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How to buy a home in Virginia Beach

The decision to buy a house is one that many people grapple with for a long time.  Where and what to buy? How much house do you need and or want? What if the market crashes, or if the home needs repair?  Can I afford it?  These are all the questions that spin around in your head, the things that keep the prospective home owner up at night.  After all it’s far easier to rent in the Virginia Beach Real Estate Market isn’t it?

Often times the biggest thing that keep people from owning their own homes is them.  Simply put when trying to purchase a new home you are usually your biggest enemy.  The answer is education, that’s not to say that you are uneducated or not smart, but like everything else in life the path to a successful home purchase is education.  Unfortunately finding the education is the hard part, its everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Traditional schooling teaches us all kinds of things, math, English, writing, reading and specialized skills.  In all my years of traditional education I have never once been taught how to buy a home, or anything else for that matter. 

Where to start, probably the toughest nut to crack.  You could simply google “how to buy a house”, simple but now you have about 7,410,000,000 new problems.  Of those the top results are all from banks, mortgage companies and other financial institutions that service the virginia beach real estate market, hardly partial sources.  None the less you can learn a lot from any or all of them.  It’s easy to see why most folks are overwhelmed and give up, after all it’s easier to rent right.   Maybe but we were talking about education, so let’s look a little deeper and get away from the advertisements.  Let’s talk about education in its purest form, the tried and true method of taking a class.

Over a decade ago I was just like you, I was frustrated with renting, I wanted something of my own and I wanted to start growing my future.  However much like you I did not know where to start, my wife was done she wanted a house and she wanted one now.  So like so many others we started “educating” ourselves after all how hard could it be.  Enter HGTV it became our go to for all things real estate and we spent all our free time watch shows about people buying houses.  Much as you could imagine we learned nothing, got a few laughs but not much else. After all most of these shows where filmed in Canada, how could they help in the Virginia Beach real estate market?  Then it was to the internet, where I googled “how to buy a house” and again after a couple of hours I learned what mortgage rates where but that’s about it. Next came Trullia, Zillow, and a slew of other “Real Estate” sites, we got to look at a bunch of houses but still were nowhere closer to how to buy one.  Then someone changed my life and told me to take a class, at first I scoffed at the idea, after all I’m a smart guy I should be able to figure this out.

A month or so later I came to the conclusion that I needed help, after all my efforts I was not any closer to buying a house but I was much closer to my next rent payment.  I signed us up for a free class offered by the Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Center.  The class was amazing, it stepped through the process from hey I want to buy a house to move in and beyond.  It was taught by professionals from every aspect of the process, they explained it all.  Best part was it was unbiased and wasn’t a sales pitch, as a matter of fact the facilitators are not allowed to solicit your business they are simply there to educate you the buyer. These were folks that knew the Virginia Beach real estate market. Not a service member? No worries the Virginia Housing Development Authority offers the class as well to the general public, and it’s free.  A one day course that walks you through everything, no time for a class?  They offer an online version to fit your schedule, simply sign up for the class either in person or online and that’s it.  Is the class required? The short answer is no (in most cases, certain loans require you to attend a class) but the benefits that you will receive from one of these courses far outweigh the cost in time.  Simply put you are doing yourself a disservice and potentially costing yourself tens of thousands of dollars if you don’t take one of these courses.

This is advice I give EVERY potential buyer I deal with on their first home purchase, the question I always get is “but aren’t you a Realtor? Can’t you just tell me what I need to do?”  Again the short answer is yes on both accounts, a Realtor is an excellent resource in the home buying process and one you can trust is a must for every home buyer.  In the military we have Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) for everything, we go to these folks for guidance and direction.  These courses bring the SME to you, no one person can provide this information in a more direct matter.  Once you complete the course, find yourself a Realtor you can trust, remember there is a difference between Realtor and Real Estate Agent but more on that in a later article but simply said a Realtor is invested in your best interest and has bound themselves to doing such. If you’re still with me congratulations you have done the hardest part, you have started the home buying process, and the next step is to educate yourselves. Do it, do it now, once you’ve done so reach out to a realtor you can trust and go find your dream home!

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