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Home Buying in Alexandria : Real Estate Advice

  • All405
  • Local Info35
  • Home Buying106
  • Home Selling11
  • Market Conditions13

Activity 194
Thu May 3, 2012
Roland Vinyard answered:
Some urban or semi-urban cities foreclose on homes for unpaid taxes (and for other reasons as well) and then offer them for $1 to the right party. The rationale is that the buyer will fix them up (they all need it) and the home will be back performing on the tax rolls with a good citizen now occupying it and bringing up the neighborhood.

That could explain it.. or I could be n the wrong tack.
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Sat Apr 28, 2012
Robert Lepelletier answered:
Dear New to Alexandria:

There are two pockets of new homes that are in that price range. When a builder first starts marketing, the builder needs to establish the true market price by selling the first homes. So if you're the first one, usually you paid too much. Towards the end and sell out, the builder usually reduces prices because of the higher interest rates on the construction loan, and the County real estate taxes will need to be paid, etc.
For resale purposes the second buyer will need to qualfy for a jumbo loan. So this means at least 20% down or more on a $900K plus home. This is a resale issue. (Exceptions: Doctors may not need to place this amount down.)
Also buying a new house is entirely different from buying a resale. You should hire an agent who will know how to negotiate the upgrades.
Although the Fort Belvoir BRAC is and will create a strong demand for housing, the qiestion remains for those who work for the government as either employees or contractors have the disposable income, and are willing to buy your home as a resale.
Sincerely yours - Bob Lepelletier - REALTOR, Accredited Buyers Representative, GRI
Keller Williams Realty 703-310-7880 or bob@bobtherealtor,pro
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Tue Apr 24, 2012
J J I answered:
Short answer: Yes, it is very common, and it is not an indication of the quality (or lack of quality) of the premises.

Long answer: Do not buy anything unless you have been allowed inside. In my opinion, if possible, add an inspection contingency to the contract as well. That way, if anything is really wrong with the property, you can walk away. However, adding such a contingency may make your contract less competitive than someone else's if the other buyer waives such a contingency. Also, whether or not you have an inspection contingency, walk around the house before you place a contract on it and look for settling and structural issues such as cracking and also look at the quality of the roof. Issues with the house's foundation can be very costly. A new roof can also be quite costly. Also try to determine if there are any water issues, such as water leaking into the house or draining towards the house. ... more
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Thu Mar 29, 2012
Will Nesbitt answered:
It is possible that it was listed all along and that you did not know it was listed. It is also possible that the seller decided to have a Realtor handle the transaction after the sale was contracted. You may need a Realtor or an attorney check over your documents to answer your specific situation. ... more
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Fri Mar 9, 2012
Carolyn Liddell answered:
One of the most important skills of a good buyer's agent is communication - both in active listening skills, as well as communicating, especially explaining the process and providing updates, and staying in touch. Agents need to ask questions and listen to determine the purchaser's needs vs. desires. Good buyer's agent need to be adaptable to the buyer's style. Not that the agent's personality changes but they need to recognize buyer's preferences and adjust accordingly. For example, a strong analytic style, may prefer facts, figures, statistic, and reports.

Agents who simply send out automatic emails are not truly communicating and staying in touch with the buyer. Good agents also review the new listings to be sure the buyer doesn't overlook that special one.

Good buyer agents have a list of business associates that can assist the buyer throughout various stages of the transaction: lenders, home inspections, title/settlement companies, home repair contractors.

Good buyers agents keep the buyer informed about the process throughout the transaction. Good consistent information and follow up helps reduce or eliminate the buyer's apprehension or nervousness with regards to the process. This is especially true with regards to foreclsoures, short-sales, or simply understanding what they have agreed to in the contract.

A good buyer's agent needs to be on top of the process, not let any deadlines be missed or items fall through the cracks.

And sometimes the buyer's agent needs to know how to get their client out of the deal when necessary.

Also, buyers should be aware that because an agent is a strong listing agent, that does not make them a good buyer's agent.

Happy House Hunting,
Carolyn Liddell, Broker
Sun Realty of Fredericksburg
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0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Fri Mar 9, 2012
Judi Gray answered:
I believe every area in Alexandria- and most of Northern VA- will see property appreciation over the next 5 years. The Belvoir area has great potential, as well as Del Ray, Old Town, Kingstowne. This is the time to buy!
Judi Gray
(703) 655-3916
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1 vote 3 answers Share Flag
Thu Mar 8, 2012
Gita Bantwal answered:
The first thing a buyer should do is find out how much money he can invest in a home for down payment and closing costs. Then the buyer should write down his monthly budget and see how much he can truly afford to spend towards housing each month taking into consideration that he will be responsible for all utilities and repairs and maintenance unlike when he was renting. He should allow for emergencies.
The next step is to sit down with a lender and find out how much he would qualify for. He may qualify for more than he allowed for housing, in that case he should buy based on what he is comfortable with and not the higher mortgae because the lender does not know his life style.
Then he should ask friends / family who purchased a home for referral to a good agent if they liked their agent. If they do not know anyone , buyers should interview 3 agents and choose one to work with.
Buyers should know that they will not find everything they want in a house at the price they are qualified for and should make a list of most important things they want in the house.
The agent will guide them and help negotiate the price when they find the right house. They should realize that it is difficult to find a home that is pennies on the dollar . In some areas prices have already started going up so if you are waiting for prices to come down further you will be disappointed.
Another tip is to have a home inspection and to buy a home warranty if the seller is not offering it. First try to ask the seller to pay for the warranty when you make the offer.Once you get pre approved for a loan do not spend on large items, pay your bills on time and do not do anything that will chage your financial picture. It will affect your loan.
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Wed Mar 7, 2012
Dan Ritchey answered:
First every short sale is different from the next, some take longer, some shorter, some never happen.
The typical process when purchasing is to comp the neighborhood for past sales in the last 3-6 months.

