Why do I need a realtor?

When you are looking to buy or rent a home, a licensed real estate agent provides a variety of unique skills and connections to ensure you get a much better home.
  1. First and foremost a Realtor brings security.  People know what they want in a home, but very few people realize the litany of potential pitfalls that can ruin your new nest.
  2. Second, a Realtor brings diversity.  Unless you're going to limit your selection to public listings, and kiss good-bye some of the best homes in the market, then you need a Realtor to grant you access.
  3. Third, a Realtor brings you economy.  Whether buying or selling, no-one has access to market information to the degree a Realtor does.  This ensures that you're not overspending on your new home, or underselling your old one.
  4. Finally, a Realtor brings you peace of mind.  The process of finding a new home, or someone to buy or rent your existing home can be daunting.  Challenges from financing, to proper title transfer, to negotiating your price require attention to detail, and can be very stressful, and time consuming if not handled properly.
To learn more about how a licensed real estate agent can assist you contact us.

Properties in Focus

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

What is the MLS?

Most people have heard of the MLS, but many are unclear as to exactly what it is. MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service.
The MLS is a database of homes listed for sale.
The Multiple Listing Service is probably your best tool as a home buyer and your best friend as a home seller. But what exactly is the MLS?

The MLS is a database.

In the old days MLS databasing was done on filing cards and notebooks. Today that information is aggregated on computers. MLS data includes information about what properties are for sale and certain details about those properties such as condo amenities, number of bedrooms, garage parking. Almost everything you'd want to know about a given property is cataloged on the MLS. Much of that information is public, such as the selling price and the address. Some of that information is private, or reserved for those who have professional access to the MLS. For example, real estate agents know which properties are vacant. The general public doesn't need to know this information as sharing that information might pose a risk to some property owners. Yes, the MLS is a database, but it is also something more.

The MLS is a marketplace.

The collection of information on the MLS serves as the primary repository of details about real estate for sale or rent. MLS data is the foundation for most websites, and it is the primary reference point for most real estate professionals. As properties are contracted and sold, the data is constantly updated. Today, most agents and websites have data that is practically up to the minute. The MLS is not free, but it's free to you the consumer. Agents and brokers pay fees for access to MLS data and to fees to maintain and improve the system. Professionals like me make that data available to the public for the purpose of helping buyers and sellers connect.

The MLS is a tool.

Like all tools, the MLS gives the best results when wielded by a professional. (More on this below.)

The MLS is for sellers.

Home sellers want access to the maximum number of buyers, in the most cost effective manner. When compared to the expense of newspaper, radio or other ads, the MLS is incredibly targeted and very affordable. The professionals who use this data will only bring qualified buyers shopping for property in your price range. It doesn't get better than that. When a seller chooses a real estate agent with MLS access, the seller's sales force is equal to the number of agents who are using the MLS. The larger pool of prospective buyers the greater the chance that the property will sell quickly and for a fair market value.

The MLS is for buyers.

The MLS makes home shopping extremely convenient. MLS data does not cost the buyers a dime. Thanks to the internet and sites like NesbittRealty.com you can search MLS listings 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Many consumers find that a "self-search" through the MLS is a good starting point for finding the right home.

A real estate agent is for you.

In the old days consumers needed an agent to help them look through the data. These days its easy for the public to access most of the data available. So, you can do it yourself. But if you try to find a home on your own or you try to sell without an agent, you'll quickly discover why most people choose to employ a professional. It's true: you could probably cut your own hair, change your oil filter and fill your own cavities. But why would you? These days the problem isn't that the data is hard to find. The data is often up to the minute. These days, the problem is that there is too much data. Buyers are overwhelmed with choices. Sellers are drowned out by the noise of available information. That's one reason why when it's time to get serious about buying or selling, a real estate professional can help guide you through the process.

Most agents know the tricks and secrets of the MLS.

As an agent, I have access to more complicated tools and search processes not available to the consumer. I work with the MLS every single day. The MLS is one of the most important tools in my toolbox. Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, I can employ the MLS in ways that you haven't imagined.

Properties in Focus

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

What is a Buyer Agency Agreement?

Stuart at Porto Vecchio
Stuart Nesbitt, a chip off the old block
A buyer agent is a real estate agent that represents the buyer. A Listing Agent is an agent that represents the Seller. The buyer agent does not get paid to show homes to clients. A buyer agent only gets paid if the buyer contracts for and purchases a home. Your buyer agent can show you one house or show you dozens of houses. Your buyer agent can work with you one day before writing an offer for you to purchase a home, or your agent can work with you for months. Often, a buyer agent will tour houses with their clients to get better understanding of what the client wants. The buyer's agent also does extensive research of the local real estate market. Once the buyer agent has identified a number of prospective purchases the agent follows up with phone calls to listing agents. The wise buyer's agent calls listing agent to learn details which my exclude some homes and bring other homes to the forefront. After a buyer finds a home to purchase, the buyer agent works to prepare and present the offer, negotiate the contract. The agent attends to deadlines, inspections, appraisals, loan approval,o ordering title and so on. In order to perform these duties, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires the broker and prospective buyer sign a Buyer Agency Agreement. Some of the points addressed in that Agreement are:
  • The type of property the buyer seeks
  • The length of time the agreement will be in effect
  • The duties and responsibilities of a buyer's agent
  • A commitment to protect the buyer's privacy
  • The nature of the legal, ethical and fiduciary responsibilities of the agent
  • How the agent is paid.  (The buyer does not pay any fee for a buyer's agent.)
  • The buyer acknowledges that they are not the client of another Broker.
  • The agreement makes clear that we will not unlawfully discriminate against any prospective Seller
  • The purpose and place of legal and tax counsel
  • The agency agreement is governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • The agreement may contain additional provisions that might be unique to this particular relationship between the buyer and the agent

10 Ways to Prepare to Buy a Home

  1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.You can also check out our affordability calculator.
  2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
  3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
    • Do you prefer a commuter-friendly location or perhaps even a "walkable" home?
    • Perhaps you want to live near a specific military installation such as the Pentagon or Fort Belvoir?
    • Are you looking for a particular find homes by school district?
  4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price. Check out our closing cost estimator.
  5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
  6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
  7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
  8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
  9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
    Will Nesbitt at Mason Neck
    Will Nesbitt is the principal broker of Nesbitt Realty
  10. Contact Nesbitt Realty. Nesbitt Realty is a local family-run business that cares about your needs and has helped many people like you successfully navigate the home buying process.
For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.