7 Reasons to Own a Home

A quick run down of just 7 of the MANY reasons to own a home. 7 Reasons to Own A Home Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in


How To Stage Your Home While Living In It

How to Stage Your Home While Living in It (Without Losing Your Mind) This summer, my husband and I decided to put our 1,200-square-foot Spanish-style bungalow in San Diego up for sale. Naturally, this involved meeting with a host of real estate professionals—all of whom agreed that in order to sell our charming little home for the price we wanted, we needed


Short Sale Thoughts

So about 4 months ago I was asked to represent a client here in Charlottesville on a short sale of a condominium unit that he had purchased about 3 years ago. Ever since then, we’ve learned a LOT of things about short sales and I’ve even been the source of short sale education/updates to other Realtors, attorneys, and potential sellers


But Zillow says my house is worth…

It is actually quite often that people I run into have been completely misguided about their home values.  With the incredible technology and information online about real estate and home searches, people often feel that real estate websites are getting to the point where they are extremely accurate and reliable.  In some large cities, evidently this is true.  In Charlottesville,


Great Chart On Credit Scoring; Check this out if your credit might be in danger

739SEO-Flush-final600.jpgI really like this chart on credit scoring- I receive lots of questions from potential buyers about credit, including how they can improve their credit scores in order to prepare for a home purchase. Whether in the market for real estate or not, these are things that everyone should be aware of pertaining to their credit. If you are interested in learning more about your credit score or looking for ways to improve it, contact me and I will connect you with a lender who can help you through your questions!


Trying to Utilize FHA Financing? Check this List of Condo Communities to See if They’re Approved!

If you’re planning to utilize FHA financing to purchase your next home, you have to use a little bit of caution when considering condos in Charlottesville, as not all of them are approved for FHA financing. Check out the link below to see whether or not the condo you’re considering is approved for FHA; HUD.GOV Condos with FHA Financing If your the condo community you’re considering is not on this list, you may need to check with your mortgage lender to see if you will be able to come up with an alternative type of financing. Additionally, if you live in one of the condos that is not able to provide FHA financing, you should be aware that it may limit the potential number of Purchaser’s who will have the ability to buy your home on the resale market! Please give me a call if I can help connect you with a lender who may be able to help you find alternative financing orget you qualified!


New Forms to Claim The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The new forms to submit when claiming the first time homebuyer tax credit have finally been released! Form 5405 will now be needed when submitting a tax claim, and this is likely mainly due to the large numbers of tax fraud we were experiencing in response to the First Time Homebuyer tax credit. Please be sure to file this along with your claim, so you don’t experience any sort of delay in claiming your credit!

…New-home buyers who don’t have a HUD-1 settlement statment must send in a copy of the certificate of occupancy.

…I hope that this will continue through the extension of the credit in 2010, but I would love any feedback you may have!


Just in from CNNMoney; Trial Loan Modifications DO Hurt Borrowers’ Credit

Only weeks ago, I published a post with updated information from an advanced education class I was taking though the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) program for Realtors, that was discussing different types of distressed sales and loan modifications to your mortgage, and how they would impact your credit score. In that class, we learned that borrowers were being told that taking advantage of the government HAMP (Making Home Affordable) program should not negatively effect their credit score, and that we should encourage borrowers to strongly consider this option before looking down the road of a short sale or foreclosure. … For those who are behind on mortgage payments and who take the new mortgage arrangement, it is reasonable to expect that their credit would have already been damaged to some extent, just from the mortgage payments that had been missed. However, many other people have been encouraged to look at the HAMP program to re-arrange their mortgage and reduce their payments, even before they are behind on a payment. It is these people who have been squeaking by, trying to make ends meet and who have been making payments, who were being told (even by mortgage officers themselves) that their credit would not be effected.


January is National Radon Month!

As described on the EPA website; Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste.

… In Charlottesville, the standard is to test for radon when you purchase your home during the inspection period (and some people will opt not to test at all) but for most people, that is the first and only test for radon that they will do on their home. There are many areas in Charlottesville where radon gas is present in homes, so if you’ve never checked- now is a great time! Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, and the EPA Radon site has lots of local and national links to help connect you with how to purchase a self-test, connect with someone locally to administer a professional test, and find people to mitigate a radon problem should you have one. Locally, one of my preferred home inspectors, John Handloser with Pillar to Post Home Inspections , will be happy to administer a professional radon test in your home- call him a few days in advance to schedule him to come out.


Before beginning a new home improvement project- Check this list!

Screen shot 2009-12-23 at 10.27.37 PM.jpgBefore choosing which home improvement project you will take on next, check out this list for a national survey on which improvements are the most valuable and will produce the highest return on investment. The survey is broken down region-by-region and then parsed into large metropolitan areas; the closest to us in terms of size, location, and economy being Richmond. Take a look, you may be surprised at what you find! 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report


Stocking Stuffers for Real Estate Aficionados

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, A fun list of reading for those of you on the market for a home in 2010;

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, and Marcia Stewart, Nolo publishing, $24.99 This Sold House: Staging Your Home To Sell in Today’s Market,Diane Keyes, Third Child Press, $14.95 If I Had A Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects, Andrea Ridout, Collins, $17.95 New Classic American Houses: The Architecture of Albert, Righter & Tittmann, Dan Cooper, Vendome Press, $50 Country Color: Perfect Palettes for Every Room, Judith Miller, Vendome Press, $35

Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Lynn Underwood (12/20/2009) [From REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Stocking Stuffers for Real Estate Aficionados ]


According to NAR, 4 out of 10 Recent Buyers Used FHA Loans

FHA loans used to evoke lots of negative connotations, a few of which were; lots of extra requirements, much longer time to process, and stringent and difficult home inspection standards. … According to the most recent REALTORS® Confidence Index, 39 percent of recent buyers purchased a home with a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan. REALTORS® who took part in the November survey also reported that the number of first-time home buyers continued to climb to 51 percent. “FHA helps provide affordable mortgage financing to home owners, particularly first-time home buyers who are so important in drawing down inventory to help stabilize the current housing market,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “These recent survey results reaffirm that, despite its current challenges, FHA is a critical part of the American housing fabric.” —NAR [From REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-4 out of 10 Recent Buyers Used FHA Loans ]