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by PoP Sponsor April 19, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

We’re flying through the steps of the home-buying process with just a few more to go. If you have missed any or want to start at the beginning, you can do that here.

Now that you’ve made it through the home inspection, and have a ratified contract on a home, we’re on to part 2 of the financing process. Financing part 1 was choosing a lender and pre-approval. Now that you have a home lined up to purchase, it’s time for part 2, the loan application and other steps needed to receive your financing on the settlement day.

The loan approval process is in many ways very similar to the loan pre-approval process. In addition to filling out a loan application you will be requested to submit documents. Depending on your financial situation this may be the same documents requested for pre-approval or many more.

Expect your entire financial (and tax) situation to be examined under a microscope with numerous requests for documentation. During this time it is important that there are no substantial changes to your financial situation, in particular:

  • Don’t move any funds without discussing with your lender.
  • Don’t make any large deposits unless you are able to document the source of the funds.
  • Receiving gift funds? These need to be properly documented. Do not accept or deposit gift funds without speaking to your lender.
  • Do not apply for new debt of any kind. This includes credit cards, car loans, or refinancing any of your existing loans (unless recommended by your lender).
  • Consider credit monitoring (during your search and through settlement) to make sure that there are no unauthorized changes to your credit score.

While the the information that you provide your lender will confirm that you qualify for your loan, the other part of the equation is making sure that the property that you are purchasing qualifies.

Since the property you are purchasing will be collateral for your loan, the bank wants to make sure that your loan is based on the market value and that there are no conditions that would have a substantial impact on their ability to sell the property in the event of foreclosure.

How does a bank know what the home your buying is worth? This is where the appraisal comes in. Your lender will order your appraisal, and it will be conducted by a third party service provider. The appraiser will have a copy of the sale contract. They will visit the home to take measurements, document the size and condition, and note any adverse conditions. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor April 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

For over 10 years, the Washington Nationals have called Navy Yard (or Capitol Riverfront) their home.

During this time, the neighborhood has seen a resurgence of housing and commerce replacing what was at times considered DC’s industrial backyard.

While Nationals Stadium has been a key cornerstone of this success, such a rapid change could not have happened without a concerted effort by city officials, developers and local residents.

The Capitol Riverfront BID sees the area becoming the, “next-generation neighborhood for business, recreation and city life.” So much so, that Mayor Bowser has even pitched it to Amazon for their future HQ2 site.

With so much development, we thought we’d take a look at the numbers from the perspective of a future homeowner, renter or investor that has been wondering if the Navy Yard is right for them. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor April 5, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written by D.C. Realtor and resident Sean Forschler.  Licensed in DC, MD & VA, he has been in the business since 2001 and currently works at RLAH Real Estate.  He may be contacted at [email protected].

So you’re thinking about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on buying a new home.

You think, sure, I can save lots of money by doing it myself or with the help of my 3rd cousin twice removed on my mother’s side who lives in Albuquerque. Or I can go directly to the seller’s agent (listing agent).

There are a ton of websites nowadays that allow us to do things for ourselves, such as book flights and hotels, write a will, buy a car, etc. Just ask people who used to be travel agents! But now is not the time to go it alone. Before opting for the DIY route, I felt compelled to give you a (biased) list of tasks that a buyer’s agent should do for you.

Educate and help you navigate the entire process by orchestrating the various stages of the purchase; drafting and submitting your offer, arranging inspections, appraisal, walkthrough and closing.

It’s expected that you’ll have tons of questions which they will answer or point you in the right direction. They also facilitate communications between the seller’s agent, lender, title attorney, appraiser and any other professionals involved in the transaction.

Assist you in locating sources of mortgage loans. Buyer’s agents see mortgage products and rates frequently enough to compare and share which lender offers the best for your situation.

Creation of an e-mail alert system that notifies you of properties that fit your criteria before most people are aware of the property. Although you will inevitably search properties on sites like Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com, our instant alert search is set up through BrightMLS which is the master database that supplies property listings to everyone, ensuring that you’re getting data directly from the source!

