So close to the city, yet quiet as country

front of home

Welcome to the suburbs. Oh, no doubt you have either lived or heard of the traffic horror stories for people that work in Washington, DC.  If you are moving to the area from out of town, you may opt for a neighborhood that is close to the subway system (Metrorail). I do sell a lot of homes to people that have “close to public transportation” at or near the top of their wish list. Naturally, homes close to the metro system demand a bit more money. You won’t get more house or more yard, but you will be close to public transit.

There is another way. The Maryland suburbs have lots of great neighborhoods that at first blush appear off the beaten path. Well they are off the beaten path. You see, the DC area has more folks that have relocated from other parts of the country than just about any city in the USA.  The beaten path refers to the roads that lead directly into and out of the city. People move in, start driving the first route they are told and five years later, they are using the same roads. Those roads become the path and that path becomes beaten because all the new folks use the same roads.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, you will face a commute. We all do. You may learn some short cuts, but you will still be in the car (or subway car) for up to two hours each day. All bets are off if it rains, snows or gets a little foggy. That is a lot of time.

At the end of the day, wouldn’t you like to just sit back and relax. I have the spot for you. Let’s move past the fact that it is a spacious, well cared for 4 bedroom, 2 bath home. The completely remodeled kitchen is nice. Yes the heirloom fireplace mantle is priceless. The crafted doors are amazing. And yes, there is a one bedroom, one bath in-law/au pair suite complete with a kitchen downstairs. The garage is two bays, large and sufficient for the pickiest motor head. Oh, yes it is a pretty level 2 acre lot.

Let’s get past that. You have worked all day long.

Let’s just go out front and sit on the porch overlooking the parkland. Serene, green and private. Listen to the soft hoot of the distant owls. Watch the fireflies dance. Tomorrow soon becomes a distant destination. This is where you find peace….and quiet. If you are up for it, walk down the steps and take a leisurely stroll through your 2 acres of land. Let the stress go, stretch out those muscles cramped from work. Once the sun sets, go back up and watch the moonrise, let the kids go chase fireflies. You work hard and you deserve your own little oasis in the midst of the suburbs, just outside the city.

Everything the suburbs have to offer is a short distance away. The ICC is around the corner. DC, Bethesda, Rockville and Baltimore are all within 30 minutes driving. Or, you can just sit back and enjoy…home.

Video Tour

behind-the-curtain

Interested in that lifestyle… that home…that dream?  Call me. 301-509-5111.

 

 

Fair Housing … it’s the law, not a prescription for home buying hide and seek.

Fair Housing Act
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability.

HUD has played a lead role in administering the Fair Housing Act since its adoption in 1968. The 1988 amendments, however, have greatly increased the Department’s enforcement role. First, the newly protected classes have proven significant sources of new complaints. Second, HUD’s expanded enforcement role took the Department beyond investigation and conciliation into the area of mandatory enforcement.

Complaints filed with HUD are investigated by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). If the complaint is not successfully conciliated, FHEO determines whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred. Where reasonable cause is found , the parties to the complaint are notified by HUD’s issuance of a Determination, as well as a Charge of Discrimination, and a hearing is scheduled before a HUD administrative law judge. Either party – complainant or respondent – may cause the HUD-scheduled administrative proceeding to be terminated by electing instead to have the matter litigated in Federal court. Whenever a party has so elected, the Department of Justice takes over HUD’s role as counsel seeking resolution of the charge on behalf of aggrieved persons, and the matter proceeds as a civil action. Either form of action – the ALJ proceeding or the civil action in Federal court – is subject to review in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Significant Recent Changes

  1. The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA) makes several changes to the 55 and older exemption. Since the 1988 Amendments, the Fair Housing Act has exempted from its familial status provisions properties that satisfy the Act’s 55 and older housing condition.First, it eliminates the requirement that 55 and older housing have significant facilities and services designed for the elderly. Second, HOPA establishes a good faith reliance immunity from damages for persons who in good faith believe that the 55 and older exemption applies to a particular property, if they do not actually know that the property is not eligible for the exemption and if the property has formally stated in writing that it qualifies for the exemption.
    HOPA retains the requirement that senior housing must have one person who is 55 years of age or older living in at least 80 percent of its occupied units. It also still requires that senior housing publish and follow policies and procedures that demonstrate an intent to be housing for persons 55 and older.

