Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reasons to Downsize

The choice to downsize is an option for many homeowners whose children have grown and moved on and/or for those whom retirement is soon to materialize.

At some point, many homeowners realize that they don't use certain parts of their home anymore and this space costs money and time.  Why spend the time cleaning a basement that is no longer a recreational room for teenagers?  Why spend the money on real estate taxes and mortgage and interest for this space?

There will always to those individuals that will stay in their homes until they no longer are able to care for themselves.  For those that choose to explore other options, what is out there?

Condominiums are a great choice for those homeowners that choose to downsize.  Unfortunately, the cost of condominiums in the city are no less expensive than the single family in the suburbs for the most part.  Less space does not translate into less cost.

Not to worry, mixed used development in the outer lying counties from the city are a good alternative and lower in cost.  Oftentimes, they are located near public transportation and shopping.  They are newer, energy efficient dwellings that have much to offer.  Townhomes and duplexes are a reasonable alternative as well.

The same goes for adult communities, which can offer a "resort like" lifestyle with lots of activities every day of the week.  Northern Virginia offers the adult community lifestyle in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties.

There are currently retirement communities in Arlington and Fairfax  Counties, we well as the outer lying counties.

If you are thinking about downsizing, call me today.  I can guide you in choosing a community that will meet your income and lifestyle needs as well as provide information on "decluttering" and "staging" your current home for a successful sale.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

                                                      Carla Brooks

Friday, February 21, 2014

Real Estate Pricing is improving nationwide

I was surprised to see the percentage increases in real estate values today on the chart on the KCM blog.  When the real estate bubble burst in 2005-2006, there were many predictions on how long it would take for the values to recover.  Well, here it is 2014 and we are not there yet!

Improvement has been slow and steady though and it feels real.  The buyers are definitely better qualified and more educated on the real estate market in general.

Take a look at the chart and see for yourself how the various georgraphical areas of the country are doing: KCM blog

Have a great day and if you want to buy or sell real estate call me today, I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                                    Carla Brooks

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Good news for those who want to buy and are short on cash

With the implementation of the Frank-Dodd legislation in the mortgage industry, the number of qualified buyers were expected to decrease from the tightened loan qualification standards.

There is some good news however, that will aid a certain number of buyers in purchasing that dream property.  Several mortgage insurance companies are now insuring 95% conventional loans with 100% of the funds needed coming from gift funds.  The mortgage insurance premiums are no higher than normal in terms of the standard LTV and credit score differences.

So gone are the days when a buyer obtaining a conventional loan (up to $417,000) needed 5% of their own funds to purchase, unless putting 20% down.

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I would love to assist you in the transaction.

                                                              Carla Brooks

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why hiring a realtor to sell your home is a smart move

In the 1990's, my DH was concerned that the proliferation of the internet would render many sales positions obsolete.( He was and still is a mortgage loan officer.)  After all, if the facts and figures could be obtained online, then why would the consumer need a sales person to handle the transaction?

Time has proven that sales people are as valued today as they were before the use of the internet exploded. 

The role of salesperson has changed from being  "information" oriented to  "service" oriented.  As the "SYMS" department store slogan, "An educated consumer is our best customer", used to say, consumers increasingly are armed with a ton of knowledge before they ever meet a sales representative.  This knowledge has "lightened" the work load for sales personnel in regards to educating the consumer yet increased the service oriented tasks as the sales personnel strive to bring value to the table.

A professional realtor has ongoing education sessions with the top leaders in the real estate industry.  These leaders include successful colleagues, settlement attorneys, home inspectors, financial experts and legislative spokespersons.  This education translates to a wealth of experience and knowledge as the years go on.

Realtors are buffers between the home owner and the buyer's agents and the general public.  They are messengers of information and will guide the homeowner to make the right decisions in contract negotiations.  Realtors are current on all the legal forms that need to be completed with the sales contract and will be around after closing on the transaction to answer any questions and concerns that may pop up.

Call me today if you are in the market to buy or sell real estate.  Real estate is your largest financial investment and I never forget it.  I will guide you through the transaction and answer the multitude of questions that come up through the process. 

                                                           Carla Brooks