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

Sept. 11, 2009

Alexandria VA Homes For Sale Getting Multiple Offers In A Down Market!

Alexandria VA Homes For Sale Getting Multiple Offers In A Down Market |
But I Thought This Was A Buyers Market

As the banks continue to drip foreclosures and REO (real estate owned) listings throughout our Old Town, Del Ray, and Kingstowne Alexandria market, I'm finding that many first time buyers are caught off guard when they learn that they have to compete for homes for sale in a supposedly down market.

Just like in the steamy sellers market when builders couldn't build 'em fast enough, we're seeing another lesson in supply and demand actively play out now.  When the prices come down, more buyers come out, including cash buyers and investors, and there goes the level playing field.

The $350,00 and under market is the 'sweet spot' where you'll find the most sales activity.  But since these first-time buyer bracket homes are now being absorbed, these traditional sellers are now able to move up, and we're seeing more absorption in the $350,000-$550,000 market. And believe me, move-up sellers want as much money as they can get...just like the banks!

Here are the biggest obstacles that buyers face that may count as a strike against them when competing in a multiple offer situation:

  • Low earnest money deposit - True, the minimum down payment requirement on FHA loans increased from 3% to 3.5%, but many buyers still have little savings to show up front when writing an offer.  The earnest money deposit won't be cashed until after your offer is accepted, but many times buyers forget about the upfront costs (even if a seller is contributing toward closing costs).  These costs include home inspection, radon inspection, appraisal, and insurance.
  • Unknown lenders - Real estate agents know that a reputable lender will be accountable and responsive, and an experienced lender will likely do a better job at preparing the home buyer for their mortgage.  In a case where there's multiple offers, a good listing agent will also seek information from your lender to determine where you are in the mortgage application process.  If your lender can't be found, then it could cost you the house.
  • Hesitant to make a competitive offer - Old Town Alexandria and Kingstowne foreclosures and attractively priced traditional resale homes, will likely be sold within two weeks time on the market.  If the listing agent discloses that there are multiple offers on hand, more than likely, an offer below the asking price will not be in the running.  While it's true that if your offer has very favorable terms, like a high earnest money deposit and no contingencies it will move up the pile, a low offer with lots of contingencies and a request for closing costs assistance will not be as attractive to the seller or bank.

This year, with the continuous changes in the lending guidelines, new developments in the appraisal guidelines, and dealing with Alexandria VA short sales and foreclosures, there's been a lot for real estate agents and consumers to adapt to.

Still, the biggest no-no that I repeatedly see with buyers is trying to start the homebuying process without a mortgage approval and looking at property without the benefit of a realtor consultation.

In a buyers market, the buyers may have more choices, but making an uninformed choice can be costly as well.


Posted in Buyers
Aug. 14, 2009

Kingstowne VA Real Estate | Home For Sale at 6431 Castlefin Way | Open House Sunday 1-4

Kingstowne VA Real Estate | Home For Sale at 6431 Castlefin Way |
Open House Sunday, August 16 1-4

Kingstowne VA Real Estate

Kingstowne VA Real Estate

Kingstowne is one of Alexandria VA's more popular neighborhoods.  Located in Fairfax County, Kingstowne VA runs from the intersection of Fraconia Road and Van Dorn Street, to Beulah Road and Kingstowne Village Parkway.

If you're looking at real estate and homes for sale in Kingstowne VA, be sure to stop by 6431 Castlefin Way this Sunday for the open house.  This home is located in the North Village and is within the Fairfax County Public school boundaries of Anthony T. Lane Elementary School, Mark Twain Middle School, and Thomas Edison High School.

