The Pros & Cons of a Pre-listing Inspection

July 22nd, 2014

Part of my job as a real estate agent is educating and protecting my clients. Many of my clients get nervous about home inspections. They often ask: “Should I have a home inspection before I put my home on the market?” Here’s my take on the pre-listing inspection:

 

Knowing what you’re in for when it comes to selling a house is always better than getting a nasty surprise down the line. In the event you find repairs that need to be made, they can be done in a reasonable time frame.

 

The pre-listing inspection is also useful in situations down the line when you suspect the buyer’s home inspection reflects wildly inflated estimates for repairs.

 

Also keep in mind that if you fail to disclose a problem found in the inspection, you could be in big trouble down the line.

 

You also need to know the difference between maintenance repairs and home upgrades. Buyers have a reasonable expectation that the home has been properly maintained. Making necessary maintenance repairs doesn’t mean that you can up the price on the listing. You can’t cover the cost of your new roof by pumping up the sale price. You might be able to use it as an effective marketing point over other listings in the area, but it’s not a fabulous kitchen renovation!

 

If you don’t want to make the repairs, understand that not making repairs can have a disproportionately negative impact on your sale price. For example, if you want to dump a $1,000 plumbing repair on prospective buyers, the buyers are not going to equate that to $1,000 off the asking price. Instead, they’re going to think about the time, inconvenience, and the cost of the repair. A $1,000 repair might translate to a $3,000 hit to the asking price. Buyers will want to be well-paid to handle a seller’s headache.

 

There’s a definite benefit to the pre-listing inspection, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons with your agent.

 

I’d be glad to have a conversation with you about the specific concerns you may have about your home if you’re preparing to list it. Please contact me today:

 

Let me know how I can help you?  Click here:

 

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Protect Yourself: Use an Agent When Buying from a Builder

July 18th, 2014

Q: Do I need to hire a real estate agent to represent me when I buy a new home from a builder?

 

A: Legally, no. But if you don’t, you might be missing out on some tangible benefits that impact your wallet and how much you get for your money.

 

There are many reasons why an agent is a sound investment during the purchase process with a builder. While some of them can be quite complex (and go beyond the scope of this blog post), here are a few highlights:

 

Market Value Compared to Purchase Price: How much money are you going to be able to come out of pocket for your down payment? If you don’t want a nasty surprise when it comes to disparities between your agreed upon purchase price and the actual market value of the home, you’ll want an agent with access to information which will help you accurately assess the true value of that brand new home.

 

Negotiation Power: Real estate agents are professional negotiators, and often an agent can get more from a builder than you would on your own. While some of this might be related to purchase price, other perks may include property or home upgrades.

 

Financing: It’s probably no surprise that your builder will have preferred financing partners to work with. Many of those “partners” pay good money for the opportunity to handle your loan. But is it the best loan at the best rate? An agent can be both a sounding board for financing terms and a source for trusted alternatives.

 

Contract Expertise: While your real estate agent isn’t an attorney, they know a great deal about the ins-and-outs of property contracts. This includes builder’s contracts, which may have provisions that put you in dicey territory should something unforeseen happen. Protect yourself with an agent.

 

These four reasons are a good place to start, but there are plenty more. The bottom line is: The builder will have their own system in place to maximize their profit and minimize their costs. Shouldn’t you?

 

I’m more than happy to help you buy from a builder:  Call today 703-395-5802!   or  CLICK HERE! 

Moving to Brambleton? Find out where you’ll send your kids to school!

July 11th, 2014

BRAMBLETON SCHOOLS!

When looking for a new home for your family, you’re also looking for the right school. One thing to take note of is that you cannot always count on what is listed on a Realtor’s listing sheet. Often times there are not any schools listed. You’ll have to do a bit of research and check the school boundaries that are assigned to your house of interest. This Blog is designed to help you do just that!

Click on name to see the school information.

In Loudoun County, the elementary schools run from Pre-K to 5th grade.

Creighton’s Corner Elementary and Legacy Elementary are the two primary elementary schools for the Brambleton area.

Moorefield Station Elementary

Middle Schools, grades 6 through 8.

Stone Hill Middle is the primary middle school for the Brambleton area.

Eagle Ridge Middle

High schools, grades 9 through 12.

Briar Woods High is the primary high school for the Brambleton area.

Rock Ridge High is a new high school to the Brambleton/Ashburn area that will open Fall of 2014.

To find out what schools go with your address click here. All you need to do is enter the house address and the current schools will appear: You can also see the latest school rankings on this site.

Please note that with all of the new developments in our area, school zones are subject to change.  So regardless of what the address was zoned for last year it is a good idea to check the boundaries each new school year.