    An exempt property will not violate the Fair Housing Act if it includes families with children, but it does not have to do so. Of course, the property must meet the Act’s requirements that at least 80 percent of its occupied units have at least one occupant who is 55 or older, and that it publish and follow policies and procedures that demonstrate an intent to be 55 and older housing.

    A Department of Housing and Urban Development rule published in the April 2, 1999, Federal Register implements the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995, and explains in detail those provisions of the Fair Housing Act that pertain to senior housing.

  2. Changes were made to enhance law enforcement, including making amendments to criminal penalties in section 901 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 for violating the Fair Housing Act.
  3. Changes were made to provide incentives for self-testing by lenders for discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. See Title II, subtitle D of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997, P.L. 104 – 208 (9/30/96).

What Housing Is Covered?

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

What Is Prohibited?

In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

In Mortgage Lending: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Refuse to purchase a loan or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.

In Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right
  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Additional Protection if You Have a Disability

If you or someone associated with you:

  • Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Have a record of such a disability or
  • Are regarded as having such a disability

your landlord may not:

  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.)
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

Example: A building with a no pets policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.

Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near her apartment if necessary to assure that she can have access to her apartment.

However, housing need not be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who currently uses illegal drugs.

Requirements for New Buildings

In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator and four or more units:

  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
  • All units must have:
    • An accessible route into and through the unit
    • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
    • Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
    • Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

If a building with four or more units has no elevator and will be ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units.

These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent standards in State or local law.

Housing Opportunities for Families

Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:

  • A parent
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
  • The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian’s written permission.

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:

  • The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
  • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
  • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.

This law is in place to guarantee that you can buy where you want to buy. It in no way suggests that the features of any home or neighborhood can dictate your ability to purchase.

Good Home Inspectors NEVER “pooch” a deal

see no evil hear no evil speak no evilThere are different views on home inspectors. Listing  and buyer’s agents apparently view them with disdain. According to Justin Pierce ( a Realtor and real estate investor based in Northern Virginia) “Just keep in mind that the role of the home inspector can be in opposition to the interest of the real estate agent. The home inspector’s job is to find problems, if the exist. Real estate agents by nature don’t like people who find problems with their deals.” 1. (Well, of course he may be referring to the way business is done on the other side of the river. I prefer the ethics practiced and laws followed on this side of the Potomac.)

Now, I have a problem with that statement. I think it is asinine to paint an industry with such a large brush. I have been involved in real estate transactions for the better part of the last two decades. I have managed an office for the largest broker in the Washington DC area. I have walked agents through transactions and reviewed hundreds upon hundreds of deals. As they say down in the country “that dog won’t hunt”.

Real estate agents don’t like people who look the other way when they are supposed to be protecting the agents clients. That statement holds true for lenders, home inspectors, title companies, service providers and anyone else serving on the periphery of a transaction. The entire industry crashed when people that were more motivated by greed than serving the consumer railroaded every deal that they could get their grubby fingers on.

Of course, some listing agents feel that some inspectors are more diligent than others. When the thorough inspector shows up, it is a blessing for the seller and the buyer. It guarantees that when settlement occurs, the buyer is getting exactly what they believe they are getting. The goal of both agents is to facilitate a smooth transaction, not to ram a damn “money pit” down some unsuspecting buyers throat. Perpetuating that image does nothing for the profession that I am proud to be a member.

