Category Archives: Buying A Home

6 Ways to Save for Your Mortgage Down Payment

 

Break Down Your Budget

Mortgage Down PaymentWhile it’s never a bad idea to start saving for a mortgage down payment, it’s an even better idea to analyze your budget before you consider a home purchase. This will help you set realistic expectations and c

Set a Concrete Mortgage Down Payment Savings Goal

Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll need to put down toward your new home, set a timeline for your savings. For instance, if you need to save up $20,000 for a down payment and want to move in five years, consider setting a savings goal of $335 per month.

Use a finance app like Mint to track your spending and your savings. Apps like these may also provide you with your credit score, which is essential to receiving the mortgage you need.

Get Prequalified for a Mortgage

Mortgage Down PaymentSetting goals based on your current spending is a great place to start. To take the next step to buying your new home, meet with a lender about prequalifying for a mortgage.

Prequalifying for a mortgage will let you know how much financing you may qualify for — and how much you’ll need to save for your down payment. When you talk with a lender, ask for the maximum amount of financing that’s available to you based on your credit score and financial history. This may open up a lot of options when you’re searching for homes.

Not sure how to find a reputable mortgage broker? Give us a call and we can connect you with a trusted local lender.

Find Creative Ways to Save Money

If you’re having trouble meeting your savings goals for the month, even after you’ve carefully budgeted for the essentials, find ways to cut out superfluous spending or think of ways to earn a little bit of cash on the side. For example, you can:

  • Sell gently used clothing and household items at a yard sale
  • Substitute a movie streaming service for cable TV
  • Collect your loose change in a jar and cash it in every month
  • Use coupons while shopping at the supermarket
  • Use browser extensions like Honey to save while shopping online

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Mortgage Down PaymentSaving for a down payment is no easy task. Every time you reach a major milestone, be sure to congratulate yourself!

Obviously, don’t spend all of that money in one place, but feel free to treat yourself to something special to reward yourself for your hard work.

Consider Home Buying Assistance Programs

Are you still having trouble saving for a 20% down payment? It might be worth looking into home buying assistance programs, such as FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

How Can We Help You Achieve Your Mortgage Down Payment Goals?

We are always available to discuss your home buying plans. Connect with us and we can provide you with the resources and advice you neednbsp;

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Month-By-Month Organization Works Well As A New Home Buyer Strategy

A beige couch in the middle of an open living room.

Tis the season — for goal and organization planning, that is! Many people spend December reflecting on the year and creating a list of goals to aim for in the New Year, and recent home buyers are no exception.

If you’re thinking about ways to preserve that “new-to-you” feeling in your home and keep the clutter at bay throughout the year, follow our handy month-by-month home organization planner.

 

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January: Clear Out Any Cluttered Spaces

Decluttered spaces can keep your home looking and feeling like new (even if it isn’t). While you’re putting away holiday decorations, take some time to tackle any clutter that has begun to accumulate in catch-all spaces, such as closets, the garage, and any rooms that are still full of half-unpacked moving boxes.

February: Create a Home Organization Plan

A list of things to do each day of the week.Detailed planning is a great way to stay on top of your New Year’s home organization goals. Outline a list of tasks to complete daily, weekly, and monthly. This list can include indoor and outdoor maintenance as well as fun tasks like decorating.

Be sure to pin your home organization plan in a conspicuous space, such as on the refrigerator. You can also lighten your workload by divvying up the tasks to other members of the household.

March: Deep Clean Your Home

Kick off the spring season with a thorough cleaning of your home. In all likelihood, your new home won’t need too much TLC, so just focus on the well-used areas of your house: the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and main entertaining spaces.

April: Show Off Your Green Thumb

A vase of flowers.Take a break this month. You’ve earned it. Instead of cleaning or decluttering, decorate your home with greenery to usher in springtime. Flowers, succulents, and low-maintenance plants look great indoors.

May: Focus on the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in a home. Devote the full month to tackling any clutter issues in the drawers and cabinets, investing in space-saving organizers, deep cleaning the stove, and repairing appliances if necessary.

June: Focus on the Bathrooms

Follow the same plan as you did with the kitchen, but this time focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts on the bathrooms. Dispose of any expired prescriptions or toiletries and consider flushing out your pipes.

July: Organize the “Junk Drawer”

After a few months of living in your home, you may start to notice little spaces that collect a lot of clutter. The so-called junk drawer is often a major aggravation to homeowners. Take some time to try and find a new home for the items that have accumulated in this drawer or space.

