Buying Your First Home in D.C.? Know Your Options

Buying Your First Home in D.C.? Know Your Options
D.C. home buying

D.C. home buying

Entering the real estate market for the first time in Washington, D.C., can be a daunting task considering the average median home sales price is $499,900.

That's not too appealing to many entry-level buyers, but Frank Llosa of the highly rated Frankly Realtors in Falls Church, Virginia, offers a few tips.

“Buy for the right reason,” Llosa says. “I don’t believe in a starter home and I don’t believe real estate is the best investment.”

He also suggests not choosing a neighborhood to live because you think it's the next up-and-coming part of town.

"Be comfortable and love where you'll be living right now," Llosa says.

Owning a home is a big financial and emotional decision. Finding the right real estate agent who best fits your personality and understands your needs will help walk you through the process.

Once you decide to buy your first home, the next question often asked is whether you should buy a home warranty.

Do Your Homework

A home warranty is not the same as homeowner's insurance. Insurance covers major situations such as fire, storm damage and some water damage. A home warranty is a contract between you and the warranty company.

It offers discounted rates for repair and replacement on certain items in your home. Often, it will cover the furnace, air conditioner, and electrical and plumbing systems. Some plans also cover the washer and dryer, refrigerator and swimming pools.

A good home warranty from a highly rated company will cover most issues, big and small, that can occur with these items. Do your research.

How Much Will a Warranty Cost?

Home warranties only cost a few hundred dollars a year. For most companies, this is paid up front, but others offer payment plans so you can pay off your balance in installments. The costs will vary depending on what type of home you're buying.

Contrary to what many homeowners believe, the costs are not determined by the age of the home or square footage, unless your property is more than 5,000 square feet. After paying the yearly premium, you'll also be charged for service calls by most companies.

This cost varies, but it's usually around $60 for someone to come and investigate a possible problem.

Depending on the problem and the number of workers needed, you may need to pay a service fee for each worker.


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