Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Homebuyer Advice— How to Beat the Northern Virginia Real Estate Competition

Bidding wars are back! Competition has increased in Northern Virginia real estate as housing inventory is hovering around low levels and prices continue to rise. More and more homebuyers continue to flood the real estate market, thus contributing to more competition with offers.

According to real estate brokerage Redfin, "69 percent of homes on the market fielded multiple offers in June in 18 states." Bidding wars have been reported as most common for bargain-priced homes where buyers are forced to compete with real estate investors.

So, how do you make sure you snag your NOVA dream home? How can you be certain your offer stands out among the rest? The Wall Street Journal recently offered the following tips:

Don't Lowball Your Offer
Above all else, make sure your offer is not insulting to the NOVA home sellers. Real estate experts often advise buyers in a competitive bidding scenario to submit their maximum offer first, not the offer based on what they think other buyers will do.

Set Your Walk-Away Number
At the beginning of your home search, set the number that is your absolute maximum— your "walk-away price." This will help you avoid getting caught up in the competition.

Be Flexible
Being flexible will help you stand out as a willingness to negotiate closing dates or offering benefits to sellers can really set buyers apart.

Get Pre-Qualified
Getting pre qualified to purchase a NOVA home can eliminate a lot of headache for the sellers, as well as you as the NOVA homebuyer. This option shows the seller that you are able to actually close on the home.

Earle Whitmore

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Still Great Time to Buy NOVA Real Estate— Despite Rising Mortgage Rates!

The rapidly rising mortgage rates over the past few months have had relatively little effect on home sales in the area, although their increases may alter the recovery in the near future.

Economists in Fannie Mae's Economic Strategic Report for July say the rising rates could actually hamper the recovery as the increases have been significant. "The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen more than 110 basis points from the first week of May to the end of June," stated the report. It is the sudden rise in the rates in such a short period of time that has the economists worried.

And it may be scaring some NOVA homebuyers— mortgage applications for home purchases have fallen around 9 percent since early May when the rises began. However, it was during this time that the pending home sales rose to their highest level in more than six years, many of which were cash purchases that may not have been necessarily tied to rising mortgage rates.

So, do you stay or do you buy now before it's too late? Real estate experts say even with the dramatic increases, rates are still near the historically low levels. Home sales, which have been nearly untouched by these factors, are predicted to rise about 8 percent in 2013 with the median home price at $189,000 for existing homes and $276,000 for new homes, according to Realtor Magazine.

Contact us today to begin the process of buying a home in NOVA. It's still a great time to buy!

Earle Whitmore

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Refinancing Your Northern Virginia Home Mortgage

You've most likely heard, and even more likely noticed yourself, that mortgage rates are rising and fast. In past months, the interest rates were actually at historic lows while the housing recovery began to make its way back to normal levels. And now, if you've been contemplating the task, it may be the time for you to refinance your Northern Virginia home mortgage. According to real estate experts, refinancing is not as daunting as it may sound:

Consider Your Old Mortgage
The first thing you should do in this process is consider your old mortgage. Gather your latest mortgage statement to find your current rate, assess your annual property tax, know your credit score, and finally, find the costs of your insurance premiums.

Crunch the Numbers
Now is the time to play with a mortgage calculator or crunch the numbers yourself to estimate your new principle and interest rate. Consider how much to borrow and the length and terms of the loan, then compare the savings.

Ask Around
Chances are your NOVA real estate agent or friends and family have the names of trusted mortgage lends to recommend. Rates and estimates can always be found online, but quality service and attention cannot. Use your real estate sources and find the best fit for you.

Don't Apply Just Yet
A formal application lets your lender pull your credit score and when shopping around, pulling too many can actually hurt your score. Depending on your score, that can make a big difference.

Prepare, Gather, Decide
Shop around for the best rates, your preferred lender, gather all of the necessary documents, and then make a decision for the best possible scenario. When all of these have been decided, you are ready to apply for your new NOVA home mortgage. After it's all set, be prepared for surprises, delays, and roadblocks.

Earle Whitmore

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Buying a Home in NOVA Differs by Age

With a big senior citizen housing boom on the horizon and a current flood of millennial homebuyers entering the real estate market, it's quite obvious that trends in buying a home in Northern Virginia will differ by age. For instance, while Gen X is the largest group of recent homebuyers in the country, what they want in their homes is different from what Gen Y desires.

According to the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report released today, "Gen Xers (31 percent) were followed in numbers by Gen Y buyers (28 percent), and then younger Baby Boomers (18 percent), older Baby Boomers (14 percent), and the Silent Generation (10 percent). The Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation, represented less than 1 percent of recent buyers."

The survey, which included a 8,501 recent homebuyers, showed that 80 percent of homebuyers aged 57 and younger purchased a detached, single-family home last year. Homebuyers over the age of 57 were more interested in purchasing a townhome or condo, according to the survey. In addition, like many NOVA homebuyers today, the report also found that a majority began their home search online, looking for houses for sale.

Gen X seems to be the dominant group in real estate right now, on both the buyer and seller front, and are the least likely of those surveyed to finance their home purchase. However, when they do finance their NOVA home, the amount of the home they financed is typically smaller than that of younger homebuyers.

The common denominator in the survey? Both groups were likely to use a real estate agent, with younger sellers more likely to use the same agent in future home purchases than the older sellers. Both groups reported benefits from using a real estate agent.

Ready to buy a NOVA home? I'm ready to help! Begin your search online or contact me to discuss your real estate options.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of July Fun in DC, Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia and DC are great places to spend our nation's birthday on the 4th of July. The following are events taking place in the area that are sure to be fun for the entire family!

Washington, DC
National Independence Day Parade
July 4, 11:45 AM
The parade will begin at 11:45 AM on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Sts. NW. The parade will have marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and more. The parade kicks off a full day of events on the National Mall.

Fairfax City
Independence Day Parade
July 4, 10 AM
The Independence Day Parade will begin at 10 AM with musical entertainment at 7 PM and a fireworks display beginning at dark.

Falls Church
Fireworks and Live Music
July 4, 7 PM
Live music will begin at George Mason High School in Falls Church at 7 PM and fireworks to follow at 9:20 PM.

Fireworks Display and Activities
July 4, 5 PM
The Herndon Community Center is hosting rides at 5 PM, music, crafts, bingo and games at 6:30 PM, and fireworks at 9:30 PM. 

Fireworks Display
July 4, 8 PM
Langley High School in McLean is kicking off the holiday at 8 PM, offering free parking and shuttles from St. John's Lutheran Church and the McLean Community Center. Fireworks will begin at 9:15 PM.

Fireworks Display
July 4, 9 PM
The Reston fireworks display will begin at Lake Fairfax Park will begin at 9:15 PM.

Earle Whitmore