Analyzing the pros and cons of properties you select.  Are you considering buying the best and most beautiful house in the crappiest neighborhood? Like a stockbroker monitors their market values daily, agents do the same and have more data than you can imagine. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

The next stop on the home buying journey is often a home inspection. Today I’ll be going over the ins and outs of inspections, the different types, who to hire and what to expect. Not everyone has a home inspection, but for most buyers, the information gained is very helpful.

Let’s start with what a home inspection is and what it isn’t. A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to identify items that are not performing correctly or are unsafe. A home inspector will recommend further evaluation by a licensed professional if they suspect an issue that requires further diagnosis.  Home inspectors also can provide valuable preventative maintenance recommendations.

A home inspection is not a 100% examination of every inch of a home, and is limited to what is visible, accessible and testable. The overall objective of a home inspection isn’t to find every possible issue, it is to provide a buyer with an understanding of the condition of the home, identify issues that need to be corrected (and potentially negotiated) so that the buyer can proceed with their purchase with a level of comfort.

There are two times in a transaction when a buyer may decide to have a home inspection, one is before an offer is submitted (aka a pre-offer inspection) or more traditionally after an offer is accepted and a contract is ratified. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This weekly column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Kalorama resident Jeffrey Tanck.  He can be reached at [email protected].

You bought the perfect apartment when you were single. Close to work, near great places to eat, drink and get kicked out of. It was your first place and it was your palace.

Then you met your partner and now you’re consolidating households and don’t know what to do with that same great apartment that no longer works for your current sitch. You’re not ready to let it go, not yet.

You’re going to rent it! Great idea.

Personally, I think everyone should have a studio or one bedroom apartment in their investment portfolio. Rental real estate can be a wonderful investment. That said, it is not without risks. Below is part one of a two part series on practical strategies to reduce the stress of being a landlord.

Get the proper licenses. THIS IS IMPORTANT. DC has specific legal requirements for renting property and it is vitally important that you’re in compliance. Not having the proper licenses is a liability you do not want and can limit your rights.

Have a home inspection. A home inspection is like a physical for your property: it can establish a baseline for overall condition, as well as identify current and potential issues. Take care of any problems that are identified in the inspection before you begin marketing your property.

The City will also perform an inspection of your property as part of the licensing process to ensure certain property and safety standards are met. If you make sure your property meets these standards ahead of time the process will be much more efficient.

Cancel your Homestead Deduction. If the property that you are going to rent was owner occupied and you were receiving DC’s Homestead Deduction on your property taxes, you’ll need to notify the office of tax and revenue that you are no longer living in the property and are ineligible for the deduction.

Yes, this means that your property taxes will go up, but it also means that you won’t be penalized at some future point for taking the exemption when you were not eligible. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

Today we’re moving on to the next step of the homebuying process!

For some buyers, this is when the thrill and excitement of touring houses (which I discussed in my last column) turns to panic and fear, understandably so since things get very real when you sign a contract for a large sum of money.

Once you find a home that you want to buy, the next step is to submit a written offer to the seller of that home, letting them know what you are offering in exchange for their property. We have a fairly standardized well established offer process here in the DC area, but I can’t say enough that every transaction is different and it’s challenging to accurately generalize.

The offer terms that you submit become part of the legally binding written contract between you and the seller, so it’s important to carefully think through what you are offering to ensure that you will be able to follow through with your contractual obligations.

Here are some of the different offer terms to be thinking about as you look at homes and prepare to submit an offer:

Price: On the surface, price is the most straightforward of the offer terms, but often one of the most difficult to decide on. The price you decide to offer should be based on an overall offer strategy, and your decision of what the home is worth to you. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0


This column is written by Metro DC Houses, a local real estate team serving DC, MD, VA made up of Colin Johnson, the immediate past President for the D.C. Association of Realtors and Christopher Suranna, the current President for the D.C. Association of Realtors.

TOPA.

It is not a four-letter word but rather four letters that historically represent challenges that faced landlord’s and tenant’s interest throughout the city.

How did we get where we are today with TOPA?

There are 3 categories of TOPA: single family, 2-4 units, and 5+ units. For the purposes of our discussion we will only be discussing single family properties.

The law as it is written requires homeowners with tenants to provide them with first right a refusal and notice of a sale on their home. As it stands this notice and process period could last for 180 days or more and repeats itself if an interested party backs out on single family homes.

