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

June 17, 2008

Virginia State Mortgage Conditions

So, how does the state of Virginia compare to the rest of the country when it comes to foreclosure activity?  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has started tracking the data and segmenting the information on the state level.

Did you know that according to NAR 32% of homeowners own their homes free and clear? Find out more by viewing the chart.

Posted in Foreclosures
May 23, 2008

Helping Alexandria VA Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

The term 'short sale' has definitely gained popularity with the Alexandria VA real estate market over the past year.  While a short sale may not be suited for every homeowner, here are some basics to let you know how we help those who may be a candidate for a short sale.

The factors necessary in order to move forward with the short sale process:

  • The homeowner may be behind on payments.  You don't have to be behind on mortgage payments to qualify for a short sale.  Every bank, and every situation is different.
  • There is little or no equity in the house, or homeowner owes considerably more than what the house is worth.
  • The homeowner can prove a legitimate hardship.

Once the homeowner is aware of all options with the current mortgage company and if the owner chooses to proceed with a short sale, then we prepare the 'Short Sale Package' and submit it to the lender.

The short sale process for FHA loans if different than the process for VA and conventional loans.  With FHA loans, the homeowner must have written acceptance into the HUD short sale program prior to listing the home.  With conventional mortgages, the seller can proceed to market the home in the MLS and receive offers.  Based on the total amount owed on the home (which could include late payments, taxes, HOA/condo fees, mechanics liens), and a market analysis, we help determine the asking price for the home. 

The mortgage company may not explicitly offer a bottom line figure for what will be acceptable, so the market analysis proves to demonstrate what buyers are currently paying for similar homes.  This information is also included in the prepared short sale package to help strengthen the owner's case for the approval.

The average time for a home to successfully close with a short sale is 60-90 days.  The benefits to the homeowner include the relief of no longer carrying a mortgage that is not affordable, and still being able to purchase a home.

As with a seller-owned resale home, the home is aggressively marketed both online and in print publications to secure a buyer.  As with all transactions, all financial information is kept in confidence, so you will never see our listings blatantly advertised as short sales.

Do You Qualify For A Short Sale

May 12, 2008

Facing Foreclosure in Alexandria VA? A Short Sale Can Save You And Your Credit!

To assist Alexandria VA area homeowners who are having difficulty making mortgage payments, I've received extensive training and have added another service to help.  In the midst of all of the talk about foreclosures, you may not be aware that if a homeowner has fallen behind on their mortgage payments, they may be able to take advantage of a short sale.

Short Sale Alexandria VA  

A short sale is an agreement where the bank gives permission to the home owner to sell the home for less that the total mortgage balance owed on the home.

To qualify for a short sale, you must first be able to prove that you are facing a financial hardship and are unable to make your mortgage payments.  Some examples may include a recent job loss, unexpected medical bills, divorce, or an adjustable rate mortgage whose interest rate has recently changed, making your home no longer affordable.

It's important to remember that each bank is different, and each bank has its own separate set of procedures to determine if a homeowner can qualify for a short sale (final approval is granted by the bank, not the listing agent or broker).  If there is more than one mortgage on the home, then the short sale will have to be approved by each lien holder.  The home can be sold for market value, or a little below, and the bank can either forgive the outstanding debt, or work out a separate payment arrangement.  The homeowner benefits from a short sale by avoiding a foreclosure on his/her credit report.

Due to the number of inquiries, I have created a new website for you to share, or visit if you need more information: www.SaveMyNovaHome.com.

While foreclosure homes are traditionally a 'good deal' for would-be home buyers, they can be very costly for banks, and banks do not want to be in the property management business, they want to be in the loan business.

A short sale can be an alternative that proves to be a win-win.  The bank can avoid the costs it would incur to go through the foreclosure proceedings, including taking over taxes and utilities, and the financially strapped homeowner can protect his/her credit rating.

We will also assist homeowners who qualify for a short sale and have bank approval with finding another home.  Many homeowners are able to purchase a new home right after a short sale, however in some cases, renting may be better to allow credit scores to improve and cash reserves to be rebuilt.

