If prospective buyers looked at your house today, what would they see outside? A giant evergreen that looks as if it might swallow the station wagon, perhaps, scraggly old foundation plants or maybe a kitchen-table view of the neighbors' kids' trampoline?
If so, you have a truly inexpensive opportunity to boost your home's curb appeal.
By spending as little as few hundred dollars to $3,000 on plants and materials and a few hours of time, you can achieve a well-landscaped look without shelling out for professional help.
If you're selling in a year or less:
** Edge the beds Cutting fresh edges where grass meets mulch makes the lawn look well kept. A move as simple as curving the edge of your flower beds could increase the value of your home by 1 percent, says horticulture professor Bridget Behe, the lead researcher on the MSU study.
** Also, if your foundation plants are overgrown, widening the beds by two feet will make the shrubs seem smaller.
** Nourish the grass For truly lush turf, ideally you should start regular fertilizer treatments a year before listing the house. But you can green up the lawn with just a single application.
** Spend on a broadcast spreader, which quickly distributes fertilizer over a lawn, enabling you to nourish a quarter-acre lot in about 10 minutes if your yard is large.
** For a yard that size, expect each monthly application to cost about $20 (for straight fertilizer) to $30 (with weed killer).
** Scatter color throughout For about $1 a plant, you can blanket your yard with petunias, impatiens and other small annuals that will flower throughout the current growing season.
** Also invest a few hundred dollars in some larger perennials and in shrubs that stand at least four feet high.
** Pick up any dog poops or trash floating around the yard.
**If you're improving for the long-term**
** Cut back the jungle Many everyday yard plants, such as azaleas, forsythia, hollies and rhododendrons, will fill out with new growth after a season or so even if you hack them down to stumps
** Be careful, though, of yews and junipers, which won't grow new leaves on old wood and may need to be removed altogether if they're severely overgrown.
** Add drama with foliage A distinctive yard will make your home more appealing to buyers. So replace plants that don't flower, or provide interesting foliage with eye-catching alternatives, like a patch of blackeyed Susans, a flowering crabapple or a cutleaf Japanese maple
** If you're planning to stay put, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars for big plants. You'll save 50 percent or more by buying small ones and waiting a few seasons to get the full visual impact (when planting, make sure to space them based on the mature size listed on the label, not how they look now).
** Consider new angles Most yards have almost all the plants along the foundation and the property lines. But if you place yours throughout different parts of the property, you'll create a depth of field that makes your home look farther away from the road
** Try putting some near the house's corners to accentuate its shape, others near the street to define the yard, and some in between, where they can block unfortunate views and be admired from indoors. Many nurseries offer free design help to buyers.
** Cover your rear It's nice to wave hello to your neighbors out front, but the backyard should be a private space. If yours feels overexposed, fencing can offer a quick fix.
Curb appeal is like first impression. Make the to be buyer welcomed and feel at home!
If you are planning to enroll your child or relocating to Northern Virginia area. Here is a link with school boundary websites from local counties and city in Northern Virginia area.
Fairfax County Public School Boundary
Loudoun County Pubic School Boundary
Prince William County Public School Boundary
Arlington Public School Boundary
City of Alexandria Virginia Public School Boundary
City of Manassas Virginia Public School Boundaries
We have seen some major rezoning in past years especially in fast growing counties like Loudoun and Prince William. It will be advisable to contact the school board for any specific information,
some believe in renting while others want to be a home owner. Depending
on your financing and other personal situation renting or buying a home
in the Northern Virginia Real Estate market will make sense.
Here is the current real estate market situation in 3 different areas in the Northern Virginia area:
Buy or Rent in Reston, Virginia
Assuming the condo has 2 bedrooms, 1 full bath, condo fee of $300 and average annunal taxes of $2000
Average condo rental - $1500 per month.
Average sales price of a condo -$250000
Estimate Monthly mortgage based on 20% downpayment, 4.25% interest rate, $30 per month insurance.
Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance + + Condo Fee = $1533.
the above hypothenical situation works for you, there is not a huge gap
between renting and owing a place in Reston Virginia. Not considering
other factors it may be worth considering purchasing over renting a
condo in Reston Virginia given tax benefits while owing a home.
Buy or Rent in Herndon, Virginia 20171
Assuming the town home has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 1 Car Garage. With HOA dues of $100 and Estimate annunal tax of $4000.
Average town home rental -$2100
Average sales price of a town home-$450000
Estimate Monthly mortgage based on 20% downpayment, 4.25% interest rate, $50 per month insurance.
Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance + HOA Fee =$2254
Conclusion- Similar to the Reston the gap between rental and owning a home own is not huge.
Buy or Rent in Ashburn Virginia 20148
Assuming the town home has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 1 Car Garage. With HOA dues of $150 and Estimate annunal tax of $4000
Average town home rental -$2100
Average sales price of a town home-$400000
Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance + HOA Fee =$2107
Estimate Monthly mortgage based on 20% downpayment, 4.25% interest rate, $50 per month insurance.
Conclusion-Similar to the Fairfax county areas in Reston and Herndon the gap between renting and owning is very slim.
Consult your lender and/or mortgage
consultant to qualify for mortgage programs and monthly payments before
making a decision to buy or rent a home in the area.
Are you undecided on the right home for you in the Northern Virginia real estate market place? Before purchasing a home, you need to determine whether the home you have decided on is the right home for you.
How Long are you Planning on Living in the Home?
order to cover your selling costs and recover the cost of your home,
you should plan on staying in your new home for an average of 3 to 4
years. Depending on economic factors, this time can either be
lengthened or shortened. Before deciding on the home you should consider
the time frame you plan to live in that home.
How Long will the Home Meet Your Needs?
sure that your home will meet your space requirements both now and in
the future, depending on how long you plan to live there. Can the den
be converted to a bedroom? Will the spare room be appropriate for a
dining room? Renovating your home may accommodate your expanding or
Is the House the Right Price?
whether the home is a good fit for your financial situation. Many
financial institutions will pre-qualify you for a mortgage even before
you begin your home search. This will help to determine what price
range you can afford. If you feel like the the mortgage payment will be a
stress your financial lifestyle reconsider the purchasing price.
What is the Physical Condition of the House?
keep in mind that your house will require repairs. If these costs are
of concern, make sure to choose a home that will reflect your renovation
budget. As well, home inspections are very important in order to help
reduce such unexpected costs.
Discuss and learn about your needs and wants before making an offer on a house.
We are getting in full swing of wedding season. A lot of newly weds
in and around DC Metro area are planning to soon purchase their first
home. Before you make that big financial commitment here are the 5 most
important things to keep in mind while planning to purchase the 1st home in the Northern Virginia Real Estate market:
1. Meet with your financial adviser and lender.
Please don't assume marrying 2 financing will improve the credibility
and purchasing power. One low score or debt can bring the average down.
Understand how both of you stand in the financing world. Learn if any
debt that may be needed to pay off or improve your credit example
student loans or car payment before you can purchase a home.
Understanding your financing will be the smartest and most important
information you will learn that will help you to plan any major future
As newly married many of us have dream to travel, fine dining, shopping
any other exotic plans with your partner. Consider the cost of those
things well deciding what sort of monthly payment you will
be conformable with while keeping that lifestyle. Last thing anyone
wants is to be financially burned out while starting a new life.
3. Its OK to Rent- Yes as a local Northern Virginia Realtor
I am asking you to consider that option especially if you are unsure
about living in the area. If one of the spouse is relocating let the
person settle in and be part of the decision making where both of you
want to purchase your first home. Also if financing you need time it is
OK to be a renter rather than jump into home ownership.
4. Goals, Goals and Goals- When
I meet with my newly weds or to be weds, I do want to know the time
line they want to stay in the house. Whether the home is going to be a
short term or stepping stone home or a home that they want stay there
for a long period. Some newly weds want to get into small starter home
and make it into an investment property later or build up an equity and
then move up in couple of years. Others like to buy a decent size home
where they can start their family and stay for a while. Consider the
rise of income or change of employment or if one of you may be planning
to going back to school. All these can impact your purchasing a home
5. Down-payment Funding & Exit Strategy-
It doesn't matter if you have known each others since high school or
few years. Be open about the source of money you both will be
contributing from and if worst case your relationship comes to an end
how you will distribute the equity or loss of that home. This is harsh
truth but it is better to know your game plan before making another
biggest commitment of your life.
Buyers across the
country have more than needed information about a particular home.
Buyers are far more savvy than few years ago about their house hunting.
As a Realtor we do want purchaser to be as educated about their
purchase as possible especially the value of the home that they want to
There are numerous terminologies that buyers will hear during
the process of purchasing a home. Here are the 3 most confusing yet most
important terminology in the industry:
Tax Assessed Value of the Property-
This is nothing but what your local county things the value of your
home is. It has nothing to do with the market value or what a buyer and
seller are willing to sell your home at. The tax assessment is typically
done once a year. Depending on the local economy it may be adjusted
accordingly. Some purchaser or Realtor may use to co-relate the sales
price to tax assessment but in most cases it is an independent value.
