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

Oct. 6, 2013

What Condos For Sale In Alexandria VA Are FHA Approved?

What Condos For Sale In Alexandria VA Are FHA Approved?

Smart HomebuyerAlexandria VA Real Estate - One of the biggest mistakes that home buyers make is starting the home search before obtaining a mortgage approval.  Did you know that despite having a mortgage loan approval, there are certain homes that you cannot buy?  This holds true if you are buying a home with an FHA loan.  FHA loans are the most popular types of loans for first-time home buyers and buyers with less cash for a down payment.  Currently, an FHA loan requires a 3.5% down payment.  If you are looking at condos for sale in Alexandria VA with an FHA loan, you will need to make sure that the condo is FHA approved.

Homes like my current listing at 2500 Van Dorn in Park Place, can only be purchased with cash or conventional financing.  So, even though this Alexandria VA high-rise condo for sale is attractively priced at $89,000, it's out of reach if you cannot afford to pay cash or if you cannot qualify for conventional financing.

One of the ways that an experienced Alexandria VA buyer agent can help is to recommend local lenders to help you get qualified, and to show you homes that fit your buyer criteria.  While it may seem cool to look a homes before you're approved for your mortgage, it's a waste of time to look at homes that are out of reach because of price or financing constraints.  If you have been approved for your mortgage and are looking for Alexandria VA condos for sale that are FHA approved, first visit the FHA website.  By selecting 'Virginia' for the state, and entering 'Alexandria' for the 'City' you can see a list of  condo buildings that are approved for FHA financing.  The list can change throughout the year, and the FHA approval can expire before your closing date.

If you are ready to buy a home in Alexandria VA, call me at 703-623-8759.

See Also: Your Loan Is No Longer Available

See Also: Biggest Buyer Blunder

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Sept. 23, 2013

How Much Equity Do I Have In My Alexandria VA Home?

How Much Equity Do I Have In My Alexandria VA Home?

 

Factors of EquityAlexandria VA Real Estate - Equity is the difference in what your home is worth and what you owe. Ideally, as the value goes up and the unpaid balance goes down with each amortized payment made, the equity grows from two directions.

This dynamic leads to increasing a person’s net worth much faster than many other investments.

A homeowner has minimal control over value. It is necessary to maintain the property to avoid depreciation and make good decisions on capital improvements. After that, appreciation is generally controlled by supply and demand and the economy.

Mortgage management is something that the homeowner does have control. Making the decision to select a shorter term mortgage at a lower interest rate can have an impact on equity build-up. Consider this when buying a home in Alexandria VA, lower interest rates amortize faster than higher interest rates which will also affect equity growth. Currently, it is possible to get a 1% lower rate on a 15 year mortgage than a 30 year mortgage.

Compare two alternatives of a 30-year and a 15-year mortgage. The payments will definitely be higher on the shorter term because it pays off quicker. However, if a person can afford the higher payments of $362.53 more per month in this example, the equity in their Alexandria VA home will be greater. Even after you take into consideration the higher payments, the increased equity is $17,236 at the end of the seven year holding period.

Mortgage Rate Comparison

 

Another decision that can affect equity build-up is making additional principal contributions along with the regular payments. Whether you’re making an occasional lump sum payment toward principal or regular monthly contributions, it will save interest, build equity and shorten the term on a fixed rate mortgage. Estimate your personal savings with this Equity Accelerator.

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Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 13, 2013

Alexandria VA Real Estate Market Update August 2013 - Pending Sales Down

Alexandria VA Real Estate Market Update August 2013
Pending Sales and Prices Down

Alexandria VA Real Estate - How's the real estate market in Alexandria VA? Here are the monthly statistics for August 2013.

How many homes sold in Alexandria VA? - There were 223 homes that sold in August, this is the third consecutive month of decreased sales volume.  We saw this year's peak back in May when 275 homes sold.  The real estate market in Alexandria took off this year, with increase sales continually from February to May.  What's also noticeable is the dip in the number of new listings.  Since June, fewer and fewer homes have been coming on the market, August's new listings count was 223, a sharp decline from May's peak of 380.  This was the third consecutive month of fewer homes coming to the market in Alexandria VA.

 

How many homes went under contract in Alexandria VA? Pending sales are also taking a dip, for the fourth straight month.  In August, there were 259 homes that went under contract (or pending), a sharp decrease from April's peak of 413.

What is the median sold price of homes in Alexandria VA? Based on the numbers, affordability in Alexandria is increasing.  In August, the median sold price was $476,250, down from last month's median of $484,950, and June's median of $520,000.