May 6, 2008

Is Your Listing Agent Closing The Door To More Buyers?

If you're selling your Alexandria VA home and your listing agent is not welcoming FHA and VA buyers, then your home may be on the market a lot longer, and it could eventually sell for less money.

buyers in line

The VA Loan is made available to veterans and active duty service members for the purchase or refinance of a primary residence or the refinance of another property on which a VA loan already exists.  Some additional basics include:

  • Standard Maximum Loan is $417,000
  • Standard Maximum Loan-To-Value is 100%, meaning that you can finance 100% of the purchase price, there is no down payment required
  • Debt-to-Income Maximum is 41%
  • Jumbo Maximum Loan is $1,000,000
  • Jumbo Maximum Loan-To-Value is 85.425%

The FHA loan is made available to the general public and is available to any qualified individual for the purchase or refinance of another property on which an FHA loan already exists.  The primary benefit of the FHA loan is a lower down payment requirement and less stringent underwriting standards as compared to most conventional loan programs.  Some additional basics include:

  • Standard Maximum Base Loan up to $362,790
  • Temporary Jumbo Maximum Loan is $729,750
  • Maximum Loan-To-Value is 97.75%
  • Up front Mortgage Insurance Premium is 1.5% of base loan amount, which can be financed into the loan
  • Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium is 50 basis points of base loan amount
  • Debt-to-Income Maximum is 43%

But what does all of this mean to you if you're selling?  It means that when the market was hot, it was common for buyers with conventional loans to beat out other buyers with VA and FHA loans due to the more strict financing rules.  Listing agents should make it known and openly advertise: "FHA and VA buyers welcome!"  That way you've made it clear as a seller that you're open to entertaining all offers, not just offers where the buyer is receiving conventional financing.  Don't let buyers guess and assume.  By opening yourself up to flexible financing, you open your doors to more buyers and increase the chances of getting your home sold quicker and for more money.

Buyers: Find out if you're eligible for the VA loan.

Sellers: FREE Book on 'How To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar Fast'

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May 2, 2008

Just Sold ~ Alexandria VA Condo Auburn Village

Auburn Village Condo

  • Conveniently located in Alexandria City on Glebe Road
  • Close to National Airport, Potomac Yard, Crystal City, Washington DC, Old Town 
  • One- and two-bedroom condominiums
  • Pet friendly
  • Close to shops and restaurants
  • Permit and street parking
  • Secured building entry

Auburn Village Listings

 Alexandria Condos For Sale

Slide Show Tour of Auburn Village

Posted in Buyers, Condos
April 29, 2008

Tales From The Dark Side...Of Foreclosures And Short Sales

When a buyer considers the option of buying a foreclosure or short sale home in Alexandria VA, usually the dream of buying a home in model condition at a deeply discounted price comes to mind.

Foreclosure Homes In Northern Virginia

I've recently sold two bank foreclosures and I can tell you that not only are they sometimes tough to sell, they're also tough to show, take a look at the following video: http://slideroll.com/show.php?s=abq5b10a

I've shown homes where the cabinets have been pulled from the walls, all of the appliances have been taken, carpet has been ripped up down to the subflooring, not to mention the odors and living things with multiple legs that can sometimes greet you at the door.

Getting a home way below market value is one thing.  Having the time and money to make repairs is another.

Here are some things to consider when purchasing a foreclosure or short sale home in Alexandria VA:

  1. How much money do you have for repairs after down payment and closing costs?
  2. What types of repairs are you willing to take on?
  3. If the repair costs end up going over budget, what's your plan B
  4. Do you already have a team of trusted and reliable contractors to help you with cosmetic and structural repairs?
  5. Have you secured the best type of financing for your foreclosure purchase?
  6. Do you have the time to oversee the repairs?

Many times when buyers start out looking at the foreclosure homes that are available, the thought of costly repairs and time become too overwhelming and we end up looking at seller-owned homes that show 'pride of home ownership'.

There's a story behind every foreclosure, there's also a story behind every purchase.  To make your homebuying experience a smooth one, consider the pros and cons of buying a foreclosure.  Sometimes, the time spent on repairs is not worth the money.

