So, we know that the housing market hasn’t really been that great over the last couple of years. There are a lot of people still underwater on their mortgages and yes, unemployment is also still a huge problem but all that, in my opinion, is changing and changing fast! A combination of a strong regional job market (after all real estate is local), crazy low interest rates (my last buyer secured a 3.75%, 30 year fixed rate VA loan), and low housing stock in the Northern Virginia area has started to cause bidding wars and yes “escalation clauses” are now in full use. Many premier neighborhoods are seeing homes selling in a matter of weeks if not days at or above listing price! Here are my suggestions for finding and buying a great home this season:
- Before you start looking make sure you are preapproved by a reputable lender and you are ready to write an offer. Home sale contingencies do not work in our area. So, if you need to sell your home first you need to be at least on the market if not under contract before a home seller will take you seriously. You will be just wasting your time, in my opinion, trying to submit an offer with a home sale contingency.
- Think sweet spot, we know that the market became overvalued around 2003-2007. If you are an investor looking for a short sale or a foreclosure you should make your Realtor find all the neighborhoods that were built around this time fame. A couple of areas that I would focus on would be Brambleton, Belmont, and Loudoun Valley Estates if you like the Ashburn area. If you are more interested in Reston or Fairfax checkout some of the condos in Reston or neighborhoods like Leehigh Village, Mason Oaks, or the Courts at Wescott. These developments seem to still have a high number of underwater homes in them.
- Don’t want to get involved in a bidding war or buy a short sale? I don’t blame you, bidding wars can be so draining and time consuming and short sales are froth with complications. To find well priced traditional homes for sale in our area look into some of the more established neighborhoods. Developments like Ashburn Farms and Ashburn Village have some really nice values. Fairfax Station and Falls Church also have well established enclaves with tons of personality. Neighborhoods like Idylwood Terrace and Buffalo Hill are just a few of my favorites. If you are interested in something a little further out checkout Tavistock, Woodlea Manor and Exeter in Leesburg. Don’t mind living out a little further outside the Metro area? Checkout Purcellville, Hamilton, and Round Hill. These are all smaller towns just out of the metro area with excellent values!
What’s the bottom-line if you are thinking about buying a home this spring or summer? Think strong contract first and then look to see how fast the other homes in the neighborhood are selling. Many areas in the Northern Virginia market are becoming a seller’s market.
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