Palmer Harned, Realtor®
Palmer Harned
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Buyer FAQs: Part 2

This 3-part series will explore the most commonly asked questions posed by home buyers.

Are there any first time homebuyer programs available?

Anyone who has not owned a home in the past 3 years can be considered a first time homebuyer. Each county has a first time homebuyer program, but there are maximum income limitations to qualify. In Fairfax County, you cannot earn more than $52,450 for a one-person household or $59,900 for a two-person household.

What is the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure?

A short sale property is still owned by the seller, but the bank is allowing them to sell their home for less than they owe on the mortgage. The seller can accept and negotiate an offer, but then must send it to the bank for approval, which can take some time. A foreclosure property is owned by the bank outright. In both scenarios, the home is sold as-is, meaning you likely won’t be able to ask for home inspection items or work to be done.

What should I pay attention to when touring a home?

Take note of the neighborhood – do the neighbors maintain their homes? Picture how you live now – does the layout make sense for you? If you plan to live there more than 5 years, is there room to grow or ability to expand on the home? Look at the HVAC unit, water heater and roof if possible – do they look original or newer? Look for water stains, suspicious cracks or moldy odors.

What should I do if I can’t find what I’m looking for in my price range?

Consider widening your search area, making updates on your own rather than looking for move-in-ready, or forgoing “extras” like an office space or guest room.

Stay tuned for next week’s post with the final installment of buyer FAQs.


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