Market Watch & Musings

August 2, 2023
Putting a house on the real estate market is not as easy as putting some pictures in MLS, putting a sign in the front yard and having an open house. Depending on the house, location and market conditions - there are a number of steps that the Ana and Melissa Team undertake when putting a house on the market to make sure that it is shown in the very best light to get top dollar as quickly as possible. We have a number of trusted vendors that we can call, schedule and manage for you. Watch this short video to see how The Ana and Melissa Team work with you to get your house ready to sell.

July 31, 2023

Radon Testing – What is it???

You might have heard about radon testing and not given it much thought.  Or more likely, you had the test completed when you purchased your house ten years and never gave it much thought again.  Well, we are here to tell you that may be you should.  

We all know that when you purchase a house, a radon test is crucial.  It’s the number one of cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to the EPA, and it affects 1 out of 15 homes in the U.S.  Radon testing is important, especially when you are purchasing a new home.  You want to know if your future home has it and remediate as soon as possible.  However, it is not a bad idea to re-test your current home! 

According to EPA guidelines, a test reflecting radon levels above 4 pCi/L is dangerous to your health.  Testing for radon is easy.  There are easy home kits or more reliable testing completed by radon inspector for about $150. 

So, what is radon?  It’s a radioactive gas, that comes from decaying uranium and found in all types of soil.  It is usually found in basements and the main level of homes.  It usually moves into the house through small cracks in the foundation.  You can have a well=sealed home and still find high radon levels. 

The remedy is easy and not costly.  A professional radon remediation contractor will insert a vent pipe system and fan, in the first level or basement of the house.  The pipe will pull the radon from the ground to the outside.  It can cost between $800 to $3000.  This has a lot to do with your contractor and the area you live in.

If you want to get a radon test by licensed professional or find a contractor to install a radon system in your home, call us!  The Ana and Melissa Team can help and find the right people to help you!

July 25, 2023
Wonder what buyers do when they first move into their new home? We always thought it was fairly consistant with all our buyers - change the locks, do a deep clean, paint and move in. But one of our recent buyers just threw us a curveball and we can't figure out why every buyers doesn't include this in their move-in check list. Watch and see!

July 17, 2023

Liens, Lawsuits and Judgments that could stop the Sale of your house

Did you know that lawsuits related to a property and liens and judgments are a real problem when you are trying to sell a house? Well it is….

Just a few years ago, we represented a buyer on a purchase of a house.  All was great.  The offer was accepted, the lender was doing their thing, but then we got a phone call from the title company.  There was a problem.  The seller had a dispute with a neighbor over a fence and there was a “les pendens” recorded on the property. This meant there was legal action that could affect the title of the property. A “cloud on the title” means there isn’t a title insurance company that will issue coverage for any mortgage lender or buyer. Screech!   As buyers, we don’t know these things until the title company does the title search and tells us.  Good thing is that the buyer can void the contract and get their Earnest Money Deposit back.  In our case, the Seller and his neighbor decided to bury the hatchet and settle so the sale could proceed.

When we sign a Listing Agreement with a seller, we ask several questions.  It’s imperative that the Seller be honest and forthcoming and tell their real estate agent about any legal actions against them, bankruptcy proceeding and foreclosures that could impact the sale of the property.  These issues must be resolved before you put the house on the market. 

If there is a tax lien, other judgments such as unpaid HOA dues, or unpaid contractors for work performed on the house, the title company will need to pay these judgments and liens with the proceeds from the house.  These problems, unlike a lawsuit, don’t often cause a delay in the closing. 

So moral of the story, let your agents know what is going on with your outstanding debt, lawsuits, and other possible obstacles that could create bigger problems when the home is sold.  Good agents are here to help you and connect you with lawyers, accountants and other professionals to assist you and make the sale of your home stress free!   

And if you’re wondering…… our buyers love their new neighbors!

July 10, 2023

Virginia is a caveat emptor (buyer beware) state.  This means that a Seller isn’t required to disclose much about the house you are going to buy.  For example, you are not given a disclosure statement telling you the age of major systems such as heating and cooling, roof, pipes and electrical systems.  The buyer either requests that information from the Seller and/or conducts inspections to discover the condition of the property. 

These inspections can include the home inspection as well as fireplace, sewer, air quality, septic inspection, and any other inspection to understand the condition and how well the home ha sbeen maintained over the years. 

In many states a Seller is required to furnish a lot of information on the home they own to the prospective Buyer. Sometimes a Seller is even required to conduct a home inspection prior to selling it and provide the inspection findings to all buyers.

In Virginia homes are sold “as is” and Virginia only requires one disclosure form to be signed by the Seller.  However, as soon as the Buyer reviews that form, they realize the Seller “does not make representation” for various issues concerning the property and its land. 

To give a Buyer some level of comfort, the attorneys from the National Virginia Association of Realtors, created a contract giving a Buyer the option to negotiate inspections of the home.  The contract gives a Buyer the option to include a Home Inspection with an option to void the contract or request repairs from the Seller.  These are terms negotiated between the Seller and Buyer. 

In the last few years, many buyers bought homes and waived their right to an inspection, to make their offers more appealing to sellers.  Most homes sold without any inspections.  Although we highly discourage such a purchase, to win in a bidding war, many of our buyers had no other option.  To get around these obstacles, we encouraged our buyers to invest in a pre-inspection.  It helped alleviate any concerns, especially in the purchase of an older home. 

With interest rates going up, buyers have gained some negotiation opportunities, and we recommend having the inspection.  It is one of the best investments in the purchase of a home. 

