How to Prepare Your Home for Sale in Northern Virginia

January 22nd, 2016

Prepare your home for sale in Northern Virginia.

Putting your house on the market is a big step. Make sure you’re up for the challenge and take necessary measures to prepare your home for sale in Northern Virginia.

Do a Buyer Walk Through

To determine what needs fixing, look at your house through buyer’s eyes. What stands out to you? Address the biggest issues you notice, whether it’s holes in the walls or cracked tile in the bathroom.

Hold a Garage Sale

Make money for staging by holding a garage sale to sell all of your extra stuff. To prepare your home for sale in Northern Virginia, make sure your space is clutter free. Whatever you can’t sell, donate to your local Salvation Army.

Do a Sniff Test

Does your home smell musty? If so, air out your space and light a (subtly) scented candle. Avoid cooking any strong smelling foods on showing day… you don’t want your home smelling like a restaurant.

Remove Personal Items

The key to preparing your home for sale in Northern Virginia is letting your buyers envision themselves in your space. If your property is adorned with wedding photos and pictures of your kids, this is hard to do. Store anything overly personal, and keep your décor simple.

Are you ready to put your home on the market? Contact us for help!

The Ultimate in Home Staging Tips in Northern Virginia

January 19th, 2016

Home staging tips in Northern Virginia.

You’ve settled on a price and think you’re ready to list. But before you hang that sign in your yard, follow these home staging tips in Northern Virginia.

Home Staging Tips in Northern Virginia

  • Appeal with neutrals. You may have heard that painting your walls a neutral shade will attract buyers, but take it a step further. The master bedroom should appeal to both genders, so swap out your bedding for neutrals, too. The same goes for the embroidered flower pillows on your living room couch.
  • Try affordable updates. Swap out archaic fixtures and aging cabinetry hardware for modern options. Think stainless steel hardware and minimalist sconces. A few simple swaps will make your home look sleek and updated.
  • Up your curb appeal. If there’s one home staging tip in Northern Virginia you should follow, it’s this one: your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see, so make it shine. Plant blooming flowers, repaint your porch, and add some cheerful furniture and a welcome mat. Your home will be brimming with southern hospitality!
  • Capture clutter. Buy a handful of ornamental baskets to store wayward shoes, mail, or other items that easily clutter your home. Stairway baskets are a good investment, particularly if you have children. Let your buyers see the potential, not the mess.

Need more home staging tips in Northern Virginia? Contact us!

First Time Home Buyer in Northern Virginia? Start Here

January 12th, 2016

First time home buyer in Northern Virginia.

Buying your first home is an exciting prospect. After all, it’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Before you attend a showing, read our checklist for first time home buyers in Northern Virginia.

First Time Home Buyer in Northern Virginia Checklist

  1. Set a price point (and stick to it). Just because you’re pre-approved for $500,000 doesn’t mean you have to spend it. Decide on what a comfortable mortgage payment is, and only tour homes that keep to it.
  2. Check your credit. If you’re a first time home buyer in Northern Virginia, you may have no idea what your credit score is or how it affects your buying power. Request copies of your reports from the three major bureaus. Fix any inconsistencies before you contact the bank.
  3. Make a must-have list. Generate a list of must-haves and like-to-haves. Prioritize, and be realistic.
  4. Start hunting! Begin viewing homes in your desired neighborhoods until you find something you love. If you’re a first time home buyer in Northern Virginia, a skilled realtor will help you take care of the rest.

First Time Home Seller in Northern Virginia? Start Here

January 5th, 2016

First time home seller in Northern Virginia.

You may think you’re ready to put your home on the market. Simply find a realtor and list, right? Don’t neglect this checklist if you’re a first time home seller in Northern Virginia.

Your First Time Home Seller in Northern Virginia Checklist

  1. Clean everything. Capture clutter in ornamental baskets, vacuum, and let buyers see the potential in your home.
  2. Let it shine. Natural lighting will make your home come alive. Open the shades, draw the curtains back; do anything you can to make the sunlight showcase your beautiful abode.
  3. Paint. Every first time home seller in Northern Virginia should consider adding a fresh coat of paint. Neutral colors work best, as it’s easier for potential buyers to envision themselves in the space.
  4. Fix what’s broken. Whether it’s squeaky floorboards or a faulty screen door, every first time home seller in Northern Virginia should tend to what needs fixing. Don’t give buyers an excuse to leave your home without making an offer!
  5. Send pets and kids to Grandma’s. You may love Fido and your adoring children, but not everyone shares that sentiment. Some people are allergic to animals, and kids have a knack for destroying a clean home in record time.

Need more advice? Reach out to us.

Housing and the Economy in 2016

December 28th, 2015

Housing and the Economy in 2016

Buying a home not only impacts the homeowner’s financial situation, it also impacts the local and national economies. Since 2016 is an election year, there’s no doubt the economy and housing’s role within it will be a hot topic in the news. Let’s take a look at the impact of housing and the economy in 2016 locally and nationally.

Housing’s Impact on the Local Economy

When you buy or sell a home, you not only build your financial portfolio, you benefit your local economy as well. Typically, there are 26 services involved in a single real estate transaction in the 30 days before and after a real estate transaction has closed. Buyers and sellers may use services such as movers, painters and contractors during and after a transaction has closed. Additionally, buyers may continue to use these services and more while they own the home.

Housing and the Economy in 2016 – The Impact of New Homes

While the true economic impact of new home building varies by community, the National Association of Home Builders calculated the figures for a typical metro area.

