Stages of Home Construction: From Lot Preparation to Final Inspection

Stages of Home Construction: From Lot Preparation to Final Inspection

Scroll to the bottom of the page to view Land & Lots for sale. For an inventory of “off market”, “pocket”, and “private” listings, please Contact me directly.

As a buyer of new home, you don’t need to know all of the details involved in home construction, but a general knowledge, however, of what should take place during each phase, will help you monitor progress and spot potential problems. Although methods and materials may differ among the builders, the following overview covers common stages of home construction.

Lot Preparation

  • Lot walk: The buyer, sales representative, and construction superintendent walk the lot to discuss home placement and identify features, such as trees, to remove or save.
  • Lot scrape and grade: Any structure and vegetation that will not be part of the finished site is removed. The lot is leveled by excavation or packed soil fill.
  • Form set: Wooden batter boards are placed to outline the footprint of the home.
  • Pest control treatment: If needed, the soil is treated for pest prevention.
  • Septic and well excavation: If needed, bringing in heavy excavation equipment at this stage minimizes site damage.
  • Utility set: A temporary water meter and utility pole are installed to provide water and electricity needed for construction.
  • Construction waste management: Receptacles large enough to hold construction waste are placed on the site.

Also Read:

Land Development For New Homes: Before Groundbreaking

Slab, Crawlspace, or Basement

Climate determines the underpinnings of home construction. The depth of frost line determines whether to construct the home on a slab or excavate a basement or crawlspace. If the underpinnings of the home do not reach below the frost line, the structure is exposed to serious hazards as water freezes and expands in the soil. If the soil under the basement, crawlspace, or poured slab freezes and expands, the resulting cracks and upheavals can cause serious structural damage to the home. For this reason, homes constructed in cold climates require excavation of a basement in order to reach below the frost line. Majority of homes in Northern Virginia in such towns as Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean, and Vienna have basements.

Homes in mild climates can be constructed over a crawlspace, which is a short basement. Extension of the basement or crawlspace walls above the soil line forms the foundation that supports the frame and flooring.

In warm climates that experience superficial frosts, a home can be constructed on a poured slab, which is faster and less expensive than constructing a basement. Cement piers may be integrated into the slab to support the framing and floor beams.

Excavation and finishing of a basement has pros and cons. A basement provides room and easy access for mechanicals, electrical conduit, and piping. Plus, it can expand living space, particularly walk-out basements for homes built into inclines. On the other hand, excavation and construction add costs. Potential damage from basement flooding is a major, and sometime chronic, problem for homes in storm-prone areas.

Construction of Crawlspace or Basement

3090189 – closeup of house foundation made from concrete shuttering blocks filled with mortar and reinforcement bars
  • Excavation: Excavation must be below the frost line, but not lower than the water table.
  • Footings: Poured concrete footings spread the weight of the structure from the foundation into surrounding soil. Interior footings support load-bearing walls.
  • Sub-slab systems: Plumbing lines are laid that will eventually be covered by a poured slab floor.
  • Drainage and sump pump: A run of perforated drainage piping embedded in gravel along the perimeter moves water away from the foundation. A sump pump may be installed.
  • Walls: Foundation walls are constructed by pouring concrete between sets of forms. Embedded anchor bolts will be used to secure the framing to the foundation.
  • Flooring: For basement construction, a concrete floor is poured between the foundation walls. In crawlspace construction, a moisture-vapor barrier or liner covers the walls and exposed earth floor.
  • Waterproofing and backfill: A waterproofing or dampproofing seal is applied to the exterior below-surface foundation walls. Soil backfill is pushed into trenches around the exterior. Backfill stabilizes below-surface foundation walls.

Also Read:

How to Vet A Parcel and Buy A Perfect Lot in Northern Virginia: 8 Land Purchasing Questions to Ask


  • Materials delivery: Framing materials – including trusses, cornices and panels – are delivered to the job site. Delivery coincides with the framing contractor’s anticipated start date to minimize exposure to the weather.
  • Flooring: Flooring trusses and framing (to which the walls will be attached) are set in place. Once the floor framing is complete, it’s covered with plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).
  • Stand walls: Walls, staircases, windows, doors and fireplaces are framed in.
  • Tub delivery: Delivery of items, such as bathtubs, that require additional framing, or are so large, that installation might become a problem after the walls and doors are in place, will occur at this stage.
  • Roof: Support trusses and framing for the roof are installed. Covering the roof with plywood or OSB, increases rigidity. Additional materials, such as water retardant layer and shingles, complete the roof.
  • Frame detail: When the structure is up, framers do detail framing, such as for bathtubs and utility closets, plus the addition of any cornices or blocking.
  • Mechanical installations: Framing is added for wiring, telephone, security, vents and HVAC system.
  • Windows and doors: The windows and doors arrive in one shipment and are set in.
  • House Wrap: The structure may be wrapped with weather resistant material like Tyvek® to prevent infiltration of rain and moisture and improve energy efficiency.


