Several of you have asked me about the Dulles Airport Impact Overlay District and any required disclosures. To best answer your question, my broker and I spoke with the Dulles Area Association of Realtors (DAAR) about the subject. Here is what DAAR had to say…
As a follow-up to our discussion this afternoon, the attached section of the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance states that Homeowners Associations are required to make disclosure if the property is in the Airport Impact Overlay District. This would require a home being resold within a particular subdivision that has an HOA to provide the disclosure as part of the HOA “Packet” that is transferred to new owners. As you know, the rules covering subsequent disclosure are in the Virginia Property Owners Association law. The county ordinance also clearly states that all deeds of conveyance are required to have the disclosure. Since the county ordinance states that all deeds of conveyance must contain the disclosure that covers all transactions for properties that do not have an HOA.
A great tool created by the Washington Airports Task Force for buyers and the real estate community is “The Homebuyer’s/Broker’s Guide to Compatible Land Use Around Washington Dulles International Airport” found under http://www.washingtonairports.com/noiseandlanduse/homeownersguide.htm. The intent of the guide is to assist potential homebuyers and the real estate community in assessing the effect of aircraft noise and flight operations on homes in areas close to Washington Dulles. You may also find useful a presentation conducted before DAAR members last month by the Washington Airports Task Force on this issue.
If you or your clients would like to determine whether a particular property lies within the AID, visit Loudoun County’s mapping system at http://gisinter1.loudoun.gov/weblogis/default.htm An address can be typed in and determination made as to whether the property lies in any type of overlay district (ie Historic, Mountside, etc.)
If there are further questions about flight activities in or around Dulles, contact:
Anita Kayser, Director, Washington Airports Task Force firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 703-572-8714, Address: 44701 Propeller Court, Suite 100, Dulles, Virginia 20166
If there are further questions about the AID designation within the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance, contact:
Loudoun County’s Zoning Hotline at 703/777-0118. They are really great about getting back to you within 24 hours.
In addition, check out the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance that covers this subject (click here if you do not see the embedded document below)…
Many of you who are thinking about moving here from other parts of the U.S. ask me the question, “What’s the cost of living difference between (enter your town here) and Loudoun County/Northern Virginia?”
To help answer your question, I’ve compiled a list of web sites you can check out. Each of these sites will give you anywhere from a little to a lot of detailed comparisons of cost of living of your town to any city/zip code in Loudoun County or in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area.
Here are some sample searches from each site:
- Houston, TX (77048) compared to Ashburn, VA (20148) – Moving.com (click “Compare to another city” to change cities)
- Raleigh, NC compared to Reston, VA – BestPlaces.com (click on “Cost of Living” tab near top to change cities)
- Phoenix, AZ compared to Arlington, VA – PayScale.com (click on drop down menu in top box to change cities)
- Jacksonville, FL compared to Washington, DC (click on “Cost of Living Wizard” near bottom left of page to change cities)
If you would like to see how far your salary goes when moving from a major metropolitan area to the DC metro area in general, check out,
- CNN.com’s “How Far Will Your Salary Go” tool (use Washington-Arlington-Alexandria as the city/area here)
- BankRate.com’s “Cost of Living Comparison Calculator (use Washington-Arlington-Alexandria-DC-VA-MD-WV metro as the city/area here)
If you have specific questions regarding cost of living differences, what stores and price points this area has to offer in general or in detail per city/zip code, drop me a line any time. I can be reached at danilo.bogdanovic (at) gmail (dot) com or on my cell – 703.582.6900.
The question I get asked most often is, “How’s the Loudoun/Northern Virginia housing market?” Today’s housing market conditions do not allow for one, general correct answer. For the purpose of giving you a good, general idea of the Northern Virginia* housing market conditions, I’m going to break it down by price range – you choose the price range you fit into.
*I am referring to all of Northern Virginia, which includes Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax counties (including Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, etc)
Note: If you would like to know what the specific housing market conditions are within your community or the area you are interested in buying within, click here to contact me so I can provide you with the specific details and statistics.