Home inspectors work for the buyer. They are paid by the buyer. Their job is to protect and advise the buyer about the condition of the home. Staging is only beauty and as they say, beauty is only skin deep. A home inspector checks the home from top to bottom. If something is wrong they point it out. If something is old, they share the information. They make no recommendations about whether the buyer should move forward. They give the buyer a fair estimation of the condition of the home. Seems like a pretty good idea to me and most of the hundreds of thousands of Realtors across the country.

When any buyer enters a contract to purchase a home, they have the right to make sure they as much information as possible about the value and condition of the home. To suggest that any agent would prefer to have homes bought and sold in a “caveat emptor” manner is to impugn all of the efforts the industry has made to protect the consumer.

Lest anyone forget, Realtors have introduced and supported changes in this industry from fair housing to lead paint protection to home inspections. Good Home Inspectors never “pooch” a deal. They often prevent a mistake from being made and always walk away from a home knowing they have given a fair unbiased opinion of the home.

I agree completely with the FHA admonition – “For your protection, get a home inspection”

1. “A good home inspection can save the buyer a lot of money’ Washington Post 12/7/2013

USA, USA … no…USAA supporting our troops

USAA_EAGLE_FLAT_LU_BLU

Imagine. Just by using the USAA Movers Advantage program, you can actually receive money! No one can ever completely or totally repay you or  your family for the serving the USA. Regardless of where you choose to live, you will be surrounded by neighbors that enjoy all the freedoms of this great country, in part, because of your service.

THANK YOU

This is not just for the faint of heart, no, this program is for USAA members. You see, serving your country is not forgotten. USAA and Century 21 Redwood Realty have committed to making sure your move to the DC area is smooth and seamless. That’s our mission.

I am proud of my brokers affiliation with USAA. Century 21 Redwood Realty is a worldwide leader and they are my broker. If you are a member and are interested in learning about the program, call me and I will be sure that you get all the information. I can be reached on my cell phone at 301-509-5111

The chart below gives you a quick overview of part of the cash back program.

Purchase/Sale Price

Cash Back

Buying

Selling

$0 – $99,999

$350

$350

$100,000 – $149,999

$650

$650

$150,000 – $249,999

$950

$950

$250,000 – $399,999

$1,250

$1,250

$400,000 and more

$1,550

$1,550

Don’t waste time searching old data…accuracy in home searches

 

ipad photo

Click on the above photo, live up-to-date listings

If you have spent any time on line, searching for a new home, you may have discovered that many sites are not quite accurate. When homes are listed for sale, a process begins. The listing agent (unless otherwise instructed by the seller) has to submit the listing to the MRIS. The MRIS is the local firm that creates the Multiple Listing Service. One of the functions of the MLS is to allow cooperation among Brokers regarding the sharing of information and providing a system of distribution of the commission earned on the sale of the home. In layman’s terms, the MLS is the place where homes for sale are entered and buyer’s agents are informed of the compensation they will receive for representing a buyer.

The MLS used to be the private domain of the Brokers and the agents working for them. As the demand for information grew, Brokers realized they could monetize the date by selling it to other companies that offered home searches to the general public. Syndication was born. Now you can go on-line and use any one of the hundreds upon hundreds of websites offering listings.

Not so fast. You see, part of the problem with syndication to folks like Zillow and Trulia and most of the other sites is that the information is not always up-dated quickly. The biggest complaint voiced by agents all across the country is that buyers call them for help and ask to see a home that is already sold. The site they visited shows it as available, but it is NOT.

I decided that I would spend the time and money to have a direct link to my local MLS on my website. You can click the photo above and it will direct you to a search page. From there, you just enter your criteria and voila…you will see real time listings. It is not updated on any schedule. It is a view as accurate as it can be, it is NOW.  It may not be as fancy as all those sites that the bigger firms offer. It may take a bit to sort out. Sure, that may take a few minutes. It will save you hours of grief and eliminate lots of angst. You are looking for a home now and I think you should be able to see what is really available and not the drek created by “GIGO” aka garbage in – garbage out.

Enjoy

Home buying in DC area Fall 2013 … tips for buyers

humpty dumptyOld wives tales claim that home buying comes to a halt just before the holidays and then nothing happens until Spring. The economy that used to support that notion no longer exists. I am not sure it ever existed. Herd mentality regarding seasonal swings in real estate sales had more influence on the general public than any other reason. When reality was exposed via the internet, lots of suppositions fell by the wayside, crushed under the weight of exposed facts.

This is 2013. The buying public is no longer in the dark. The truth found in common sense is rising to the surface. People move when they have a need for more space or when they have to change locations. The life events that create the need for more space or the need to change locations are not written in stone.

This is not rocket science, this is the real world. All weddings do not occur in the Spring and Summer. For that matter, all decisions to live as one do not occur only in the Spring and Summer. Children are adopted and children are born in every month of the year. Hard times strike when they strike and the need to provide for a loved one can happen any day, any week in any month.

Relocation is a 365 day occurrence. New jobs are found. Transfers from one area to another happen every week. People are discharged from the military every day. Life changes daily. It does not wait because Thanksgiving is here or Christmas is coming. Life suffers winter weather, it does not stop.

Worried about homes to buy?  Home owners live in the same world you do. There is always a supply of homes for sale. Sure the quantity rises and falls with the needs of the sellers, but there always homes for sale.

The Fall 2013 tip for buyers? Make sure you follow the proper steps when entering the home buying market. Your first step is ALWAYS the same. Speak to a few lenders, to find out where you are and what you need to do to get where you want to go. An agent has no value until you have an a factual understanding of what you can afford to purchase.

Make sure that you keep your lender inquiries (one, two or three) within a 14 day period. Each inquiry reduces your credit score, but inquiries within the same industry that occur within the same 14 day period are treated as one inquiry.

The lender(s) will evaluate you based on your earnings, your savings, your debt and your credit history. You should approach the information with a range of monthly payment that is in your comfort zone. Do not believe anyone that tries to convince you that even if it is tight in the beginning, future raises will make it easier. That sort of advice is coming from a jackal. Immediately sever ties and seek counsel elsewhere.

After you talk with a lender, I would be glad to help you. Oh, just like damn near every other agent, I work pretty much 12 months of the year. I too can tell war stories about Christmas Eve ratifications, etc. I just happen to know that buying and selling goes on when buyers and sellers have a need. When it is right for you, I will be there to assist you.

Questions? Call me at 202-656-5710. Comments…….always welcome.

Home buying is simple … Not exactly ….

Wow… talk about a confusing process. You take an average person that decides…Now is the time to buy a home. This is not an easy decision. It is influenced by the “American Dream(?). This person wants information. They boot up and head out on the good old information super highway. A lot of them start at Google. One of the first places listed is HUD’s website. Seems like as good a place as any to start. HUD lists 9 steps to buying a home.

Nine steps to buying a home

  1. Figure out how much you can afford
  2. Know your rights
  3. Shop for a loan
  4. Learn about home buying programs
  5. Shop for a home
  6. Make an offer
  7. Get a home inspection
  8. Shop for homeowners insurance
  9. Sign papers

It lists all the steps. It gives direction. It really goes into great detail. In some cases it is accurate. For the first step, it does advise that you need to talk to a lender. The second step mentions fair housing and respa. As you can see the third step sends you to a lender and by step 4 you are advised to get a real estate agent.

Good advice ? … Not exactly.

Remember, even when you think you are doing what needs to be done, you may not be grasping the instructions. Sometimes words actually confuse the directions.

confused1

The same tool that potential buyers uses to get information usually gives incomplete or misleading information. We are all not alike. Everyone comes to this vast suppository of information with different backgrounds, education and beliefs. The information may seem relevant and pertinent, but is it saying what you are perceiving?

Not Exactly …

behind-the-curtain

Really? Here are some examples…

The price of the home listed on the website is the price I can pay to buy the home.