  • Insulation: Local building codes set minimum standards for residential insulation. Exterior and interior walls, ceilings, and other specified areas are insulated with the R-value and thickness (in inches) detailed in the building specifications.
  • Outlets and other openings: Outlets and other gaps are sealed.


  • Masonry or siding: After insulation has been installed, the masonry or siding exterior can be added.
  • Exterior doors and locks: Installation of doors and locks, including the garage door, secures the premises.
  • Decks: Any exterior structure not done during the frame stage is added at this point.
  • Driveway and patio pour: These components may be poured separately from the slab to minimize potential damage from heavy equipment on site.


  • Drywall delivery: Drywall sheets are delivered after the structure is secure and weatherproof.
  • Drywall installation: Dry wall sheets are nailed to the interior frame.
  • Tape and float: Joints and seams are taped and covered so that the wall surface is smooth and seamless.

Plumbing, Mechanicals, Trim, Floors

12455020 – laminate

During this phase, subcontractors can work simultaneously as long as they are not in each other’s way or depend on someone else’s work.

  • Cabinetry: Cabinets are built on-site or are brought in preassembled and installed.
  • Tile and counters: Countertops and tile work are installed.
  • Painting or wallpaper: Interior walls, doors, and trim are painted. Wall coverings are installed.
  • Plumbing installation: Showers, bathtubs, water heater, sinks, and toilets are installed and connected to water sources and drainage.
  • Appliances and mechanical installation: Mechanical systems, kitchen appliances, security systems, and HVAC are installed. Vents, registers, and thermostats are set and tested.
  • Electrical trim: Outlet covers, lighting, ceiling fans, switches, and doorbells, are installed.
  • Baseboards and floor covering: Any trim work, including baseboards, is completed. Specified floor coverings are installed.

Finish Out

Finishing a new home and getting it ready for the buyer to move in happens in stages.

  • First buyer walk-through: When the home is almost finished, the builder and buyer do a first walk-through to develop punch list of needed repairs and finish outs. This punch list is a checklist for the final walk-through.
  • Final buyer walk-through: The buyer should use the builder’s punch list to make sure that all identified items are completed.
  • Final cleaning: Carpets, windows, bathrooms, garage, and anything that is not in move-in condition are cleaned.
  • New home orientation: Some builders offer an orientation session to familiarize the buyer with the home systems and functioning.


14877958 – landscaping in the garden. the path in the garden.

Landscaping can take place simultaneously with interior work. Builders avoid responsibility and expense of caring for the lawn, trees, and plantings by doing landscaping at the very last minute.

  • Final lot grade: If needed, the lot is graded or soil added to level the ground and support the lawn and plantings.
  • Plantings: Trees, grass, and other plantings are installed.

Final Inspection and Certificate of Occupancy

When the competed project passes a final inspection, a certificate of occupancy is issued. The house must be approved for occupancy before utilities can be turned on. If the inspection turns up any deficiencies—red tags—the builder must make the corrections and schedule a follow-up.

If you are looking to purchase a new home, please feel free to email me, call or text (571) 455-0178.

AUTHOR: Natasha Lingle is a full time real estate agent serving Vienna VA and Northern Virginia communities. She is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and Certified New–Home Construction Buyer Representative. If you are planning to buy a finished new construction home or would like to build fully custom home, you can rely on her knowledge. As your new home buyer agent, she will guide you through the steps and processes of purchase, construction, and customization. In addition, she will:

• explain characteristics of new homes and highlight the differences between custom and spec constructions;

• evaluate pros and cons of purchasing a new home versus an existing home;

• help you understand new-home construction sales contract;

• and explain such nuances as “builder’s warranty”.

