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DC Real Estate News

By Metro DC Houses Team | Agent in 20036
  • Getting Ready for YOUR Homes' Inspection

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Washington  |  August 26, 2014 5:20 AM  |  14 views  |  No comments
    Home Buyer’s most always ask for a Home Inspection as part of the Buying Process.
    Inspections typically take about an hour for a condo or 2-3 for a single family home.
    We would like to share the Top items that inspectors often find and cite as issues in their reports:
    1)    Dirty Furnace Filter.  Replace it the day before the inspection.
    2)    Smoke detectors not working.
    3)    Oven missing an “Anti-Tip” Bracket
    4)    Dishwasher missing a “High-Loop”
    5)    Loose electrical wire on bottom of garbage disposal  (the power cord should be secured)
    6)    Electrical Panel not labeled
    7)    Electric Panel with mismatched breakers (different brands)
    8)    Sink/Bathtub stoppers missing or not working
    9)    Dripping sink faucets; leaking pipes under sinks
    10)    Loose toilets (they are not secured properly to the floor)
    11)    Slow drains of sink / shower / tub
    12)    Missing grout / caulk around tub or shower (suggest a quick re-caulk)
    13)     Electrical outlets not grounded or wired improperly or GFCI outlets not functioning
    14)     Missing handrails (inside or out) – more than 2 steps require a handrail
    15)     HVAC system not heating or cooling properly
    16)    Doors or windows not shutting or locking properly
    17)    Missing weather-stripping on exterior doors
    18)    Dirty Gutters
    19)    Downspouts not properly draining water away from home foundation

    These are of course just a few of the items that an inspector may find.  Don’t try to repair anything you are not comfortable with doing yourself.
    We also always recommend having your HVAC system serviced before the inspection when possible.
  • Don’t Do It!

    Posted Under: Credit Score in Washington  |  August 26, 2014 5:19 AM  |  17 views  |  No comments

    You’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important.  After finding the right home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.

    In today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which isn’t over until the papers are signed at settlement and funds distributed to the seller. Verifications are made by a lender at the beginning of the loan process to determine if the buyer qualifies for the mortgage. The verifications are usually done again just prior to the closing to determine if there have been any material changes to the borrower’s credit or income that might disqualify them.

    Simply stated:

    1. Don’t make any new major purchases that could affect your debt-to-income ratio
    2. Don’t apply, co-sign or add any new credit
    3. Don’t quit your job or change jobs
    4. Don’t change banks
    5. Don’t open new credit accounts
    6. Don’t close or consolidate credit card accounts without advice from your lender
    7. Don’t buy things for your new home until after you close
    8. Don’t talk to the seller without your agent

    Your real estate professional and lender are working together to get you into your new home. It’s understandable to be excited about one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and that you feel you need to be getting ready for the move.

    Planning is smart but don’t do anything that would affect your credit or income while you’re waiting to sign the final papers at settlement.




    You’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important.  After finding the right home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.

    In today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which isn’t over until the papers are signed at settlement and funds distributed to the seller. Verifications are made by a lender at the beginning of the loan process to determine if the buyer qualifies for the mortgage. The verifications are usually done again just prior to the closing to determine if there have been any material changes to the borrower’s credit or income that might disqualify them.

    Simply stated:

    1. Don’t make any new major purchases that could affect your debt-to-income ratio
    2. Don’t apply, co-sign or add any new credit
    3. Don’t quit your job or change jobs
    4. Don’t change banks
    5. Don’t open new credit accounts
    6. Don’t close or consolidate credit card accounts without advice from your lender
    7. Don’t buy things for your new home until after you close
    8. Don’t talk to the seller without your agent

    Your real estate professional and lender are working together to get you into your new home. It’s understandable to be excited about one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and that you feel you need to be getting ready for the move.

    Planning is smart but don’t do anything that would affect your credit or income while you’re waiting to sign the final papers at settlement.

    Don’t Do It!

    Written on August 26, 2014 by James in Buyers TipsFinancing



    You’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important.  After finding the right home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.

    In today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which isn’t over until the papers are signed at settlement and funds distributed to the seller. Verifications are made by a lender at the beginning of the loan process to determine if the buyer qualifies for the mortgage. The verifications are usually done again just prior to the closing to determine if there have been any material changes to the borrower’s credit or income that might disqualify them.

    Simply stated:

    1. Don’t make any new major purchases that could affect your debt-to-income ratio
    2. Don’t apply, co-sign or add any new credit
    3. Don’t quit your job or change jobs
    4. Don’t change banks
    5. Don’t open new credit accounts
    6. Don’t close or consolidate credit card accounts without advice from your lender
    7. Don’t buy things for your new home until after you close
    8. Don’t talk to the seller without your agent

    Your real estate professional and lender are working together to get you into your new home. It’s understandable to be excited about one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and that you feel you need to be getting ready for the move.

