Well, the first half of 2009 is officially over so you have six months left to mark off the things on your resolution list.  If Alexandria VA real estate is still at the top, then here are some pointers for buyers and sellers that will help you finish strongly and not get left behind in 2009.

For Sellers: I'm reintroducing my WISE strategy.  One of the advantages of working with buyers as an Alexandria VA buyer's agent is that I hear unfiltered feedback from every single listing that I show. On home inspections, I see first hand what buyers feel are most important, and on the final walk-through, I am able to witness the excitement of a new buyer about to embark on the final stage of homeownership.

As a top Alexandria VA listing agent, at first contact, I must not only inform sellers of neighborhood sales and current market statistics, but also convey buyers expectations so that they are able to capitalize on this information and reduce their days on market.  My WISE strategy includes:

  • A home Warranty: providing a home warranty gives the buyer added peace of mind that if necessary repairs come up after closing, they can keep their expenses down by only paying for the deductible, which is usually less than $150.  When listing a home with a home warranty, the seller is able to take advantage of the coverage, and pay for the warranty cost (usually less than $450) at closing.
  • A prelisting Inspection: no seller wants to be caught off guard after securing a buyer, with costly repairs.  Having a pre-listing inspection enables you to be an informed seller, and gives you the opportunity to convey the home in better condition, which increases your chances of multiple offers, not just one.
  • Home Staging: I highly recommend making the home showroom ready for the buyers eye.  Buyers need to see the full functionality of a home and how the spaces can be used.  If buyers can't envision their furniture in your home, then they will think that it's not a good fit.  Staging shows off the space that your home has to offer and also reduces days on the market.
  • Evaluated: Recent strict appraisal standards have caused many homes to appraise low.  A low appraisal can break a deal for many sellers, especially if closing costs have already been negotiated. Pricing is the most important factor in selling a home.  As a Realtor, I can provide a market analysis to give you a recommend price range.  Sellers may also hire an independent appraiser for an exact figure, and I can provide price opinions from other colleagues by hosting a broker's open.

For Buyers: With all of the emails, phone calls, text messages, and Facebook requests for information about my listings, the most common mistake that I still see today's buyers make is not being preapproved prior to looking at homes.  Lending guidelines have changed, appraisal guidelines have changed, buyers can't rely on the internet for a qquick and instant loan approval anymore.

The loan approval is not a commitment to buy a home.  The loan approval is necessary, and beneficial because it includes the following:

  • tells you your credit score allows you to see if there are any discrepancies in your credit report,
  • tells you what loan programs you qualify for,
  • tells you what your estimated closing costs will be,
  • tells you your estimated monthly payment for a given price range

I've witnessed many buyers do themselves a huge disservice because they find a home they like, and are not approved. 

For the last half of 2009, both buyers and sellers can be WISE when it comes to Alexandria VA real estate.