You can also come up with clever ways to keep the clutter at bay, or at the very least look intentional. Drawer dividers, wooden trays, and small containers can transform any cluttered drawer into a well-organized space.

August: Organize Mail and Other Documents

An office desk clear of any papers.It’s easy to let papers pile up on the counter or on the desk. First, discard any junk mail that is contributing to the clutter, then sort through the rest of the papers in the pile.

If you don’t have a system in place yet, create a way to effectively manage your mail and other documents, such as a binder or a filing cabinet. Be sure to go through your old documents from time to time and shred what you need to.

September: Reevaluate Your Summer Closets

Now that summer is coming to a close, sort through your wardrobe and figure out what you didn’t wear this season. Consider donating gently used clothes and accessories to a local charity or selling them at a yard sale.

October: Reevaluate Your Organization Systems

A blank piece of paper and a sharpened pencil.Think back to the whole-home organization plan you created in February: Have you been able to keep those resolutions? Are you noticing that you need to complete certain tasks more often than others? Reevaluate your plan and make changes as you see fit.

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your organization plan, take this time before the holidays to pick up where you left off.

November: Pick Through Your Holiday Decorations

As the holiday season approaches and the year winds down, go through your collection of holiday ornaments and other decorations. Keep the ones you use most often and discard any that you have either not used or cannot repair.

December: Focus Once Again on the Kitchen

If you plan to entertain guests for the holidays, focus your cleaning and decluttering efforts once again on the kitchen. This time, instead of devoting all of your time to the drawers and cabinets, turn your attention to the fridge.

Dispose of any expired food, transfer leftovers to smaller containers, and rearrange your shelves to make more room for holiday dinners.

We Can Help with Your Home Organization Goals

Whether you’re thinking about buying a home in 2018 or have just moved in (congratulations!), we’re here to help you with everything you need. Call us and we’ll provide you with even more homeowner tips and resources. Call or text me at 703-819-3363

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 40 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Lake Ridge

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Old Bridge Estates

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What You Need to Know About Low-Maintenance Communities

Low-maintenancePicture this: It’s winter. It’s freezing. You still need to clear the last of the leaves from your lawn, but you’re finding every excuse to stay huddled inside your warm home and out of the cold, biting air. More than ever, you’re wishing your yard work would just do itself.

Sound familiar? Maintenance and lawn care can be tedious and exhausting chores, especially on the coldest or hottest days of the year. But there are types of residential developments that take care of these chores for you.

The Many Faces of Low-Maintenance Living

Low-maintenance communities, in general, are neighborhoods that provide services such as lawn care and exterior maintenance through an association fee. In a maintenance-free community, especially, little — if any — maintenance is required on the homeowner’s part.

As is the case with any neighborhood, different communities offer different amenities, especially when it comes to low- or no-maintenance living. So to give you a better idea about what to look for in a low-maintenance home, we’ve come up with a quick guide.

Low-Maintenance Townhome Developments

properties along a wide streetIf you want all the space of a single-family home but don’t mind sharing a wall, a townhouse is a great option for low-maintenance living. Though the amenities many vary from community to community, townhome developments typically provide common area maintenance and landscaping.

Low-Maintenance Condominiums

Think of condos as upgraded rental apartments: you have your own space, you can access community amenities, and you can count on someone else to take care of the most mundane chores.

It’s important to note that condos are a type of ownership: when you own a condo, you own everything within the walls of your home. Unlike with townhomes, you aren’t required to care for the exterior.

In addition, condo associations typically maintain the common areas and provide services like trash removal and pest control. Depending on the association, the community may also provide utilities, phone service, and cable or Internet.

No-Maintenance Residential Communities

Low-maintenanceSome communities, like 55+ communities, take care of more than just the common areas. True maintenance-free communities may also take care of your home’s exterior maintenance, lawn care, landscaping, and services like trash or snow removal.

Real estate options in these no-maintenance communities can include condos, townhomes, and/or single-family homes.

Where to Do Your Research

If a community has an association, check the rules and regulations to learn about what services the association provides. Not sure where to look? It never hurts to ask a trusted real estate agent.