    Planning is smart but don’t do anything that would affect your credit or income while you’re waiting to sign the final papers at settlement.



    You’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important.  After finding the right home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.

    In today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which isn’t over until the papers are signed at settlement and funds distributed to the seller. Verifications are made by a lender at the beginning of the loan process to determine if the buyer qualifies for the mortgage. The verifications are usually done again just prior to the closing to determine if there have been any material changes to the borrower’s credit or income that might disqualify them.

    Simply stated:

    1. Don’t make any new major purchases that could affect your debt-to-income ratio
    2. Don’t apply, co-sign or add any new credit
    3. Don’t quit your job or change jobs
    4. Don’t change banks
    5. Don’t open new credit accounts
    6. Don’t close or consolidate credit card accounts without advice from your lender
    7. Don’t buy things for your new home until after you close
    8. Don’t talk to the seller without your agent

    Your real estate professional and lender are working together to get you into your new home. It’s understandable to be excited about one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and that you feel you need to be getting ready for the move.

    Planning is smart but don’t do anything that would affect your credit or income while you’re waiting to sign the final papers at settlement.

  • Is it close to METRO?

    Posted Under: General Area in Washington  |  July 15, 2014 7:08 AM  |  28 views  |  No comments
    This is the question we are often asked by buyers; many of whom are not very familiar with the DC area.  METRO; is the name of our mass transit system; which includes subways (which run above and below ground) and a bus system.
    Because of the design of the train lines (subway); many DC neighborhoods are not served directly by a Metro; but we have an extensive Bus system; many of which stop at or near a Metro (train) station.
    Properties close to the Metro (subway) lines; most always sell or rent for more than those properties under served by Metro. Simply put; if you don't have parking at work (which most Washingtonians do not) - then you need to rely on public transportation.
    Buyers in Washington DC, should also note that neighborhoods just a little more than walking distance to a Metro (train) station; are cheaper - yet still have the convenience of the Metro bus system.
    Check out: http://www.wmata.com    It's the website for Metro which you can use to plug in a beginning and ended address and will give the most efficient route.
    For more information about some of the great DC neighborhoods; give the Metro DC Houses Team a call.
  • Let's look at that property weekend after next...

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Washington  |  July 15, 2014 6:47 AM  |  32 views  |  No comments

    While the DC Real Estate market is having a small seasonal slow-down - it's not SLOW and buyer's don't have the luxury of moving slowly.

    We have had buyers tell us; well let's see that house next week or after my 10-day vacation. Well don't expect that home to still be available.  A seasonal slowdown here in the DC market means there may only be 1 other offer you are competing with - not 9 other offers. 

    While we always true and educate our buyers; they don't always believe us - that is until that property they really wanted to see is under contract.  Often we hear "Why didn't you tell me there was an another offer?".  Well sadly; listing agents often are not going to hold an offer back when we haven't even taken a look at the property.

    Buyers: If you see a property which you want to see; we should plan to see it ASAP.  Not next weekend or next week. If it is "The One"; why give others a chance to see it and then have to compete with them?  If your agent is too busy; well then that's another problem...

    Happy House-hunting!

  • If it's taking you years to buy a house - it's time to rethink things

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Washington  |  July 15, 2014 5:49 AM  |  35 views  |  No comments

    Washington DC continues to have a strong sellers market and proves to be a challenge for buyers.  Although I am seeing a few signs of cooling down, I believe much of the slow-down is seasonally related. Summer is slower as many folks are heading on vacation or trying to beat the humid 90 degree days anyway they can.

    The strong sellers market can be a drain on buyers who have yet to find the "right house" to buy.  Some buyers I have spoken with have been looking for many months; some "for years".  When I hear this I know there is a problem; and it probably is all about expectation.

    In today's world we are constantly reminded from TV and movies that we should have that amazing space with tons of windows; that amazing kitchen with over-sized (and over-priced) appliances and all the furniture - right from the Pottery Barn catalog.  Yes; thank you HGTV - but that is not reality.

    Buyers (especially 1st time buyers), need to understand this is your 1st or next home - not your last home.  Your 1st place WON'T have everything you want - unless your grandfather has a last name like Buffett or Gates.

     

    If you have been looking for years; or even months - then it's to re-evaluate things.  

     

    -Are you really ready to buy?   It's OK if you are not. Is someone pressuring you to do so?  This is about you - not them.

    -Have you made a list?  You need to make a list of "Must Haves" and "Like to Haves".   The must haves should include only "the MUSTS".

