Distinguishing the Different Home Styles Found in Northern Virginia Real Estate

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_real_estate_home_typesWhen shopping for a new home, the style of house you are looking for is very important. Not only does the style influence the appearance and atmosphere of a home, it also has a bearing on the cost and durability of that particular piece of property. There are a variety of house styles commonly found in Northern Virginia real estate. And it’s a wise idea to be familiar with them before you begin seriously looking.

What Dictates Home Styles?

The real estate landscape has evolved and shifted over the last four or five decades. In the past twenty years land prices have shot up dramatically, causing a shift in the style of homes available on the market. Land and subdivision configurations and designs will greatly influence the style of houses built in that area.

For instance, since land in Northern Virginia has experienced a substantial increase in price, individual lots are getting smaller. This, in turn, is resulting in more compact styles of homes being built. Although the Ranch bungalow or Rambler style of home was popular back in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, over the last decade or so the local market is being flooded with tall, narrow homes built on lots with smaller frontages.

Bungalows are much more expensive to build, which makes sense considering the larger foundation and more expansive roof. And the footprint of these Ranch or Rambler homes will not fit nicely on smaller properties. That means most newly built bungalows are custom projects that will carry a heavy price tag and likely be designed with top of the line fixtures and finishing.

Most homes in Northern Virginia are built on a typical basement foundation. Others are constructed on top of a poured concrete slab. Commonly built in areas where the water table may prove a problem, poured slab homes are generally more affordable.

Popular Styles of Northern Virginia Real Estate

The Colonial home is a two-story model that often features 3 or 4 bedrooms on the upper level. Depending on the square footage of the lot, the Colonial offers a two- or three-car garage. Larger 1/2 acre or corner lots may feature a side load garage, but most often the front elevation includes both the garage and the front entrance.

The Ranch or Rambler style of home is a bungalow or one level home. This means that all of the living space is accessible without the need to climb stairs. It also offers a sizeable basement area, assuming that a poured basement is available. Ranch homes built on a walkout lot are in high demand, thanks to the spacious main floor and a lower level with separate access to the backyard.

A Split Foyer house features a short stairway (usually 5 or 6 steps) up to the front door. Often a bedroom or the living space is built above a garage and the basement is actually on the ground floor with a rear or side entrance. The Split Foyer model is a cost effective design and can be built beautifully on a poured concrete slab, while offering all of the space your family needs.

Check out the different home styles available when shopping for Northern Virginia real estate. Remember that the model best suited to your family is worth the investment. It may be possible to build new if you cannot find what you need, but costs and timing could be an issue. Consider all of your options and take your time finding the ideal home for your family.

Four Different Ways to Easily Keep In Touch With Virginia Realtors

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_realtorsIn the world of real estate it is often communication that will make the difference in your experience. Buyers and sellers that have Virginia realtors with excellent listening and communication skills will have a much easier transaction than those who do not. Homeowners that attempt to sell a house on their own soon find out just how valuable a real estate agent can be and those who are shopping around without one soon recognize exactly what it is they’re missing.

It takes both parties to make this business relationship work, but with very little effort you can reap the benefits of communication with the leading realtors in Virginia, making your experience with the real estate world a smooth and enjoyable one.

How Can You Communicate With Virginia Realtors?

There are many different methods of communication today and not all of them will suit your lifestyle. The important thing is finding a realtor who offers the methods you are comfortable with and then utilizing those methods.

The four main methods of communication with your realtor are:

  • Physical Visits – Many realtors prefer to stick with traditional knock-on-the-door visits. Whether that is how they meet with you (coffee on your break at work, meetings in the evening around your kitchen table or conferences in the boardroom at their office) or how they view each property you are considering, this method does take the most amount of time. It can disrupt your schedule to meet with the realtor every time there are prospects for your real estate sale or purchase. But in the end these types of face-to-face meetings will also create trust and help both of you to make more meaningful decisions.
  • Phone Call Updates – Even if your realtor prefers to meet in person initially and likes to physically view properties that meet your criteria, they will often use the phone for any other questions and information. This works well if you have a cell phone handy most times or can be accessed via a land line, but if your realtor will be leaving messages most of the time or you are inaccessible due to your job or schedule, phone calls may not work.
  • Emails and Texting – For those who have smartphones this type of nearly instant communication may work best. Your realtor will likely only communicate this way if you are comfortable with it, otherwise it can seem impersonal. Be sure that you verify each major decision in person or over the phone, as there are many situations where a text message or email may not fully communicate the meaning and tone of a phrase or word.
  • Online Video Calling and Web Forums – This method works very well for those shopping for real estate from abroad or from across the country. With long distance phone calls available online (through Skype, for example) and web forums offering the ability to view and comment on virtual listings, technology can be used to your advantage in real estate transactions. Think about how these methods of communication can help you make better decisions, either through virtual photo tours or the ability to speak to people face-to-face even over long distances.