Want to Buy a Low-Maintenance Home? Let’s Talk

We’re familiar with the types of homes and communities found throughout our area, so we’re more than happy to answer any questions you have. Just complete the form below.  We have the experience to assist you with all types of housing

 


 

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

 

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Prince William County Real Estate Blog

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Tips For A Stress-Free Move With Your Pet

moveYou’ve just bought a new home, and Fluffy and Fido are starting to worry about all the moving boxes going into the truck outside. Pets can easily become stressed during a move, which might cause them to lose their fur, become aggressive, or even run away.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your pet’s anxiety before, during, and after your move.

Plan Ahead and In Detail

Many people consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s only natural to be concerned for their comfort and safety during a move. Meticulous planning well in advance of moving day is the best way to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible with moving to a new home.

First, Make a Checklist of Moving Tasks

We recommend making a checklist of things to do — call the vet, have your pet micro-chipped, research veterinarians, buy calming medicine, etc. If you’re planning to transport your pet in a crate or carrier, take time to introduce them to it, especially if your dog or cat hasn’t been in their carrier in a while. Put their food or a few treats in it in the weeks before the move; that way, they’ll be more accustomed to the space and will feel less stressed.

Next, Gather Up These Important Documents

Your new state, county, or community might have different rules for owning a pet, so research what records you will need and what fees you must pay in order to register them. It might be best to put the following in one organized file just in case:

  • Vaccination records and health certificate
  • Rabies tags (if they’re not already on your pet’s collar)
  • Emergency contact info for your current veterinarian
  • Contact info for a recommended veterinarian

MoveKeep Medication, Food, and Toys Handy

You won’t want to pack your pet’s medications, treats, toys, or food until moving day, so you may want to set aside a box just for your pet. Be sure to pack this box either in the car with you or within easy reach, just in case of an emergency.

Update Your Pet’s ID

Engrave a new ID tag with your new home address and phone number in case your pet gets lost. Hopefully, this will never happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that your dog or cat is microchipped or at least is wearing a collar, especially in the weeks leading up to moving day.

Keep Them Comfy on Moving Day

In the chaos of loading boxes into the moving van, the last thing you want to happen is your beloved furry friend escaping. Keep your dog or cat in a separate room with their toys, food, and carrier until the time comes to load them into the car. Alternatively, you could let a friend or family member pet sit until it’s time to go.

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel in Advance

If you’re driving a long way or need to stay at a hotel overnight, reserve a pet-friendly hotel room well in advance so you’ll have one less thing to worry about on moving day.

semoveTake Plenty of Stops on Long Car Rides

While on extended car trips, take frequent stops along the way to give your pet fresh water and food, let your pet go to the bathroom, and take your dog for a refreshing walk around the rest area.

Give Them Time to Adjust to New Surroundings After The Move

Pets can become agitated when exposed to new surroundings, so it’s important to keep their collars on and keep an eye on them for the first few days after moving. Surround them with their favorite toys and comfort items, like a blanket or pet bed from the old house, to give them a familiar scent to latch on to.

Be sure to stick to a routine, too! Take your dog on a walk at the same time and stick to your regular feeding schedule.

We’ll Help You Move Quickly and Easily

move

We hope these moving tips will come in handy as you’re moving with your pets! If you haven’t yet settled on the perfect home or if you’re thinking of selling your current home, we can help you with all the details, not just the transaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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6 Questions to Ask When Considering a Neighborhood with an HOA

community pool with inflatable innertubeLet’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.

Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.

What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association

Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.

But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know about the community and the association before you buy a home. Here are the essential questions you should ask.

1. What Does the Homeowners Association Do?

home with landscaped yardEach community varies, but in general, a homeowners association assists residents with property maintenance (by providing services like lawn care, trash removal, or Internet), regularly beautifies the neighborhood common areas, and upkeeps any shared amenities. In return for these services, residents pay an association fee, which we’ll talk about later.

Since the HOA is also concerned with keeping property values high, the homeowners association may also dictate what residents can and can’t do with their properties. These rules keep residents from worrying about a neighbor painting their house a funky color or letting their lawn go wild.

2. Are You Required to Join the HOA?

Before you decide to buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, first check to see whether the community has a voluntary or mandatory HOA. A voluntary HOA doesn’t require that you join the association or pay dues, but a mandatory HOA does.

3. How Much Are the HOA Fees?

As we mentioned before, HOA fees cover the services that the association provides. HOA fee costs (and the frequency with which they’re paid) can vary from community to community, so ask your real estate agent about how much the fees are before you buy a home in the neighborhood.

