Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Shop Around for a Mortgage in Northern Virginia, DC

When it comes to homebuyer mistakes in Northern Virginia and DC, perhaps the biggest one is failing to shop for a mortgage. Many homebuyers simply take the first mortgage they are offered without knowing they could have secured a better loan, with lower fees and a lower rate. 

As you shop for a home in Annandale, Springfield, Centreville, McLean, Mount Vernon this summer, make sure you then also take the time to shop around for a mortgage. Use the following tips to ensure you're getting the best possible deal and loan for your dream home in NoVa:

First, research your budget
Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford in a NoVa home. Include all of your monthly expenses, including property taxes, monthly maintenance and utilities, insurance and any private mortgage insurance (PMI) that you may acquire. Once you've determined your budget, you can then proceed with shopping for the best rate.

Research the different types of mortgages
It's important that Northern Virginia homebuyers know the different types of mortgages— from fixed rate mortgages to adjustable rate to those that allow payment adjustments. Each loan type will come with its own set of fees, terms, requirements and limitations. For instance, you may receive a penalty for paying off your mortgage early with some loans. Take the time to find which loan type is best for you.

Compare loans among lenders
On one specific day, gather quotes from several lenders and even brokers. Lenders can give out different rates and fees to consumers on the same day for the same loan, so it's important to shop around. Once you have a list of rates from many lenders, then you can go about finding which is the best deal.

Ask for help
If finding lenders and brokers in the NoVa area is stressful for you, always ask for help! As your local real estate professional, I can provide suggestions for experts in the mortgage space that can help you find the best rate for your new home loan. A recommendation can oftentimes put you at ease, knowing that you are working with a trusted pro.

Shopping around for a mortgage in Northern Virginia and DC can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, so don't leave it out of the mix! I'm happy to help walk you through the process of buying a home and answer any questions to calm your fears. Just give me a call!

I happily serve the areas of Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lake Ridge, McLean, Mount Vernon, Reston, Rosslyn, Springfield, Tyson’s Corner and Vienna. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with Northern Virginia Events!

Memorial Day weekend is almost here in Northern Virginia! It's time to get ready for summer, celebrate the great weather and participate in the upcoming local events honoring our veterans. 

This weekend, there will be parades, festivals, concerts and memorial services from Alexandria to Arlington, Falls Church to Fairfax, DC to Mount Vernon and McLean. If you plan to be in the area this holiday weekend, are welcoming friends and family to NoVa or will be visiting the surrounding communities yourself, be sure to add the following festive events to your calendar:

Alexandria Memorial Day Jazz Festival
May 25, 2015; 1 PM to 7 PM
Waterfront Park
Alexandria, VA

This annual event will feature big band, swing and contemporary jazz music. Guests can plan to picnic in the park while enjoying the music and other refreshments will be available for sale. Admission is free.

Falls Church Memorial Day Parade and Festival
May 25, 2015; 9 AM to 5 PM
Falls Church, VA

This year's 34th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival is much anticipated in Northern Virginia! Highlights of the event will include amusement rides, arts and crafts, food vendors, local businesses, live entertainment, contests and the Don Beyer 3K Fun Run. There will be a Veterans Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial outside the Community Center and afterwards, a parade will proceed down Park Avenue.

National Memorial Day Parade
May 25, 2015; 2 PM
Downtown DC— Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW

This DC based event began in 2005 and has grown every year since! It is now the largest Memorial Day event in the country and will proceed by national monuments, the White House, museums and more!

ViVa! Vienna! Festival
May 23 to 25, 2015; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 10 PM; Monday 10 AM to 6 PM
Freeman House Museum
Vienna, VA

Free to attend, this local festival is an event for the entire family! There will be amusement rides, food, crafts, vendors and entertainment for all to enjoy. Approximately 50,000 guests will be in attendance with over 300 vendors over the 3-day weekend. What's more, 100% of the proceeds will go to charitable, community and humanitarian organizations.

Prince William Community Band Festival
May 24, 2015; 2 PM to 6 PM
Loy E. Harris Pavilion
Manassas, VA

A free event that will highlight the music of the Prince William Community Band, the Clark County Community Band, Moonlight Jazz Orchestra and the U.S. Army Band Quintet.