Market Value of the Property- This
is what the Realtor, seller or buyers think your home is worth in a
given real estate market place. Say majority of the homes in your
neighborhood are selling for about $450K however you have an addition or
other fine updates you can adjust the value to place yourself in the
market place when listing your home. Another example would be there are 5
similar homes on the market in your neighborhood. The list price will
determine how you stand apart from your competitors.
Appraised Value of the Property-
Buyer may want to offer $X, Seller agrees to accept $X however
appraisal is a subjective opinion of the appraiser who will determine
what the value of the home is based on the recent comps, adjust any
updates or any other repairs needed in the house. The lender will
determine your loan value based on this value. In a real estate
transaction appraiser places a major role. A lower appraiser means
seller has to reduce the price or buyer has to come up with a difference
or they agree to meet in the middle ground and/or worst case the
contract gets voided and everyone is back in the market place.
In some unique home layout or neighborhoods sellers may hire an
independent appraiser for the property value. However the lender will
still require to employ service of their own independent appraiser.
Rise in inventory, reduction in the average sold price,
increase number of days, reduction in average sold price for deattached
home....Has the housing market in Fairfax county of Northern Virginia market slow down?
Blame it on the harsh winter we had till March this year.
Will the spring market change things around? Already into mid April
some homes are being picked up while inventory is rising. Some homes are
being snatched right away while other linger.
The anxiety of rising interest or lack of confidence in the housing
market has created this shift. Are we heading into buyers market over
Next month May will dedicate the terms of the real estate market place.
Buying or selling your home in Northern Virginia Team up with Top Producer Ritu Desai at Samson Properties.
Northern Virginia is full of desirable real estate, and as spring gets going and people get moving, the pace of the market only picks up more. Most of the homes listed in Fairfax County, Arlington, Loudoun County and Alexandria (along with other areas), sell at a very rapid rate, so selling a home in Northern Virginia is more about “How do I make the best sale?”rather than “How do I get my house to sell?”The following tips provide an excellent place to start:
1. Check out MRIS MarketWatch.
The monthly MRIS "Northern Virginia MarketWatch" video posted on YouTube sometimes contains helpful hints for sellers and buyers, and so is worth a watch.
2. Local market statistics are much more relevant than national statistics.
Northern Virginia’s real estate market often bucks national tends, following the beat of its own drum. Real Estate Business Intelligence provides everything from bar charts that detail recent homes sales and average days on the market to more in-depth reports—information which will be invaluable in determining your local market.
3. Pictures sell any home.
is advice that is equally applicable to selling a house in any area; as
people turn to the internet more and more to start their search for a
new home, the best way to stand out is by having the nicest images in
the listings. Remember to focus on the unique perks of your home—many
residences in Northern Virginia have finished basements, but few have
garages, for example. Maybe your interior needs some work, but you have
an amazing back yard—showcase your home’s best assets and try to include at least six pictures in your listing. Here is a sample of pictures from my past listing.
4. Hire a realtor.
Trying the “sale by owner”approach
may seem appealing, as it avoids commission fees, but your home is
likely to sell more successfully if you have a professional there
streamlining the process. There are myriad reasons for this, one being
that buyers are often more comfortable dealing with a realtor than the
owner of the home; after all, they don’t want to say negative things to you about your own home!
Realtors are often able to give you specialized advice and see your home from an outsider’s perspective better than you can. Find a realtor that knows your Northern Virginia area and that you feel you can trust, and then let them take the reins—it will take a lot of stress off you in the end!
As a Northern Virginia Realtor we
do often recommend the home seller to declutter and stage their home
not only for quick sale but to maximize their return of investment. Your home is not just a home but a Product to Sell.
If as a Realtor I had to pick one room to emphasis my clients to be focus point would be KITCHEN!
I think kitchen is heart and soul of the home. This where we live
daily...as soon as we wake up to when we come back from long work day.
Doesn't matter you stand their to warm food in microwave or cook for
an exotic meal for friends and family. This is one room where lot of us
will hang out during family gathering.
To maximize your return on the kitchen as a focal point you can do simple DIY things:
1. Trash or donate the food you don't plan to use and want to move with.
2. Clean out the refrigerator and cabinets.
3. Organize the pantry.
4. Move all the small appliances out of your kitchen counter tops to maximize the space.
5. Wipe and shine the exterior of cabinets, appliances and any thing that will stay in the kitchen.
6. Add fresh fruits and flowers to your kitchen.
7. Bake warm cookies.
8. Get ride of any cooking smell.
9. Move the pet bowls out of the kitchen.
10. Replace any burned out or missing light bulbs.
The above simple task can be done by anyone in few hours.
