Why Homeowners Need Responsive Virginia General Contractors

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor, Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-general-contractorsRenovations include countless small tasks that come together to form a brand new space within your home. And any of those small jobs can get complicated. Responsive Virginia general contractors work hard to communicate with homeowners and tackle every problem efficiently with the customer’s satisfaction in mind.

Why is Responsiveness an Important Trait in a General Contractor?

Most people hire a general contracting firm to take care of major home renovations like kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, roofing, siding and deck construction. These projects must be handled carefully from the design stage to completion, including all of the many steps in between. General contractors have the skills and knowledge to manage these projects well.

Do you really need to be in constant communication with the contractor throughout your project? Maybe not, but it’s important to hire a contracting firm you can trust with your home.

Look for a contractor dedicated to customer service and willing to talk with and listen to their customers. Make sure they’re willing to take the time to meet with you regularly, going over the details of the project and answering any questions or concerns that you have.

Unresponsive contractors leave their clients guessing in terms of scheduling, pricing, and even warranty issues. You’re bound to find it frustrating when your phone calls and emails go unanswered. This is especially true if the contractor does not have an office or showroom you can visit.

Clients also want their contractor to maintain good communication with subtrades, suppliers and the local building department. This helps keep your project moving along quickly. If the company has a track record of responsiveness you can be confident that they’ll stay in touch with all of those involved in the job.

How Virginia General Contractors Should Communicate

Does your preferred contractor have a cell phone, and are they willing to provide you with that number? Can you contact them in the evenings or on the weekend with questions and issues? If not, can you rely on them to respond to phone messages or emails within a reasonable time frame?

Good communication skills also mean clear and consistent paperwork. Did your general contractor provide you with a detailed estimate of the project and/or an easy to read design? When the project is done experienced contractors will provide a thorough bill detailing any extras, deposits, and draws on the project. They should also offer documentation that spells out your warranty coverage.

You can gauge the responsiveness of a general contractor by following a few easy steps. Be sure to ask for references and give those past clients a call. Ask them whether the contractor stayed in touch and how often.

It’s a good idea to check with the local Better Business Bureau as well. This organization records customer disputes and the contractor’s response, allowing you to check their track record in just a few minutes. Find out whether the contractor is involved in any local construction associations as well.

Responsive Virginia general contractors will make your home improvement project run smoothly. You’ll still need to compare price, experience and relational skills, but the contractor’s level of responsiveness is important to your level of satisfaction with the renovation.

Virginia Realtors Help With Buying and Selling Fixer Uppers

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-realtorsHave you heard of the term “fixer upper?” This type of home is in need of some TLC, and often sits a little lower on the price scale as a result. Virginia realtors tend to agree that fixer uppers are a tougher sell. Many advise sellers to complete home improvement tasks before putting their home up for sale. Why is buying and selling fixer uppers a challenging task and can these transactions turn out well?

The Fixer Upper Challenge

Most home buyers want a house that delivers a comfortable, safe standard of living from day one. Fixer uppers often require a significant amount of work to be done before that standard of living can be achieved. We’re not talking about finishing the basement for additional living space; a fixer upper may be missing doors, have inoperable appliances or need extensive plumbing and electrical work before residents can reach a state of comfort.

This isn’t the case for every home labeled as a fixer upper. In some instances the finishes may require updating or improvement projects like new windows and roofing are required to boost the energy efficiency. Seniors moving into a retirement home may be looking to list a property in this condition, and Virginia realtors are happy to connect their clients with potential buyers. But sellers need to be aware of the disadvantages that come with selling a home in this state.

Fix It Up First

Unless time and physical conditions make it impossible, your realtor should recommend that some of the issues in your home be fixed up before the property goes on the market. Doing that will allow you to set a better price for your home, as well as attract more qualified buyers.

Two things flash through the minds of potential buyers as they tour through a home that requires an extensive amount of work. In the face of both major and minor house problems, buyers will wonder whether the home has been maintained properly. Those buyers are more likely to pass on the house due to a cautious nature and worries about hidden problems.

The second reaction of potential buyers is to knock thousands of dollars from the asking price to cover the necessary repairs and upgrades.

Sellers may come out ahead by fixing the problems within their house and sticking to a higher asking price. Otherwise they are at the mercy of buyers, who will use the issues as a bargaining tool to reduce the price.

It Is Possible

It’s important to note that buying and selling fixer uppers works for many people across the country. When time and economical circumstances do not allow for the repairs and upgrades to be done before the transaction, buyers snag a good deal and sellers offload their property. As long as everyone is aware of the circumstances and full disclosure has been practiced, this type of transaction can go through smoothly.

Virginia realtors are here to help, whether you’re selling a fixer upper or looking for an affordable way to move into the market. Their expertise and industry knowledge will guide the transaction, protecting the interests of both parties. Contact a local real estate professional to ensure your fixer upper sale is handled well.

