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Ashburn Single Family Home Median Price Up $20K

August 30, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Statistics

The median price of single family homes in Ashburn (20147 and 20148 zip codes) has gone up almost $20K since April. This is mainly due to less inventory on the market and more buyers purchasing properties – supply vs demand. We’re currently seeing a plateau in median prices, but that’s probably due to a typical slowdown in buyer demand over the summer months.

Ashburn Single Family Home Median Price – up $20K since April


Intermediate Chart

Ashburn Single Family Home Inventory – down 30 percent since 9/08


Intermediate Chart

P.S. Check back on Tuesday for Leesburg’s median price and inventory levels.

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Sterling Single Family Home Median Price Up $70K

August 29, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Statistics

The median price of single family homes in Sterling (20164, 20165, 20166 zip codes) has gone up an astonishing $70K since April. Talk about a roller coaster of a ride for median prices in Sterling – they have been in a free fall since the market turned in 2005, hit $260K in April, shot up to about $380K and came back down to $335K.

If there was ever a great example of what supply vs demand means to median prices, Sterling is it. Check out how median prices starting coming back down at the very same time that inventory started to increase (July 1).

Sterling Single Family Home Median Price – up $70K since April


Intermediate Chart

Sterling Single Family Home Inventory – up 25 percent since July


Intermediate Chart

What will median prices do going forward? We’ll have to see whether inventory continues to go up, plateau or go down.

P.S. Check back tomorrow for Ashburn’s median price and inventory levels.

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If My Iraq War Veteran Home Buyers Just Got a 3.875% Interest Rate, Why Can’t You?

jeff-and-jamie-veteran-first-time-home-buyers

My Iraq War Veteran first-time home buyers (that’s them in the photo) and I thought we were hearing things when the lender said, “You qualify for a VA loan at an interest rate of 3.875 percent.” But we heard correctly! Qualified Veterans can get an interest rate as low as 3.875 percent on a VA (Veterans Affairs) loan.

Here’s the deal my Iraq War Veteran first-time home buyer clients got just last week:

  • 3.875 percent interest rate for first 5 years
  • No points
  • The rate adjusts according to the Treasury ARM Rate (which is better than the LIBOR ARM Rate)
  • The interest rate can’t increase more than 1 percent per year (only after the first 5 years)
  • The maximum interest rate they can ever have is 8.875 percent regardless of how high future rates are
  • No prepayment penalty

They are not planning on staying in their home for more than 5 to 7 years so this loan is perfect for them. A 30 year fixed rate VA loan is currently in the 5.25 percent range so they are saving about 1.5 percent on the interest rate. That comes out to a savings of $209.02 per month based on the amount they financed.

By the time they move, their rate will be between 3.875 percent and 5.875 percent. I think it’s safe to say that either of those rates will be lower than what the 30-year fixed rates will be in 5 to 7 years.

Besides saving money, why else is the low rate and cap so important?

Because the loan is assumable. This means that rather than a buyer having to go out and get their own financing/loan to buy this home, if they qualify, they can assume the existing loan and it’s terms (aka interest rate).

Let’s say rates are at 10 percent in 7 years. A qualified buyer could purchase their home and assume the loan at no more than 5.875 percent with the cap being at 8.875 percent.

And also because they’re building equity in their home more quickly. The lower the interest rate, the more of the monthly payment goes towards principal rather than interest. This means they will have paid down more principal and they will have more equity in their home than had they gone with a 30-year fixed rate loan at 5.25 percent.

How fast do you think they will be able to sell their house in 7 years when rates are 10 percent with “Current 3.875 to 5.875 percent interest rate assumable loan”?!

Can you say, “FAST!” No matter what the housing market conditions are like in 7 years, this property will stand out above the rest for the assumable low-rate financing alone.

Let’s do the math and see why.

Let’s say the property is worth $350K and rates are at 10 percent 7 years from now…

  • If the buyer finances $350K at 10 percent, their Principal and Interest comes out to $3,071,50
  • If the buyer assumes the current loan at 5.875 percent (the most it can be in 7 years), their Principal and Interest comes out to $2,070.38

That’s a savings of $1,001.12 per month.

