Jennifer Lee Mazeika


“Home is where your story begins, I’ll help you get there.”

We would all like to start with our “dream home” but let’s get real. . .  Having realistic expectations when it comes to the neighborhood and type of home you can afford is often an eye opening experience.  Your ultimate goal is to stop paying a landlord rent and to build equity in your own home. Here is a practical strategy for owning your own home today.

What Is A “Must Have” and What Is A “Want”?

Buyers who try to get everything may end up not getting a home at all. By dividing your desires into the two lists, you will reveal the most important features in a home to you. This allows you to start your home search based on your highest priorities and saves you time and frustration.

“Must Have” is anything you absolutely must have and you cannot easily change.

  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Garage or storage area
  • Home office
  • Lot size
  • Distance to work
  • Updated systems in house

“Want” is something you’d like to have & that you could change over time, such as:

  • Paint and Carpet
  • Deck, pool, hot tub
  • Hardwood floors
  • Specific style of home
  • Remodeled kitchen or baths
  • Fireplace or wood stove
  • Newer windows
  • Landscaping

At first, Wants will try to sneak into your Must Haves list!  A great home buying tip is to be tough with yourself to make it easy later.

Establish a Firm Price Limit and a List of “Must Have” Features

You have already gotten pre-approved for a mortgage so you know how much the bank thinks you can afford each month.  But just because the bank thinks you can afford to spend $350,000 for a home does not mean you have to spend that amount.  Use a tool like the Affordability Calculator on Zillow to help you determine your monthly budget.

It’s easy and convenient these days, to browse the hundreds of houses for sale in your area. But a good agent will know how to zero in on the homes that meet your must haves list and also fit your budget. Be sure to share this must haves list and communicate clearly about your budget.  You want to make sure you and your realtor know your expectations. You don’t want to view homes that clearly have all your must haves and maybe even all you wants but are above your budget. A great agent will know how to keep to your budget, fulfill your needs and maybe even sprinkle in some of those wants.

These tips for buying a house should make the process much easier for you. Every property is going to come with some compromises to your list, but when you are talking about your new home, they should feel minimal.

Staying Within Your Home Buying Budget

Another strategy is to live in your first home for at least three years and then sell and trade up to a larger home in a more desirable neighborhood.  A good real estate agent can help you keep an eye on the area you want to be in the future and keep you informed of any new listings that match your wish list. Meanwhile, you weren’t paying rent each month to a landlord but building equity in your own home. You will also build a credit history of paying a monthly mortgage payment.

If you have trouble finding what you are looking for in a home, you really only have two choices. Pay more or reduce the number of “Wants” so you can get a home that fills your “Needs.”  You don’t want to pay more and experience buyer’s remorse. A house isn’t an item you can return if you change your mind or find yourself ‘house poor’ because the monthly mortgage payment is too high.

Remember communicate clearly with your agent.  Good agents respect your finances and only show you homes you can afford. If you find your agent is constantly asking you to look at more expensive homes, it’s probably time to find a new agent.

Getting Your Must Haves in Your New Home

When buying a house staying within budget takes discipline. So approach the buying process with care. Know what you’re willing to spend, and refuse to look at homes listed above your budget. If you’re unable to find a suitable property after a few weeks or months, revisit your budget to see if you have any wiggle room. If not, hold out – it’s only a matter of time before the right house comes along. And a real estate agent who truly has your interests at heart will stick with you.

My motto is, “Home is where your story begins, I’ll help you get there.”

For a Free No-Obligation Consultation, contact me at 540-537-2332 or email me at

Client Tesimonials

“Over the last year we have spoken with several real estate agents in the area. Jennifer was the first person that earned our trust by working closely with us, asking relevant questions, and by being extremely responsive to find a home we would love. She took the time to send us updates on homes that were within our budget and exactly what we were looking for. She didn’t just set up a filter and let it automate results. I felt that she looked at new houses on the market and thought about how they might fit our family and what were looking for. We would recommend Jennifer to anyone looking for a real estate agent in the Smith Mountain Lake area.”

Zachary B.

bought a home at Smith Mountain Lake

“Jennifer has been the best realtor I’ve ever dealt with. She was always quick to respond and meet us wherever, whenever. She got to know us personally and would match us with the best houses. She cared more about our happiness with a home than the incentive she was getting. She helped with dealing with house inspections and dealing with the seller as well.”

Stephen C.

