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By Markita Woods NMLS#196099, Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA
(American Financial Network)
Comments 0
Working from home is fueling the current real estate market. There are other factors that are driving the volume of home sales, but we will stick with working from home in this post. The COVID-19 pandemic has millions of office workers working from home. Some companies have already announced that they will divest themselves from the expense of office space, and continue with work from home as the new normal. School closures have sent millions of children home for remote learning through online classes, and parents supplementing teachers to keep the children's education on track.  Houses were plenty spacious before the pandemic, but with mom and dad taking over portions of the house for office space, and kids requiring dedicated classroom space, folks are discovering that their homes are...
By Markita Woods NMLS#196099, Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA
(American Financial Network)
Comments 0
As of April 27, 2012, interest rates on a conventional, 20% down, 30-year mortgage are in the 3.4% range, and headed down to 3.2% by the middle of May. It's only been a few months since rates were bottomed out at 2.75% on a conventional loan (2.25% on government backed loans by FHA and VA). The difference between 3.2% and 2.70% on a $500,000 conventional loan is $121.12. ($500,000 at 3.2% = $2,162.33. $500,000 at 2.75% = $2,014.21 with an APR of 3.2% and 2.75%). You probably spend more on coffee at Starbucks than $121.12 each month. We're not talking about a catastrophic difference in payment.Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:mortgage rates slid for a second week … but we don't expect rates to stay at this level for too long.Hale continues to say:For sellers, getti...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 12
There is No Excuse for Insufficient MLS DataInsufficient and inaccurate data in the MLS continues to be an issue.  A former colleague that trained me to set up automatic MLS searches for buyers taught me to make the criteria as vague as possible.  Her saying on the lack of accurate data in the MLS still rings in my head, "Garbage in, garbage out."Even still, with the most basic searches I have run into homes not coming up for buyers.  Last weekend, it was a fully finished or partially finished basement that didn't have homes coming up for a relocating family.  What listing agent leaves that big of a selling feature out?  The agents that rely solely on the photos to do the talking.  Problem with that line of thinking is that when listings are Coming Soon, it is usually because photos hav...
By Susan Jacobs RCS-D, Gainesville,VA RealEstate Collaboration Specialist
(Samson Properties)
Comments 0
Here are 5 real estate words to increase your vocabulary. 1- C.L.U.E.A C.L.U.E report is a comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. It is a file that is compiled on you by the insurance industry. 2- ComminglingCommingling is to mix funds held in trust with other funds. Example a builder or broker hold funds in trust ( should be deposited into trust account) instead the money is deposited in to a general account. 3- Slant DrillingSlant drilling is a method of drilling fo oil or gas in an ajoining property when property rights have not been granted.4- GNMAGNMA (Ginnie Mae) Goverment National Mortgage Assoication. A federal association working with F.H.A. , which offers special assistance in obtaining mortgages and purchase mortgages.5- Abstract of TitileAbstract of title is a compilation...
By Susan Jacobs RCS-D, Gainesville,VA RealEstate Collaboration Specialist
(Samson Properties)
Comments 0
When selling your home you should prepare your home for the home inspection. Being prepared will make the home inspection less stressful and less likely that the inspector will need to make a follow up trip.  The inspector will need to have access to a lot of things you may not be thinking about.Example: 1- Attic- besure it's unlocked and clear away items from the attic access. If the attic access is in the garage remove vehicles and any boxes that might be in the way.2- Gas Appliances -Confirm all appliances and gas fireplaces have lit pilot lights. Confirm all untilites are on. This is especially important in a property that you might be renting or that is vacant. 3- Plumbing - Clear out under the cabinet area and sinks for the inspector to have easy access to.4- Alarm system- Turn of...