In addition to saving $1K per month, the buyer will be building equity in the home much faster at the lower interest rate than they would at a higher interest rate because more their monthly payment will be applied to Principal rather than Interest.

Now you see why buyers will be all over this property like white on rice!

It’s a “win now and win later” situation for my Veteran first-time home buyers, as well as all Veteran home buyers.

If you are a Veteran and thinking about buying a home, email or call me and I will put you in touch with the loan officer that my clients worked with.

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This Month’s Special: 58% Off Greenvest Land in Loudoun

August 26, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Loudoun County, News

Great Special w PATH

Vienna-based Greenvest LC used to own 4100 acres in the Dulles South area of Loudoun County. That all changed two days ago when the land, valued by some at $165 million, was auctioned for $69 million.

iStar Financial, the company that originally lent Greentvest $130 million for the land, foreclosed on the land. The land was auctioned off this past Tuesday at the Leesburg courthouse steps.

The winning bidder?

iStar Financial (they sure love spending money, don’t they?)

What led to the foreclosure auction?

Greenvest was hoping to have the land subdivided into four communities — Greenfields, Lena, Broad Run Village and Arcola. But the public outcry against further intercounty development and the congestion that would come along with it led to the county denying requests to rezone the land. And that left the development dead in its tracks.

Last year, Greenvest tried to sell 100 of those acres to the Loudoun County school system, which wanted the land for future schools. The Loudoun School Board rejected the idea over concerns that the $20 million price tage was too high.

With no chance of moving forward with the development, Greenvest defaulted on its $130 million loan. That led to foreclosure proceedings, Tuesday’s auction and iStar Financial, the company that originally lent Greenvest the $130 million, buying the land back for $69 million.

What now?

iStar Financial will try to sell the land in order to recoup some of the money lost (and spent) throughout this whole ordeal. But they face some serious hurdles:

On a related note, the $165 million valuation seems to have come from Loudoun County itself – probably for tax revenue purposes – and is most likely not the land’s true market value (just look how much it actually sold for at the auction).

At $16,829 per acre, it may seem like quite a bargain. But it may be a while before iStar sees a return on their purchase. As one real estate developer who attended the auction said, “I don’t buy green bananas.”

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Good News For Home Buyers Using FHA Financing!

August 26, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Mortgage/Lending

Good news for  home buyers using FHA financing! The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has no plans to implement the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), which has been the cause of a wide array of problems for home buyers, sellers and lenders.

The FHA is looking at alternatives to the HVCC it feels would insulate appraisers from pressure from lenders while not hurting consumers and lenders.

I’m all for keeping lenders from pressuring appraisers to “hit the number”, but the HVCC is not the way to do it. Glad the FHA realizes this too and that it’s taking steps other than adopting the HVCC to accomplish this.

If you are thinking about buying a home and using FHA financing, there are several great FHA lenders in the area you can speak with. Email or call me and I’ll send you a list (click here to contact me).

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Washington Post’s LoudounExtra.com “Experiment” Is Over

August 20, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under News, Web/Tech

The Washington Post just announced that it’s shutting down LoudounExtra.com this week. The Post said that the “experiment with LoudounExtra.com as a separate site was not a sustainable model” and that it would move all of the content to the Loudoun community page on WashingtonPost.com.

LoudounExtra.com was the Washington Post’s attempt at hyperlocal journalism. The site provided some great, relevant content with great editors, writers and contributors on staff and in the field. But the site never quite found its niche.

It almost seems like LoudounExtra.com was trying to be everything to everyone. It wasn’t quite an online newspaper web site nor was it quite a hyperlocal blog site. It talked about “this”, which had to do with Loudoun, but it talked about “that” and everything that had to do with Loudoun. That, I believe, was its downfall.

With the fall of LoudounExtra.com, other online news sites and local newspapers, hyperlocal blogs, forums and good old  fashioned word-of-mouth will grow as the way local information is processed, shared and discussed.

