Aimee Kniceley-Barnes | Fredericksburg Real Estate


If you plan to purchase a house soon, you may want to narrow your home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should hone your house search, and these include:

1. You can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may seem tough to navigate, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced property buyer. Thankfully, narrowing a home search enables you to speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, a refined home search allows you to focus exclusively on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will make it simple for you to find houses that fall within your price range, set up home showings to view these residences and proceed accordingly.

It also may be beneficial to craft a list of home must-haves and wants before you conduct a house search. With homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can further accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. You can act quickly to acquire your dream house.

As a homebuyer, you must be ready to pounce at the opportunity to purchase your dream house. Because if you hesitate during the homebuying journey, you may miss out on the chance to buy your ideal residence.

If you narrow your home search, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to act quickly to submit an offer to purchase a great house at an affordable price. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, you then can move one step closer to acquiring your dream home.

3. You can avoid wasting time and resources.

When it comes to finding a home, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can avoid the risk of wasting time and resources throughout the homebuying journey.

With a refined home search, you can increase the likelihood of maximizing your time and resources. A refined home search ensures you can focus solely on residences that you are sure to enjoy and avoid houses that are unlikely to match your expectations. Then, you can find your ideal home and transform your homeownership dream into a reality.

As you get ready to start a house search, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support as you evaluate residences.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a house in any city or town. He or she will learn about you and your homebuying goals and offer personalized home search tips. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions and ensure you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price – hire a real estate agent, and you can receive expert assistance as you search for your ideal residence.



There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if you’re pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if you’re approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesn’t mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   


Run Your Own Numbers


It’s important to sit down and do your own budget when you’re getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Don’t forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, you’ll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 


Now, you’ll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, you’ll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).


The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender can’t approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.


As you can see, it’s important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  




Trying to get your house ready for the real estate market? Ultimately, a home appraisal can help you set a fair price for your residence, thereby boosting your chances of a quick home sale.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will evaluate your residence both inside and out. Then, this inspector will provide you with a report that details his or her findings, along with an estimated value of your residence.

With a home appraisal report in hand, you can establish home improvement priorities. Plus, you can enter the housing market with a good idea about your house's value and price your residence accordingly.

Clearly, there are many reasons to complete a home appraisal. But it also is important to do everything possible to get your house appraisal-ready to increase your chances of getting a high appraisal.

For those who are struggling to get their homes appraisal-ready, we're here to help.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep your residence for an appraisal.

1. Take an Objective View of Your Residence

Consider how a homebuyer may see your house – you'll be glad you did. If you take an objective approach to selling your residence, you may be able to identify various problem areas before you list your house.

For example, cracked or chipped home siding may seem like a minor issue to you, but this problem can affect how homebuyers perceive your house. Conversely, if you fix cracked or chipped siding before a home appraisal, you can increase the likelihood of a favorable appraisal.

2. Spend Some Time Cleaning Your House

A tidy house is a pristine residence, one that will surely stand out to homebuyers. Meanwhile, if you allocate some time to clean your residence, you may be able to identify potential home problems that otherwise could hurt your residence's value.

If you need extra help with home cleaning, it certainly pays to hire a professional cleaning company. This business hires friendly, experienced staff members who will help you enhance your house's interior and exterior in no time at all.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Getting a house appraisal-ready may prove to be costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive extensive support as you prep your residence for an appraisal.

A real estate agent will examine your residence before an appraisal and offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations. In addition, he or she can put you in touch with the top property inspectors in your area to guarantee that you can receive a comprehensive appraisal.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent acts as a home selling guide. This housing market professional is ready to respond to your home selling concerns and questions and will do whatever it takes to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.

Move one step closer to selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of getting your home ready for an appraisal.



Hosting an open house is a key milestone for a home seller. If an open house proves to be successful, it may be only a matter of time before a seller receives multiple offers on his or her residence. Comparatively, if a home fails to impress during an open house, a seller may need to consider new ways to stir up interest in his or her residence.

