Breaking News: Internet Crashes-Loudoun Real Estate In Turmoil-Print Media and Paper Product Company Stocks Rebound.
Thank you to Kevin Boer of 3 Oceans Real Estate for helping break this latest news story and it’s effect on real estate…
Check out Kevin’s post regarding the impact on real estate in Palo Alto, CA, which is very similar to the effect it’s having here in Loudoun County, Virginia.
On a related note, print media, paper product and tree cutting company stocks were up almost 7 percent in after hours trading. It seems that with the Internet down, agents, brokers and consumers are turning to print media for the first time in several years as a source of marketing and searching for properties for sale. With real estate advertising money shifting over to online mediums, the infusion of advertising revenue is a (brief) ray of hope for shareholders of print media, paper product and tree cutting companies.
If you enjoy reading Loudoun Stats and are extremely busy (who isn’t), here are four ways to save yourself time and energy while never missing an post:
- Subscribe to the Loudoun Stats RSS feed by clicking on this symbol – , which is at the top of the right hand column. An RSS feed makes it possible for you to keep up with Loudoun Stats and other favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually. For example, if you use Internet Explorer, you will see an orange star on the tool bar which has all of the web addresses/urls you have saved as "Favorites". Next to that, you will see a smaller orange star along with a green plus sign which contains all of the feeds you have subscribed to. Rather than going to the site(s) directly, you can view the latest posts/articles via your feeds.
- Subscribe to Loudoun Stats via email by entering your email address into the "Sent Directly To Your Email" box and then clicking "Subscribe Me". You will get the posts automatically emailed directly to you via FeedBlitz. This method has the highest ease of use, but it’s also the slowest method of delivery. There is a delay from when the post is published to when you receive the email (sometimes 48 to 72 hours).
- Add Loudoun Stats to your "iGoogle" or "My Yahoo" home page. This allows you to view all your favorite site’s/blog’s latest posts/articles in one place. The articles are shown in a headline news format. If a headline grabs your attention, just click on it from your "iGoogle" or "My Yahoo" home page and it will take you directly to that post on the site/blog. This method allows you to skim headlines quickly and decide whether something is interesting enough to you to warrant reading the entire post/article. Just click on the "Add to Google" button or "My Yahoo" button near the top of the right hand column.
- Add Loudoun Stats to your news reader. A news reader is a way to aggregate information from various sources into to one place. Though similar in theory to adding multiple feeds to your iGoogle or My Yahoo, this method is better if you have a lot of feeds (say 20 or more). You can more easily click on each individual subscription and not have to navigate around the page as much as on your "My Yahoo" or "iGoogle" home page. One exmaple of a reader is GoogleReader (free, but you have to be registered with Google). You can quickly and easily add a site/blog to it on the left hand side and skim over the posts on the right hand side. And for all the "always on the go" folks, you can even get GoogleReader on your cell phone.
Since you can have as many feeds as you’d like, also use these four time-saving methods on your other favorite sites/blogs. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to get an extra coffee break or sanity break into your day!
Perhaps you’re new to Loudoun County, Virginia and would like to know more about the various communities and Home Owner Associations in the county. Or maybe you’re moving within the county and aren’t too familiar with your future community or HOA. Whatever the reason may be, here are links to resources on all the HOAs and communities in Loudoun County that have sites:
- Ashburn Farm
- Ashburn Manor
- Ashburn Village
- Belmont Country Club
- Belmont Greene
- Broad Run Farms
- Cabin Branch Forest
- Cardinal Glen
- Courts and Ridges at Ashburn
- Edwards Landing
- Falls Ridge
- Farmwell Hunt (site under construction-coming soon)
- Kincaid Forest
- Lansdowne on the Potomac
- Potomac Crossing
- Potomac Station
- Richland Forest
- River Creek
- Spring Lakes
- South Riding
- Tavistock Farms
If you would like information on areas not listed above, just let us know and we’ll provide that to you.
