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

Sept. 4, 2008

Labor Day Humor

What's So Funny About Work? 

 Work Funnies

 (Note: my office is really much neater than this!)

In honor of Labor Day, September 1, and all workers, here's a look at the lighter side of labor :

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned...couldn't concentrate.

Then I worked as a lumberjack, but I couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried being a tailor, but I wasn't suited for it...and it was a so-so-job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory, but that was too exhausting.

My best job was being a musician, till I found I wasn't noteworthy.

I wanted to start a bakery, but I couldn't raise the dough.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

I became a professional fisherman, until I couldn't live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job with a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

So I applied for a job in a gym, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

So I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at Starbucks, but I quit because it was always the same old grind.

Hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day! 

Funny realtor (Thank you... thank you very much!)


Posted in Fun
Sept. 3, 2008

Gunston Corner VA Has Easy Commute For Military Homebuyers

 * Under Contract* - 8301 Bluebird Way, Unit D
Lorton, Virginia 22079
Highlands at Gunston Corner Condominiums

Gunston Corner Condo

Military homebuyers have the convenience of location, and different options for commuting from Gunston Corner to the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, or Quantico Marine Base.

Located just under 20 miles from The Pentagon, your hassle-free commute from Gunston Corner may include:

Located less than five miles from Fort Belvoir, as a Gunston Corner homeowner, your commute would be less than the average Washingtonian commute, and you could probably come home for lunch!

And going against traffic with Quantico Marine Base as your destination, you should find the traffic steadily flowing down I-95 South as you wave to the north bound commuters.

This home is currently Under Contract, but there are others for sale!

Gunston Corner Condos For Sale

Gunston Corner Townhomes For Sale

Lorton Homes For Sale

Posted in Buyers, Condos
Aug. 27, 2008

Top Six Questions To Ask About Specialty Mortgages

More and more, people are calling me asking for help on how to keep their current home.  In listening to their stories and understanding how their financial difficulties came about, it's easy to see how consumers can fall into the trap of obtaining a mortgage where the terms are not fully understood (and in some cases not fully disclosed).

In high-priced housing markets, like Northern Virginia, it can be difficult to afford a home. That’s why a growing number of home buyers are forgoing traditional fixed-rate mortgages and standard adjustable-rate mortgages and instead opting for a specialty mortgage that lets them “stretch” their income so they can qualify for a larger loan.

But before you choose one of these mortgages, make sure you understand the risks and how they work.

Specialty mortgages often begin with a low introductory interest rate or payment plan — a “teaser”— but the monthly mortgage payments are likely to increase a lot in the future. Some are “low documentation” mortgages that come with easier standards for qualifying, but also higher interest rates or higher fees. Some lenders will loan you 100 percent or more of the home’s value, but these mortgages can present a big financial risk if the value of the house drops.

Specialty Mortgages Can:

  • Pose a greater risk that you won’t be able to afford the mortgage payment in the future, compared to fixed rate mortgages and traditional adjustable rate mortgages.
  • Have monthly payments that increase by as much as 50 percent or more when the introductory period ends.
  • Cause your loan balance (the amount you still owe) to get larger each month instead of smaller.

    Common Types of Specialty Mortgages:

  • Interest-Only Mortgages: Your monthly mortgage payment only covers the interest you owe on the loan for the first 5 to 10 years of the loan, and you pay nothing to reduce the total amount you borrowed (this is called the “principal”). After the interest-only period, you start paying higher monthly payments that cover both the interest and principal that must be repaid over the remaining term of the loan.
  • Negative Amortization Mortgages: Your monthly payment is less than the amount of interest you owe on the loan. The unpaid interest gets added to the loan’s principal amount, causing the total amount you owe to increase each month instead of getting smaller.
  • Option Payment ARM Mortgages: You have the option to make different types of monthly payments with this mortgage. For example, you may make a minimum payment that is less than the amount needed to cover the interest and increases the total amount of your loan; an interest-only payment, or payments calculated to pay off the loan over either 30 years or 15 years.
  • 40-Year Mortgages: You pay off your loan over 40 years, instead of the usual 30 years. While this reduces your monthly payment and helps you qualify to buy a home, you pay off the balance of your loan much more slowly and end up paying much more interest.

    Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Specialty Mortgage:

  • How much can my monthly payments increase and how soon can these increases happen?
  • Do I expect my income to increase or do I expect to move before my payments go up?
  • Will I be able to afford the mortgage when the payments increase?
  • Am I paying down my loan balance each month, or is it staying the same or even increasing?
  • Will I have to pay a penalty if I refinance my mortgage or sell my house?
  • What is my goal in buying this property? Am I considering a riskier mortgage to buy a more expensive house than I can realistically afford?

When looking to buy a home in Alexandria, Virginia, homebuyers should choose to work with a reputable lender who takes the time to prepare different scenarios and explains the differences of the many loan programs available.

Call Your Realtor Tamara

Aug. 23, 2008

Open House Sunday August 24 - Gunston Corner Condos

Open Sunday, August 24 1-4pm
8301 Bluebird Way, Unit D
Lorton, Virginia 22079 - $229,900

8301 Bluebird Way Unit D

This beautiful home offers two bedrooms, two full baths, new carpet throughout, new flooring and appliances in the kitchen, separate dining area, cartwheel friendly living room with gas fireplace and built-in shelves, den with ceramic tile flooring, and a separate laundry room with full sized washer/dryer/rinsing tub.