Less than $150K
- This is probably the most competitive price range to be in. The majority of properties in this price range can be found in Prince William County
- Most of the properties you’ll find in this price point are foreclosure/bank-owned and short-sale properties. But this price range is also very popular with investors so you’ll see investor flips/rehab properties on the market
- A buyer I’m currently working with had to go through countless properties and compete against over 50 offers before finally getting their offer accepted on one. One reason is because a significant amount of the offers being placed on properties at this price point are all-cash offers with no contingencies whatsoever. Trying to compete against cash offers with FHA, VA and even conventional financing offers is extremely tough – though it definitely can be done
- Properties in this price point that are priced at or below market value typically receive multiple offers within a matter of days so buyers have to jump on them as soon as they hit the market
- I have seen properties in this price range in some areas sell for 10 to 20+ percent more than they did at the beginning of 2009
- If you’re a buyer, expect to see 5, 10, 15+ offers on well-priced properties. But don’t be scared or intimidated by that – just make sure you have some extra patience and are ready to jump on a property you like as soon as it hits the market. And if you don’t get it, don’t be too down – it happens a lot at this price point. You have to just keep plugging along
- If you’re a seller in this price point, you’re sitting pretty and can expect an offer quickly if you’re priced correctly
$150K to $350K
- This is also a very competitive price range to be in. Properties in this price range are a mixture of foreclosure/bank-owned properties, short-sales and traditional resales
- The type of properties in this price range depends on how close or far you get away from Washington, DC. The closer you are to DC, the smaller and/or older of a property you typically get
- Cash offers are also becoming more common in this price range though not as much as in the sub$150K price point
- I have seen properties in this price range in some areas sell for 10+ percent more than they did at the beginning of 2009
- As a buyer, expect to compete against many other offers especially on properties priced at or below market value
- As a seller, you’re still sitting pretty as long as you price your property correctly
$350K to $500K
- This price range is also competitive especially within the Beltway. Properties in this price range are also a mixture of foreclosure/bank-owned properties, short-sales and traditional resales
- Though there are fewer instances of cash offers in this price range, they’re still out there. Though you may not be competing against 10+ offers as is common in the lower price points, I’m still seeing a handful of offers on well priced properties
- I have noticed values in this price range remain steady with some areas showing a slight increase in values
- As a buyer, expect to compete against other buyers on well-priced properties. You should be aggressive and jump on a property that interests you as soon as it hits the market
- As a seller, you’re still in a price range that has a decent amount of buyers in it. But don’t get greedy because of that fact – you still have to market and price your property correctly
$500K to $700K
- This price point puts the majority of buyers into the ‘”jumbo” loan/financing category (financing over $417K), which makes for a smaller number of buyers. The reason why is because it’s harder and more expensive to secure “jumbo” financing these days. Fewer buyers means less competition though there are still so few properties on the market that it’s still competitive
- Nevertheless, buyers are out there. A recent listing of mine in Broadlands has many buyers come through as soon as it hit the market and it the sellers received and accepted an offer within 10 days of being on the market
- Most of the properties in this price range are short-sales and traditional resales though you may see a foreclosure/bank-owned property here and there
- Though cash offers are rare at this price point, they’re still out there. I had a buyer who put 20 percent down, use conventional financing and offer the highest amount of all the offers lose to a lower priced, all cash, non-contingent offer
- I have seen values in this price range remain relatively steady since 1/1/09
- If you’re a buyer, you still have to be aggressive on finding and buying a property in this price range. But it’s definitely not as crazy as the sub-$350K range
- If you’re a seller, make sure you’re aware of your competition/other homes on the market so that you price your property correctly and adjust to comps and new properties as they come on the market. The higher the price range, the more important it is to have an experienced and knowledgeable Listing Agent working for you
$700K to $900K
- This is where the pendulum starts to swing the other way a bit (generally speaking). Properties in this price range tend to stay on the market longer and have fewer buyers competing for them. Nevertheless, if the property is priced at or below market value, buyers will come out from everywhere
