Tag Archives: Chevy Chase homes for sale

Relocating to an Unfamiliar Area

Relocating to an Unfamiliar Area? Here’s How to Get Your Bearings

Navigating the new digs.

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Choosing a home in an unfamiliar neighborhood can be nerve-racking, but it’s almost inevitable when moving to a new city—or even across town. There’s a lot at stake: The wrong decision can cost you money and peace of mind.

Here are some tips to guide you in your search.

Mission: Neighborhood reconnaissance

As with any house hunt, you should first figure out your budget and what you would need, want, and like to have in a house and in a neighborhood. But if you’re relocating across the country, your biggest challenge will be doing long-distance recon on your new hometown.

While you can’t gain access to private social networks such as Nextdoor until you verify you have an address in a neighborhood, a little cybersleuthing will reveal insights on day-to-day life and concerns in areas you’re scouting.

Once you know the general area in which you’d like to live, websites such as City-Datacan collect and analyze data from numerous sources to create detailed profiles of U.S. cities, including information from crime rates to weather patterns. Homefacts includes similar information, then drills down further, listing neighborhood statistics such as median home price, homes for sale, and foreclosures.

AreaVibes can help you narrow down a search; after you type a ZIP code or city in which you’d like to live, you can adjust metrics such as amenities, crime, cost of living, and housing prices to compile a list of neighborhoods that match your “livability” needs.

In addition, many regional newspapers or magazines routinely publish online rankings of their best neighborhoods. Listly has lists of five-star New York real estate communitiesand blue chip Massachusetts real estate communities, so it may be worth a search to see whether there is a similar list for an area in which you’re interested.

Speaking of lists, Livability regularly develops city rankings for a range of topics, including small towns, college towns, and overall best places to live.

The Chamber of Commerce in many towns will also provide a guide for people who are relocating. Also, look for news on property taxes in recent years—falling property taxes likely mean that communities have had to cut back on public services.

If you have children, you’ll want to read up on local public schools on GreatSchools.org, as well as determine what day care and after-school activities are nearby. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a major factor in determining home values in a neighborhood.

No neighborhood is perfectly tranquil, but check CrimeReports.com for crime reports and maps to get a sense of where an area falls on the spectrum. You should also visit theNational Sex Offender registry and FamilyWatchdog.us, which will identify registered sex offenders living in the area. NeighborhoodScout.com will consolidate crime, school, and real estate data in one report, as well as compile lists on safe cities and neighborhoods with good schools.

Draw on a professional’s expertise

If there is one time above all when you’d really benefit from working with a real estate agent with deep knowledge of an area, it’s when moving to a new town.

A knowledgable professional should be able to provide recommendations and compile background information on neighborhoods and homes that fit your needs and price range. Come prepared with a neighborhood or neighborhoods you like, and he or she can give you more information or suggest similar alternatives.

Get down with the locals

monkeybusinessimages / iStock

Once you’ve done the research and found a neighborhood you like, drive by several times during the day and at night. Look for the following:

  • Are there many “for sale” signs on lawns?
  • Are there any abandoned or boarded-up houses in the vicinity?
  • Is there a lot of trash on the sidewalks?
  • Is the neighborhood close to a shopping or business area?
  • How well are neighborhood parks maintained?
  • Is street parking restricted after school and during rush hour?

Also try to attend a few open houses in your neighborhood of choice. It’s a good way to get a feel for local property values, and to walk around the area. If you see residents out and about, try to talk to them to get their perspective on the community.

If you have time, try to get a drink in a local bar or a cafe and talk to people there. Apps like Meetup and AroundMe will help you connect with people in a town that have similar interests, as well as help you find the nearest hot spot.

These will be your potential neighbors, so they will provide valuable impressions on whether you’ll be pleased with where you eventually live.

Updated from an earlier version by Herbert J. Cohen

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

Getting Ready To Sell

A home sale typically comes as a result of a life change or a major decision. These decisions don’t usually happen overnight, providing homeowners with years to plan for a successful home sale. By using your time wisely, you will maximize your home’s value when you want to list and sell.

