The difference between equitable title and legal title

Do you know the difference between equitable title and legal title? Julie Nesbitt Equitable title is conveyed to the buyer when the seller signs the offer to purchase. A ratified sales contract creates equitable title. After closing and accepting the deed, the buyer receives legal title. Equitable title does not carry all the rights, privileges and duties of legal title, but equitable title is not without implication.  If a buyer has equitable title in a property, the seller cannot contract to sell the property to another buyer.  The equitable title protects the buyer's interests in this regard, but does not obligate the buyer to pay taxes or maintenance on the property.
  • What is the Virginia Condominium Act?

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    If you own a condo in Virginia, or if you're thinking of buying a condominium in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it might be a good idea to glance at the Virginia Condominium Act. This act describes the terms of ownership and limitations and requirements of condo associations.  It also describes the unique attributes of condominium…

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  • Condos need maintenance …

    condo Alexandria
    Everything built by man requires some maintenance at some point. Even so-called maintenance-free homes require some attention. So when making the transition from renting to buying, one aspect of home ownership that must be considered carefully is maintenance. Renters enjoy few advantages over buyers, but one benefit of renting is that in most cases renters…

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  • Real Estate Contracts With Contingencies

    Real estate contracts sometimes come with contingencies. This is a part of the contract that states certain conditions or timelines are met or the seller or buyer can void the contract. The conditions or timelines can be any that both parties agree on and are put within the contract. Contingencies usually last for a specified period.…

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What is the Virginia Condominium Act?

Condos real estate agents
Nesbitt Realty can help you buy and sell real estate in Condos
If you own a condo in Virginia, or if you're thinking of buying a condominium in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it might be a good idea to glance at the Virginia Condominium Act. This act describes the terms of ownership and limitations and requirements of condo associations.  It also describes the unique attributes of condominium mortgages and the describes what is allowed under condominium ownership schemes. The Condominium Act includes a provision that allows buyers of condominium real estate three days to review financials and covenants of the subject property. During these three days, a buyer can cancel the contract if the buyer doesn't like what he finds in the condominium disclosures. Always talk to your agent about how this is handled in a real situation so that you take full advantage of your rights and duties.
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]

Properties in Focus

Properties in Cameron Station

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

Condos need maintenance …

Everything built by man requires some maintenance at some point.

Even so-called maintenance-free homes require some attention. So when making the transition from renting to buying, one aspect of home ownership that must be considered carefully is maintenance. Renters enjoy few advantages over buyers, but one benefit of renting is that in most cases renters needn't worry about the expense of maintaining a property. Many first time buyers aren't ready to take on the hassles and expenses of yard work, gutter cleaning, painting and so on, and for this reason condos are a viable and interesting alternative. In the case of a condo, maintenance can be separated into two categories: owner's responsibilities and association responsibilities. These exact nature of these duties and responsibilities will vary from condo to condo, but there are a few rules of thumb. For example, certain retirement communities provide maid service as part of the condo, but most often the condo owner is responsible for cleaning his own unit. In most cases, the condo owner must clean the condo interior, including all windows which are reachable from the interior. The condo owner must clean of his or her private balcony or patio. Most renters are accustomed to this type of arrangement already. Unlike renters, condo owners own the appliances in the unit. Thus, the condo owner cleans and maintains all the appliances, but the condo owner also pays for repairs and replacements as needed. A condo owner has the power to pick his own appliances, but with that benefit comes the duty of maintaining that unit. In most older condos, the association supplies the heating and cooling to the unit, and the condo owner owns the convector or radiator (heat transfer appliance) in the unit. In new condos, the owner typically owns the HVAC (heat pump / air conditioner) that heats and cools his unit. Plumbing and electrical concerns remain for owners of single family homes and townhouses, but in all but a few rare cases the condo owner need only worry about systems that are outside the walls.  For example, the condo owner typically owns the bathroom vanity and the pipes supporting that vanity but not the pipes which supply water and take sewage away from the bathroom. A condo owner owns his kitchen cabinets, but not the electrical wires inside the wall that bring power to his kitchen appliances.
Julie Nesbitt
Relaxing in Old Town
In general, the condominium owner is responsible for his personal space, but the condo association is responsible for all common areas.  This includes maintaining and operating the elevators and outside doors.  In most cases this includes the windows. Most always, the association maintains the lawns, flowers and shrubs. The condo association maintains the roof. While the owner of a single family home must maintain his own driveway, a condo parking lot is maintained by the condominium association. The parking garage can be private, common, or common with assignments.  If the parking garage is common, with or without assignments, the condo association will clean and maintain the parking. A private garage is the domain of the condominium owner.