There is also a piece of the law that allows for an occupant to assign their rights to another person or entity. This part is very important to allow occupants the opportunity to find a possible non-profit or another owner whom may wish to buy property and then rent back to that occupant.

Because of these 2 major components in the legislation, an industry has evolved that aids tenants in leveraging those rights to the highest bidder or simply stalls the sale. This particular leverage then puts owner in a situation where in order to sell they must pay a tenant or face the potential ongoing loop of tenant rights and maybe never being able to sell. (more…)

by PoP Sponsor March 1, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

This week we are moving on to one of my personal favorite parts of the homebuying process, the actual home search!

Now that you’ve lined up your team of professionals (including your agent and lender) and decided what you are looking for and where, it’s finally time to hit the ground running and check out some properties.

For some buyers this part of the process is fun and enjoyable, for others, it can be understandably stressful. While no two buyers home searches are the same, there are some recommendations that I can offer to help make sure that your time spent looking at houses is productive and beneficial:

Shop before you buy

  • For buyers with a flexible or extended timeframe, I recommend casually starting your home search a little early, 4-6 months from when you want to move.
  • If you are someone who thinks you will fall in love with a house right away and then be devastated that you can’t buy it, this strategy is not for you.
  • This allows time for a less focused, more casual exploration phase – think “window shopping” but not looking to purchase, where you can look at houses that may not be 100% what you are looking for, but can be valuable for helping define what you want as well as what you don’t want

(more…)

by PoP Sponsor February 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This weekly column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Kalorama resident Jeffrey Tanck.  He can be reached at [email protected].

Everyone has one: the mental list of “quirks” or “wants” in our home that we live with on a daily basis that we really should have taken care of but just don’t have the time, know how, motivation, etc.

It can be as simple as replacing the burned out lightbulb in that ceiling fixture that requires a ladder to reach, or repairing the leaking faucet in the bathroom that has been dripping since you moved in or installing a cool new tile backsplash in the kitchen. The Honey Do List.

Maybe you’re a seasoned homeowner or just purchased a new place. Regardless of where you are in your personal real estate cycle, I am willing to bet that you have a list of things in your home that you’d like changed, fixed or improved.

When I meet with a seller client to discuss preparing their home for sale, one of my first questions is, “what’s on your Honey Do List?” The list that is produced (and there is ALWAYS a list) usually includes minor repairs as well as a couple of major projects.

The list is an honest assessment of how the property should be improved so that it is appealing to buyers. The list also represents a lost opportunity for sellers who could have enjoyed their home more had they made these adjustments during their time of ownership.

If I had a dime for every time I have had a seller say “I wish I had done that sooner,” I’d be sitting on a big ole pile of dimes.  (more…)

by PoP Sponsor February 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

In part 4 of my “Buying in 2018” series, I will explore how to choose a real estate agent. The order of these first four steps isn’t that important, you may choose to work on them simultaneously or in whatever order works best for you. If you missed the first 3 columns, here they are:

1: Define Objectives
2: Financing
3: Location

One of the most important yet underrated steps in the homebuying process is choosing who you plan to work with. This is, and should be, an intentional choice. The person you choose will be responsible for helping you make one of the biggest investment decisions of your life, a decision that will impact your financial future, day to day happiness and overall life trajectory. I can’t emphasize this enough, choosing the right agent matters.

Tips for finding a real estate agent:

  • Start the process before you find the house you want to buy. You may notice a common theme with my last few columns, one which I cannot emphasize enough, do not start your home search by looking at properties. Please do not go to an open house, with the intent to submit an offer on that house, before you have an agent. Don’t get me wrong, I love DIY, but not when it comes to a major financial investment.
  • Accept that you may not fully understand why who you decide to work with is so important before you begin the homebuying process. You will understand by the end of the process. The majority of horror stories that I hear from buyers are a result of working with the wrong person (or with no one). Working with a good agent does not guarantee that you will have a smooth transaction, but it does guarantee that you have someone representing your interests and have the best possible chance for success. Real estate transactions, more often than not, will come with challenges, overcoming these challenges requires skill and experience.

(more…)

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