Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Now is the Best Time to List Your Home in Northern Virginia

It’s a common misconception that homes don’t sell as fast in Northern Virginia in the winter months as they do in the spring. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Buying season can be any time of year when you are have the right agent. This year is projected to be the best year for the housing market since 2007, so why not get a running start? Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait to list your home:

Supply is low. As the real estate market recovers, the only thing standing in the way of selling a home is not listing it. This is great news for people looking to sell their home or upgrade, as this means that prices will be right and the houses are selling! There is a lot of activity in the Northern Virginia area and now is the best time to get involved. 

Demand is high.
The National Association of Realtors reported that annual sales in 2012 increased 9.2% over 2011. The increase in sales is projected to continue to rise through 2013. People are finally upgrading, finding great deals on financing, and first-time buyers are making the move. 

Shorter transaction time. This time of year, fewer people are listing their homes. This means that less inspections are scheduled, which means shorter wait times for those who are taking advantage of the perks of listing a house at the beginning of the year. 

New houses are coming. Construction is one of the first industries that will see a boost as the economy gets stronger. Investors are taking advantage of this time and new homes will be popping up, which means more competition. 

There is no better time than now to list your home for sale in the Northern Virginia area. As the premier real estate agent in the area, specializing in Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Alexandria, I can assure you that your home selling experience will be a smooth one. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to contact me

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Popular Attractions in Northern Virginia

Mount Vernon Estate 
Everybody who lives in Northern Virginia already knows how great it is. However, if you just moved to the area, are planning a visit, or you are planning on buying a home in the Northern Virginia area, here are just a few of the attractions that make Virginia great.

Great Falls Park. This park provides 800 acres of beautiful scenic trails along the Potomac River. Perfect for hiking, biking, and kayaking, this park is one of the most popular recreational areas in the country. It is also a very popular location for weddings. 

Arlington National Cemetery. This cemetery is 624 acres of rolling landscape dedicated to those who have fought and served for America. Arlington National Cemetery is still active and performs funeral services everyday. Open 365 days of the year, More than four million people visit the cemetery annually. 

Mount Vernon Estate Museum and Gardens. Home to America’s first president, the 500 acre historic estate dates back to the 1740s. Located in Fairfax County, Mount Vernon is also George Washington’s final resting place. 

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Naval Aviation and Space Museum. This museum holds hundreds of air and spacecraft, including the Discovery space shuttle. Open since 2003, this museum is a top attraction in Northern Virginia

The U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial. Also referred to as The Iwo Jima Memorial, the 32 foot high sculpture is from the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from the Battle of Iwo Jima. A turning point in WWII, the scene is of five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman raising the American flag after overtaking the island. 

Manassas National Battlefield. This 5,000-acre park is the historic site of the Battles of Manassas during the Civil War. Guided tours and reenactments turn this park into an outdoor classroom. 

Northern Virginia truly is a wealth of American history and landscape. If you have recently moved to the area, please explore this beautiful part of the country. If you are thinking of buying a home in Northern Virginia, please contact me! I would love to make your dreams of finding a dream home a success. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sell your home in NOVA now!

Why you should list your home NOW! 

Buyers that are looking to buy now are more serious buyers than the warmer months.  
People tend to shop around and also have more options in warmer months.  So, when people need to move and quick it doesn't matter the weather.  Buyers in the cold season tend to not only be more serious buyers but also have a quicker turn around.   Plus, there is less competition because most home sellers wait till the spring season. Also, better for you to sell now so when you need to buy you have a better opportunity to purchase durring the hot spring selling season and have more options.  
This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

Buyers are Serious
There is Less Competition
You'll have a Quicker Selling Process
No Better Time to Move-Up in a Larger Home - Prices are projected to rise by 16% by 2016   

If you need more information or help selling your home, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.  I am here to help!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More on Mortgage Payments for NOVA Homebuyers in 2013

The down payment presents the biggest obstacle to homeownership for most buyers, especially first-time buyers and those in lower income brackets. Fortunately for those people, lenders have become more willing to underwrite mortgages with small down payments.  If you need some help finding a good lender I can give you some great people in the NOVA market.

Most mortgage lenders require a cash down payment between 10 to 20% of the sale price. Some lenders have zero-down mortgage programs. If you can put down more than your lender requires, say 25 to 30%, your lender may be willing to overlook credit blemishes, approve your loan without verifying your income or both. If you come up short on the down payment, with less than 20% of the buying price, before your loan is approved you may have to obtain private mortgage insurance, or PMI, to protect the lender.  You can often lower your mortgage payment or afford a more expensive house by putting more money down.

The Lowdown on Down Payments:

If you make $40,000 a year your monthly mortgage payment (28% of gross income) would be $933. Your total monthly debt should be no more than 36% of your gross income; so in this senario: $1,200. The bigger the down payment, the more expensive the house you can buy.  So, let's say your monthly mortgage payment of $933 has an interest rate of 7.5%. In a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that monthly payment covers a total principal of $133,435.45. With 10% down, that mortgage would cover a house worth $148,262. With 20% down, the house price would be $166,794.

If you need more information or help determining how much you can afford, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.  I am here to help!

Reference: www.bankrate.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finding Your Home in Fairfax Country in 2013

With many choices and options when buying a home in Fairfax Country how do you settle or make a choice?  The biggest and most important thing to consider is price. Always start with a price range!

Mortgage lenders are concerned with your ability to repay the mortgage especially in today’s economy. To determine if you qualify for a loan, they will consider your credit history, your monthly gross income and how much cash you have for a down payment. Start saving!  Have around 20 to 30 percent of the home’s cost to have for a down payment.

The standard debt-to-income ratios are the housing expense ratio or front-end, ratio shows how much of your gross monthly income would go toward the mortgage payment. Your monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowners insurance, should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income. To calculate your housing expense ratio, multiply your annual salary by 0.28, then divide by 12 (months). The answer is your maximum housing expense ratio.
The back-end ratio is the total debt-to-income, that shows how much of your gross income would go toward all of your debt obligations, including mortgage, car loans, child support and alimony, credit card bills, student loans and condominium fees. Your total monthly debt obligation should not exceed 36 percent of your gross income. To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, multiply your annual salary by 0.36, then divide by 12 (months). The answer is your maximum allowable debt-to-income ratio.
When looking at Conventional loans your housing costs should be 26 to 28 percent of monthly gross income. FHA loans housing costs would be 29 percent of monthly gross income. 

In addition, lenders include the cost of taxes and insurance when calculating how much house you can afford.  Property taxes are part of your monthly mortgage payment, it is important to get an estimate of what yours would be.  Ask your real estate agent for the rates that apply in the area you want to buy. You must insure your property to obtain a mortgage monthly payment. Be sure to inquire about special requirements for hazard insurance, such as mandatory coverage for floods, earthquakes or wind. If you put down less than 20 percent of your home's value, you also will have to obtain mortgage insurance or take out a second loan, called a piggyback loan, to bring the first mortgage down to 80 percent of the purchase price. Both alternatives will raise your monthly payment.

If you need more information or help determining how much you can afford, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.  I am here to help!