Redfin open house Sunday 6/25 1-4PM
redfin.com (MRIS) For Sale: 3 bed, 2 bath, 1752 sq. ft. house located at 15219 Philip Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151 on sale now for $449,000. MLS# FX9984359. Cute country home with wrap around porch in move-in conditi...
Open house tomorrow 6/24 1-4PM
redfin.com (MRIS) For Sale: 2 bed, 2.5 bath, 1076 sq. ft. townhouse located at 1926 Crescent Park Dr Unit 30A, Reston, VA 20190 on sale now for $429,000. MLS# FX9985023. "Oakland" model fts hardwoods on the main lev...
Next Redfin Open House, Sunday June 25th @ 1PM
redfin.com (Coming Soon) For Sale: 3 bed, 2 bath, 1750 sq. ft. house located at 15219 Philip Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151 on sale now for $449,000. MLS# 2162. CHARMING HOUSE IN STORYBOOK SETTING!This cute country home with ...
Today's beautiful open house
redfin.com (MRIS) For Sale: 4 bed, 2 bath, 2396 sq. ft. house located at 10403 Nellie White Ln, Fairfax, VA 22032 on sale now for $614,900. MLS# FX9970904. Stunning contemporary gem w/2-car garage in Bonnie Brae! Si...
Open House Sun. 5/21 from 1-4 PM.
redfin.com (Coming Soon) For Sale: 4 bed, 3.5 bath, 1760 sq. ft. townhouse located at 9306 Arlington Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22031 on sale now for $529,000. MLS# 1340.
Open House Saturday 5/20 2-4 PM.
redfin.com (MRIS) For Sale: 5 bed, 6 bath, 6865 sq. ft. house located at 11932 Waples Mill Rd, Oakton, VA 22124 on sale now for $1,449,900. MLS# FX9910116. STUNNING CUSTOM 1 YEAR YOUNG NEWLY BUILT ENERGY EFFICIENT H...
[03/23/17] Redfin Rocks!!!
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Shashonia Gilliam Realtor & Notary/Signing Agent
TRULIA'S BLOG \ Real Estate 101
5 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Hot Market
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | October 28, 2015
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Buying in a hot market is sometimes inevitable, but you can save money by avoiding these mistakes.
It’s the never-ending saga of homebuyers everywhere: Just when you start looking for homes for sale prices seem to be booming and you’re stuck trying to buy in a seller’s market. House hunting is hard to time perfectly, and sometimes it’s impossible to avoid buying in a hot market.
But don’t let the fear of tough competition send you into a panic. Avoid falling into one of these traps when shopping in a hot real estate market, and you’ll likely save yourself some money (and a few gray hairs).
1. Acting out of desperation
It’s hard not to be let down when attractive homes are taken from “new” to “pending” before you even have the chance to look at them, but remember: Desperation has no place in a home-buying transaction.
Once desperation sets in, you risk making an impulsive and otherwise unwise decision, such as talking yourself into a home that isn’t quite what you really want or paying more than you can afford. Even if you can’t or don’t want to make an offer, every home you research and visit will give you a better insight into the home-buying process and the market and allow you to refine exactly what amenities you want in your future house.
Once you know exactly what you want, let others know too. Give your contact information to the listing agents at open houses and ask them to drop you a note if they get similar listings.
What’s worse than seeing great properties come and go before you can get out to view them? Seeing them placed under contract before you make an offer.
Before you walk into an open house, make sure your paperwork is up to date and your loan approval hasn’t expired so you’re in position to make an offer that day. If you haven’t already gotten a loan approval, it’s time to start the loan approval process, stat.
3. Ignoring the market entirely
It’s nearly impossible to time the market and make your real estate decisions based on current trends. A better plan is to make your buying decisions based on what’s currently happening in your family, your career, and your life (and what you envision will happen in the next five to 10 years). That said, when it comes time to execute your decision to buy, it’s foolhardy not to pay attention to the market.
You need to be able to play both sides and avoid the panic-inducing fluctuations of the market while staying informed. Ask your real estate agent to help you pay attention to neighborhood-specific information, such as which types of properties move quickly, how many days they generally stay on the market, whether multiple offers are a reality you will face, and how much over asking price homes like the one you want are selling for.
Then use this information to make strategic decisions, covering everything from which properties and areas you’ll focus on to how quickly you’ll need to get out to see listings to — most importantly — what price range you should focus your search on.
4. Financial fogginess
Don’t run the numbers in your head. Don’t ballpark your income, loan payments, and bills, stick your finger in the wind, and guess at how much you can spend on a home. Financially speaking, home buying is the big leagues, so you need to be sparkling, crystal clear on precisely what you can afford.
