Terri Evans | Leesburg, VA Real Estate, Winchester, VA Real Estate, Sterling, VA Real Estate

Ready to purchase a high-quality residence for the first time? Ultimately, a first-time homebuyer will want to do everything possible to learn about the real estate market. By doing so, this property buyer can improve his or her chances of submitting a strong offer on a dream house, thereby increasing the likelihood of a quick, easy home sale.

Submitting a strong initial offer on a home can be simple – here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer do just that.

1. Study the Current Housing Market Closely

A first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about both buyer's and seller's markets. That way, a homebuyer can identify an opportunity to secure a terrific residence in any housing market and submit a competitive offer right away.

To analyze the real estate market, spend some time looking at the prices of homes that were recently sold in your city or town. This housing market data may help you differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to check out the prices of houses that are currently available. With this housing market data in hand, you can better understand what it means to submit a strong offer that matches or exceeds a home seller's initial asking price.

2. Get a Mortgage in Advance

A first-time homebuyer definitely should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget that he or she can use to narrow a home search.

To obtain a mortgage, a homebuyer only needs to meet with banks and credit unions in his or her area. Each lender meeting is exceedingly valuable, as it enables a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and receive answers to any mortgage questions.

In addition, those who are pre-approved for a mortgage will know exactly how much money they can spend on a house. And as a result, these homebuyers can submit a competitive offer on a residence from the get-go, improving their chances of securing a first-rate residence in no time at all.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-hire for a first-time homebuyer, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Thanks to a real estate agent, a first-time homebuyer can differentiate between a strong offer and a "lowball" one. In fact, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a homebuyer can get the best price on a house, regardless of whether this property buyer is operating in a buyer's or seller's market.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she can provide expert insights to help a homebuyer determine exactly how much to offer to acquire his or her dream residence.

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, there's no need to leave anything to chance. Instead, use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer can submit a strong offer and move one step closer to purchasing a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Your driveway is the first amenity that people see when they visit. When you bought your house, you may have only seen your driveway as a place to park your vehicle.But, a driveway is more than that. A driveway is often a property border,dividing you and your neighbor's yards. It's one of the largest visuals that make up your house's curb appeal. Your driveway is where you start to feel at home.

Which of these 5 driveways is right for you?

Choose the right driveway and you could buy a house that generates a quality sale should you decide to move. Choose the right driveway and you can provide your children ample room to play safely away from the street and your growing front or back lawn. Following are five popular driveways to check out before you buy a house or upgrade your house with a new driveway.

Brick driveway - This is an elegant driveway that has an artistic appeal. Clay bricks come in a rainbow of colors and sizes. These driveways have been around for centuries. Straight, round and curving are shapes that a brick driveway come in. Install a brick driveway and you can expect the paving to last for about 25 years.

Cobblestone driveway - If you love natural stones, a cobblestone driveway might be best. Primary shapes that cobblestone driveways are laid in are long, curvy, straight and square. A cobblestone driveway can extend a quarter mile from the street to your house's front steps. They resemble brick driveways and are smooth and flat, not at all a bumpy ride as you drive to your house.

Concrete driveway - Live in the suburbs and you might see house after house lined with a concrete driveway. Concrete driveways are a popular suburban choice. As with sidewalks, a downside to a concrete driveway is that it can bubble or crack. An upside is that a concrete driveway can be installed in reds, browns and traditional grays.

Gravel driveway - Attend several sporting events at large outdoor stadiums, and there's a good chance that you've driven over a gravel driveway. You won't have to worry about repaving a gravel driveway. What you will have to deal with is bits of gravel popping into your boots or shoes.

Asphalt driveway - An asphalt driveway is expensive to lay. There are heavy and lighter grades of blacktop that can be used when laying an asphalt driveway. Choose a quality sealer and your asphalt driveway can remain strong, absent cracks, for years. If your asphalt driveway develops cracks, you can fill in the cracks instead of resealing the entire driveway.

Although it's not attached to your home, your driveway plays a factor in your house's overall value. Think about your driveway as more than a place to park your vehicles. See your driveway as part of your home. Wash away stains and clean your driveway. To care for your driveway, also check for cracks and apply sealers as needed.

For those of us looking for small ways that we can contribute to an eco-friendly society, recycling is one of the best places to start. Since its inception in the 1970s, recycling technology has come a long way, making it easier than ever for consumers to recycle their household waste.