Another helpful place to start is the “Home Search” feature onhttp://search.thekatemartinteam.com/. From any home listed that you’re interested in, you can select the schools tab that offers a list of schools near the zip code of the house you’ve chosen, along with student to teacher ratios and rankings.

Check back for updates!  If you have a question regarding the schools and boundaries, give me a call or send me an email and we will help get you the correct information.

LCPS provides no guarantee that a residential address will continually be served by the same elementary, middle or high school. For further information, please refer to LCPS 

Don’t Make These 3 Home Buying Mistakes

July 10th, 2014

I’m here to save you pain, buyers. There are myths about the home shopping experience that must be addressed. I like to make the home buying experience as stress-free as possible, so please hear me out on these three big myths about home buying:

 

Myth #1: “That house has been on the market so long I bet we can work the seller down easily.”

 

Not necessarily. Exceptionally high days on market could mean almost anything. The seller could be bullheaded about their price. The seller may not be particularly motivated to sell for emotional or other personal reasons. Don’t forget: A sales-weary seller isn’t likely to respond to your host of rational reasons why their house should be a bargain.

 

Myth #2: “I want to look at foreclosed homes because they’re a real bargain and the banks need to unload them.”

 

Banks, like entrenched sellers, don’t always make decisions which seem rational based on obvious information. You can have a hard time divining the reason a bank chooses to reject an offer for a foreclosed or distressed property, and their decision may be based on financials which seem counterintuitive. The truth is, many distressed sales can be longer and more fraught than regular sales.

 

Myth #3: “I liked this house a lot, but with this market, I bet it will still be there if I decide to buy it.”

 

It’s very, very painful to see a client love a home but fail to make a move to purchase that home. If you fell in love with it, why wouldn’t someone else? Just because a property has been on the market a little while doesn’t mean it will stay on the market. The bonus myth in this one? Your “perfect” home is probably going to be a home with some small compromises. If you don’t make an offer on a home, you’re effectively saying, “I’m comfortable losing this home.”

 

My job as an agent is to represent your interests and do my best to protect you along the way. If you’re pursuing a home purchase in the near future, please get in touch. There are many other ways I can lower your stress and help you find a great home:

 

Let me know how I can help you, Click Here:

 

Click here to Search for properties:

South Riding School Boundaries Change

June 29th, 2014

Another new school – Another Boundary Change!

 

SOUTH RIDING SCHOOLS!

When looking for a new home for your family, you’re also looking for the right school. One thing to take note of is that you cannot always count on what is listed on a Realtor’s listing sheet. Often times there are not any schools listed. You’ll have to do a bit of research and check the school boundaries that are assigned to your house of interest. This Blog is designed to help you do just that!

In Loudoun County, the elementary schools run from Pre-K to 5th grade.

There are five elementary schools in the area: 3 within South Riding, 2 just outside its borders.

Click on name to see the school information.

Little River Elementary 

Hutchinson Farm Elementary

Liberty Elementary,

Pinebrook Elementary

Cardinal Ridge Elementary is a new school in the area that will open in the Fall of 2014. It’s located right next to J. Michael Lundsford Middle School off of Braddock Road.

 

J. Michael Lundsford Middle is the primary middle school for South Riding.

Mercer Middle 

 

High schools, grades 9 through 12.

Freedom High is the main high school for South Riding, and used to be the only one in the area.  In 2012, John Champe High School was established and now lessens the load for Freedom, and covers the area around South Riding.

To find out what schools go with your address click here. All you need to do is enter the house address and the current schools will appear: You can also see the latest school rankings on this site.

Please note that with all of the new developments in our area, school zones are subject to change.  So regardless of what the address was zoned for last year it is a good idea to check the boundaries each new school year.

Another helpful place to start is the “Home Search” feature on http://search.thekatemartinteam.com/. From any home listed that you’re interested in, you can select the schools tab that offers a list of schools near the zip code of the house you’ve chosen, along with student to teacher ratios and rankings.

Check back for updates!  If you have a question regarding the schools and boundaries, give me a call or send me an email and we will help get you the correct information.

LCPS provides no guarantee that a residential address will continually be served by the same elementary, middle or high school. For further information, please refer to LCPS 

 

 

 

 

School’s Out, Summer’s Here and the Pools are OPEN!

June 16th, 2014

 

IMG_3970

Hyland Hills Pool & Splash Park is the biggest of the four with the splash park water slide addition. It can be found across from Litter River Elementary School. On weekdays betweenMay 27 and September 5, and weekends & holidays from May 24 to September 21, this pool is open from 9am to 8pm. Adult Only Swim Hours are available daily between June 16 and August 24 from 7am to 9am before the pool opens to the public. If you have any questions about this pool you can call (703)-327-5772.