4. What Are the HOA’s Expectations for Residents?

bylaws for a community associationTypically, a homeowners association will have a list of rules and regulations that residents are expected to follow when they live in the community. (These are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs.)

These regulations can dictate everything from what colors you can use to paint your home to how many vehicles you can park in the driveway. Again, each homeowners association varies, so it’s best to read the Bylaws of communities you’re considering to learn what’s expected of residents.

5. When (And How Often) Does the HOA Meet?

If you’re interested in joining your neighborhood’s HOA to get involved in your community, you might also want to consider when the association meets. The HOA may meet annually, bimonthly, or monthly, depending on the association’s size, so check to see if the regular meetings will fit within your schedule.

6. Does the HOA Host Any Activities?

Finally, when considering a neighborhood with an HOA, you should learn whether the HOA provides other ways for you to get involved and meet your neighbors. Ask your real estate agent about whether the neighborhood association hosts annual block parties, pool parties, holiday celebrations, Yard of the Month competitions, or any other neighborhood activities.

We’re Here to Answer Your Home Buying Questions!

Have a question about a specific neighborhood or the home buying process in general? We’re more than happy to give you the information you need. Call us and let’s chat

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Understanding The 5 Emotional Stages Of Buying Your First Home Will Benefit You

Ask anyone you meet and they’ll likely recall vivid details about their first roller coaster ride, their first day of school, or their first kiss. A first home purchase is no different! While buying your first home comes with its fair share of ups and downs, it will ultimately be an enjoyable experience you’ll remember for years to come.

Buying Your First Home

Stage 1: Elation

You’ve checked your budget and the numbers all line up. You can now begin buying your first home! While you’re busy pinning home décor ideas to your Pinterest board, taking a peek at homes for sale in your favorite neighborhoods, and uncorking the champagne, you’re grinning from ear to ear. In no time, you’ll be stepping over the threshold of a home you can call yours.

Buying Your First Home

Stage 2: Apprehension

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of research involved with buying a home — something you’ve realized very quickly. You feel like you’re drowning in the vast sea of available homes, being crushed under the weight of your mounting to-do list, and losing your way down the rabbit hole of home buying tips and topics. Buying your first home is a bit more overwhelming than you thought!

But don’t worry. Once you’ve chosen a lender, gotten pre-approved for a loan, and found an experienced real estate agent, both of your trusted guides are there to help you with all the details.

Buying Your First Home

Stage 3: Giddiness

With help from your awesome real estate agent, you’ve checked off all the items on your to-do list and have arrived at the fun stage: the house hunt! You feel like a little kid unwrapping a present when you see all those homes (in your price range!) with cool features like swimming pools, grassy yards, community amenities, and dreamy kitchens. Any one of these properties could potentially be your next home!

Armed with a pen, notepad, and your phone’s camera, you’re ready to explore your favorite homes and take note of what you liked. In one of the most emotional stages of the first-time home buying process, it’s hard not to fall in love with every home you visit!

Buying Your First Home

Stage 4: Panic

Maybe the home you liked was sold before you could make an offer. Maybe you’ve taken a tour of ten listings and haven’t found “the one.” Maybe you realized you can’t afford your ideal home in the location you prefer. A million doubts start running through your mind: What if I miss out on my dream home? What if I can’t find the home I need? Will I have to settle for something beyond my budget? What if I won’t be able to buy my first home?!

But luckily, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Your real estate agent is here to provide you with an objective view of the situation, ease your fears, and work tirelessly to find you the right home.

Buying Your First Home

Stage 5: Bliss

Your real estate agent found a brand new listing for you and it’s a home you adore. And just like that, you’ve taken a tour, made an offer, and breezed through due diligence. You’ve just bought your first home!

Sure, it might not have all the fancy tech and high-end features like in HGTV’s dream home, but it has everything you need. And now it’s yours. Congratulations, new homeowner!

We’ll Minimize the Buying Your First Home Headaches

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, the home buying process can come with its share of ups and downs. But we’re here to take the stress out of the whole process! Let’s chat about your plans, and we’ll help you discover the home you’ve been looking for quickly and easily.