By Susan Jacobs RCS-D, Gainesville,VA RealEstate Collaboration Specialist
(Samson Properties)
Comments 0
Stonewall Golf Gainesville, VA  will be hosting a Sip & Swing Golf Clinic Friday, April 9, 2021 from 6pm-7pm. Learning to golf has never been as much fun and easier. Its a full swing golf clinic led by PGA  favorite, Patrick McCarthy. Price included ball range and one hour of instructions. Golf clubs provided if needed. The event is open to the first 8 people to RSVP. Come as a solo or bring a friend.Price $26.00 for members $36.00 for non members. Payment in advance.Everyone MUST RSVP on the Women on Course website to reserve a spot. Here is the link: https://www.womenoncourse.com/sip-amp;-swing-edp-4478-04-2021.html Susan Jacobs, Real Estate Collaboration Specialist- DivorceSamson Properties703-437-4418Susan@SusanOJacobs.com wwwSusanJacobs.com
By Markita Woods NMLS#196099, Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA
(American Financial Network)
Comments 1
You want to buy a home in Northern Virginia (NOVA) with your veterans benefit for a zero down home loan. Perhaps ypu are a first-time buyer, using your VA home loan for the first time. Or perhaps you are using your VA zero down loan for the second, or third, or fourth time, or more.  One thing for sure is that the military didn't tell you how to use your VA loan.What you need is a loan officer with a respected loan company who specializes in VA zero down loans. Believe it or not, there are loan officers who have been originating loans for ten+ years who have never originated a VA loan.When you buy a home with your VA home loan you need a specialist who is originating 15-20 VA loans at any particular time. You need a VA home loan specialist because behind the scenes, VA loan originartion...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 21
Why Should I Work For LESS, When I'm Doing MORE?I know I am not the only listing agent out there being tried by sellers who want major discounts because "it's so easy to sell homes these days."  The reality of the situation is this, we do the same amount of work for every listing regardless of market when it comes to preparation.  When it comes to reviewing dozens of offers in a tight time frame and picking the best one for a seller's net that poses the least risk, that's MORE than we do in a buyer's market.  Our effort should not be measured by days on market.  Just my thought this evening after talking to four sellers this week that fell in two camps of thought on perceived effort for offered compensation.  I hope you'll stop by and read my personal blog on the subject.
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 12
Have You Considered Leaving It For the Buyers?The Bristow/Gainesville real estate market is on fire.  Can you imagine a townhouse getting forty-five offers?  Happened this part weekend.  My buyer clients happened to be part of the madness.  It's so hard to be competitive in this seller's market.  Buyers are having to let go of every  contingency and shoot  seven to ten percent higher than list price just to be chosen.  It's exhausting to be part of it, no matter what side of the deal you are on.As I waited to hear back on the offer my buyers made, I spent part of my morning looking through Facebook.  One post in particular made me angry.  A home seller advertising a gorgeous, free standing island with granite top that they had purchased two weeks ago.  I imagine they bought it to make t...
By Susan Jacobs RCS-D, Gainesville,VA RealEstate Collaboration Specialist
(Samson Properties)
Comments 0
                                      8 Reason to Work with a Real Estate Collaboration Specialist-DivorceWhat make a real estate agent trained in collaborative divorce different?An agent trained in collaborative divorce:1-Works as the project manager and gathers house related documents.2-Makes both spouses aware of all the facts. 3- Works with a team of mortgage professionals, home inspectors, title agencies and insurance agents.4- Helps the lawyer get the two pieces of valuable information that is missing from the case file. 5-Helps the financial professional get the missing documents for the martial balance sheet. 6-A RCS-D helps to protect both spouses credit score and preserve home ownership eligibility. 7- They ask the question: Would you keep the house if you knew all the facts? ...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 14
Buyer EnthusiasmThere is no question that buyers are in a near frenzy to find properties to purchase.  Historically low mortgage interest rates have brought a ton of demand.  However, inventory is lacking.  You would think any old house a buyer could find would do.  Not so much.Even in seller's market, buyers need to feel some level of enthusiasm about a property to write an offer.  To go above and beyond list price and remove typical contingencies from their offers, buyer enthusiasm is a must.Earlier in the year, I had first time buyers who were under contract to buy a home they were very enthusiastic about.  However, at the time of inspection, the finishes only went so far before the lemon underneath was revealed.  Nonetheless, my buyers have referenced that property and the layout as...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 6
Why Are Listing Agents Under Pricing Homes Right Now?Last night I had to deliver bad news to buyers that their offer on their dream home had not been accepted.  They went ten thousand over list price, had an earnest money deposit fives times higher than what would be considered typical, a home inspection with right to void only and financing and appraisal contingencies.  The problem was, the listing was under priced and I knew that going in.There is a nasty trend developing in the Bristow/Gainesville market of agents under pricing homes to get ridiculous amounts of offers.  When I first called on this listing, the agent said she wanted it be more widely available.  That's nice, but the reality was this home was not as widely available as advertised.  Counseling buyers on what a home is ...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 8
