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.

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.

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.