Frequently Asked Questions for First Time Home Buyers in Northern Virginia

How Do I Start the Home-Buying Process?

Generally speaking, the home-buying process starts with finding a great real estate agent. Find a real estate agent that knows the neighborhoods you are considering, or that comes highly recommended. Home Buyers in Northern Virginia should look for agents that specialize in their neighborhood. You can also use various services to help you find the right real estate agent. Homelight is a service that will analyze millions of different real estate transactions to find you the best agent in your area. 

You should interview a few real estate agents and ask a lot of questions about how they handle everything from home viewings to closing paperwork. 

Once you pick a real estate agent you are comfortable with, he or she can guide you through getting started.

What Is the Best Way to Determine My Budget?

You should meet with a few mortgage loan officers to determine what you are approved for and what your monthly mortgage payments might look like. 

Keep in mind that the rate on the mortgage may not be the most important factor to determining your monthly payment. In addition, ask questions about who will service your loan during the approval process and after closing. 

As far as how much you should spend–this is a very personal decision that ultimately is your decision, but the real estate professionals can help you understand what kinds of homes you can purchase at different price points.

How Can I Get a Great Deal on a Home?

Generally, you can offer what you believe to be a fair price based on other comparison homes. 

A great real estate agent will have pulled the comps and given you advice as to how to position your offer. 

Keep in mind that Northern Virginia and the entire Washington DC area is a competitive market for buyers and there could be other potential buyers with all-cash offers. 

Therefore, bring your best offer to the table if you really feel strongly about the home!

How Quickly Can I Put in an Offer and Close?

In the Washington DC and Northern Virginia real estate market, be prepared to act quickly. If you see a home that you want, put in an offer. 

Once an offer is accepted and any contingencies are met, the average escrow is 30-45 days or longer if there are any issues in the loan approval, titling and escrow process.

Typically the speed of the close will depend on how quickly your lender can get your loan approved. If there are issues from your title search, then your title company will need to get those issues resolved. Thad Wise at First Savings can get a loan approved in just 10 days if you have your documentation in order. Allied Title & Escrow always orders your title search on a rush so we can find any and all issues early in the process so there is plenty of time to cure them.

What Do I Need to Know About Title Insurance?

We’re glad you asked! 

Allied Title and Escrow prides itself on educating home buyers on the title and escrow process. 

Since this step is critical in the purchase and ownership of a home, you need to understand how it works. Click HERE to see a list of frequently asked questions regarding title insurance. 

The following are high level tips related to title insurance:

  • Your lender will require you to buy title insurance for them in order to get a mortgage.
  • You can buy title insurance for yourself for about 30% more than the cost of the lenders policy. 95% of buyers do this.
  • Title insurance is a one time fee and you are protected for the life you and your heirs own the property.
  • The company that issues the title insurance will also conduct the closing where you sign all the necessary paper work.

Should I Get a Home Inspection as A Home Buyer in Northern Virginia?

Yes, absolutely. Most of the housing stock in Northern Virginia and Washington DC are older homes. An older home could be in need of major repairs within 10 years of purchase. Therefore, having a great home inspector could save you a lot of money down the road. 

In addition, if you are buying a new home, you should have the home inspected during the building process. A new built home isn’t a guarantee that something was done right.


At Allied Title & Escrow, our team of industry experts and attorneys have over 25 years of experience in title, settlements and real estate transactions. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, we provide residential and commercial services throughout all counties of Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. We strive to provide the highest level of service and will handle all aspects of the title and settlement process.