Currently for sale Lots and Land in Northern Virginia

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Pre-Approval: First Step in Home Buying Process

In many markets across the country,  the amount of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. Washington DC Metropolitan area is not an exception – the market for desirable properties in Vienna VA, McLean VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA and Falls Church VA is very competitive, and often, buyers end up in a bidding war.

If you are competing with other buyers, one way to show that you are serious about buying home is to get a pre-approval letter for a mortgage and include it with the offer. In fact, majority of sellers in Northern Virginia, will not take buyers’ offer seriously if the pre-approval letter is not enclosed in the offer package.

But even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence to know if your dream home is within your reach.

Also Read:

Mortgage Application Process: Why So Much Paperwork?

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website.

It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate agent is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. But it’s always helpful to do your own research and shop around for the lender who would offer the best rates and competitive fees. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out a loan application and provide important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  • Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  • Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  • Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  • Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line:

Don’t overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well. If you are ready to make a move, contact me today to schedule your free no obligation buyer consultation.

To learn more about home buying process, please visit my Real Estate blog page – “Buying A Home”.

And please, don’t forget to download

My Buyers’ Guide:

“Things to Consider When Buying a Home”

As a home buyer, there’s plenty you need to know. You’re about to make the largest financial investment of your life, but with my Home Buyers Guide, you’ll have the information you need about buying a home, right at your fingertips.

Here’s what you will find inside:

  • The Cost of Renting vs Buying
  • 2 Myths That Might be Holding You from Buying
  • Why Pre-Approval Should be Your First Step
  • What You Need to Know About Mortgage Process
  • What to Expect When Home Inspecting
  • And More!

The best part is, our Guide is free and available to download right now. All we need is your name and email, and we’ll send it directly to you.

[red-button url=””]Download Your Buyer’s Guide HERE[/red-button]


Moving to Vienna VA? Reasons You Will Love Living Here!

Welcome to my Real Estate Website! For anyone moving to Vienna, VA or considering the move, you’ll want to be sure to read this article first.



All homes come directly from my professional MLS account with most Up-to-Date information.

contact Natasha Lingle

Vienna, Virginia

Steeped in rich Civil War history, Vienna, Virginia is a flourishing town with high-ranking public schools, thriving business district, quaint residential neighborhoods, and beautiful green spaces. There is no surprise that it was rated third of the 100 best places to live in the United States by CNN/Money and Money magazine in 2013. With a population of approximately 17,000 and growing, this prosperous area is also ranked #1 in terms of livability in Virginia and #5 in the USA. Low crime rates, a stable housing market filled with both new construction and historic homes, and plenty of amenities make this the perfect community to call home.

Vienna’s climate enjoys the best of each season: gorgeous spring blooms and showers, temperatures of 90 degrees in the summer, crisp autumns with colorful foliage and an average of 20 inches of snowfall in the winter. Only 15 miles west of Washington DC, residents are able to enjoy the relaxing serenity of tree-canopied streets, family centered, close-knit communities, and small town charm – while being just a short commute from the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the big city.

Seasonal Events

Residents of Vienna will enjoy year-round events that bring neighbors together, foster community spirit, and build town pride. At the end of April is Taste of Vienna, where a wide range of local restaurants showcase their savoury specialities in order to raise money to support the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department – great food for a great cause. Starting in May until October is the Vienna Saturday Farmers Market where you can find locally-sourced fresh produce, delicious homemade food, and live musical entertainment. Viva Vienna, the town’s annual festival, takes place on Memorial Day weekend with amusement rides, crafts, food, and entertainment for all ages with 100% of proceeds going toward charitable, community, and humanitarian organizations.

What a better way to spend the lazy days of summer Friday nights than Chillin’ on Church. A family-friendly street party complete with kids activities and games, live music, a food truck alley, and of course, beer for the adults. As well, free concerts in a range of musical styles run from May to early August on scheduled Friday and Sunday evenings at Summer on the Green.  Independence Day kicks off with a free festival and ends with fireworks so don’t forget your blankets and chairs. In October, Vienna celebrates Oktoberfest with great food, live music, vendors, kids zone, and beer and wine for the grownups – all with free admission! For over 70 years, the Halloween Parade has been delighting children and adults alike, come be part of this community tradition. Bring in the New Year with your family at First Night Vienna, a free family-friendly, alcohol-free event featuring live music, food trucks, kid’s activities, and much more!

