Archive for the 'Buying' Category
Open Houses are a dream come true for prospective buyers. You can look at different style homes in different neighborhoods, dream about renovations and generally broaden your idea about the kind of home you really want.
- Don’t waste time on a house you know you don’t want. If you walk in the door and know it’s not for you, leave. Agents have seen it all, they won’t be offended.
- Don’t go crazy over a house, even if you think it’s exactly what you want. Think with your head, not your heart.
- Don’t criticize. Keep negative comments to yourself.
- Don’t reveal your buying power – no one, except your agent, needs to know what you can afford until you write a contract.
- Do ask why the homeowner is moving. What you really want to know here is the owner’s motivation for selling.
- Do ask how long it has been on the market. (This is also information your agent can provide ahead of time.)
- Do bring a notebook and camera with you. Make notes about what you like and take pictures so you can compare and contrast later. This is especially helpful if you are an out of town buyer.
And my best piece of advice? Work with a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent will protect YOUR interest – not the owners.
Want to know more about why a buyer’s agent is important and what I can do for you?
Call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk houses.
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Rent or Buy? Which is right for you? A new index out this week from Trulia compares several major cities on the rent to buy issue. The index is derived by taking the median list price on for sale properties and dividing it by the annual median rent for apartments.
The price-to-rent ratio for the District of Columbia (not including Northern Virginia*) is 13. Las Vegas, one of the worst for sale markets in the country came in with a ratio of 6 and New York City hit a ratio of 39 making renting a clear winner.
***While the index focused strictly on the District of Columbia we know Northern Virginia would reflect the same or similar ratios.
At first glance it looks like buying may be a no brainer but there are multiple factors to take into consideration including pocket book and life style.
- Do you plan to stay in the area for work or school for at least five (preferably 10) years?
- Is there a family in your future?
- Do you have a down payment?
- Can you qualify for a loan?
- Are you prepared for routine maintenance and emergency repairs? (No more calling the landlord when something breaks!)
On the flip side, renting in this area is challenging. According to the Washington Post, “. . . the Washington-area market has the lowest vacancy rate of any major metro area in the U.S. except New York City.”
This means landlords can charge higher rents, ask for large security deposits and even specify that rent be paid through automatic deposit. And they do. The issue is further compounded by the number of federal employees, contractors and political appointees who cycle in and out on a regular two to three year schedule.
Buying IS a big step but it can have long term rewards. If you are even considering buying rather than renting, call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s sit down and talk about your options.
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My go to mortgage guy, Rob Clark, recently forward an article to me that is a good look at what mortgage brokers are facing on a daily basis. It is also must reading for any potential buyer.
In what is absolutely fallout from the abysmal headlines of the past two years, banks are now reviewing every mortgage application as if it were life or death. Bottom line – good credit does NOT guarantee an easy mortgage approval.
On one hand, we applaud the industry for tightening formerly sloppy practices but we wonder if this extreme scrutiny will thwart the progress we have begun to see in home sales. With interest rates at an all time low buyers should be able to take advantage instead of taking a back seat.
Talk to a mortgage broker or banker and get a list of everything you are going to need: pay stubs, tax returns going back at least five years, credit reports and written explanations of any questionable issues; outstanding loans (cars, student loans, credit cards, etc.), etc., etc.
Be prepared to answer the same questions more than once, to sign documents that have already been signed, to maybe even go back ten years on your tax returns. It’s a whole new world out there.
For the full article, click here.
If you have more questions about the buying process or about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, give me a call at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk it through.
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I would love to take credit for the thought provoking “If You Don’t Buy a House Now, You’re Stupid or Broke” but that claim to fame goes to Business Week writer Marc Roth.
Roth makes several unassailable points in his weekly column, including this:
“Every quarter-point change in interest rates is equivalent to approximately $6,000 for every $100,000 borrowed over the course of a 30-year fixed. While different in each region, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that the average person is putting $40,000 down and borrowing $200,000 to pay the price of a typical home nationwide.
Thus, over the course of the life of the loan, each quarter-point move up in interest rates will cost that buyer $12,000 . . . .
(December 09 is on the far right. The blue line represents the prime rate, orange is the 30 yr. fixed rate mortgage.)
What I’m trying to impress upon everyone is that if you are planning on being a homeowner now and/or in the foreseeable future, or if you are looking to move your family into a bigger home, then pay more attention to the interest rates than the price of the home.
If you have a steady job, good credit, and the down payment, then you really are being offered the gift of a lifetime.”
Read the entire article here and then, being neither stupid or broke, call me and let’s buy a house now.
Michael . . . at 703.927.4554
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You have decided to stop renting and you want to buy a home of your very own. It’s scary, it’s a big purchase and you’re going to need help from a professional Realtor.
Not only are you going to need a professional, you are going to want someone you can talk to, someone you can trust, and someone who makes you feel comfortable about the process. So, how do you go about choosing your Realtor?
1) Ask friends and family for recommendations but don’t be afraid to do your own research too.
2) Choose a local Realtor. He or she will know the area better than an “outsider” and will have access to a list of vendors (plumbers, electricians, etc. that might be useful to you once you find your property. Any money that you might save by using Great Uncle Harry or Third Cousin Susie from “back home” will be lost in their lack of knowledge about the local market – right down to specific neighborhoods.
3) Ask for references – he or she should be willing to give you the names of previous clients.
4) Don’t be fooled by a Realtor who tells you they have “special” access to information. All Realtors’ have access to the same data base – it’s how they use it that counts.
5) Don’t be “wowed” by someone who quotes you massive statistics about the sales they have made. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. It’s what they will do for you that counts, not what they did for someone else.
6) Don’t be “wowed” by someone who shows off all the latest technology or put off by someone who is showing a bit of gray. It’s not a case of technology vs. experience – it’s a combination of both.
7) Look for someone who is generous with resources and time.
8) Finally, find someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who is willing to walk you through the process step by step. Someone who is willing to answer any and all questions. Someone who can anticipate and help solve any problems. Someone who is going to help you find the house that you want rather than just making the sale.
Buying a house should be fun and exciting. Choosing your Realtor is just the first step.
Want to know more? Give me a call at 703.927.4554.
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