Northern Virginia Real Estate Blog

Mold is a Four-Letter Word… Things for the mold sensitive home buyer to consider

Recent studies suggest that 1 of out every 5 people have mold sensitivities or intolerances. This is a huge percentage of potential homeowners and home buyers.

Mold testing when buying real estate

Here are some recommendations for families facing these challenges to consider when buying a home.

  • Age of the Home - The older the home, the more likely the home has experienced water damage from leaking plumbing, failed roofs, and groundwater intrusion.
  • Does the Home have a Basement or Crawlspace? - Moisture and groundwater/humidity love basements. Avoiding homes with a basement or crawlspace may be best for mold sensitive home buyers. Keeping everything above ground will reduce the chance for groundwater intrusion.
  • ...

Rent vs. Buy: The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home in Northern Virginia

Opportunity Cost is defined as the loss of potential gain when one alternative, or path, is chosen over another. As a Trusted Real Estate Advisor with deep roots in finance and economics, the term opportunity cost really sums up the question many would be buyers face. Should I rent a home, or should I buy a home?

Over time, I’ve seen home prices rise an average of 4% per year. As well as rental prices rising on an average 4% per year. So, let’s consider a typical first time home buyer in Northern Virginia looking to purchase a home at $350,000 versus renting a home of $2,000 per month. At a quick glance, purchasing at $350,000 with very little or no money down will cost (estimated April 2019) $2,100/month. Assuming no tax benefits for purchasing, the gap in payment initially is small, $100/month; however, over time the benefits of home ownership, in my opinion, outweighs the gap.  The missed opportunity cost is huge for those who continue to rent.

Here’s...

The Amazon Effect on Real Estate in the Fairlington Community in Arlington, VA

Amazon Dot

Fairlington is one of my personal favorite communities in Arlington, Virginia, the soon to be new home to one of Amazon’s Headquarters. This community stands to see some buzz over the promised increase in the area’s employment due to Amazon’s relocation to the area.  Fairlington is a condominium community with family friendly amenities and lovely tree lined streets. Many of the units have been magnificently upgraded and renovated to appeal to the open concept loving crowd. This well-established community...

Foreclosures and Bank Owned Properties in Northern VA: A good deal?

Can the Right Foreclosure Property be a GREAT deal?

YES. Most times people who are looking for foreclosures or bank owned properties are simply looking for great deals. This means a home purchase where they can get a little equity right off the bat by purchasing RIGHT. 

If your goal is to build equity quickly, Foreclosures can be one source. Bank owned properties can be another. Fixer-upper homes that are NOT in the foreclosure properties are a third source. And beleive it or not there are some GREAT deals to be found for the savvy investor simply by looking for homes in the MLS.

The Source does not matter as much as the amount of motivation.

What type of home (foreclosure, bank-owned, or etc.) is not NEAR as important as how much motivation the owner has to sell. For example, a bank that is holding a property has DIFFERENT motivations for either selling it or holding it than you might think.  So while sometimes there are good deals to be had, at other times they...

5 Things to Do: How to Sell your Home this Spring

How to Sell Your Home in Northern VA this spring

Home Selling Advice...Tip #1

Mindset!  I recommend to my Sellers that they disassociate themselves with their homes.  It is easier said than done.  You must tell yourself that "this is no longer "my" home, this is a house that I need to sell."  Look forward to your future and next location, don't look back.  Remind yourself that this is a business transaction based upon the current market.  While it is challenging to detach yourself from the home personally, this is a key and necessary step in the process.  

De-Personalize Your Home!  Tip #2

It is time to take down photos of your children, grand-kids, weddings, and promotions.  We are not selling you, we are selling your home!  Remove religious items, if you can.  I know this can be sensitive; however, in our marketplace we have a large diversity...

Condos vs Homes: Northern Virginia has a lot of choices

If you are relocating to Virginia and exploring home purchases, the choices can often feel overwhelming. 

Where is the best location? How will this home provide for your lifestyle? What is the process of buying a home like in Virginia? And then there is another choice: Condos vs Single Family Homes.

One of the great things about the Northern Virginia market is that we have a LOT of choices. It also can be one of the most difficult! I can help you walk step by step through the decision making process.

First we start with your location, and then we look at your lifestyle, and finally we look at what is available in your price range. Once I have helped you get that far, then we can look at what floor plans, amenities and other options appeal to you and fit with your situation. 

Getting the MOST for your money in buying a home or condominium is often not as much about "getting the most" as it is about "buying right" and making the right decision for you at this stage of...

How's the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market?

How's the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market for 2018?

While this is one of the most common questions that I get asked, it is one of the most difficult to answer without further information. So that is what I am going to do here: Ask for some further information.

Where in Northern Virginia?

Actually where matters a lot. While there are some common factors that affect Northern Virginia real estate prices a lot (interest rates, the overall economy, the employment market, etc), the truth is that local specific development (rail lines, new sudivisions, new condo developments, school district changes  will affect the real estate market MUCH more in most cases than other economic factors.

So let's start with WHERE and then I can help you in a much more specific way. 

What are you doing? Buying or selling? What is your time frame?

This also affects the real estate market greatly. Real Estate markets tend...

Home Price Appreciation. It really does vary by location.

Home Price Trends Vary

When you start to consider selling your home, one of the first things that is on your mind is "How much is my home worth?" and that is really a direct way of getting at "How much am I going to net from the sale of my home?" or "How much has my home appreciated.

If the last time you sold a home, you lived in a place like Florida or California, which have really volatile markets compared to other states, you could be expecting a chart like this one (courtesy of Gregg Camp, a REALTOR in Santa Cruz).  On that chart you can see huge gains (and losses). A similar chart in the midwest might look very flat with smaller gains and very small losses by comparison. 

So how does the chart look for Northern Virginia? To be honest, I do not typically post those kind of charts for a reason. Lumping all condos and all home prices together takes...

What does $500,000 buy in your neighborhood?

Have you ever wondered what a middle of the market home here would be worth in other areas?

I thought it would be fun to take a look.  So let's start in our own back yard. Currently in Bristow, the median price of a home is in the upper 400's. (Here is a link to all of the Bristow VA homes currently on the market.) So let's use that as a frame of reference and go shopping in some other areas. 

Most times we think that our area is more expensive than others, but the truth is that there are a lot of areas both above our prices and below.

Memphis Tennessee

In the suburbs of Memphis TN lies Germantown. It is an upscale neighborhood that is well known by Memphis residents and "the" place to live. Check out what the same $500,000 get's you there. More square...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Potential homebuyers are always cautioned to be aware of mortgage lending standards and the difficulty they might face when trying to obtain a mortgage. Credit availability is expanding, making it easier to get a mortgage now than it was a year ago. The market is still tight however, and homebuyers should be prepared to shop around until they find a lender who is offering something that will meet the needs of their family.

Mortgage lending companies have high standards so it is important to make sure you and anyone else who will be included on the mortgage have their credit in check. The mortgage market is strict because lenders do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to repurchase loans that are not paid on. They also do not want to end up in a litigation...