Erika Browne | Rockville Real Estate, Gaithersburg Real Estate, Germantown Real Estate


Once you have gone through the pre-approval process and have narrowed down your home search, there’s a good chance you’ll soon find a place that you want to make an offer on. This can seem like a huge step for any first time homebuyer. Even seasoned home buyers feel butterflies when the time comes to make an offer on a home they love. Before you even start your home search, you should become educated on how to make a good offer in order to land the property that you really want. There’s so many factors that effect your offer including the surrounding properties and the current state of the market. Here are a few very important pieces of advice that you should heed in order to have a successful time securing a home and closing the deal. 

Craft A Persuasive Offer

In many areas there’s a low inventory of homes and a high number of those seeking to buy. This means that you’re not guaranteed to get a property that you have made an offer on. Lowball offers might not be at all competitive and even insulting to sellers in certain markets. Often, you may need to make an offer of more than the asking price if you’re in love with a home. By working with your real estate agent and doing the right research, you can craft an offer on a home that will be compelling for sellers.    

Decide On Your Contingencies 

Once an offer has been accepted, it’s time to get to work on those contingencies. Be especially mindful of financing contingencies. If something falls through in the process, you’ll want to be sure you can get the deposit you made back. Also keep in mind that sellers love reliable buyers who have already been preapproved.  

Home inspection contingencies are another area of importance. After you sign the purchase agreement and the inspection is complete, you’re allowed to ask the seller to make repairs or provide you with a counter offer. While this can be one of the more nerve-wracking aspects of home buying, it has many positives. Home inspections protect buyers from purchasing a home that they can’t live with in cases of extreme mold, termites and other environmental and structural issues. 

The appraisal contingency is also important. In order for you to qualify for a loan, the property must be appraised. The property must be valued at or above the purchase price. A loan will only be approved by a lender up to the appraised value. If your home loan is $400,000 but your home of choice is appraised at $390,000, you’ll have a problem.       

Your Finances Matter Until You Get To The Closing Table

Don’t go crazy with all kinds of purchases before you reach the closing table. Opening a new credit account at your favorite furniture store, for example, could lead to a disastrous surprise on closing day. Hold off on big purchases until after you secure your home. Also avoid making large transfers or deposits from your bank account. don’t do anything to negatively affect your credit score

  

Know What To Bring To The Closing

Don’t show up to the closing for your home purchase unprepared. You’ll need to have the following items: 


  • Photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Cosigners 



Think Ahead


Be sure that you think of the future when you’re purchasing your home. You’ll need to have enough cash flow to pay for things like property taxes, home insurance, utility bills and even new furniture for your home. Plan your future mortgage payments accordingly. Some companies have payments that are monthly or bimonthly. 


While buying a home is a huge undertaking, with the right plans in place, the process will be as seamless as possible. With the right plans, the moving truck will be pulling into the driveway before you know it.      


Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, both financially and otherwise. Just like retirement funds, buying a home and paying off your mortgage can be a significant long term investment.

It will take time to prepare for buying a home. You’ll need to build credit, save for a downpayment, and find a degree of financial stability to ensure you can pay your mortgage each month.

This article is catered towards homebuyers who have already met those prerequisites and are ready to jump in and start hunting for houses. For those of you curious about exactly how long it will take from the time you view your first house until you close the deal on your new home, read on.

Home buying by the numbers

On average, buyers can spend 30-60 days looking at homes and anywhere between 15 and 60 days longer to close on a home. Of course, these numbers depend on a lot of things such as how eager you are to buy, how  effectively you’re able to work with agents and sellers, and on just sheer luck.

How can I speed up the process?

Preparation is the number one thing to focus on when it comes to buying a home. First, double check your finances. This means taking time to run a credit report and challenging any errors that may be lowering your credit.

Next, take time to sit down and discuss with your family (if applicable) your moving goals. Are you trying to move closer to someone’s place of business or to a particular school district? Having these discussions will make it easier to eliminate houses and to narrow your search, saving you time in the long run.

Before you start looking at homes, it’s a good idea to being the process of getting preapproved for a loan. This can take weeks, so you want to get this step done early to know where you stand when it comes time to start house hunting.

Next you’ll want to meet with a real estate agent who has extensive knowledge of your area. They’ll send you listings that meet your criteria, stylistically and financially.

The offer and closing

Now that you’ve found the right home, you’ll have to enter the next part of the process: making an offer and closing. This step isn’t entirely within your control. Some sellers will delay in accepting, others will reject, and others will give a counter offer. The best way to save time on this step is to give a reasonable offer from the start, showing the seller that you are serious and worth negotiating with.

