You’ve been prequalified … what now?

I met with a first-time buyer over the weekend. She was prequalified by her lender. Prequalifying helped frame her choices. It’s a waste of time and energy to look at homes that are outside of the budget, so prequalification is the first step for any home buyer. Here are the steps that we’ll be taking on the road to home ownership.3D Realty Handshake

  1. Tour properties — We took a top level tour of some of the properties that are in her
    budget. This gives the client something concrete and real to think about so that she can decide whether this home ownership thing is for her or not. In addition to the units we saw, I can think of a number of places that would also fall within this client’s budget and still offer a very reasonable commute to Ft. Belvoir. But I wanted to get her impressions of these places before going on a bit deeper.
  2. Revisiting — We’ll revisit those communities that hold the greatest interest and look at everything available in those communities.  (So far we just did a top level search.)
    • A few more choices — If none of these really feel right, we’ll find a few more to consider and continue with the search.
  3. Make an offer — When we’ve found the property that stirs the soul, fits the budget and feels right, I’ll write up an offer. At that time I’ll collect “earnest money”.
    • The earnest money is evidence that the seller is serious about the purchase and is held in escrow until the sale is completed. We’ll submit a preapproval letter, a copy of the earnest money deposit and the signed offer for the seller to consider.
  4. Negotiations — Sometimes there is a difference between the asking price and the selling price. The selling price is determined by negotiation. We’ll pass drafts of the contract back and forth until the buyer and seller have agreed on all terms.
  5. Loan processing — Julie at Condominium Mortgage will then collect documentation from the client. This documentation will serve the purpose of proving the representations made in the loan application process. The buyer will produce pay stubs, bank statements etc. Julie will also order an appraisal as required by all lenders.
  6. Settlement — Settlement is the word used to describe the actual transfer of ownership. We’ll settle on the property in a timely fashion on an agreed upon date. Settlement will occur at a title company’s office and a settlement agent will ensure that funds are present as is marketable title.
  7. Ownership — Here’s where the fun begins … as does the responsibility of home ownership.

Properties in Alexandria

3310 S 28th St #201

Bright 1BR/1BA unit located right off of King Street in the heart of Alexandria. Convenient to Shirlington Town Center, Pentagon City, Old Town Alexandria and downtown DC. Includes private storage room in basement . Dog Park on property. Pool in summer [Bolling Brook - $179,000]

7400 Gatewood Ct

Custom all-brick colonial in Villamay. All the Bells and Whistles. Hardwoods throughout. Three Masonry Fireplaces. Remodeled Main Level Powder Room and Upper Level Bathrooms . Custom Chef's Designer Island Kitchen featuring Sub Zero and Wolf and Granite counters. Formal Living Room with Built-ins. Formal Dining Room off Kitchen. Master Bedroom with Full Marble Walk-in Shower. Full Upper Level Hall Shower Bath and adjacent Linen Closet. Numerous recent Upgrades and Improvements including both HVAC units, Water Heater, Roof, Driveway, Steel Chimney liner and Built-ins. Climate-controlled Attic Storage Room on Upper Level and additional Attic Storage with pull-down stairs. Two-car Garage with Custom Storewall System and Epoxy Flooring. Spacious Garden Shed. Extensive Hardscapes in Rear Yard. [Villamay - $1,050,000]

5825 Foley St

3BD/1 Full and 2 Half BA home with three floors & endless possibilities. Hardwood floors and a fireplace inside. Spacious fenced backyard great for entertainment with a separate shed. Great location -1/2 mile to Huntington Metro. [Huntington Mews - $389,900]

117 Shooters Ct

Rarely available 2 master bedroom, 2.5 bath all brick townhome in Shuter's Hill with garage! Quick 11 minute walk to King Street Metro. Freshly painted and gleaming hardwoods throughout. Living room has vaulted ceilings, fireplace and insulated French doors that leads to private patio. Perfect for dining al fresco. Huge eat-in kitchen and formal dining area. Enormous bedrooms and plenty of storage in garage. Amazing location. Close to Old Town's shops & restaurants. Easy access to I 495. Owner managed Home Owner's Association. [Shuters Hill - $647,500]

