5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

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.Credit Cards
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

10028 Eastlake Dr

HUGE four level split in sought after community! This 5 bedroom home has a lovely great room addition with gourmet kitchen and sitting room snuggled in next to the gas fireplace. Double wall ovens, doubles sinks and double dishwashers are just a few of the great amenities in this kitchen. Upstairs, the master is to die for: walk in closet, huge room w/ vaulted ceiling, four piece bath, and more! [Kings Park West - $765,000]

10052 Wood Sorrels Ln

BEAUTIFUL HOME IN BURKE WITH 3 BEDROOMS 3 FULL BATHROOMS. Completely Upgraded Kitchen and Wood Floor on Main Level. Lower Lever Rec Room with Fireplace. Walk Out to Huge Deck that Back to Trees. Multi-Car Private Driveway. Close to Metro Bus and VRE. [Burke Centre - $420,000]

7825 Patriot Dr

Sparkling End Unit Beauty! Turn key ready from fresh paint throughout & new carpet, to completely remodeled kit w/granite counters, stainless steel appliances, cabinets & ceramic tile floor. All updated baths. Deck off ML. LL walk out to fenced-in yard. Water included in condo dues. 2 assigned parking. Commuter's paradise: close to 495, Pentagon Express bus, Fairfax Hosp, walk to area schools. [Fairfax Heritage - $314,888]

5841 Crowfoot Dr

SHORT SALE professional working, house needs repairs and will be sell AS IS. [Cardinal Estates - $450,000]

11105 Redford Ct

Updated & Upgraded! 4 Level split on landscaped cul-de-sac lot in the heart of Fairfax! New kitchen w/42" cherry cab, granite & SS apl! Baths w/designer tile & vanities! Refinished hrdwds main lvl, wood under carpet upper lvl! New custom front door w/full view storm door! Most windows replaced! Huge tiered deck! New water & sewer lines to street! Woodson school tier! [Fairfax Villa - $499,000]

5102 Arrit Ct

Just Listed! Great 3 level Townhouse with 3 bedroom 2.5 bath townhouse in the heart of Burke! Features Master Bedroom with Private Bath, Wood Floors, Vinyl Siding, New Carpet, some New Flooring, New kitchen counter, New Windows, New Sliding Door, New Bathroom Vanities, Updated Electric Panel, New Gutters. Open Floor Plan, and more! Community has 2 swimming pools & a 1.5 mile trail around the lake. [Lake Braddock - $359,900]

4716 Leehigh Ct

Expansive and Elegant 4BD/3.5BA Colonial w/over 5,000 sqft of Living Space on 3/4 Acre in sought after Birchtree!! Features Two Story Foyer,Huge Gourmet Kitchen w/Granite, Family Room off of Kitchen w/Vaulted Ceiling & Skylights, Master Suite w/Sitting Room, Huge Master Bath, Separate Home Office next to 3-Car Garage, Finished Walkout Basement w/Large Brick Patio & Deck! Woodson HS pyramid & AS IS [Birchtree - $800,000]

4357 Hackney Coach Ln #154

Excellent Condition, Location and Price! One of the largest models in desirable Carriage Park (1800 sqft) beautiful and in perfect condition. And with many recent updates, including Trane Furnance & Air Conditioner, 50 Gallon hot water tank, Granite and Back splash, upgraded insulation and low utility bills. Master Retreat suite with sitting area, vaulted ceiling & California walk-in closet. [Carriage Park - $385,000]

11575 Cavalier Landing Ct #205

Spectacular unit! NEW granite counters, NEW engineered wood floors, NEW dishwasher, refrigerator & NEW paint. Incredible location makes this an outstanding bargain in a neighborhood with all the amenities. Secure building with elevator and your own garage. Pool & Tennis courts,1 block to Wegmans Convenient to Fair Oaks Mall, Rts 50 & 66. [Courts At Wescott Ridge - $335,900]

7759 Donnybrook Ct #108

First Class Renovation of Ground Floor Front condo in desirable Heritage Woods North. Quick access to 495, Heritage Mall, Bus Line, Parks and schools. Kitchen updated with Bianco Romano Granite, newer white appliances, fresh paint on wood cabinets. New flooring by Pergo is very neutral & will complement your decor. End unit with light on 2 sides, private patio. [Heritage Woods North - $182,000]

What to Know About Credit Scores

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.

