The Pros and Cons of Owning a Condo

Owning a condo comes with its fair share of both pros and cons. These are the most notable of the bunch.

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Owning a condominium comes with both pros and cons.

First, I wanted to explain that condominium refers to a type of ownership, not a type of building or apartment.

Condo ownership has a concept called "fee simple" that means you own everything within the walls of your condo, but anything outside the walls is owned in partnership with other owners in the building. This is called "tenancy in common." Depending on how the condos are set up, you're in charge of everything outside your home in partnership with the other owners for things like maintenance and repairs.
Condo fees in older buildings can get pretty expensive.
The biggest pro of owning a condo is that the grounds are typically very well-maintained. However, if the building is older and has deferred maintenance, the condominium fees can get expensive.

Before buying a condo, ask your real estate agent which costs you'll be responsible for and whether it's a good deal. There could be a special assessment fee for things like a one-time project of fixing all the building's decks, for example.

If you're interested in buying a condo or any other kind of property, just give me a call or send me an email soon. I'd love to help you!

Should You Sell Your Home or Rent It Out?

A client of mine was debating on whether they wanted to sell their home or not. Here’s what I suggested they do.

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A client of mine was getting ready to move out of town and asked me if they should sell their home or simply rent it out after they move to generate some passive income.

This particular client was moving to Florida and had owned their home for about seven years. Each situation is different and could require a different answer, but I usually like to ask a few questions first to determine which option is best. These are questions like:

Do you ever intend to come back to this area?
How long do you want to hold onto the property for?
Have you ever been a landlord before?

If they have been a landlord before, they are more prepared for the possible outcomes. It usually goes one of two ways when renting out a property. Either you have perfect tenants and no problems or problem tenants that drive you crazy. I believe owning real estate is a great way to build wealth, and I am a landlord myself. However, I’ve either had a great experience or a terrible one.
Investing in real estate is a great way to build wealth.
When it comes down to it though, I haven’t seen a market like this in the last 10 years for sellers. It might be a better idea to consider selling now, but we won’t know until we sit down and determine what your goals are.

In making your decision to sell or rent out your home, all of these factors and more must be considered. If you have any questions about your personal situation or anything else about real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Why the N. Virginia Market Is So Hot Right Now

Home sellers are in a strong position in the hot northern Virginia market, but these conditions won't last much longer. 

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What's been happening in the northern Virginia real estate market?

The first bit of good news to note is that mortgage rates have stabilized. From a low of about 3.41% last July, they spiked at 4.31% in December, and we're now seeing them in the low 4% range.

The second bit of good news is that jobs are up here too. One of the great things about living here in northern Virginia is that jobs are always up and we've got a lot of government-supporting companies that make our economy thrive.
Mortgage rates have stabilized and the economy is strong, which is great for the real estate market.
When it comes to housing, we know that inventory is low. I recently placed three properties on the market on a Friday, and by that Monday, we had 13 offers on those three homes! We even had a buyer offer $7,000 in cash above the property's appraised value.

If you've ever thought about selling your house, right now is the time to do so. It's the hottest market I've seen in 10 years in real estate. You can't take it for granted though because it won't be around forever.

If you have any questions about what's going on in your specific area or community, let me know! Email or call me and I'd be happy to give you any information you need about our market. 

Where Should You Buy an Investment Property in Northern VA?

Have you thought about investing in property in the northern Virginia area? Here's some general advice to follow. 

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Where's a good place to invest in real estate in northern Virginia?

Northern Virginia is a challenging market for investors if you're looking to buy and hold a property. There are some pockets in the area where you can possibly buy and hold an investment property—typically we look to buy one of these homes with 15% down with a 15-year loan to be paid off by your tenants. If the numbers make sense, it's a great idea.

If you're looking to invest in real estate, I would consider buying in Maryland. If you're a Virginia resident and you invest in Maryland, understand that when you sell, there will be an extra out-of-state tax. There are also a lot of opportunities in outlying areas; go down 66 and 95 to see these kinds of places.
If you're looking to invest in real estate, I would consider buying in Maryland.
If you want to learn more about investing in property, feel free to reach out to me or attend one of our investor workshops on the last Wednesday of each month. Just send me an email or give me a call and I'd be happy to give you some more info.

Finally, thanks to Justin Hall for the great question. We're sending a $25 gift card your way for submitting it!

I look forward to helping you soon.

Why Use a Reverse Mortgage?

Reverse mortgages can be a useful tool if you’re 62 or older. Here’s why. 

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I’m here today to answer another great question from one of our viewers. This one comes from Miss Peaches. She wants to know “What is a reverse mortgage?” Thanks again for the question, Peaches!

If you’re a homeowner that is 62 or older, a reverse mortgage allows you to use the equity in your home to get cash. This allows you to take any substantial equity out of your home and turn it into cash. If you pass away and/or the home is sold, the money will get paid back. The lender makes their money off the interest that has accumulated during the time you had the cash.
You can turn that equity into cash.
If you have any further questions about reverse mortgages or anything else real estate-related, give me a call or send me an email. I’ve got a $25 gift card coming your way, Miss Peaches. If you have a question and we answer it in a video, I’ll be sending you one as well. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

How Smart Repairs Netted One Seller an Extra $136,000


I have a story I wanted to share about just how valuable the right upgrades can be when you sell your home. One of our clients earned over $100,000 more on their home sale thanks to the right renovations.

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Today I wanted to share a story about a client who had questions for us about the best way to make upgrades to their property. More specifically, they wanted to know what would give them the biggest bang for their buck.

A couple of months ago, some sellers who lived in the middle of Virginia approached me about selling their property for the most money possible. I visited the home and saw that it was pretty distressed and in need of a lot of repairs. I was able to recommend my contractor, and in six weeks, we put the property into a really nice, marketable condition.

We redid the bathrooms, kitchen, and finished the basement to take this property from probably only being able to sell for $320,000 to getting $456,000 for it. 
The client spent $40,000 on renovations and netted an extra $136,000 on their home sale.
The best part is that they only put in $40,000 for repairs! It's a great example of the money you can get in return with the right repairs.

If you're in the market to possibly sell your home but you don't have the resources to make the kind of repairs that will net you more money, I'd love to have a conversation with you. We have any tool you could possibly need when it comes to renovations and repairs.

Just give me a call or send me an email soon. I look forward to helping you!

The Top 3 Challenges Buyers Face When Buying a Home

Given how competitive our current market is, today I wanted to lay out the three biggest challenges buyers face and how they can overcome them.

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What are the three biggest challenges buyers face when it comes to buying a home in our current market? Today I’m joined by Anthony Howard, one of our top buyer’s agents, to answer that question.

The first challenge is writing an offer that gets accepted. The impulse for most buyers is to try to get some kind of discounted price or lowball their initial offer, which is understandable. However, the average list-to-sales price ratio here in the Fairfax County area is 98.2%, which means our market is extremely competitive and you should always write a strong offer.
Always write a strong offer.
The second challenge is adjusting your expectations. Buyers can have very specific needs when it comes to their new home, and this can lead to having a hard time adjusting to what the market actually has available. Most of the time, you will have to either adjust the type of home that you want or alter your preferred price. It’s also possible that you will have to adjust your preferred living location.

The third and final challenge is navigating and winning a multiple offer situation. This correlates strongly with the first challenge in that the key to coming out on top is writing a strong, full-priced offer right out of the gate.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, sell a home, or invest in other real estate, feel free to give us a call or email me directly. We’d be glad to help!