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Some “Off-Season” Home Buying Tips

As you may have heard throughout the years that the winter months are the “Off-Season” months to purchase a home.  Well this past year has been a little different with all the foreclosure activity in Northern Virginia.  You’ve probably been reading articles, blogs, and forums that all scream that “now is the time to buy.”  Surprisingly, that has been the case recently with the low interest rates and rock bottom foreclosure prices.  However, those of you that are trying to sell your home will have to be more flexible.  These upcoming winter months should prove to follow suit and buyers should continue to purchase homes.

Here are some tips for you buyers out there:

  • Job Stability: You know what you company’s objectives are just from chat around the water cooler.  If you have any suspicion that they may be restructuring, don’t dive into a mortgage that may be uncomfortable to afford if you get let go.
  • Great Credit: Those who have credit scores above 720 will get the best mortgage rates as long as lending remains tight.  Clear up any discrepancies you may have on your report before searching for a home.
  • Save Up: Go out to eat a little less or don’t splurge on the deals at Target or even online for that matter.  You’ll need to at least put 3.5% down.  Those $0 down payments are history.
  • Keep Up with Uncle Sam: The first-time home buyer tax credit is set to expire at the end of November, but Congress is in the midst of possibly extending the credit to 2010.  Pay attention to the news and take advantage of credits.
  • Negotiate: Be ready to ask for something from the seller like closing costs or new carpet.  You still have the power in your hands.  If it’s going to be a deal breaker, the seller will most likely submit to your offer.

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