On your way to this point, you should be open to spending money in getting ready to sell. Investing in strategic home improvements will help facilitate a quicker and more profitable sale.

Selling a home is a large financial and emotional transaction — likely the largest in a lifetime. This makes strategic planning and counsel vital. Here are some steps you should take a year or more before you plan to list your home.

Connect with a local real estate agent

Real estate agents shouldn’t just show up, list a home, hold an open house and move on. Instead, they should be valuable assets to you years before listing. Connecting with a local agent and developing a relationship well in advance allows you to start learning the market and transitioning from the mindset of a homeowner to that of a seller.

A good agent will provide helpful information, advice and assistance on an ongoing basis, in hopes of working with you on the eventual sale. Work with an agent who can connect you to local resources like inspectors, painters and other service providers.

An agent can also assess your home’s condition and suggest small to medium-sized improvements that will help boost your home’s value. Prioritize these projects for the months or years leading up to the sale.

Have a formal property inspection

For a few hundred dollars, you can have a licensed property inspector assess the home’s major systems and components. You can take this step up to two years before you will list your home.

Why would you want to have someone come and point out your home’s flaws before selling? Because it’s better to know about any issues upfront so you can address them before your potential buyer discovers them.

Additionally, you can put a financial plan in place to pay for any needed fixes. Dry rot on your back deck could cost $500 to remedy now, but you’d be better off handling it now than having a buyer see it as a major decking/structural issue and request $5,000 when you are weeks away from closing and your back’s against the wall.

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Make improvements

A year before you will list, spend the extra time and money ensuring that your home both appeals to mainstream buyers and passes a potential buyer’s property inspection.

If your agent suggests cosmetic fixes like laying new carpet, painting cabinets or cleaning the yellow grout in the bathroom, put a plan in place to tackle each of the projects. Waiting to the last minute will be too stressful, plus you won’t get the enjoyment out of the cosmetic fixes.

If you know your roof is at the end of its life, it might be more economical to replace it so that you can advertise a new roof. Today’s buyers want homes that are move-in ready. They don’t have the time or resources to take on projects. The more issues you can resolve for them, the more successful your sale.

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Get a home warranty

A home warranty is like a one-year insurance policy that addresses your major (and minor) appliances and most systems. If something breaks, you can call the home warranty company, not the appliance repair technician or plumber. For a small co-pay, they will come out and repair or replace the item swiftly.

If your home has some issues, a home warranty is a great way to address them without having to spend weeks or months shopping around, getting bids for work and seeing through each repair. A warranty works well when you list the home and are too busy to call around getting bids.

Moving is tough, in and of itself. Add prepping a home for sale and your move becomes more emotional and stressful. Planning ahead can help you address issues in advance.

Don’t wait until the last minute, or you risk leaving money on the table. Meet with an agent early on and put a timeline in place to get the most of your home’s sale — fast.

 

Tracy Tkac
301-437-8722

Tracy@eversco.com
Evers & Co.

Tracy@eversco.com
www.WashingtonHG.com

 

BY BRENDON DESIMONE Zillow

 

 

Moving Apps

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Moving Apps

You’ve found your new home — congrats! But before you dream about settling in and cozying up on your couch for a Netflix binge, you have to actually prep for and execute that big move.

While the process of moving can be exhausting, planning your move doesn’t have to be. Check out these apps to help ease your transition into your new home — and get you closer to that movie night.

Home Inventory Photo Remote

Antsy to start planning your move, but feeling overwhelmed about where to begin? Creating an inventory of the items you intend to take with you is easy with Home Inventory Photo Remote. The app allows you to take photos of your items and then group them by category, collection and even location — keeping you so organized that none of your family members can use the excuse, “I don’t remember where anything goes!”

Once you’re unpacked, the information you’ve gathered in the app will serve as an inventory of your possessions should the unexpected happen and you have to file an insurance claim.