Put together a budget of known repairs with a knowledgeable professional; I have been in the building business for 20 plus years, so I bring a level of expertise that is second to none in this area.
Adjust the offer price based on the market price and known repairs.

I advise my clients that I will speak to the listing agent to determine their process/level of expertise in negotiating the short sale i.e. will they use a negotiator or do it themselves and what is their track record.
If I am satisfied with their ability to close a deal, I will advise that we put in the offer.

After the offer, do the home inspection so that we understand possible additional repairs that we may not have anticipated. Renegotiate the purchase price if necessitated by the home inspection.
Wait for the bank to come out with an approval letter and begin the negotiations as to price/terms etc..
Finalize the approval letter offer, complete financing and go to settlement.

This is an abridged version and many other things go on in the process, but this should give the 50,000 foot view.

Dan Ritchey
Keller Williams Realty
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Mon Mar 5, 2012
Glenn Stromberg answered:
The title insurance fir the bank is required however the title insurance for you is optional. Also the plat is optional. Sometimes the lender requires it, most times not. The closing company may assume you want it and order it for you so you have to let them know what you want early in the process. It could be a $300 to $400 item. ... more
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Sun Mar 4, 2012
Judi Gray answered:
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Will Nesbitt answered:
Termites are no threat to concrete and steel structures or condos more than 3 stories tall.
0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Will Nesbitt answered:
Thu Mar 1, 2012
Carolyn Liddell answered:
First-time homebuyers' experiences and surprises are much the same as experienced homebuyers. Surprises can come anywhere in the process. For real estate agents, these bumps in the road may happen all time but for the homebuyers who thought the process would go smoothly, they get surprised, frustrated, or disappointed.
Here is a list of just a few situations that may crop up.

--lender will ask for additional documents, updated documents, over and over, or change their requirements
--if the pre-approval was a while ago, they may not qualify for the same amount - or may not qualify at all
--the appraisal may come back lower than anticipated and the seller won't come down on the sales price
--the settlement date gets pushed back at the last minute
--the home inspection reveals items to be repaired and the seller won't do it (perhaps an as-is property)
--the appraiser has identified items to be repaired and the seller won't do it
--the contract is a short-sale and the seller refuses to agree to the bank's terms
--the seller has removed certain items from the home that should have remained

Every real estate agent can give you a list of situations /surprises that have happened in his/her transactions. It is the role of the agent to communicate in advance with the buyers that things happen, situations come up, and that we will work through it (sometimes satisfactorily and sometimes not). That's our role to resolve surprises and problems so that they may make the best purchase decision.
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Sun Feb 5, 2012
Tjlampley answered:
I have a 4 bdrm townhouse for rent in Potomac Greens starting Jun. $4600/mo.

Tom Lampley
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Wed Dec 14, 2011
Susan Isaacs answered:
Hi Renter,
From the information you've posted, you should be easily able to qualify for a mortgage loan, and that would be the first step. Find a local lender(s) and go through the pre-qualification process. Ask for a worksheet outlining all the costs in a transaction for a single family home in the price range you think you'll fit. Once you've had an opportunity to review this data, you'll know where your comfort zone lies in terms of price. Then interview Realtors and find someone you think you'll work well with. Remember that the buyer's agent's commission is typically paid from a split of the listing agent's commission, so under normal circumstances, there should be no cost to you for expert representation. There's a step-by-step on my website. ... more
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Tue Nov 22, 2011
Ron Thomas answered:
FYI; the average home interest rate, over the period since WWII, is 7.62%

I agree with the others who said that it will stay flat thru 2012, due to the election.
0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 16, 2011
Elliott R. Oliva answered:
Please take a look at these articles as they will be helpful for a home buyer like yourself.
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Fri Oct 28, 2011
Melissa Barkalow answered:

I am sorry, but what property are you referring to? if you send the MLS number or address, we would be happy to get you the information you are looking for.

0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Sun Sep 25, 2011
Scott Godzyk answered:
Amanda rule 1 in closing a bank owned home is get seller signed docs first and ahead of the actual closing when the buyer comes in to sign. The signed deed and hud from the seller is often delayed, they usually require 3 days notice to sign, so it is important to get the docs ahead. You may have thw keys and access but it is not yours until they sign and the deed is recorded. You need to make sure your closing attorney works very close with the listing agent tio get signed docs immediately, you have to push to get results, good luck ... more
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Tue Sep 6, 2011
Melissa Barkalow answered:
I would recommend you talk with a real estate attorney to get an answer, but it would be doubtful she has ownership rights since her name is not on the deed.

Good luck
0 votes 11 answers Share Flag
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