How quickly are homes selling in Alexandria VA? Sellers will be pleased to learn that the average number of days on the market for a home continues to be below the 30-day mark.  In August, homes were on the market an average of 28 days.  Off by only one day from June's low of 27 days, and less than half of February's peak of 66 days.

Are homes in Alexandria VA selling for asking price? With low average days on the market, home sellers in Alexandria are still holding the cards.  In August, homes were sold at 98.04% of their original asking price, leaving little room for negotiation (at least on price).

If you would like more detailed information on the August 2013 Alexandria VA real estate market, click here for the full report.

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Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 3, 2013

Alexandria VA Real Estate Market - Consumers Should Brace for EOCY SubMarket

Alexandria VA Real Estate Market -
Consumers Should Brace for EOCY SubMarket

Alexandria VA Real Estate - Labor Day has come and gone marking the end of summer.  But it also means the beginning of a new sub-market in the Northern Virginia and Alexandria VA real estate market. As fall starts to creep into the calendar, the real estate market will enter what I like to call the 'EOCY' market, or the 'end of calendar year' market. I've been selling real estate for 16 years and I've notice that there will always be motivated buyers and sellers particularly during this timeframe.

Military, government, and corporate moves often revolve around the calendar year, but more importantly, taxes are an even bigger motivator for both buyers and sellers. Many people are motivated to either sell or buy real estate in Alexandria VA in hopes of claiming or deducting something on their personal or business taxes. So, make no mistake, if you see a 'For Sale' sign in the yard over the next 2-3 months, it's because that seller has to sell.

In looking at the seasonal patterns, more homes do sell homes during the springtime, so when you have the opportunity to buy a home in Alexandria VA during the last few months of the year, it's pretty safe to assume that you are engaging a 'must sell' seller.

Take a look at the interactive chart below showing the seasonal patterns of sales volume in Northern Virginia (use your mouse to hover over the points within the chart):

 

Looking at the trends for Alexandria City, you'll see that the same holds true:

 

But end-of-the-year selling is not all bad for sellers. Buyers looking to make a purchase during this time are fewer in number, but more focused. So don't be surprised if there are still multiple offer scenarios, like in the hot spring market. The best way to arm yourself is to speak with a local mortgage lender to get approved so that when you're ready, you are in a position to make an attractive offer and show the seller that you have the means to close and meet their targeted closing date.

And while the buyers are more focused about finding a home during this part of the year, on average, Alexandria VA home sellers have still managed to obtain over 93% of their original list price during the EOCY real estate market.  Take a look at the chart below:

 

In line with the improving real estate market, you'll see that over the past three years, Alexandria VA home sellers have gotten more for their homes each year during the EOCY market.

 

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Posted in
Sept. 2, 2013

Things To Do In Alexandria VA - September 2013 Calendar of Events

Things To Do In Alexandria VA - September 2013 Calendar of Events

School's back in session, Labor Day is now a thing of the past, and it's time to get into a new routine.  Don't forget to carve out time for some rest and relaxation, and check out some fun things to do in September 2013 in and around Alexandria VA.  Take a look at the calendar of events below and see if you'll be able to attend one or more of these events (be sure to click the calendar to open the pdf view):

September 2013 Events Calendar September 2013 Events Calendar

We'll say good-bye to summer this month, but staying in shape is a year-round event.  You may want to visit National Harbor and give Waterfront Zumba a try on September 18.  There's never a shortage of activities at National Harbor, and Waterfront Yoga is also offered throughout the month of September.  Want to get in a Nat's baseball game?  Then show your support for the Washington Nationals as they take on the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves.  Music lovers have a wide variety of concerts to choose from including Blood on the Dance Floor performing at the Howard Theatre on September 24 and The Funky Meters at The Hamilton on September 30.

Want to live close to all of the action?  Visit my website and start your search for homes today!

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Posted in Fun, Things To Do
July 24, 2013

Northern Virginia Real Estate Update and Stats for June 2013

Northern Virginia Real Estate Update and Stats for June 2013

The following is the latest MarketWatch video that details the June 2013 statistics for the Northern Virginia real estate market:

 

Here is a snapshot of the details:

