Without knowing it, many people develop something akin to a split personality when it comes to buying a home. In the beginning, as they pursue their ideal Herndon house, they automatically assume an unabashedly active role. Nobody has to tell them that they’re the boss in the process—since they are the customer, they correctly expect to be in total command of the house hunting process. They develop their unique wish list and ultimately decide which property best satisfies it.
But then a split can develop. The active, in-charge commander often does an about-face when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the next step: securing the lowest Herndon mortgage rate. Upon entering the realm of what seems to be a monolithic and largely inscrutable home loan industry, the formerly active, energetic house hunter turns passive, hoping for approval with fingers crossed.
To some degree, that’s not an unreasonable stance, since home loan terms are based on hard numbers already set in stone: income and expense records, payment histories, and credit score numbers. But in truth, the best way to secure the lowest mortgage rate for a new Herndon home loan is to start early and actively to create the scenario you’re hoping for. Here are six ways to make it happen:
1. First, as soon as possible and well before any house hunting begins, check for errors in your credit report. They can and should be corrected, but since the process can take months, here’s where being proactive early pays off.
2. Stay on top of those credit accounts. Continue to use credit cards, but keep the balances below 30% of their maximum (better yet: below 20%).
3. As you approach application time, keep your documents and reports up-to-date. Quick responses to document requests speed the process, and having everything at hand makes your part of the work much easier.
4. Watch the market. Rates change frequently, and keeping an eye on their movement from week to week will build your confidence in being able to recognize an opportune moment to tap the lowest mortgage rates.
5. Be wary of loans advertised as “no-cost.” The Brooklyn Bridge is not for sale, either: loans cost something to develop, and those costs will always be paid by the borrower. The bottom line lowest mortgage rates are best represented by the APR percentage, which summarizes the total cost, including fees, in a single number.
6. Be prepared to shop. Whether you tap a savvy area mortgage broker for help or go it alone, tracking down the lowest mortgage rates in Herndon is doable. The home loan industry really isn’t as monolithic as it might seem.
There shouldn’t be a split between actively seeking your dream house—then merely passively hoping for favorable loan terms to come your way. Starting early is one key—and teaming with an experienced real estate professional is the other.
That’s right—you guessed it: call me!
Last week’s 141st Westminster Dog Show TV ratings may not have gone through the woof—but for “Rumor,” the winning German Shepard, it was a wag-tastic finale. It brought to mind one of the foremost issues facing today’s Herndon rental homes landlords: Fido or No; Kitty or not. It can be something of a brow-wrinkler.
For sure, no matter what the ultimate decision, the owners of Herndon’s rental homes will remain on the upside in the tenant-landlord relationship. As landlords, they are in the happy position of receiving rents from their well-behaved tenants—even as they build equity in their rental properties. But one of the decisions that goes into that picture-perfect arrangement is the one about allowing or restricting pets.
A primary rule for Herndon rental home success is keeping the property rented. Vacancies cause divots in Herndon rental homes’ balance sheets—the antithesis of what rental homes ideally produce. And for each turnover, advertising, cleaning, and reconditioning expenses create new expense items. That’s where the pets/no pets decision weighs in.
The American Pet Products Association told us in 2012 that 39% of U.S. households owned at least one dog and that 33% owned at least one cat (there’s ample evidence that it’s the cats who actually own the households, but that’s another issue). But now comes evidence that those percentages may be severely underestimated.
In their “Animal House 2017” study dealing with remodeling, the National Association of REALTORS® found that 81% of respondents say that animal-related considerations play a role when “deciding on their next living situation.”
Eighty-one percent!!! That’s 4 out of 5! If Herndon rental homes even come close to fitting that kind of profile, it means that landlords who choose a “no pets” strategy to protect their properties from all clawing digging, scratching and chewing might be severely limiting their potential renter pool—with bottom line repercussions. Since 89% of respondents with pets say they wouldn’t consider giving up their animals due to housing restrictions, that conclusion could be accurate.
