A Step-by-Step Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


We are a geographically diverse team representing buyers and sellers in all of Northern Virginia and in all walks of life: from first-time buyers, experienced buyers/ sellers, active adults, families who are downsizing/ rightsizing, to multigenerational families. We are heavily involved with the military on a personal and professional level as well as representing investors, developers, and builders. We tailor our support based on your knowledge and experience; an approach that has led to consistent referrals and repeat business. My years of experience, in real estate, lending, and interior design, have helped build a support network of industry professionals. This network enables us to provide you with options to make your house more marketable when selling or your home more personal after buying. My interior design experience helps you to merge your desires and needs into a vision of the possible. Our long-term, industry relationships can help you implement your vision and achieve your goals quickly and efficiently-helping create the perfect home.


Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.


Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Are you wondering whether you can navigate the home-buying process without a real estate agent? Technically, yes, it's possible if you possess the time and expertise. However, it's essential to recognize the value of having full representation. As a former financial advisor and mortgage loan officer, I bring a unique perspective to the table, advocating for your best interests throughout the negotiation process. Without your own real estate agent, you'll have to deal directly with the seller's agent, who is legally bound to prioritize the seller's interests. That's where I come in. With my background in interior design, I not only offer a comprehensive understanding of the entire home buying journey, but also ensure a detailed and personalized approach to finding your perfect home.

The home search process can be daunting, but with my expertise and wealth of knowledge, it becomes an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Let's explore together and discover homes that align with your dream home criteria until we find the one that's just right for you. The best way to select the right real estate agent is to meet with him or her in person. Ask questions, read their reviews, and see if they are a good fit.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home


Step 5: Find the Right Home

This step should be the most enjoyable part of the entire process (aside from moving in!). As your guide, I will arrange showings of homes that match your interests and fall within your price range. During the showings, take notes on what you like and don't like, paying attention to every detail. Feel free to turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in different rooms. Rely on my expertise, as I come from a background in design and flipping homes. But let's not limit the inspection to just the home itself. It's crucial to explore the neighborhood as well. Take the time to observe the area, keeping an eye on traffic patterns at different times of the day, checking the parking situation, and noting the proximity to essential amenities like schools and grocery stores. My goal is to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your dream home. Together, we'll make this journey a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Get the Area/Community Information you need

Do you want to learn more about a particular area or community? Are you having difficulties figuring out which neighborhood would be perfect for you and your family? Are you moving out of the area and need information on communities in other parts of the city or country?

I am your resource. As a former military spouse and relocation specialist, I have made many connections locally, nationally, and world wide. Not only can I help you in the DMV area, I can assist with other areas.

As a real estate expert, I can provide you with important insights into a range of communities so you can make a more informed decision.

I can get you details on:

  • Type and style homes.
  • Age of the community.
  • Local amenities such as schools, parks, community centers, etc.
  • Commuting routes and access to public transit.
  • Properties currently listed for sale to include once that are off market.
  • General characteristics of the area.

The community you live in is just as important as the home you buy. That's why I'm committed to helping you make the right choice.


Step 6: Now you have found your dream home... Let's Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you craft the best offer by gathering intel to help you make an educated decision based on desires, motivations, and risk tolerance. I will be able to negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.


Step 7: How the Process Works

When you decide to make an offer on a home, here's what typically happens:

I'll recommend a price that has the best chance of being accepted by the seller, without over-paying for the home. I will be gathering intel and helping you to craft the winning offer by:

  • Providing comps and analysis of pricing
  • Research the Listing Agents Sales Trends
  • Do they average 92% or 99%?
  • New Agent vs 10+ Years of experience?
  • Do they withdraw and relist their listings?
  • Has your Buyer agent worked with Him/Her before?
  • Are there other offers or just yours?
  • Is the property a new listing or sitting for months?
  • What did the Seller pay? How Much do they owe?
  • What is the seller's situation - are they desperate to move, already purchased their home, vacant, need a rent-back, etc

Sellers typically prefer offers with no conditions. However, I believe it's essential to consider your protection. In some cases, I may suggest including a condition, such as passing a professional home inspection, and we can discuss the best approach for your specific situation.

Once we've decided on the right approach, I will take care of preparing all the necessary documents and personally present your offer to the seller and their real estate agent. In the event that the offer isn't immediately accepted or a counter-offer is made, I will skillfully negotiate on your behalf, working closely with the seller's agent to secure a deal that meets your needs.

Throughout the entire process, I will maintain open and transparent communication with you. You will always be informed and involved in the decision-making process. Once the seller agrees to the deal, I will guide you through the process of removing any conditions and finalizing the closing. Congratulations, the home will soon be yours!

I understand that making an offer can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn't have to be. When you choose to work with me, a real estate agent who prioritizes clients' interests, you can feel confident and assured. Pursuing a property you truly desire becomes a smoother journey when you have an expert like me on your side, dedicated to getting you the home you want.


Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house. And complete the following: Earnest money deposit, locking in interest rate, Home inspection (if contingent) , radon inspection (if contingent), appraisal, title search, survey, financing contingency, walk-thru, home warranty, etc.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork and Loan Conditions

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.


Congratulations! With the final paperwork signed, you are now the proud owner of your new house. At this point, I want to express my commitment to building a lifelong relationship with you. 

As your premier destination for all your real estate needs, I am here to provide guidance and support. My goal is to be your reliable resource for contractors, market analysis, and referrals. To assist you further, I offer a concierge vendor directory exclusively for my clients, ensuring you have access to top-notch services.

Breathing life into homes is my passion, and I believe this investment represents your future and your dreams. I'm excited to be a part of this journey with you. As we move forward, I encourage you to leave an online review of your Real Estate Agent experience, so others can benefit from your positive experience with me.

Share your Real Estate Agent Experience by writing an online review here:

Once again, congratulations on your new home! Let's make the most of this opportunity and live life to the fullest. I'm here to support you every step of the way.

Desiree's Interior Design and Loan Officer experience proves her understanding for the home buying process from start to finish to be unique and detailed

Work With Desiree

Desiree appreciates the buyer’s need to learn an area and understand options in a very short visit, sometimes sight unseen. She’s built a reputation for working with clients from dawn to well after dusk to make sure they have seen it all and are happy with their choice.