STRAIGHT SCOOP — Staging Tips That Help Homes Sell Quickly

February 9th, 2016

The numbers don’t lie; often well-staged homes can see faster sales and higher offers than their clutter counterparts.  The key is getting an early start on the process.    Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — Northern Virginia’s Next Real Estate Cycle

August 11th, 2015

Five Factors will effect the market.  Real Estate is a long term investment and all real estate markets are set within a larger social and economic environments. There are 5 major factors in the decade ahead which will affect the way Northern Virginia’s real estate market unfolds. A summary of observations made by David Versel, a long time research economist with the George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, are distilled from a multi-year study of the metropolitan area and are presented below.   Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — 4 Low Cost Tips To Sell A Home

April 23rd, 2015

Today’s homebuyers are a careful, nit-picky, recession scarred bunch, and they are working hard to get serious value for their limited cash. As a seller you need to not only price your home carefully but need to prepare your home thoroughly for the process. Here are some tips: Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — Six Home Improvement Cautions

December 12th, 2014

When you sell you never get 100 cents on the dollar no matter what the improvements.  That means homeowners need to be careful when they plan home improvements, renovations or additions.

The Bottom Line

If it is for your own use or helps you get more time and enjoyment from your home, that is smart.  But if your sole purpose is to “get it all back at resale,” that usually doesn’t work.  Want to be wise with improvement dollars?  Here are six points to consider.      Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — Good Credit Scores Pay Off

June 5th, 2014

Probably the most persuasive credential that you can present to a lender is an excellent credit score from all three reporting agencies.  Most borrowers now understand that a good credit score is vital to their successfully securing a loan approval to buy a house.  What is less well understood is that the best mortgage rates (the ones advertised or posted on websites) are only available to those with top credit scores.  Those with lower scores, if they are able to get approved at all, will have to pay higher rates or more discount points.  So it clearly pays to understand how to get the best score possible.      Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — How To Get The Best Mortgage

April 30th, 2014

1st Step:  Check your credit report with the three credit reporting agencies.  Avoid buying a car of other big ticket item in the months before you apply for a mortgage.

2nd Step:  Be ready to offer up paperwork to document your income, debts and assets.  Borrowers now need to show one month’s worth of pay stubs, 2 months of bank statements and 2 years of tax returns.    Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — The Surprising Health Care Gotcha!

March 26th, 2014

Like most people, you are vigilant about paying your bills — credit cards, mortgage, cell phone, etc.  Easy to understand, easy to pay.  But medical bills have a different trajectory.  These bills you receive, peruse the amalgam of codes and charges and set them aside until you have time to clarify the confusion.  You wait for your insurer to pay its yet unknown portion of a hospital’s unknowable fee.  With the complex process that determines your ultimate payment, it often takes months to understand what you actually owe.

The byzantine process of medical billing is not just affecting your health care but it may be dinging your credit score as well.  While the bills themselves frequently take months to sort out, medical debts can be reported rapidly to credit agencies, and often without notification.  Even small unpaid medical bills can severely damage your credit rating.  And you were just about to buy a house.   Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — What Is The Best House To Buy?

January 19th, 2014

I try to help my buyers have an understanding of “the best house to buy.”  My suggestions do not fit every buyer’s needs and other Realtors may see things differently.  But I am an economist and I look for value.

What should your new home do?  It certainly should be a comfortable and exciting place to come home to.  Of primary importance.  But it should not cost you a lot of extra cash out of you pocket over the years that you own it.  Here is my take . . .   Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — What Is Important To Buyers?

January 14th, 2014

While David Letterman’s Top 10 lists generally culminate in a No. 1 ranking, the following list includes in no particular order 10 things that important to buyers today, especially Millennials who represent a significant buyer segment in today’s market.    Read the rest of this entry »

STRAIGHT SCOOP — Avoid These Mortgage Mistakes

January 2nd, 2014

Successfully navigating the 2014 mortgage process can be tricky, so being well-prepared is vital.  The biggest mistake many home buyers make is not getting their financial affairs in order before they start looking for a home.  Lenders look at your buying a house as a “big deal.”  You may not think so.  But lenders think so!   Read the rest of this entry »