Along those lines, the pro-animal sector is ready, willing and able to produce studies and statistics aimed at publicizing the financial benefits for owners of pets-allowed rental homes. Petfinder is one such site: when it tallies rent surcharges and shortened vacancy periods and subtracts average damage and insurance increases, it calculates a net benefit of more than $2,700 per year as a conservative estimate. I don’t know how conservative that figure truly is (most of the net is due to pet surcharges), but it could well be true that tenants in pet-friendly digs did remain in place more than twice as long (Petfinder’s calculation). Interestingly, it’s also noted that extended tenancy did not occur for tenants who kept pets illegally.
If you are thinking about the advantages of acquiring one of Herndon’s rental homes— whether it will be pet-friendly or not—now is a particularly good time to take a look at today’s available properties. Getting a jump on the spring rush makes sense—so why not give me a call?
Buying a home as a place to live certainly has important financial implications, but they are only part of an equation that has major lifestyle implications. A given house may be a really terrific deal—but if it turns out that you aren’t comfortable living there, buying it will probably wind up being a mistake.
When the motivation for an investment in Herndon residential real estate is purely financial, it’s a less complicated decision. Taking all factors into account, when a property pencils out as a likely financial winner, it’s a matter of weighing it against the risks and rewards of available alternative investments. In one risk-minimizing longer-term strategy, for instance, the risk that a rental property might go vacant is minimized by setting its monthly rental at little more than the cost of maintenance and mortgage payments. The plan is to patiently await the blissful moment when the mortgage is paid off—at which point a substantial net income begins to flow.
In all cases, any real estate investment in Herndon should be part an overall strategy. It’s likely to represent diversification within a mix of other investment vehicles. Equities and bonds don’t have the “reality” that a deed conveys, but do have the advantage of being less complicated to buy and manage. To the extent that they can be sold more quickly, they are rightly thought of as being more liquid...which brings up the point, here.
Knowing when you can cash out to free equity for other purposes is a positive, for sure—but there are liquidity options for Herndon real estate investments, too:
As Investopedia’s Robert Stammers writes, “increasing concerns about the future long-term variability of stock and bond returns” explains why a tactical investment in real estate “is known for its ability to serve as a portfolio diversifier and inflation hedge.”
Knowing how an investment in Herndon real estate would figure into your own long-term plan requires knowing what all the options are—and the easily overlooked liquidity dimension of a real estate investment is one of those. Give me a call if you are interested in sharing an overview of some of the best opportunities now on the market!
When I see a feature with a title like X Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger, I’m someone who’s unlikely to pass it up. Making any Herndon kitchen feel bigger would be a definite plus for any Herndon home sale. On the scale of honorable pursuits, it would be right there next to cleanliness.
Increasingly, today’s Herndon homebuyers think of the kitchen as a (and possibly the) center of family entertaining—the center of gravity where everyone hangs out more than anywhere else. It’s true that if another room features a giant TV entertainment center, that might be serious competition for the family’s attention. But although it might be a place that will occupy goodly chunks of everyone’s time, it’s in the kitchen where family members wind up interacting the most and which gets the most scrutiny when it comes to a home sale.
There’s no debate that in today’s Herndon market, a claustrophobic kitchen can retard an otherwise appealing home’s sale. Yet actually hiring an architect, contractor, pulling permits, etc. to physically expand a kitchen is a major undertaking that runs the risk of costing more than it returns. So finding ways to make your Herndon kitchen feel bigger without blowing out walls and tearing up the property for months on end, well—that’s definitely worth looking into.
To cut to the chase, most of the Feel Bigger Ways aren’t magical: they turn out to be design ideas that maximize storage efficiency. To achieve positive Herndon home sale results, the idea is to systematically substitute suffocating kitchen clutter with eye-pleasing open space.
One clear tactic is to make the most of any existing kitchen island. The space beneath is ideal for “smart” storage solutions. Googling smart storage yields 1,000,000+ results (not to mention the ads), comprising a ready-made resource for maxing out the cubic feet that are ready to use right there in the center of the kitchen.
