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Susan Borrelli

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The path to home ownership is easier than many Home Buyers think. This is because Buyers often overestimate both the down payment and credit score needed to qualify for a home loan. In a recent article, First American Economic Blog shared:

"Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles faced by first-time home buyers. Dispelling the 20 percent down payment myth could open the path to homeownership for many more."

In my experience, it's not just first-time home buyers that underestimate their ability to obtain financing. There is a vast population of would be home buyers that will be glad to know there are mortgage programs available today with as little as 3%, 5% or 10% down. I meet with these Lenders everyday and I'm happy to share their contact information with you. 

According to the same article:

“Americans still overestimate the qualifications needed to get a mortgage, resulting in qualified potential buyers not even considering homeownership.

 

Expanding on this, Buyers make the mistake of assuming they need an 'excellent' credit score to be approved for a mortgage when in fact a 'good' credit score can work. Too often they assume their credit score won't cut the mustard and don't take the time to check. For example, believing 700 is a 'fair' credit score when it actually falls in a 'good' classification according to Experian. 

Here is the breakdown of credit score classifications according to Experian:

  • 16% Very Poor (300-579)
  • 18% Fair (580-669)
  • 21% Good (670-739)
  • 25% Very Good (740-799)
  • 20% Exceptional (800-850)

Another interesting fact is, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report, a whopping 41% of all recently approved loans had credit scores ranging from 650-750. 

So, with all of this in mind, if you or someone you know is considering buying a home but you're not sure if you qualify, I hope you'll reach out. In the worst case scenario you'll get sound advice on how to improve your credit score and in the best case scenario you'll be on the path to homeownership! To get started give me a call today! 703-216-2620

Best,

Susan

When Selling Your Home Put Your Best Foot Forward

by Susan Borrelli

You're thinking about selling your home and you wonder, in this [Seller's] market, do I need to put my best foot forward to sell my home? Even in a Seller's market the resounding answer is Yes. Here's why- you want your home to appeal to every ready, willing and able Buyer looking in your homes location and price range. You want them to feel excited when they see your home pop up on the market and you want them to feel compelled to view your home, in person, immediately. Serious Buyers know if they don't move quickly on a home that's in good condition, they may lose the opportunity. If your home is in good condition (and it meets the Buyers criteria relative to space, number of bedrooms etc...), they won't hesitate. You'll have many showings and that will put you in the best position to receive multiple offers in a short timeframe and to negotiate the best price and terms for your circumstances. 

Conversely, when a home does not appear to be in good condition, the home often sits on the market because Buyers hesitate. They don't feel pressed to see the home as quickly and they take longer to weigh making an offer. In the end, the cost to make improvements such as fresh paint and new carpet may cost you a lot less than the extra mortgage payment and lower offer you may receive should you elect not to put your best foot forward. 

If You want to know how to Boost Your Homes Value, give me a call. 703-216-2620

Best,

Susan

Last week I met with a new client for the first time. He was looking at homes priced up to $600,000 in Lorton, Burke, Springfield and Woodbridge. When I asked him if he had met with a loan officer to qualify for a mortgage he replied, "No, I've been using a mortgage calculator".  He has good credit and he was comfortable with a mortgage payment of up to $3000 per month. The problem was, he didn't calculate in taxes, insurance or HOA fee's which totaled $750 per month. Of course, this raised the total monthly payment significantly.

My client was disappointed to learn that he was calculating a principle and interest only payment which was far lower than what the actual payment would be. This information changed his price range and we started looking at less expensive homes. 

Consequently, there can be a substantial difference in the total tax bill (on similar homes) within the same zip code but different neighborhoods. Some differences align to lot size but some of it is simply because one neighborhood commands higher sales prices than another. You'll find higher tax bills in higher priced neighborhoods.

