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

Feb. 6, 2007

Double-Dutch Part 2

Last week I compared tracking and chasing the real estate market to learning how to jump rope double-dutch style. This week, I'm going to show you how to watch the market (the ropes) in different areas, so that you have the information you need to know when to 'jump in' (buy) and when to 'jump out' (sell) and make a clean break.

If you can learn how to use the internet to your advantage, you can align yourself with updates and information to monitor real estate activity in Northern Virginia, or any other part of the country.

Any search engine, but particularly Google or Yahoo, is a good place to start. Think in general terms, write them down, then force yourself to carve out the fat and trim your search down to more specific terms.

For example, typing in 'real estate investing' returns hundreds of sites with get rich quick methods of investing in real estate. Remember, you're looking for information that you can use to help you make a decision. Delete your search, and type 'hot growth areas' OR 'hot job markets'. This will return specifics on areas that are currently experiencing an upswing in the market and have a stable local economy.

Another example, search for Fortune 500 companies, and try to find out where they are opening new offices, plants, stores, etc. Our own local Washington Business Journal (http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/) is a premier place for businesses to make their announcements to Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area. Remember, Virginia was cited as the #1 place for business in 2006!

Are you retiring within the next five years and leaving the area? Research where you plan to move, and do your due diligence to see if it makes sense to purchase your next home now as a rental property, and rent it out until you're ready to move-in. That way when you move in, your mortgage will be based on today's value as opposed to the future appreciated value.

Well, what are you waiting for? Start your search! Next week, I'll tell you the BEST sites to bookmark for staying on top of trends anywhere and everywhere.

Email me and let me know what you've found out, and if you're one step closer to investing in real estate! If you thought of a very unique search phrase that provided you with astounding results, please share!

Posted in Uncategorized
Jan. 31, 2007

Double Dutch

After 10 years of selling real estate, this is my second buyers market.

The major difference is that technology has come a long way in helping to educate consumers, and keep them informed. One month after becoming licensed, the MLS system upgraded from three-ring binder notebooks in individual real estate offices, to a computerized system where every broker could input listings, and the information could be accessed by any member of the MLS. Wow, what a concept!

However, the thought of using a computer every day was unimaginable to many agents, and several left the business. I had a background in technology, so I welcomed the change. Having everything systematized meant accessing the data quicker, and also being able to provide the information to consumers quicker.

Even when I purchased my first condo, I tried to convince many of my friends to buy homes. Many were fearful, but a few did decide to buy. As the years went by, and property values increased, a lot of us reaped the benefits of buying in a buyers market.

Timing the real estate market is like playing double-dutch jump rope. Two ropes constantly go around, and you have to time it just right so that you know how and when to jump in. I remember how frustrating it was when I was learning, but once I got the rhythm, it was easy to learn when to get in, and when to get out.

Are you going to be one of those people who buys in a sellers market, and sells in a buyers market? You don't have to be. As your real estate guide, let me help you learn how to time the market so that you know what to expect, and how to use different sources of information to make wise decisions about your future.

Next week, I'll show you where to look to help you time this real estate market, and markets throughout the country...so stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 21, 2006

Spend Well This Holiday Season

Happy Tuesday, I hope your week is off to a fantastic start and that you're looking forward to a bountiful holiday season.

We're about to enter the time of year where the pressures of the holiday season can entice people to make some poor financial decisions that will affect them in the coming year.

Don't wait until January 1 to start working on your wealth plan for 2007, start right now. Did you know that for many people, it can take until March to pay off the debt that they incurred from the previous holiday season? If you have a long list of gifts that you think you're obligated to buy, here are some helpful tips to encourage you to stay in control of your finances:

* - Write out your list ahead of time. This will tell you exactly who's on your list, and no matter who has been naughty or nice, you can plan ahead.
* - Next to each name, write the amount that you'll spend for each gift. This helps you to establish your spending limit.
* - Set aside the days that you'll go shopping. If you wait until the last minute, you might be forced to make impulsive decisions about purchases.
* - Purchase gift cards...no sales tax!!!
* - Don't charge it!!! If you can't pay cash, then don't buy it. It's too easy to whip out that charge card, and forget how much you've actually spent.

If you're renting now, consider a home purchase for the holiday season. Sellers who have their homes on the market now are very serious about selling, and willing to entertain all offers and negotiate. Closing costs contributions and other selling incentives can enable buyers to find an affordable home even though there may be months remaining on an existing lease.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 9, 2006

FREE Mortgage With New Program

I wanted you to be the first to know about a new mortgage program being offered by Prosperity Mortgage!

With this program, any Northern Virginia area homebuyer can buy a home and have three, six, or even nine months with NO MORTGAGE PAYMENT. This program can be used for any conventional loan, and it can be used to purchase any home, no particular subdivisions or neighborhoods to target, but any home.