In a hot market, you may be faced with decisions about whether to increase your price range or your offer price on relatively short notice. If you need help, don’t hesitate to bring your tax adviser or financial planner into the home-budget discussion — especially if you’re a new homebuyer. They can help you understand tax breaks for new homeowners, which can free up some extra money for your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues or private mortgage insurance, if applicable.
Also, make sure you include line items for your savings, retirement investing, gifts, school tuition, travel, and recreation — the sort of things that lenders will not account for when they tell you what their guidelines say you can afford.
Hot markets mean multiple offers on the same home, which often result in a bidding war. And once you’ve had one too many homes pulled out from under you after a bidding war, it can be tempting to pay more than you budgeted for.
To avoid overpaying for a home just because it’s in a bidding war, be sure to go through comparable homes with your agent before you even look at the house.
Bonus: If your agent includes active and pending sales in their pull of the comparable data set, you may find out useful information such as whether other competitive properties have just hit the market, or that all of the competition is now under contract — things that might also inform your motivation levels or price strategy.
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OPEN HOUSE Sunday 11/8 1-4 PM
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How to price to sell and still make a profit
The asking price you set for your home significantly affects whether you will profit in the sale, how much you will profit and how long your home will sit on the market. Your real estate agent's knowledge of the overall market and what's selling - or not selling - will be invaluable in helping you determine the price. The objective is to find a price that the market will bear but won't leave money on the table.
Here are some points to consider: Time. Time is not on your side when it comes to real estate. Although many factors influence the outcome, perhaps time is the biggest determinant in whether or not you see a profit and how much you profit. Studies show that the longer a house stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell for the original asking price. Therefore, if your goal is to make money, think about a price that will encourage buyer activity (read: fair market value).
Value vs. Cost. Pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion requires some objectivity. It's important that you not confuse value with cost - in other words, how much you value your home versus what buyers are willing to pay for it. Don't place too much emphasis on home improvements when calculating your price, because buyers may not share your taste. For instance, not everyone wants hardwood floors or granite countertops.
Keep it simple. Because time is of the essence, make it easy for the buyers. Remain flexible on when your agent can schedule showings. Also, avoid putting contingencies on the sale. Though a desirable move-in date makes for a smoother transition between homes, it could cause you to lose the sale altogether.
Deciding how much house you can afford
Your lender decides what you can borrow but you decide what you can afford.
Lenders are careful, but they make qualification decisions based on averages and formulas. They won't understand the nuances of your lifestyle and spending patterns quite as well as you do. So, leave a little room for the unexpected - for all the new opportunities your home will give you to spend money, from furnishings, to landscaping, to repairs.
Historically, banks use a ratio called 28/36 to decide how much borrowers could borrow. An approved housing payment couldn't be more than 28 percent of the buyer's gross monthly income, and his or her total debt load, including car payments, student loans, and credit card payments, couldn't be more than 36 percent. (In Canada lenders apply similar formulas to determine how much a buyer can afford. The Gross Debt Service ratio, or GDS, is not to exceed 32 percent of the buyer's gross monthly income, and the Total Debt Service ratio, or TDS, is not to exceed 40 percent of the buyer's total debt load.) As home prices have risen, some lenders have responded by stretching these ratios to as high as 50 percent. No matter how expensive your market though, we urge you to think carefully before stretching your budget quite so much.
Deciding how much you can afford should involve some careful attention to how your financial profile will change in the upcoming years. In the long run, your own peace of mind and security will matter most.
Eight steps to buying your home
1. Decide to buy.
Although there are many good reasons for you to buy a home, wealth building ranks among the top of the list. We call home ownership the best “accidental investment” most people ever make. But, we believe when it is done right, home ownership becomes an “intentional investment” that lays the foundation for a life of financial security and personal choice. There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out.
Base your decision to buy on facts, not fears.
If you are paying rent, you very likely can afford to buy
There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. All you need to do in the short run is find a good buy and make sure you have the financial ability to hold it for the long run
The lack of a substantial down payment doesn't prevent you from making your first home purchase
A less-than-perfect credit score won't necessarily stop you from buying a home
The best way to get closer to buying your ultimate dream home is to buy your first home now
Buying a home doesn't have to be complicated - there are many professionals who will help you along the way
2. Hire your agent.
The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals-insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer's agents, seller's agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.
Seven main roles of your real estate agent
A Buyer's Real Estate Agent:
Educates you about your market.
Analyzes your wants and needs.
Guides you to homes that fit your criteria.
Coordinates the work of other needed professionals.
Negotiates on your behalf.
Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
Solves any problems that may arise.
Eight important questions to ask your agent
Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective. Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:
Why did you become a real estate agent?
Why should I work with you?
