Why Use a Buyer’s Agent?

I was at a holiday party recently when a friend of mine told me she and her husband are looking for a house, and were not working with a buyer’s agent.  She told me that they had fallen in love … Continue reading

And the #3 BEST place to live voted by CNN Money Magazine 2013 is…

Vienna!   If you live in Vienna and ever thought about selling, now is the time!  Home prices are on the rise and Vienna is more attractive than ever!    According to CNN Money Magazine, “Unlike other cookie-cutter suburbs in … Continue reading

Selling in Winter? Don’t Give Up!!

I’ve always heard “houses don’t sell in the winter” – haven’t you?  We are peppered with phrases like “the spring market” and “the fall re-birth” and such.  Certainly there are seasons to the real estate market but it doesn’t mean it’s absolute.  There are tricks to staging that will showcase your home no matter what season – you need to think more about lighting and warmth, surely.  But check out the information below.  This is how many homes went to settlement from November 1, 2010 through January 31, 2011 in various parts of our area:

  • Reston: 224
  • Vienna: 158
  • McLean: 137
  • Falls Church: 287
  • Arlington: 526
  • City of Alexandria: 433
  • Herndon: 151
That’s significant!  That means those contracts were likely written all in the 4th quarter – what we have typically heard is not feasible…  So do you still think homes don’t sell in the winter?  Nah, didn’t think so.  If you live in the Northern Virginia area and are considering selling your home, please call us so we can expertly guide you through the home selling process – even in the winter!
Happy Wednesday
Joan & Jennifer


The Anatomy of a Short Sale – Part 3

If you’ve been following along, we’ve been unearthing some of the early signs that trouble is looming, possibly that a short sale might be in one’s future.  This third post is probably the toughest to write, the toughest to read and internalize as a struggling homeowner…  so bear with me.  If you haven’t read the first two posts, post one identifies some of the early triggers that trouble is near.  The second focuses more on some early preservation mechanisms that some consumers try prior to facing the inevitable.  And that’s where we pick up today – the inevitable.

The pivotal moment in time and the toughest decision to date is the moment the homeowner decides to stop making payments.  What I feel goes largely unaddressed is exactly what kind of condition, emotionally, physically and financially someone is in who has arrived at this moment.  Is the savings drained?  How about retirement?  Is that gone too?  Have they borrowed from relatives to make ends meet?  To what end?  My statement for ANY homeowner to ponder who feels they may be headed in this direction is, “I struggle to see a reason why anyone would continue to make their payments when the outcome is a foregone conclusion.”

Did that sink in?  Let me say it again:

“I struggle to see a reason why anyone would continue to make their payments when the outcome is a foregone conclusion.”

There are all sorts of reasons people feel that it’s right to make their payments as promised:

  1. they made a promise to do so
  2. we are raised in a society that places value on keeping ones’ promises
  3. they think they HAVE to

I’d like to focus on #3 for a moment… guess what.  It is virtually impossible to get a short sale approved unless someone is behind on their payments.  Read that again if it didn’t sink in – so if you have to become behind on your payments in order to ultimately be successful in getting out from under your home (the short sale), why would you drain your resources in doing so?  Credit preservation?  NOT… this will affect your credit, either way you look at it.  Because the bank will make you?  Guess what?  They can’t make you do anything.  Now, I’m not telling you what to do – really I’m not.  I’m merely suggesting that you can’t get there when current. 

So the decision is made to stop making payments.  Now what?  Well, you should expect to be badgered for payment – at first politely, through a late payment notice, then the next one, then the next one.  They may call you – in fact, your lender may call you every day.  The reality to YOU is that if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money.  There is nothing they can do or say to change that fact.  And you are NOT alone…  keep that in mind…  this is just where you are at the moment – it does not define who you are as a person!  After all, we know that bad things happen to good people.  Even good people sometimes make less than stellar decisions.

The best thing you can do is to prepare.  Understand what will happen, what might happen, what can happen and what absolutely CANNOT happen.  Through this preparation, I promise you you will feel a great sense of peace that YOU are taking control and doing what you need to do to resolve this situation and MOVE ON with your life.  There is nothing more sad than watching people self-destruct rather than face this financial hardship and figure out a way to move on.

This is where I come in, as a real estate agent who understands the process, has a system in place to put the distressed home seller into the best position possible for the best outcome possible.  The thing I cannot emphasize enough is come talk to me EARLY – the earlier we meet and discuss the possibilities, the better chance I have of helping you through the process.  A good friend of mine and I were talking; he likened this to going over the cliff.  You’re going over the cliff – make no mistake about it – I can’t save you from the cliff, but I can soften the landing; I can make sure you have the right equipment with you to be prepared for that journey over the cliff!

In my final post, I will discuss the program that I am associated with. The benefits for the seller, the process, etc… as well as the benefits of a buyer buying a home that is represented through this program.  If everyone handled short sales this way, we would all be better off.

Stay tuned and keep you chin up!