The thing about blogs, forums and word-of-mouth is that they allow for a two-way conversation/discussion between 2 (or 200) people rather than a one-way “here is today’s news – read it and come back tomorrow for tomorrow’s news” style. And those two-way conversations and discussions take a “one or two topic only” approach rather than a “here’s something about everything” approach.

Nothing against newspapers and their online sites (I read a lot of them daily), but, at the local level, focused conversation and discussion is where it’s at. But maybe that’s just me…

It was a good run for LoudounExtra.com and sorry it had to come to an end for all those involved. I hope that the new platform provides different (and hopefully better) opportunities for the staff and contributors.

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How to Buy a New Home and Still Have Representation

If you’re thinking about buying a new home from a builder, check out this question posted by new home buyers on Trulia:

My husband and I put an offer on a new house without representation from a Realtor. We have signed a builder’s contract. Can we still get a Realtor to represent us to go over everything until closing?

My response:

Yes, you can hire a Realtor to represent you at any time. But you will have to pay them out of your own pocket. The builder will not pay your Realtor any commission because you did not have them with you at the very beginning of the process and the transaction.

I’d be happy to chat with you more about this, but it’s a better phone call than an email or comment. What’s the best number to reach you on?

On a related note, you may want to read this post regarding a new home builder taking home buyers to the cleaners (to the tune of $50 million) - http://loudounscene.com/2009/07/beazer-homes-to-pay-50m-to-victimized-home-buyers.html

Here are excerpts from other responses:

I used to work New Homes for a decade. Keep in mind when you a prospective buyer enters the Sales Office of a new home commuity and you are asked to fill out and sign the little registration card, that is so the builder knows how the buyer came to the community. Builders have a formula they use to figure out the pricing of a community. Using historical information, they budget in the price the number of homes that will be sold with Realtor representation and if the advertising campaigns work well,and the road signage works well, sometimes they make out better with more buyers wandering in without representation. It’s business. They are trying to sell and make a profit. My advice for others out looking, if you have a Realtor or feel you want Realtor representation, just write on the card you have a Realtor. That way you will have that option at a later date if you feel you need it.

Remember Builders are no different than glorified For Sale By Owner situations. The person onsite works for the builder. Period. There responsiblity is to sell the homes on that site.

- Peggy James

Yes, you can, but the builder is under no obligation to pay them a commission. So if you want to pay them or they want to do it because they love you, its all good.

- Fred Wolfe

I sell new construction and new home communities with builders/developers of New Construction and New Home Developments and have so for years like many real estate professionals doing so.

This [registering of the buyer's agent/broker] must be done with broker/agent and potential buyer on the very first visit in the Sales office with the Sales Representative for the new home development on the floor during time of walk in to preview models of the new home community.

After first initial registration, the would be buyer can go back a number of times with their friends and family to preview models again in consideration of their purchase in that community once already registered with their agent representing them.

No money is out of pocket with the buyer. The commission earned to the buyers agent/broker is paid by the New Home Developer to the broker and broker/agent representing the buyer and the buyer is allowed to have his own agent represent him in the purchase of the new home development. The new home builder developer of that community represents then the seller which is the Builder of the new home development, and the agent/broker represents the new home community buyer for that developer.

- Sandra Allman

Don’t put yourself in the same situation as these new home buyers. Be prepared and you can have representation throughout the entire process and transaction – without having to pull extra money out of your pocket.

And the great thing is that being prepared is simple:

  1. Before you start looking around, interview and hire a knowledgeable Buyer’s Agent experienced with new homes and builders in the area
  2. Bring your Buyer’s Agent with you on your first visit and/or have them go out and preview new construction home sites and models on your behalf ahead of time

If you need to speak with an agent that knows the ins and outs of new homes and builders, email or call me. I would be glad to help.

Related Articles

Brookfield Homes starts up sales once again at Goose Creek Bend

Brambleton Launches “Immediate Delivery/Spec Home” Blog Site

Gulick Group Lowers Base Prices, Revises Products in Brambleton

New Home Buyers: What You Don’t Know Can Cost You

Beazer Homes to Pay $50M to Victimized Home Buyers

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What Do Major League Baseball Players and Real Estate Have in Common?

