Potomac Yard | Del Ray | Old Town Alexandria Real Estate News

Feb. 2, 2011

Five Things Alexandria VA Homebuyers Should Do Before Buying A Home This Spring

Five Things Alexandria VA Homebuyers Should Do Before Buying A Home This Spring

Over the past two weeks, I have been actively working with buyers who have the goal of moving in to their new home by springtime.  We've been facing some fierce competition, especially in the first-time buyer price range of $450,000 and under here in Alexandria.

If you're ready to peak out from beneath the snow and enter the real estate market, here are the top 5 things you must do before the weather, and the market, heats up even more:

  1. Get started with your mortgage approval.  Even though you may not be ready to move in until March or April, you should start the mortgage approval process as soon as possible.  It's free of charge, and it does not obligate you to a purchase.  You also may not be aware of items that may be on your credit report that are bringing your credit score down.  Your lender will be able to tell you if you can increase your score by paying off a debt or two, or if there is an error that needs to be removed.  Remember, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. (See also, 10 Questions To Ask Your Lender)
  2. Talk to a knowledgeable buyer agent about what you're looking for (just hit reply).  One of the best things about being a professional Realtor is the networking opportunities that I have.  Being part of the #1 real estate brokerage in Alexandria, we share information about our upcoming listings.  So it's possible that we already have a seller match for you. (See also, 5 Reasons To Sign A Buyer Agency Agreement)
  3. Narrow down neighborhoods.  If you got stuck in last week's traffic horror, you probably had ideas of living a little bit closer to work.  Once you narrow down where you want to live, finding a home will be easier because you're not 'all over the place'.  Remember, eliminating is just as important as actually selecting a home. (See also, 5 Tips For Finding The Right Neighborhood)
  4. Determine your monthly budget. If you're looking at condos, don't forget to factor in your monthly condo fees once your lender has approved you for a loan.  Garden-styled (1-4 floors) condos will have the lowest fees, but they usually do not include all of the utilities.  High-rise (9+ floors) condos will have the highest fees, typically running over $500 per month, but will usually include all utilities.  Townhomes and single-family homes that are in a homeowner association will have either monthly or quarterly fees.  Determine the maximum amount that you're comfortable with.
  5. Figure out your lifestyle budget.  If you're transitioning from renter to homeowner, your ownership costs will likely be higher than your renting costs.  Figure out if you have to make any lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your new home.  For example, do you have to give up your gym membership?  Would you have to reduce the frequency that you dine out or travel? 

There will undoubtedly be some give and take.  You could live closer in, and save on gas by using metro, or you could live further out and also save on gas by taking advantage of the slug-lines or VRE.

If you have questions about buying a new home this spring, please give me a call today at 703-623-8759 or email me.

Here are some links to properties for sale right now:


Posted in Buyers
Jan. 23, 2011

Another Happy Del Ray Homeseller | Just Sold In Auburn Village - 316 Ashby Street

Another Happy Del Ray Homeseller! |
Just Sold In Auburn Village - 316 Ashby Street

Auburn Village Condos In Del Ray

Alexandria VA Real Estate - Del Ray homebuyers have to continue their search for a condo for sale.  Del Ray listing agent Tamara Inzunza has just sold another home.

316 Ashby Street Unit C has just sold for $185,000.  This home received multiple offers in the current buyers market.  The property was on the market for less than a week before receiving an offer.

If you are thinking about selling your Auburn Village condo, contact me for free market analysis.  If you are considering buying a home in Del Ray, use the links on this blog site to help you with your search. 

Helpful Links - Auburn Village Photo Tour

Auburn Village Condos For Sale

Del Ray Condos For Sale

Old Town Alexandria Condos For Sale

 Alexandria VA Homes For Sale

Posted in Buyers, Condos
Jan. 17, 2011

For Alexandria VA Home Sellers - Out of The Mouths of Buyers

For Alexandria VA Home Sellers - Out of The Mouths of Buyers
Top Five Things That Will Turn A Buyer Away

We're moving along here in January, and one of my favorite things to do is to work with buyers who are in the early stages of their home search, hoping to find a new place to call home by the Springtime.

If you currently own a home and are preparing for the spring market, I'd like to give you an interesting perspective. Especially if you're thinking about not putting 110% of your efforts into tuning in to what today's buyer is thinking.

When there's a large inventory of Alexandria VA homes for sale, buyers have more to choose from.  And sellers who have the 'just make me an offer' mentality could easily miss out on buyers who say, "Thanks...but No Thanks"...then "Next". As I take the time to show homes along the I-95 corridor from Alexandria to Woodbridge, what I've noticed is that the prices are different, but the buyer feedback is consistent.

