5 Things To Do Before You Buy A Home

5 Things To Do Before You Buy A Home

So you’re finally ready to buy your own home, congrats! It’s a big decision that can really impact your life and your finances. Here are our top five things to do before you take the leap to make sure you’re completely prepared!

Strengthen your credit score

Don’t know your credit score? If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future—it’s time to find out! Try CreditKarma or any of the free credit reports to see what you may need to work on or if you’re in good shape! The better your credit score, the less you’ll need to pay for your home loan. The quickest way to improve your score is to pay down any credit card balances! You’ll also want to avoid applying for credit, for example, opening a new credit card or getting a car loan, until after you’ve closed on your new home!

Figure out what you can afford

Now’s the time to face the facts and be realistic. What’s your actual budget for purchasing a home? Conventional wisdom says that home expenses should only take up around 30-33% of your income each year. What will your monthly mortgage payment be, including interest, mortgage insurance and any HOA fees? An easy way to figure out what you can afford is by using Zillow’s Mortgage Calculator—easily adjust your purchase price vs down payment and see how it can affect your monthly payment. You’ll also want to set aside an emergency fund for unexpected repairs—especially during your first year! Once you’ve figured out what price range you can comfortably afford, stick to only looking at homes in that range.

Research different neighborhoods

You know your desired price range and what kind of home you’re looking for—now ’s the time to do your homework! Different areas and neighborhoods have their own character, benefits and drawbacks—consult your Realtor, websites like Niche, Crimemapping and Yelp, and if possible, drive through any neighborhoods you’re seriously considering at various times of day to really get a feel for them.

Save up

Keep in mind that the down payment is only  one part of the costs you’ll need to pay upfront. Once you cough up that 10% down payment, you’ll still need to pay for any closing costs, necessary inspections, repairs or maintenance costs, the first few months of mortgage and insurance payments, and any moving costs. Closing costs can run anywhere from 2-5% of the asking price while typical home inspections are around $350-500. That’s on top of your down payment! With all that in mind, is your dream home still within your housing budget of 30-33% of your yearly income?

Connect with a lender

An experienced loan officer can be a huge help during your preparation period! They’ll help you figure out what loan product will be best for you and what you can do to improve your credit. Your CBE agent can recommend plenty of awesome loan officers and once you’ve got your pre-approval letter, you’re ready to tour homes and make an offer!

Buying a home (whether it’s your first or not!) is an exciting experience and can be immensely rewarding! All of us at CBE wish you the best of luck finding your dream home–don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help along the way!

Top 5 Best Apps and Sites for Moving

Top 5 Best Apps and Sites for Moving

Parents Take A Break On Sofa With Son On Moving Day

1. ThredUp/ Letgo

Moving, while stressful, is actually one of the best times to evaluate your wardrobe and all your possessions—if you’re dreading moving it to your new home, it’s probably time to let it go. ThredUp and Letgo are both awesome for paring down your closet and letting your old unwanted items have a new life. Not only will you have less stuff to move, you’ll be able to make some cash!

2. Unpakt


Schedule and organize your movers all online with Unpakt! If ever a moving website could be fun to use, this one would be! They help you figure out how many boxes you’ll need based on what kind of items you have and the size of your home and then let you compare moving companies’ prices! You can book them online for your move and the price is guaranteed—not an estimate—which is great for budgeting ahead of time!

3. Sortly


Sortly is an awesome way to keep track of everything you own! Snap a picture of each of your belongings (or maybe just the ones most important to you!) and categorize them by room, box or any way you want. You can create searchable notes and tags to help you find things quickly and even mark boxes with QR labels to see what’s inside without digging through it! After your move, Sortly can be helpful when you’re figuring out how much you need to insure your home for—if you add the value of each of your items, it’ll total them up for you!

4. MagicPlan

Let’s face it, once all your contingencies are satisfied, there’s not a whole lot for you to do besides pack until closing day. Use that hurrry-up-and-wait time to sketch out where your furniture will go, what decor should go where and what will make your new house flow as best as possible. Bonus: now you know exactly where certain boxes (and the super heavy furniture!) should go and you can label them for the movers so you’re not having to rearrange on the day of!