Getting a Handle on a Seller's Market When You Are a BuyerEntering a seller's market as a buyer can be trying.  Too much competition and too few homes can feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill.  In seller market conditions, prices are going up...FAST.  How do you get under contract with a property?It starts with planning showings as far out as you can.  Coming soon listings may not have interior pictures, but book your showing NOW.  If you don't like what you see in the professional photos, cancel the showing.  But in a seller's market, with pandemic precautions making it impossible to have overlapping showings, book the time as soon as you.  In concert with planning as far out as you can, you also need to be flexible.  Don't make solid plans when house hunting is a top priority.  ...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 15
Two Sets of Parents, Two Buyer Clients and a Home Inspection Going BadA day in the life of a Manassas Real Estate Agent.  Home inspection with first time buyers.  Buyers arrive and home inspector arrives with an inspector in training.  Next to show up was his parents....then her parents.  Lord help me.  This was most definitely my circus and my monkeys today.The folks were there to be supportive and check out the new place.  Everyone's excitement turned to varying levels of anxiety and anger when the heat didn't work.  Word from the inspector was the entire HVAC needed replacement, as did the water heater.  Turns out, the hydronic heating system had failed because the water heater was failing.  Seemed to the folks that the home had failed inspection, now what?His mom wanted a price redu...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 7
How Do You Handle Parental Involvement in the House Hunt?When you are buying your first home, the feeling to reach out to mom and dad may be stronger for some than others.  Should your parents be involved in the process?  Are they local?  Are they interested in being involved?  Do they feel they need to be involved because they are making a down payment gift?Parental involvement can be a blessing or a curse, all depending on how willing your parents are to be part of the process.  In the course of house hunting, your agent will educate about many things.  Market conditions are at the topmost important considerations when it comes to making an offer.  If your parents haven't heard any of the facts and figures about market conditions, and give you contradictory advice to what your agent i...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 8
So Many Things to Consider Before Listing For RentMeeting with a soon-to-be landlord yesterday, there was so much to cover.  In addition to the preparation of the house, which was the declared reason for the meeting, there were a lot of questions the landlord needed to answer for me to accurately present the listing.How long of a lease minimum and maximum would he accept? I think my thoughts on lease term were eye opening for him. All landlords I have ever met would love a two year commitment unless they are planning to sell in a year.Will pets be accepted?  If so, are there limitations to size, breed or species?  How about pet deposit?  Refundable or not?  Monthly pet rent?  While I am a huge animal lover and enjoy my furry family, I realize the damage that pets can do to a home.  Carp...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 12
The First Monday of the New YearThere's something about Mondays I love.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Monday is my favorite day of the week.The first Monday of 2021 was a tad confusing.  Having come off of two long holiday weekends, my internal day of the week clock is way off.  Nonetheless, I was able to get my business plan committed to paper and finally get my 2021 goal out there.  Part of my success is getting my family, friends and past clients behind my goal and working to help me meet it.  They are responsible for 63% of the deals I closed last year.In other business news, I stopped by a rental listing I'll be bringing to market the middle of this month.  As is standard for my business, it will be lightly staged and have professional photography.  All listings dese...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 12
When Reality is Just Too RealLooks like more of the same for buyers in Bristow and Gainesville to get under contract in 2021 as we saw for the majority of 2020.  Sellers are in charge and getting multiple offers.  Being a buyer's agent you fee like you can't represent a buyer's best interests to the core because they have to forego so many contingencies just to be chosen as the winning offer.  The goal has changed to simply getting a home while interest rates are low.Today I had the experience of working with another agent's buyer. I have heard about this buyer for a long time.  She's stuck in a mindset the market is wrong, she's right and eventually, she will get a home with a list price offer or below with all the contingencies her heart desires...maybe even some closing cost help.  (...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 18
Snow Days are Still Snow DaysDespite what the now virtual attendance, that I like to refer to as "Zoom school," being mandatory since the pandemic darkened our doors, snow days are still snow days.  Prince William County Public Schools, with the forecast of snow on December 16, 2020 canceled VIRTUAL school.  Let me repeat that.  Prince William County canceled VIRTUAL SCHOOL due to inclement weather.What the **** is going on?  When is someone going to wake me from the ludricous nonsense happening around me.  Each day I think I understand our new normal, only to learn that I don't.Unfortunately, the only thing I do still know for sure is the sun rises in the east, sets in the west and moves along the southern sky, making northern exposure driveways like mine a bear after even a lightweigh...
By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA)
Comments 46
Doing Right By Your Sellers Without Jacking Around Cooperating AgentsYesterday I got news that my buyer-clients, who had submitted an offer in a multiple offer scenario, had lost out.  Not a shock. In the area they were looking, there were only two homes on the market in their price range.  And I know there are plenty of buyers looking for single family detached homes in that price range.  What I didn't expect was hearing we were the 30th offer of 51 offers.  That's insanity and a waste of so many people's time.As a Bristow listing agent, I have been at the helm of many of these scenarios myself.  I know there is a ceiling that is reached on value after about four offers.  And if your seller is looking for something specific, you can certainly let agents with interested buyers know.  On...

Prince William County, VA Real Estate Professionals