Alexandria VA Foreclosures By Email

 Alexandria VA Homes For Sale

April 29, 2008

Alexandria Residents Keep Cool With Rita's Ice

Ice Ice Baby!

Alexandria Residents don't have to go far to keep cool this summer.  Just off of Little River Turnpike, conveniently close to I-395 is the newest location for Rita's Ice.

About a year ago my friend Zakiya Bates and I were having breakfast at IHOP talking about our futures.  She told me how she and her husband Kevin had been tossing around the idea of opening up a Rita's Ice franchise.  As a metro DC resident, I had never heard of Rita's Ice, but to hear Zakiya describe the different treats was enough to spark my interest as well. 

After months of scouting around different locations, planning, and executing, Kevin and Zakiya's dream goal has finally become a reality!

6242-C Little River Turnpike in Alexandria

Plaza At Landmark

 Ritas Ice Alexandria VA

Ritas Ice Alexandria

Ritas Ice Alexanria VA

The Proud Business Owner!

FREE Coupon For Your First Tasty Treat

I have never before had the pleasure of tasting one of these many treats, but they sure are addictive!!! 

  • Italian Ice
  • Old Fashioned Frozen Custard
  • Blendini TM
  • Gelati
  • MistoTM

There's lots to choose from on the menu, and if you're watching those calories, you won't have a shortage of options.  If you're looking for real flavor, then this is the place.   According to Zakiya, the Mango flavored treats are in high demand!  Please stop by and let us know what you think!

Posted in Businesses
April 27, 2008

Just Sold ~ Alexandria VA Condo Palazzo At Park Center

Just Sold: 2BR/2BA Condo in Palazzo At Park Center:

Alexandria VA Condo Palazzo At Park Centre

  • Two covered garage spaces
  • Wood floors throughout
  • Contemporary design
  • Granite countertops
  • New maple cabinets
  • Two walk-in closets
  • Ceramic tiled floors in bathrooms
  • Tranquil views from balconies
  • Gas fireplace
  • All new appliances
  • Full sized washer and dryer

Condos For Sale Palazzo         Alexandria Condos For Sale

Palazzo At Park Center Photo Tour

Posted in Buyers, Condos
April 23, 2008

Top 10 Things To Do When Selling Your Alexandria VA Home

#1 - Call McEnearney Associates...We'll Handle The Other 9 Things!

Press Release - April 15, 2008

McEnearney Associates' market share in Alexandria continues to grow.

Despite the fact that the Alexandria office of McEnearney Associates, Inc. has been the leader in real estate sales, both in Old Town and throughout the City each year for the last 25 years, never before has the strength of their success been more apparent than in the first quarter of 2008.  Residential sales data for the quarter compiled from the Multiple Regional Information System (MRIS) showed that total sales in the City of Alexandria from McEnearney's office exceeded the combined total of the next seven offices of their competitor's ($73,692,000 to $73,168,000 respectively).  John McEnearney's vision, "to earn the respect of our customers and clients, and ultimately their recognition as the best," seems to be working.

This proves that even in a challenging real estate market, local consumers rely on our expertise to list, effectively market, and successfully sell homes.  It also shows that now only do we list more homes locally, but we are also successful at finding buyers for our listings in all price ranges.

 Alexandria Homes For Sale Listed By McEnearney      

  Visit McEnearney.com Website       Visit MovingToNova.com Website

 

Posted in Uncategorized
April 21, 2008

JMU Alumns Buy Their First Home In Northern Virginia

Dear Tamara,

JMU Alums Buy Their First HomeThank you so much for helping us find our hew home.  As first-time homebuyers, we would have been lost without you.  You helped us every step of the way and really kept the search focused on our goals and wishes for our new home  Here we are today hanging pictures and unpacking boxes.

Our neighbors are so kind and have really welcomed us to the neighborhood and we feel right at home.  The kids love the deck and the playground, we love the space and the wooded view.  Thanks again for helping us find the perfect match!

Love,

Beth, Martin, and family!

Own The Fence

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Posted in Buyers, JMU