How it works, the program allows for a maximum seller contribution of up to 6% of the sales price. Any money left over for closing costs, will be held by the mortgage company in a separate account, and will be paid directly from the account and applied to your principal and interest payment for your new mortgage.

For example, on a $350,000 home, the average closing costs are roughly $7000. However, when negotiating your sales contr act, if the seller agrees to pay 6% of the sales price toward your closing costs, or $21,000, then the remaining $14,000 will be set aside for your mortgage payment.

Assuming you have a zero down payment, and a 6.5% interest rate, your principal and interest payment are approximately $2213 per month. With $14000 left over, that money will be paid directly to your mortgage company, and you will have SIX MONTHS WITH NO MORTGAGE PAYMENTS!!!

What does it take to qualify?

  • Stable employment history
  • About 6-9 months at your current job
  • A minimum credit score of 620, and
  • You must settle on your new home after November 15, 2006.

More information about this new program will be available upon request. If you would like more information, just email me, and we will answer all of your questions about this phenomenal new mortgage program.

I've also just set up a special Toll-Free number specifically to provide more information on this program. If you'd like to tell a friend, the Toll Free number is 1-800-728-1885 x2824 and it is available 24 hours a day!

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 12, 2006

The Boomerang

With Monday being a Federal holiday, the week is definitely going by quickly, and I hope you're enjoying yours.

This week, I'd like to provide additional links to keep you posted on the housing market, both locally and nationally. For a national perspective, it seems like things are balancing out. Those buyers on the sidelines for a 'time-out' might be still on the bench once things pick up again.

I remember the drama of the sellers market, and how tough it was to get those buyer contracts accepted. And more often that not, I heard, "Man, I wish I would have bought when the market was slower." If you're one of those people who tries to buy in a seller's market, and sell in a buyer's market, give us a call so that we can provide you with the right tools to help interpret the market.

Here is an article from Lew Sichelman - Real Estate Market Turndown Nearing End... http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20061011_downturnend.htm

For housing reports for other metro areas: Click Here

For local statistics, visit the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors website at http://www.NVAR.com and click the 'Market Stats' link.

For free updates on whenever a home sells in your Northern Virginia neighborhood, or where your Northern Virginia rental property is located: http://www.FreeNeighborhoodUpdates.com

We already know that the land is scarce. So once the new construction builders have finally sold their loads of 'Immediate Delivery' homes at rock bottom prices, who's going to hold the cards...the homeowners, because they'll have the goods, and housing will be in demand again!

It's a great time to add real estate to your long-term portfolio! The time to buy real estate with little or NO money down, closing costs paid, and interest rates bought down...is NOW.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 27, 2006

Buy The Best!

As a ten-year veteran in real estate, I can say that the real estate market is balancing out...or normalizing.

For those who thought the crazy sellers market of yesteryear was the norm, now may seem like doom and gloom.There are some buyers who are still on the fence right now. Two weeks ago, I mentioned who the primary buyers of today are. For the masses who are still thinking about putting their home search on hold, I can say that now is the time to buy the 'Cheapest of the Best'!

When fuel costs escalate and interest rates climb, we do see a pause in the real estate market here in Northern Virginia. Consumers who considered purchasing in further out locations in order to get 'more house for the money' start to reconsider, and debate if it's more cost effective to pay more to live closer in. For this reason, homes in good locations, close to metros and bus lines, and in good school districts always fare better in a slowing real estate market.

If you are one of those buyers who thought the only way you could buy was to go far out, then reverse your compass! One of the best ways to make sure that your property maintains its value is to buy the CHEAPEST home in the BEST neighborhoods, the CHEAPEST home zoned in the BEST school pyramids, or the CHEAPEST home that's WALKING DISTANCE to the metros.

After all, you're supposed to make money when you buy...not when you sell.

Need helping finding the cheapest of the BEST? Give us a call!

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 14, 2006

So...Who's Buying Anyway?

Good Wednesday afternoon! We're at the middle of the work week and as the weekend draws near, we continue to hear mixed messages about the current housing market.

When you're out this weekend running your errands, and driving by those 'For Sale' signs, you just might ask yourself, "So, who is buying now?" I'll tell you! The financially savvy, the long-term real estate investors, the 'under contract' sellers, and the month-to-month renters that's who!

* - The financially savvy. These are not the people who want to 'get rich quick' and buy real estate with high hopes of a double-digit appreciation on a monthly basis. These are your buyers who dance in tune with their real estate agent, account, mortgage broker, and financial planner, and discipline themselves by saving regularly and investing in multiple avenues (diversifying). These buyers understand capital gai ns tax and are moving up to take advantage of the $250,000 exemption for singles, or $500,000 for couples. These buyers also understand that real estate markets have their cycles just like all other markets, and take to heart Warren Buffett's mantra 'buy when no one else is buying, and sell when no one else is selling'.