Not exactly. The price listed only represents what the agent entered into the multiple listing service. It is the price that the seller agreed to publicize. The final sale price can be more or less or the same as the listed price. If you offer the list price, your offer may not be accepted. They do not have to sell the home to you just because you offered list price. The seller has the right to review how you plan to pay and the seller has the right to accept another offer instead of yours. The competing offer does not have to be equal to or more than your offer. It just has to be a more acceptable offer. The seller makes that decision.

The amount of money someone paid for a home is a factor in what can be offered.

Not exactly. To begin with, it is a bit presumptuous to look at the price a person paid for a home and determine how much you think they deserve to profit on the sale. There usually is no way that a buyer or buyer’s agent can know how the home was financed, what equity lines may have been taken, etc. Further more, the price of the home should reflect market value and not what the buyer thinks the seller should “make” on the sale. I have never met anyone that uses this logic in determining an offer that would like the same logic used in dealing with them.

Properties labeled bank owned or REO will be handled in the same fashion as other types of sales.

Not exactly. Banks make use of every single loop hole they can find to avoid following State laws regarding the sale of property. They do not disclose any information and they do not ask the listing agent to determine if there is any information about the property they are selling. The sale of these types of property is usually “as-is where-is”. Laws regarding lead paint issues are ignored. Some lenders will correct problems identified by an appraiser. Most of these sales are handled by firms that represent several banks and they are over whelmed with listings. The best phrase regarding these sales is the old latin “caveat emptor” let the “buyer beware”.

These are but a few of the Not Exactly situations that function in the world of home buying. It is best to keep an open mind and a relationship with a real estate agent that is more concerned with you than his wallet. The truth may not be what you want to hear, but the truth is what you need to hear.

You see, a good agents does more than drive you around and open doors, the help you need and the answers you need to here is but a phone call away. Call John MacArthur at 301-509-5111. He will always listen and separate fact from fiction. All real estate agents are the same? Not Exactly. Call John and Experience the difference.

DC Home for Sale Inventory is on the rise

Questions and AnswersCherry blossoms blooming are not the only pretty sight in DC this week. A short trip through any neighborhood reveals brand new “For Sale” signs. Announcements from brokers, large and small, in a myriad of shapes, colors and sizes proclaim DC home for sale inventory is on the rise. This morning, a search of the  area reveals listings everywhere.

American University Park has two listings under $500,000. A couple of weeks ago, there were only a few homes for sale there (all close to $1,000,000). You could spend a lot of time in the Adams Morgan area looking at homes for sale. There are over 200 homes on the market in an area that had little for sale last month. If you are still thinking about Brookland (the latest hot spot), almost 50 homes are for sale. It is the same all over the city. DC home for sale inventory is on the rise. Capitol Hill, Cleveland Park, Dupont Circle, H Street, Shaw and Tenleytown all have homes for sale.

If you would like to see any of the homes for sale, up close and personal, fill out the form below and I will make arrangements for that to occur at your convenience. After all, now is the time. DC home for sale inventory is on the rise.

Putting Doctors in a House

“Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick…”

If you are a physician, you know the phrase well. It appears in the fifth paragraph of the Hippocratic Oath. Of course, that portion of the oath goes on to affirm your purpose in visiting the home of a patient. Back in the day, Physicians often made “house calls”. Today, the practice continues to different degrees depending on your location. At some point, it became much more practical for the Physician to remain in one place and have the patients come to them.

But, let’s look a little deeper into those 14 words.  Of course, they were a preamble to a behavior when written, but today, they represent a beautiful truth about the life of a Physician and another purpose of visiting homes. I have worked closely with Docs since the mid-1980’s. My interactions included work with specialists, general practitioners, interns and residents. I have counseled them in private offices, doctor’ lounges and coffee shops. I have a pretty good feel for the challenges docs face.  I know another way of reading those 14 words.

Patients seeking remedies and healing are usually very thankful for the cure. From the outside looking in, few of them realize how many ‘balls must be juggled” to keep an office open. DRG’s, HSM’s, medical billing, contracts, etc are all buried beneath “Thanks Doc, I feel better’. Not many stop and realize the Physician move to the area “for the benefit of the sick’.