Once your offer has been accepted, your work is still far from over. There will be a lot of paperwork to fill out, but you’ll also have to schedule a home inspection to ensure there are no problems with the home that you haven’t already been made aware of.

Once all of these steps are complete, you will have purchased a new home.


If you recently bought or sold your home, moving day may be rapidly approaching. Fortunately, you still have time to pick up must-have supplies so you can get ready for moving day.

Now, let's take a look at three items that you should purchase prior to your upcoming move.

1. Moving Boxes

In all likelihood, you have a wide range of personal belongings that you need to pack. If you have lots of moving boxes at your disposal, you should have no trouble securing your personal belongings so you can transport them to your new address.

Home improvement and moving equipment companies often sell moving boxes in many sizes. You also may want to consider visiting a local grocery or convenience store to find moving boxes; in some instances, a grocery or convenience store may be willing to provide you with its empty food and beverage boxes free of charge.

2. Packing Supplies

In addition to moving boxes, you'll need supplies to ensure that you can pack your personal belongings safely. With packing supplies in hand, you can guarantee that your personal belongings are protected as they go from Point A to Point B.

Must-have packing supplies include bubble wrap, packaging tape, markers and labels. If you pick up these supplies today, you can move one step closer to finalizing your moving day preparations.

3. Snacks and Beverages

Oftentimes, moving day can be hectic, even for those who allocate significant time and resources to prepare for the big day. As such, it sometimes is easy to forget to eat and stay hydrated as you try to bring all of your personal belongings to your new address.

For those who want to do everything possible to prep for moving day, it generally is a good idea to pick up snacks and beverages. Granola bars, trail mix and other portable snacks are ideal for moving day. Meanwhile, purchasing bottled water and other beverages is beneficial too.

If you need extra help with moving day preparations, you may want to consult with a professional moving company as well. A moving company goes above and beyond the call of duty to help individuals map out all aspects of the moving day process.

A moving company employs friendly, knowledgeable moving experts who can guide you through your move. Plus, the company can offer packing guidance, moving services and other support to ensure that you can seamlessly relocate to your new address.

Lastly, for those who will need to move soon, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you buy or sell a house in any city or town, at any time. Furthermore, a real estate agent is available to provide support at each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide plenty of assistance.


The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.

You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.

3. This probably isn’t your last home

While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”

So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.

5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract. 


Keeping your Closet organized can be a huge headache. There’s so many components to a closet that it can be hard to tell where to start in the space to create that sense of organization that you’re looking for. With a few of these tips, you can become an organizational wizard! The problem is that we need to know how to organize. If we’re not taught how to organize our own space, we have to learn it somehow! Keep that messy closet at bay and try these suggestions for a well-equipped and organized closet: Use The Spaces You Have The backs of doors are brilliant places to maximize your storage. By using simple pieces that you can purchase at the hardware store, you can make a closet space of your own on the back of a door. You can attach containers and hooks for storage on the door, ensuring enough room for clearance. This is a great place to keep all of your things that you may need to get ready for the next day like outfits, makeup and other essential items for your morning routine. Use The Floor The floor is a great place to store all of your shoes. Since dirt and mud often accumulate on your shoes, the floor of the closet is a great place for them to keep the rest of the house clean and free of mud. Use a tray to keep the dirt at bay inside the closet and keep your shoes organized. Color Code And Label You can actually color code your hangers to group your clothing by season or occasion, the choice is up to you. This can help you to always be able to find that piece of clothing that gets lost in the abyss of your closet. You’ll also always know what you have. You’ll also be able to see what you don’t wear more easily so you’ll be able to get rid of those pieces of clothing. By labeling bins that are stored in your closet, you’ll always know what’s in them and never have to rummage through a bunch of bins to find what you’re looking for. When it comes to using plastic containers, the see-through versions are often best. Even when you’re labeling boxes, being able to physically see what is in each container is an added bonus. Consider Using A Dresser In order to maximize your storage space and organization, consider keeping a dresser inside of the closet. You can label the drawers and have the ability to know what each drawer holds. Even shelving or a bookcase can be helpful in maximizing your storage space inside of an otherwise small closet. Hooks Are Your Friend Although we already talked about placing hooks on the backs of doors, hooks really can be useful anywhere when it comes to closet storage. Place hooks on the inside walls of the closet for additional hanging space for items like purses and bags.



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