Articles Tagged "Homeownership"

Avery Hess, REALTORS© Home

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Area Events | 15 Posts
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For Buyers | 6 Posts
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Home Improvement | 22 Posts
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July
11

Summer is in full swing, and that means spending more time outdoors. Here's how you can make your outdoor spaces more comfortable.

Summer is the perfect time to re-imagine your favorite outdoor spaces, especially if you've just finished shopping for D.C. homes for sale and want to customize your yard to suit your unique style. Whether you're interested in updating décor or creating an entirely new outdoor living space, you have endless options to consider. Our real estate agents are here to provide some inspiration for how to breathe new life into your outdoor spaces this summer.

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April
4

Buying your first house is a major stepping stone in your life. Here's what you need to make your home buying dream come true.

There's nothing like the feeling of walking into your own home for the first time after closing the deal, but there are many steps to take care of between now and the big day. If you're buying a home for the first time, it's important to be prepared before you start shopping for D.C. homes for sale and making offers. Our real estate agents have the key details on what you'll need to buy your first home.

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March
7

Successful home improvement projects and renovations require skillful organization. Here's how you can finish your projects with ease.

What's the one thing you don't want when planning a large home improvement project? Too many surprises. Coordinating your own home renovation project is as rewarding as it is challenging, and achieving your desired result starts with having a plan. Our real estate agents have some key tips to help you take charge of your next home improvement project, and get results that you'll enjoy for years to come.

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February
21

Cooking with in-season ingredients is an easy and healthy way to upgrade your cooking. Here's how you can start today.

Some of the best restaurants in D.C. create award-winning seasonal menus that take advantage of the different varieties of fresh ingredients which are available at varying points of the year. Ever wish that you could do the same thing at home? Our real estate agents have more information on how to start cooking seasonally, and where you can find fresh, seasonal ingredients in the D.C. area.

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January
24

New Year resolutions are easy to keep, you just need a little planning. Here are some home improvement resolutions to check off your list in 2022.

Whether you've just finished shopping for D.C. homes for sale or you've already owned your current home for a while, the beginning of the new year is the perfect time to start planning your next home improvement projects. It's not too late to start dreaming up your own home improvement New Year's resolutions, and our real estate agents have some inspiration to help you think of some great projects for your home this year.

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December
28

If you're like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your living room visiting with family and entertaining friends. Our real estate agents see the living room as a multi-purpose space for most families, so it's the perfect place for quiet conversations, family gatherings, special parties and events, or just curling up with a good book.

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November
9

Once Thanksgiving arrives, you may have to put off projects till the new year. Here are some tasks you should complete before the holidays.

Thanksgiving is a special holiday when families and friends gather around the dinner table to visit over Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you prefer a traditional stuffed turkey dinner with sides or a cultural family favorite, our real estate agents have a few tips to make your Thanksgiving a success.

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October
4

The living room can be a tricky space to design and arrange. Here are some common mistakes you might be making.

Your living room is an essential space because it's an entryway into your home. As the first room that guests see, your living room should welcome guests with comfort and style. Our real estate agents know just how important first impressions can be to potential buyers. The living room sets the tone for the rest of the house, so it should make a great first impression. When showing D.C. homes for sale, buyers look for comfortable homes with style, character, and exciting features. By making costly design mistakes, you can quickly turn interested buyers away.

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September
20

Winter will be here before you know it. Now is the perfect time to prep your home for cold weather.

Fall and winter are around the corner, which makes now the perfect time to make sure that your home is prepared for the change in weather. Many outdoor home improvement tasks are easier to handle while the weather is still warm, and there are quite a few systems in your home that you'll want to make sure are in good working order before the cold weather arrives. Our real estate agents have all the details on how to get a head start on fall and winter prep this year.

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August
2

There's no excuse for subpar electrical work. Here's how you can make sure your home is protected.

Making sure that your electrical is safe should be an important priority for any homeowner, and electrical safety is something to consider when shopping for D.C. homes for sale. There is a significant risk of fire with some electrical issues, and power surges can cause substantial damage to electronics that may not be covered by homeowner's insurance. Our real estate agents have some tips to help keep the electrical systems in your home as safe as possible.

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January
4

Home Decor Tips

Interior design seems to come easy to some, but it's a struggle for most of us. Our real estate agents understand the importance of decor on a space, especially when you're getting ready to sell your home. 

But decor isn't just important when you're listing Fairfax homes for sale. It also has an impact on your day-to-day happiness and wellbeing. Decor can make your home feel warm, welcoming, cozy, spacious — really any way you want it to feel. And it all starts with finding your style. 

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December
21

DC Kitchen Appliances

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, and its appliances can have a lot to say about how the space looks and functions. Older appliances can make everything from storing food to preparing meals more difficult and time-consuming.

Although you may be tempted to put off upgrading your kitchen appliances, it's an investment that can pay big dividends as you live in and enjoy your home. A kitchen appliance upgrade can also make your home compete more favorably with other Fairfax homes for sale or Alexandria homes for sale if you decide to put it on the market, our real estate agents point out.

The following are 5 good reasons to upgrade your kitchen appliances:

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November
2

Indoor Plants Tips

Indoor plants are a lovely addition to any home. Not only do they enrich your decor, but they improve the air quality in your home and enhance mood levels while lowering stress levels. Our real estate agents find that properties with indoor plants also appear more welcoming and inviting to potential buyers.

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August
17

Uses for Spare Bedroom

A home with a spare bedroom can present nearly endless opportunities if you'd like to convert it to a different use. By using your imagination and making a few adjustments, you'll end up with a room that suits you and your family's needs and increases your enjoyment of your home.

Our real estate agents suggest the following 7 ways to utilize a spare bedroom:

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July
20

Staging Mistakes

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, 25% of buyer's agents said home staging generated a one to five percent increase in dollar value offered compared to similar, unstaged homes on the market. As the housing industry continues to adapt to an ever-growing digital marketplace, home staging is not just important for showings, it's necessary for your listing to garner online attention as well. 

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June
2

Moving to a New State

If your moving plans involve relocating to a new state, it's important to give your move the time and resources it needs to make the process a smooth experience. Follow these tips to make sure your move is as stress-free as possible. 

  1. Rethink Your Packing Strategy
    Packing is tricky even when you're only moving a few miles from your current home. It takes time to pack and unpack all those boxes, and you're often left scrambling to find must-have items (like your coffee maker and charging station) among items that you don't need right this second (such as seasonal clothing and holiday decor). One way to better organize your packing is to make sure that you label what's in each box. This way, you won't have to open 5 different boxes in hopes of locating must-use items. 
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May
18

Real Estate Terms to Know

If you're buying or selling a house for the first time, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all the real estate lingo being thrown around. 

Our real estate agents want the process of buying or selling your home to be as simple and easy to navigate as possible, and part of that is demystifying the terminology you're likely to hear. Let's all study up on these essential real estate terms!

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April
20

Home Improvement Projects

Just because you're feeling all cooped up doesn't mean you can't stay busy. Our REALTORS® have discovered that working from home provides ample time to tackle some much needed DIY projects around the house!

These simple (and inexpensive) home improvement projects will have your house looking better than ever. 

  1. Update Kitchen Fixtures
    Are the fixtures in your kitchen looking a little worn-out and out of date? Brightening up your kitchen fixtures is one of the quickest and easy ways to breathe new life into your home, and you can easily do it over a weekend! Kitchen faucets are easy to replace, as long as they match your sink, and you can switch up your cabinet hardware with little more than a screwdriver and a little elbow grease. 
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April
6

Staging Your Home

As the National Association of Realtors® says, more than 90 percent of home buyers look for homes online. And for most of those shoppers, it's eye-popping photos that reel them in. Further, many potential home buyers these days use virtual tours to help them narrow down their choices.

Follow these tips from our REALTORS® and you'll get better results from online shoppers looking for DC homes for sale.

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March
16

Open House Checklist

There's no doubt that a well-planned open house is a vital tool for getting your home sold, and how you prepare makes a huge difference in how buyers perceive the property. With the right prep and the help of your real estate agent, you can make sure your home shines on the big day. Our real estate agents have you covered, starting with our open house checklist.

  • Create an Open Space
    When you're competing with DC homes for sale, you want every edge. Start by removing personal items, to make it easier for buyers to picture their lives in the home. Clear out as much clutter as possible to make the home feel more roomy and store unnecessary furniture.

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February
3

2020 VA Loan Guide

One of the top benefits for service members, certain military spouses, and honorably discharged veterans is the VA home loan program. A VA home loan makes it possible for eligible individuals to buy a home with no downpayment; the terms of VA loans are favorable and help keep homeownership affordable for service members and veterans.

However, some changes are coming to the VA loan program in 2020, thanks to the passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. Before you start browsing Alexandria homes for sale, take a few moments to understand the changes coming to the VA loan program and how they'll impact your ability to buy a home.

Loan Limits are Removed 

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act expands the availability of disability benefits to include more Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. While this part of the bill doesn't seem like it would impact homeowners, it's the driving force behind one of the most important changes to the VA loan program: the removal of VA loan limits.

As of December 2019, VA loans are capped at $484,350 in most areas. After January 1, 2020, this limit will be eliminated. This will make it easier for veterans and service members to purchase more expensive homes or purchase property in cities with a high cost of living. It's still possible for your lender to deny a large home loan, and you'll need to satisfy the lender's criteria, but loan denial for larger mortgages won't be due to VA loan limits. Our real estate agents can help you find a home that works for your family and adheres to your homebuying budget. 

Allowing veterans and service members to take out larger mortgages makes it possible for the VA to raise more money from fees related to VA home loans to pay for the expansion in disability benefits.

The Funding Fee for a VA Loan is Going Up

Currently, veterans and service members must pay a one-time funding fee for their mortgage that's equal to 2.15 percent of the loan amount for first-time loan users and 3.3 percent for individuals taking out a subsequent VA loan. These funding fees will be increasing in 2020. The funding fee for first-time VA loan users is increasing to 2.3 percent, and the funding fee for taking out subsequent VA loans will be 3.6 percent.

The VA loan program also permits borrowers to roll the cost of this fee into their mortgage.

Take a moment to understand how these increases will impact your loan fees. Assume you're a first-time borrower taking out a VA loan for $300,000. When paying a 2.15 percent loan fee, this results in a funding fee of $6,450. Once the fee increases to 2.3 percent, your funding fee will increase to $6,900. 

If you're on your subsequent VA loan, the funding fee currently results in a fee of $9,900. After the fee increases to 3.6 percent, your fee will be $10,800. As you can see, the increase in fee percentages raises the funding fees by less than $1,000 in both of these scenarios.

Ready to take advantage of the removal of VA loan limits? Contact us today to start searching for your new home. 

December
2

Winter Home Improvement

The right renovations can substantially raise the value of a home before listing it with other DC homes for sale.

Winter weather in DC may narrow the list of projects you can do around the home, but there are still great ways to get things done. 

Picking the right projects is an important step towards making the most of your time and budget. Get started now, and you can check off your to-do list before it's time for the spring thaw.

Here's what our REALTORS® recommend for your winter home improvement.

  1. Replace Damaged Insulation
    A drafty attic can cost you up to 30% of your climate-controlled air. Insulation degrades quickly around cut-outs for outlets, pipes, fans, and electrical fixtures, as well as chimneys and roof flashing. Modern insulation is more compact and effective, keeping your home warm.

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November
18

Enhance Winter Curb Appeal

Winter can be gloomy and filled with cloudy days and nights, but that doesn't mean your home needs to fall into a winter slump. Whether you're looking to sell your home or add to the allure of it, our REALTORS® can help you along the way with tips and advice for improving your winter curb appeal.

Prepping Your Home for Winter Curb Appeal

First, keep up with the maintenance of your yard. While you won't necessarily need to mow your lawn throughout the winter, you can still rake leaves and clear walkways and sidewalks of any snow, mud, or other debris. Picking up toys or other furniture not in use will help to make your yard look less sloppy, and this should include tools, lawnmowers, and even dying plants. Trimming trees of any dead limbs will prevent possible collapse if they become covered in ice, which will protect the exterior of your home as well. Other ways you can improve your curb appeal are:

  • Placing fake plants or flowers to give an added level of ambiance
  • Repainting or replacing your mailbox
  • Tactfully adding exterior lights, lanterns, or lamp posts
  • Add colorful ornaments or sculptures to counterbalance the gloom associated with winter

Make Your Home Stand Out 

Keeping your driveway clear will allow your guests to park there when they visit, and avoid parking in front of your house and taking up street space. If you're someone who likes to work in your garage with the door open, you may want to consider reorganizing, so it's less of an eyesore when others walk or drive by.

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September
18

Home Inspection Next Steps

You are one step closer to owning a home once the home inspection report is in hand. This vital document is filled with a summary of details attesting to the condition of the property. Our REALTORS® can help you examine the report and determine what steps are required to make a deal come together.

Know When to Walk Away

As the Kenny Rogers song goes, sometimes you need to know when to walk away...and when to run. When a home inspection report indicates major problems with the foundation, pollution on the property, a severely damaged roof, it is advisable to walk away. These problems are expensive and difficult to remediate. It is often not to your advantage to try and tackle them. There are exceptions, but as a general rule, it is best to walk away from a property with extensive deficiencies. 

Negotiate Repairs

Almost every home inspection report will come back with at least a few minor deficiencies. When the report indicates minor problems, it is usually something that can be negotiated with the seller. Your first option is to request the seller fix these problems as part of the deal. You will want to start your list of things you want fixed beginning with the most important items. However, you should be aware that most sellers won't want to go through the hassle of hiring contractors to perform repairs.

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