* - The long-term real estate investors are the ones who are now bailing out the inexperienced overnight investors who were looking to make a quick buck. Been down to the county courthouse recently? The crowd of investors has definitely gotten smaller, but guess what, that means better deals are being made and foreclosures are not being bumped up amongst investors and sold at market value. Long-term investors are setting themselves up to be 'equity-rich' when the next sellers market cycles through. And that, in turn, will enable them to use the properties they buy today as leverage for future purchases.

* - The 'under contract' sellers are those sellers who studied the market, and listened to their real estate agent and waited until their home was under contract before purchasing another home. In a sellers market, a loan approval and clean contract were the rules, now a non-contingent seller who is moving up is in the perfect position to be selective, and take advantage of countless builder incentives with a new construction, never-lived-in home.

* - The month-to-month renters who 'laid dormant' during the sellers market are now 'blossoming' into homeowners. They are taking advantage of seller paid closing costs, low contract deposits, and interest rate buydowns. Renters with credit issues don't have to succumb to above market interest rate mortgages. With seller buydowns, the household budget can remain in tact.

So, despite the grim reports, there are still lots of buyers taking advantage of this buyers market. Do you know anyone looking to buy a home today?

Work hard...play harder...live well!
Make That Move!

We'll be around this week (and weekend) for your real estate needs!

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug. 30, 2006

Reduction, Reduction, Reduction!

From the Laurel Hill Connection:

Local sellers stuck in the mindset of 2005 are learning a new mantra in the world of real estate: reduction, reduction, reduction. Since last year, the area’s available housing inventory swelled to more than 12,000 listings, according to the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS). With an increase in competition like that, sellers with expectations based on last year’s market have had to make sliding adjustments to sale price.Yet even with buyers in the front seat this year, sales have yet to match last year’s marks. Patient and cautious buyers have helped slow home sales this year. In June, sales slowed 37 percent compared to last year. Under the circumstances, buyers looking for deals don’t have far to go. Link to full article: http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=69639&paper=80&cat=116

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug. 29, 2006

Hot Loans for A Buyers Market

As we all coast along into this buyers market, we're finding that many of our buyers who are now actively looking, have a large menu of mortgages to choose from. In a time where seller and builder concessions are becoming more common, it is important to understand all of your loan options so th at you can get more house for your money.

* - Need a lower rate to buy but scared of rising interest rates? Consider a 10 year interest-only loan that then automatically transfers into a 20-year fixed loan at the same rate. This give you the chance to build equity and maintain the comfort of having a fixed rate.
* - Buying from a builder? Consider a loan with a longer interest-rate guarantee. If your new construction home will take longer than six months to build, this option can guarantee that y ou lock in at today's interest rate.
* - Need a year or two of breathing room before making full payments? Consider a fixed rate loan with an initial rate buydown. Take advantage of lower payments the first one-three years and the remainder of the loan is fixed. (Note: You can see this example with our listing at http://www.6611NettiesLaneUnitH.com and in the right margin click 'Property Documents' and select the ' Financing Scenario' document).
* - In a high appreciation market and expect to move in 10 years or less? Consider the interest-only ARM loan with a longer amortization period, for example a 10/1 ARM. With interest only payments, you take advantage of lower monthly payments while your equity builds in a high appreciation market.
* - Are you a firefighter, teacher, or police officer, or do you have an income at or below the area's medium? Consider the Community Partnership loan commonly offered by providers like Wells Fargo, Wachovia, and Bank of America. These programs have low down payment options, and offer below market interest rates.
* - Want a traditional fixed rate, but need a lower payments? Consider the newer fixed mortgages that run for 40 years. Equity builds more slowly, but the rate is secure.

These are some of the ways that you can take advantage of owning a home. For more information, please contact us or any one of our lending partners lis ted on our website at http://www.movingtonova.com/buyers_journey.htm.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs!

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug. 24, 2006

Best Places to find Real Estate and Job Facts

Good 'hump day' to you. I hope you're having a fantastic week so far.

Here are two good ways to stay on top of the real estate trends and the job market here in the Northern Virginia area:

Free reports that are open to the public WITHOUT registration can be found at http://www.MRIS.com. MRIS is the company that provides the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for all of the listings in the area.To view the historical data and understand the trends in the real estate market, go to the left margin, and \'mouse over\' the \'News\' link, then select \'Market Statistics\'. You can view monthly and yearly reports for all of the metropolitan area.

My second favorite resource is HireStrategy. This website keeps you in the know on jobs and employment in the area. You can browse this site for free, but I do recommend t hat you SUBSCRIBE to the free email newsletter. I was pleasantly surprised to receive the newsletter yesterday to find that \'Forbes Rates Virginia As The BEST State For Business\'! Visit the site at http://www.HireStrategy.com and in the middle, click the article and follow the links to subscribe to the newsletter.

We continue to outperform the rest of the country when it comes to a low unemployment rate. The the job market is the top dog is fueling the local real estate market.

Thank you to those of you who sent your business referrals so far from last week! Please continue to do so and we'll post your referrals for others to see.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

Posted in Uncategorized