On the opposing side of the “feel bigger” agenda is the suggestion to abandon one of Herndon's most popular design ideas of bygone eras: the overhead cupboard. In most layouts, those utilitarian storage solutions assail kitchen occupants’ sight lines exactly where it will do the most harm. When you remove those overheads, a whole lot of claustrophobia goes with them. Unfortunately, a good deal of storage space goes with them as well.
That brings up two other tried-and-true alternatives. First, placing shelving on unused wall space can solve some of the storage dilemma—most pleasingly, when it’s some variety of open shelving. Kitchen design publications are filled with examples of appealing open and glass-windowed shelving.
Second is what could be the most useful, least expensive, and most easily adopted insight for making your Herndon kitchen feel bigger: just get rid of excess kitchen stuff! It’s simple but true. Removing unused utensils, pots, pans and kitchenware can work miracles. For the gourmet-pleasing cooks who can’t get by without a lot of exotic cookery aids, the solution is an off-site storage space in the garage or a dedicated closet. The minor inconvenience will be worth it if a quicker home sale results—besides, the extra going back and forth is healthy exercise, right?
If you are planning to list your Herndon home, a good place to start is with a no-obligation consultation about your home and today’s Herndon real estate market. Call me!
When even severely draught-ridden California neighborhoods are having trouble coming up for air, you know that 2017 is turning out to be one of those winters. Punxsutawney Phil only confirmed what we already knew: until the bulbs start pushing their way upward, we’re likely to have more wind-blown stormy days than usual. When it comes to Herndon showings, some strategic thinking can be in order.
Herndon showings are always at their best when the wind is gentle, the clouds are white, puffy, off in the distance instead of blocking the sun—and the ground is agreeably soil-like rather than squishy. February is the season when prospective buyers are few, but Herndon home sellers should also remember that they tend to be more focused and determined than at other times of the year. They are more likely to persist through stretches of inclement weather. But even though you may be painfully aware that the property isn’t at its glamorous best, keep in mind that showings of your competitors are subject to the same meteorological handicap. IOW, don’t give up—you can cope!
Here are a few tips culled from various real estate musings on the subject of showings in foul weather. They start with some fair-weather activity:
Herndon showings when it’s nasty outside can seem to be a fool’s errand—but experience teaches that it’s not necessarily so. I will always sound out potential buyers about whether they would rather postpone a showing on a difficult day. When they decide that they really want to proceed despite uncomfortable weather, that is, after all, a very good sign. In fair or foul weather, I hope you won’t wait for the sun to shine to give me a call!
Owning your own Herndon home is, for most of us, a goal that’s been with us so long we don’t even question it. In addition to the economic advantages that come with Herndon real estate ownership, there are, for most, a host of corresponding emotional benefits—the sense of security and “belonging” within the community are just two.
So it should be no surprise that the real estate industry is bound to be at least somewhat affected by changes in the public’s emotional outlook. After all, when people start feeling good about the country and their own circumstances (they’re “optimistic”), they’ll be more likely to see the future in a positive light. More businesses will be started; more couples will decide it’s time to grow the family—and in Herndon real estate terms, more homes will be bought and sold.
Last week, Herndon real estate observers didn’t have to look hard to find a number of optimism-signaling items in the media. If local sentiment is in line with what was being reported nationally, it has to boost confidence in the commercial outlook for both Virginia and Herndon. For real estate matters in particular, optimism ruled.
The first wave arrived on Tuesday when Fannie Mae published its prognosis on “housing attitudes.” The quasi-governmental entity reported an abrupt turnaround in their Home Purchase Sentiment Index. This is the comprehensive sampling that measure various consumer sentiment on six components related to residential real estate. Most notable (actually, sort of astonishing!) was the component that measures consumers’ optimism regarding their own personal financial prospects and the economy. It registered the highest level in the history of the Index.
The percentage of those who say they feel now is a good time to sell a home rose, as did those who reported higher income in their own households. And the number of those who also believe home prices will rise in the coming year grew by 7%—which could explain why potential buyers might be increasingly eager to buy sooner rather than later.
