You’ve probably heard about how we are still in a relatively strong “seller’s market.” This is defined not just as a market in which demand for homes is greater than the current supply, but more specifically as a cycle in which the “absorption rate” of homes on the market (the time it would take for today’s total inventory of homes to sell) is less than 5 months.

But that doesn’t necessarily need to be a concern for those of you looking to buy. Rates are near historic lows, so from that perspective, the current climate is great. You’ll be able to afford more than you might if rates were higher. Plus, since there are fewer buyers looking in the winter months, you have less competition if you do find that perfect house.

How to put yourself in the best position to get your offer accepted…

But regardless of when you’re looking — either now or a few months down the road — the best advice I can give you is to first make sure to get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage. That is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll be in an advantageous position when you’re ready to submit an offer on your dream home.

After all, when sellers receive multiple offers (which is very common these days), they look at more than just the amount of money being offered. They also look at whether there are any contingencies, the buyer’s desired timing for settlement/move-in, and whether a buyer is already pre-approved (and the strength and reputation of their lender). If you aren’t pre-approved, a seller won’t give your offer much, if any, thought, because they have no way of knowing if you’ll even be able to get a loan. They will invariably move on to the next offer.

Other benefits of pre-approval

Pre-approval benefits you in another way, too. You’ll know exactly how much you can afford, so you and your Realtor® can focus on the best homes within your price range…and be ready to submit a competitive offer that will get consideration.

So, if you’re thinking of beginning your home search soon, now’s the time to reach out to a couple lenders. If you already have a trusted lender you’ve worked with in the past, great! If not, we’d be more than happy to make a few recommendations. Local mortgage companies are usually your best bet, as they are easier to get in touch with and offer a higher level of personal service than bigger banks or credit unions. Many mortgage companies have sub-specialties as well, like handling Jumbo loans or loans to borrowers who are first-time homebuyers or self-employed. Some can even help borrowers with advice on cleaning up their credit so they’re in a better position to apply for a loan.

Contact us at [email protected] if you’d like some recommendations. We have many trusted lenders we can put you in touch with! 

Are you an empty nester looking to downsize a bit? Are you interested in finding a neighborhood with plenty to do and a true sense of community? Are you hoping to meet new people and engage in new or old hobbies? Would you love to live in a beautiful new home that fits your lifestyle? Have you been searching for floor plans with master bedrooms on the main level? How about single level living or a multi-story town home with an elevator?

Winchester Homes Bungalows Birchwood at Brambleton

If any of these scenarios hit home, you’ll want to take a look at Birchwood at Brambleton in Loudoun County, VA, northern Virginia’s newest  55+ “active adult” community. Believe me, this is not the “retirement community” of your parents’ or grandparents’ generation. Its numerous amenities, events, and activities make it worthy of its slogan: “Life Refreshes at 55.”

Miller and Smith living room Birchwood at Brambleton

Birchwood in Brambleton Offers Home Styles to Suit Every Taste and Budget

Imagine an “active adult” community where you can choose from three builders offering everything from apartments and condos to many styles of town homes, carriage homes, villas, and single family homes. Some even offer the option of elevators within the residence. Now is a great time to buy, because the community is in its infancy with fewer than 300 units sold. Therefore, you have more choices when it comes to the best lots and the homes that suit you best. When it’s all built out in another 5+ years, Birchwood will have a total of 1,500 homes.

Van Metre kitchen Birchwood at Brambleton

Miller and Smith, Van Metre, and Winchester all offer multiple styles of living and floor plans. You’ll find “flats” (one level condos) priced in the $300s…all the way up to single family homes priced in the $700s. Some floor plans start at around 1,000 square feet, while single family homes with finished basements can provide around 4,000 square feet of livable space. There are lots near the gorgeous new clubhouse, as well as lakefront lots. Right now, the majority of development is happening west of Loudoun County Parkway, with future residential (beyond the existing 55+ apartments) and a second clubhouse on the eastern side of Loudoun County Parkway.

Screened porch Birchwood at Brambleton

Fun and Unique Features for Today’s Style of Living

One of my favorite features of most of these homes is the ability to create customized outdoor spaces — whether it’s a covered deck off the living area, a screened in porch (shown above), or even an outdoor terrace off the bedrooms. There are plenty of options for main floor Master Suites, and your guests will love the feature many of the floor plans offer upstairs: an open loft “retreat” at the top of the stairs, leading to secondary bedrooms. This can be a cozy getaway for watching TV or be used as a study or entertaining space (wet bars optional).