8452 Hallie Rose St

Enjoy the most sought after brick front elevation in the neighborhood! Immaculate home with open floor plan, beautiful natural lighting and 2 fireplaces with oversized garage large enough to open car doors with room for additional storage. This is a great home to entertain in with large rooms, open floor plan, huge living room large enough for a sectional. Create instant mood with the flip of a switch and stay warm with 2 gas fireplaces on the main and lower level, huge master suite with vaulted ceiling and fan. Walkout from the lower level to fenced in low maintenance back yard with brick paver patio. This Awesome location is next door to Woodlawn Park with Tennis, basketball, picnic area and walking trails through the woods, perfect for your 4 legged friends or for some exercise. Access couldn~t be any easier to major transportation outlets and Only 10 Miles from the future home of AMAZON HQ in CRYSTAL City, minutes to 2 metros, Virginia Rail, Mt. Vernon, Old Town Alexandria, Pentagon and the Potomac River. Commutes a breeze to DC or the Pentagon. Welcome to your new Home!! [Skyview Park - $420,000]

5818 La Vista Dr

BELOW MARKET SWEAT EQUITY OPPORTUNITY.... Structure is sound and many systems newer, just very dated..... live here while you remodel....estimated $65,000 to $75,000 below after repair value..... BIG TICKET ITEMS COVERED - HVAC approx 2011, Water heater fall 2018, Roof estimated 6 years, driveway resealed this fall....Huge family room addition with a gas stove....skylight in the living room and kitchen...Screened porch off the family room.... Lots of storage - closet in the carport, closet in the screened porch and workshop/shed with electric service in the rear....Carport with direct entry into the kitchen....Ceiling fans in each bedroom...full bath in the master....pull down stairs to the attic in the hall and another in the carport.... Terrific chance to get into a great neighborhood at a bargain price. [Fairfax Homes - $423,000]

1917 N Quaker Ln N

YUM!! WOOF!! 2 level/2 bedroom townhome (no patio) in sweet location. Structurally renovated open kitchen with granite and stainless. COMBO washer/dryer (yep, all in one-low energy usage). Sun- drenched eastern light. Offers due Tuesday, Dec 18th by 12N, if any. [Parkfairfax - $309,999]

2462 Windbreak Dr

Open House Saturday 12/15 2 pm - 4 pm. Sunday 12/16 1 pm - 4 pm! An outstanding find so close to Alexandria. This 3 Bed, 3.5 Bath townhouse at a great price and great location. A townhouse that is close to everything! Updated throughout, Roof in 2011, Windows in 2015, Water Heater in 2017, Front Door, Granite, and Kitchen flooring just recently. The lower level could be used as a suite with it's full bath and Refrigerator. Cherry and Fig tree in the backyard along with a jasmine vine complement the indoor space with a serene outdoor patio. Come see soon! [Mount Vernon Square - $374,900]

4721 Pole Rd

Oversized Split Foyer for Sale 5 Bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms. Master Suite includes bonus room, bedroom, full bath His and Hers closets. Cathedral Ceilings with plenty of light. Updated Kitchen includes custom cabinets, tile floors, granite and stainless steel appliances. Hardwood floors in Main living room and bedrooms as well as eat in kitchen, Lower level with 2 bedrooms and full bathroom, family room with Wood Burning Fireplace, built in bookcases and so much storage room. Circular Driveway makes for easy access. Fenced back yard with Shed and Deck. Located next to a park. Super Convenient location to new Amazon facility, 495/95/Pentagon/Ft Belvoir and so much more! [Engelside - $565,000]

8510 Hallie Rose Pl

OPEN AND BRIGHT! End unit TH with open floor plan and lots of light. Ready to move in! New carpet. New paint. Large Family Room off Kitchen has gas FP and opens to spacious deck, great for entertaining. MBR with lots of windows for extra light has two walk in closets. MBA with double vanity, large soaking tub and separate shower. Lower level has 4th BR with full bath and laundry room. Great location. Close to shopping, entertainment, restaurants, major highways and Ft Belvoir. [Skyview Park - $430,000]

8902 Beauchamp Dr

OPEN SUNDAY 1-4PM! Expanded and updated contemporary on gorgeous half acre lot near Mt. Vernon Estate. Fabulous features include: bright open floor plan, glass window wall, gorgeous hardwood floors on two levels, and oversize two car garage. Large deck overlooks private grounds. Freshly painted interior makes this one move in ready! [Sulgrave Manor - $550,000]

1400 Oakbrooke Ave

Lovely spacious home in sought after Fort Hunt area. Special features include: 4 Bedrooms, 3 Full Baths, Gourmet Kitchen, Family Room with Fire Place, massive screen porch off family room, and garage parking! [Oakbrooke At Fort Hunt - $645,000]