What every purchaser should know about title insurance

Here are some of the basics about title insurance:

1. Every mortgage lender requires title insurance. Title insurance protects the lender and the secondary markets to which they sell the loans from defects in the title to your home and property. It ensures the validity and enforceability of the mortgage document. Title defects could include mistakes made in the local property office, forged documents and claims from unknown parties. The amount of the policy is equal to the amount of your mortgage at its inception. You pay a one-time fee as part of your closing costs. If you are purchasing a home, you should also purchase an owner’s policy which provides coverage up to the purchase price of the home you are buying. In some states it is customary for the seller to purchase the owner’s policy on your behalf.

2. You have the right to choose your title insurance provider! You can shop around for a lower insurance premium rate on line at sites, or you can also ask your lender or real estate professional for help in getting quotes.

3. Check the companies out before you select one. Make sure the title insurance company you choose has a favorable Financial Stability Rating® with Demotech, Inc., the leading title insurance rating company.

4. It’s easy to save money on title insurance. Request quotes from a few companies and then reach out and speak to them. Ask about hidden fees and charges which could make one quote seem more attractive than another. Ask about discounts. There are often discounts available if you are refinancing and sometimes even when you are purchasing if the current policy issued to the seller on the property isn’t too old.

5. Even new construction needs coverage. Even though the home is new, the land isn’t. There may be claims to the land or liens placed during the construction which could negatively impact your home.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

What is a real estate agent?

Julie Nesbitt
Julie Nesbitt

One of the most complex and significant financial events in peoples’ lives is the purchase or sale of real estate, be it a house, condo, townhouse or some other investment property. Because of this complexity and significance, people typically seek the help of real estate brokers and sales agents when buying or selling real estate.

Nesbitt Realty brokers and sales agents have a thorough knowledge of the real estate market in Northern Virginia communities. Our brokers and agents know which neighborhoods will best fit our clients’ needs and budgets. Nesbitt Realty real estate agents are familiar with local zoning and tax laws and know where to obtain financing. Agents and brokers also act as intermediaries in price negotiations between buyers and sellers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Real estate brokers and sales agents often work evenings and weekends and usually are on call to suit the needs of clients.
  • A license to practice real estate is required in every State and the District of Columbia.
  • Although gaining a job may be relatively easy, beginning workers face competition from well-established, more experienced agents and brokers.
  • Employment is sensitive to swings in the economy, especially interest rates; during periods of declining economic activity and rising interest rates, the volume of sales and the resulting demand for sales workers fall.

You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who understand real estate. Paraphrasing Henry Ford, when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. A real estate broker or agent acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate (or real property as it is known elsewhere) and attempts to find sellers who wish to sell and buyers who wish to buy real estate.

When buying real estate, you may have several choices as to how you want a real estate firm and its agents to work with you. For example, you may want them to represent only you (as a buyer’s agent). You may be willing for them to represent both you and the seller at the same time (as a dual agent). Or you may agree to let them represent only the seller (seller’s agent or subagent). Some agents will offer you a choice of these services. Others may not. Realtor Logo

If you are selling real estate, you may want to “list” your property for sale with a real estate firm. If so, you will sign a “listing agreement” authorizing the firm and its agents to represent you in your dealings with buyers as your seller’s agent. You may also be asked to allow agents from other firms to help find a buyer for your property.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Owner Financing Can Expedite Sales

Owner financing can help sell a property in this challenging market.

Banks generally are willing to accept rent credits for an option to buy as an acceptable down payment, but both buyers and sellers must follow these guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to sanction the transaction.

The rental amount must be determined by a property appraisal with the credit for the down payment clearly calculated as the difference between market rent and actual rent paid for 12 months. For instance, if market rent is $1,000 and rent paid is $1,200, $200 could be credited monthly toward the down payment.

The rent/purchase agreement must be for a minimum of 12 months. The contract must clearly specify a rental amount as well as the portion to be credited toward the purchase.

The buyer will need copies of canceled checks or money order receipts for 12 months, proving rental payments to persuade the bank to credit the funds toward the down payment.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.

What do real estate agents do?

When selling property, brokers and agents arrange for title searches to verify ownership and for meetings between buyers and sellers during which they agree to the details of the transactions and in a final meeting, the new owners take possession of the property. They also may help to arrange favorable financing from a lender for the prospective buyer; often, this makes the difference between success and failure in closing a sale. In some cases, brokers and agents assume primary responsibility for closing sales; in others, lawyers or lenders do.