Review your docs

Ultimately, you'll want review your condo documents, charter and by-laws to determine exactly how your condo association interprets its domain.  Rest assured, a condo owner will have more to maintain than a renter, but significantly less responsibility than the owner of a single family residence or townhouse.

Properties in Focus

Properties in Focus

$625,000 at West Springfield

Properties in Focus

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

Real Estate Contracts With Contingencies

Real estate contracts sometimes come with contingencies. This is a part of the contract that states certain conditions or timelines are met or the seller or buyer can void the contract. The conditions or timelines can be any that both parties agree on and are put within the contract. Contingencies usually last for a specified period. Once the contingency ends the contract could end or the contract is valid without the contingencies agreed upon. Usually the buyer is more eager to have a contingency plan but in today's economy and market they are more widely accepted by both sellers and buyers. Nesbitt Realty can help you with your contingencies in your contract. For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Update: Lepelletier case against Judge Tran Dismissed

As you may already know, Robert Lepelletier, Jr. sued Nesbitt Realty and as a result he was ordered to pay sanctions to Nesbitt Realty by Fairfax County Judge John Tran. Lepelletier sued the Honorable Judge John Tran in Federal court. Lepelletier's case against Judge Tran was dismissed and his motions were denied. Despite being ordered to pay sanctions in April of 2015, as of 6/4/2015 Lepelletier has not paid any of the sanctions which he was ordered to pay. Read the full order here: Lepelletier v. Tran - Order (granting Def's MTD) 05.26.15 (X0284306x9F5EC)

Do Realtors have to disclose notorious events that occurred at a property?

Realtors are required to disclose material facts to home buyers. Is a murder or other notorious event a material fact?
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Do Realtors have to disclose notorious events that occurred at a property?
Take the case of a salesperson named Roscoe who has a client named Zane. Zane is a long time friend of the family and he listed his luxury condo for sale with Roscoe. Zane's condo is beautiful, immaculately clean and in a nice part of town. But things get a little complicated from here. Zane's condo was the site of a widely publicized and grisly murder of a celebrity who lived in Zane's building. The celebrity's body was found in Zane's second bedroom. As a result of the murder, Zane had weeks of bad dreams until finally he moved to a hotel and enlisted Roscoe's services. Roscoe put the condo on the market and shortly there after it sold at open house to Deanna. Deanna thought it was sort of cool to be connected to the celebrity. Roscoe kept in touch with Deanna through annual calendars and then a few years later when Deanna was ready to move she asked Roscoe to list the property. Roscoe listed the property for sale but he neglected to either disclaim or disclose the murder. Sally bought the condo and then one night while reading Wikipedia, she finds out that her home was the site of the celebrity's final moments on this earth.  Sally uses that room for her nursery. Since Deanna and Roscoe did not disclose the murder, does Sally have an action against Roscoe, Deanna or for that matter Zane? In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is no requirement to disclose (or disclaim) "stigmatizing events". Stigmatizing events are events which have no physical affect on the property. So, whether the property was the site of a homicide, felony, or suicide, the seller and agent are not required to disclose the event.
For a first-time home buyer, one of the most difficult things to do is to just start the process? What does one actually do to buy a home? We’ve prepared this short list of links to help you begin your home buying quest
  • Affordability Calculator — How much home can you afford? The affordability will help you determine what your price range.
  • Buyers Tips — Simple and effective tips for shopping homes.
  • Closing Cost Estimator — What are closing costs? How much do you have to pay?
  • Guide to Northern Virginia — All about the neighborhoods and communities of Northern VA
  • Map Search — Our map-based search is one of the best in the business.
  • Mortgage Calculator — Once you’ve identified a property plug the price into the calculator to see how much the purchase will cost on a monthly basis.
Learn more about how a Nesbitt Realty buyer's agent can help you.

