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Gainesville, VA's community of Morris Farm (a.k.a. Meadows at Morris Farm) began delivering homes in 2005.
.Morris Farm features over 600 homes by builders such as Craftmark, Brookfield, Richmond American and Ryan. The original Morris Farm farmhouse, built in 1857 with three wood burning fireplaces, still stands on the hill overlooking the south side of the community. There are large single family home, single family homes on the more modest size, and single family starter homes. Townhouses are also something a Gainesville, VA buyer will find when they drive through Morris Farm.
One of the most pleasing concepts of the Morris Farm community is the forty-five acres of conservation area near Lake Manassas. This is a conservation area for birds of all kinds, open space, playgrounds, walking trails and community pool. The clubhouse and pool back to The Meadow, a large open area with the perimeter bordered by Broad Run Creek from Lake Manassas. You may even see deer or fox traipsing through the meadows.
Morris Farm is in a convenient Gainesville, VA location, at the end of Rollins Ford Road, off of Linton Hall Road in Western Prince William County. From here, it's a quick drive up Linton Hall Road to many of the area's shops and restaurants. And the commute for eastbound workers is just as easy as you are about three miles from the intersection of Route 29 and Interstate 66 in Gainesville, VA.
Garbage Collection Company: American Disposal www.americandisposal.com 703-368-0500
Garbage Collection: Monday (Trash & Recycling) Thursday (Trash only)
Holidays with NO trash collection: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.
Text – Google.com
Picture – Google.com
The older the house is, the more maintenance and care it will need. Even if an older home has been updated or remodeled, it will take more work. They had different building codes, different building materials, and did not know the best practices for building homes in the past. You may hear that homes were build better in the past, and some may have been, but I have seen many old houses that should not still be standing because they were built so poorly. They have building codes and inspectors to make sure homes are built right today, but that was not always the case. You may get a great old house that is very solid or you may get a home pieced together, with no insulation. Expect to spend more money maintaining an older house, because things were probably not built as well, they are older, and the home may not have been thought out well.
Weather can destroy a home very quickly. Rain, ice, snow, and wind can all do a lot of damage, especially to a home that is not maintained well. Here are some of the most common problems I see on houses:
This may seem like a lot of work, but it is really cheap to hire a landscaping company to take care of your yard. I happily pay a company to mow, fertilize, and weed my yard, because I would rather spend my time on other activities. A roofing company can inspect your roof and gutters to make sure they are in good shape. When you buy a house your home inspector should let you know if there are grading problems that to be need taken care of.
The exterior of the house is what most people see, but you need to maintain the interior as well. I talked about the dangers in a house earlier in the book, and there are ways to keep your home safe and last longer as well:
It may seem overwhelming to take care of all of these things, but you don’t need to paint your house very often, and keeping a house clean will ensure it stays in better shape. You can have a HVAC company check out your hot water heater and furnace, a carpet cleaning company clean your carpets, and cleaners deep clean your home.
It can be a lot of work maintaining a home and making sure it is in great shape. It can be expensive to maintain a home, especially if it is older. If you are renting a home, you may not have all of these expenses, but you will still have to keep it clean. The cost of maintaining a home is another reason why it pays to get a great deal and do your homework before you buy. It is much more expensive not to maintain your home than to maintain it, because the cost to repair damage will be much more.
The time it takes to sell a house can vary greatly depending on how you sell it and who you sell it to. A quick cash closing can take as little as 10 days, but when a loan is involved, the selling process can take 45 days or longer. That is just the time it takes to sell the house after a contract has been accepted. A home owner must also get the home ready to market, list the home for sale, and find a buyer willing to pay the right price. The time it takes to sell a house can also vary depending on what the real estate market is like in your area and how expensive the home is. Houses will sell faster in a seller’s marker (a seller’s market is when there are few homes for sale and sellers have an advantage) than they will in a buyer’s market (a buyer’s market is when there are many homes for sale and buyers have the advantage). Depending on the market, the home, the type of sale, and the asking price it can take from 10 days to 6 months or longer to sell a house. There are many things homeowners can do to decrease the time it takes to sell and increase how much they sell their house for.
The better condition a home is in, the fast it will sell, and the more it will sell for. If a homeowner wants to make the most money they can on the sale of their home, they need to make sure it is in great condition.
A lot of sellers think they can lower the price or offer an allowance for repairs that are needed. However, this strategy costs the seller money because buyers want a discount if they have to make repairs. If $10,000 in repairs are needed on a home, the buyers don’t want to pay $10,000 less than what the home is worth fixed up. The buyers will want to pay $20,000 less than what the home is worth fixed up because it takes time to make those repairs, and it is not easy to finance those repairs. It is almost always smart to make any repairs needed on a house before you sell it, if you want to make the most money. It can take a couple of days to make minor repairs or a couple of months to make major repairs. The home should also be professionally cleaned.