Outdoor Activities

Vienna is home to Wolftrap National Park, which has the distinction of being the only national park in America dedicated to the performing arts. From a variety of musical genres: opera, jazz, contemporary to classical, theatre, and dance – there is something for everyone. And for the younger art aficionados, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods offers over 70 performances in the summer including dance, storytelling, puppetry, and much more!

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens has over 95 acres of gardens, plant collections, forests, lakes, and trails to explore – even a restored 18th-century log cabin. In Winter, the garden is lit up in a spectacular holiday light show in the annual Winter Walk of Lights.

Roer’s Zoofari is a family zoo that covers over 30 acres and features a petting barn, safari open air bus rides, and a budgie atrium among other exciting animal encounters. For biking, jogging, rollerblading, and even horseback riding, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail is a historic railroad path turned trail that cuts right through the center of town.

Vienna offers a number of swimming pools as well.

Shopping Opportunities

Virginia’s largest shopping mall is Tysons Corner Center, which also has the distinction of being the 13th largest in our nation. Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, and Macy’s are the main department stores and the mall has over 300 specialty shops and restaurant options as well as a 16-theatre cinema. For your luxury shopping desires, The Shops at Fairfax Square is home to Tiffany & Co, Miele, and Liljenquist & Beckstead, as well as fining dining at Chef Geoff’s and a full service Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.

Vienna is also home to a Whole Foods Market where you can not only purchase healthy and fresh groceries, this location also offers a Pub complete with TVs, happy hour beer and wine specials, and a newly renovated café patio.

Dining Options

Vienna has a plethora of restaurants from fine dining to family friendly which you can find here. I would also like to share some of my favorites. For fresh, hand-crafted chocolate, head over to Cocoa Vienna, where organic high-quality ingredients are used to create little masterworks of “spiritual nourishment.” Lombardi’s is where you will find gooey, cheesy traditional Old New York style pizza with made from scratch dough and generous toppings.


Savor bistro cuisine in a charming cosy atmosphere, delicious food, and great drinks at Bazin’s on Church – be sure you make a reservation or prepare to wait for a table. You don’t have to go to Japan for authentic sushi, just head over to Sushi Yoshi for aesthetically pleasing and tastebud delighting cuisine. Locally sourced ingrediants meet global techiniques at Maple Ave Restraurant where you can dine on eclectic American fare 7 days a week. Be sure to hit the brunch on weekends and try the to-die-for truffled egg scramble.

Caboose Brewing Co. is where Vienna residents head for freshly brewed beer and innovative and healthy farm to table menu in a funky industrial style atmosphere. Amazing and creative tacos, flavorful sauces, handmade margaritas, and outdoor seating where you can bring your furry best friend makes Taco Bamba a local favorite for Mexican dishes with an American flair.

Fitness Centers

When you are ready to burn off all that delicous food, Vienna has a few fitness centers that you can head to. The East Meets West Yoga Center offers yoga in various styles to accommodate the differences and uniqueness of individuals and their abilities and preferences. Empower yourself and tone and streamline your body at NOVA Pilates (used to be Church Street Pilates). For low impact exercise that burns calories and helps gain lean muscle, try Pure Barre where you will use the ballet barre to perform small movements with huge benefits.

Find Homes for Sale in Vienna VA


contact Natasha Lingle

If you have any questions about real estate or would like to make Vienna your new home, please contact me at or at (571) 455-0178 or by filling out the form below.

Spec Homes or Custom: Which New Home is Right for You?

Major Differences between Spec and Custom Built Homes

Driving through the neighborhoods of Vienna VA, McLean VA, Great Falls VA and Falls Church VA, one would notice a big change from last several years – a large number of new construction homes of various designs becoming more and more common. If you are thinking about buying new construction home and wondering about the major differences between custom and spec homes, I hope you’ll find information in this post helpful.

By now, with the help of your real estate agent, you have located the area, and, now, it’s time to decide whether to choose between speculative (spec) or custom home.

New home buyers’ choices would fall on a spectrum with spec homes at one pole and full-custom homes at the other. With spec homes, the builder’s work is done and the buyer chooses from among homes that already exist and available for sale. The spec builder who sells a move-in ready home makes all of the choices from the floor plan to the color scheme. Consequently, spec homes are often built with the features, amenities, and neutral color scheme that appeal to the widest range of home buyers.