Who sets the price?

Agents at Nesbitt Realty understand that no matter what you've been told Realtors really have no control at all over the real estate market, only the plan behind marketing. Our Realtors never determine the asking price - the seller does. We can provide Realtor advice, but the seller makes the final decision. This not only applies to the list (asking) price, but it especially applies to the selling price. By the same token, we cannot control the offer price.  We can only present the offers that are actually made.  None-the-less, if the seller does things right and takes each step by step, together we’ll set a listing price in the right area and have no problems selling your property. [Learn more about selling your property]
Once you know what you need and you have a good idea of the basic features that you are looking for, it is time to turn to our website. The website is designed to give you a good idea of the cost and type of properties available in Northern Virginia and help you identify potential rental properties.  This should hopefully take the frustration out of the search by enabling you to eliminate properties that do not meet your needs or budget. [Read more about rental agents.]

Experience Peace of Mind by Hiring a Competent Property Manager

Managing tenants, repairs, and related issues are very challenging no matter how lucrative an investment property management may be. This situation becomes even more difficult if you are an owner who lives in another town or state or if you are in full-time employment and you know nothing about real estate investments or you have little time to handle real estate matters. If you fall in this category, hiring and efficient property management company ensures that you are worry-free and hassle free. The following are questions that you should consider asking potential property managers during an interview with him/her. Hоw Much Experience do You Have in Property Management? Being in the business for quite some time means that this is a reliable property management company. What it also means is that the manager has a lot of relevant experience and, as a result, he/she has handled a lot of complicated situations and problems that have emerged on a regular basis during daily operations. There is the likelihood that he/she is experienced with a wide range of issues such as legal, emergency response, maintenance expertise, and accounting. Nesbitt Realty has been in existence for more than 10 years. Our property managers, however, has been actively involved with property management for an additional 20 years prior.
  1. Have you been licensed bу relevant ѕtаtе аnd іnduѕtrу authorities? Licensed managers must have successfully completed an approved property management course of study and have passed a state licensing exam in a number of states. However, a property manager license is not required in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nevertheless, Nesbitt Realty's property managers are all licensed real estate agents who report directly to a licensed real estate broker. You will find that Nesbitt's agents are very familiar with state regulations for the handling of rental income, security deposits, and other financial affairs that needs to be dealt with. Licensure is not the only important aspect of property management, certification is equally important as it is an also an indication of more extensive industry knowledge. Trade organizations grant these credentials. Nesbitt Realty is an approved member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and has a number of related affiliations.
  2. Will you be able to provide me with referrals from candidates whom you have served in the past? It is important for a property manager to provide a prospective client with the contact information for both current or past clients who will be pleased to speak on the behalf the property manager. If you are a potential client, you should check out the addresses of which the business is in control of so that you will be able to ensure that they are properly run. Similarly, referrals from trusted and reliable contacts is an excellent means of vetting a short list of potential companies. Nesbitt Realty is the winner of the Super Service Award for thee last four years in a row from Angie's List. The members on Angie's List are verified real clients who have given feedback on our services, and we thank them for the time that they have taken.
  3. How much are the fees that you сhаrgе? There is a wide range of industry fees; however, the standard costs are inclusive of a management fee that ranges anywhere from 5% to 12% of the monthly rate. This is dependant on the location and condition of the real estate, as well as the location and the condition of the real estate and whether there are more than one holding. The number of units in each holding and the types of services necessary are also important when calculating the total fees charged. Nesbitt Realty is generally one of the firms that charge the lowest fees in the area. There are some realty companies that charge a vacancy fee each month whenever the house is uninhabited. There are other companies that charge a fee regardless of whether there is a current tenant. Be assured that Nesbitt Realty does not indulge in these practises. Several companies are well-known for charging set-up fees for new clients that amounts to up to $300. Nesbitt Realty does not believe in charging clients set-up fees as well. There is also a trend that clients who rely on a property management company to search and find tenants for them expects to pay anywhere between 25% to 100% of the first month's rent, but it is normally 50%.
  4. How оftеn are inspections made? The response to this question is very important as it is a key element to ensure that the client's real estate investment is properly protected. The property manager should perform inspections at regular intervals when there is a long-term client and not only whenever there is tenant turnover. Inspection intervals may vary; however, it is strongly recommended that units and homes are inspected at least annually. External inspections may be completed quarterly in order to be aware of potential developing issues. Give us a call today to learn about the quarterly inspections that Nesbitt Realty orders.
Learn more about our property management services. Our agents have the experience and local knowledge to find your dream home.
For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.