Once your home is ready to sell (repairs made, clean, and possibly staged), you should list it with a real estate agent. A real estate agent will put the home in the MLS (multiple listing service) where other real estate agents will see the home for sale. Many sellers try to list a house themselves to save money, but it usually backfires on them. Here is another article that explains why real estate agents will make you more money than listing a home yourself.
How long it takes to get an offer on your house will depend greatly on the market you are in. In some markets, homes will get offers in less than a week, or even on the same day they are listed. In other markets it may take weeks or months to get an offer on a house. I have found that if you price your home right, it takes about three weeks to get a a house under contract. Under contract means the buyer and seller have signed a contract to sell the house. In a seller’s market it can take much less time and more time in a buyer’s market. It is very important that the home is priced right or it will cost the seller money as well. Price a home too low and you leave money on the table. Price a home too high, and you scare off buyers and stigmatize the home. Here is more information on why price is so important.
Once the contract is signed by both the buyer and seller, the closing (when the actual sale happens) can take much more time. In almost all transactions the buyer will want title insurance, which can take a week for the title company or attorney to prepare. The shortest closings are usually around 7 to 10 days. The buyer may also want an inspection where they can check out the condition of the home, which can take 7 to 14 days. The buyer may want to get a loan, which can take from 30 to 60 days. Most loans will require an appraisal, which can take from a 7 to 45 days depending on your market. Luckily most of these things can be done at the same time and you do not have to wait for one to be completed before the other can start. The time it takes to close with a loan usually depends on how fast the lender is, and how fast the appraisal can be done. It usually takes about 45 days to close on a loan.
If things go smoothly, it normally takes 2 to 3 months to sell a house once it is listed for sale. You cannot count on your house selling that fast, there are a number of things that can delay the process:
You can sell a house in 10 days, but you will be losing a lot of money. If you want to make the most money you can, count on the sale of a home taking a few months. If you have time to spare and want to try to make even more money by pricing your home higher, it probably won’t work. Houses tend to sell for the most money when they are priced right, not high or low. If you want to buy another house after selling your house, you need to make sure you price it right to sell quick.
References – https://investfourmore.com/2017/01/20/how-long-does-it-take-to-sell-a-house/
A real yard. Closets bigger than your average microwave. The freedom to decorate however you darn well please! Making the switch from renting to owning is exhilarating, but many rookie homebuyers find the process trickier to navigate than they expected.
This is why we created our First-Time HomeBuyer Checklist. The 12-month timeline will help you sidestep common mistakes, like paying too much interest or getting stuck with the wrong house. (Yep, it happens!)
12 Months Out
Check your credit score.Get a copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once a year. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans. Avoid last-minute bombshells by checking your score long before you’re ready to make an offer. And work diligently to correct any mistakes.
Determine how much you can afford. Figure out Lenders are happy to lend you as much as your debt load allows. But will that amount make you house poor? Ask yourself, how much house do I really want to afford? How much house you can afford and want to afford. Lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (called the debt-to-income ratio). This figure includes your future mortgage and any other debts, such as a car loan, student loan, or revolving credit cards.
There are plenty of calculators on the web to help you determine what you can afford. If you’re pushing the limits, start reducing your debt-to-income ratio now. To get a reality check on what you may actually be spending every month, use this worksheet.
Make a down payment plan. Most conventional mortgages require a 20% down payment. If you can swing it, do it. Your loan costs will be much less, and you’ll get a better interest rate. If, however, you’re not quite able to save the full amount, there are many programs that can help. FHA offers loans with only a 3.5% down payment. But they require mortgage insurance premiums, which will drive up your monthly payments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a list of nonprofit homebuying programs by state. Also check with credit unions; and your employer might even have an assistance program.
As you’re planning your savings strategy, keep in mind that banks like you to “season” your money. That is, they like to see that you’ve had stable funds in your account for 60 to 90 days before applying for a loan. Don’t worry: You can still use a financial gift from a family member or bonus received near the time you buy.
Prioritize what you most want in your new home. What’s most important in your new home? Proximity to work? A big backyard? An open floor plan? Being on a quiet street? You’ll make a much better decision on what home to buy if you focus on your priorities. If it’s a joint decision, now is the time to work out any differences to avoid frustration and wasted time. Perhaps most important: Know what trade-offs you’re willing to make.
