BUSTED 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True

It can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your First Home That Just Aren’t TrueIt can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.

Such misconceptions have many kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your first home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses. If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller is required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair any scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can essentially refuse, leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to continue with the offer anyway.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes might have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find the perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple of quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers, and help keep some perspective by separating irritating details from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.

It’s always in your best interests to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent representing you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want to have someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, and ultimately saving you money – and a lot of headaches.

A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one. Contact us today for more information on how you can become the proud owner of your first home!

The Unexpected In Buying Real Estate

When buying real estate, you may find some unexpected problems. Generally, these issues revolve around plumbing, wiring or sticking doors and windows. Although they aren’t as expensive to fix as other issues, there’s always a possibility that they indicate bigger problems.

The Unexpected In Buying Real EstateWhen buying real estate, you may find some unexpected problems. Generally, these issues revolve around plumbing, wiring or sticking doors and windows. Although they aren’t as expensive to fix as other issues, there’s always a possibility that they indicate bigger problems.

Sticking Doors/Windows

Spotting wear and tear on doors and windows is fairly easy. Check the hinges and locks.  Squeaking hinges or locks that stick indicate wear on seals and metal.

Although sticking doors and windows aren’t a big deal in and of themselves, these issues can be indications of moderate to severe foundation problems. If you find these issues in real estate, make your way to the basement and look for cracks or dips in the floors and walls.

Pay attention to how the floors of the house feel when you walk. If you’re at all uneasy, have an inspector look at the house before you buy.

Plumbing Problems

Sometimes, plumbing problems aren’t so easy to find. Sellers have been known to use temporary fixes, which does a good job of hiding the issues. However, there are places to look that make the problems easier to find.

  • Look up in the corners where the walls connect to the ceiling. Spackled ceilings make issues especially easy to spot, as they pick up water stains or crack and flake.
  • Another place to check is the bathroom, along the bottom of the wall.
  • Tile grout has a tendency to crack or flake, become discolored or loosen with continuous proximity to water.
  • Finally, check the closets.

People who use temporary fixes will generally work hard to cover up the problems in lived-in rooms, while forgetting to fix walls and ceilings in closets.

Faulty Wiring

Spotting faulty or old wiring depends on the size of the issue and where it’s located. For instance, a bad socket can be found by looking for darkened spots around the holes. However, it’s impossible to look through the walls to find faulty or old wiring behind them. An electrician will be able to give you a better idea of the wiring in the real estate.

Remember, nothing takes the place of getting real estate you’re thinking of buying inspected by a professional.

Are you considering purchasing a new home? Let me help you get your dream home at the lowest price. Call your trusted real estate professionals at The DC Team, Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway.

What To Consider When Buying A Fixer-Upper

In your imagination it seems like a great idea – you purchase an older run-down property and you have the chance to fix it up and turn it into the home of your dreams.

What To Consider When Buying A Fixer-UpperIn your imagination it seems like a great idea – you purchase an older run-down property and you have the chance to fix it up and turn it into the home of your dreams.

To Renovate, Or Not To Renovate

However, the renovation project that is simply a quick montage in your imagination will actually take several months or years and thousands of dollars in real life.

The concept of renovating a “fixer-upper” property is exciting, but the reality is a lot of work and investment. How can you make sure that you are making the right choice for you?

One of the main advantages of buying a fixer-upper property is that you will usually be able to get the property for a much cheaper price. But is it worth it for the amount of time and money you will need to invest in the property?

Here Are Some Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself When Making Your Decision:

  • Do you (or your friends and family members) have the skills to be able to perform most of the renovations yourself? If you do the labour yourself, you will be able to save thousands of dollars that you would have spent hiring contractors, which will make the renovation a much more profitable project.
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of living in a construction zone, perhaps for several months or more? There will be dust and noise everywhere and you might have to cope without a kitchen or a shower for a while.
  • Make sure that you have a thorough inspection of the home performed so that you can see whether the home has a sturdy foundation, good wiring and plumbing, etc. If your inspection reveals any structural issues or water damage, you might be in for more than you bargained for. You need to start with a house that has “good bones”.
  • If the home has serious structural, plumbing or wiring problems you should stay away – these repairs are very expensive but “invisible”, so you are unlikely to recoup your costs when you sell the home.
  • Add up the estimated costs for renovating the property along with the cost of the home – does it still work out to be a better deal or would you be better off buying a new property.
  • What is your strategy for financing the renovations? If your only option is putting it on the credit card, you might want to think twice because this is a very high interest option.

Buying a fixer-upper property can be a great investment and can give you the opportunity to transform a run-down old house into the property of your dreams. However, make sure you that you consider the choice carefully before making your decision.

For more information about about buying or selling a fixer-upper or any questions regarding real estate, contact your trusted real estate professionals at the DC Team, Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway.

The Three R's Of Fixing Historic Homes For Sale

If you enjoy history and fixing things, then it may be hard to drive by historic homes for sale without feeling the urge to buy one and fix it up. Before you do, you need learn the three R’s of fixing up historic homes and the differences between them.

The Three R’s Of Fixing Historic Homes For SaleIf you enjoy history and fixing things, then it may be hard to drive by historic homes for sale in Virginia without feeling the urge to buy one and fix it up.

Before you do, you need learn the three R’s of fixing up historic homes and the differences between them.

The three R’s of fixing up historic homes are restoration, renovation and repair.  Some of the differences are minor, but they can make all the difference in cost, time and problems.

Restoration

“Restoration” literally means returning something to its original state.

Restoring historic homes for sale involve city and state programs. It’s essential that you check to see if the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or if it’s located in a historic district. Fairfax County, Virginia has over six historic districts and countless historic buildings.