 

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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7Signs You Are Ready To Buy A Home Of Your Own

Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that to buy a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering home ownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

new friends hanging out

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

homeowner customizing his house

2. You Want to Customize Your Space

Many rental communities have limits on what you can customize in your unit. You may be able to paint your walls a different color, but you may not be able to replace the counter tops or appliances that come standard in your apartment.

homeowners in a spacious room

3. You Want More Space or Amenities

You daydream about the day you buy a home with a large kitchen, dining room, basement, garage, or maybe even a home office or bonus room for your hobbies.

sign pointing to home for sale

4. You Regularly Drive by Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You have a list of at least three communities (or maybe even houses) that you would love to live in when you’re ready to buy a home. You might even attend an open house or two.

two parents and a child

5. You’re Eager to Put Down Roots

A home is more than a financial investment. It’s your own space, a private retreat, and the start of a new chapter in your life. You’ll love being able to make lasting memories with your new neighbors and enjoying all the amenities near your home.

woman scrolling through a laptop

6. You’re Constantly Browsing Home Improvement Sites

Instead of scrolling through social media, you’re scrolling through home decor websites or binge-watching HGTV. You now have dozens of ideas for how you’re going to decorate everything from the bathrooms to the entryway.

home buyers searching for homes

7. You Have Money Saved Up for a Down Payment

A down payment is essential to buying the home of your dreams. But once you see your savings account grow, you know your new home is just within reach.

We Can Help You Buy Your First Home

You have plenty of decisions to make when considering homeownership, but we can help you with all of the details. Let’s talk about your plans, and we can work together to search for homes, make an offer on your favorite property, negotiate the best price, and navigate all the steps to closing. Call us and let’s get started!

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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9 Moments All Home Buyers Experience

You’re armed with your pre-approval letter, your wants and needs list, and your knowledge of the real estate market. Now comes the fun part: searching for homes! Like any part of buying a home, the home search has its ups and downs. But once you’re living in your new home, spending weekends shopping for furniture and décor, and enjoying all the amenities of your new location, you know you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Here are the moments only home buyers understand.

home buyers searching for homes

1. When You Hit “Search” for the First Time

You put your price range, number of bedrooms, and a couple of must-have features into an online home search tool, then hold your breath while the results page loads. Look at all those listings! Your new home is just a click away!

sign pointing to home for sale

2. When You Make a Day of Driving Through Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You find yourself giving this excuse to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else who wants to make plans: “Sorry, I’m busy all weekend. I’m going to open houses!”

buyers looking at homes

3. When You Fall in Love with Several Different Homes

You just can’t help it! You’re picturing yourself reading by the window, cooking meals in the kitchen, decorating the bedrooms, exploring the trails nearby, and even running errands to the closest grocery store.

buyer who's stressed out

4. When You Go Overboard on Your Must-See List

Your Realtor warned you not to have a long list of homes. Now that you’ve seen a handful of properties, each new home is starting to look just like the one before it, and trying to keep them all straight is making your head hurt. The home buying struggle is real.

parents stressed out about listings

5. When Your Favorite Home Goes Off the Market

Another buyer scooped up your favorite property before you could even call your real estate agent for a showing, or worse, the home goes off market just before you’re about to make an offer.

attic stuffed with boxes and clutter

6. When You Tour a Home That Clearly Isn’t Ready to Sell

For a second you think you’re in the wrong place. There are fingerprint smudges on the windows, dust bunnies in the corners, clutter in the closets, family photos on the walls, home décor that’s easily 30 years old… Yikes. This looks nothing like the online listing photos you fell in love with!

looking at new listings

7. When a New Listing with All Your Criteria Hits the Market

This property has everything you’ve been searching for, and it just showed up in your inbox! You scramble to schedule a showing, make an offer, and thank your Realtor for signing you up for email alerts.

buyer talking with a Realtor

8. When You Still Don’t Understand Parts of the Closing Process

Even though your agent explained everything that happens after you make an offer, you’re still confused about some things, like the difference between “due diligence fee” and “earnest money.” Due diligence is a courtesy amount of a few hundred dollars you pay the seller to take their home off the market. (You get this money back.) But earnest money, which is a fraction of your down payment, you don’t get back.

new homeowners unpacking

9. When You Finally Move Into Your New Home

All those days spent researching neighborhoods, cancelling plans to go to showings, and taking pages and pages of notes about your favorite properties have paid off. The home is finally yours!

We’ll Help You Find Your New Home

The home buying process has its ups and downs, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. We’ll sign you up for alerts of new listings, coordinate showings, and guide you from your home search to the closing table. Ready to get started? Just give us a call!