Despite new construction/new homes in Loudoun County having slowed down quite a bit due to the change in market conditions, most new home builders are still at it. Though some new home builders are finishing up existing projects and taking a break, others are starting new ones. If you’re in the market to buy a house in the area and are flexible on when you actually move, there are some great deals to be had in new construction. Most builders have at least one "quick delivery" home per community and they’re usually much below the price of ones that are yet-to-be-built.
With a "Quick Delivery" home, the good points are:
- you’re able to save a considerable amount of money over buying a yet-to-be-built home
- you can negotiate the price and/or incentives even more if you’re able to settle quickly (less than 30 days)
- you get a brand new home, fresh paint and new carpet smell and everything
- you can potentially use the builder’s (higher interest rate) mortgage company to get all the big incentives and then refinance shortly after settlement with a different lender in order to get a lower rate.
Why are these homes being offered at such a discount? Because builders are not in the business of holding on to completed homes. They want to move homes so that they don’t have to carry the insurance, construction loans, etc. Builders would rather lower the price, increase incentives and makes less profit on a completed home than keep it in their portfolio.
Important Note – Builders aren’t really concerned with when you sign the purchase agreement; it’s when you actually settle on/buy the property.
If you can time it right and find a quick delivery home that settles just before the end of the builder’s quarter or fiscal year, you’ll be in a great position to get the most amount of savings possible.
But some of the not-so-good points of a "Quick Delivery" home are:
- smaller lots than resale homes in the same price point
- no customization of home even though it’s new
- construction going on around you – noise, dirt, raised manholes in the street
- make sure it’s not "too good to be true". Find out what’s going on in and around the community (new roads, commercial construction, zoning, etc) before you commit.
If you’re really looking to enjoy all the benefits of customizing your home by picking your favorite lot and choosing structural and design center options, then a "Quick Delivery" home may not be for you. But be prepared to pay for being able to choose everything from the start – you’ll spend considerably more for a yet-to-be-built home than a "Quick Delivery" home. And if a decent size lot is important, you may be forced to buy a bigger and more expensive home that you really need or you can go "resale". As a general rule, the newer the home, the smaller the lot at the same price point.
If you would like more information on new homes in the area, let us know. We can provide you with the latest information including that which is available to those on the builder’s "Insider List" and through the "Register" publication for real estate agents/brokers.
If you’re curious as to how the process of previewing and buying a new home works, feel free to contact us. About a third of our business on the buy side over the past several years has been new construction and we have dealt extensively with the builders in Loudoun County and surrounding areas. You’d be surprised as to what the sales reps don’t tell you, but that you really ought to know…
Washingtonpost.com has launched a new website called LoudounExtra.com that is dedicated to coverage of Loudoun County. It is a visually appealing site with 7 main categories that include news, sports and one our favorites, blogs.
The Living in LoCo blog written by Tammi Marcoullier is now prominantly displayed on the site. We wrote about the Living in Loco blog in a previous post and now it seems even more people in Loudoun County will be turned on to the timely and pertinent posts that Tammi writes.
For anyone living in Loudoun County, we recommend bookmarking the new LoudounExtra.com.
We are proud and honored to have Loudoun Stats included in the LoudounExtra.com blogroll of hyperlocal content pertaining to Loudoun County, Virginia. As Loudoun Stats, the Ashburn, Virginia Community Blog, other local blogs and LoudounExtra.com continue to grow, we hope that you will have everything you need concerning Loudoun County at your fingertips.
And we’re always looking for suggestions and feedback so if you have something you would like to see a specific topic discussed or have something to share regarding Loudoun County real estate or one of ours posts, please let us know.
Virginia House Bill 2016 went into effect on July 1, 2007. Among other things, the bill allows management companies of Homeowners Associations to increase the fee they charge to provide a resale disclosure document to a home seller from a maximum of $100 to $325. Almost all of the associations in Loudoun County use the services of a management company, so this price increase will effect a majority of home sellers in our area.
The full bill can be found here: HB 2016
In a nutshell, what has happened is the lobbyists for the association management companies were able to convince our elected officials that the cost to make some copies and drive by and inspect the exterior of a home somehow leaped from $100 to $325. And not only that, they can send the documents over the internet so the cost of the copying actually went down.