The local impact of home building in 2016

The Impact of Remodeling

Renovations contribute to the economy through the use of local labor and businesses, as well as permitting and other government-related fees. The National Association of Home Builders also conducted a study on the one-year impacts of residential renovations on the local economy. Spending one million in remodeling generates an estimated $841,000 in private income and an estimated $71,000 in government revenue.* It also creates an average of 11 local jobs.2

©2016 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

3 Great Advantages of Living in Northern VA

December 14th, 2015

Advantages of living in Northern VA.

Are you thinking about moving to the Northern VA/Washington DC area? Have you just relocated and don’t know where to start? Northern Virginia, while right next to the thriving metro of Washington DC, offers residents a diverse, urban lifestyle.

Advantages of Living in Northern VA/Washington DC

Parents want to know their new home will provide their children with an above-standard educational system. With over 30 top-rated private schools and a nationally-acclaimed public school system, Northern Virginia offers students a sterling education.

With an abundance of government contractors and a thriving technology corridor, there’s no shortage of noteworthy employers in Northern VA. And due to its high population, there are always jobs available either in Virginia or just across the border in Washington, DC and Maryland.

For Your Enjoyment

If you’re looking to have fun, head over to DC to find an appealing mixture of pubs, clubs, and upscale bars. There’s entertainment for everyone, no matter what definition of fun you go by. During the day residents can get their fill of culture and education at any of over 50 museums and libraries in the nation’s capital. No one has ever criticized the metro area for being dull!

The advantages of living in Northern VA /Washington DC are abundant. No matter who you are or what you enjoy, you’ll find it here.

Top Upgrades To Sell Your Home

December 11th, 2015

Top upgrades to sell your home

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, you’re probably thinking about the best ways to increase its value beforehand. You’ll want a fast return on your investment for any improvements you make, but you’ll also want to attract the right buyers. Here are some of the best upgrades to sell your home in Northern VA.

Use Bathroom Upgrades to Sell Your Home in Northern VA

The number one improvement you can make before selling is to upgrade the bathrooms. Minor upgrades in the bathroom are easy and fast, but create tremendous value for your home. Ideal small improvements are:

  • an updated toilet or sink
  • retiled floors or walls
  • general repairs (caulking, trim, or paint)

Often there’s no need for a full remodel if the home is relatively up-to-date. Replacing a prominent fixture such as a toilet or sink gives the room an updated look without spending much time or money. Likewise, touching up bathroom tiles can completely alter the look of the room. If there are any small repairs needed, such as fresh caulk, grout, molding, or paint, take care of those, too.

Touch up the surfaces

Highly visible surfaces such as kitchen counter tops or mantles can also add a stunning new look with quick and easy installation. Replacing a plain or outdated counter with stylish granite will draw buyers’ eyes and create a modern atmosphere.

In many homes, the fireplace is a room’s focal point, so give it extra attention. A simple overlay can transform the mantle’s appearance completely, without any major renovation.

Your Guide to a Home Appraisal in Northern VA

December 7th, 2015

Home appraisal in Northern VA

Researching the home appraisal process in Northern Virginia can leave homeowners or buyers a little confused. Laws can vary from state to state, so even an experienced homebuyer from out-of-state may not be familiar with the local process. To help homebuyers understand what to expect from the appraisal process, we’ve highlighted some of the important elements below.

How the Home Appraisal Process in Northern Virginia Works

Most lenders require a home appraisal before issuing a home loan. An appraisal can also be used to help potential buyers understand the value of a home and its location before making on offer.

For the home appraisal process in Northern VA, an inspector will come to your home, make an inspection, and ultimately determine the value of your home. Your home’s appraised value will depend on factors such as the condition of the home, the types of homes surrounding it, and the recent sales of similar homes in the area.

Most appraisals only take between 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and features of the house. The results of your home appraisal may be available anywhere from one day to several, depending on the research involved.

What Increases a Home’s Appraisal Value?

Recent upgrades, modern amenities, a strong foundation, and a structurally-sound roof are all elements of a home that increase its value. Likewise, the lack of any of these will cause a home’s appraisal value to drop. Sellers should make any upgrades to their home before the appraiser’s visit.

Median Home Sales Prices in the Washington DC Metro Area

December 4th, 2015

September 2015

Here are the median home sales prices in the Washington DC Metro area for September 2015. These statistics help to determine the value of your home and forecast trends in the housing market.

Median home sales September 2015

 

Winter Is Coming: Winterize Your Home in Northern VA

December 2nd, 2015

How to winterize your home

In Northern Virginia, we follow beautiful falls with picture perfect winters. With an ideal amount of snow and varied temperatures, we experience a traditional winter that lasts from November to March. And although we may be prepared for the season, it’s important that our homes are, too. Here are five ways you can winterize your home in Northern VA.

Getting Your Home Ready

  1. Clean out the gutters. Full gutters can back up water and cause water damage to your home. Stagnant water can cause mold and mildew to grow, which can weaken the infrastructure of your house. Full gutters can also attract insects and rodents looking for warmth and resources.
  2. Manage your water. Water that settles into pipes can freeze and burst during cold winter months. Be sure to disconnect and drain any hoses attached to your house. Newer homes may have frost-proof faucets; if not, keep faucets at a drip to keep water flowing. Also ensure your water heater is cleaned and ready to keep your showers warm throughout the season.
  3. Learn before you burn. If you have a fireplace, remember to check that the chimney is clean and vents are open before you use it.
  4. Check the heat. If you have a furnace, investigate any strange noises or smells as soon as possible. Make sure heating vents throughout the home are clean and not covered by objects.
  5. Keep out the cold. Walk around your home and check for drafts around doors and windows. If you notice a draft, you may need to apply exterior caulk to fill in gaps. If the draft is sneaking in under doors, apply weather stripping to keep it at bay.

Winter is stupendous, but to enjoy it fully, be sure to winterize your home in Northern VA.