There is such a thing at conventional wisdom when it comes to buying a home in Northern Virginia. If you are in the market, you have doubtlessly heard heaps of unsolicited opinions from everyone from your best friend to the barista who serves your daily chai latte. Your agent is probably bubbling over with what you think are informed recommendations. But I am here to tell you that the real estate landscape is changing quickly, and you need to know a whole new canon of tactics and strategies NOW, before you make a mistake that you’ll regret, and possibly even a costly one. 

Weather matters

“Common” real estate wisdom holds that winter is a slow season for home-buying. Inventory is allegedly low, since people don’t want to sell over the holidays and/or buyers don’t want to tramp around in the snow to go on showings, but all of this is patently false. While there is factually more inventory in the spring, there is also more competition. Accordingly, buyers may feel like they are in a position to reject offers below asking price on their homes, since everyone is buzzing. In the low season, you are more likely to find a gem before everyone else, and get a better deal while you are at it.

The style you want should be factor #1

It used to be the case that agents would encourage clients to come up with the housing style they wanted (a three-bedroom single-family home, for instance) and go from there. Nowadays, smart buyers are beginning their search based on the neighborhood they want to buy into. Get out and take a look at what types of home are for sale on the streets that you love, and approximate what you are going to be able to get for your money. This may mean choosing a condo, cutting down a bit on living space, or even going bigger than you anticipated. Ultimately, most homeowners will tell you that they want to love the place that they live, and the actual property doesn’t make as much of a difference.

Wait for prices to come down

In many parts of the country, the market is volatile and aimed in the interest of sellers. Once upon a time, buyers in this type of market would be cautioned to wait for prices to “settle,” maybe by renting for a few years. There’s a big problem with this idea, however: when home prices are high, rents are also high. It doesn’t work out. Your best bet is to make the smartest deal possible, buying a property in your budget with the potential for appreciation in coming years. 

Check out all of our advice for buying a home , or start your home search today.