Buyer's Guide

ARE YOU READY FOR HOME OWNERSHIP?

We prepared a home buyer guide that outlines the steps needed to take. It is just a brief outline. We would love the opportunity to review the steps with you in person!

With our practiced team, you will have the power to synthesize your priorities into properties — and ultimately find your dream home
 
At The Rutstein Group, we help all kinds of local buyers find their dream homes every day. We solve problems before they materialize and create solutions that reflect your priorities.
 
Our specialty is luxury homes in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Whether it’s your first or fifteenth purchase, we have the expertise and tools to get the right key in your hand. Here’s a brief outline of our best advice.
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Pair with an experienced, established real estate team

Begin by scheduling an initial consultation, in-person, with our team. We will discuss your goals through questions about variables like your preferred style, amenities, location, timeframe, budget, and more. Then we will look at a few listings together — easier than an eye exam and just as personalized. 
 
From day one to close, we synthesize your priorities into the best possible property for you and your loved ones. Once you sign our agency agreement, you have our guaranteed support and full attention throughout the buying process (plus exclusive access to our Compass Collections platform, recommended contractors, and first-time buyer programs).
 
Continue reading to learn some of the details of our process and what exclusive platforms you can leverage during your search.
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Get your finances in order

The sooner you set a budget and get pre-approved for a loan, the smoother your buying process will go. Sellers expedite buyers with sound financials, especially when fielding many offers on the same property. And when your bid reaches the negotiating table, your seller will appreciate the lack of hassle.
 

Set a budget

Your budget is the most crucial variable totally under your control. It helps determine what range of properties you should view. For example, if you are looking for a home in the DC metro area, we might advise you to search below your maximum budget, so you have the flexibility to bid above its asking price.
 
Your budget is your bellwether, the main reference point in your home search. For example, people often think a loan pre-approval is a recommendation for what to spend, when in reality, the amount of your loan depends on your new house’s value — which is either within or outside your budget. Our team (which includes an in-house transaction coordinator) will help you see the forest for the trees.

 

Get pre-approved for a loan

The Rutstein Group has a shortlist of expert affiliates to execute critical tasks: lenders, title companies, inspectors, and more. Your lender is responsible for evaluating your loan application. They can approve you for four main types of loans: conventional fixed, conventional ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage), FHA (Federal Housing Administration), and VA (Veteran Affairs). Once you are pre-approved, our team will estimate your monthly mortgage payments in line with your budget.
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Search smart

At The Rutstein Group, we use Compass Collections — the best platform for home discovery. On Compass Collections, you can send us homes you find online, and we can recommend homes from our network (including off-market properties). 
 
On the platform, you can save all the homes that interest you in one place. You can invite your spouse, parents, family, and friends to view properties and share their comments. When you’re not actively searching, the system automatically updates changes in asking prices and status.
 
Compass is considered a “curated visual platform,” like a more focused version of Pinterest for home discovery. And as you tag intriguing homes, our team moves your search offline. We schedule showings, view the properties with you in person, and narrow your search to finalists. We also conduct neighborhood tours to give you a complete picture of each possibility. 
 
If you already have a house in mind, reach out to us immediately so we can schedule and attend your showing. We also work with most area builders, so if you want new construction, you likely qualify for our full spectrum of services.
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Make your best offer

As your focus narrows to a specific home, our team puts your best offer in motion. The goal is to write a comprehensive offer within your budget and likely to be accepted. To do this, we apply valuation metrics to the home’s asking price. We also customize your bid to account for any contingencies stemming from your finances, the home inspection, and the home appraisal.
 
From offer to close, you can be confident in our team. We are large enough to rank first in market share by volume in DC and specialized enough to devote multiple team members to your case.
 
Once your offer is accepted, the priority is to get the lender all the necessary paperwork. You can finalize your loan estimate, and we will review that document with you in detail. Meanwhile, our transaction manager will track your contract through close. Strong offers are likely to be accepted in 30 or fewer days, compared to 60 or more days for middling offers.
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Have the property inspected

Before you finalize your purchase, you'll need to conduct a home inspection and get any relevant disclosures on the property. Inspections cost about $550 and assess a home’s plumbing, electrical, AC, heating, and ventilation systems. They also account for a home’s appliances, roofs, chimneys, attics, foundation, and structural integrity. If problems arise, we will modify your offer or ask the seller to fix issues before you buy the house.

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Close

Also referred to as “settlement,” closing requires specific documents to be exchanged and signed. The lender will release funds to the title company, which will notify the recorder’s office in your jurisdiction.
 
Our team can accelerate or prolong your closing date as needed. Simply bring your ID to the final meeting; once you sign the paperwork, the keys are handed over, and you can start moving into your new home.
 
We tell clients that closing costs usually amount to about 3% of your purchase price. You might qualify for our first-time buyer programs, which offer grants and loan opportunities; instructions for claiming tax credits; and financial assistance with down payments and closing costs.
 
Are you ready to start the search for your dream home? We would love the opportunity to meet in person and expand on the above steps with you. Contact The Rutstein Group today to learn more about how we can connect you with your new property and guide you through the buying process.

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The Rutstein Group is a team of experienced, licensed real estate agents. With a proven track record of getting results quickly and a direct line of communication at all times.

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