So why is it that it now costs 325% more to do the same thing they did for $100 just one week ago?
So to sum up what the our state legislators and officials have done for home sellers in the last couple of months:
4. Increase the fee for resale disclosure documents.
Virginia released a new Disclosure/Disclaimer Statement July 1, 2007 affecting all home sellers in Loudoun County as well as the rest of Virginia. The new Virginia Disclaimer addresses the issue of zoning much more than previously. For example, let’s say you finished your basement, but did not get permits and/or a final inspection from the county. You may be liable for future issues that arise because of it even after the sale of the home. Furthermore, Virginia is eliminating the Disclaimer Statement and mandating a Disclosure Statement effective January 1, 2008, which will impact sellers even more.
To better explain how it will effect you as a seller or buyer, we contacted Michael McFarlane, attorney and owner of Highland Title and Escrow here in Northern Virginia. This is what he had to say regarding the issue:
"Recent changes in Virginia laws governing the sale of residential real estate will affect both buyers and sellers in the coming months. Virginia law has required the sellers of a one to four residential dwelling unit to provide a Disclosure Statement OR Disclaimer Statement.
The Disclosure Statement provides specific information regarding the condition of a dwelling to prospective purchasers.
The Disclaimer Statement advises prospective purchasers that the seller is not providing any information, and that the purchaser should proceed with caution and carefully inspect the property. In past years, almost all sellers provided a Disclaimer Statement and NOT a Disclosure Statement. The consensus among real estate agents (and sellers) was that the Disclosure Statement could subject their clients to undue liability.
The Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) amended both statements for use after July 1, 2007. The changes to both the Disclosure Statement and the Disclaimer Statement reflect a requirement that purchasers be cautioned about possible zoning violations.
The biggest change, however, will occur on January 1, 2008 when the ability to use a Disclaimer Statement will be eliminated.
In 2008, all sellers must use a Disclosure Statement. This will dramatically change real estate transactions.
For instance, sellers will be required to disclose if there have been "any leaks or evidence of moisture" in the basement. With a Disclaimer Statement, a seller is not obligated to provide any information and is only governed by the laws of misrepresentation and fraud. If there is no affirmative representation regarding a dry basement or no action to conceal the leaks from the purchaser, the seller would not be liable to the purchaser if it is later discovered that substantial flooding occurs after every heavy rainfall.
If a seller states that there are no leaks or evidence of moisture on the Disclosure Statement, the seller could be held liable to the purchaser after settlement if this statement is discovered to be false.
With this new disclosure requirement, purchasers have the benefit of a full disclosure regarding the condition of the property they plan to buy. Sellers, however, may open themselves to liability for an innocent mistake on the Disclosure Statement and must be very careful."
As a seller, you are going to face much more liability in the road ahead and a simple mistake or "accidentally overlooking something" may cost you in the future. Not very good news for sellers.
But let’s see who may be happy about the new Disclaimer/Disclosure…
Buyers – may be more comfortable pruchasing a property because they may feel as though sellers are not able to "hide" anything for fear of a law suit. Buyers will also have more recourse than they currently do.
Home Inspectors – will be able to pitch "Pre-Listing Inspections" to sellers in order to find out what is or what could potentially be deficient with the property for Disclosure purposes and to help avoid future liability.
Lawyers – will love the new business.
Nevertheless, this "fuzzy feeling" of security that buyers will get may not be an all too realistic and buyers should still get a Home Inspection and take other measures to ensure that they cover themselves and their investment. And Home Inspectors may want to cover themselves and limit their liability should the sellers try to pin it back on them and their "Pre-Listing Inspection".
Whatever it may be, the new Virginia Disclaimer and future Disclosure Statement will have a big effect on the way real estate transactions are seen and conducted by all parties involved.
This article is not in any way a form of legal advice. Please contact a real estate lawyer or the VREB directly for clarification and guidance on this issue.