In the second part of the series, I’ll address (haha, pun intended) the way I help buyers feel comfortable when considering options spanning the Northern Virginia area. With such a vast inventory of options and the need to prioritize between schools, commute, amenities and active social lives, it’s really hard to know what all your options are. Pulling the data is the easy part. Making the decision is the hard part.
4. How many homes have you bought or sold in my area?
The graphic below represents buyers and sellers over the past 2 years and covers Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties. The only reason I’m sharing this information (which is all available online BTW) is to show that while I’m most definitely not the dominant agent in any given area – deep breath – you may not even want to work with that agent. I bounce around a lot. I go where the buyers want to go. For this reason, I have a pretty good exposure to a lot of different terrains and I don’t caution buyers against considering a neighborhood that might actually be a good fit for them. I don’t see the “bad part of town”. I have taken listings in communities where other agents have said, “I wouldn’t work there if I were you.” There are opportunities for everyone and what works for one client, obviously won’t work for the next – but in either case, it’s NOT MY DECISION where a buyer wants to be. Buyers will tell me where they want to live and what properties they like. Then we look at the data together and see what makes sense. Together.
5. Do you typically work in my price range?
I consider myself to be a price range expert. As a military spouse (no longer active duty), I know the pressures of relocating to an unknown area, sometimes with less than 30 days notice. Helping other families and homebuyers in similar situations, I can sympathize with where you are flexible (location, condition and size) versus where you are NOT flexible (price). I’ll work with any qualified individual that needs to know their housing options – whether buying or renting. If the budget is $2500 a month, that could be a high rise condo in Arlington, a townhouse in Reston or a single family home in Manassas – ALL good options.
6. What is your strategy to meet my needs?
Ideally, buyer clients and I have a two-hour in-depth consultation. We talk openly about what it is they’re looking for and how I can help. I try to set reasonable expectations on the pace of the market but will not make any promises about the existence of their dream home. Most of the time, we prioritize the search criteria and talk about what is most important – price, condition or location. The perfect home is likely a combination including two of the three, but rarely a beautiful home in the perfect location at just the right price.
We talk about what is required to make an offer. Getting the cash ready, having the mortgage pre-qualification in place and understanding how their contingencies will affect the strength of an offer – is there another home to sell? We talk about the options to avoid having two mortgage payments or being homeless. When actively searching, I’ll get emailed listing alerts every hour. I work nights and weekends because sometimes a new listing won’t wait until next Tuesday when it’s convenient. A third of the contracts that I ratify were properties that came on the market less than 72 hours ago. Early bird gets the worm.
If you missed the first part of the series, click here.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue posting the questions and my responses so that you can learn about me and how I operate my business.