3009 Kings Village Rd

Spacious and sun-filled 4-level Townhouse in amazing, commuter-friendly location! 1,316 square ft. offering 3 Bedrooms, 2 full and 1 half Bathrooms. Enjoy cooking in the large, eat-in Kitchen that opens to a private deck, perfect for entertaining! An attached 1-car garage makes easy access for parking. Fully finished lower level offers endless options! Located close to the metro, Beltway, shopping, restaurants and recreation areas, you couldn't ask for more! Welcome home! [Village At Gum Springs - $369,900]

5250 Valley Forge Dr #604

Large 3 bedrooms, 2 Full bathrooms. Balcony w/great view. Hardwood floors. Quite secure building. Assigned parking, outdoor pool and party room. Walk to shopping and metro. [Wapleton Condominium - $215,000]

635 First St #203

Lives like detached home - Sunny corner unit (S & E exposures) with extensive designer details and upgrades. Lovely entry foyer, hardwoods throughout, fireplace, huge kitchen with pantry, upgraded lighting and cabinet interiors, plantations, renovated master bath and powder, two master bedroom suites, new dishwasher, HVAC and washer/dryer. French door to treetop terrace overlooking hip Gables Old Town. Two parking spaces. BEST IN CLASS! [Liberty Row - $879,900]

6603e Jupiter Hills Cir #E

Beautiful home offers open concept living with 2 spacious bedrooms and 2 stunning bathrooms. Natural light bathes the main living area thanks to the sliding glass door leading to the outdoor patio. Warm up with the cozy wood burning fireplace with wood mantel and glass folding doors. Elegant features throughout such as crown moldings, 6-panel front door with sidelight windows, and chair railing in the dining area. Your inner chef will rejoice in the updated kitchen featuring granite countertops, 42~ raised panel cabinets, and more. 2017 carpet and heat pump system. Community features tennis, playground, trails, park, and pool. Minutes to restaurants, shopping, Metro Bus stops, golf course, I-395 Capital Beltway, and more [The Pinecrest - $282,888]

1250 Washington St #202

RIVER VIEW! Spacious & elegant 2 bedrooms + Library features open, expansive floor plan with freshly painted neutral decor. Kitchen remodeled in 2017. Hardwood floors. East and West exposure delivers natural light all day. Storage rooms. Double exposure includes views of both river and formal gardens and west views of trees. Two contiguous garage spaces next to elevator. [Porto Vecchio - $725,000]

1111 Villamay Blvd

Elegant Colonial at Villamay's Premier Address! Enjoy grand living spaces, newly-built first floor master suite, spacious yard, and even partial river views! Generous light-filled rooms, vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, expansive windows, formal living room and dining room, enormous family room, and main level two car garage! All-new stylish open-concept kitchen with Bosch appliances, Brizo faucet and pot filler, elegant marble accents, quartz counters, and custom Showplace cabinetry! Luxurious master suite features white marble walk-in shower, towel warmer, double vanities, skylight, cathedral ceilings, and walk-in closet, all overlooking serene water feature. Second master upstairs! Outdoor spaces include, gorgeous flagstone front porch, rear patio, and gleaming sunroom overlooking charming fish pond. New windows, new driveway, all systems updated. One of a kind! Don't miss this renovated beauty! Proudly offered by Owner/Agent. [Villamay - $1,225,000]

7214 Rebecca Dr

On the market for the first time since 1964, this one level expanded Goodman contemporary has four to five bedrooms, one and a half baths and is sited on a lovely corner lot. Eason Cross designed addition adds a breezeway entrance and a separate bedroom wing. Flexible living spaces, original parquet wood floors, wood-burning fireplace, two sheds, great curb appeal. This home is being sold "as-is" but has been well-maintained. [Hollin Hills - $599,000]

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

 

Share

Why use a realtor?

Realtor pin
Realtor

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(r) are properly called REALTORS(r). They proudly display the REALTOR “(r)” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. All agents and brokers at Condo Alexandria are Realtors. REALTORS(r) are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS(r) subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR(r) again.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR(r).

But if you’re still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR(r), here are a dozen more reasons to use a Realtor from Condo Alexandria.

