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Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Take Advantage of our Low Interest Rates



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.


Today we are excited to be joined by our preferred lender, Jim Evans of Potomac Trust Mortgage. He is here to give you some valuable information on current mortgage interest rates and what you can expect if you are thinking of either buying or refinancing today. 

Right now in Northern Virginia, we are at an 18-month low for mortgage rates. This is excellent, and means we haven't seen mortgage rates this low since early 2013. 

Here is an article about these extremely low rates, which are being seen on a national scale.

If you want to save thousands over the life of your home loan, Jim suggests locking in a rate now. When rates are this low, they will get worse before they get better and chances are they will rise instead of falling.

If you have any questions at all for Jim, you can reach him at (703)-282-9692.

One thing we love about Jim is his honesty. If you want the facts and someone who will be a straight shooter with you, Jim is your guy.

Thanks again for joining us today. For all your real estate needs, whether you are buying or selling, give us a call. We'd be glad to go over your situation with you and figure out how we can make your next home transaction a breeze. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Utilize our Closing Lawyer for a Smoother Transaction



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Today I have invited a full service, real estate attorney, Susan Pesner with Pesner Kawamoto Law Firm, to speak with you about the difference between a settlement company with a lawyer available and a settlement company without a lawyer available.

Overall, it is always a better option to hire a settlement company with at least a lawyer available or a law firm like Susan's with settlement options. The main advantage with a law firm is that they can provide you with personal legal counsel and can interpret many different contracts for you. Many other companies have lawyers on staff while others simply outsource as needed but will remain neutral should a legal dispute arise. At the Gresh Group, we highly recommended those companies with at least 1 full time, employed lawyer on staff that we can connect directly with should an issue arise. (delete - Susan's office will work to make your settlement much easier and less painful, and they will fill you in on what is happening throughout the entire process.)

Susan has been handling settlements and settling real estate disputes for over 35 years. Her goal is to give you a smooth transition from purchase to sale. Susan's office is just 10 minutes away from ours, and she is always able to help buyer and sellers in Northern Virginia.

If you would like to know more about Susan or how she might be able to help you, then please feel free to contact her at 703-506-9440 or SPesner@PesnerKawamoto.com.

As always, contact me at 703-636-3588 or Janet@TheGreshGroup.com with any questions or concerns about real estate in Northern Virginia.

Friday, May 16, 2014

When Searching for a Home, the Web Can Lead You Astray



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

When Searching for a Home, the Web Can Lead You Astray

 

The National Association of Realtors says that 90% of home buyers begin their home search online. The same is true for sellers, who try to determine an accurate price for their home by searching for similar homes online. There are a lot of advantages in doing this, but there are also huge disadvantages with using these websites.

The most commonly used websites are Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. Have you ever wondered why these websites exist? They exist to make money, and they are making money off of you and your data. When you register for these websites, they take your information, compile it, and then sell it to Realtors who are looking for leads. They sell zip codes to real estate agents all across the country just from the information that you freely provide them.

The major disadvantage of these websites to you is that their information is simply inaccurate. Their goal is to show as many homes as possible, and that means that they will post homes that are listed, under contract, and also properties that have already been sold. These websites also estimate the value of homes, and these estimates are wildly inaccurate. Zillow will actually tell you how accurate their home prices are if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. When I did this, Zillow actually told me that their home prices for the Washington DC area were 90% wrong! That is huge.

The only way to ensure that you're getting accurate information is to pick up the phone and call a real estate agent such as myself. We have access to accurate and updated listings that websites cannot offer you. As soon as a property comes onto the market, we can send it to you so that you have the best chance of getting the home that you want.

If you're interested in purchasing a home in Northern Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC, then please call me at 703-636-3588. I would be more than happy to sit down and discuss your individual needs.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Renters, Listen Up. You Can Save Money by Buying!



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

5 Reasons to Buy Rather than Rent in Washington, D.C. area

 

I am often asked whether someone should rent or buy when they move here to the Washington, D.C. area. My answer is always to tell people that purchasing a home is the best option, especially if you will be here for more than 3 or 4 years. I have 5 great reasons why it's more beneficial to purchase rather than to rent.