My Move

The My Move app lets you read moving company reviews, complete a moving checklist for every step of the process, calculate the weight of the items you plan to take with you, and more. Perfect for calculating potential costs, My Move helps you plan your move on your own terms — and your budget.

Moving Checklist Pro

If you’re just looking for a thorough moving checklist, Moving Checklist Pro comes with a list of 200+ common household moving items, and you can add your own, too. Creating your own custom lists — such as schools to research, services to cancel or items to return — ensures that you’ll never forget a thing. And if you find that this app doesn’t quite meet your needs, Jimbl Software Labs will even refund your purchase.

Bonus: Gogobot

Once your moving itinerary is planned and you’re on the road, Gogobot is a must to download. Referred to as “a Pandora for travel” by TechCrunch and named “one of the best free apps for travel” by Mom Aboard, Gogobot offers you personalized recommendations on where to eat, play and stay wherever you are on your moving journey.

Moving can be a pain, but these apps can make it a bit less of a headache. No need to wait until you have a moving date to try, though. Download a few of our favorite moving help apps today and see which one best meets your moving need.

 

by SARAH PIKE

The Home Buying Process

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The Home Buying Process

Basic guidelines for the first time home buyer and the home buying process, simplified.

by Tracy Tkac

Even when you love the house, making an offer to purchase it can be intimidating, it’s a big commitment that will require a chunk of your financial resources. It’s also exciting and wonderful! You will be building equity and getting tax breaks for mortgage payments, but importantly , you will have a place of your own to do with what you wish. When you make  improvements to your home, you will likely make a return on your investment while you enjoy living in your home. Most of all, your home will be the place where you will build memories and entertain friends and family. You will make your house into your lovely home. Below are the basic guidelines and the home buying process simplified.

 Making an offer

Even though it’s early in the buying process, you still must sign a legally binding contract. With your signature, you’re committing to moving ahead with the seller. Keep in mind you can add contingencies to many real estate contracts. For example, most real estate buying offers will be contingent on a property inspection, radon inspection, loan approval, appraisal and sometimes other matters. Such contingencies enable buyers to opt out of the contract if unexpected problems or concerns pop up.

 Disclosures

In most states, sellers are legally required to provide buyers with disclosure documents including any know defects, lead based paint information, real tax bills from the current year and the estimated property tax bill for the next year. In addition, sellers must disclose any known issues that might affect the property’s value or habitability. Usually, in a transfer disclosure statement, sellers must answer a series of “yes” or “no” questions about the property, and provide the neighborhood homeowners association/ or condo information. If there have been leaky windows,  work done without permits or plans for a major nearby development, the seller must disclose them. You will have the opportunity to view the areas master plan and the will be provided with a list of nearby airports. The disclosures will need to be signed by the purchaser and will become part of the offer to purchase and then after all terms are agreed to, they will be part of the contract.

The appraisal

Most buyers put a certain amount of money down toward the purchase price. The balance will come in the form of a bank loan (usually). But a bank isn’t going to hand over that money without due diligence. An appraisal is the financial institution’s way of making sure the contract price is the right price. So the lender sends out a third-party appraiser, which the buyer pays for, to confirm that the contract price is in line with the neighborhood’s comparable sales. If it’s not, the bank can deny the loan or change the terms.If a property does not appraise, the contract price can be renegotiated or contract voided.

Inspections

As part of the real estate contract, you have the right to a property inspection The most common is a “general” property inspection, in which the inspector checks the home from the foundation to the roof and investigates all major systems and components. As the buyer, you should follow along with the inspector to learn more about the property. For example, you’ll want to know about the components (such as the water heater) and have a plan in place for maintenance.

After the general property inspection, the inspector may suggest having a specialist come out. This could be a roofer, electrician, HVAC specialist or even an engineer. Listen to the inspector and have any recommended follow-up inspections. Remember: This is your one chance to approve the property from top to bottom. If issues arise, you may be able to negotiate repair or a buyer credit.  If something major arises and it’s not what you signed up for, you can void the contract via your inspection contingency.

