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

1317 Alexandria Ave

Biker/Runners paradise! Just two blocks to the GW bike path and no crossing over GW Parkway! Rare open floorplan one-level rambler with dramatic vaulted ceilings in the great room, and literally surrounded by nature. Enjoy cool nights by the great room fireplace overlooking the wooded 1/2 acre yard. Prepare chef's quality meals in the large open kitchen with granite counters, stainless appliances and gas cooking. Luxurious master suite has glass doors to deck, lux master bathroom with double sinks and a large shower, and a walk-in closet too. Remaining 3 bedrooms and full renovated bath are privately located on the opposite side of the house. Outside, you will find a large deck, fully fenced backyard, shed and large driveway with parking for 4-5 cars.~ Located on one of Alexandria's most prestigious streets, this home is steps to the stone bridge and Potomac River. You can be on the Mt. Vernon bike trail in seconds and enjoy it's 40 miles of trails, scenic water views and historic stops. Just a 5 minute drive to Waynewood Elementary and Carl Sandburg, and a 15 minute bike ride to Old Town Alexandria! Only 12 miles to Amazon's new headquarters along the Potomac River and George Washington Parkway and 5 miles from Old Town Alexandria (no stop lights). 5 miles to Huntington Metro station and just 1 block from the 11Y bus service. Tauxemont neighborhood features two community tennis courts, large wooded lots and some of the best community well water in the County. [Tauxemont - $799,900]

7812 W Boulevard Dr

Cal DOM is incorrect! Listing was activated Feb 16, 2019. Error in system, will be corrected next few days. Beautiful single family detached home in desirable Waynewood school district. Completely renovated Spring of 2017. Natural light pours in through the windows on every level. Just off the George Washington Parkway, you will have ease of access into Old Town Alexandria and National Landing (Amazon!). Less than 15 minutes to Ronald Reagan Airport. walking/hiking trails are literally out your front door with beautiful views of the Potomac River and National Harbor just a few minutes away. Don't miss this opportunity to make this your new home! White kitchen cabinets, Granite counter tops & s/s appliances in kitchen. Hardwood floors top two levels & tile on lower level. NO CARPET! The most adorable grey Cape Cod on the parkway! Average homes for sale in Wellington subdivision is $2,842mil. Offers dead line Feb 25. [Wellington - $799,999]

8036 Washington Rd

Pre-Construction Opportunity! ~ END OF 2019 Delivery! Act now to personalize before ground breaking! 4,298 sq. ft. featuring open concept from Kitchen to Great Room with fireplace. Deluxe Kitchen featuring stainless appliances, upgraded cabinets and countertops. Hardwood flooring throughout the Main Level, Mud Rm off garage and so much more! [Hollin Hall - $998,955]

8401 Ashwood Dr

TRULY MOVE-IN CONDITION RIGHT OFF THE PARKWAY!! Cute 3 level split in terrific location with very desirable schools. Main level interior walls removed for open concept living room, dining room combination with cathedral ceiling. Updated kitchen with new stainless steel frig, microwave, & dishwasher, 42" cabinets, ceramic tile backsplash, breakfast bar ...BEAUTIFUL HARDWOOD FLOORS AND RECENT PAINT. Upper level with 4 good size bedrooms, gorgeous hardwoods, updated hall and master baths 2011. Cozy lower level with wood burning fireplace, updated half bath, & walk-up stairs. large laundry/storage room. Sited on quiet street and level lot, easy access to GW Parkway, bike & walking trails. Nearby Waynewood private community pool memberships are available.YOU'LL LOVE LIVING HERE!! [Collingwood On the Potomac - $695,000]

8204 Collingwood Ct

Outstanding open plan home with two story foyer and two story family room, four bedrooms, four and a half baths and gourmet eat in kitchen! Located on a quiet cul-de-sac just minutes from Old Town Alexandria, this beautifully maintained and upgraded home offers country style living close into town! Special features include sumptuous master bedroom suite with private bath with separate tub and shower and walk in closet; loft overlook from upper level to family room below! Exterior features include deck and sprinkler system, landscaped grounds and terrific curb appeal! [Collingwood Springs Khor - $949,000]

8034 Washington Rd

Pre-Construction Opportunity! ~ END OF 2019 Delivery! Act now to personalize before ground breaking! 4,298 sq. ft. featuring open concept from Kitchen to Great Room with fireplace. Deluxe Kitchen featuring stainless appliances, upgraded cabinets and countertops. Hardwood flooring throughout the Main Level, Mud Rm off garage and so much more! [Hollin Hall - $988,640]

2201 Londonderry Rd

This house will take your breath away~ Private & beautifully landscaped .39 acre yard w/large 2 car garage in popular Ft. Hunt community. Stunning hardwood floors on main & upper levels. Solid wood 6-panel doors, lovely painted interior, updated baths, double pane windows. A spectacular & enchanting kitchen w/ beautiful cherry cabinets, SS appliances, granite counter, large SS range hood & lovely center isle. Plus, 3 large pictures windows overlooking a fabulous front yard. The lower level offers a 4th BR, a half bath, Fam room, laundry room, plus a floored crawl space for extra storage. This home is a 10!! [Riverside Park Hessick - $670,000]

1143 Westmoreland Rd

New construction in sought-after Wellington/ Waynewood Elementary. Expected Delivery July 2019. Welcome home to this stunning wrap around porch on beautiful 1/4 acre lot. 5 bedrooms + office and sitting room/room sized walk in closet. Open concept main level, laundry room on bedroom level, mudroom, pantry, kohler fixtures, high-end appliances. Asking price reflects main and upper levels finished+ partially finished basement. Additional~ upgrades and options available (screened in porch instead of deck, wet bar in basement, finished gym) [Wellington Estates - $1,195,000]

2303 Nordok Pl

Beautiful home in Kirkside. Main level has hardwood floors, all baths have floor to ceiling tile. Lots of storage! Freshly painted inside and out. Approx. 2,000 sq ft of finished living space. Beautiful upper back deck on over sized lot with mature trees. New heating-2018. Bosch dishwasher. Across the street from Math & Science Focus School and NO HOA! [Kirkside - $635,000]

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

 

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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.
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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.
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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.

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