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

April 1, 2009

Buying Alexandria VA Real Estate? Top Five Things Sellers Want From You

The first quarter of 2009 is just about over, and the ride was starting to smooth out toward the end.  Over the next two weeks, you'll be hearing updated housing statistics on a national level, but please feel comfortable emailing me for a customized Market Snapshot of your Alexandria VA neighborhood or zip code.

My opinion is that the second quarter of 2009 will have numbers more worth talking about.  With the First-Time Homebuyer tax credit in play, and the busy rental renewal season of April, May, and June, I expect to see more buyers take advantage of the lower pricing, interest rates, and tax credit as opposed to riding it out one more year and making a commitment to another a long-term lease.

The real estate spring busy season also stirs competition among buyers.  Sellers who brave the wild of an Alexandria VA buyers market may still have the luxury of cherry picking from multiple offers. If you find yourself in a multiple offer situation, here's how you can help nudge your offer out in front:

  • Earnest Money Deposit - There is no industry standard for how much an earnest money deposit has to be. A good rule of thumb is for it to be 1% of the sales price or higher. The higher your earnest money deposit, the more confidence the seller may have that you won't just walk away from a deal.
  • Financing - The market has successfully weeded out many bad (predatory) lenders, and others lending institutions have simply failed. Sellers and their listing agents are looking for a mortgage approval letter from a local, reputable lender stipulating the type of financing for which you've been approved.
  • Closing Date - If you're stretching your closing date beyond 45 or 60 days, that can actually force you out of the game.  A buyer who can close quickly gives the seller the impression that financing is secure, and a firm commitment can be made and kept.  Extended closing dates allow too much time for issues to arise that can affect financing, or other previously agreed upon terms of the contract.
  • Inspections - It's normal to have a home inspection in this market.  You may put yourself ahead of the pack by completing a pre-contract inspection. Recently, one of my colleagues was one of 29 buyer contracts, and he WON because his buyers did a pre-contract inspection and only asked for certain things, as opposed to using the home inspection as another negotiating point in the sale.  The seller was relieved because there was one less contingency, and repair requests were made up front and addressed with the offer.
  • Sale of Home - If you have a home to sell in Alexandria VA, make sure that your home is actively on the market and under contract with a stong buyer.  Most sellers will not feel comfortable taking their house off the market and waiting for you to find a buyer.

Well, the list is over and did you notice that I didn't mention price?  That's because price is not always the strongest term in a sales contract.  For example, an offer that is $5,000 less than the asking price but the buyer is willing to close in three weeks, is more attractive than a full price offer with a 90-day closing.

In Alexandria Virginia, the spring real estate market is usually very competitive, especially in sought-after neighborhoods such as Old Town, Del Ray, Kingstowne, and Manchester Lakes. As your Realtor, you'll benefit from my twelve years of experience to help you successfully buy or sell a home in any market.


Posted in Buyers, Sellers
March 27, 2009

Lorton Virginia Short Sale | End Unit Townhome Close To Fort Belvoir

Posted in Buyers, Short Sales
March 23, 2009

Washington DC Named Tenth Healthiest Housing Market In US By Builder Magazine

It can be rainy in Southern California, sunny in Madison, Wisconsin, and snowing in Witchita.  Just like the weather, real estate is local, and according to Builder Magazine, the Washington DC real estate market is the 10th best in the country.

With jobs as the leading factor contributing to our area's strength, Builder based their calculations on the number of building permits, population trends and job growth, and an examination of home prices.

Click the following link to view the article:


Posted in News
March 22, 2009

Alexandria VA Short Sale | Under Contract In Less Than 30 Days

Close In Condo Walking Distance To Metro | Alexandria Virginia Short Sale |
Under Contract - Exchange At Van Dorn
4852 Eisenhower Avenue, Unit 341


Alexandria VA real estate and homes for sale going, going, gone! This contemporary third floor condo with laundry room, upgraded kitchen, walk-in closet, and garage parking is no longer up for grabs!

Do you like the Exchange at Van Dorn condominium community in Alexandria, Va and would like to buy a one- or two- bedroom condo with garage parking? Click here to see all of the condos for sale at The Exchange at Van Dorn, or sign-up for new listing notificiations so that you don't miss the next Alexandria VA condo for sale that hits the market in the Exchange at Van Dorn!