Moving toward the opposite pole, spec home builders may offer some customization options and upgrades to give the buyer the opportunity to personalize their homes. In fact, most new homes fall somewhere within the customization spectrum, with some choices made by the builder and others by the buyer. In most cases, the foot print of the house will not be changed, but, depending on the stage of the construction or sales contract, some walls can be opened up or closed in, the floors style and color can be selected and all decorative elements including tiles and wall colors can be selected by the home buyers.

For full custom homes, the buyer makes all of the choices: lot, architect, builder, floor plan, and all the details from foundation to rooftop—according to budget and design requirements.

Also Read:

Guide to Building A Custom Home: Pricing, Timing And More…

Building Time

Build time is a major difference between spec and custom homes. Full-custom homes can take a very long time to be designed and built (sometimes as long as 2 years). Spec homes are built from standard plans that the builder has built numerous times and the full house can take somewhere between 6 and 8 months to complete.

Floor Plan—Custom, Some Custom, Spec?

Choice of floor plan falls along a spectrum from completed spec home with no choice to custom homes with every choice. In between are spec builders who offer a choice of floor plans and custom builders who use plan books as a starting point.

The Specifications

For every new home, whether spec, or custom, specifications — from quality of cabinets, to flooring and carpets, to the type of wiring and plumbing—must be developed. The specifications are the detailed instructions that the builder and subcontractors use for bidding out work, ordering materials, establishing pricing, and constructing the home.

Obviously, developing specifications for full-custom homes can take much longer than for a spec home. The buyer must sign off on the specifications and pricing before the builder can start construction. If the pricing on the final specifications exceeds the buyer’s budget, compromises on upgrades, quality of materials, customizations, and even square footage may be needed. Changes to the specifications after the contract signing, require additional paperwork.

Options & Upgrades

It is a common practice, even with spec builders, to give buyers an opportunity to make choices such as floors and wall finishes, counter tops, appliances, and similar details. The purchase often includes a free design consultation to help the buyer make choices. Although the consultation may be free, the design center staff usually works on commission and may try to upsell features.

Even a “free” upgrade package may require a substantial deposit or prepayment. Everything has a cost and, since options and upgrades involve individual tastes and special orders, the builder doesn’t want to be left with materials and choices that can’t be undone if the transactions doesn’t close or the buyer has a change of mind. In addition to an earnest money deposit, the buyer may be required to pay up front even for included upgrades.

Also Read:

How to Vet A Parcel and Buy A Perfect Lot in Northern Virginia: 8 Land Purchasing Questions to Ask

Keep an Eye on Upgrade Costs

It’s easy to get carried away with upgrades. If you are budget conscious, you should know that too many upgrades can raise the price of a new home above appraised value compared to sales prices of comparable homes.

Unique custom homes can present an even more challenging appraisal situation if there are no comparable properties. The builder isn’t responsible for the home’s value and a lender won’t approve a loan for more than appraised value. The choice is to forgo upgrades that will increase the price beyond appraised value or to bring more money to closing.

Of course, personal taste, enjoyment, and pride of ownership rank high as criteria for choosing upgrades, but not every upgrade translates to future resale value or impacts appraised value. For example, an appraiser will note granite countertops, but usually won’t adjust for the quality grade—1 to 4—of the stone.

Your realtor will provide information on sales and resales of comparable properties that will help you manage upgrade costs and make value-adding upgrades choices.

Bottom Line

There are significant differences between spec and custom homes. If you are interested in learning more, let’s get started! Please schedule your consultation HERE.

AUTHOR: Natasha Lingle is a full time real estate agent serving Vienna VA and Northern Virginia communities. She is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and Certified New–Home Construction Buyer Representative. If you are planning to buy a finished new construction home or would like to build fully custom home, you can rely on her knowledge. As your new home buyer agent, she will guide you through the steps and processes of purchase, construction, and customization. In addition, she will:

• explain characteristics of new homes and highlight the differences between custom and spec constructions;

• evaluate pros and cons of purchasing a new home versus an existing home;

• help you understand new-home construction sales contract;

• and explain such nuances as “builder’s warranty”.



Building A New Home? Northern Virginia Guide to Septic Systems: What You Should Know Before Submitting Offer for Land Purchase

I understand that septic systems might be the last thing on your mind when you are planing to build a gorgeous new home in McLean, Vienna or Great Falls. But the approval of the septic system might be one of the most important parts of the building process.