First floor Master Bedroom Birchwood at Brambleton

Beautiful upgrades and finishes abound, so your new Birchwood at Brambleton residence can have all the fresh, luxury touches that lend themselves to light, open, refined living. Ceilings are 9′ or even 10′ high, adding a spacious and grand feel to the homes. Some single family homes have basements, while others do not. (Below is a photo of my favorite basement feature from one of the Winchester models…a wine tasting area!) For floor plans without basements, you’ll find the builders also make creative use of floor plans to add extra storage nooks.

Winchester Homes basement Birchwood at Brambleton

Convenience and Low-Maintenance Living in Birchwood at Brambleton

While the community is called Birchwood at Brambleton, it’s a different HOA from Brambleton. However, you’re only a very short drive from the Brambleton Town Center with its shops, restaurants, movie theater, and new state-of-the-art library. Plus, there’s more commercial development slated for the southern end of Birchwood. Keep in mind, you’re also just minutes from Route 50, the Dulles Toll Road, , the Brambleton Park and Ride, the Silver Line Metro, and Dulles Airport. Best of all, with these low-maintenance residences, travel is as simple as locking your door and catching a flight!

Map of Birchwood at Brambleton Loudoun County

Experience All the Charm and Numerous Activities Loudoun County Offers

And when you’re in town, you’ll have all the great attractions to explore nearby, including dozens of wineries, craft breweries, convenient shopping and dining at Dulles Town Center, Reston Town Center, One Loudoun, and the Leesburg Premium Outlets®. The walking and biking trails in the neighborhood and throughout Brambleton, along with nearby Brambleton Regional Park and Brambleton Golf Course, give outdoor enthusiasts plenty to do. The Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum just east of Birchwood provides the perfect half-day or full-day excursion with out of town visitors, kids, or grandkids — as do the local civil war battlefields.

Clubhouse Birchwood at Brambleton

At Birchwood at Brambleton, You Don’t Have to Go Far for a Vibrant and Engaging Social Life!

But day-to-day, you’ll probably be busier than you ever thought you’d be with all the amenities and events to take advantage of right within Birchwood. The gorgeous new clubhouse boasts an indoor lap pool, an outdoor pool overlooking the lake, Pickleball courts, bocce ball, a kitchen for cooking classes and demos, an art studio, a cyber cafe area, a golf simulator, billiards, an exercise room and yoga/Pilates studio, a movie screening area, and ample outdoor decks, a fishing pier, and fire pit. There’s even a tot lot for the grandkids! Parties, wine tastings, movie nights, pop-up Farmer’s Markets, football viewing, art shows, and potlucks at the clubhouse keep residents stimulated and engaged. Condo fees, which I found to be very reasonable (they vary based on type of home), include full access to the clubhouse, landscape services for common areas and individual lots, trash and recycling removal, pet waste stations, TV, and Internet.

Pickleball Birchwood at Brambleton

Oh — and guess what? Loudoun County was recently ranked the #1 Happiest County in America…and the Healthiest County in Virginia! But for when you do need to pay the doctor a visit, you’ll find plenty of choices at all the medical facilities nearby, including some right in Brambleton. Plus, you’re just a few miles from the new Stone Spring Hospital Center and about 15 minutes from INOVA Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg.

Miller and Smith home Birchwood at Brambleton

My love for Loudoun Country runs deep, and it’s wonderful to see such a world-class 55+ community being developed right here in the heart of this vibrant county. I’ve found that many people — my husband and I included — want to stay in Loudoun once we’re empty nesters. But we just want something smaller than we have now — and in a community that offers plenty of social and recreational outlets for the bit of added time we may have on our hands! Although I’m not 55 yet, I’ve got my eye on Birchwood at Brambleton!

Let us know if you’d like to take a look at some of these fantastic new homes. We can let you know the ins and outs of each of the many floor plans within Birchwood at Brambleton and let you know about any incentivized pricing, free upgrades, or promotions running. Some homes are available for quick delivery, so if you’re working with an abbreviated time frame, no worries. At 15 West Homes, we are here to help you, so please reach out to us to learn more. As a buyer, you don’t pay any Realtor® commissions. And working with a Realtor on new home construction is a smart move, as I laid out in a previous Blog post. You’ll want an advocate to help you navigate everything from choosing a lender and a top-notch inspector to picking a lot and the structural and design upgrades. We look forward to working with you! Email us at [email protected].