Here's an example of how the tax bill differs from a neighborhood in Lorton (Fairfax County) compared to Woodbridge (Prince William County). I compared a 2800 SQ FT home in Lorton's Laurel Hill neighborhood to a home with similar SQ FT in Port Potomac (Woodbridge). The total tax bill of the Laurel Hill property was close to $6700 while the Port Potomac property was close to $5200.  That may be fine for some and a deal breaker for others when factoring in gas prices and commute time. In either case, it's good to know. 

Before you officially start looking at properties it's always best to meet with a reputable local loan officer to get your price range squared away. I can work with you and your loan officer to get the information you and he/she need related to taxes and HOA fees so you can make informed decisions.

 

 

 

Are you thinking about selling your house soon?

by Susan Borrelli

It’s difficult to know when is the best time to sell, or how to get the most money for your house, but you don’t need to go through the process alone.

You may be wondering if prices are projected to rise or fall…or how much competition you may be facing in your neighborhood. My free eGuide will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you haven’t even thought about yet.

Simply send me an email to SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com / subject line: Seller eGuide to receive your copy of the eGuide. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Year after year the demand for single level living rises in Northern Virginia. This is particularly true in 55+/Active Adult communities. The population is aging and with age, many people find it difficult to get up and down stairs but they can do just fine on their own otherwise. There is also the population of 55+ people who simply like the resort style living (golf, indoor and outdoor pools, activities, exercise classes) offered in many of these communities. The problem is, rental housing that allows for single level living is hard to come by in Fairfax County and Prince William County. I know this because I'm a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and the number of calls I receive from people looking for rental housing in 55+ / active adult communities has skyrocketed. Communities such as Spring Hill in Lorton, River Ridge near Occoquan, Four Seasons in Dumfries and Regency at Dominion Valley in Haymarket are just a few of the spectacular 55+/Active Adult communities in which you could find a good investment property to buy, Rent Quickly and hold. 

To learn more about Northern Virginia's 55+/Active Adult Communities or to receive listings-by-email, you can contact me at SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com or go to: www.NorthernVirginiaSelectProperties.com   

There's no question about it- the demand for single level living has risen dramatically in our Northern Virginia 55+/Active Adult communities. The population is aging and with age, many people find it difficult to get up and down stairs. The problem is, rental housing that allows for single level living is hard to come by in Fairfax County and Prince William County. I know this because I'm a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and the number of calls I receive from people looking for rental housing in 55+ / active adult communities has skyrocketed. Communities such as Spring Hill in Lorton, River Ridge near Occoquan, Four Seasons in Dumfries and Regency at Dominion Valley in Haymarket are just a few of the spectacular 55+/Active Adult communities in which you could find a good investment property to buy, rent quickly and hold. 

To learn more about Northern Virginia's 55+/Active Adult Communities or to receive listings-by-email, you can contact me at SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com or go to: www.NorthernVirginiaSelectProperties.com   

Buy & Hold Real Estate Wealth Building Strategy

by Susan Borrelli

I personally believe buying & holding real estate is one of the most effective wealth building strategies available to us as individuals. Holding one or more rental properties affords us the long term opportunity to own the property outright. Unfortunately, Principle Pay Down/Building Equity is a strategy that many people overlook because it's not a get rich quick scheme. In essence, the tenant pays down the landlords mortgage in the form of rent (payments are applied to principle, interest, taxes and insurance). Over time, the principle amount owed diminishes and your equity in the home increases. When you sell (10, 20 or 30 years from now) you have a nice chunk of equity or you own the property outright. 

Potential tax benefits, appreciation and passive income during retirement are more good reasons to consider investing in real estate.  

As with all investment strategies, due diligence is required. Seek the help of a local Realtor to identify areas where homes rent quickly and to verify market rent in those areas. A local lending professional can help you understand your loan options and consult your accountant to assess potential tax benefits. 

If you're considering purchasing a rental property in Northern Virginia and would like to know more about current rental conditions or areas where homes rent quickly and for top dollar, don't hesitate to contact me at SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com.  