How to Schedule Viewings When Buying Northern Virginia Real Estate

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

holding the keyShopping for Northern Virginia real estate will require plenty of leg work. Most often buyers and their realtors will drive countless miles and walk through numerous floor plans before finding the perfect property. So how can a buyer schedule viewings in an efficient and sensible way? A way that fits into a full calendar and takes advantage of time sensitive opportunities like exclusive and new listings?

Your realtor will be an essential partner. And technology plays a major role.

View Before the Viewing

An Internet listing can be used as an effective tool in the primary stages of shopping. Use online information to preview properties, scroll through pictures of the rooms and read through room sizes to get a better idea of the home’s layout. This will allow you to eliminate homes that do not suit your needs and tastes, without having to visit them physically.

Print up pictures to bring along to your viewing. This will give you space to make notes or sketches. And you can more accurately remember the property later if you have those images to trigger your memory.

Bulk Viewings

Ask your realtor to schedule multiple viewings on a single day. This can make for a busy afternoon, but by viewing one property after another you will also avoid emotional responses. The properties will be more accurately compared when the time between viewings is measured in minutes, instead of in days or weeks.

Group the viewings together by neighborhood to cut down on fuel and be respectful of people’s time. Don’t spend more than 30 to 45 minutes in each home, although you may want to leave a few minutes between the viewings to process information and talk about what you just saw. Make notes as you go as well, to aid in recalling information and impressions after the day is done.

Your realtor will be constantly on the look out for properties that suit your needs. Ask them to create a running list of potential homes and work on grouping them as the list expands. Add or subtract from the list as needed, making a note of any that you may want to return to for a second viewing.

Pick a Date and Dedicate it to Real Estate

If you are seriously shopping for Northern Virginia real estate, viewings will become an essential step. Mark off the time in your schedule and dedicate it to the task. That means getting a babysitter for the kids and turning your cell phone on vibrate for a few hours.

It’s time to concentrate on the job, giving each potential property your full attention for the time you are there. You may want to take pictures at the properties (if this is allowed) and start a filing system on your computer that allows for easy viewing later on.

Buyers can use Internet listings to preview potential properties and avoid wasted trip. They also need to coordinate with their realtor, grouping nearby Northern Virginia real estate listings together for multiple viewings. Give these dates your full attention and come prepared to shop seriously. This will give you an edge and help your family to find that perfect home faster and with less stress.

To Buy or Not to Buy | Virginia Realtors Weigh In On This Pressing Question

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_realtors_helpIt is a commonly held assumption that buying a home is more advantageous than renting. But it’s also important to note that buying real estate is a serious decision and should be undertaken in the right way and at the right time. It should be much easier to decide whether or not it’s the right call for you with the help of experienced Virginia realtors who are working for your best interests.

What Every Realtor Knows

The market moves in all different directions. What is an ideal time to buy for one family may be the perfect time to sell for another. First time home buyers are best to get in while mortgage interest rates are relatively low, but it is never a good idea to stretch your budget too thin. That will only get you into trouble and, eventually, that trouble will head back into the market in the form of foreclosures and stifling financial conditions.

If you are recently out of school and have not been working at your job for long, it may be wise to rent for a time while shopping for real estate. That will allow your credit rating to improve and increase the time elapsed at your workplace. Mortgage companies look favorably on dependable income, so the longer you’ve been at your job, the better.

That being said, even students with a healthy financial situation can secure mortgages. The trick is to be sure that the Virginia real estate you purchase is affordable and priced well. When your credit rating and balance sheet (what you own versus what you owe) looks good approaching a financial institution about mortgage preapproval is a wise first step. Then you can shop for the ideal first home with more confidence.

Why Renting Doesn’t Pay Off In the End

There are a few major disadvantages to renting. In the first place, your monthly payments are serving to line the landlord’s pockets as opposed to building up equity for yourself. Even at the opening stages of a large mortgage amortized over a long period of time you are paying off some of the principal. The longer you pay that mortgage (without borrowing against it), the more equity is building up. After years and years of renting, you will essentially have nothing of value to show for it.

Rental increases are out of your control, meaning you cannot be sure of the overall cost of your place over a long period of time. Mortgage rates, however, can be locked in for substantial terms – from six months to twenty years, depending on the financial institution. In that case your mortgage payment will be set for the term. Most likely the mortgage rates will have changed by the end of your term. But the principal will have decreased, giving you flexibility and control over the size of those payments even beyond the initial term.

Virginia realtors are ready and willing to help first time home buyers and those re-entering the market. They can show you what’s out there and are willing to offer advice on your personal situation – advice that will help you answer the tough question, “to buy, or not to buy?”