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Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Susan Borrelli

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates go up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Short Sale Buyer; Get All The Facts

by Susan Borrelli, Certified Short Sale Expert, CDPE

Before you submit an offer on a short sale, make sure you have as much information as possible about the circumstances of the short sale and how it is being handled. 

First, ask your agent to ascertain, to the best of their ability, the listing agents ability to successfully negotiate the short sale.  If the listing agent isn't doing the negotiating, ask your agent to talk directly to the attorney or negotiator that is working the case. You want to know for a fact that the short sale is being aggressively pursued so make sure the person negotiating the deal can answer questions about the case on the spot. If they can't recall without going back to their file, their case load may be too great which could slow the process. Worse yet, there is a greater chance of error, which could cause the deal to fail. 

Though I can't include every possible question, here are some examples of questions that will help you learn the circumstances of the short sale and how it is being handled:

*Outside the presence of the mortgage lien holder(s), are there any other liens on the property (tax, HOA, other)?

*Has the bank approved the hardship?

*Has a BPO been ordered or completed- if so, when? How long is the BPO good for? Has the bank asked for a new BPO?

*Are the bank assigned asset managers/negotiators responsive?

*Has the second lien holder told you how much they will accept to approve the short sale?

*Do you foresee having to escalate to a senior asset manager/negotiator?

It is better to understand as much as you can about a short sale prior to writing an offer. The process takes months and though short sales are often successful, if the water is too murky, steer clear.

 

Short Sale Success Requires Expert Knowledge

by Susan Borrelli, Certified Short Sale Expert, CDPE

     There is only one way to become a short sale expert- EXPERIENCE. There are only a handful of short sale experts and most people who claim to be an expert simply are not. True short sale experts have successfully stalled scheduled foreclosure dates. They've navigated the most difficult banks and client circumstances and they've helped the most anxious, overwhelmed of clients through the short sale process. Consequently, a short sale expert can reassure an anxious buyer and keep them from walking away from a deal. 

     How can you know whether a Realtor or Negotiator has the experience and knowledge needed in order to give you the best chance of getting a short sale approval? There are specific questions you can ask that pertain to 1) escalating a case 2) negotiation strategies and 3) their ability to overcome difficult obstacles, that could help you to decide. If you would like more information so that you can make an informed decision, call today.

 

Prices of Homes in Northern Virginia's Active Adult Communities (along the I95 corridor)

by Susan Borrelli, Active Adult Property Specialist

     

     Typical to residential neighborhoods in Northern Virginia, the further South you go, the less expensive the property. Active Adult communities are no exception. For example, if you would like to purchase a property in the Spring Hill 55+ / Active Adult community you can expect to pay upwards of $450,000 for a patio home. A larger model recently sold for $530,000.  Spring Hill resides in Lorton, Virginia which is in Southern Fairfax County.  Please note, Spring Hill also has apartment style condominiums. Prices range from $180,000 to $250,000 and the condominium fee's run from just under $300 to $450.

Moving 7 miles South to Prince William County, prices of patio homes in the Active Adult community of River Ridge in Woodbridge, VA run between $425,000 and $475000. 

Continue on I95-S to Dumfries in southern Prince William County and you'll find the Four Seasons 55+ / active adult community. Home prices in Four Seasons ranges from $280,000 on the low end to $475,000 for larger patio homes. 

Fredericksburg in Stafford County boasts two 55+ / Active Adult Communities- Falls Run and Celebrate. Falls Run patio and villa home prices range from $220,000 to $400,000.  The Celebrate community is still in development therefore there is an opportunity to buy new build construction if that is your preference. Prices range from $260,000 to just over $400,000.

 

Check Out The Cool Online Magazines for Seniors!

by Ron and Susan

 

Online Magazines- we'll take you there! Just click on the link.

Courtesy of Susan Borrelli, Senior Real Estate Specialist/ REMAX Gateway

Grand Times!

http://www.grandtimes.com/

Reminisce: The Magazine that Brings Back the Good Times

http://www.reminisce.com/

The Golden Years

http://www.55plusmag.com/

AARP Magazine

http://www.aarp.org/magazine/

 

     Transition Solutions of Northern Virginia is the senior services arm of Ron & Susan Associates at RE/MAX Gateway. It was formed because we saw a growing need within the Senior community for services outside the scope of a typical real estate transaction. We witnessed senior citizens (and sometimes the family/caretaker) struggling with all the tasks involved in selling a longtime residence. First and foremost, can you imagine having to sift through 10, 20 or even 30 years of personal belongings and family memorabilia? Getting rid of clutter is one thing, downsizing is quite another and most seniors who move later in life are, in fact, downsizing.  

     When a client lists their home with Ron & Susan Associates, they are offered free downsizing help. They are also given "general contractor" support (obtain repair quotes, schedule seller-approved repairs, obtain moving quotes). When no downsizing assistance is needed, Transition Solutions offers other services the senior can take advantage of. Packing, junk removal and secure shredding services are examples of the other services a senior can choose in lieu of downsizing assistance. 

     If you or someone you know would like more information about how our program works, call Susan Borrelli, our Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) at: 1-888-495-6207 X 2. All calls remain confidential.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6