Ultimately, it helps to plan ahead for an open house as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for any open house, at any time.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for an open house.

1. Perform Home Interior Cleaning

A pristine home interior can make a world of difference to potential homebuyers. Thus, you should allocate time and resources to clean your home's interior from top to bottom prior to an open house.

Mop the floors, wipe down ceilings and walls and perform other home interior cleaning to ensure that your house will dazzle as soon as a buyer walks through the front door. That way, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on buyers.

2. Enhance Your House's Exterior

Your home's curb appeal may make or break your open house. Because if your home has a messy, cluttered front lawn, your residence is unlikely to impress potential buyers when they see your house for the first time.

When it comes to improving your home's exterior, even minor upgrades can have far-flung effects.

Mowing the front lawn and trimming the hedges can help you show off your house's exterior. And if you need assistance with home exterior improvements, you can always hire a professional home landscaping company to help you out too.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Preparing for an open house can be challenging, particularly for a seller who is worried about the current state of his or her residence. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you get ready for an open house.

A real estate agent is happy to help you sell your home in any housing market. He or she will schedule an open house at your convenience. And in the weeks and days leading up to an open house, a real estate agent will offer expert tips to help you prepare for this event.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the home selling journey. He or she will help you promote your residence to the right groups of potential buyers and review any offers on your house. Plus, if you ever have questions about selling your home, a real estate agent can instantly respond to these queries.

If you want to achieve the best-possible results during an open house, it generally is a good idea to work with a real estate agent. Contact a local real estate agent today, and you can receive comprehensive support as you navigate the home selling journey.



Moving can be fun, stressful, or both. If you and your family are moving soon, your mind might be racing with all of the preparations you need to make before the big day.

The best course of action is to start organizing and planning now so that you can rest easy the night before your move knowing that everything is accounted for.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. We’ll talk about how to get the whole family involved in moving day, what to do with pets, and how to ensure the smoothest move possible so your family can look back on their first day in their new home with fond memories.

Getting organized

There are two key resources that you’ll need to make and refer back to as you prepare for moving day. You’ll need a calendar and a well-organised to-do list.

If you’re prone to depending on your smartphone, then it could be a good idea to add these items to your existing calendars and to-do list apps and sync them with your spouse and children. Most apps have this capability, making it easy to all stay on the same page.

Alternatively, you can use a physical calendar that it hung up in a highly visible area, such as on the refrigerator. Keep your to-do list next to it so you can cross off tasks as they’re accomplished.

On the calendar will be dates like calling your moving company for an appointment, closing on your new home, inspections, and confirming appointments with the movers and real estate agents. You’ll also want to pick a day close to your move to call and set up an appointment for utilities to be installed at your new home.

Getting the family involved

Every team needs a leader. If you’re leading your family through the moving process, it’s your responsibility to keep them in the loop. There may seem like an overwhelming number of tasks to achieve, but your family is there to help. Pick days to have your kids help you make boxes and pack the non-necessities.

You can make moving fun by “camping” inside your home for the last few nights. Since most of your belongings will be in boxes, it’s a fun excuse to set up a tent in the living room and take out the flashlights.

During the last day in your old house, make sure everyone has a survival kit filled with the items they’ll need when arriving at the new house. This includes toothbrushes, medication, phones and chargers, and other essentials.

Moving with pets

Moving can be even scarier for our pets than it is for us. There’s no way to explain to them what’s going on, and they’ll be looking to you for cues that everything is okay.

If you have a friend or relative who can take your pet to their home during the move it will make the moving process much easier--keeping track of a pet while you’re trying to carry boxes is no easy feat.

To ease your pet into their new home, take them to visit before the move if possible. Put some of their favorite toys or their bed and blanket in the new home so they’ll have some comforts for their first impression.


If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to a fun, and mostly stress-free move into your new home with your family.