An Urban Field Guide to

Buying Your First Home in DC!

Don't be daunted by the leap into unknown waters! Buying a home for the first time may seem like an overwhelming process, especially when you have no idea where to start, but that's why we're here for you. Learn more about the process of obtaining a mortgage, finding the perfect home, and making an offer, and you'll be on your way to owning your very own home in the DC Area!

find a buyers agent in dc

Step 1: Find an Agent

One of the most important things you can do when buying your first home is finding the right buyers agent! A buyers agent works with you, not the seller—it's their job to work in your best interests to find the perfect home, negotiate the best deal, and guide you through the process, step-by-step. The best part? You don't have to pay for it!

consider your home style

Step 2: Find Your Style

Next, you'll want to consider just want features you want—and need!—in a home. Thing about your style (old and charming or new and modern), list out your must-haves and your really-wants, and be sure to take into consideration important things like size, parking, outdoor space, amenities, walkability, and neighborhoods. 

get preapproved for a mortgage

Step 3: Find Your Lender

Before you start home shopping, it's critical to get preapproved for a loan. Find a reputable lender (your agent should be able to recommend some) and make sure you can qualify for a good loan. For the preapproval process, you'll need things like bank statements, financial statements, pay stubs, tax returns, W2s, and a credit check.

tour homes for sale in dc

Step 4: Go Shopping!

Now's the fun part. Your agent will work with you to discover areas and neighborhoods that meet your taste preferences and recommend homes within those neighborhoods for you to check out. Your agent will also accompany you on home tours so you can really get a taste for the location, the community, and the home itself!

make an offer on a home you want

Step 5: Make an Offer

Once you find the perfect home, it's time to make the seller an offer. The DC market is very competitive, so be sure to work with your agent to discuss the crucial details, such as your offer price, the settlement date, the earnest money deposit, contingencies (such as home inspection, appraisal, and financing), the title company, the escalation clauses, and the closing costs.

get keys to your new home in dc

Step 6: The Final Steps

You're almost there! Your agent will take the reins on a lot of the more tedious to-dos, like helping you through the contingencies and closing, serving as the point of contact between you and the lender and settlement companies, and guiding you through the settlement process. This leaves you free to prepare for the big move! On the scheduled day, show up to the settlement, sign your mortgage, sign your deed, and get your keys!  


Get Your Complete Guide to Buying a Home in DC!

Are you fully prepared to buy your first home in Washington, DC? Check out our handy field guide to buying a home in DC to learn everything you need to know...


Still Have Questions About Buying Your First Home in the DC Area?

We bet you do! Buying your first home is no simple process, and though we have tried to provide as many important details as possible, there's still much to ask and learn. So don't wait—contact us today and ask away! Want to do some more reading? We have plenty of resources to help you out. Learn more about buying a home today!

The DC Area Home Buying Resources


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