Sited on a cul-de-sac, and backing to trees, this move-in ready Kingstowne VA home offers special touches including:

  • Three fully finished levels of living space
  • Three bedrooms plus den
  • Three full baths + one half bath
  • Hardwood floors in foyer and dining room
  • Ceramic tile in kitchen, gas cooking, side-by-side refrigerator
  • Separate dining room
  • Step-down living room
  • Rear balcony, walk out basement, backing to trees
  • Master bedroom with walk-in closet and luxury bath (double vanity sink, separate soaking tub, separate shower)
  • Rec room with gas fireplace
  • Two assigned parking spaces in front + ample visitor parking



Posted in Buyers, Open House
Aug. 10, 2009

Local Governments Are Tweeting So Are You Following?

Our Local Governments Are Tweeting...Are You Following?

Whether I'm at the Kingstowne Panera Bread, or the Old Town Starbucks, I love being in the know when it comes to local government and local business happenings.  Our local jurisdictions have caught on to social media and are now tweeting, and you can follow!

Want to save money, check the websites of your favorite products, services, businesses, merchants, etc.  Many establishments offer special promotions, discounts, and deals through their tweets.

Posted in Businesses, Buyers, Sellers
Aug. 9, 2009

Hallowing Point River Estates | Mason Neck Real Estate | Home For Sale at 6025 Chapman Road Lorton VA 22079

Hallowing Point River Estates | Mason Neck Real Estate |
Home For Sale at 6025 Chapman Road Lorton VA 22079

Just when you thought affordability and privacy were out of reach in Fairfax County, this custom built home in Mason Neck (Lorton) VA on a 3/4 acre corner wooded lot is just a block and a half from the Potomac River waterfront is offered at $724,900.  Compare with other waterfront homes price at over $1million, you'll enjoy all of the community amenities that Hallowing Point River Estates has to offer.

All of the rooms in this Hallowing Point River Estates home are cartwheel-friendly and generous in size.  This formal living room comfortably fits furniture of all styles and sizes.

The formal dining room is perfect for entertaining and can accommodate your large gatherings.

The rear facing eat-in kitchen includes hardwood floors, and this floor plan offers the coveted family room off the kitchen for casual living or use as a home office.




Like many of the other homes in Hallowing Point River Estates, all of the bathrooms here at 6025 Chapman Road Lorton VA 22079 have been completely updated.  Here, you'll see that the master bathroom has a granite top vaniey, custom built shower, and ceramic tile flooring.




Find Out What Your Hallowing Point River Estates Home Is Worth With No Obligation

Posted in Buyers, Short Sales
Aug. 7, 2009

You Can't Handle The Truth When Buying Alexandria VA Real Estate

Can You Handle The Truth In Lending When Buying Alexandria VA Real Estate |
New Lender Guidelines May Affect Your Clsong Date

If you're watching the clock as the deadline approaches for the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit to expire, you should also know that the federal government has made recent changes that will affect your home purchase or sale.

These changes went into effect on July 30, 2009 and they are important for both buyers and sellers.  When buying and selling homes, many people plan their timelines based on the closing date that has been agreed upon in the purchase agreement between the buyer and the seller.  While both parties have consented to a date, the things that go on behind the scenes of the transaction have a definite impact on the closing date.  For a first-time buyer trying to meet the deadline of the tax credit, these changes are important to understand.

Here are four key elements that you need to know:

  • Receipt of lender disclosures now dictate the closing date - the earliest that any home that is being financed can close is 7 business days after the consumer is issued his or her initial disclosure from the lender.
  • Upfront fees cannot be collected until the disclosures are received by the consumer - with the exception of the credit report fee, lenders are not allowed to collect any fees until the consumer has received all required disclosures from the lender.
  • The consumer must receive a copy of the appraisal report a minimum of three days prior to closing - the consumer will have the right to waive this review, however, if the appraisal report has not been received, closing can be delayed to allow the purchaser the opportunity to review the full report.
  • Changes to the interest rate must be disclosed...again - if the total annual percentage rate (APR) changes more than .125% from the initial disclosure, then the lender must provide this disclosure to the buyer at least three days prior to closing.

How do you protect yourself as a buyer? First and foremost is to choose an accountable, dependable, local lender for your loan. Like an experience real estate agent, an experienced lender will have the ability to qualify you for a mortgage, answer your questions about your loan, and disclose all of the terms of your mortgage.  Once you've chosen your home and have an acceptable offer from the seller, your successful closing is in the hands of your lender.