However there are things that are worth hiring a contractor like:
1. Caulking the kitchen counter tops.
2. If any of your appliances are not operating consider the cost of replacing or repairing.
3. If you have vinyl flooring or any large damage flooring get a professional to provide reasonable cost repair or replacement.
4. Any leaks have a plumber fix it.
5. If window seal is broken or window is damage consider replacing the window. That will bring brightness to the kitchen.
6. Add a fresh coat of paint not just on the wall but ceiling.
Best thing before you hire any contractor would be let your local Northern Virginia Realtor help
and guide you the priority of the repairs. Discuss if it is worth the
cost considering the expense compared to local real estate market.
Virginia is not a huge retirement area unlike some of the warmer areas
around the country. However we do have ample of active adult/retirement
community in the area that offer luxurious housing choices like Del Webb and Toll Brothers Regency in Ashburn.
of the seniors are unsure while making a decision whether to buy in
acitve adult /55+ community or regular home. Here are the pros or cons
Cons about purchasing in the acitve adult or 55+ community in Virginia:
Many of the communities have restriction on visitation especially grand kids or any members for extended period of time.
The condo/hoa fees are typically higher since they include ample of attractive amenities.
can only sell the home to another active adult. Which may have a
smaller buyer pool in area like Northern Virginia and can be a challenge
for family member to sell if needed.
Restriction on renting the home if you have to move out.
Pros about purchasing in active adult community over regular community:
You may meet like minded people.
Tons of activities and conveniences including home maintenance and medical.
Bus Serivces are available to many of the local shops and events.
Purchasing home in a regular neighborhood.
you don't want to be restricted by the active adult community you can
look into homes that are available in the close vicinty of your family.
Cons for senior to buy in the regular neighborhood:
The home may not meet physical or medical needs.
Have to hire contractors to maintain the home.
Social restriction depending on the neighbors.
You may be restricted to local county bus service if available for ride.
Pros for not buying in the Active Adult community:
You or your family member can sell the home to any buyer.
You are not restricted to social calender of the community.
You can have visitation from any of the family member.
Flexibility to renting the home.
Before you consider buying in an active adult you may try renting in the neighborhood. See if you like the lifestyle it offers.
the current home owners who have seen a steady residential real estate
market for past few year in the Northern Virginia including counties of
Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William are gaining
confidence in housing market place. Some of these home owners want to
venture and invest in an residential investment property. They look up
for local Realtor to advise if it is a good time to purchase an
investment property in Northern Virginia.
My response to many fellows investors whether you are first time
investor or a seasonal real estate investor is real estate market is a
long term commitment investment. Yes the market has been strong for past
few years and we are hoping it holds up. But like any other investment
it will see bad days and good days.
So you are advising not to invest? No my goal as a local Northern
Virginia Realtor is work with your numbers before you decide to
purchase an investment property.
Some food to ponder upon are:
- Do you break even with the rental income with your mortgage?
- If you loose your job can you afford all mortgages?
- If the renter misses payment or house stays longer can you afford all your mortgages?
- Unexpected repairs come up. Do you have cash to make any repairs?
- If you are willing to take negative cash flow work with your CPA to under stand the write off.
- What are your expectation from this investment- have an income flow or speculating for future profits or appreciation.
Depending on your current financials and goals of investing your
best bet will be to team up with right lender, local Realtor and a CPA.
Ritu Desai & Samson Properties Presents New Listing...
Toll Brother "Lindenhurst" End unit Model with 3 Finished levels with Private Treed View.
Address: 19956 Presidents Cup Ter Ashbrun VA 20147
Subdivision: Belmont Country Club
List Price: $524900 Year Built: 2004
HOA fees & Amenities: Lawn
maintenances, basic cable & internet service, community center,
golf course membership available, pool, exercise room, club house,
tennis courts, basket ball court, walking trails and tot lots at HOA fee
of $245 month!
Elementary : Newton Lee
Middle School : Belmont Ridge
High School: Stone Bridge
Special Features about the home:
Toll Brother’s “Lindenhurst” End unit model with brick front, three
bedrooms, den, three full and one half baths with two car garage.