Loan approval or commitment

In addition to making certain the property appraises at no less than the contract price, the bank will want to fully approve your credit, debt and income history. The bank will also want to approve the property’s preliminary title report to make sure there are no liens recorded against the property that might affect its value. The bank can take up to 30 days to complete its review, which should result in a loan commitment or full loan approval. Once that’s completed to the bank’s satisfaction, you’re guaranteed a loan, and you’re one step closer to closing.

Final walk-through

Just before closing, you will do a final walk through in the property to make sure it’s in the condition it was when you last saw it. Make sure the seller didn’t remove any fixtures, make modifications or leave behind garbage or debris. You also want to be sure any fixes you negotiated with the seller have been completed.

The closing

Depending on the market, the last step of the home buying process, the closing or the settlement, may happen at an attorney’s office or at a title company. In some situations, the buyer and seller don’t ever meet. Each goes in to sign their closing papers separately. In others, the buyers and sellers sign the closing documents together. Regardless of how a closing happens, if you’re a buyer and getting a loan, plan on signing dozens of documents at closing. You’ll need to show photo ID, as your signature will be notarized. Prior to the closing, your real estate agent or attorney should send over a closing statement to review. The statement details your final closing costs and the money you need to bring to the closing. The funds can be wired in or paid with a cashier’s check on closing day. Be sure to ask for the statement early, so there aren’t any last-minute surprises.

The home buying process will go more smoothly when guided by an experienced real estate professional.

 

Why Buy Now?

 

 

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Why Buy Now?

 

Why buy now? Since the beginning of the year, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen by more than a half point, from 4.3 percent to 3.8 percent. A half point may not seem like a lot, but it can translate into significant savings on a monthly basis and over the life of a loan.

For example, mortgage rates have dropped off so much this year that a buyer who started shopping at the beginning of the year for a $375,000 house could buy a $400,000 house now for the same monthly payment — an extra $25,000 of spending power.

Despite industry-wide projections that mortgage rates would likely climb to near 5 percent by the end of 2014, they have dropped back to levels the market hasn’t seen since late 2012. The dip gives consumers more buying power.

Buyers who started shopping for a home loan two or three months ago should have their agent or lender run their numbers again before continuing their search.

We are entering the holiday real estate market, meaning generally activity slows down-which can be a great opportunity for buyers. Buyers may not have to compete with other buyers and might be able to negotiate a great deal on a property that has been around for while.

So Why Buy Now? Low interest rates and good timing can make for a very successful and happy real estate transaction!

Call us to help you determine how much home you can afford and lets get started.

by Tracy Tkac

 

The Importance of a Home Inspection

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The Importance Of A Home Inspection

Your real estate professional can help you make the decision between buying a home that needs a lot of attention and work and buying a home in better shape. They’ll show you both types of properties, so you can have a clear idea of your choices—and the costs involved in both time and money, as well as help you navigate the process.

If you have experience working on a home or relationships with licensed contractors, a fixer-upper purchase can be a good investment—but be sure you know what you’re buying. Many buyers have found a property that needs work requires even more time and money than initially anticipated.

No matter whether you choose a fixer-upper, a home in great condition, or even a new home, it’s essential to have a home inspection. A home inspector will go over the plumbing, electricity, heating, and air conditioning in your home and examine the foundation, walls, windows, and roof to identify any potential problems with the property.

A home inspection will generally cost you $400 to $800, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider the that our home is one of the biggest investments we make.

After an inspection, the inspector will give you a home inspection checklist.

The checklist will vary depending on the inspector, but generally it’s divided into sections. It will cover the exterior elements: roof, gutters, walls, chimney, windows, decks, and porches. It also will report on the interior elements: floors, ceilings, plumbing, basements, and attics.

Your home inspector should produce a report with detailed notes that analyze the condition and flag any potential problems.