Research neighborhoods and start visiting open houses. But now’s when the fun begins, too. Use property listing sites, such as realtor.com, to find out about neighborhoods, public transport, and cost of living.
Start visiting open houses to get an idea of what kind of homes are in your price range and what neighborhoods appeal the most. Seeing potential homes will also keep you motivated to continue reducing your debts and saving for your down payment.
Budget for miscellaneous homebuying expenses. Buying a home has some miscellaneous upfront costs. A home inspection, title search, propery survey, and home insurance are examples. Costs vary by locale, but expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars. If you don’t have the cash, start saving now.
Start a home maintenance account. Speaking of saving, start the good habit now of putting a little aside each month to fund maintenance, repairs, and home emergencies. It’s bad enough to have to call a plumber. It’s worse if you’re paying credit card interest on that plumbing bill.
Collect your loan paperwork. Banks are very particular when it comes to mortgage loans. They demand a lot of paperwork. What they’ll want from you includes:
If you start collecting these documents now, it’ll lessen the stress when it’s time to get your loan. Bonus: Looking closely at your loan documents each month will also help you stay focused on saving for your down payment and keeping your debt-to-income ratio low.
Research lenders and REALTORS®. Start interviewing REALTORS®, specifically buyers’ agents.CENTURY 21 LEADING EDGE REALTY will help you with the process . A buyer’s agent will work in your best interest to find you the right property, negotiate with the seller’s agent, and shepherd you through the closing process. Your agent also can be instrumental in finding a lender who’s familiar with first-time home buyer programs.
Even better, look for a mortgage broker, who will shop for a competitive loan rate for you among multiple lenders, unlike a bank, which can only offer its own products.
3 Months Out
Get pre-approved for your loan. At this point, if you’ve been following this timeline, your credit score, paperwork, and down payment should be on track. You’ve done your research on lenders and buyers’ agents. Now it’s time to start working with them. First you’ll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Make an appointment with your lender or mortgage broker and bring all your paperwork. He’ll run a credit check on you and tell you how much of a loan you’re approved for. It often makes sense to borrow less than the maximum the lender allows so you can live comfortably. Draft a budget that accounts for mortgage payments, insurance, maintenance, and everything else you have going on in your life.
Start shopping for your new home. One you’re pre-approved, the buyer’s agent you’ve chosen will be able to target homes that meet your priorities in your price range. This way you won’t be wasting time looking at homes you can’t afford.
Make an offer on a home.It usually takes at least four to six weeks to close on a home. So if you have a firm move-out date, allow enough time to deal with any hiccups that can delay closing.
Get a home inspection. One of the first things you’ll want to do after an offer is accepted is have a home inspector look at the property. If the home inspector finds something that needs repair, that’s a common example of something that can delay closing.
Triple-check that all your financial documents are in order and review all lending documents before closing. You’re in the home stretch! If you’ve been keeping your documents up to date, and your down payment is in reserve, these final steps are the easiest. Reviewing the mortgage documents is probably the most difficult. Your agent can help guide you through them.
Get insurance for your new home. Don’t forget to secure insurance before closing. You’ll need to bring proof of insurance to closing.
Do a final walk-through. Do a final walk-through of your new home, usually a day or two before closing, to make sure the home is in the shape you and the seller have agreed upon.
Get a cashier’s check or bank wire for cash needed at closing. Make sure you get an exact amount of cash needed for closing. You’ll get that number a few days before closing so you can secure a cashier’s check or arrange to have the money wired. Regular checks aren’t accepted.
That’s it. Congratulations!
References – houselogic.com
People ask me financial planner questions all the time. I’m a mortgage guy, ask me mortgage questions and I will try my hardest to get the answer right. But ask me questions outside of what I know about, and the wisdom you get back may be a little uneven. Divining when is the best time to buy a house with just the right down payment and forecasting when rates and property values will go up or down is a formula well above my pay grade. But people ask me anyway.
My best answer to the question; “when is the best time to buy a house” depends on your individual circumstance and goals. Everybody comes to the table with a different profile, what works for one, may not work for another. If you set a goal to save enough for a 20% down payment, and are fast approaching that goal, stay the course. Second guessing your original thinking because interest rates are rising or interest rates are falling or because housing prices are rising or housing prices are falling can derail your original 20% down payment goal. Forecasting interest rate movements and whether or not changing property values will affect your home buying plans are of course important. But these kinds of external variables are beyond your ability to control or manage.