If public sewer is not available, no house can be constructed without approved septic system!

What is Septic System?

Septic system is underground waste treatment structure installed in the areas where public sewer is not available.

Septic systems come in all shapes, sizes, types and capacities ranging from a simple gravity conventional system for a 1 bedroom hunting cabin to a large communal alternative onsite sewage system serving more than 300 homes, but they all have one thing in common – they all have to be approved by the County’s Health Department.

All conventional and alternative septic systems are soil based disposal systems; therefore, the approval of the systems and their types will depend on the soil study that includes soil percolation test. The location of the house will be dictated by the placement of the septic system, and the location of the septic will depend on the results of the soil test.

If the soil test is unsatisfactory, NO house can be built on the property!

The buyers who are looking to buy property as land, will be confronted with two common scenarios:

  1. A property is sold as a lot with a “teardown” house that is already served by the septic system.
  2. The lot is sold as undeveloped or unimproved property.

For the lot with the existing system, it is important to check if the property has an area that is saved as a reserve (this area can be used for a possible extension of an existing system or for installation of a new system). As a first step of investigating the lot, it might be helpful to check on the number of bathrooms that the current septic system supports.  Why is this important? If in the past the system was approved to serve only 2 or 3 bedrooms, there is no guarantee that today the county will issue an approval for a brand new system that will serve the number of bathrooms desired, or will approve extension to the system currently in place.

REMEMBER: the most likely outcome is that the county will request abandonment of the current septic and an installation of a brand new system! The permits to abandon an existing system will have to be filed with the Fairfax County’s Health Department either by the seller or you as a new owner.

Also Read:

How to Vet A Parcel and Buy A Perfect Lot in Northern Virginia: 8 Land Purchasing Questions to Ask

Permits to construct or repair onsite sewage (septic) system

The permits to construct or repair onsite sewage system are not transferable between the owners. These permits are:

  • Issued to a single owner and not transferable between the owners
  • Valid for 18 months
  • Can be extended once for an additional 18 months
  • All work must be completed before extension expires

Certification Letters

What if the land is sold as undeveloped or unimproved?

As a contingency to the Contract For Purchase of Unimproved Property (Virginia Association of Realtors form 650), the seller has to provide Certification Letter issued by the Fairfax County’s Health Department.

This letter must show that soil test was performed and a septic system for a residential dwelling can be constructed. In addition, a plat showing the exact location for proposed septic system has to be attached. The Certification Letter will list property’s address, the name of the owner and the number of bathrooms allowed.

The higher the number of approved bathrooms, the more value the lot has.

Certification Letters:

  • Issued to a single owner
  • Transferable between the owners
  • Do not expire
  • Guaranty that system can be installed with a defined capacity
  • Do not guaranty system type
  • Can be null and void if property lines change or site is disturbed

When a seller or seller’s agent doesn’t provide certification letter for an approved septic, the trip to the county will be needed. If the septic was not approved, then it might take between 2-3 months to get an approval.

In order to protect yourself from a disappointing lot purchase, make sure the Contract For Purchase of Unimproved Property has these possible contingencies:

  • Reviewing of septic Certification Letter for unimproved land.
  • Obtaining permits for construction of Septic System.
  • Reviewing of Plat by certified building engineer.

Bottom Line

When buying land for a construction of new home, make sure to pay close attention to Septic System. The Contract has to include contingencies on the ability to pass a percolation test and/or obtain permits for construction of septic system. And of cause, hire a knowledgeable real estate agent who will take time to investigate the lot by doing a research at the Health Department, consulting with Fairfax County representatives, and will put you in touch with reliable septic specialist and an engineer. If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Me.

Are you ready to make a move? Check out these lots for Sale in:




Vienna VA Homes For Sale: View Properties & Schedule Showings

Welcome to my real estate website! All Vienna, VA homes for sale shown on this page come directly from my professional MLS account with most up-to-date information.

Use my website to browse all Vienna VA homes for sale, including condos, townhouses and single family homes, and schedule home tours instantly. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions and make sure to check out my Buyer’s Blog page loaded with tips and latest real estate news.

Contact me by calling or texting: (571) 455-0178, by sending me an e-mail: or by filling out my Contact Form.