Straight out of the mouths of buyers, here are the top five things that will turn a buyer away and cause you to miss out on an offer:

  1. Cleanliness- Times are tough, and even if you can afford to have Molly Maids come in and make your home sparkle, get down and clean like you've never cleaned before. Take the time to mop wood floors to make them shine. Vacuum the carpets to leave the lines, that shows effort. And above all else, the kitchens and bathrooms must be spotless.
  2. Cigarette smoke - This is hardest for non-smokers. If you don't smoke, the smell of cigarettes is like a smack in the face once I open the door. Not only is it a turn off, but the showing time will likely be less than one minute. A buyer will not likely take the time to see your whole house if cigarette smoke greets them at the door.
  3. Wallpaper - I've removed wallpaper myself, and it only took a little over an hour. I saw a tip on HGTV a while ago where a simple mix of water and liquid fabric softener will make it easier to remove. But buyers instantly see the labor of taking their time to remove the wall paper, and the expense of painting before they can enjoy living in your home. So 'icks-nay' on the wallpaper.
  4. Large dogs are scary - Even if you've had 'Scooby' since he was the cutest puppy in the litter, a large dog can easily intimidate and distract a buyer. If you have a dog, please make arrangements for him/her when your home is on the market.
  5. Obvious repairs make buyers worried - While I'm retrieving the key from the lockbox, the buyer is eyeing the exterior. And usually rotted wood around the trim of the front door and the front windows are very noticeable. Buyers get the feeling that the seller didn't take care of the home, and they immediately form an opinion before walking through the door.

Whenever I go on a listing appointment to talk to a perspective seller, I make a point of reviewing these items. As a buyer agent, this feedback is important because it helps me to narrow down homes for my buyers based on their likes and dislikes. The one question that's important for every buyer to answer when looking at homes, "Can you see yourself living here?"

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Jan. 12, 2011

Client Testimonial From Jim and Linda

Client Testimonial From Jim and Linda

Posted in Testimonials, Videos
Jan. 11, 2011

VA Compromise Sale Program Offers Cash To Distressed Military Homeowners

VA Compromise Sale Program Offers Cash To Distressed Military Homeowners 
$1500 Paid At Closing

Alexandria VA Short Sales - The Alexandria VA real estate market has made it tough for some military homeowners who are upside down on their mortgage to sell their home. The Department of Veteran Affairs has recently authorized a cash incentive of $1500 to homeowners who successfully complete a VA Compromise Sale. 

What is a VA Compromise Sale?  A VA Compromise sale is when the sale of your home is not enough to cover your VA mortgage balance.  As the borrower, you can request a claim from the VA to pay the short amount that will cover what is owed on the mortgage.  The mortgage lienholder is paid in full and the property is sold to the new purchaser with the lien fully released.

The $1500 incentive is shown on the HUD-1 settlement statement at closing, so the credit to the seller is not paid prior to the sale.  Much like the federal government's HAFA short sale program where distressed homeowners can receive up to $3000, the VA Compromise Sale has guidelines:

  • The property must be sold for fair market value.
  • The closing costs must be reasonable and customary.
  • The compromise sale must be less costly for the Government than foreclosure.
  • There must be a financial hardship on the part of the seller.
  • On loans that originated on or before December 31, 1989, the seller must be willing to sign a
    promissory note.
  • There must be no second liens or other liens (unless the amount is insignificant). In
    situations whereby there are second liens or other liens, the seller can request that the
    lienholder consider releasing the lien and converting the loan to a personal loan.
  • The seller must first obtain a sales contract in order to be considered for the program.
  • To protect the seller’s interest, the seller should make the sales contract contingent and/or
    subject to the approval of a VA compromise sale
  • Once it is determined that a homeowner may qualify for VA compromise sale, the realtor or the
    homeowner should contact the homeowner’s lender and/or the VA.

Commonly asked questions from military homeowners considering a VA Compromise Sale:

  1. How do I find out the market value of my home? Part of our service including providing a comparative market analysis, which is a report of the sales activity in your neighborhood.  This will show what homes have sold for, and how long they stayed on the market.  With a VA Compromise Sale, a VA appraisal is ordered by the mortgage lender.  The VA will likely not approve a sale that is less than the VA appraised value.
  2. What if I do have a second lien?  Approval of a second lien will be on a case-by-case basis by the VA.  If there are large additional liens on the property, we will help you negotiate an arrangement with the lienholder so that the property can still be sold.  This may include negotiating a short payoff, or a promissory note.
  3. What if I owe past due condo fees or HOA fees?  Contact the HOA or condo association immediately to find out the total amount due, and start making arrangements to bring your account current. The VA will likely not pay any money towards delinquent condo or HOA fees.  Associations have the authority to place a lien on your property and may also start the foreclosure process.
  4. If I sell my home with a VA Compromise Sale, can I use my VA loan again?  Yes, but only after you have paid back your entitlement.

 If you are a military homeowner and have received your PCS orders to leave the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, or Quantico, please call me at 703-623-8759 to see if you are eligible for the benefits that may help you if you need to sell your home.