The difference between equitable title and legal title

rowing
Rowing the boat at Fountainhead
Do you know the difference between equitable title and legal title? Equitable title is conveyed to the buyer when the seller signs the offer to purchase. A ratified sales contract creates equitable title. After closing and accepting the deed, the buyer receives legal title.
  • Commwealth of Virginia adds to real estate licensing requirements for LLC’s

    flagNesbitt Realty is licensed in Virginia. Robert D. Hull is the sponsor of House Bill 1114 Real Estate Board which changes how real estate firms are licensed. The law now provides that no business entity shall be granted a firm license unless every managing member of a limited liability company or officer of a corporation who actively participates in the firm brokerage business holds a license as a real estate broker.

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For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300. Nesbitt-Realty-wide-124

Ethics in Real Estate

"To the General Public: "For some businesses, simply doing what is legal may be good enough; but I have bound myself to a higher standard because my vocation is central to the interests of the nation and its citizens. The practice of real estate helps provide housing, places of commerce, industries and farms while preserving a healthful environment. For this reason, the practice of real estate imposes a grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty upon myself and others who practice real estate agency and brokerage. With them, I share a common responsibility of integrity and honor. "As your realtor I have dedicated myself to the high ideals of a code of ethics which compels my best adherance to competency, fairness, and high integrity. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from that dedication. The National Association of REALTORS has described that code of ethics at Realtor.org. "Documents therein and elsewhere specify duties and best practices of real estate brokerage and agency. These rules describe the requirements of disclosure of agency, financial arrangements, following the law of the land, marketing practices, negotiation methods, how clients are charged for services, how offers are presented, confidentiality, and more. "You could read that entire document, but the spirit of those ideals can be summed up fairly easily.
  • The Golden Rule: 'Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.'
  • Primum non nocere --- A latin phrase meaning 'first do no harm'.
  • Strive for excellence --- By meeting on-going educational requirements, I continually hone my competency."
Sincerely, Will Nesbitt

Properties in Focus

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty 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.

Contracts 101: An Introduction to Common Contract Principals

contractsWhen buying a condo or, realistically, almost any other large financial purchase, you can count on the fact that at least one (if not several) contracts will be involved in the process. However, many people may not know what a contract actually is.
Will Nesbitt
Will Nesbitt is proud to be the principal broker of Nesbitt Realty.
Even if you do know what constitutes the basic elements of a contract, it helps to have a working knowledge of the legal terminology that is typically associated with general contracts in order to fully understand their rudimentary function. And while condo owners and those who maintain rental lease agreements may have more experience with contracts than those who don’t, contracts are nonetheless very much a part of every day life for most people (think: contracts with your cell phone company or signing a credit card slip after making a small purchase). What follows is intended to serve as an introduction to contract principals and, hopefully, provide some helpful information to individuals who want to know a little more about basic contract law.

What is a contract?