5. Updater

One of our favorite sites EVER! Updater makes transferring your mail, utilities and subscriptions to your new address a snap! Your CBE agent will put in your old and new addresses and voila! You’ll get a link to easily transfer over all of your mail and make sure your utilities are in order before the big day! A couple clicks and you’re done! Why isn’t everything this easy?

Moving soon and need an awesome checklist to make sure you’ve remembered everything? Check out our Ultimate Moving Checklist and download the room-by-room guide!

Home of the Week: 328 Storck Rd

Home of the Week: 328 Storck Rd

328 storck

Desperately need to escape to the rolling hills of Tuscany and unwind with some vino? For $1,443,411, you could own the next best thing! Retreat to your very own magnificent Italianate villa on 30 stunning acres, nestled in the beautiful Hartwood area just off Warrenton Road. Guests will revel in the sheer opulence of this home, from the moment they pull up to the four car garage and enter the grand foyer with a graceful iron-wrought spiral staircase.

328 storck

Snuggle up for a quiet night in in front of one of the home’s four fireplaces or throw a lavish party in the full finished basement with coffered ceilings, complete with custom wet bar and movie theater. The home sprawls out over 11,000 square feet, so there’s enough room for all your family and friends and there’s 4 bedroom suites if they end up staying the night!

328 storck

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Italian villa if it didn’t have an amazing gourmet kitchen! Where else are you going to whip up a mouthwatering osso bucco or spaghetti alla puttanesca? High-end appliances grace this gorgeous kitchen and there’s a custom wine closet for the true connoisseur! 328 storck

A home this luxe wouldn’t be complete without a gorgeous custom pool, five-person hot tub and immaculate stable! Four padded stalls with separate wash room, feed room and tack room for your convenience and fenced paddocks outside the stalls for easy turnout! For the equine family members that like to roam, there are ten acres of fenced-in pasture! 328 storck

And for the cherry on top, the master suite! Achieve true relaxation in the jet spa and steam shower, and then retire to your massive master bedroom. If you can imagine yourself living in this exquisite home, please contact Charlotte Rouse or any of our wonderful agents for a tour! 328 storck

Home of the Week: 1302 Eastover Parkway

Home of the Week: 1302 Eastover Parkway

The gentle splash of a kayak paddling by, birds chirping happily among the lush landscaping… 1302 Eastover Parkway is a luxurious escape from the everyday. With a dock right on Keaton’s Lake, an extra large patio for al fresco entertaining and panoramic views of the water, the beauty of nature gets to take center stage.

After you watch the sun sink behind the horizon from the Jacuzzi, it’s time to retire to the 5,200 square feet of luxurious finishings inside. Brazilian cherry hardwoods run throughout the home, leading to the stunning gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

The faint sound of a lively trumpet solo floats throughout the home via the built-in stereo system. Your guests can gather around the welcoming kitchen island or settle in for a more formal evening under the Swarovski crystal chandelier in the dining room.

You’ve finished a lovely meal with friends, the boat is moored for the night–wind down for the night in the main level master suite with a gorgeous tray ceiling. For extra privacy, there are Ethan Allen window treatments throughout the home.

If this sounds like your perfect day, contact Penny Ostlund for more information. 1302 Eastover Parkway is listed for $674,900 and is located in the wonderful Lake of the Woods community!

Home of the Week: 306 Caroline Street

Home of the Week: 306 Caroline Street

306 caroline

Always wanted to own a piece of history? Nestled behind a brick wall, the Thornley House was built in 1851 and survived the Civil War. The Federal-style residence (with a splash of Italianate!) has 167 years of stories to tell, but with all updated bathrooms and a completely remodeled kitchen!

With three levels of beautifully preserved and updated history right in the heart of Downtown Fredericksburg, you’re just a half block away from the train station, restaurants and shops. Escape the summer heat in the private in-ground pool or just enjoy the secret garden in the backyard.

306 Caroline

The attached in-law apartment and off-street parking are perfect for out-of-town visitors! 306 Caroline is listed for $999, 500 by Robin Marine. If you’d like more information about this truly historic property, please contact Robin or any of our Coldwell Banker Elite agents!