August 16, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Seller Resources

mlb_logo

What happened to this once-great major league baseball first round draft pick’s potential profits is very similar to what happened/is happening to some sellers who followed the wrong advice…

Matt Harrington (born February 1, 1982) is a pitcher in baseball and a former first round pick in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. He was considered good enough to be a possible first overall selection in the 2000 Major League draft, but excessive contract demands by his then-agent Tommy Tanzer caused him to slip to the seventh overall, at which point he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

Harrington, acting on his agent’s advice, rejected the Rockies’ offer of $4.9 million, refused to sign a contract, and waited for the next draft. Meanwhile the inactivity caused him to lose speed and effectiveness in his once-prized fastball.

The San Diego Padres, the next team to draft him a year later, were aware of this and offered him barely $1 million, which was also rejected. Harrington was drafted three more times, each year slipping further down the draft board and offered substantially less money than the previous year.

He played on various independent league baseball teams the whole time, and had a tryout with the Chicago Cubs in 2007 after he finally fell off the draft board, but was quickly released. He retired later that year and now installs tires in a Costco in Texas for $11.50 per hour.

Much like Matt Harrington, some sellers ended up selling their property – IF they sold it – for much less money than what they could have gotten had they followed good advice and listed at the correct price to begin with or accepted the first offer.

Many people claim to know what they’re talking about, but make sure you listen to someone who really does know.

H/T to Chris

Photo Credit

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When Does the $8000 First Time Home Buyer Credit Expire?

August 14, 2009 by Danilo Bogdanovic  
Filed under Buyer Resources

You’ve probably heard about the $8000 first time home buyer credit (click here if you haven’t or would like more information about it). But do you know exactly how long you have before it expires?

IMPORTANT: This is how long you have until it expires, but you must settle/close on the purchase of your home by this date. That means you should be starting your home search in the near future especially if you’re considering purchasing a short-sale property (click here to find out how much time each type of transaction takes to close).

H/T to Ken Brand for sharing about the widget

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Loudoun Increases Cost of New Homes for Builders and Buyers

loudoun-inreases-cost-of-new-homes-for-builder-and-buyers

While neighboring counties and their officials are trying to help developers, builders and consumers weather the recession, Loudoun County is doing the opposite. In doing the opposite, Loudoun is taking money right out of the pockets of buyers, sellers and homeowners.

Here is what neighboring counties are doing:

  • The Montgomery County Council is considering delaying a proposed 3.5 percent increase in impact fees
  • In Prince George’s, the County Council has lengthened the life of development approvals and held off increasing impact taxes
  • Fairfax County has reduced the amount a developer must put up in surety bonds to guarantee a project’s completion
  • In the District of Columbia, lawmakers are allowing regulators to lengthen from two to five years the time developers have to begin work on projects in southwest Washington

What is Loudoun County doing?

  • Loudoun just raised proffers (the amount of money a builder must the county to build a home) by as much as 22 percent – $59,470 per single family home. The increases per type of property are $5,000 per apartment/condo; $11,000 per town home; $13,000 per single family home)

Who bears the brunt of these decreases and increases?

In the end, it’s consumers.

Here’s why…

If it becomes less expensive for a builder to build a home, the builder may offer greater incentives and/or lower base prices to create increased demand for their homes. The consumer wins and sales pick up.

If it becomes more expensive for a builder to build a home, the builder will most likely increase the base price and/or decrease incentives to make up for the additional cost. The consumer loses and sales slow down.

Sales picking up is better for homeowners and sellers. Sales slowing down is bad for homeowners and sellers.

Loudoun claims that the increase in proffers in necessary to pay for schools and public facilities. Ok…I get it. You need to pay for those things.

But why must those costs fall solely on the shoulders of home buyers? And why would Loudoun “OK” an increase in proffers (aka increase in the cost of buying a home) at a time when everyone and their mother is trying to lower the cost of buying and selling a home in order to stimulate the housing market?

Seems a bit backwards to me…

P.S. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) was the only board member to oppose the motion.

On a side note, the increase in proffers is only for Eastern Loudoun. The proffers in Western Loudoun remained relatively unchanged. Hmmm…interesting.

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