Contact A Short Sale Specialist Today

Jan. 4, 2011

Berkshire East Townhome Just Sold In Alexandria VA - Homes For Sale Near Huntington Metro

Berkshire East Townhome Just Sold In Alexandria VA - Homes For Sale Near Huntington Metro
5948 Berkshire C ourt, Alexandria, VA 22303

5948 Berkshire Court

If you blink you just might miss the tucked away Alexandria VA community of Berkshire (East).  This small enclave of homes is walking distance to the Huntington metro, and two traffic lights to the I-495 Beltway, and Old Town Alexandria.

The home at 5948 Berkshire Court was completely move-in ready.  It offered three bedrooms, two full baths, one half bath, and a walkout level basement with a fenced backyard.  The dream kitchen included granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and new custom cabinets.

Another great feature was the bright wood flooring in the separate living room and dining room.  Upstairs, the master bathroom was renovated and also had two spacious closets.

The lower level rec room has a wood-burning fireplace, new sliding glass door, and new carpet which made for the perfect relaxing space.  These new buyers were definitely excited to find this rare gem.  Homes in Berkshire Townhomes don't often come on the market.  And if you're looking at Alexandria VA real estate and homes for sale, make sure you don't miss out on this quiet community.

It's A Good Time To Buy

Posted in Buyers, Just Sold
Dec. 10, 2010

Another Harbor Terrace Condo Just Sold In Old Town Alexandria

Another Harbor Terrace Condo Just Sold In Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria buyer agent Tamara Inzunza has just sold another condo!  This upper left loft unit at 517 Bashford Terrace has sold for $241,000. Once again, Alexandria condos that are attractively priced continue to be a smart move for second-home buyers.

The current Alexandria real estate market offers great opportunities for current homeowners who are looking to take advantage of the rock bottom interest rates for investment properties or local second homes.  Garden styled condos like those in Harbor Terrace are ideal because of the lower price, lower condo fees, and close proximity to Washington DC and Reagan National Airport.

If you're thinking about making Old Town Alexandria your second home, take a look at the affordable condos for sale in Harbor Terrace and surrounding communities.

Tamara Inzunza is a buyer agent in Old Town Alexandria, and can help you if you are interested in condos for sale in the Old Town neighborhoods Harbor Terrace, Canal Place, Riverton, Old Town Crescent and Old Town Greens.


See also: Harbor Terrace Photo Tour

See also: Old Town Alexandria VA Video Tour

Thinking about selling your Harbor Terrace condo? Get a complimentary market analysis and find out what your Harbor Terrace condo is worth.

Posted in Buyers, Condos, Just Sold
Dec. 7, 2010

Lorton VA Listing Agent Receives Thanks From Happy Homeowner

Lorton VA Listing Agent Receives Thanks From Happy Homeowner

As a listing agent I know all to well that you're busy.  You don't want to deal with theinconvenienceof scheduling appointments to have your home shown.  You don't want theadded stressof wondering if the buyer can qualify to buy your house.  Youdon't have the timeto market your home to buyers.I get that.  And quite honestly, that's why many homeowners call me to get their home sold.

I spend a lot of timestaying current on market trends,analyzing real estate market statistics, andfinding out where buyers arelooking for homes.  Usually, when a homeownercontacts me, they've already visited bywebsite, looked athow I market homes online, or they were referred to me from apast client.I'm happy to share this testimonial from another happy client:When you're ready to get your home soldwithout the added stress, inconveniences, and because you simply don't have the time,email me or call 703-623-8759.

       To see a current list of homes for sale in Laurel Crest and surrounding neighborhoods in Lorton, you don't have to leave this page!  Here's the current list below:

Dec. 5, 2010

Alexandria VA Short Sales - Listing Agent Earnes LDPD To Specialize In Luxury Home Sales

Alexandria VA Short Sales - Listing Agent Earnes LDPD To Specialize In Luxury Home Sales


Dec. 1, 2010

Alexandria VA Listing Agent Uses QR Code Technology To Market Homes For Sale

Alexandria VA Listing Agent Uses QR Code Technology To Market Homes For Sale

Well, you don't have to stare it. You won't see a 3-dimensional object come floating to the surface. But if you have a smartphone, such as an iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Droid, you may already know what to do.

This fuzzy looking barcode is called a QR code, which is short for Quick Response code. A consumer can scan this image with a QR reader app on their smartphone, and once the image is captured, the phone's web application will automatically open and take them to the individual property website for the listed home.

This is an important feature that has spread in popularity here in the United States.  Overseas, QR codes are extrememly common, and once you become familiar with this fuzzy barcode, you'll start to notice them everywhere from billboards to print materials.

So how does this benefit a homeowner who is trying to sell their Alexandria VA home? Well, as an Alexandria VA listing agent, part of my job is to stay informed on the ways that consumers are searching for homes. If your home is constantly being seen where buyers are looking, then that will increase your chances of getting your home sold!


Posted in Buyers, News, Sellers