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

The Young Professionals Survival Guide to Condo Ownership and Growing-Up

cashAlthough there are numerous benefits to owning a condo which include the lifestyle that such ownership entails; individuals living as single, young professionals who are just starting out, are arguably the most notable beneficiaries. The economic benefits that condo ownership provides for this particular demographic are two-fold. First, owning a condo is certainly less expensive than owning residential property insofar as the material upkeep and residual costs that homeownership necessitates. Second, most contemporary condo buildings offer a host of wide-ranging amenities that would command a considerable cost to an individual homeowner but which can be enjoyed instead at a significantly reduced rate to condo-owners who share jointly in the overall expense.

These otherwise high-priced features and amenities usually include guarded and/or private, enclosed parking; 24-hour security and front desk staff; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; clubhouses; gated recreational facilities; etc., etc. (the list goes on and on!!). To that extent, condo ownership is therefore an ideal middle ground for the single, young professional who may very well aspire towards homeownership someday but who still remains a far cry away from white picket fences, two-car garages and 2.5 children.

Nesbitt Realty can help you buy or sell in Cameron Station.
The condos of Cameron Station include Carlton Place, Condominiums of Cameron Station Blvd, Main Street, Oakland Hall, Residences at Cameron Station and Woodland Hall.

In addition to the economically sound benefits that condo ownership provides, there are other elemental and lifestyle benefits that are associated with condominium ownership as well. Today, there are as many types of condominiums out there as there are types of people. Plainly put, the condominium marketplace has progressed with such rapidity that the variety and availability of choice in condo options is as original and unique as individual homes. Thus, each type can satisfy the different needs of different individuals and therefore enhance and accommodate every kind of lifestyle. For example, there are distinctions between what are popularly thought of as ‘condominium apartments’ versus those that are known as ‘condominium townhouses’, which might have small differences from one another save for their structure regulations. There are also condominiums known as freeholds whereby a condo owner owns the plot of land as well as any structure on the land such as a house or townhouse.

Finally, for single or young professionals who are still growing into their grownup-ness, condo ownership signifies an increase in responsibility and a commitment to ownership. To be clear, condo living isn’t like renting a single dwelling home or apartment and this is due to the dual nature that comes with owning any condo unit. Condominium owners hold ownership over their respective units but, additionally, each owner is also responsible for the operating costs and maintenance of the all of the shared elements on the property such as lobbies, passageways, and elevators. Here, owning a condo is effectively choosing to live within a community of other condo unit owners and thus, your neighbors. Each condominium complex is a unique community and each owner accepts the rules and regulations that are equally unique to condo living.

Condos in Ballston 880 Condominium Unit 404 Pksp 260
Arlington

In a condominium complex, you also become part of a distinctive community where you as an individual become an integral part in the community as a whole; and this includes being an essential part of the decision making process. However, the advantages that come with shared communal facilities like the pool, clubhouse, and state-of-the-art gym are collectively a strong incentive to watch your neighbors’ back.

In summation, owning a condo can provide both economically sensible and personally enjoyable benefits to any owner looking to buy but especially for individuals who are single, working and fairly young professionals who are new to the game but ready for more. In addition, because of the multiplicity and vast assortment of condominium units and styles that are available, condo ownership includes something for everyone. Lastly, although buying a condo certainly signifies a new level of maturation and grownup responsibility; the advantages to living in a shared community and to be able to engage as an honest and responsible neighbor will hopefully serve you both by keeping your pocketbook and your sense of self a little more full.

Condominiums are found in all shapes, sizes, prices and types. Are you looking for a high-rise condo, a mid-rise or a garden-style condo? Maybe you'd prefer a townhouse?

The term "garden-style" condo usually refers to a condominium residence in a building that has less than three stories. Most garden-style condos have balconies or patios for each residence. Many garden-style condos have a main entrance that opens to a common-area hallway. Additional common areas include the green space and "gardens" surrounding the structures. If you're interested in garden-style condos you'll have a lot of options in Northern Virginia.

From the suburban feel of Kingstowne to the central location of Bolling Brook from the vintage charm of Belle View to the chic feel of Carlyle Square, are just some of the many Northern Virginia condominium communities we feature.


[read more]

Recent Listings

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

A Financial Plan for Your Home

You probably already have a financial plan for yourself in place. Most likely you sat down with an advisor at some point to set up a budget and diversify your investments. Or maybe you did it yourself online or at the dining room table. Either way, smart move.

But what about your home specifically, probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life? Did you really take everything into account: repairs and upgrades, the mortgage, insurance, and taxes? Probably not.