  • Nationally, job growth continues to be modest, but steady with 195,000 jobs added between May and June.  Over the last 12 months, the US gained 2.3 million new jobs.  Federal government employment continued to decline, however the US unemployment rate remains at 7.6%.
  • Housing sales and prices are up nationwide, and while inventory is still low, it has seen growth in recent months.
  • The region added about 14,000 jobs compared to 12 months ago.  The unemployment rate in Northern VA increased to 4.3%, from 3.8% last month as more residents entered or re-entered the workforce than were hired, a trend frequently seen in summer months.
  • Housing market performance picked up again in June.  Sales were up 15% from a year ago, and we saw the highest sales total for any month since June 2006.  New pending contracts were up 12% from this time last year, this represents the highest June total since 2005.  There were 6,250 active listings in June, which was a 10.7% decline from June of last year.  The total of homes for sale is now 72% lower than its June 2006 peak.  Despite this steady decline, new listings are on the rise for the third consecutive month.
  • There were almost 4,500 new listings in June, up 9.5% from this time last year.
  • At $443,000 the median sales price is 8% higher than this time last year, this is also the highest median sales price the region has seen since August 2007.
  • The median days on market is now 8 days, which is 9 days lower than this time last year, and the lowest level seen in 8 years.
  • Summer is off to a strong start in Northern VA, sales and new contracts are up compared to this time last year and prices continue to rise.
  • The inventory shortage is beginning to show signs of improvement as more and more sellers enter the market, possibly driven by higher prices.  As summer continues, it’s likely the pace of sales will slow, in line with seasonal market patterns, possibly tempered by rising interest rates.

 

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Posted in Uncategorized
June 19, 2013

Is The Alexandria VA Real Estate Market Out of Control?

Is The Alexandria VA Real Estate Market Out of Control?

Yesterday's rainshowers mean lots of green lawns, beautiful flowers blooming, and sunny skies today. I know you've got 'Work To Do', but find the time to enjoy it today and I'm sure you'll be glad you did.

One of the ways that I can tell that we're back into a sellers market is that buyers are contacting me about homes that sold over six months ago, and they want to look in those neighborhoods, and they are astonished to learn that the prices have risen. We try to make it super easy to search for homes that are currently for sale, but for some reason, buyers want to dig, hunt, and scavenge for listings that are obsolete and have sold. Oy!

Home Prices Coast To CoastBut many are wondering, are things out of control again in the Alexandria VA real estate market? Is there a new housing bubble forming? Are people more confident now about buying a home? Take a look at the infographic and you'll see that from coast to coast, home prices are up. This graphic shows first quarter of 2013, compared to first quarter 2012. Across the United States, home prices are in the green. What you need to understand in the current real estate market, is that waiting for the next house means the next house will likely cost more money.

There are two things that factored heavily into the last housing bubble:

  • Banks were too lenient with their money. Anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage, and without documentation. That means you didn't have to provide paystubs, tax returns, or bank statements to your lender, they would give you a mortgage and you didn't have to prove that you could pay it back.
  • Appraisers were lax and loose when it came to valuing a property. Comparables were laughed at, and there was so much pressure to close, that many appraisers felt obligated to appraise properties at the contract sales price. Appreciation was assumed and appraisers took into account the number of offers received and the short days on the market.

These two things are clearly not happening today. The two biggest challenges for buyers now are the tighter lending guidelines and tighter appraisal guidelines. Just last week, a buyer for one of my listings was denied the mortgage because her credit score dropped before closing. The buyer had charged too many items on her credit card, and in doing so brought her closer to her credit limit, and that brought her score below the qualifying guideline. We were past all inspections, only five days to closing, and her lender said, "no way Jose!".

Appraisal guidelines have also tightened up. There are federal guidelines in place to prevent you from overpaying for a home (not that you still couldn't pay cash for more than the value). Lenders cannot speak to the appraisers, they only take into account what has sold and settled, not homes that are still pending.

We are in a healthy Alexandria VA real estate market. And that healthy real estate market is fueling the economy. And when the economy has momentum, you can expect interest rates to rise. When interest rates rise, the cost of buying increase. So don't delay your home search any longer.

Recent Rate Movement

Home prices are still below their peak levels, but now is a good time to buy a great home, in a great location, and still lock in with an attractively low interest rate.

Need help with your search, I'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

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Posted in
June 12, 2013

Del Ray Real Estate Market Report and Sale Update - May 2013

Del Ray Real Estate Market Report and Sale Update - May 2013
Sales Volume Up For Third Consecutive Month

Del Ray Market Report Graphic

 

Del Ray Real Estate and Homes For Sale - Located in Alexandria City and just a few short minutes from DC, the Del Ray area of 22301 remains to be a hot market.  Known for its trendy bungalows, affordable duplexes, charming cape cods, and remarkable rebuilds, homes sales in Del Ray continued to climb in the month of May 2013.