If you considering selling your Alexandria, Virginia home as a short sale, please click here to see if you qualify.  As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), I have the experience and training to help you understand all of your foreclosure avoidance options, and to help you navigate through this stressful time.  When we save a home, we save a family.


Posted in Buyers, Condos, Short Sales
March 13, 2009

Who Should Be Buying Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Right Now?

Despite the constant negative news reports, I'm happy to share that we sold 22 homes at McEnearney Associates Inc. (Old Town Alexandria office) last week with the notable volume being in the $200,000 - $600,000 price range.

You may be confused between positive reports and negative reports in the media, so I wanted to use this week's tip to help clarify some things and to shed some light on some of the most commonly asked questions that I face weekly.

Who Should Be Buying Real Estate and Homes For Sale In Alexandria VA Right Now?

  • Anyone who has stable employment. Lenders are looking for a two-year job history.  If you have recently changed jobs, as long as your new job is in the same field of business, then you're in a much better qualifying position.
  • Active military and veterans. You can buy home using a VA loan, with zero down payment, and finance up to $812,500.
  • First-time home buyers. In many areas, there is still competition among first time home buyers.  Well-priced homes (both distressed and non-distressed properties) are seeing multiple offers, and especially below $300,000 some homes are still being sold above the asking price.  With the VHDA loan, first-time home buyers can take advantage of 1.5% down payment AND below market interest rates.  And paired with local housing authority programs, like Alexandria City's SPARC program, or Moderate Income Homeownership program, additional down payment assistance of up to $30,000 may be within reach.
  • Buyers who want a fixer upper at below market value. With the FHA 203k loan, you are able to finance the estimated repair costs into the home mortgage.  If you've found a $250,000 home in a $500,000 neighborhood, this is the loan for you.  And yes, below market real estate deals can be found throughout Alexandria, including Old Town, Del Ray, Kingstowne, and Manchester Lakes. This loan can help you make 'UGLY' houses, look beautiful, and is one of the best tools to gain instant equity.  If you've seen a fixer-upper in a great neighborhood, don't pass it up because you may be concerned about out-of-pocket fix up expenses.  If you've encountered multiple offer situations as an active buyer when considering move-in ready homes, outsmart your competition by expanding your search to include homes that need some TLC.
  • Investors with cash. The best low-end deals right now are OUTSIDE the beltway.  And with prices down, real estate investors now have the ability to purchase income properties, and the market rent will now cover the monthly mortgage.  Two years ago, this was impossible because of the high real estate prices. Northern Virginia Real Estate For Sale Under $150,000: In Arlington County: 46 homes; Alexandria City: 46 homes; Fairfax County: 341 homes; Prince William County: 546.

Who Should Be Selling Alexandria VA Real Estate Right Now?

  • Homeowners with a home value of less than $500,000 with equity.  This is the price range that is sure to get attention, and according to market statistics, homes in the $500,000+ price range are experiencing longer days on market.  If you're selling and buying up, you'll have less competition and more negotiating power on price when you've sold your home.
  • Distressed sellers who are behind on their mortgage.  Banks do not want your house back. Short sales in Alexandria Virginia (VA) are becoming more common and banks are developing strategies to get short sales approved in quicker times.  I recently sold a short sale and we received bank approval in two weeks with buyer paid closing costs.  If you are a homeowner facing a financial hardship, click here to see if you qualify for a short sale in Alexandria VA.  We may be able to help you avoid foreclosure and protect your credit.
  • Homeowners close-in and who are move-in ready. People are getting GREENER. More buyers want walkable neighborhoods, close to metro.  Areas like Old Town, Del Ray, Kingstowne, and Manchester Lakes are walkable, pet friendly, and conveniently located near metro, public transportation, HOV, and the interstates.  We're seeing that more buyers prefer to go car-less and homes close to metro and with a high walkscore are fairing well in the market.  If you're in a good location, location, location, and you're close in, now may be a good time to sell your home.