Mortgage interest rates trade every day, economic data, geo-political events, elections; even nature can have an immediate and significant impact on the direction that interest rates move. Wall Street people spend lots of their waking hours researching, analyzing and forecasting the financial goings-on that affect things like purchasing a home, and even they don’t always get it right. Setting a specific home buying goal is about staying focused on your dream. Do that and try to avoid the distractions that will keep you from crossing the finish line.
But if you must introduce ifs and buts into your home buying equation, here are some things to consider;
If you decide to buy a home with less than your 20% down savings goal, to take advantage of the current interest rate and property value environments, you will be introduced to PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI is not a bad thing, it allows you to buy a home with less than 20% down, but like everything else, there is a price to be paid. PMI can take different shapes, the most common of which is adding the PMI to your overall monthly mortgage payment. For example; a 15% down payment on a $350,000 home, would add $106.60 (standard monthly PMI) to your overall monthly mortgage payment. Depending on the PMI carrier, you would live with this for 12-24 months before you could have an appraisal done to demonstrate 20% equity (some PMI companies require 22% equity), and have the PMI eliminated. If you have an FHA loan, you cannot do this, you will live with the MIP (FHA version of PMI), forever or at least until you refinance or sell your house.
Your down payment goal is important but it is secondary. You have made lifestyle and personal budget adjustments and have committed to a desired outcome. Keep your primary goal in focus and go ahead and pull the home buying activity trigger. Go find a lender and get pre-approved for mortgage financing and then go find a Realtor to take you to see what homes in your price range look like. Explore towns and neighborhoods that fit your family and work and commuting life. Research demographics and school rankings or whatever it is that may be important to your decision to choose a community to plant roots in. Keep saving towards your down payment goal, watch interest rate trends but avoid tracking short term interest rate activity. Event influenced trading can cause interest rate volatility; focus on the overall trend not the results of the trading day.
Absent the ability to accurately forecast interest rates or predict the movement up or down of property values, chase your goal with the market snapshot you can see, and remember that you are buying a home and not just a house. Families will grow and memories will be made in a home, a house is just an investment with an uncertain return. The best time to buy a home is when your individual financial/borrower profile intersects with the right house in the right neighborhood. Go do that.
References – Forbes.com
Six cities and counties in Northern Virginia made a top 10 "Best Places to Live" in the nation list out Tuesday.
Life is good in Northern Virginia -- six cities and counties in Virginia made a top 10 "best places to live" in the nation list Tuesday, published by financial news site 24/7 Wall St. (With so many accolades, it made us think of the Garrison Keillor quote: "Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.")
To determine the best counties to live in, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on three social measures — educational attainment, poverty rate, and life expectancy — and ranked counties (and cities) based on their well-being. The areas also have low unemployment rates and high health insurance coverage rates.
Here's a look at what they're saying about Northern Virginia and where each city or county ranked on the top 10 list:
#1 Falls Church: "Falls Church is relatively small, with a total area of just 2.2 square miles. The 13,000 people who call it home are more likely to be healthy, college educated, and financially secure than residents of any other county or county equivalent in the United States."
#2 Arlington County: "Arlington has one of the most college-educated populations in the country. While less than 30% of all U.S. adults have a bachelor’s degree, 72.9% of Arlington adults have a college education — the second highest share of any county."
#3 Fairfax County: "Many area residents have high-paying jobs with nearby government contractors. Major defense contractor General Dynamics, which received some $13.63 billion in federal dollars in the 2015 government fiscal year, is headquartered within commuting distance of Fairfax County and is one of the area’s largest employers."
#4 Loudoun County: "...the typical area household earns $123,453 annually, more than any other U.S. county. In addition, life expectancy at birth in Loudoun County is 83.4 years, or 4.5 years longer than the national average."
#8 Fairfax City: "As in many other wealthy areas in Virginia, some high earners in Fairfax are likely employed by the government or government contractors. Fairfax is located just outside the Beltway, within commuting distance to the nation’s capital and surrounding areas."
#10 City of Alexandria: "Situated on the west bank of the Potomac River and within the Washington D.C. Beltway, Alexandria residents benefit from high-paying jobs in and around the nation’s capital. The typical area household earns over $89,134 a year, well above the $53,889 national median income."
References – http://patch.com/virginia/delray/best-places-live-six-localities-northern-virginia-make-top-10-list?utm_content=virginia&utm_campaign=blasts&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social
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President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Michael R. Pence will be sworn in to office on the west front of the United States Capitol. Joining them will be their families, members of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, Diplomatic Corps and other distinguished invited guests.
We are pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.
Those offering readings and giving the invocation at the ceremony are His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center.
Additionally, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Reverend Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International will offer readings and give the benediction.