It's a deal.At its fundamental core, a contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties where a valid offer made by one party is accepted by the other, which is indicated by some mutual exchange of value. Under common contract law, this mutual exchange of value is called "consideration", which must be reasonably relied upon by both parties who agree to contract. Therefore, the three most fundamental elements of all legally valid contracts are offer, acceptance, and consideration.

What types of contracts are there?

There are a variety of legally viable contracts under current common law standards, not all of which must necessarily be in writing. A contract can be written, oral, or implied depending on the parties' actions at the time of the original contract formation. For example, a written document that claims to be a contract is often no more than evidence of the details of the contract, and not the contract itself. A valid contract offer must indicate a desire to enter into a contract (and thereby invite acceptance); should indicate a time period for acceptance; and must reasonably indicate that upon acceptance the contract will form without further approval from offeror. Here, it is the traditional practice in most situations to determine the details to which both parties agree and to transcribe the specifications into writing. This is particularly important if either party wishes to modify the contract at a later time. In addition, signing a written document is not necessarily an act of acceptance that therefore creates a contract. If the parties have already reached an agreement the written document and signatures may be introduced to the courts as parole evidence of an already existing agreement, but may not determine the validity of the contract on its own. If, for example, the court determines that the original offer was in fact rejected or, if there was a counteroffer which was accepted but without any new consideration, the written and signed contract may prove not to be a contract at all. Alternatively, if there is nothing in writing or if parts of a written contract are missing, a court may hold that there was an implied contract that existed between the parties and in this instance, a list of the complete terms is not always required. In real estate transactions, for example, an incomplete description of a property may still validate the terms of the contract where the intent of the parties would be used to clarify the specific obligations or missing information that was otherwise implied. On the other hand, to be enforceable, a property sales contract must be written in some form (even if it is incomplete) and oral agreements to sell real estate are not legally binding. In real property contracts, the contract must identify the buyer, the seller and the property itself, even if some details are omitted. Lastly, a real estate contract must establish a purchase price and the terms of the sale in order to validate the agreement. Finally, a contract can be either unilateral or bilateral in nature. A unilateral contract is a promise for an act where acceptance of the offer is synonymous with the performance of the act and thus, a contract is only created when the act itself is done. Until then, the offeror reserves the right to withdraw the offer. For example, if I offer to pay you $20.00 to jump into the mud, you can either accept my offer by jumping into the mud and I would owe you $20.00 or, if I decide that I would rather keep the money, I can choose to withdrawal my offer so long as you have yet to jump in. A bilateral contract, in contrast, is a promise for a promise where, as soon as promises are exchanged, both parties are instantly bound by each promise respectively. The vast majority of contracts are bilateral. Here, if I promise to give you $20.00 and you promise to jump into the mud, the contract is accepted by this exchange of promises and not by the performance of the promises themselves.

So...what did we learn?

While there are many, many other legal constructs that are fundamental to basic contract law (all of which are best left to a legal or other certified professional who can advise you of your rights and responsibilities), the golden principals of all contract law include an offer, acceptance, and some consideration that can be reasonably relied upon by both parties in order to make the contract legally enforceable. While there are different kinds of contracts which include oral, written and implied contracts, all jurisdictions within the United States require that certain kinds of contracts, such as those involving real estate transactions, must be in writing and, in such cases, must identify the buyer, the seller, and the property itself, as well as the purchase price for the property. Lastly, a contract can be either unilateral or bilateral and knowing the distinction between the two outlines the liability and responsibility that each party may or may not assume. One
of the many benefits of living in a free market is that anyone who is legally competent to contract (save for juveniles and those who are legally defined as mentally incompetent) has the right to do so. This is a powerful right and one which must be used responsibly and knowledgeably. The more you know about these kinds of the contractual agreements, the more prepared you will be to make educated decisions when, and if, you decide to sign on the dotted line.
For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.
Fort Hunt real estate agents.
Nesbitt Realty can help you buy and sell real estate in Fort Hunt.