Posted in News
March 3, 2009

Things To Do In And Around Alexandria VA In March

Are you feeling lucky?  If so, you'll have plenty to do this month in Old Town Alexandria and Washington DC to keep you busy.  Here some great activities that will be fun for everyone:

  • March 7 - St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Parade, 301 King Street and Market Square, festivities include the Fun Dog Show at 10:30 AM, parade starts 12:30 PM at King and West Streets
  • March 15 - Annual DC St. Patrick's Day Parade will run straight down Constitution Avenue, from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW. Visit www.dcstpatsparade.com/ for more info.
  • March 21 - Gunston Hall Kite Festival, located at Gunston Hall Plantation, kites available on-site at the museum and gift shop or bring your own! Fun starts at 12 noon and continues until 5:00 PM.
  • March 28 - Smithsonian Kite Festival, who would have known that this popular windy sport attracts participants from all over.  Visit www.kitefestival.org/ for more info.
Posted in Fun, News
Feb. 23, 2009

Alexandria VA Real Estate For Sale | Garage Condo Walk Or Shuttle To Metro

Posted in Buyers, Condos
Feb. 16, 2009

Alexandria VA Homeowners Get Foreclosure Relief From Top Banks

Alexandria VA homeowners carrying a mortgage by Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, or J.P. Morgan Chase can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for a while.  These lenders made the announcment that they will issue a moratorium on foreclosures until the federal government has worked out a plan to stabilize the nation's banking industry.  Click the link below for the full details:


This is further proof that banks are actively seeking ways to help homeowners prevent foreclosure.  A short sale is an alternative for Alexandria VA homeowners to protect their credit.  There are acceptable hardships where banks will grant short sale approval.  Do you qualify for an Alexandria VA short sale? We'll listen, and help you explore all of your options.


Posted in Sellers, Short Sales
Feb. 4, 2009

Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) Designation Awarded To Alexandria VA Real Estate Agent Tamara Inzunza

City of Alexandria (Virginia) residents have another foreclosure prevention resource.  Top Alexandria VA real estate agent and Associate Broker Tamara Inzunza is serving the needs of homeowners and clients better by becoming a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE). In any given market there is always a certain percentage of homes or homeowners who are distressed.  Under normal real estate market conditions there are 1% to 3% of homes in distress, in today's market, distressed properties can represent as many as 1 out of 10 homes on the market.

Because the distressed market has violently collided with the traditional Alexandria VA real estate market, it has become necessary that real estate agents become more prepared and more involved with helping homeowners prevent foreclosure.  With twelve years of real estate sales experience in Alexandria and the Northern Virginia area, Tamara Inzunza is one of less than 1,000 agents nationwide (out of over 1.2 million Realtors in the U.S.) who holds the CDPE designation.

"Most people have options when it comes to foreclosure, and sadly as many as 7 out of 10 homes go to foreclosure without any intervention," explains Inzunza.  That means that there was no effort made for a loan modification, refinance, forebearance, or any other alternative that may have proved successful.  Foreclosure can happen to any home owner, no matter what the income bracket, years of ownership, loan type, or property type.  When workers are laid off by the hundreds, or thousands, we see an increase in foreclosures in the under $400,000 price range.  When companies, businesses, and corporations go under, upper bracket homes can also become distressed.

Real estate in Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray has been more protected because of its location.  However, in Alexandria City, there were 118 homes that went into foreclosure during the first 11 months of 2007, and that number increased to 324 during the first 11 months of 2008.  Properties affected include condos, duplexes, townhomes, and detached homes for sale in all price ranges.

Alexandria VA homeowners can rely on a local real estate agent with the CDPE designation to accurately explain the consequences of a foreclosure.  "We live in an area where a lot of the population is employed either by the military or government.  Most people don't know that if you have a top secret security clearance, a foreclosure can challenge your security clearance and you could lose your job.  In addition to that, you will likely have to disclose that you've previously lost a home to foreclosure when applying for any new job," says Inzunza.

Before just 'walking away' from a home, owners in distress should see if they qualify for an Alexandria short saleA short sale means NO FORECLOSURE on your credit report.  Even if a mortgage payment has been missed, and the bank has delivered a notice of default, a successful short sale can stop the foreclosure process on your Alexandria VA home and save your credit.

The CDPE network is a close-knit network of agents across the country who share resources and information on foreclosure prevention strategies to help KEEP home owners in their home, and exhaust all resources to avoid foreclosure.  Tamara Inzunza can be reached by email at rescue@MyPrivateShortSale.com.

 Most people have options when it comes to foreclosure. Very few people know exactly where to go or who to call...until now.

Posted in News, Short Sales
Feb. 3, 2009

Old Town Alexandria Real Estate And Photo Tour

Posted in Buyers, Sellers