Closing costs are often the last thing a person thinks of when buying a home. While closing is the joyous moment the home becomes yours, the costs can be surprisingly aggravating.
When you purchase a home, condo or other property, you will go through a period known as escrow. During escrow, various issues related to the property transfer are worked out. The last day of escrow is known as the closing day and you are going to be paying closing costs.
Closing costs come in many forms. Some involve significant dollars while others are relatively painless. Here’s a list of typical costs:
Buying a home in Alexandria VA can be one of the best feelings in the world. Nothing beats that feeling of security and satisfaction when you open the door to a new home and are happy with your purchase of your own residence. The question is, how can you best ensure that feeling is going to happen? There are a lot of pitfalls in the real estate world and naturally you want to be able to avoid them and end up with a great home. Here are some great tips on how to streamline your home purchase and keep those little headaches from cropping up.
Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:
1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history. photo credit: Andres Rueda photo credit: Andres Rueda
2. How much you owe. If youowe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.
3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.
4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.
5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.
For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, visit www.myfico.com.
Properties in Braddock District
Sunny and spacious renovated END UNIT townhouse within walking distance of VRE station, Walmart, Target, etc. Built in 1984. NEW kitchen including cabinets, granite countertop and stainless steel appliances. New carpet/paint throughout. Recently renovated bathrooms. Finished walkout basement. Community playground and optional pool. Top schools. [Oakwood Commons Burke - $365,000]
Beautiful, all brick Stanley Martin 3 bed, 4 bath (2 and 2) TH located in walking distance of Old Town Fairfax, shops, restaurants, Farmer's Market and more! Shows like a model and features include gourmet white kitchen with granite, stainless steel and huge center island; gleaming hardwoods on main level and stairs; master with en-suite, walk-in closet and tray ceiling; lower level flex space. [Jaguar/Yorktown - $639,000]
Backing to parkland this 3 level colonial offers 4 beds and 2.5 baths with features including hardwood floors; kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances; formal living and dining, finished walk-out LL; double garage with front and rear access; large multi-level deck and patio. One block to Canterbury Woods Elem and 3 blocks to Ilda Pool! [Springbrook Forest - $619,500]
Located in the sought-after neighborhood of Ravensworth this updated rambler offers 3 bedrooms; new hardwood floors, 5 year young HVAC system & replacement windows. The spacious eat-in kitchen has granite counter tops, SS appliances and tile flooring. Updated full bath is finished in oil-rubbed bronze. French doors open onto a brick patio. Storage shed included. Walk to Ravensworth Elem. [Ravensworth - $419,500]
MUST SEE CUL-DE-SAC END UNIT with a nice front-view, 2 car garage, privacy deck and school bus-stop ft away. KT w. NEW SS appliances, ample cabinet space and a fireplace. Spacious master w. separate soaking tub. LL w. 2nd fireplace and 3rd full bath. EXCELLENT LOCATION minutes away from Wegmans, Fairfax Corner & Fair Oaks Mall. Community has a clubhouse, pool, tot lot & tennis courts. [Wescott Ridge - $574,999]
Super Sized North Springfield Rambler with main level FR addition with FB. Third BR on main level removed to enlarge kitchen for a breakfast room. Wall could be put back into place to add a BR. Two FB's and HB on main level. Partially finished basement with FB. Covered front and rear porches. Needs updating and some sweat equity to make this a show place. Sold AS IS. [North Springfield - $479,900]
Make this home the place where your family will grow and spend wonderful times together. Situated in the popular neighborhood of Kings Park West and minutes away from George Mason University and Robinson High School, this charming home offers a private and beautiful lot at the end of a Cul-de-sac. FYI new roof was installed 2 weeks ago. [Kings Park West - $504,900]
Gorgeous & updated 2 MBR, 2 full BA and 2 1/2 BA Auburn model in Carriage Park. 1st floor FR, office or entertainment area w/half bath & huge storage area. Updated kitchen w/cherry cabinets, granite countertops, SS appliances, undercabinet lighting, OH lights & ceramic tile floor & backsplash. New carpet & paint! Enjoy the convenience of this prime location in Fairfax near major commuter routes. [Carriage Park - $366,900]
Pulte Homes at Mount Vineyard. Well Appointed Brick Front Luxury 2 Story Townhome Styled Condominium with a 1 Car Garage and Full Size Driveway. Walking Distance to the Historic Old Town Fairfax! 1419 Square Feet of Living Space, 3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, Park Facing To Be Built Interior Unit~November/December Delivery. Office Hours daily 11am-6pm. [Mount Vineyard - $530,554]
Pulte Homes at Mount Vineyard. Well Appointed Brick Front 4 Story END UNIT Townhome w/2 Car Garage Walking Distance to the Historic Old Town Fairfax! Loft w/Rooftop Terrace and Sundeck Off Main Level. 3,001 Sq. Ft. September Delivery. Fully Loaded w/ 5~ Plank Hardwood Floors, Gourmet Kitchen Aid Stainless Steel Appliances, White Cabinets w/Granite Countertops and more. [Mount Vineyard - $863,000]
Go to your bank or lending institution to obtain pre-approval. As part of this you will discover what amount it is willing to lend. This is important both to know your budget and to ensure that your offers are accepted. Failure to pre-approve can ruin your chances for success later.
Sit down with a Realtor to see what’s available, what meets your needs, and to discover the hidden dangers in home buying.