- For example, there was a foreclosure/bank-owned “McMansion” in Fairfax listed just last month that was priced at $722K. This was an incredibly attractive price because the property was worth well over $800K. A buyer I’m working with offered $800K using conventional financing with a down payment of 30 percent. Their offer was not chosen because the winning offer was…take a guess…all cash, non-contingent. (Yes, someone paid $800K+ cash for a house)
- The example I just gave is not isolated to Fairfax – it’s happening in Loudoun and across Northern Virginia
- I have seen values in this price point remain steady or go down since 1/1/09 depending on location and how hard the particular community has been hit with foreclosures and short-sales
- As a buyer, this price point can be good and bad. It’s good because the market is not as crazy as the lower price points. But it’s bad because there is so little inventory on the market to choose from. You may have to wait weeks or even a few months before a property that fits your criteria. Some of my buyers have made adjustments to their criteria so they can have more properties to choose from
- As a seller, price and marketing are key in this price range. Make sure your Listing Agent is knowledgeable and is on top of your local market
- This is the least competitive price range especially in Loudoun County. Properties in this price range in Loudoun have been known to be on the market for months and months. As you get closer to DC, the average days on market is less, but still much higher than lower price points
- Some of the properties in this price range are foreclosure/bank-owned properties, but most are short-sales and traditional resales
- This price range is still showing signs of weakness and depreciation especially the farther you get from DC
- If you’re a buyer, you’re in a good position in this price range. There are few buyers that are in the market for a $900K property and a fairly decent amount of inventory for you to choose from, including new construction
- If you’re a seller, you’ve got an uphill battle especially in Loudoun County. Be patient and realistic when selling your home. Even more so than in any other price range, make sure you have a knowledgeable and aggressive Listing Agent who will market your property correctly and will price it where it should be to get an offer
Please remember that these are general market conditions. To find out what the housing market conditions are within your community or the area you are interested in buying within, click here to contact me so I can provide you with the specific details and statistics.
The government has extended the first-time home buyer federal tax credit as well as expanded to include many existing home owners. First-time home buyers now have until April 30, 2010 to sign a contract and qualify for a tax credit up to $8,000. And starting November 7, many existing home owners may qualify for a tax credit of up to $6,500.
For more information, check out this flyer provided by the Virginia Association of REALTORS(R):
I’ve heard some folks saying, “Uh oh…mortgage rates are up!” and “Mortgage rates went up a lot (1/4 point) since last week and I’m going to wait for them to go back down.” Yes, mortgage rates may have gone up since last week. Yes, they may (or may not) go back down (though, in my humble opinion, the only way from here is up).
But seriously…do you realize how good we have it right now when it comes to mortgage rates and points?!
Let’s put things into perspective…
Several of my home buyers with good credit recently got sub-5 percent mortgage rates with no points (a point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount). Not too long ago, people could only dream about single digit rates, let alone sub-5 percent. Here’s the pudding…
- In July 2006, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 6.76 percent with .5 points
- In July 2001, the rate was 7.13 with .9 points
- In July 1996, the rate was 8.25 with 1.8 points
- In July 1991, the rate was 9.58 with 2 points
- In January 1982, rates were 17.48 with 2.2 points
When is the last time mortgage rates were below 5 percent with less than 1 point? They haven’t been this low since Freddie Mac started tracking mortgage rates in 1971.
Let’s crunch the numbers on a $400K loan…
- At a 5.0 percent mortgage rate with .7 points, your principal and interest would be $2,147.29 and your points would equal $2,800
- At 8.25 percent with 1.8 points, your principal and interest would be $3,005.07 and your points would equal $7,200
- At 17.48 percent with 2.2 points, your principal and interest would be $5,858.79 and your points would equal $8,800
Aren’t you glad you’re buying a property at today’s mortgage rates rather than those of the last two decades (especially with prices at pre-2000 levels in some areas)?!
And don’t forget the icing on the cake…the $8000 first-time home buyer federal tax credit.
So next time you say, “Rates just went up” remember that it could be worse…MUCH worse.
Since July, Freddie Mac has been offering to pay home buyers up to 3.5 percent for closing cost assistance and a 2 year home warranty through their HomeSteps SmartBuy program. This is a huge incentive that has come in handy for those with not a lot of cash lying around and/or wanting to use the money in other ways. But the program is soon coming to an end.
Freddie Mac’s HomeSteps SmartBuy program will expire October 30, 2009. In order to qualify, home buyers must make an initial offer on a HomeSteps home by October 30, 2009 with closing completed by December 31, 2009. It applies only to houses purchased as a primary residence.
