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 Fort Hunt

7714 Lookout Ct

YESSS this CONTEMPORARY meets traditional house: 2 story dark vertical ship-lap reaches from the ceiling to the lower level WOOD fireplace. WELCOME HOME to winter cuddles in front of the fire and summer fun with the backyard pool awaits. Sunday morning RELAXATION begins on your bedroom BALCONY then onto the kitchen w SKYLIGHT to prepare brunch. This 2 level SUNLIT house with LARGE rooms, over-sized windows, HARDWOOD FLOORS & storage. Rec Rm w WALL OF WINDOWS, large open space, BUILT-IN WET BAR and wood fireplace. Options! Options for your OFFICE- Would you use the main level office for a home office or include a built-in mudroom or hobby space? 2 masters upstairs, Two more rooms & 3rd full bathroom downstairs perfect for guests, yoga, gym... Minutes to drive up Fort Hunt Road to 495 or 2 lights to GW Parkway. Yes, the pool is heated & there is a rare whole house generator installed - move-in and make this home yours. THIS is the move-in ready home with ease to busy life yet exhale in your quiet sunny house. [Hollindale - $725,000]

9007 Linton Ln

Striking Craftsman Style 4 level home - Hardiplank siding. High End Builder focusing on unique details not found with most builders! 5 Bedroom, 4 1/2 bath. Over 5300 sq ft finished on 4 levels. $30,000 turned staircase! Screened porch PLUS Open Trex deck PLus Super special Owner's covered 17x14 balcony w/$4K water proof flooring!So many custom features - must be seen to believe. Big flat lot in Pretty community. 2 blocks to GW Parkway & Potomac River. Stunning owner's bedroom w/ 2 walk-in closets, Huge Bath - 2 vanities,custom lighting, Amazing 8ft shower - dual shower heads, Marble floor 'rug'! Top floor bonus room great for kids or at home office! Full Finished Lower Level - w/Bdrm & Stunning shower bath - older kids or In-Laws will be so happy here! Concrete driveway, exterior accent lighting, metal porch roof, wired for exterior cameras, interior speaker system throughout home w/surround sound in Fam Rm, Extensive Landscaping plus FULL Yard Sprinkler System! Wide Hardwood floors & High Quality carpet! [Sulgrave Village - $1,395,000]

9005 Linton Ln

Brochure available ! Striking Craftsman Style 4 level home - Hardiplank siding. High End Builder focusing on unique details not found with most builders! 5 Bedroom, 4 1/2 bath. Over 4,300 sq ft finished on 4 levels. Screened porch PLUS Open Trex deck PLus Super special Owner's covered 17x14 balcony w/$4K water proof flooring!So many custom features - must be seen to believe. Big flat lot in Pretty community. 2 blocks to GW Parkway & Potomac River. Stunning owner's bedroom w/ 2 walk-in closets, Huge Bath - 2 vanities,custom lighting, Amazing 8ft shower - dual shower heads, Marble floor 'rug'! Top floor bonus room great for kids or at home office! Full Finished Lower Level - w/Bdrm & Stunning shower bath - older kids or In-Laws will be so happy here! Concrete driveway, exterior accent lighting, metal porch roof, wired for exterior cameras, interior speaker system throughout home w/surround sound in Fam Rm, extensive landscaping with FULL Yard Sprinkler system! Wide Hardwood floors & High Quality carpet! [Sulgrave Village - $1,249,000]

1408 Alexandria Ave

Enjoy the changing seasons from this perfect home for a family who dreams of owning their own private forest. The house is nestled on a corner lot amid 3/4 of an acre of stunning gardens forming a lovely and quiet retreat. The beautiful land- and hard-scaped yard includes over $40k of improvements in 2014, and now features a sophisticated irrigation system with 9 watering zones.The house offers two levels of expansive living space, with hardwood floors and two wood-burning fireplaces. At the end of the day, you~ll particularly look forward to relaxing in the spacious, new sun-room addition. With four bedrooms (two with en-suites), plus an additional full and 2 more half-baths. You~ll love all the storage with built-in closets throughout. Skylights, solar tubes and new windows welcome the sun shining off the freshly painted walls. Other high-end design elements include gorgeous Italian tile, marble flooring and glass block in the recently renovated bathrooms. Three decks connect you to the spectacular woodland scenery (one with Trex decking). The property offers excellent walkability to many stores and community services, while also being conveniently located on the 101 bus line (with service to Huntington Metro). It~s also within close walking distance to Mount Vernon Trail, Potomac River, and Hollin Hall Shopping Center. Close to Old Town, Airport, Amtrak and the future headquarters of Amazon. Zoned for two homes and currently one, 2800 square foot home on .7 acre of a lot. [Tauxemont - $899,000]

8505 Culver Pl

Newly remodeled Alexandria home, situated in the highly sought after Waynewood neighborhood. This beautiful three-bedroom, three-full bath home boasts a new kitchen with brand new appliances & updated baths. You'll love the intimate views from terrace off the master bedroom. A nice four seasons room & patio overlooks the fenced-in backyard, making it great for entertaining guests inside and out! Other updates include fresh paint, hardwood floors throughout, added recessed lighting, and new HVAC. Close proximity to schools, trails and GW parkway. This one is a Must See! [Waynewood - $725,000]

