Whether you’re moving to the DC area because it’s closer to your loved ones or you’re moving to be closer to your job, buying a home in Washington, DC might seem like an incredibly daunting task. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be when you take some advice from real estate experts. Here are some things to keep in mind to make the process of buying a DC home – and relocating to the area – simpler.
Try Not to Set Your Heart on One Particular Neighborhood
If there’s one thing that holds true for a large percentage of first-time buyers in DC, it’s the fact that most don’t end up living in the neighborhoods they originally chose. Like many other cities across the country, Washington, DC has its fair share of popular neighborhoods in the metro area and beyond. Some of those neighborhoods – including places like Capitol Hill and Logan Circle – are considered premium neighborhoods. That means homes are far more expensive and the market for them is more competitive. Consider alternatives that may be quieter, less expensive, and still everything you hoped for.
Don’t Swear Off Condos
Starter homes are far scarcer than they have been in recent years, and that’s true across the US – not just in DC. Back in 2016, US News reported on this phenomenon, and things haven’t changed a great deal since then. If you’re moving to DC as a couple with no children – or perhaps even one child – finding a single-family home that suits your needs can be a challenge. For this reason, when it comes time to start looking for your perfect abode, don’t automatically swear off condominiums. While they don’t offer all the same benefits as single-family starter homes, you will likely find that they are within walking distance to amenities and affordable. They’re also great investments since they tend to retain their value.
Look at a Variety of Properties – Not Just Those New to the Market
Potential buyers often want first dibs on homes that are brand-new to the market, and they will often forego any homes that have been sitting on the market for a few weeks (or perhaps months) for this reason. Many believe that if a home in a competitive location has been unsold for more than two or three weeks, there must be something inherently wrong with it. Some of these homes may be perfect for you, and there’s a good chance that they have only been on the market for weeks because they are overpriced. The longer the home sits, the better the chance of you negotiating a good deal.
Don’t Forget to Check Rental Rates in the Area
Finally, before you decide a house in a specific place is perfect for you, be sure that you’ve taken the time to research the rent prices in the area. Ideally, the rental rate should be higher than your mortgage payment. This means that should you decide to move out of your DC-area home and rent it to another family or couple, you will be able to turn a profit – the key to a good investment. If rental rates are lower than your mortgage payment, then it will be difficult to rent your property for enough to cover that payment.
Moving to the DC metro area (or perhaps even one of the surrounding neighborhoods) can be exciting and scary at the same time. Before deciding on a house based on the neighborhood, the dwelling type, or even the length of time it’s been on the market, consider the advice on this page. Sometimes, you may be overlooking a true diamond in the rough.