If you submit an offer on a HomeSteps home after October 30, any closing cost assistance from Freddie Mac will have to be negotiated.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Freddie Mac HomeSteps home or have any questions about the SmartBuy program, click here to contact me.
Bob and Sally show us how the first-time home buyer federal tax credit works (click here if you can’t see the video below)…
If you would like to take advantage of the first-time home buyer Federal tax credit, you’ll need to act soon because time is running out. The tax credit expires December 1, 2009, which means that you have to settle on your new home no later than November 30, 2009.
What does this mean practically speaking?
Despite November 30 being the deadline, you should aim to settle by November 15th to help leave room for any delays on your or the sellers’ end. Also, settlement companies will be swamped with settlements the last two weeks of November and may be delayed themselves. And don’t forget that the Thanksgiving holiday takes away at least one, if not two business days at the end of November.
At this point, short-sales are pretty much out of the picture as far as settling in time to take advantage of the first-time home buyer federal tax credit. It takes an average of 90 days to get a response from a bank(s) on short-sale approval and then you will need another 3 to 4 weeks after that to settle. This puts you way past the November 30 deadline.
If you are a home buyer going after a traditional resale or foreclosure, you should ratify a contract no later than about October 1 to 15 depending on the type of financing (conventional vs FHA vs VA). Conventional financing takes about 30 days from date of ratification to process and fun. FHA financing takes 30 to 45 days. VA financing takes closer to 45 days. (These are general numbers – the lenders I work with closely are awesome and get everything done within 30 days no matter what type of financing you go with)
If you are a home buyer who wants to take advantage of the first-time home buyer federal tax credit, you need to start actively searching for a property to purchase immediately. This will give you about a month to search for a property, submit and ratify an offer with enough time to settle before the deadline.
Wondering how to get started in home buying process?
“Move fast to take advantage of first-time homebuyer federal tax credit” – Washington, DC Examiner
An increasing number of blog readers, sellers and buyers have been contacting me for real estate help and advice. I’m glad to help whenever I can, but many contact me after the problem has already occurred. Contacting me after the fact is often times too late – the damage has already been done. Here are two examples…
My parents just relocated from Delaware and bought a house in [city removed for privacy reasons], VA. On their 2nd look at the house they noticed the stove was different than what was pictured on the online listing.
It was at that time their agent then told them the house was “as is”, however, come to discover after the purchase and moving in and comparing the online pictures to the actual home, all of the kitchen appliances were switched, ceiling fans were removed, the replaced dishwasher wasn’t properly attached and hooked up – it leaked and damaged the hardwood flooring, and the upper air unit had serious problems (due to the “fix” the selling agents inspector supposedly made).
They only had limited time to preview homes and were basing their decision largely by the online pics. Anyway, just seems the out of town “old folks” were taken advantage of.
Your wise thoughts are appreciated. Seriously, I value your input. Thx!
I have a question that I hope you can answer.
We just purchased a home in Loudon county…we are actually from out of state & were not familliar with any inspectors. Our agent recommended an inspector that she uses all the time. Well, he missed some obvious things such as rotten plywood for the roof & a rotten water damaged huge window that is totally shot.
Now these are basic things for the envelope of the house…how could he have missed them?
To top it off I had asked our agent if he was licensed,insured & bonded she said that he wass. I have since found out that he doesn’t carry any liability insurance for what he misses–he only carries workmens comp for himself. I also have not been able to find his license# & have asked my agent to get it for me & she has not responded to my request.
What would your recommendation be at this point? Should we file a claim with the Real Estate firm for sending us to someone who quite possibly is unlicensed & definitely not insured properly? I do not feel properly represented by our agent.
Though I would love to help “T” and “A” as well as everyone else who has contacted me, I can’t always do so. In “T’s” parents’ situation, the problem could have been avoided had I been involved in the process in the beginning. But now, they have to battle it out with the real estate broker, lawyers, etc. The same holds true for “A” and her situation.
In many other similar situations, many folks are already working with a real estate agent and/or they are too far into the process and can’t go back and fix the issues that are costing them money and grief now.
Avoid getting yourself into the same situation as these and other sellers and buyers have. And avoid paying the price that they now are (literally and figuratively).
If you’re considering selling your house or purchasing a home in today’s market, allow me to help you now – because now is much better than later.
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.