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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How 2016 Technology Has Changed Your Home Search Forever

scrolling through mobile phoneWhen was the last time you hopped in your car to start your home search? Most home buyers today just pick up their phones to instantly view properties all around the country — no car required.

Each year, new tech changes the way that we interact with the world. Here are just a few of the ways 2016 technology has changed the way buyers find real estate.

You Can Access Anything On the Go

Your home search doesn’t stop while you’re out and about. Today’s technology has made it easier to access information when you need it. While you’re waiting in line at the store or idly scrolling through your phone, you can find articles about the home buying process on social media, see listings on a mobile search app, or check commute times from homes you’re considering.

Video Tours Have Evolved

Listing photos are incredibly helpful for home buyers who are looking online for properties. But now, video tours make deciding on homes even easier. Instagram, Facebook Live, and even Snapchat are just a few of the many platforms that you can use to find video tours.

“Smart” Home Features are Becoming a Priority

Remember earlier this year when the Pokémon Go mobile app was released? Proximity to a “Pokéstop” — a point of interest where players could collect items for the game — was listed as a feature in property descriptions, at least for a little while. The Pokémon Go craze is just one of many instances where technology is becoming a priority in and near homes that buyers are considering.

home with smart featuresToday’s home buyers can purchase smart home security cameras, install programmable thermostats, and invest in the security systems of tomorrow. Green homes, energy-efficient appliances, and home energy monitoring systems help homeowners save money. With the right mobile apps, your smartphone can control just about anything in your home, from lights to locks.

One Thing That Will Never Change…

The Internet is saturated with information, both good and bad. But one thing you can’t glean from technology is the ability to navigate the complex real estate process. Even with all the innovations in technology, you’ll still need an experienced real estate agent to help you buy a home.

Are you searching for a home in our area? We’ll help you find just what you’re looking for and handle every detail of your transaction. Contact us and let’s get started.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

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The Top Real Estate Resolutions (And How to Keep Them)

Want to visit the gym more? Finally complete the home improvement project you’ve been working on? Save money for that new watch/car/house/vacation? January 1 is the perfect time to jumpstart your goals. If you’re like most people, according to Money Magazine, you probably have “stay fit,” “spend less,” or “enjoy the most out of life” on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Did a few real estate goals make it on your list, too? You’re not alone. Here are a few of the most popular home-buying or home-selling goals, and a few tips on how to achieve them.

Buy Your First Home

brand new homeownersYou’re ready to take that first step to homeownership in the New Year. You likely already have an area or neighborhood in mind, and you have a few features that you’d like in your new home.

How to keep it: Buying a home is a major project. It may be easier for you to achieve this goal if you set smaller, more manageable goals, such as putting aside money every month for a down payment, reviewing your budget, and researching reputable lenders.

Make Extra Payments on Your Mortgage

If you currently own a home, you might be trying to pay it off quickly, knowing that paying even a fraction of your mortgage ahead of time can cut out a few years (and hundreds of dollars in interest). You might have even taken some time to determine how much you could feasibly pay extra every month.

How to keep it: Don’t feel like you need to make dramatic changes to your monthly payments. Instead, save up just a few dollars a week to put aside toward your mortgage.

Put Your Home on the Market

You’ve decided that 2017 is the year to sell your home. Maybe you’ve started getting rid of household items you no longer need, or maybe you’ve started making a few small home improvements. This is a great first step to achieving your real estate goals.

How to keep it: Forbes shared the secret to keeping New Year’s resolutions, and one of the top tips is to make your goals specific. If you want to sell your home for a high price, for instance, determine what amount you want for your home. Start researching which homes near you have recently sold to get an idea of market conditions and what prices are realistic. Just ask us for a Neighborhood Sold Report or a free home evaluation.

Invest in Your First Property

investing in real estateHave you been thinking about investing in real estate to make extra money? Because this type of investment requires a little more real estate and financial knowledge, you might have already started doing a little research before you begin. Knowing common terms, understanding the basics of investing, and having a good handle on your finances can save you time and effort down the road.

How to keep it: Maintain detailed records of your finances. Do your research. Give yourself a deadline to have your down payment and cash reserves (if you don’t have the cash to buy the property outright). Determine how much money you want to make. Then, set aside the time to meet with a real estate agent to talk about your goals and which properties would be best for you.

We’ll Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in 2017, we will do
everything we can to help you with your resolutions. You can take the first steps now by viewing the resources available on our website, or you can contact us directly to talk about your plans.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

Karen Biz Card

Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

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