburn – 1.8 months
  • Burke – 1.1 months
  • Centreville – 1.1 months
  • Chantilly – 1.5 months
  • Clifton – 2.7 months
  • Fairfax Station – 1.5 months
  • Falls Church – 1.7 months
  • Herndon – 1.4 months
  • Oakton – 2.1 months
  • Reston – 1.4 months
  • Springfield – 1 month
  • Sterling – Less than 1 month
  • Vienna – 2.7 months

Search our state of the art home finder site where listings are updated FASTER than other sites.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling in this “cray-cray” market, email or call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We specialize in real estate success stories. We’ll help you make the BEST move in today’s market.

Top Realtors Northern VA