See the video tour   Search All MLS Listings   Visit My Website

Posted in Buyers, Condos
Aug. 15, 2008

Sharing and Learning At The Main Event

Every year By Referral Only comes to the Washington DC area.  As a member, I find The Main Event to be refreshing and rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to meet other members in person, see what's working well for other agents, and to reinforce the things that I currently do for my clients.  Here are some photos from this week's Main Event:

Me and Hugo Robinson (Partners In Crime!  Hugo is having success helping his clients with Reverse Mortgages)

Me and Tony Aragon (I knew you could do it! Tony was practicing his referral dialogues, and during the Main Event called a past client and received two referrals!)

Me and Joe Scerbo (aka The CraigsList King!  Joe has helped me market my listings on CraigsList to find buyers for my sellers!)

Me and Teresa Hollingsworth and Teresa Wright (Taking it to a new level!  I had just referred some clients to Teresa H. a couple of months ago.  She was able to help them get their home SOLD before any other home in the neighborhood.  Teresa W. and I shared our experiences on working with foreclosures.)

So many times clients just don't know what great Realtors do behind the scenes.  When we network and share ideas, we get homes sold faster, solve problems (and often help prevent them!), and help each other grow professionally and personally.  Just over 70% of my business is by word of mouth and referrals from happy past clients, thanks to the teachings of By Referral Only.

July 19, 2008

15 Million Reasons To Buy In Alexandria VA

The Commonwealth of Virginia has just given consumers hoping to buy their first home in Alexandria VA over 15 millions reasons to get off the fence and purchase a home.  This aid which encourages buyers to use the Virginia Housing Develpment Authority (VHDA) program is ideal for those who are currently renting and are indecisive about getting into the real estate market.

For more information, view the full article as reported by the Alexandria Times newspaper.

As a buyer's agent, I can tell you first hand that there are so many opportunities right now.  There's no sense of urgency like there was in the past sellers market, and buyers can protect themselves with necessary inspections in addition to seller or bank paid closing costs.  All of the foreclosure homes that I have sold resulted in the buyer receiving closing cost assistance.

This is very important because as the cost of living continues to increase, many buyers find it harder to save extra money for down payment plus closing costs.  Buyers now have the advantage of these down payment assistance programs to help defray the costs of securing a home.  Typically, closing costs run between 2-3% of the sale price, depending on the financing and can be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

If you are concerned about closing costs, or if you're curious about the steps in the home buying process please contact me for a consultation.

July 7, 2008

Thank You For Helping Us Achieve Our Dream!

Repeat clients take advantage of current market and purchase a larger home in their desired neighborhood.

Dear Tamara,

We cannot thank you enough for helping us find the home of our dreams!  Your knowledge of the real estate market and giving us good points to review when considering a purchase is why we have returned as clients and will recommend you to others.  Thank you again for helping us achieve our dream!

Christine & Matt

Now is the time to buy the cheapest home in the BEST neighborhoods! Visit www.MovingToNova.com today to start your home search.

Posted in Buyers, JMU, Testimonials
July 4, 2008

Condo For Sale In Lorton VA - Gunston Corner

Condo For Sale In Gunston Corner

8301 Bluebird Way, Unit D in Gunston Corner is the perfect opportunity for first-time buyers to embrace homeownership.  The size, comfort, and location also make it a perfect match for downsizing buyers.  The community is adorned with lush, mature landscaping.  A pet-friendly community, you'll find many homeowners walking around during all times of the day.  Special features of this beautiful home include:

  • Square footage - While most condos can barely squeeze out 1,000 square feet, this home boasts two bedrooms, two full baths, and a den with approximately 1,200 square feet of living space.  The den is perfect for the telecommuter who wants a home office without having to give up a spare bedroom.  You can also use the den as a hobby area, a library, a sitting room, the possibilities are endless.  The master bedroom has a full bath with double vanity sinks, and a generous walk-in closet.
  • Upgrades - The owner has spared no expense. Special touches include custom crown molding, the dining room has chair railing.  The kitchen is a chef's delight offering new flooring, a new gas stove, new built-in microwave, and dishwasher.  No more runs to the laundrymat or doing multiple loads of laundry with the stackable, this home offers a full sized washer and dryer.
  • Location - Just two lights from I-95, less than two miles from the Lorton Station VRE, and a Fairfax Connector bus stop right outside the door, not only can you save money on fuel by taking advantage of public transportation or Park and Ride, you can also save time by using the HOV lanes.

Open House will be held from 2-4 this Sunday, July 6.  Stay tuned for the video walk-thru.

View Photo Slide Show   View Property Details    Visit My Website   Contact Me


Posted in Buyers, Condos
June 20, 2008

Alexandria Virginia Schools Report Card

Alexandria VA School Information

The Virginia Department of Education's website allows you to create customized reports to help you in your quest to find out specific information on area schools.  With this site you can:

  • View or download reports for individual schools, divisions, or the commonwealth
  • Create custom reports on student achievement in different categories
  • View or download a guide to the various terms used in association with understanding the school system

Other helpful links for schools include:

Posted in Buyers, Schools
June 19, 2008

Alexandria VA Homebuyer Shortens Commute

Co-worker referral turns into a Happy Alexandria Homeower with a shorter commute...

Referral for Alexandria VA Real Estate Agent

Dear Tamara,

Thank you so much for all your hard work in helping us find a condo in Alexandria.  As you can imagine, my commute is greatly reduced!  We really like the area and truly appreciate your recommendation.   -Deborah W.

Alexandria VA Buyers Agent

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