Once you have found a property you wish to buy you can proceed with an offer. Your Realtor will provide invaluable assistance by performing a competitive market analysis, a snapshot of recent home sales and their amounts, to determine what will make an offer that gets you the best possible price, without having the seller walk away.
The seller reviews the offer; if it is rejected, the seller may make a counteroffer. This process can continue back and forth until both parties ratify and accept the offer making the offer a ratified contract.
A ratified contract then puts into motion a host of background tasks that proceed invisibly to ensure your new home is in good order:
Home inspected for condition, damage and hidden surprises
Appraisal to ensure the banks investment is covered by the value of the home
Loan approval to secure funds for the purchase of your home
Title Search to ensure the seller really has full right to sell your home
Walk-through inspection to ensure nothing changes at the last minute with the property
At settlement the lender’s money and the title transfer come together to deliver you ownership of your new home.
Now it’s time to move in!
For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.
5 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector in Northern VA
Home buyers in Northern Virginia are well advised to interview a home inspector before hiring that inspector. What should you ask if you’re going to hire a home inspector in Arlington, Alexandria or Fairfax County? Here are a few ideas for questions.
Title insurance protects the policy owner against loss in the event that the property’s title or legal ownership is something other than insured. It helps ensure that the property owner is assuming clear title for the real estate being purchased. Title insurance is different than other types of insurance in that it offers protection against…
Today we’re featuring this property for sale at River Towers in Alexandria Virginia. We highlight properties that are interesting, unique or just good deals. This 1 bedroom property is listed for $168,000. We like to keep our eyes open for home buying opportunities for our clients.
One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the area. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may be less than desirable. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, its a…
In preparation for buying a home, it’s a good idea to understand credit scores. Credit scores range between 200 and 850, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:
Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card bills on time? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also affect your history.
How much you owe and where. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, spreading debt among several accounts can help you avoid approaching the maximum on any individual credit line.
The length of your credit history. In general, the longer an account has been open, the better.
How much new credit you have. New credit—whether in the form of installment plans or new credit cards—is considered more risky, even if you pay down the debt promptly.
The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit—such as installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage.
Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.
Get pre-approved. Pre-approvals inform the seller that you can afford to purchase their home and that you’ve met with a lender who has agreed to finance your purchase. You will also know how much you are qualified to borrow. No sense in looking at $500,000 homes when you only qualify for a $400,000 home.
Find the right Agent. Buying a property is one of the biggest undertakings you will face in your life so it pays to have a professional who will be with you every step of the way. It makes sense to work with someone who has more education and experience than you. At the end of it all, hiring a real estate agent will save you time and money.
Educate yourself on the cost. There is more to buying a home than just the purchase price. Closing costs, inspections, appraisal, moving fees, homeowners association, homeowners insurance, and other fees are often a surprise to unprepared buyers.
1. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help you determine your buying power — that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a Nesbitt Realty Realtor® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders — banks and mortgage companies — offer limited choices.
2. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are Nesbitt Realty Realtors® have access to a variety of informational resources. Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can provide local community information on utilities,
zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
4. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
5. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements
(access rights) for utilities. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
6. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
7. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
8. When selling your home, your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
9. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that willsignificantly enhance the salability of your property. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The Realtor® Code of Ethics requires Nesbitt Realty Realtor® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.
10. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your Nesbitt Realty Realtor®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
11. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position.
This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
12. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® can help close the sale of your home.
Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your Nesbitt Realty Realtor® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).
For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.
Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.
2. Research before you look.
Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing. Is walkability important to you? How about proximity to the Metro? Perhaps you want your new home to be in ? Whether you want a condo in Arlington or a single family home in Kingstowne, a townhouse in Cameron Station or a studio in Crystal City, Nesbitt Realty probably has a search tailored to your needs. If you have trouble finding the search that you need call us and we’ll be glad to help you out.
3. Be realistic.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a list of homes that fit your budget and criteria, then it’s time to start viewing property. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property. We still have a buyers’ market, but that doesn’t mean people are giving real estate away. Although homes have dropped in price 10% to 20% from the high-water mark a few years back, prices in Northern Virginia have tightened up and I’m not seeing further erosion in prices.
4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions.
It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. Your home is a personal choice. In the end you’re the one who will pay the mortgage and you’re the one who will live there, so make sure you’re pleasing yourself, not your advisers.
5. Decide your moving timeline.
When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
6. Think long term.
Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
7. Consider a home inspection.
A home inspection is an option for every home buyer. A home inspector is a professional whose job it is to check the home out for defects. Whether you purchase a condo, townhouse or single family residence, a home inspection is an important option to consider.
8. Get help from a REALTOR®.
Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Here’s the best part about employing a Realtor to represent you: buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment, so there is no expense to you the buyer.
For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.
Obtaining pre-approval from a bank is a daunting process. It is time consuming both due to the delay and because of the amount of paperwork required to satisfy a lender of your credit status.
It is, without a doubt, the most pressing matter before beginning your home search. Proceeding without this step can lead to angst and lost time, energy and opportunities. Without pre-approval you’ll be facing the following pitfalls very quickly:
Offers will be rejected in favor of lower offers by pre-approved buyers.
Delays can result as you await approval by your bank.
Too late you may find the home you are looking at is beyond your budget
A better home could have been yours if you’d known what you could afford
Time can disappear into looking at homes that disappear from the market before you’re ready to make an offer and
Effort invested into your search can be wasted as you await pre-approval to have an effective offer.