If you're planning a move to Northern Virginia or are simply ready to upgrade your home, do not hesitate to contact me! Not only am I happy to provide suggestions for local events and destinations, but I can help you find your dream home in one of our idyllic surrounding communities. 

I happily serve the areas of Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lake Ridge, McLean, Mount Vernon, Reston, Rosslyn, Springfield, Tyson’s Corner and Vienna. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood in Northern Virginia

My last blog post explored how to know if you're ready to buy a home in Northern Virginia, especially if it is your first time making such an important purchase. Once you've asked yourself the important questions, it's time to move on to determining what it is you want in a NoVa home.

There is much more to consider than the number of bedrooms, square footage and backyard— real estate is all about location! Oftentimes, choosing a neighborhood is just as serious as choosing the house itself and for first-time buyers, you'll need to factor in the following:

Depending on where you desire to live, affordability will fluctuate greatly. Get pre-approved to determine your price range and then take some time to research home prices, noticing where the higher priced homes are located. You don't want to fall in love with a home that's out of your budget!

Type of neighborhood
Many Northern Virginia homebuyers seek to live in a neighborhood close to restaurants, entertainment, shopping, parks and fitness. It's nice to be located to all of these, but that can also come with heavy traffic and noise. Living in a suburban community can mean a longer commute time and a rural locale can mean travel time to everyday amenities. Make sure you're house-hunting in the right place for you!

School districts
Excellent education is a must-have for homebuyers with children, so factor this into your neighborhood search! You can do a simple search for school ratings and even chat with the city for more details. 

The neighbors
When you tour a neighborhood, pay attention to the people and pets outdoors. You may find a home you love, but a large, noisy dog next door. Look for the empty properties, both retail and residential, as you never know what could be built there next. 

With my decades of experience in Northern Virginia real estate, I will be your inside guide to neighborhoods in the area. Give me a call today!

I happily serve the areas of Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lake Ridge, McLean, Mount Vernon, Reston, Rosslyn, Springfield, Tyson’s Corner and Vienna. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Summer Festivals Prepare to Visit Northern Virginia— Mount Vernon, Centreville, Herndon, Arlington VA

Now that warmer weather is finally here, I think we're all looking forward to summer. After all, it's already May! Northern Virginia is full of fun destinations to visit and events to attend in the summer sun and this month will be no exception. 

May will welcome dozens of festivals to local communities like Mount Vernon, Centreville, Herndon and nearby Washington, DC. If you're planning your summer festivities ahead, you'll want to add these to your calendar!

Mount Vernon Wine Festival and Sunset Tour
When: May 15-17, 2015, 6 PM to 9 PM
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon 22121 

Mount Vernon is widely known as the home of our first president, George Washington, and as an iconic NoVa locale, a sunset tour is a dream. This month, Mount Vernon will present its wine festival and tour to celebrate history while also enjoying local wine. Guests who attend can enjoy live jazz and picnic while overlooking the Potomac.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
When: May 16, 2015, 10 AM to 6 PM; May 17, 10 AM to 5 PM
Where: Reston Town Center, 12001 Market St, Reston 20190

When the weather is nice, it's a great time to explore Northern Virginia and its many local artisans— the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is just the place! There will be original works of art for purchase by over 200 artisans, children's activities and live performance throughout the event.

Taste of Arlington
When: May 17, 2015, 12 PM to 6 PM
Where: Arlington, VA

This lively street festival will highlight the best of Arlington's food scene with proceeds benefiting the Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington Community Foundation. There will be a chance to taste the cuisine of over 40 restaurants, live music, kids activities in the KidZone and a farmers' market. Admission is free, but food tickets will be required.

Hernon Festival
When: May 28-31, 2015
Where: Downtown Herndon

A traditional outdoor festival with live music, fireworks, a carnival and dozens of vendors in historic downtown Herndon.

Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival
When: May 31-June 1, 2015
Where: Bull Run Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville

Virginia is celebrated for its wonderful wines and this is just the place to try over 50 of the best local wineries! 

Contact me today for more information on moving to a new home or relocating to Northern Virginia— I have decades of experience in the area to help find the best community for you!

I happily serve the areas of Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lake Ridge, McLean, Mount Vernon, Reston, Rosslyn, Springfield, Tyson’s Corner and Vienna.