Most Physicians like to become a part of the community. (It should be no surprise that those that are the healing glue of an area seek out being a part of that area). Community service, even service that comes with a fee, is entrenched in the desire to serve a community.

When a Physician decides to purchase a home or establish a practice in a neighborhood, they are probably going to visit houses (or office buildings or condos). The purpose is to plant their personal flag and establish their place in the community. While, in some ways, it is accurate to say they are no different than any other home buyer or business owner, truth be told, their need of the community is counter-balanced by the communities need for them.

They deserve special attention and assisting Physicians in their home buying has always felt special to me. Once we begin an earnest search, I know I am helping them fulfill another interpretation of that Hippocratic Oath. Whatever house they visit in their home search, they do it for the benefit of the sick. Once they find that home, they become a member of that community and professionally become part of the healing process for their new neighbors and patients.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Sun Trust. They have a Doctor Loan Program. I have a relationship with the leading Sun Trust lender affiliated with this program. He not only works with individual Physicians, he is called upon to speak to large groups about the Sun Trust Doctor Loan Program. He has shared the overview below.

The Doctor Loan Program is a residential mortgage loan developed specifically for medical residents, interns, fellows, Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), and licensed medical physicians that have completed their residency within the last 10 years.

  • Available for both home purchases and mortgage refinances
  • Competitive pricing available along with special relationship discounts
  • Mortgage insurance is not required
  • Maximum of 80.00% Loan-to-Value (LTV) available1 for cash-out refinances
  • Both fixed rate and adjustable rate2 loans are available
  • Available in AL, AK, DE, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV and DC; available in select counties in NJ and PA
  • No penalty for prepaying your loan
  • Gift funds or seller contributions may be used for closing costs

For licensed medical physicians who have completed their residency within the last 10 years:

  • Maximum of 100%1,3,4 financing for purchases and rate/term refinances with a maximum loan amount of $650,000 for well-qualified borrowers
  • Maximum of 95% financing for purchases and rate/term refinances with a maximum loan amount of $1 million1 for well-qualified borrowers
  • Maximum of 89.99% financing for purchases and rate/term refinances with a maximum loan amount of $1.5 million1

For Residents, Interns and Fellows:

  • Maximum of 100%1,3,4 financing for purchases and rate/term refinances for well-qualified borrowers
  • Maximum loan amount of $417,000

1State law may put further restrictions on the maximum loan to value ratio.
2Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) products have interest rates that may increase after consummation.
3Borrowers should note that 100% mortgage financing will result in no property equity until such time as the loan principal is paid down through regular mortgage payments and/or the property value appreciates. Additionally, if property values decline, you could owe more than your property’s value.
4A down payment may be required if the property is located in a market where properties are declining in value.

Now that may be a lot of information for those outside medical practice. For Physicians, I hope you benefit from it and if you are in the DC area and would like the assistance of a Realtor that understands the demands of your profession and will work diligently to assist you in the purchase of home, please take a moment and fill out the form. All inquiries will be held confidential.

5 things you need to know about viewing homes

You  have scoured the internet listings. Maybe you have a list derived from homes your agent sent you to review. In some cases, you may have a mix of what your agent has sent and homes you have found using one of the websites that list homes for sale. Now you are ready to go see them in person.

There are 5 things you need to know before you go out the door.

  1. Your agent has to review the list to make sure they are all actually still for sale
  2. Your agent has to make sure he is aware of information about each home and neighborhood.
  3. Your agent has to follow the showing instructions in obtaining permission for you to view each home.
  4. Your agent has to put together a route that will get you from the starting point to the last home
  5. Your agent has to keep you on schedule to reach and view each home on the list.