How do you protect yourself as a seller? Rely on your listing agent to ask questions of the buyer's lender to give you the confidence you need to accept the offer and take your home off the open market.  As a listing agent, I have a list of questions that I ask the buyer's lender whenever a contract is submitted on one of my listings.  I review the lender's answers with the seller and based on the lender's responses allow the seller to make a decision on accepting the offer.

Either way, if you're not under contract now, from this point forward I would recommend allowing more than the traditional 30-45 days to allow closing to take place.


Posted in Buyers
Aug. 2, 2009

Local Newspaper Writes About The Positive Outcomes With Short Sales

Our local Washington Times recently ran a cover story about short sales and how CDPE agents (Certified Distressed Property Expert) were able to help a local homeowner avoid foreclosure and salvage their credit.

Click here for the full story.

If you are a homeowner in Alexandria VA in financial distress, and would like to know if you qualify for a short sale, contact me for a confidential consultation.  As an Alexandria VA CDPE listing agent, I will help you by explaining all of your options, and based on your individual needs, offer the best recommendation to help you avoid foreclosure.

Posted in Short Sales
July 22, 2009

Open House Colecroft Station Condo In Old Town Alexandria VA At Braddock Road Metro


Traditional sale!  Where luxury and convenience come together in Old Town Alexandria VA.  Sought after neighborhood of Colecroft Station condos, commonly known as 'the nice subdivsion across from the Braddock Road metro'.

Stop by the Open House this Sunday, and you'll be captivated by the abundance of square footage in this two bedroom/two full bath/one half bath penthouse level condo with beautiful views from the balcony and bedrooms of the Masonic Temple, and Old Town Alexandria.

The eat-in kitchen offers stainless steel appliances, including a built-in microwave.  Both bedrooms have generously sized closets and open space.  There's abundant storage, and this unit also comes with two garage parking spaces.

                  Colecroft Photo Tour  


July 15, 2009

McEnearney Associates Continues To Outperform The Competition

Ranking #1 in Average Net Sales Price | Percentage of Net Sales Price To Original List Price
Average Number of Days On Market

When it comes to Northern Virginia and Washington DC real estate 'Results Matter'.  And during the first half of 2009, McEnearney Associates, Inc. Realtors outperformed the competition...once again.  If you're in the market to buy or sell real estate, choose the company known for performance, productivity, and service.

Click here for the latest statistics on how McEnearney Associates, Inc. Realtors has stacked up so far this year.


July 9, 2009

Exchange At Van Dorn Condo For Sale | Alexandria VA Short Sale

Exchange At Van Dorn Condo For Sale | Alexandria VA Short Sale
4854 Eisenhower Avenue, Unit 248
Condo For Sale Near Van Dorn Metro - $242,000

Alexandria VA listing agent and CPDE Tamara Inzunza is now offering this move-in ready second floor condo walking distance to Van Dorn Metro. For less than $250,000, this beautiful home includes:

  • Two bedrooms
  • One full bath
  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Upgraded kitchen with granite countertops, built in microwave
  • Separate dining area
  • Second floor balcony
  • Assigned parking garage space
  • Master bedroom with walk-in closet
  • Separate laundry room with full sized washer and dryer

If you're renting are looking at new condos for sale in Alexandria VA, take a look at the homes for sale in the Exchange at Van Dorn.  Community amenities include shuttle to Van Dorn metro, state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor swimming, indoor basketball court, lounge area, billiards room, business center, community kitchen, and garage parking.

If you currently own a home in Alexandra VA and are facing a financial hardship, you may qualify to sell your home through a short sale.  To see if you qualify for a short sale, please click here.


Posted in Buyers, Condos, Short Sales
July 8, 2009

Four Tips To Be WISE When Buying Or Selling Alexandria VA Real Estate

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.


Posted in Buyers, Sellers