Duties to Sellers

Agents and brokers spend a significant amount of time looking for properties to sell. They obtain listings—agreements by owners to place properties for sale with the firm. When listing a property for sale, agents and brokers compare the listed property with similar properties that recently sold, in order to determine a competitive market price for the property. Following the sale of the property, both the agent who sold it and the agent who obtained the listing receive a portion of the commission. Thus, agents who sell a property that they themselves have listed can increase their commission.

The listing firm and its agents must

  • promote the sellers’ best interests
  • be loyal to the seller
  • follow the sellers’ lawful instructions
  • provide the seller with all material facts that could influence your decisions
  • use reasonable skill, care and diligence, and
  • account for all monies they handle for the seller.

Once you have signed the listing agreement, the firm and its agents may not give any confidential information about you to prospective buyers or their agents without your permission so long as they represent you.

Duties to Buyers

If the real estate firm and its agents represent you, they must

  • promote the buyers’ best interests
  • be loyal to the buyer
  • follow the buyers’ lawful instructions
  • provide the buyer with all material facts that could influence your decisions
  • use reasonable skill, care and diligence, and
  • account for all monies handled for the buyer.

Before showing residential properties to potential buyers, agents meet with them to get an idea of the type of home the buyers would like. In this prequalifying phase, the agent determines how much the buyers can afford to spend. In addition, the agent and the buyer usually sign a loyalty contract, which states that the agent will be the only one to show houses to the buyer. An agent or broker then generates lists of properties for sale, their location and description, and available sources of financing. In some cases, agents and brokers use computers to give buyers a virtual tour of properties that interest them.

Agents may meet several times with prospective buyers to discuss and visit available properties. Agents identify and emphasize the most pertinent selling points. To a young family looking for a house, for example, they may emphasize the convenient floor plan, the area’s low crime rate, and the proximity to schools and shopping. To a potential investor, they may point out the tax advantages of owning a rental property and the ease of finding a renter. If bargaining over price becomes necessary, agents must follow their client’s instructions carefully and may have to present counteroffers to get the best possible price.

Once the buyer and seller have signed a contract, the real estate broker or agent must make sure that all special terms of the contract are met before the closing date. The agent must make sure that any legally mandated or agreed-upon inspections, such as termite and radon inspections, take place. In addition, if the seller agrees to any repairs, the broker or agent ensures they are made. Increasingly, brokers and agents are handling environmental problems as well, by making sure that the properties they sell meet environmental regulations. For example, they may be responsible for dealing with lead paint on the walls. Loan officers, attorneys, or other people handle many details, but the agent must ensure that they are carried out.

Most real estate brokers and sales agents sell residential property. A small number—usually employed in large or specialized firms—sell commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other types of real estate. Every specialty requires knowledge of that particular type of property and clientele. Selling or leasing business property requires an understanding of leasing practices, business trends, and the location of the property. Agents who sell or lease industrial properties must know about the region’s transportation, utilities, and labor supply. Whatever the type of property, the agent or broker must know how to meet the client’s particular requirements.

Brokers and agents do the same type of work, but brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Agents must work with a broker. They usually provide their services to a licensed real estate broker on a contract basis. In return, the broker pays the agent a portion of the commission earned from the agent’s sale of the property. Brokers, as independent businesspeople, often sell real estate owned by others; they also may rent or manage properties for a fee.

Would Lower Market Rates Pump Up Sales?

Will mortgage rates ever drop to 0 percent?

Zero percent financing has long been a loss leader in the automotive industry, but Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a provider of mortgage information, says that scenario is unlikely. You’d have to find an investor who would buy a security with a zero return – a hard sell even today.

Jim Sahnger, mortgage associate Palm Beach Financial Network, concurs that the funding would be hard to find “unless there were significant fees on the front end to compensate for costs to originate, deliver, default, etc.”

If 0 percent financing could be funded, Sahnger believes potential borrowers would be lined up, kicking up demand for houses.

Gumbinger isn’t so sure because buying a home is a bet on the economy and that kind of confidence is hard to find, he says. “People are concerned that tomorrow is not going to be better than today.”

Source: MarketWatch.com, Amy Hoak (09/27/2010)

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