Viewing homes is not just a matter of driving to an address of a home that is for sale and walking through the front door and taking a look around. It first must be verified that the home is still for sale and available for viewing. It is possible that a home that was listed as “active” when you last looked on line, has gone under contract. Some websites are not updated and homes showing for sale have actually been sold long before they caught your eye. If you have found a home in one of the many vanity magazines that claim to have homes for sale, chances are that nothing you have seen is still on the market (those magazines actually are for the benefit of agents hoping to list other homes).  Homes that are for sale, may or may not be occupied. If they are occupied, the resident usually likes to know that someone is coming to view the home. If they are vacant, it is usually easier to get in the home and view it. Your agent will have to “scrub” the list and remove those that are not really available.

Once the list of homes you want to see has been reduced to homes that you can see, your agent has to review the pertinent data about the home. You may have questions about square footage, the approximate tax bill, the schools in the area as well as where is the closest shopping, etc. Your agent has to be able to answer your questions. In most cases, these general questions are part of your weaning method and getting back to you will prolong the process. At this stage, you are subconsciously evaluating each home. Answers that make it easier to include or remove a home from your final list are very important. Your agent should be aware of traffic patterns and possible commuting routes. Understand, in urban areas, finding a parking space is not a skill, it is the luck of the draw.

Every listing agent has been directed by the seller when the home is available to be shown. These instructions vary from home to home. There are lots of reasons that homes may not be available when you wish to view them. If people are still living in the home, they are selling a house but they are also doing their best to maintain some semblance of order while that occurs.  The listing agent includes showing instructions in the MLS listing. The instructions are not always finite. Often, the listing agent uses the services of a third party showing scheduler. A call must be made and permission granted for the time frame your agent plans for you to view the home. These “showing windows” have a beginning time and are usually confined to a 60 minute slot. If a home is vacant, you often have a great deal more latitude in times. The showing permission has to be followed. It is very important that you stay on schedule. If a home you visit is impressive enough that you want a longer look, have your agent schedule a second showing later that day or the next day. Don’t linger and throw the viewing schedule off. You may not be able to see all the homes on your list and you will never know if the one  you missed would have been “the one”.

In a perfect world, you would start at point A and move systematically to point B and so on. Showing homes just doesn’t seem to work that way all of the time.  Often, available showing times create the need for a back and forth flow to your tour.  It is up to your agent to orchestrate this journey. Each home and each availability time has to be put together like pieces of a puzzle. When complete, you will have a good picture of which homes you will visit and the order in which you will see them. Nobody is perfect and a system with so many variables can cause the best of us to falter. Your agent’s mission is to get you into each home you wish to see. Usually, that happens, but sometimes things change and you end up standing at a front door and discover it is not available to be seen.  It happens to the best of us. Keep in mind, the seller can restrict showings when ever they want. If you can’t get in, move on to the next home on the list.

Sometimes when viewing homes, you discover that the listing agent was a magician with a camera. Other times, when viewing homes you will marvel at a listing agent’s talent in describing the home. When viewing homes, what you see is what you get. Your agent has no control over the accuracy of photos presented or description used by the listing agent. Your agent is responsible for looking at the home and attempting to see anything that needs further investigation. Always remember that you are the buyer. You will be the one living in the home. If you ask the agent “What do you think?”, you are asking too broad of a question. You can ask about lots of things regarding the home or the area. Your agent (in most cases) will not be moving in with you, so “what they think” is not something they can easily answer. It is your job to walk around, get a feel for the layout, visualize your self and your things (furniture, etc). Most of the time, this will be accomplished rather quickly. Make notes and wait until you have seen all the homes before making a final yes decision about any of them. Remove any home as soon as you know it does not work. Stay on schedule. Your goal was to see a certain number of homes to make a good evaluation. You have to stay on schedule to accomplish your goal.

Viewing homes properly entails planning. If you follow your agent’s direction, you will have a successful day. You may not find the home of your choice, but you will definitely remove possibles from your list. Remember, it takes time to prepare and preparation is necessary for you to see the homes you wish to see.

Enjoy the journey, take notes and stay on schedule. Your home is just waiting for you to come by.