 

 

IMG_4006

Meadows Pool is found just off of Loudoun County Parkway on the opposite side of Center Street from Hutchinson Farm Elementary School. On weekdays from May 27 and June 13 this pool is open from 4pm to 9pm for after school hours. But on weekdays from June 16 to August 31 and on weekends & holidays between May 24 and September 7, this pool is open from 10am to 9pm. This pool does not offer Adult Only Swim Hours. If you have any questions about this pool you can call (703)-327-8141.

 

 

 

IMG_4181

South Riding Center Pool is located just off of Riding Center Drive at Unicorn Drive. On June 13 this pools open from 4pm to 9pm. Starting on weekdays from June 16 to August 29, and on weekends & holidays from May 24 to September 1, this pool is open from 11am to 9pm. This pool does not offer Adult Only Swim Hours. If you have any questions about this pool you can call (703)-327-5648.

 

 

IMG_4186_2

Town Hall’s Pool is found just behind Town Hall off of Center Street. On weekdays from May 27 to  June 13 the pool is open from 4pm to 8pm for after school hours. But on weekdays from June 16 to August 31, and weekends & holidays from May 24 to September 1, this pool is open from 11am to 8pm. Adult Only Swim Hours are available daily between June 19 and September 1 from 8pm to 9pm after the pool closes to the public. If you have any questions about this pool you can call (703)-327-3541.

 

The links above have the 2013 hours, but our blog is up-to-date with the 2014 Pool Hours. All photos courtesy of South Riding Proprietary.

 

EVENTS

Hyland Hills, Meadows, and Town hall are holding End of School Pool Parties for kids and all their classmates!

Hyland Hills will hold theirs on June 18th from 3pm to 5pm.

Meadows Pool will hold theirs on June 23rd from 1pm to 3pm.

Town Hall will hold theirs on June 25th from 1pm to 3pm.

So if you can’t make one, don’t worry, there are two other opportunities to attend one of these awesome parties! They’ll be a splash!

Remember, you must have a valid Rec Pass to attend these pool parties.
For more information you can visit South Riding’s Pool Parties page.

Click here for more information regarding South Riding Swimming Pools.

 

Considering a move to South Riding?   See something you like?  Call us to schedule a private viewing.

Click here to view property grid. Click here to view property grid.

So….. What’s Your Favorite Movie??

June 12th, 2014

 

Okay,  I know…this is totally unrelated to Real Estate so let’s say I’m out driving my new buyers from house to house or  networking with affiliates and someone asks..”What’s your favorite movie?”  Geez…I don’t know I like so many different types of movies.  I have never really sat down and thought about it.  What are my favorite movies?  So I decided to find out what are the top 100 movies of all time?  Perhaps then I could make this list my own?

First I find the AFI(American Film Institute) greatest 100 American movies of all time!

AFI- Greatest 100    You can see there are some very interesting movies…. Some that will definitely be on my summer’s movie watch list.  However, the majority of their movies date from as early as 1931 – through the 40’, 50’, 60’s…. with the latest being 1996 “Fargo”.  Most of their movies I have not seen.

Next……….

The Ultimate List         Not certain whose list this is?  Recognized and agreed with many of the movie selections, however it seemed  more of a “Man’s” list…if you know what I mean.  I am sorry but movie’s like Star Wars, The God Father 1,2 & 3..didn’t make my list, just not my favorites!

Next……..

The Greatest 100 movies of all time!- AMC  Okay – I would agree with about half of them…again most are man movies or old and I have not yet seen them.

I am left with no choice but to make my own list…so here goes!

MY FAVORITE MOVIE LIST!

How do I rate a movie…did I enjoy it?  Would I see it again?  See it’s not too hard to make my list!  These are movie’s that I really liked for one reason or another and would see again. Many I have seen multiple times.   As you will see there are a wide variety of films. Keep in mind this is MY list.  The movie’s are listed in no particular order….just when they came to mind.

For the Realtor in me…..