It is important that both buyers and sellers work with real estate agents who understand Virginia law. When you work with the Ana and Melissa Team, you get that expertise and knowledge.  And we also work with professional and expert home inspectors and contractors – to give you the information needed to best negotiate the purchase of your next home. 

June 22, 2023
We are honored to be included in Washingtonian’s Best Real Estate Agents issue. 6th year in a row! 🏆🎉

As we continue to provide exceptional service and guide you through your real estate journey, we are humbled by your trust and support. 🏡💼🔑

Contact us today for your real estate needs!💯

📞 Ana - 703.772.3526
📞 Melissa - 703.407.5847
📧 Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
June 2, 2023

🔐 Safeguard Your Real Estate Investment with Title Insurance🔑

When it comes to purchasing a property, it's crucial to ensure that your ownership rights are protected. That's where title insurance plays a pivotal role.

WHAT IS IT? Title insurance covers the lender or the new buyer from any third party (anyone other than the current sellers) claims on the property. That third party could be a vendor who wasn’t paid for past work done or an owner in the past that still has rights to the property. These claims could arise at any time, even after you’ve owned the property with no problems for many years. Meaning that your house might not be your house. 

BUT HOW? Your title company will do an in-depth title search before you purchase a property. However, days or years after closing a problem could arise - fraud, messy wills, unsigned paperwork, property survey errors, legal troubles (such as liens), and recording issues could pop up. 

LENDERS TITLE INSURANCE Your lender will require the purchase of title insurance to cover the institution. This is a one time charge. 

OWNERS TITLE INSURANCE Is not a mandatory cost but usually a relatively small add-on to your lender policy.

Remember, title insurance isn't just for first-time homebuyers; it's essential for all real estate transactions. Whether you're purchasing a residential property, investing in commercial real estate, or refinancing your mortgage, title insurance acts as a shield, safeguarding your interests against unforeseen legal issues.

Don't let uncertainties overshadow your real estate journey. As you embark on your real estate journey, remember that title insurance is not an optional expense; it's a vital investment in your future. It offers peace of mind, protecting you from unexpected legal battles and financial losses that could jeopardize your dreams.

We are here to guide you every step of the way, answering all your questions and helping you navigate the complexities of title insurance.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to protect your most valuable asset! 💪💼

Reach out to us today by phone, email, or through our website to schedule a consultation. Let's explore how title insurance can work for you and provide the security you deserve.

March 15, 2023

Can you Trust Zestimates?

Everyone loves going on Zillow and getting a Zestimate for their home. But can you trust it?

According to Money Magazine, Zestimates are usually off by 8% to 10%. And that percentage could work against you or for you. It could be 10% more than it is actually worth, or 10% less than it is actually worth.

But one thing we can tell you, is that if we look at your home, we can tell you if that Zillow number is right and what your home is actually worth.

Zestimates can sometimes work when you live in a tract home neighborhood or a condo. But it really doesn’t work if you have made improvements to your property or you live in a neighborhood where each street is different.

Zestimates don’t take into account basements, interior and outdoor improvements. Let’s say your basement was renovated and is great additional space for a family room, home office or bedroom. How does Zillow know that?

It also doesn’t take into consideration the hardscaping and landscaping improvements you made. It just looks at the acreage, square footage of the property, number of bedrooms and baths.

With interest rates rising, and the market slowing down, homeowners want to know if their property is holding its value. Best way to figure that out is to call an agent, like us. We can talk to you about your improvements, look at what happened in the neighborhood and provide two forms of analysis on the value of your house.

First, we get the Realtor Property Resource which gives us a range of the value of your homes, based on information provided by the MLS. We then search through MLS and the tax records (for non-market sales) to see what has happened in your neighborhood over the last six months. Based on that information we can find a accurately price your home.

Let us know how we can work with you to determine the sales price of your home. We are not here to push you to sell but to give you advise and a peace of mind.

March 9, 2023

Want a 2.9% interest rate in your mortgage….. well, there is a way!

Interest rates have increased and that pushed away potential buyers from the real estate market.  A year ago, you could purchase a home with a 2.9% interest rate on the money you were borrowing.  However, inflation forced the mortgage rates to go up as high as 6%. This caused monthly mortgage payments to increase by several hundred of dollars.  

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a house with a 2.9% interest rate.  There is a way!  It’s called an Assumable Loan!  

Sellers who used a VA (Veterans Affairs) loan, can have the loan assumed by a buyer of their property.  There are requirements, and if a buyer can meet those requirements the loans is assumed!  

But it’s not easy…. The requirements can vary, and generally require the following: 

1. The buyer must apply for the existing loan and be qualified by the lender. 

2. The buyer must agree to all the terms of the existing loan such as the existing balance, existing interest rate and repayment agreement. 

3. The buyer may also assume any other liabilities associated with the mortgage. 

There are some pros and cons for both buyers and sellers with assumable loans.  

The pros for buyers include the opportunity to hold on to a lower interest rates than the ones that are currently available in the market. For sellers, having trouble selling their homes, marketing your VA loans to be assumed by a potential buyer is a great incentive.  

The cons for buyers is that if the seller has a sizeable amount in equity, then you have to bring that amount as a down payment.  There are few banks offering a second mortgage to buyers looking to assume a loan.  For sellers, the VA loan entitlement will be waived, meaning that you can’t get a VA loan for another purchase when your VA loan is assumed by another buyer.  

Finally, the big issue for many homebuyers and sellers is that assumable loans are a new thing for mortgage banks.  Therefore, a four-week close may not happen.  You have to be flexible until the banks work out the kinks. 

If you want more information on how this work, reach out to us and we can help find you a property with an assumable loan!

Please contact us today, at 703.772.2536 or via email: