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

Jan. 17, 2010

Virginia First-Time Buyer Programs | Does Your Buyer Agent Know About Them?

Virginia First-Time Buyer Programs | Does Your Buyer Agent Know About Them?
Turning A 'No' Into A 'YES'

The Key To First-Time Buyer Programs

It happened once again!  I was able to help a first-time homebuyer become more knowledgeable about the opportunities that are avaialable with the Virginia First-Time Buyer Programs that are offered.

I received an inquiry from a buyer who was interested in my Arlington VA condo for sale at 4600 Four Mile Run Drive - Unit 505 in The Carlton.  Just a day too late, as my listing had already gone under contract, proceeded to qualify the buyer by asking the most important question when buying a home, "Have you been pre-approved by a local mortgage company?"

There was a short pause, then she responded that she had spoken to one of the big banks, and was told that she couldn't qualify for a home.  Being a first-time home buyer, she was interested in taking advantage of the $8000 tax credit.  I informed her about the Virginia First-Time Buyer Programs that are offered through the VHDA, and introduced her to my lender partner, Patrick Cunningham of Home Savings and Trust Mortgage (GO DUKES!), who specializes in VHDA loans.  Patrick was able to offer her a mortgage pre-approval with one of the VHDA mortgage loans and now she's actively looking for a new place to call home!

If you're a Virginia First-Time Homebuyer and would like to know about the different programs that are available, consider working with an Alexandria VA buyer agent who is familiar with the loans that may be avaialable to you.

See Also: Video - Biggest Buyer Blunder, The Importance of Mortgage Approval

* - VHDA Homebuyer Tax Credit Plus Program (Extended) - use your $8000 tax credit at closing!

* - Other VHDA loans for Virginia First-Time Homebuyers (including zero down loans)

Contact Tamara Inzunza Buyer Agent

Jan. 13, 2010

Manchester Lakes Real Estate Community Video Tour

Jan. 10, 2010

Del Ray Alexandria VA Market Stats And Real Estate Update For December 2009 | Lots Of Detached Home Inventory

Del Ray Alexandria VA (22301 and 22305) Market Stats And Real Estate Update For December 2009 |
Lots Of Detached Home Inventory

Del Ray Market Statistics

What's the real estate market like in Del Ray right now?  According to the numbers, the townhome sales are pretty stable, but if I'm a condo howmowner or a detached homeowner, I'm probably biting my nails.  With the extended homebuyer tax credit, you'd probably expect more activity with the Del Ray condos for sale, but based on MRIS data, no condos have gone under contract in the past 30 days (contract date of 12/09/2009 or later).

And with 10 townhomes going under contract, it makes you wonder where the Del Ray townhome sellers are going?  Are they relocating out of the area (Northern Virginia), or just out of the zip code?  Ten townhomes went under contract, all priced below $600,000, but if you look at the detached activity, it's reasonable to guess that these homeowners didn't buy up and stay in Del Ray.  Sixteen detached homes for sale in Del Ray and they're all either under $900,000 or over $1Million in asking price.

If the townhome sellers are moving up and staying in the area, perhaps they are moving out to the Greater Mount Vernon area, in the Fairfax County Alexandria zipcodes of 22306, 22307, 22308, and 22309 for a detached home with more of a suburban lifestyle.

Sell Your Del Ray Home

Buy A Del Ray Home

Jan. 10, 2010

Midtown At Alexandria Station Condos | Alexandria VA CDPE Listing Agent Helps Another Homeowner Avoid Foreclosure With A Short Sale

Midtown At Alexandria Station Condos |
Alexandria VA CDPE Listing Agent Helps Another Homeowner Avoid Foreclosure With A Short Sale

Midtown Alexandria Station Condos Across From Huntington Metro

Midtown Alexandria Station Condos Across From Huntington Metro

 Just Sold - 2451 Midtown Avenue, Unit 1515

Still having that 'new home smell', the contemporary condos for sale at Midtown at Alexandria Station appeal to a lot of Alexandria VA buyers who are looking at condos close to metro.  Shortly after purchasing a unit here, this homeowner experienced a financial hardship. 

With an FHA loan, the homeowner applied with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and was accepted into FHA's Preforeclosure Sales Program and also received a monetary incentive.  The time period for the short sale approval was 35 days.

This home had also been previously listed with another broker and did not sell.  If you are facing a financial hardship and would like to see if you qualify to sell your Alexandria VA home as a short sale, please be sure to visit my website for a confidential analysis.  Experience counts, and as a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a Certified Default Resolution Specialist, I have the training and sale experience to help.  Short sales are not like traditional sales, so be sure to consult with an Alexandria VA listing agent who is qualified to help.

If you currently have an FHA mortgage and are experiencing a financial hardship, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate in the Preforeclosure Sales Program:

  • The property must be owner-occupied, no “walk-a ways” or investment properties. Exceptions: when it is verifiable that the need to vacate was related to the cause of default (job loss, transfer, divorce, death), and the subject property was not purchased as rental investment, or used as a rental for more than 18 months.

  • The Mortgagor must be 31 days or more delinquent at the time of the Preforeclosure Sale closing.

  • The Mortgagor must provide documentation substantiating a reduction in income or an increase in living expense, and documentation that verifies the Mortgagors need to vacate the property (if applicable).


Experience Short Sale Specialist

Posted in FHA, Sellers, Short Sales
Jan. 8, 2010

Old Town (Alexandria) 22314 Real Estate Market Stats For December 2009 | Upper Bracket Homes Need Buyers

Old Town (Alexandria) 22314 Real Estate Market Stats For December 2009 |
Upper Bracket Homes Need Buyers & Detached Homes Slow Moving

Old Town Alexandria Market Snapshot As Of 1/7/10

Old Town Alexandria Market Snapshot As Of 1/7/10

What's moving and shaking in the real estate market in Old Town Alexandria?  Well, from the looks of things, it's condos and townhomes priced under $600,000.  In the Old Town Alexandria condo market, 14 out of the 17 condos that went under contract were under $600,000.  For the townhomes, 5 out of the 8 homes that went under contract were under $600,000.  But what does this mean for detached homes for sale in Old Town, and the luxuy homes priced over $700,000?  If I'm buying luxury, then I'll want to see them all...in every price range and render a decision on what makes each home unique.  Is it the age, the proximity to the Potomac River, is it the quadrant?

What about short sales and foreclosures in Old Town Alexandria?  They're out there, but in very small numbers.  As of January 7, 2010, there were 4 bank owned foreclosures for sale, and 2 short sales actively for sale.  In the past 30 days, one Old Town Alexandria short sale has gone under contract.

Old Town Alexandria home owners looking to list their home for under $600,000 should still venture out and take a look at the competition.  While there is a greater chance that you'll get your home sold in this price point, when there's more to choose from, buyers will be very selective and will tend to make 'value-based' decisions vs. 'demand-based' decisions.  That means, you will have to stand out in terms of presentation (staging), move-in readiness, and price to entice a buyer to choose your home over the 53 other condos, or 26 other townhomes currently for sale.

Sell Your Old Town Alexandria Home

Buy A Home In Old Town Alexandria

Jan. 7, 2010

Manchester Lakes Photos and Scenery: Still Waiting For That 35 Degree High

Manchester Lakes Photos and Scenery:
Still Waiting For That 35 Degree High

Well, hell hasn't frozen over, but some of the ponds at Manchester Lakes have.  Check out the geese walking on the pond.  Do you think they're ready for a swim or what?  Maybe they're just hanging around and waiting for Happy Hour :-) ...it's 5 o'clock somewhere right?

Frozen At Manchester Lakes


Manchester Lakes Photo Tour

Manchester Lakes Video Tour

Jan. 7, 2010

Kingstowne (Alexandria) VA Real Estate Market Stats December 2009 | Balanced Market For Condos And Townhomes

Kingstowne (Alexandria) VA Real Estate Market Stats December 2009 |
 A Balanced Market For Condos And Townhomes


So, how's the real estate market in Kingstowne you ask?  Take a look and you'll see that things look pretty balanced when it comes to condos for sale, and townhomes for sale.  In the past 30 days, five condos have gone under contract, and five units are still on the market.  Evenly distributed in price, three units available in the $200k price range and the same number of units sold.  Likewise in the $300k price range, two units available, and two units sold. 

The townhome price range that saw the most number of units under contract was the $400k range.  The single-family homes for sale in Kingstowne look pretty stagnant based on the previous month's activity.  Only one detached home sold, and that was a new construction home in the North Village built by Richmond American. 

What about distressed homes in Kingstowne?  Are there currently any short sales for sale in Kingstowne?  Surprisingly NO!  However, there are two bank owned foreclosures currently for sale in Kingstowne.  Also, two short sales in Kingstowne have gone under contract in the past 30 days, and one foreclosure has gone under contract in the past 30 days. For a neighborhood of 5300 homes, that's a record low number of distressed sales which is positive sign for the stability of the subdivision.

If you're a condo or townhome owner in Kingstowne, it looks like now is a great time to sell!  If you're looking to buy a single-family home in Kingstowne, it looks like now is a great time to negotiate!

Sell Your Kingstowne Home             Buy A Kingstowne Home


Posted in Market Reports
Jan. 3, 2010

Short Sale Hardship Letter Sample | One Major Piece Of The Short Sale Package

Short Sale Hardship Letter Sample |
One Major Piece Of The Short Sale Package

Writing A Hardship LetterHere is a simple guide that will help you write your short sale hardship letter that your lender will require when you are trying to sell your home as a short sale:

  • Start from the beginning - Now, your hardship letter doesn't have to begin with "I was born in..." but it is helpful to mention how long you've owned your home and how you were able to pay your mortgage before your hardship.
  • State the facts of your hardship clearly - Your hardship is the written statment of why you are no longer able to afford your monthly mortgage payment.  A hardship can include scenarios such as unemployment, divorce, separation, death of a family member, reduction in income, military reassignment, job relocation, incarceration, increase in mortgage payment, or any event that has affected your finances where you are not able to afford your mortgage.
  • Describe how you have attempted to solve your problem - Have you applied for a loan modification, have you consulted with your area short sale specialist, have you consulted with your accountant, have you consulted with your tax advisor?  Show the bank that you have made a proactive effort to overcome the cause of your hardship.  Have you continued to seek employment?

Here is a sample:

To whom it may concern:

When I purchased my home in October of 2005, I had been employed at my job for 15 years.  My salary more than covered my mortgage payment and after I was able to make an extra mortgage payment every year.

I was laid off on November 25, 2008 and have not been able to find another job of equal pay.  After searching for several months, I was finally able to find a job, but now I am only making one-third of what I was making at my previous position.  I have always had excellent credit but this reduction in income now makes it impossible for me to meet my monthly obligations.

This lower salary has proven to be a hardship for me.  Now, my monthly salary does not cover my mortgage payment and my expenses.  While I was unemployed, I used all of my savings to keep my mortgage current, and have exhausted all of my savings.

I am no longer able to keep my home and have spoken with my accountant and Realtor, and I feel that a short sale is the best solution.  Please consider the offer that I have received on my home as full payment for my outstanding mortgage.  I would like to maintain my good credit avoid foreclosure.

Your short sale hardship letter should also be signed.  It doesn't have to be a novel, and you don't have to tell your whole life's story.  But, what the bank is looking for is an accurate account of what led you to your current situation.

Consult A Short Sale Specialist


Posted in Sellers, Short Sales
Jan. 2, 2010

Old Town Alexandria VA Real Estate Inventory Getting Low | Don't Miss The Other Countdown For The $6500 Tax Credit

Old Town Alexandria VA Real Estate Getting Low|
Don't Miss The Other Countdown For The $6500 Tax Credit For Move-Up Sellers


The sands of time are steadily pouring down as the new deadline for the extended $8000 Federal Housing Tax Credit starts to creep up on the Alexandria VA real estate market for home buyers.  The tax credit has also been expanded to provide a $6500 credit for move-up sellers.  And while there have been countless articles and pages of information geared toward home buyers, few have taken the time to explain to Alexandria VA home sellers why this may be an opportune time to list your home and get top dollar.

Here are the Top 4 Reasons Why Now May Be The Best Time To Sell Your Alexandria VA Home:

  1.  1.  Increased pool of Alexandria VA home buyers, for now.  The tax credit has stimulated the real estate market and gotten many buyers off the fence.  With the incentive, many renters are electing not to renew those leases, and are choosing to enter the real estate market.
  2. The current inventory of homes is very low.  In Alexandria (City) VA, the number of homes actively for sale as of December 1, 2008 was 606; as of December 7, 2009 the number of available homes was down to 430With fewer homes to chose from, Alexandria VA home sellers will likely open themselves up to bidding wars and shorter days on the market.
  3. The historically popular spring market will come sooner and will likely end sooner with the April 30 deadline.  Alexandria VA home sellers may think that waiting for winter to end will be the best time to put the home on the market.  But many buyers may not want to until the end of March or the beginning of April to start their home search.  Value-seeking buyers will not want to compete and get into bidding wars (which is a good thing for sellers!), especially at the last minute.  I foresee that competition will be in the early months.
  4. Special loans for home buyers may be eliminated with the tax credit deadline.  Local entities, like the City of Alexandria Department of Housing and the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), have created special Virginia First-Time Home Buyer Programs and loans that may expire with the tax credit.  When the money dries up, the sellers will be the first to know it with increased days on the market, and price reductions. 

The tax credit is now in it's third revision.  At first, it was an interest-free loan, then it was revised into a full credit for home buyers, and most recently is has been extended for buyers and expanded to include sellers.  The third time's a charm.


Posted in Sellers
Dec. 28, 2009

Video: Biggest Buyer Blunder | Overlooking Total Costs Of Homeownership

Video: Biggest Buyer Blunder | Overlooking Total Costs Of Homeownership

Nice sprinkler system...I wonder what the water bill is during the spring and summer.

The master bedroom has a sitting room...I wonder what the average electric bill is for this home.Oh, the basement is fully finished...Can the heating/AC system support all of this square footage efficiently?We're looking for a fixer-upper...Can we really afford to do more than carpet and paint?These appliances are nearing the end of their expected usefulness...How much will it cost to replace all of the appliances?Whether is a foreclosure, short sale, or traditional home,buyers should factor in the total cost of homeownership.  The lender will give you a pre-approval amount, but there are other fees that will never appear on your Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs, that you will have to factor into your monthly and yearly costs of homeownership such as:

  • Utilities:Does the home require gas and electric?  Is the water included or is it separately metered?
  • Maintenance:Your home inspection should provide you with an opportunity to gauge maintenance costs.  The home inspector should be able to identify what appliances are running properly, and provide estimates on replacement costs.
  • Association fees:What are the condo or association fees and how often are they paid?  Is the home located within a community that requires two fees?  Do the fees include any utilities or yard maintenance?
  • Yard upkeep and maintenance:How much does it cost to maintain the pool? If you're too busy to mow the lawn, how much does it cost to keep up the curb appeal?
And most importantly,can I maintain my current lifestyle if I buy this home?                            Free Worksheet   Free Loan Analysis                                            Search The MLS

Posted in Buyers, Videos