Currently Listed Homes for Sale in Vienna VA

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Vienna VA Homes and Real Estate Market Review


Welcome to Vienna, Virginia – a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Fairfax County. Boasting a perfect blend of small-town charm and metropolitan convenience, Vienna has become a sought-after destination for those seeking an idyllic community within reach of Washington, D.C.

Located in Fairfax County, Vienna VA homes are close to many national landmark locations such as Arlington National Cemetary, Wolf Trap National Park, Mount Vernon, Great Falls Park, and Smithsonian —making it a great place to explore.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate Vienna’s well-maintained parks and recreational areas. From the scenic Glyndon Park to the expansive Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, there’s no shortage of green spaces to enjoy. Residents can partake in outdoor activities, community events, and leisurely walks in these beautiful surroundings.

For families, Vienna offers access to some of the region’s top-rated schools. The commitment to education is reflected in the quality of public and private schools, making Vienna an excellent choice for those prioritizing their children’s academic success. Vienna VA homes are surrounded by 42 schools. Madison High School, for example, is #7 out of the best schools in Virginia! Many of the schools in Vienna have small class sizes (15:1), meaning the teachers can be more attentive to your child’s education.

Vienna’s strategic location along the Washington Metro’s Orange Line provides easy access to the nation’s capital and surrounding areas. Commuters benefit from a hassle-free commute, making Vienna an ideal choice for those working in the D.C. metropolitan region. Connecting bus lines run throughout Vienna, making it easy to get to work, shopping, and outings of nearly every kind.

Commuting to and from locations via car in Vienna VA is pretty easy as well. Commutes average between 15-20 minutes from anywhere within Vienna—which is amazing compared to some of the bigger cities surrounding.

The crime rate in Vienna VA is low compared to the rest of the country—in fact, according to Neighborhood Scout, it’s safer than 75% of the cities in the U.S.

Popular neighborhoods:

  • Wolf Trap
  • Browns Mill
  • Old Courthouse Rd/Beulah Rd
  • Vienna Woods
  • Dunn Loring Woods/Stonewall Manor
  • Lawyers Rd NW/Windover Ave NW
  • Town Center
  • Beulah Rd NE/Maple Ave E
  • Park St SE/Tapawingo Rd SE
  • Hunter

Vienna offers a diverse range of housing options to suit various lifestyles. From charming single-family homes with spacious yards to modern townhouses, the real estate market in Vienna caters to different preferences. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or an empty-nester, you’ll find the perfect home in Vienna. Vienna home types include: Condos, Townhouses, Single Family homes and New Construction.

Single Family Homes in Vienna VA are selling at a median of $725,000, or $372 per square foot. Real estate trends in Vienna are leaning towards 3 and 4-bedroom houses, which account for roughly 70% of home sales. 



Buying a Home? This is Your List of Common Real Estate Transaction Terms

Buying a home can be intimidating and confusing if you are not familiar with the real estate transaction terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, I have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)  – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured, as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs, in addition to the price of the home, are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs.

Ask your lender and Title Company for a complete list of closing cost items. To avoid closing costs surprises, the Title Company will email a five-page “Closing Disclosure” (CD) a few days before the Settlement. If you are new to the home buying process or haven’t bought a house in the last 2+ years, please note that HUD-1 has been replaced by “Closing Disclosure” or CD. To read more about this new regulation, please click here.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Also Read:

10 Steps to Buying a Home: First Time Home Buyer Guide

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing (usually Title Company). It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click HERE.

Real Estate Agent – A certified professional who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate agents or realtors are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate agents can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process. According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. You want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you acquire your dream.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Bottom Line

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first. If you are ready to make a move, contact me today to schedule free no obligation buyer consultation.

And please, don’t forget to download

My Buyers’ Guide:

“Things to Consider When Buying a Home”

As a home buyer, there’s plenty you need to know. You’re about to make the largest financial investment of your life, but with my Home Buyers Guide, you’ll have the information you need about buying a home, right at your fingertips.

Here’s what you will find inside:

  • The Cost of Renting vs Buying
  • 2 Myths That Might be Holding You from Buying
  • Why Pre-Approval Should be Your First Step
  • What You Need to Know About Mortgage Process
  • What to Expect When Home Inspecting
  • And More!

The best part is, our Guide is free and available to download right now. All we need is your name and email, and we’ll send it directly to you.

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