Experienced and reputable Virginia realtors will often use all of these methods well. Let them know which types of communication you prefer and build your relationship from there. In the end, if you can effectively communicate with your realtor the entire transaction will be much more successful.

How Does the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Stack Up After Memorial Day?

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_real_estate_memorial_dayAs the seasons turn and the days flip by, so the Northern Virginia real estate market changes as well. Memorial Day and the shifting of spring into summer traditionally signal movement in the market. But how are things shaping up this year and how can you be sure if it is the right time to buy or sell?

All Important Memorial Day

Memorial Day is first and foremost a day to remember, honor and salute those who are fighting and have fought for our beloved nation. Without the support and strength of the US military in all of its forms where would Americans be? Where would the world be, for that matter? But this important holiday also signifies a turning point for real estate markets across the US.

It could be the warm weather or the fact that the school year is drawing to a close. Whatever the reason, this is often the time when inventory in the residential property market goes up. This is good news for those looking to buy a house in Northern Virginia. When there are more homes to choose from, chances are better that you will find what you’re looking for.

Higher inventory is a good condition for the sellers on the market either. More inventory often attracts more buyers and can keep the price of your home afloat. It’s best to have the services of a Northern Virginia real estate professional on your side to be sure your home is properly marketed and a qualified buyer is found quickly.

Statistics note that the amount of listed properties on the Northern Virginia market has increased in the time leading up to Memorial Day. With the summer season that amount should continue to go up.

Local Data Matters Most

Looking at the whole real estate market for the area is helpful. But both buyers and sellers are better served by obtaining the local numbers. Statistics can change drastically from locale to locale, even from neighborhood to neighborhood. The market in Arlington County, for instance, may be much different than the market in Prince William County. In the city of Alexandria the market may undergo an even greater change, resulting in widely ranging prices and inventory.

Buyers should ask their realtor to gather information on each of the counties, cities and even neighborhoods that are of interest to them. Finding out the inventory and absorption rates (the rate that properties on the market are selling) for each specific locale is important. With this information you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and perhaps open up the possibilities for a larger home or a better location.

Having up to date information is essential at this time of year. Your options may be more limited as the market picks up speed, meaning you need to have accurate and current data to make the best decisions. Buyers and sellers are wise to find an experienced realtor that can help them navigate the shifts and movements in the Northern Virginia real estate market. Beyond Memorial Day or at any time of year, the ideal home awaits you in the state of Virginia.

Tips on Shopping for Northern Virginia Real Estate

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_real_estateWhether you are looking for your first home, upgrading to a larger home or downsizing, shopping for Northern Virginia real estate is an exciting and, at times, stressful process. By heading into the fray with a strategy and the proper tools you will have much more success and enjoyment.

Assess Your Needs

The very first step in shopping for real estate is to figure out what you need. Remember that you are not likely to find a property that fits all of your wants, however you shouldn’t settle for something less than what your family needs.

Make a list of the features you are looking for in a home, starting with the number one priority and working your way downward. Location, size and price range are likely to be the top three features, followed by layout, age and the yard size (not necessarily in that order). Talk through this list with your family and come to an agreement about just what is important in a home.

Assess the Market

Most people require the help of a Northern Virginia real estate professional at this stage. They may be able to browse the properties for sale online or in print publications, but they are better to have the insider information and expertise of a realtor.

Your realtor will have access to details on brand new and exclusive property listings, often well before they are available to the general public. Many of the best deals on desirable properties are made between realtors well before the online and print listings have them included. Think of how much broader your search will be with the help of this information and these professionals.

Consider the Finances

It’s very important to get your financing in order before you seriously shop for real estate. When the market is ripe or the perfect property has been found you must have the ability to put in an offer right away. Setting up financing takes time. If you are not prepared that dream home could very well be snatched up by another buyer while you are at the bank.

Get as much of the process completed with the approvals in place ahead of time. This will give you the flexibility of knowing what you can afford, as well as the ability to put in offers with fewer conditions.

Think About Your Current Property

If you currently own a home now is also the time to assess how much it can be sold for. You will also need to tackle any home improvement projects that will allow your home to sell quicker and for a higher value. Consult your real estate professional about this as well and invest your money into projects that will attract buyers. A fresh coat of paint, landscaping touch ups and obvious repairs that need to be done are among the most important projects to be completed at this stage.

These stages are essential while shopping for Northern Virginia real estate. Considering what you need and what is available, as well as how much you could sell your existing property for will help to narrow down the search. Setting up your financing is a wise move that will make the entire process smoother when you do locate the perfect home. Start the whole thing off by finding an experienced realtor who knows the area and then get moving.