When you find a home you want to purchase, your contract with the sellers should always include a home inspection. This type of inspection where the buyer is able to ask for repairs is called a “specific inspection” and you will have the option to ask for repair of the defective items or void the offer to purchase.

However, if you’re competing with other buyers and are in love with the home, you can offer to waive the home inspection contingency—but still pay for an inspection to determine the condition of the property and if it is worth moving forward.. This is called a “general inspection” and you will receive the same report but only have the option of voiding the contract or moving forward with the purchase.

This way, you’d offer to buy the home “as is” and not request repairs from the sellers, but you’d still have the benefit of the inspector’s professional expertise to point out any defects or required maintenance.

You should always plan to attend the home inspection—especially if you’re looking at a home that will require work. Ask the home inspector to share his opinion about the cost of potential repairs and renovations.

The home inspection checklist is something you can use to organize your personal inspection of the property and to evaluate the property before finalizing your purchase.

by Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co

301-437-8722

 

 

Your home: It pays to keep up with the Joneses

Your home: It pays to keep up with the Joneses

By Amanda Gengler  @Money

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(Money Magazine)

Is your home the neighborhood slacker? If you’ve lived there for years without making many improvements, there’s a good chance your house is starting to fall out of sync with the others on your block.

“You never want to exceed the neighborhood norm, but you definitely want to stay up with it,” says John Bredemeyer, an appraiser in Omaha.

Must-haves and deal breakers
Home shoppers have strong opinions about what they do — and don’t — want in a house.
BUYERS WHO WANT
Laundry room 93%
Bathroom linen closet 90%
Eat-in kitchen 85%
BUYERS WHO DON’T WANT
Wine fridge 42%
Game room 31%
Outdoor kitchen 31%
Source: National Association of Home Builders, 2013
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Bringing your home up to speed doesn’t have to mean a massive, six-figure renovation. Small-scale projects that address some typical flaws of older homes can do double duty: They’ll make your home more attractive when it’s time to sell, and turn it into a more comfortable place for you to live.

These three upgrades all cost $5,000 or less.

Expand your closets. Homes built before the mid-1970s often share a frustrating problem: nowhere to put stuff. Small, one-rod closets are a prime offender and a big turnoff for buyers, says Rockaway, N.J., realtor Ellen Klein. Make the most of these spaces by installing an organizing system equipped with additional rods, shelves, baskets, and more, available at big-box home stores (starting at $50 per closet). For those who would prefer to use a pro, firms like California Closets handle the installation, starting at $500 or so.

Calculator: Was my home a good investment?

Look for places to add closets or other storage areas. Building a closet into the existing footprint of a room usually costs less than $2,000. If you have a bedroom with a centered window, Jason Gettum, a design and remodeling contractor in Indianapolis, suggests installing a closet on each side and creating a window seat between them.

No extra room in the bedroom? You may be able to break through the wall into a smaller room or an unused space that can be converted into a closet. Expect to spend at least $2,500.

Open up the kitchen. Today’s kitchens serve as a favorite spot for families and guests to congregate, but that hasn’t always been the case. “Previously the only thing that happened in kitchens was cooking,” says Bredemeyer, noting that in older homes the room is often small and closed off.

Related: Cut the cost of home maintenance

Say you’re already planning to renovate or at least freshen up your kitchen with new countertops or appliances; you may want to expand the project to include removing the wall between the kitchen and dining or living area.

Assuming you don’t need to move pipes or build new structural support, the removal will most likely add $2,000 to $5,000, including the cost of refinishing the affected floor, ceiling, and walls.

Some kitchens may already have an opening into the next room, often created by a “peninsula” countertop that extends from one wall. But when this area is lined with overhead cabinets, the room can still feel boxed in. Having these cupboards removed is relatively simple and should cost only $500 to $1,000. Worried about losing storage space? Max out your remaining cabinets by installing dividers or roll-out drawers, says Bredemeyer.