 

 

There's a new energized direction in downsizing. It's called right-sizing, it's trending and it's happening at an earlier age. People are trading in their big, longtime homes for smaller, comfortable, yet luxurious homes and the accompanying lifestyle and amenities. Homes are often half the size but newer and more energy efficient. They're beautifully upgraded and the communities in which they reside typically come with luxurious amenities and an active lifestyle such as golf, workout facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, themed parties and even on premise restaurant, activity director and concierge services. In essence, people are trading up! They're not waiting for retirement to make their move and why should they?

The HOA fee may be a little higher but in return, there is less spent on upgrading and repairs on the old home, lower taxes, reduced utilities and little or no yard work.  People experience a better, active, resort-like lifestyle after years of hard work. 

The trade-offs are your neighbors are a little closer and the work commute may be a little further. Though you may need to downsize your belongings, in the scheme of things, it could be a great excuse to discard old furniture and modernize. 

If you would like more information about Northern Virginia's active lifestyle communities, you can contact me at: SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com or 703-216-2620.

Visit www.NorthernVirginiaSelectProperties.com to see active listings for sale in 55+/Active Adult communities: Spring Hill in Lorton, Four Seasons in Dumfries, River Ridge near Historic Occoquan, Regency at Dominion Valley in Haymarket and much more!

 

Northern Virginia Median Sold Prices year to date (through October 2015) were reported by RBI which is the statistics arm of MRIS. In areas where I focus, the news is good.  Median sold price in 2015 as compared to 2014 increased by the following percentages: 

Fairfax County  +3.3%

Prince William County + 3.1%

Alexandria City + 4.2%

Arlington County +5.7% 

How to Decide Between Multiple Offers - 5 Tips Worth Reading

by Susan Borrelli

When the market favors the seller, there's always the possibility of a multiple offer situation. These tips from a recent Re/Max.com blog post are worth sharing. 

 

Sellers: How to Decide Between Multiple Offers

Thu, November 12, 2015

What a splendid dilemma! You’ve received several offers on your property. Which one should you choose? It’s not always the highest one.

Here are just some of the areas your agent could ask you to pay particularly close attention to as you're weighing the options.

1. Do the math.
This goes beyond simply calculating the dollar difference between the various offer prices. Before you do that, be sure to do all the math. Subtract things like seller subsidy, home warranty, temporary housing (see 4.) and potential repairs to determine the net proceeds of each offer.

2. Consider the financing.
Can the buyer provide proof from the lending bank that there are funds to back the offer? Your agent can help verify this – and help you understand the terms of the buyer's financing.

3. Motivation.
Do the buyers have a baby-sitting parent in the neighborhood? A new job just around the corner? Buyers with extra motivation to purchase your home are less likely to press for concessions and more likely to work harder to close the deal. Some buyers even include a personal letter with their offer to explain why they want the home. These letters can be particularly helpful in multiple-offer situations.

4. Timeline.
Note the closing date each offer proposes. You'll want a closing date that best meets your needs. You can always counter a closing date, too, if the best offer doesn't quite meet your timeline.

***I've added #5 because it's been a talking point raised by several of my clients recently.

5. Peace of Mind. If a quick sale and peace of mind that the cash is in the bank are your priorities, then a quick settlement may outweigh a few thousand dollars. This was the case for one of my clients who wanted to proceed quickly to settlement before making an offer on a new home. She had two offers but the higher priced offer couldn't close for 60 days. She elected to take a few thousand dollars less in return for a swift settlement. If this sounds more your speed, that's fine- just think it through and do your homework. Do you have a place to stay or will you need to pay for short term housing? How much will it cost to store your belongings? How much will a moving company charge for a tiered move? Those are some of the things to research before accepting an offer on your home. Give me a call, I can help.

Weighing the pros and cons of each offer can be tricky. An experienced agent can help you clarify, calculate and secure the very best deal for you.

If you're considering selling your home and would like to know more about what your home is worth in today's market, give me a call at 703-216-2620 or contact me by email at SusanBorrelliHomes@gmail.com.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 56