1. Mortgages are cheap: Interest rates are historically low right now, and even with the fluctuations in the market they have remained very, very affordable. Instead of pouring money into a rental property, why don't you put it towards a long term investment like a home?
2. You can Live the Way You Want: When you own your home, you will not need permission to have pets, remodel, or repaint your property. You can live the way that you like, and this is important to us as realtors because we like to help you achieve your goals.
3. You can Build good Credit: When you rent, the only information that gets reported to a crediting agency is if you missed a payment or not. If you're looking to build your credit, then renting will only allow your score to stagnate or drop even further. Buying a home will help you bolster your credit.
4. You can Build Equity: Paying your mortgage is like paying into your savings account for long-term equity. Home values go up and down, but around here in the Washington, D.C. area, home values have increased 3-4% every year, so this is a good area to purchase in.
5. Tax Advantages: The primary advantage here is that you get to write off the mortgage interest. You would have to talk to an accountant to get all the details, but the tax benefits more than offset what you would be paying in rent.

Be sure to check out this article that further proves my point: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/real_estate/2014/03/03/buy-vs-rent/8.html

It is 34% cheaper to buy in Washington, D.C. than to rent, so this statistic alone should help to convince you!

Also, don't forget to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments you might have about real estate in the Washington, D.C. area. I am always here to help you!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Find Out What You Need to Know About Tax Assessments



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Explaining County Tax Assessments

I'm certainly glad that spring is here in Fairfax County, but that also means that tax season is here. While it's not fun paying taxes, you should know that these payments go towards funding all of the community services that we love and need most like schools, street maintenance, and having firefighters and policemen.

So, what are Tax Assessments?

These are assessments carried out on your home by a county assessor to gauge what you should be paying in property taxes. The value of your home will be used to determine your property taxes owed on it, which is calculated by the tax rate.

Here in Fairfax, these tax assessments have been:
   - 5.8% higher for single family homes
   - 8.4% higher for town homes.
   - 10.5% higher for condos.
   - Tax rates are only allowed to rise a certain amount over a certain period of time, so don't worry if you think your taxes are high this year, they should be around the same amount in coming years.

Click here to find out more information regarding tax assessments in the Virginia area!

What does this mean for you?
This means that you may be paying more in taxes, or it means that you might not be experiencing any increase in taxes, it all depends on your tax base. Also, keep in mind that a tax assessment does not correlate to a true market value for your home. Sometimes assessments are only carried out every few years, so do not rely on a value from a tax assessment to determine the market value of your home.

Whether you're buying or selling a home in Fairfax county, please contact me because I am your #1 resource for real estate. The spring market is here and things are certainly warming up, so don't miss out on all the action!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Title Companies: Crucial to Real Estate Transactions



Looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price  Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call us at (703) 636-3588 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Title companies are often misunderstood by consumers, but don't be frightened by what you don't understand. They're here to help you!
 - Title companies dig up information about a property such as: finding all former owners & sellers to ensure a 'clean' property without any unpaid mortgages, or unpaid taxes or bills that would affect a sale.

 - They interact with lots of different parties, like title insurance companies to ensure coverage against hidden defects not found in the title search. Realtors, buyers, sellers, loan officers, surveyors, and homeowner's associations are coordinated with to ensure that all fees have been paid off.

 - Choosing a good title company is important, so be sure to communicate with your realtor often about making the right choice. Title companies with attorneys are ideal if something blows up during the settlement, and as always, be sure to pick an experienced team of real estate agents and Title processors.

The Gresh Group works only with the best title companies, lenders,law firms and all parties involved in the process to ensure that your transaction will be as smooth and stress-free as possible. Be sure to talk to me about choosing the right title company. It will make all the difference!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What Can We Expect for Our Northern Virginia Real Estate Market in 2014?



Click here to find out what your home is worth or to search all area homes for sale.

Welcome back and Happy New Year! The real estate market had a great 2013. With low inventory and low interest rates, homes were flying off the market. Toward the end of the year, though, we saw interest rates increase a bit and home sales slow. So what can we expect from 2014?

2014 will bring about a stable market. We don't expect to see the increase in prices as we did in 2013. The Federal Reserve is also expected to pull back on it's bond purchasing which means interest rates will increase. While we don't know when exactly, we do predict they will hit 5%.

Mortgage rules have also changed. It's important to talk to a lender today and find out how those changes affect you. Also, get a pre approval letter, this will help strengthen your offer.

2014 is a year of new construction. This means more competition for sellers. If you want to sell this year, your home needs to be in good condition and priced aggressively.

Give me a call today at 703.636.3588 and let's talk about your situation. The Gresh Team is dedicated to helping you make the best decision for you.