** Traditional Sale...no waiting or dealing with the banks !
** Premium lot with Private back yard with treed view.
** Dramatic two story foyer entrance with a skylight.
upgrades include– Brand new windows on upper level, elegant light
fixtures, freshly painted interior, synthetic epoxy garage floor and
brand new neutral carpet through out the home.
features include - two zone heating & cooling, central humidifier,
attic fan, pre-wired security system and three ceiling fans with light
** Gleaming hardwood on entire main level.
** Classy formal living room with vaulted ceilings. Formal dining room offers elegant light fixture, chair & crown molding.
and oversized gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops, abundance of
42” cabinet space, newer black appliances including gas stove/oven
range, microwave, refrigerator and recesses lighting.
** Green room extension off kitchen with skylight, space for breakfast table and French door leading to deck.
** Family room off kitchen with recesses lights and cozy gas fireplace.
Master suite with Cathedral ceiling, ceiling fan with light fixture,
desirable walk in closet. Master bath offers luxurious soaking tub,
separate shower, ceramic tiled flooring, and dual vanity sink.
** Convenient private full bath & a linen closet off the hallway.
** Oversize second and third bedrooms with spacious closet space.
** Fully finished lower level with open recreation room, full bath, a den perfect for a home office or a gym and storage.
** No maintenance composite deck with stairway leading to the fully fenced backyard.
Location! Close to Greenway Toll Road, Route 7, Leesburg,Loudoun One, Recreation Center, Shopping, Restaurants and much more.
With low inventory and multiple contracts for past couple of years as a Buyer Agent in the Northern Virginia area we want to do everything to help buyer secure the HOME.
On flip side as a listing agent representing Northern Virginia home seller DO I really care about personalized Letter?
Many of write or receive personalized letters written by the buyers. Do they really work?
As a listing agent
I don't want a piece of paper to become emotional decision factor for
my home sellers. I want to avoid that and give my seller the over all
picture of the offer and the contingencies. I want to maximize the goal
of my sellers for which they have hired me.
As a selling agent
I want to play this card to help out my buyers. However letters are
great emotional support but same desire to purchase the home should
reflect on my buyers offer. Sometimes it is not just about the sales
price it may weigh in with the contingencies that are on the offer and
the emotional reason that can tie the deal together.
SO WHAT TO DO:
If you are a buyer who has narrow down the
neighborhood or eyeing for that home go ahead and submit your best offer
with that beautiful personalized letter. But do keep in mind that may
help you to leverage but won't be the only piece of paper that will help
you secure your home.
If you are a home seller yes, read that letter that
will help you understand where the buyer stands to purchase your home.
This may help you in negotiating not just initial contract but also
contingencies like home inspection. This may also mean the buyer would
most likely do less stupid things to loose your contract.
Working with first time home buyer in Northern Virginia
is always a pleasure. Their naive questions to the day of closing leave
me as their Realtor with a pride of accomplishment and rewarding.
One of the most common question that a home buyer in Northern Virginia asked me...
Is it Right Time to buy or Have they missed the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market?
To help them answer the question we took one of the home that was on the market in Reston, Virginia for sale.
Listed at $400000 with various Interest rate over these years. Here is what the principal and interest would look like.
Now assuming the interest rate were as mentioned above but we have
different price of the home over the past 7 years. This is how the
payments would have been.
So what you get:
- There is never a right or wrong time to purchase a home.
- You will have to work with your financial situation and make a call when you want to be a home owner or keep renting.
- Yes the interest rates are still historically low and you have financial discipline you can become a homeowner.
- Home ownership is not a short term commitment.
- Work with your lender and understand with your lifestyle and possible lifestyle changes your comfort zone with mortgage payment.
Thinking of buying or selling your home in Northern Virginia.
Contact Ritu Desai @ Samson Properties for free consultation for buyers
As a Northern Virginia Realtor when I meet the potential home seller
and walk thru their home...let's call it is in living condition for
their lifestyle. Which holds true for my own home.
However to be marketable Realtor, Staggers and home owners work
closely to dress up the home as a model home. Many times home owners are
in dilemma whether to get the carpets cleaned or replaced. Here is my
response to this very common question:
If you had a pet and strong smell - Replace it! Cleaning will only go so far.
If your carpet is beaten up or worn out- Replace it!
If your carpet is stained but not heavily then Clean it!
If your carpet is one of the high end quality carpet-Clean it!
If your carpet is old fashioned (pink or any 70s or 80s style) - Replace it!
If your carpet is just regular wear and tear- Clean it.
If you are unsure speak to your Realtor and let him/her guide you
whether investing in new flooring is worth the investment while selling