    -Now - do you REALLY need the "MUSTS"?  When I 1st moved into DC - I HAD TO HAVE a 2nd bedroom.  Well guess what; I didn't need it.  I took "2nd bedroom" off the MUST HAVE list; bought a place and enjoyed it for 5 1/2 years. Now my next place in DC has the 2nd bedroom (and I barely ever use it - can you say waste of money?).

    -How are you going to use the space?  If you are going to raise 3 kids in the home; then think along those lines. Of course if you are single with no kids and only plans on a family - let's consider a 1 bedroom condo until your soul-mate finds you.  If you work 50 hours a week and eat Chinese food 4 times a week; maybe the giant kitchen with the subzero fridge isn't a priority.  If you only drive your car on Sundays to go to Costco - forget the car and the parking space and use zipcar/car2go/etc.

    - Are you waiting for prices to increase more or interest rates to increase?  Notice I didn't say  wait for these things to go down?  Because they aren't going to. At least not anytime soon.  Prices continually to increase in our market and interest rates have been so low; there is only up.  In fact last week we had a client with about a 350k loan and a small rate jump happened; which increased their monthly payment by $100.  The longer you wait - the fewer options you will have.

     

    If you truly want to buy something and have been looking for more than a few months - then it's time to really sit down with a professional who can help talk you through the process and review the "MUST HAVES" and "LIKE to HAVES".  Many times it is as simple as looking in a different part of town or give up the 2nd car or the 3rd bedroom or bath.

  • When you ask a question - you will get an answer...

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Washington  |  July 8, 2014 6:52 AM  |  62 views  |  No comments

    One of the most confusing things my team deals with on a daily basis is responding to questions from home buyers - and not getting a reply back.  Sometimes the reply comes back with a "stop bothering me" email reply.  Huh?  But you contacted us?

     

    Most Home Buyers today start their research and home search on the internet.  It is a great place for them to do so.  There is so much good information out there; however there is probably more mis-information out there too!

     

    Much of the time; these home buyers are in the beginning stage of their search and they click on the "I want more information" button on their favorite website.  What I don't understand is when they get a reply (our replies are very quick - unless in the middle of the night - just a few minutes at most) - these question askers act like - OH NO SOMEONE RESPONDED!  

     

    It is understandable that they don't want or (think they) even need a Real Estate agent at this point in their search; but what should be understood is emailing and asking a question and then never responding - is like calling someone and hanging up if they answer.  It's annoying and a bit rude.

     

    Home Buyers - You should know that when you press that "I want more information" button - that a real person is going to answer you.  If you don't want that - then don't ask the question.  If you do - know that Real Estate agents don't bite.  We won't make you sign a contract to answer your basic questions or meet with us.  There is no up front charge to tell you about the home buying process.  And yes; we will help you - and if you choose to work with us - great; if not - then just tell us.

  • The cost of "walking away"...

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Washington  |  July 8, 2014 6:02 AM  |  53 views  |  No comments

    So you are under contract and you are negotiating those home inspection items and the seller just refuses to address that very last fix.  You know the one - the one you swore you would not budge on.  That was the one item that the seller just HAD to fix.  

     

    Home buying is a crazy emotional roller coaster. I understand that; we do it everyday as Realtors, and I recall selling and buying my own house a couple of years ago - I thought I'd go nuts!

     

    Well buyers need to make sure they put things into perspective.  The above scenario is played out everyday someplace in our city.  Buyers often see a repair(s) as "deal breakers". If they don't fix it - I'm walking away. Forget it.  Well let's think about this for just a minute...

     

    Is this repair really a huge, major expensive item or not?  Many times it is only a few hundred dollars to correct.  Let's say it's an old hot water heater that you are going to have to fix.  The buyer needs to understand that if they replace it - they are going to get a decade or more of use from it - and they will most-likely be saving energy costs as a new model will be more energy efficient.

     

    Walking away has a real cost.  The buyer has paid for the home inspection.  That's about $500.  They have applied for the loan and ordered the appraisal; another $500 or more. Now let's take into account the time you spent looking for a home?  The time you took off from work to go to the inspection.  Now you want to walk-away and start the process all over again?  Oh by the way; home prices jumped about 1/2% since last month - so that 400k house is now going to cost you an extra 2 grand.

     

    Maybe now; just accepting the fact that you need to spend 5 or 6 hundred dollars makes much more sense.

     

    Of course SELLERS - if the buyer does walk away for that $500 repair;  do you think your home will sell for the same as it did with this buyer?  Probably not.  The world will see you had a contract and now you don't and no one pays full price for last months home (or last seasons clothes, shoes, etc).  Seller - you will probably get at least 1% less for your home.

     

    The moral of the story;  everyone needs to come to a mutual agreement of repair items.  The cost of either party walking away is too costly.

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