Bought a home in Thaxton, VA

“Jennifer was our realtor and did an excellent job. She found us a great house and it fit our budget. We put a contract on it in two days it was a pleasure working with her.
Awesome job Jennifer.”

Lee T.

Bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“We had a lot of issue’s with selling and buying another home, but Jennifer’s negotiating skills kept us from making big mistakes, like not having a home inspection. Otherwise, it would have cost us $1000.00 dollars. She was on top of every detail, even if it was a small one. Also, she was very responsive in returning phone calls. We highly recommend her as your agent. We will certainly use her again if need be.”

Barbara A.

Bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Great realtor to work with. I came in with no knowledge about the process or anything just knew I wanted a house. She helped me and taught me every step of the way, giving great advice on everything.”

Kirsten S.

Bought a home in Vinton, VA

“I highly recommend Jennifer with any home buyer/seller needs. Jennifer was always on time to our appointments and she is so kind. Jennifer knew exactly what our family’s needs were and found us the perfect home.”

Christian J.

Bought a home in Boones Mill, VA

“I would defiantly recommend Jennifer for all your real estate purchases. Her knowledge, drive, and response times are excellent. She is very understanding and passionate about her job. She kept us informed every step of the way despite any hiccups (which she had no control over). Not only did she find us the perfect home, she did so in a way that was respectful and with class. Jennifer is by far the greatest realtor I have ever worked with.”

Jesse W.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer was so helpful throughout the entire process, her recommendations for home, loan officers, and title company were the best in the business. Jennifer always had multiple options available and took our needs into consideration for every home we looked at until we found the perfect home for our family. Jennifer put a personal touch we will never forget into the home buying process and we will be forever grateful for the best service. We highly recommend Jennifer to everyone and have already enlisted her help with the selling of a family home, and she will be representing other friends and family in the purchase of their new home.”

Michelle H.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer Mazeika was very attentive to our needs and prompt in answering our questions. She helped us find a beautiful home with everything we were looking for.”

James B.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“This was my first time buying a home and Jennifer was more than reliable.
She always replied to me quickly and took mental notes
about everything I was looking for in a home.”


Jessica P.

Bought a home in Union Hall, VA

“Jennifer was a delight to have as my agent. Her dedication to me as her client was superb and her knowledge of the area here in the Smith Mountain Lake is extensive.”

Nita F.

bought a home in Hardy, VA

“Jennifer was near perfect. She was always responsive; we never had to call twice. If she didn’t answer the phone, she got back to us very quickly. She was always willing to go the extra step. She is enthusiastic and her concern for us always seemed to be genuine. To put it succinctly, Jennifer made the ordeal of shopping for a
house much more pleasant than it usually is.”

Kurt S.

bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Jennifer is absolutely wonderful to work with. She answered all of our questions (we had a lot) and took the time to help find us the right place. I highly recommend her!! I hope we get to see her around the lake!!”

Shannon W.

bought a condo in Moneta, VA

“Very professional, highly prepared, genuine, sincere and knowledgeable about the market. Prompt in returning phone calls and emails and appointments. Always enthusiastic about finding a home that meets the buyer’s wishes.”

Irene C.

bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Very personable and knowledgeable in her profession. We got along quite well in searching for houses. Traveled throughout three counties in search of the perfect home. Continued despite numerous disappointments and setbacks.”

Doug O.

bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer has been the best realtor I’ve ever dealt with. She was always quick to respond and meet us wherever, whenever. She got to know us personally and would match us with the best houses. She cared more about our happiness with a home than the incentive she was getting. She helped with dealing with house inspections and dealing with the seller as well.”

Stephen C.

bought a home in Thaxton, VA

“Jennifer is a real estate agent we would use again. When choosing a real estate agent you want someone knowledgeable in all areas of buying and selling, who knows the “ins and outs” of the local area that also has a great personality who can make the sometimes stressful experience as enjoyable as possible. Jennifer is a triple threat! Very knowledgeable of the real estate business and the processes that go along with it. VERY RESPONSIVE. We were buying a property in Smith Mountain Lake and we lived out of town and that was difficult for us. Jennifer made us feel like we could call her anytime and that gave us a level of comfort.”

Gretchen R.

bought a condo in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer has been one of the best agents to work with. She has been very knowledgeable through the whole process. She went above and beyond and did more for us than we could have ever asked for. Answered all of our questions and understood completely what we were looking for and got us into the house of our dreams. Jennifer is an AMAZING agent. We plan to use her in the future and refer her to everyone we know. ”

Tiffani H

Bought a home in Moneta, VA