The following day, RealtorMag® quoted a 1,000-consumer survey which confirmed that conclusion. It tracked those who “consider homeownership as a priority” and are considering buying a home in 2017. Undaunted by rising real estate prices, consumers are saying that they are more willing to sacrifice other priorities to save for a down payment. USA Today listed some of those “other priorities” as saving for emergencies or retirement—clearly signaling an increase in positive outlooks.
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; others are delighted that thorns have roses. When public sentiment begins to see more roses than thorns, Herndon real estate is bound to be among the biggest beneficiaries. If you are thinking of taking advantage of what looks like a breakout spring selling season, why not give me a call?
When you first contemplate packing and moving to or from Herndon, it’s advisable to take a deep breath first, then close your eyes and mentally recall the best, most positive moments from past moves.
Okay, if there aren’t any of those, try thinking of some bracing truism like “This too shall pass” or “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” Realistically, the packing and moving will be over before you know it. Those visions of jackknifed moving vans and your good china strewn across the Interstate...they’re NOT going to happen!
Not only that, but you can do some painless preparation for the move, whether or not you decide to go with one of Herndon’s professional movers. Here are some reminder do’s and don’ts.
Some people do put off hunting for a new Herndon home because of the dreaded packing and moving that goes along with a change of digs. But if your family’s lifestyle has outgrown your current residence, most of the trauma of moving can be avoided by a little pre-move organization. I help with more than just buying and selling: my Herndon real estate clients are able to count on my assistance in all aspects of the process, every step of the way!
There are a couple of ways to look at the difference between the way you approach a typical Herndon home sale and the way your real estate agent does. One is positive, the other, less so—but considering both reveals something about the value we REALTORs ® add to the process.
Most Herndon homeowners do decide to enlist the services of an experienced Herndon real estate agent, but sometimes it’s only after trying to avoid it. The reason is nearly always because, although the percentage of the standard agent commission is only 5% or 6%, when the sale amount is hundreds of thousands of dollars, it can seem like an awful lot of money for hardly any work at all.
The reality is otherwise—and in fact, since it’s a competitive business, those commissions would certainly be lowered here and there if it were commercially feasible to do so. But supporting the ongoing office and networks involved make that unrealistic. And then there is the other factor, which is to make all that background noise as invisible as possible. Part of a good agent’s accomplishment is to quietly assume most of the tedious tasks of the buying and selling process so that the client can concentrate on only those issues necessarily theirs to perform. Good agents don’t burden their clients with all those details—and certainly don’t complain about them! An unfortunate but unavoidable consequence is that the job seems far simpler than it actually is.
And in fact, the principal reason that most buyers and sellers do rely on Herndon real estate agents is because it’s the nearly universally accepted common practice. For a transaction as important as buying and selling a home, most people safely assume that it’s not prudent to make it a DIY project. Too, since teaming with a REALTOR was probably the path chosen by their parents (and most of their neighbors and friends), there is little impetus to change the method that has succeeded for everyone in the past.
There is another good reason people count on their Herndon real estate agent, as well: it has to do with the perspective we add. When a client is house hunting, the overriding goal is to find the Herndon home that offers the most pleasing combination of features that fits their budget. When an experienced agent is part of the scouting team, another dimension is present: a sounding board for how properties stack up against the wider Herndon market in terms of competitive value. If a home is a perfect fit with a client’s gotta-have-it features list—but is nonetheless overpriced—an experienced agent is there to supply that perspective. When the later time comes to sell and reclaim value, that input can prove to have been all-important.
Whether selling or buying, staying abreast of the Herndon market is a key part of making discerning choices. Call me anytime to discuss what’s new!
Except for the few chip remnants that will dwell down there wedged between sofa cushions until spring cleaning time, the principal residue from most Herndon Super Bowl parties is little more than a jumble of disconnected memories. There was the seemingly endless progression of pregame interviews, clips from past Roman numeralled contests, silly football-themed features, prognostications (somehow seeming to favor Atlanta, even though the serious odds-makers never wavered from their confidence in a Patriots win)—then, finally, the game itself. Well, the beginning of the game, anyway. The actual contest was suspended at length while Gaga was suspended from the rafters. But at long last, once the game resumed, that segment of Herndon’s citizenry that wasn’t already Super Bowled-out was witness to New England’s march into the record books.