What do you do better than other real estate agents?
What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?
3. Secure financing.
While you may find the thought of home ownership thrilling, the thought of taking on a mortgage may be downright chilling. Many first-time buyers start out confused about the process or nervous about making such a large financial commitment.
From start to finish, you will follow a six-step, easy-to-understand process to securing the financing for your first home.
Six steps to Financing a Home
Choose a loan officer (or mortgage specialist).
Make a loan application and get preapproved.
Determine what you want to pay and select a loan option.
Submit to the lender an accepted purchase offer contract.
Get an appraisal and title commitment.
Obtain funding at closing.
4. Find your home.
You may think that shopping for homes starts with jumping in the car and driving all over town. And it's true that hopping in the car to go look is probably the most exciting part of the home-buying process. However, driving around is fun for only so long-if weeks go by without finding what you're looking for, the fun can fade pretty fast. That's why we say that looking for your home begins with carefully assessing your values, wants, and needs, both for the short and long terms.
Questions to ask yourself
What do I want my home to be close to?
How much space do I need and why?
Which is more critical: location or size?
Would I be interested in a fixer-upper?
How important is home value appreciation?
Is neighborhood stability and priority?
Would I be interested in a condo?
Would I be interested in new home construction?
What features and amenities do I want? Which do I really need?
5. Make an offer.
When searching for your dream home, you were just that-a dreamer. Now that you're writing an offer, you need to be a businessperson. You need to approach this process with a cool head and a realistic perspective of your market. The three basic components of an offer are price, terms, and contingencies (or “conditions” in Canada).
Price-the right price to offer must fairly reflect the true market value of the home you want to buy. Your agent's market research will guide this decision.
Terms-the other financial and timing factors that will be included in the offer.
Terms fall under six basic categories in a real estate offer:
Schedule-a schedule of events that has to happen before closing.
Conveyances-the items that stay with the house when the sellers leave.
Commission-the real estate commission or fee, for both the agent who works with the seller and the agents who works with the buyer.
Closing costs-it's standard for buyers to pay their closing costs, but if you want to roll the costs into the loan, you need to write that into the contract.
Home warranty-this covers repairs or replacement of appliances and major systems. You may ask the seller to pay for this.
Earnest money-this protects the sellers from the possibility of your unexpectedly pulling of the deal and makes a statement about the seriousness of your offer.
6. Perform due diligence.
Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you can't return it if something breaks or doesn't quite work like it's supposed to. That's why home owner's insurance and property inspections are so important.
A home owner's insurance policy protects you in two ways:
Against loss or damage to the property itself
liability in case someone sustains an injury while on your property
The property inspection should expose the secret issues a home might hide so you know exactly what you're getting into before you sign your closing papers.
Your major concern is structural damage.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Things that are easily fixed can be overlooked.
If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist. If the worst-case scenario turns out to be true, you might want to walk away from the purchase.
The final stage of the home buying process is the lender's confirmation of the home's value and legal statue, and your continued credit-worthiness. This entails a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final check of your credit and finance. Your agent will keep you posted on how each if progressing, but your work is pretty much done.
You just have a few preclosing responsibilities:
Stay in control of your finances.
Return all phone calls and paperwork promptly.
Communicate with your agent at least once a week.
Several days before closing, confirm with your agent that all your documentation is in place and in order.
Obtain certified funds for closing.
Conduct a final walk-through.
On closing day, with the guidance of a settlement agent and your agent, you'll sign documents that do the following:
Finalize your mortgage.
Pay the seller.
Pay your closing costs.
Transfer the title from the seller to you.
Make arrangements to legally record the transaction as a public record.
As long as you have clear expectations and follow directions, closing should be a momentous conclusion to your home-searching process and commencement of your home-owning experience.
8. Protect your investment.
Throughout the course of your home-buying experience, you've probably spent a lot of time with your real estate agent and you've gotten to know each other fairly well. There's no reason to throw all that trust and rapport out the window just because the deal has closed. In fact, your agent wants you to keep in touch.
Even after you close on your house, you agent can still help you:
Handle your first tax return as a home owner.
Find contractors to help with home maintenance or remodeling.
Help your friends find homes.
Keep track of your home's current market value.
Attention to you home's maintenance needs is essential to protecting the long-term value of your investment.
Home maintenance falls into two categories:
Keeping it clean: Perform routine maintenance on your home's systems, depending on their age and style.
Keeping an eye on it: Watch for signs of leaks, damage, and wear. Fixing small problems early can save you big money later.
A career REALTOR® who began working with buyers and sellers, Renters and Landlords, as well as investors, back in 2006. I have helped scores of people finding just the right property in communities and neighborhoods all over VA and MD.
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