Your house requires a financial plan of its own. Spend a weekend creating one. Once you have a handle on your home’s expenses you can devise a long-term strategy that’ll let you live there for years with maximum enjoyment and minimum anxiety. These are the four central elements you need to address.

The mortgage: Paying it—and then some

Yes, you already shell out a lot for your mortgage, but can you pay more? Even a little extra each month can add up. Let’s say you have $200,000 outstanding principal and a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5%. Your monthly payment is $1,319.91. But if you can manage to pay another $100 a month, you’ll save $14,887 in interest. Run the numbers for yourself.

Alan D. Kahn, a financial planner in Syosset, N.Y., likes the idea of early payoff because lowering debt leaves you free to spend money elsewhere later on. There’s an emotional benefit as well. It can feel awfully good to own your house outright as soon as possible. And don’t fret too much about losing the mortgage interest deduction come tax time. Toward the tail end of the life of a loan most of your payment is going to the principal, not the interest.

Nevertheless, the same extra $100 might also go into a retirement plan every month, or be put aside for the inevitable home repairs (more on those later). Michael Kay, a financial planner in Livingston, N.J., says while a debt-free life may be enormously important to your peace of mind, an extra $1,200 toward your child’s college fund every year may feel even better. It’s about what’s ultimately important to you, both emotionally and financially.

Insurance: Protecting your property

You’ll want homeowners insurance with full replacement coverage in case your house is burned to the ground. This sounds simple, but be careful on the calculation. Remember that you own a house as well as the land on which it sits. So even though you bought your home for $300,000, it may cost only $100,000 to rebuild it. Your policy limits should reflect this.

The differences are regional. Where land is at a premium, like much of Southern California, a higher percentage of the purchase cost is for the property rather than the structure. Where land is cheap, like much of North Dakota, most of the value of a new house is the house itself. Don’t be deceived by shifts in market values. You may have bought a $1.2 million townhouse in Florida during the boom that now may only sell for $600,000. But the replacement cost of the townhouse hasn’t changed much, so you can’t cut insurance costs that way.

Do, however, try to cut costs by asking your insurance agent about discounts. Making structural improvements, such as adding storm shutters, can lead to lower rates. Membership is certain groups, such as AARP or veterans’ organizations, entitles some policyholders to breaks on premiums as well.

Repairs and renovations: By choice or necessity

Throughout the life of your house, you’ll be making two kinds of changes. The first is the fun kind, like a marble floor for the living room. The second is the essential, behind-the-scenes change: a new water heater. You don’t have a choice about when you’ll do the latter, but you can prepare for it financially.

It’s a good idea to have a rainy-day fund. Start with the inspection report you received when you bought the house. Did the inspector indicate that you would need a new roof in five years? A new furnace in 10? Get estimates on what these repairs will cost and start saving. Consider ongoing non-emergency maintenance too. Do you live in New England? Price a snow blower and get bids from plow services. Resist the temptation to take care of everything with home equity loans, which defeat efforts to pay off the mortgage early.

As for the discretionary upgrades, act prudently. Matthew P. Havens, a financial planner in Hingham, Mass., has seen too many people rationalizing lavish upgrades as an investment when they really were lifestyle decisions. According to Remodeling magazine, an upscale major kitchen upgrade, for example, could cost nearly $112,000, but only about 63% of that will be recouped in the home’s resale value. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t upgrade. If you can afford to redo your bathrooms, go ahead. Just don’t confuse your necessary repairs (new oil furnace—about $4,000) with your discretionary upgrades (Viking range—$6,000 and up).

Taxes: (Almost) no way around them

Taxes are an essential part of your home’s financial plan. The bank that holds your mortgage may already handle your real estate taxes with an escrow account. If so the expense is built into your monthly mortgage payment. Check your statements or call the lender. Otherwise create a dedicated fund for property taxes, which can run into the thousands of dollars annually.

You may be able to reduce your tax burden by getting a reassessment. Do your homework first. Are comparable houses taxed less than yours? Ask the local assessor what formula is used to set tax rates. Kay, the New Jersey financial planner, researched and then challenged the assessed value of his own home and got a 15% rollback.

If you’re in a special group, you might get some help from state or local programs. Check around to see what’s available in your area. New York State, for example, has its Star Program for giving senior citizens some relief from school-related property taxes.

Richard J. Koreto is a freelance writer. He has been editor of several professional financial magazines and is the author of “Run It Like a Business,” a practice management book for financial planners. He and his wife own a pre-Civil War house in Rockland County, N.Y.

Share