Although the excuses for not recycling are dwindling, there still can be a learning curve. Depending on where you live, there might be certain requirements you have to meet for your recycling to actually make it to the plant. And, in spite of the fact that we can now effectively recycle more materials than ever, there are still some items that you shouldn’t toss in the recycling bin.

If you’re new to recycling or just want to learn more about what you can and cannot recycle, read on.

Rules and regulations may vary

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: recycling isn’t the same everywhere. While many cities have free recycling and curbside pickup programs, some smaller towns and suburbs do not. In these instances, recycling is often a service provided by waste management companies in your area at a small added fee to your monthly garbage pickup bill.

What is single-sort recycling?

If you’re new to recycling, odds are you’re imagining having to sort out paper from plastic and metal and so on. However, due to single-sort recycling (also known as “no-sort” and “zero-sort” recycling) you don’t have to worry about putting different items in different bins.

With single-sort recycling, you can put everything in the same container and it will later be sorted automatically at a recycling facility using complex machinery.

What can I recycle?

Generally, the following items are now able to be recycled. However, you should follow the guidelines provided by your recycling company or municipal recycling facility.

  • Aluminum cans and foil.
    2.7 million tons of aluminum is discarded each year, half of which gets processed at a recycling facility. The benefit of recycling aluminum is that it is 100% recyclable, so nothing is lost in the process. At the facility, aluminum cans, foil, and other products are shredded up and turned into small chips of aluminum that can be sent back for production and reuse.

  • Paper and cardboards.
    Magazines, newspaper, cardboard, office paper, and juice cartons are just some of the paper goods that can be recycled. In the U.S., we recycling a large percentage of our paper goods due to the collection of newspapers. One item that people often toss in the recycling bin that isn’t able to be recycling is food containers that have food and grease seeped into them.

  • Glass items.
    Most glass items are recyclable. However, crystal glass, heat-resistant glass, and ceramic items (like plates and mugs) are not able to be recycled at a facility and should either be repurposed or tossed out.

  • Electronics and batteries.
    While you might not be able to toss most of these items in your recycling bin, there are several simple ways to recycle electronics and batteries. Calling your local appliance store, automotive retailers, and electronics stores like Best Buy often will take certain items for reuse and recycling.


Just Reduced $6K!! 2016 Spacious 3 level Townhouse in a well desired community of Snowden Bridge w/many amenities. Home is barely lived in. Hardwood Floors on Main Level. Kitchen is upgraded w/SS Appliances & Granite Countertops. Spacious Owner's Suite w/walk-in closet & lovely Master Bath w/dual sinks. Finished Basement with Rec. Room, Bath & has a 1 Car Garage.

Before you even start the home search, research is key. There are a few areas that you should look closely at in every home that you’re touring in order to make an informed decision about each property and your future in it. 

Check The Foundation

When you’re walking around the home, note creaky floors, cracks in the walls, and water drainage issues. Maybe you won’t even be able to see if the foundation has any cracks in it or not with your own two eyes. A certified home inspector will, however, be able to tell you what is happening on the property. Cracks in the foundation or major foundational damage can be incredibly costly to you as a homeowner. You’re going to want to know about these issues ahead of time. 

Do Some Investigating

Taking a walk around your desired neighborhood can give you a lot of valuable information. You may be able to talk to neighbors who will give you a bit of information about a property. Even wandering around the neighborhood or attending yard sales can help you to see what’s going on, if you can see yourself living there, and if there are any major issues that you should be aware of. 

Be Likable

Sellers prefer to sell a home to a buyer who they like. if you see that you have something in common with the seller like the fact that you’re both veterans, you should send a letter along with your offer to let the seller know your connection. It’s also helpful to send an offer letter that lets the seller know how much you love the house and that you can see yourself living in the home. It never hurts to add a personal touch to a home offer.  

Keep Your Options Open

Just because a home doesn’t consist of the modern decor you picture yourself living in, doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. If a home happens to be older with less present-day decor in it, be sure to keep an open mind as to the potential that the home has for you.

Make A Strategic Offer

We know that prices that end in 9 are a bit more attractive to the psyche than prices that end in a flat zero. If the asking price for a home is $310,000, you may be tempted to offer $320,000 to shell out the competition, but you may be better off offering an odd number like $312,000. Sometimes a small difference makes a big impact in the eyes of the buyer. Work with your realtor to see if a home you’re interested in has any other offers. Your agent can help you to find a good price point for your offer as well.