At least crestfallen Falcons fans had the consolation of a thrilling season and their quarterback’s rise to become the league’s Most Valuable Player. They’d also been witness to a memorable event in sports history. One thing is for certain: New England sewed up its place at the top of the pro pigskin record charts—and it’s likely to be a long time before they’re dislodged.
Meantime, the non-Super Bowl-fixated portion of the world hummed along as it does on any Sunday. In our Herndon real estate world, not a lot of home-showing activity was going on—but it was against a background of some mortgage rate news that was the exact opposite of what was going on inside NRG Stadium. The expected wasn’t happening as predicted. The mortgage rate favorite was a no-show. The week’s mortgage rate outcome was a surprise. Those mortgage rates that are supposed to gradually rise this year? They didn’t.
As CNN Money headlined, “Mortgage rates kick off new year with a drop.” It was the first downturn in 30-year fixed rates since the presidential election. Freddie Mac said that the average rate fell from 4.32% to 4.2%. “Here’s some good news to start the new year,” they said; “mortgages are a little cheaper.”
As everyone knows, when Herndon mortgage rates fall, it’s good news for Herndon buyers and sellers. For homeowners looking to join the Herndon listings, it means encouragement for their prospective buyers, because it offsets increases in asking prices. And in fact, Herndon’s real estate scene continues to be most favorable. Monthly mortgage payment numbers are still suspended at near-historical lows (unlike Lady Gaga, whose suspension was way up there).
The Super Bowl parties may be over for a while, but at least until March Madness fires up, Herndon house-hunters can now make the most of it. Whether you’ll be looking to list or to do some serious house-hunting, give me a call—the Herndon real estate playing field is clear of distractions!
We all know what shaggy dog stories are. They’re the jokes that go on and on and then peter out without much of a punchline. I think I found a scientific study about real estate that fits that description—but you can decide for yourself.
We remember that true “science” is only possible when a theory can be experimentally tested and then repeated by others. Since Herndon real estate’s market conditions are always in flux, controlled laboratory conditions don’t exist. The result is that marketing residential real estate here in Herndon is rightly classified as at least as much art as science.
Since that’s the case, whenever serious study is aimed at the field of real estate sales, it deserves consideration. Such was the case a while back when a professor at George Washington University published an “econometric” study about real estate transactions. It dealt with “The Effects of Pictures and Virtual Tours on Home Sales.”
Since it involved some heavy-duty mathematical analyses, a little introductory history might be in order. It wasn’t that long ago that Herndon “listings” meant Xeroxed pages quaintly carried around in Herndon agents’ 3-ring folders. Some of those pages may still survive in a museum someplace, but they went bye-bye as soon as online real estate sites gained access to the digital listing information. It took a while longer before the web was fast enough to regularly include pictures and videos as a matter of course, but by now we all know that Herndon listings almost always feature lots of pictures, sometimes a video, and sometimes both.
So when the GWU study promised to add insight into how those visual elements are influencing home sales, it attracted more than just academic attention. For those preparing their Herndon homes to go on the market, for instance, it would seem to be worth looking into. The paper is 32 pages in length, with six tables using things like the White Heteroskedasticity- Consistent Method to calculate the covariances. True, I didn’t spend a lot of time examining the columns of numbers, but I’m glad they are all there in the tables (along with the 24 References naming the economic journals cited).
So here’s the punchline—what the Conclusions section tells us about the effects of pictures and virtual tours on home sales:
To quote the findings precisely, they “suggest that pictures and virtual tours both increase the expected transaction price and decrease the average time on the market...”
When you get ready to list your Herndon home, I hope you’ll give me a call. One thing is for sure: we’ll make sure your listing includes terrific-looking visuals—the kind that don’t need calculated covariances to pull in the prospects!
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.