8315 Fort Hunt Rd

Wonderful new price for this lovely, meticulously cared for home! New roof and HVAC completed 2019. Waynewood school and WW pool membership is available! Light filled rooms include 4 spacious upper level bedrooms, inviting living room with gas fireplace, dining room includes antique chandelier and crown moldings, updated kitchen with quartz countertops, custom mosaic backsplash, warm wood cabinetry plus new Anderson sliding glass door that overlooks lovely deck, custom brick patio with landscape lighting, professionally landscaped fenced yard and tidy garden shed! Main level office/guest bedroom with custom built-ins. Walk out lower level includes large family room with party bar/refrigerator, laundry room, utility room and storage closets! Convenient carport and driveway with storage shed. Near parks, pools, and GW bike trail. Convenient to Old Town shops and restaurants, easy commute, near metro, express bus, airport and GW Parkway! Everything is done, just move in and enjoy! Please see floorplans in document section. [Collingwood Estates - $699,000]

7911 Fort Hunt

Beautiful newly constructed home just completed! 6,800 Sq Ft+ home features 7 bedrooms and 8 full baths and 1 powder room. Elegant foyer with formal living and separate dining room that boast high ceilings, crown molding and abundant natural light. The kitchen is a chef's dream with generous center island with extra sink, gas cooking, ample counter space, mesmerizing back splash, custom cabinetry, double oven, stainless steel appliances, large refrigerator with water and ice dispenser that opens to a dazzling family room. A butler's pantry with extra storage and beverage refrigerator connect the kitchen to the dining room. In-law type bedroom suite on the main level is complete with its own en suite full bath. Second level has 5 bedrooms ALL with en suite baths. The spacious upstairs landing comes with at wet bar and room for homework-desk area. This home truly separates itself with hardwood throughout the top two levels. The Master Suite is pure luxury with matching his and hers closets and spa like master bath with a jetted soaking tub and separate shower and adjacent double vanities. Lower level is full of light, has large bedroom w/ en suite full bath and walk up stair to spacious flat yard. Enjoy the one of a kind bar to the side of additional family room and gaming area with large space perfect for an in home deluxe movie theater. Two car side loading garage. A Fort Hunt can't miss property. [Tauxemont - $1,588,888]

7822 Friars Ct

Amazing opportunity to be the 2nd owner of this lovingly maintained, single family home with 5 bedrooms plus office (or possible 6th bedroom), 3 full baths and single-car garage in Ft Hunt. Stately split-level Colonial accented by grand columns and traditional full brick front perfectly situated on a cul-de-sac. Fall in the love with the professionally designed flower beds & manicured lawn with irrigation system. Classic split-level floor plan with over 2500 sqft of living space on two levels. Spacious kitchen with custom-built cabinets, stainless steel appliances including brand new wall oven. Natural flow from kitchen to dining room to family room (or living room) with gas fireplace - ideal for today's living! Dining room leads directly to large cedar deck with walk-down to patio and backyard with mature trees. True master bedroom, with full bath, lots of closet space with built-ins and natural light. Two additional bedrooms, one with custom built-ins + newer full bath complete the main level. Ceiling fans in all bedrooms plus gleaming hardwoods on the main level. Two more bedrooms plus additional flex room, perfect for office, exercise room or 6th bedroom, on lower level. Enjoy game and movie nights in lower level rec room with gas fireplace adorned by a gorgeous, classic brick mantel. 2-stage HVAC replaced in 2019 includes whole house humidifier and electronic air filter. Roof approx 11 yrs young and garage door replaced in in the last 5 yrs. Very short walk to Sherwood Hall Library & McCutcheon/Mt Vernon farmers market and Connector bus stop (with connection to Huntington Metro). Close to lots of shopping, major commuter routes & more. Welcome home & look forward to the sweet smell of wisteria in the spring! [Sherwood Forest - $635,000]

8508 Doter Dr

==> PRICE REDUCED!!! OPEN SATURDAY 12-2p 11/23 !! Not to be missed property on one of the quietest streets in sought after Waynewood. Just a couple blocks from the GW Parkway easy stroll from the bike path, the river, or whatever Sun filled activity you love. Only minutes from Old Town, Mt. Vernon Plantation or historic Fort Hunt Park. This highly desirable home puts you right next to everything while still being secluded in your own lovely neighborhood. Pull into your over-sized brick driveway and enjoy mature trees. Plantings including a beautiful Cherry tree blossoming in your own front yard. 2 tier brick patio and swing in backyard. Inside find great entertaining space. The eat-in kitchen boasts upgraded cabinetry, quartz counters, and a 5 burner Jenn-Air cooktop for the chef in the family. The lower level bath is fully remodeled including custom glass shower door. The family room has built-in cabinetry, brand new hardwood flooring, and custom columns. Just off the living area is a main level bedroom which could also serve as the perfect home office or in-law suite. On the upper levels all of the hardwood flooring has been refinished. The living room offers a fireplace and beautiful french doors. Upstairs 3 bedrooms and your dream bath with over-sized steam shower including custom glass enclosure, two person jetted tub, dual-sinks, marble counter tops and tub surround. This will not last long so please do not miss out on this beautiful home! [Waynewood - $679,000]

1101 Woodcliff Dr

FANTASTIC NEW PRICE! Nestled on a spacious half-acre in sought-after Wellington Heights, this charming home, reminiscent of an English cottage has room for everyone. The main portion of the home features 3 bedrooms/3 full baths, while the large addition offers a luxurious in-law/nanny suite/owner's retreat. Spend relaxing weekends in the private rear yard with in-ground pool. Or enjoy a game of pool (billiards) in the lower level game/rec room. A wood burning fireplace in the living room and wood stove insert in the rec room will take the chill of the crisp fall evenings. Enjoy Waynewood Elementary School district and all that the Fort Hunt Community has to offer. Located close to the George Washington parkway and bike path . . . bike to work at The Pentagon, the District, Old Town, or Fort Belvoir! Check out the floor plans and 3D tour. [Wellington Heights - $999,000]

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

 

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.

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.

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.