  1. The Money Pit
  2. Life as a House
  3. Home Alone
  4. Lake House
  5. House Boat
  6. Glass House
  7. Monster House
  8. Bringing down the House

 

Musicals

  1. My Fair Lady
  2. Funny Girl
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. Funny Lady
  5. Wizard of OZ
  6. Beaches
  7. The Body Guard
  8. Mary Poppins
  9. Little Shop- of Horrors
  10. Fiddler on the Roof
  11. The Rose
  12. Grease

DRAMA

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Schindler’s List
  3. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest
  4. Silence of the Lamb
  5. The Shawshank Redemption

Adventure

  1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  2. The Three musketeer’s
  3. E.T.
  4. The Perfect Storm
  5. Alien
  6. Kill Bill 1 & 2
  7. Robinson Crusoe
  8. Jaws (just 1)
  9. The Matrix
  10. Avatar
  11. M*A*S*H
  12. Jurassic Park
  13. National Treasure
  14. The Village
  15. Fargo
  16. Raiders of the Lost Arch
  17. Titantic
  18. Double Indemnity
  19. Life of pi
  20. Cast Away
  21. I Legend
  22. Argo
  23. Dances with Wolves
  24. Poltergeist
  25. Knight & Day


Girl Friend Movies

  1. Steel Magnolias
  2. Flash Dance
  3. Breakfast Club
  4. St. Elmo’s Fire
  5. Fried Green Tomatoes
  6. Big fat Greek Wedding
  7. An officer and a gentleman
  8. While you were sleeping
  9. Sleepless in Seattle
  10. Pretty Woman
  11. The Full Monty
  12. How  Stella Got her Groove Back
  13. Yaya Sisterhood
  14. The proposal
  15. The Last Holiday
  16. When Harry Met Sally
  17. The Big Chill
  18. First Wives Club
  19. War of the Roses

  Family Films                                     

  1. Edward Scissor Hands
  2. The Out of Towner’s
  3. Cheaper by the Dozen
  4. Swiss Family Robinson
  5. Forrest Gump
  6. Miss Congeniality
  7. O’Brother Where art thou
  8. Back to the Future
  9. Anger Management
  10. Stripes
  11. Identity Thief
  12. Arthur
  13. Over Board
  14. Sleepy Hollow
  15. Pirates of the Caribbean
  16. Men in Black 1,2,3
  17. The Mexican
  18. Michael
  19. The Princess Bride
  20. Jumanji
  21. Rocky
  22. The Mexican
  23. The Inlaw’s
  24. Ghost Busters
  25. It’s a Wonderful Life
  26. Saturday Night Fever
  27. Phenomenon
  28. Rain Man
  29. Gone with the Wind
  30. Cocoon
  31. Pretty in Pink
  32. Hocus Pocus
  33. Stepford Wives
  34. Bewitched


There you have it!  My top 102 (for now) movies of all time!  I’ll be checking out the AFI and AMC’s recommended list and if I deem appropriate I will add them to my list.  Let me know if  I’ve missed one you think I should consider. Now try making YOUR list!

In the mean while……..let  me get back to work and assist you with selling or buying that new house!

Don’t forget to load my new App – for up to the minute housing information!  KW App

 

“We’re moving in, now where is my kid going to school?”

June 2nd, 2014

SOUTH RIDING SCHOOLS!

When looking for a new home for your family, you’re also looking for the right school. One thing to take note of is that you cannot always count on what is listed on a Realtor’s listing sheet. Often times there are not any schools listed. You’ll have to do a bit of research and check the school boundaries that are assigned to your house of interest. This Blog is designed to help you do just that!

In Loudoun County, the elementary schools run from Pre-K to 5th grade.

There are five elementary schools in the area: 3 within South Riding, 2 just outside its borders.

Click on name to see the school information.

Little River Elementary 

Hutchinson Farm Elementary

Liberty Elementary,

Pinebrook Elementary

Cardinal Ridge Elementary is a new school in the area that will open in the Fall of 2014. It’s located right next to J. Michael Lundsford Middle School off of Braddock Road.

Middle Schools, Grades 6th through 8th Grades

J. Michael Lundsford Middle is the primary middle school for South Riding.

Mercer Middle   serves Stone Ridge and some surrounding communities along with some western areas of South Riding.

 

High schools, grades 9 through 12.

Freedom High is the main high school for South Riding, and used to be the only one in the area.  In 2012, John Champe High School was established and now lessens the load for Freedom, and covers the area around South Riding.

To find out what schools go with your address click here. All you need to do is enter the house address and the current schools will appear: You can also see the latest school rankings on this site.

Please note that with all of the new developments in our area, school zones are subject to change.  So regardless of what the address was zoned for last year it is a good idea to check the boundaries each new school year.

Another helpful place to start is the “Home Search” feature on http://search.thekatemartinteam.com/. From any home listed that you’re interested in, you can select the schools tab that offers a list of schools near the zip code of the house you’ve chosen, along with student to teacher ratios and rankings.

Check back for updates!  If you have a question regarding the schools and boundaries, give me a call or send me an email and we will help get you the correct information.

LCPS provides no guarantee that a residential address will continually be served by the same elementary, middle or high school. For further information, please refer to LCPS