 

In May, there were 34 homes that sold in Del Ray, up from 26 in April, 19 in March, and 12 in February.  The number of homes sold in Del Ray over the past few months is a welcome and positive sign for the real estate market.  With low interest rates, buyers are taking advantage of increased buying power and snapping up these close-in homes, reducing the cost of the commute.

 

The median sales price increased slightly in the month of May, up to $665,500.  Last year's median was $551,250.  The average sales price for a home for sale in Del Ray was $751,505.  In May 2012, the average sales price was $626,645.

 

What Del Ray home seller who has been on the fence wouldn't want to sell now?!  The average days on the market was just over a month, at 35 days. In May 2012, the average was 34 days.

 

And Del Ray homes sellers are getting very close to their original asking price as well.  In May 2013, the average sold price-to original list price ratio was 98.5%, giving up just a little bit but not bad when you consider that in May, it was 97.45%.

Del Ray Alexandria VA Market Analysis

May was an absolutely exceptional month for the Del Ray real estate market.  Looking back the trend is clearly visible, and the pendulum has swung back into the seller's favor.  Increased average sales price, increased closing price ratios, and days on market only increased by one day from this time last year.  There's no question that location is a big factor for buyers who are looking to stay close in.  Right now, there are 26 active home listings in Del Ray, and this is down by two units from this time last year.  Buyers who are new to the Del Ray real estate market would be wise to review these current statistics.  The market is hot, homes are moving fast, and there's not a lot of room for negotiating.

Click this link to see a current list of all Del Ray homes for sale in Alexandria VA for zip code 22301.

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May 20, 2013

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Statistics for April 2013

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Statistics for April 2013

The following is the Northern Virginia Market Watch video update for April 2013:

 

Here are the highlights for the April 2013 real estate market:

  • 165,000 jobs were added to the economy between March and April
  • Government employment continued to decline on federal, state, and local levels
  • Unemployment rate fell to 7.6%
  • Housing activity continues to be a bright spot for the recovery, sales volume and prices continued to increase, however there is some concern that investors are ‘propping up’ some local markets
  • Economic growth in Northern Virginia is slower than last year.15,000 jobs were added in the last 12 months. Unemployment dropped from 4.3% to 3.9%
  • April sales were 12% higher than this time last year, the highest April level seen in three years.
  • New contracts were up 12% over last year, after five consecutive months of decline.
  • Active listngs were 25% lower than this time last year,the lowest April level in 8 years.
  • New listings were up 17% from April 2012.  Sellers are starting to be drawn into the market with higher sales prices and faster sales times.
  • The median sales price is up 8% from April 2012, the highest the region has seen since fall 2007.
  • Median days on market is now 9 days, the lowest since 2005.
  • While active listings remain low, the rise in new listings may be the sign of a changing pattern.

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Posted in Market Reports, Videos
May 2, 2013

6181 Trident Lane Woodbridge VA 22193

Woodbridge VA Real Estate |
Move-In Ready Townhome at 6181 Trident Lane Woodbridge Virginia

6181 Trident Lane

Have you been thinking about taking advantage of the current low interest rates?  Lease ending soon, and decided that it doesn't make sense to renew? Then take a look at this beautiful, end-unit townhome tucked away in Trentdale.

Priced at $239,900, this lovely home is ideal for first-time buyers, investors, and scale down buyers. When you drive up, you'll immediately notice that there are two assigned parking spaces directly in front, in addition to visitors spaces.  So, don't be shy about inviting guests over because there's ample parking in the community.

It's hard to imagine from the outside, but there is over 1600 square feet of comfortable living space.  As you walk up, you'll notice four box bay windows.  These augment the size of the rooms, giving the home that sought-after open feel.  Enter through the front door and you'll be greeted by pergo flooring in the foyer and oversized living room.  The living rom features french doors that lead to rear deck and fully fenced back yard.

Also on the main level is the powder room, and the utility room that houses the full sized washer and dryer.  The kitchen is abundantly equipped with cabinets and countertop space.  The upgraded stainless steel appliances include a built-in microwave, dishwasher, side-by-side refridgerator, and gas stovetop cooking.

Upstairs you'll find three oversized bedrooms, including the master bedroom with a walk-in closet and full private bath.  You don't want to miss out on this opportunity to own an affordable home with a fenced back yard, rear deck, open kitchen, and full owner's suite.

Take a look at the video show for 6181 Trident Lane below.

Use this map for 6181 Trident Lane if you're interested in driving by this home to see if it fits the bill.


View Larger Map

To schedule an appointment to view 6181 Trident Lane Woodbridge VA, please call me directly at 703-623-8759.

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Posted in Just Listed