If either of these is the case, there is a specific set of rules that you must follow while renovating.

Cost: Restoration is not a cheap endeavor. For a home to keep its historic value, the materials used need to match the original materials, including furnishings. These can be very expensive due to their antique value.

Renovation

Renovating is less complicated than restoring, at least when talking about what you can and can’t do. However, with a renovation, you’re generally turning the home into a more modern living place, which lowers its historic value. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has guidelines listed about how to maintain the integrity of the home without losing the historic feel, such as making it energy efficient. Make sure your home isn’t listed in the NRHP or located in a historic district. If it is make sure you check your local historic home guidelines before making any changes.

Cost: Depending on the amount of renovations, i.e., modernizing, gutting or remodeling, this can also be expensive. However, it’s much easier to find deals on modern appliances than it is on antiques.

Repair

Repairs differ because they generally aren’t as in depth as the others. For restoration repairs, it’s important to use materials that fit the house, such as plaster walls and wooden floors. For renovation, original materials aren’t as important.

Cost: Again, the cost depends on the number of repairs, as well as, whether you’re keeping the historic value.

Whether restoring, renovating or repairing historic homes for sale, the key is cost. Don’t get so caught up in the possible that you miss the probable. Thinking of buying or selling an historic home? I can help! Call your trusted real estate professionals at the DC Team today.

Ready To Buy Your First Home, Here Is Your Quick Checklist

Buying your first home is a major milestone in your life, similar to graduating high school or moving out of your parent’s house.

Ready To Buy Your First Home, Here Is Your Quick ChecklistBuying your first home is a major milestone in your life, similar to graduating high school or moving out of your parent’s house.

When you buy a property, you are making a long-term investment decision in your future and potentially taking the first step toward your future financial security.

However, buying a house before you are ready can actually be a negative move that puts a cramp in your plans.

It is important to assess where you are in life, so that you know whether or not it’s the right time to buy a house.

Some people buy their first home at 21, others at 30 and some might continue to rent for the rest of their lives – the decision depends on personal circumstances. But how can you determine for yourself whether you are ready?

You Have All Of  Your Finances In Order

Is your credit score looking healthy? Have you paid off your credit card debt, student loans or personal loans?

If not, it is important to clean up your finances and pay down your debts before you start looking for a home, or you will be adding a mortgage on top of the debt before you are able to handle everything.

You Have Enough Savings For A Down Payment

Just because you can buy a home for as little as 3.5% down payment, doesn’t mean that you should. You will have your dream home, but your mortgage payments will be so high that you won’t have any money left over for repairs or improvements.

Also, you will end up paying thousands of dollars more in interest over the length of the loan. The bigger down payment you can save, creating equity in your home, the better.

You Are Earning Enough To Comfortably Afford The Mortgage Payment

Financial experts recommend that you never take a monthly payment that is more than 25% percent of your take home pay – including taxes and insurance.  Jeremy at McLean Mortgage would be happy to speak with you about your mortgage and help you through the mortgage process.

Stretching yourself thinner will leave you little room for error and if your income drops for any reason – you will quickly find yourself in hot water.

You Are Happy To Settle In One Place

Could you see yourself settling in this location for the long term, or are you still considering moving elsewhere in the country or living abroad?

Buying a home is a long-term investment, so if you think that you might possibly move somewhere else in the next five years, you might want to think twice about buying a home and rent instead.

These are just a few of the signs that you are ready to purchase your first property. For more information, contact The DC Team, your real estate professional.

Buying A Home That's Not For Sale

You’re ready to purchase a home, but you’ve looked at everything on the market and can’t find the perfect place. You’ve researched the school districts, neighborhoods and nearby amenities, and you know exactly in which area you want to live.

Buying A Home That’s Not For SaleYou’re ready to purchase a home, but you’ve looked at everything on the market and can’t find the perfect place. You’ve researched the school districts, neighborhoods and nearby amenities, and you know exactly in which area you want to live.

However, anything that comes on the market in that part of town gets snapped up immediately.

It’s time to get creative when it comes to buying a home. Start looking at places that are not currently for sale. You might have driven past your dream home, but you never thought of going the unconventional buying route.

Well, take a look at the tips below to see how you can close on a home without any other buyers knowing.

Look At Previously Listed Homes

Search homes that were on the market, but the owners took them off. Many homeowners let their listing expire and are waiting until the market improves. This is fortunate for you, because you know they are already interested in selling.

Research Online County Records

If you see your perfect home, but you don’t want to just walk up to the door and demand they sell their house, you can find their contact information online. Property records include the owners’ name, address, and, sometimes, their contact information. This will allow you to go through the proper channels of proposing an offer.

Consider A Real Estate Agent

A seller is more likely to take you seriously if a real estate agent brings the offer to them. Agents deal with sellers all the time and will be able to gage if the homeowners are interested.

They’ll also be able to tell you the right price to offer and how you should go about it. You’ll also have piece of mind that all the paperwork that comes with buying a home is completed correctly.

Write A Personal Letter

While all the guidelines say to keep personal feelings out of the home selling process, it’s practically impossible. A home is the place where you raise your children and make memories.

So write the homeowners a heartfelt letter about how you’d like to build a life in their current house. If they think you’ll care for their place as much as they do, they might entertain an offer.

Offer A Fair Price

Many homeowners are ready to upgrade, but hate the idea of getting their current residence ready to sell. They’d have to clean, clear clutter, stage and keep everything looking spotless until they close the deal — which can be quite a hassle.

So, make it convenient. Offer a price that won’t offend and will have them thinking how this could be a stress-free transition.