Category Archives: Real Estate News

Secure Shredding Service Now Available For Our Clients’ Use!

If you’re looking to shred some old papers or documents, now you can do so at our office! We are proud to announce that we have an on-site secure shredding service that we’re providing to our clients for FREE!! All you have to do is come to our office at 36111 Goodwin Drive (between CVS and AT&T across from the LOW front gate) during our office hours, Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM, and ask to speak to one of our team members. You will be guided to the locked box that is only accessible by Iron Mountain, the shredding service. You’ll place your documents in the locked box and when full, Iron Mountain retrieves the contents and provides us with a certificate when contents have been shredded. We love being a resource to our community, so come to our office and shred to your hearts content!

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Northern Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available properties, please visit our website licatagroup.com

market stats 2020

Lake of the Woods November 2020 Market Stats

In November, 20 homes sold in Lake of the Woods.
1 sold between $130-200,000;
4 sold between $200-249,000;
4 sold between $249,900-299,000;
9 sold between $300-399,000;
2 sold between $400-599,000;

18 Active Listings for Sale
51 Homes Under Contract
286 Homes Sold since January 1, 2020.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

Mortgages Made Easy: How to Choose the Right Home Loan

Key Takeaways:

  • As mortgage rates continue hovering near historic lows, many potential buyers are eager to make a move—but it can be hard to know which type of loan is best.
  • There are dozens of different mortgage options available today, and some even have low down payment or credit score requirements. This can help a variety of buyers finally achieve their real estate goals. 
  • Need help finding a lender or choosing the right mortgage for your needs? We’d be more than happy to offer a few recommendations.

Home Financing 101: The Most Common Types of Mortgages

Let’s face it—understanding mortgages can be the most complicated part of buying a home. Even experienced buyers sometimes have trouble deciding between lenders or shopping around for the best interest rate. And because there are so many options, it can be difficult to track down the mortgage that best meets your needs.

There are a variety of factors you should consider before committing to a loan, such as your income, debt, financial history, and how long you plan on staying in your new home. But if you play your cards right, you could end up scoring a great deal. Here are some of the most popular types of mortgages, as well as their pros and cons.

Fixed-rate mortgage

Mortgage scrabble tiles

A fixed-rate mortgage is the most basic and reliable type of home loan you can get. Your interest rate and monthly payment will stay the same for the entire duration of the mortgage, and you’ll likely have to put at least 20% down and have an established financial history to get approved.

Typically, fixed-rate mortgages are broken down into 15- or 30-year terms. If you want predictability and don’t plan on moving for a while, this is probably the best option for you.

Adjustable-rate mortgage

house, coin stacks, and clock

Unlike their fixed-rate counterparts, adjustable-rate mortgages offer the initial benefit of a lower rate and down payment. However, ARMs fluctuate with the market, which means your interest rate and monthly payments could increase or decrease over time.

While there is more risk involved with an adjustable-rate mortgage, it can be worth it if you plan on living in your home for a shorter period of time. Generally, ARMs have a capped introductory interest rate for the first few years, which can save you quite a bit of money compared to a fixed-rate loan.

VA loans

Member of the military

If you or your spouse are an active, retired, or veteran member of the military, you could be eligible for a VA loan. Backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, this unique type of mortgage lets you buy a home with little to no down payment or mortgage insurance.

Because VA loans are guaranteed (but not financed) by the government, they do have stricter requirements than other mortgages. The loan can only be used towards a primary residence, and the house you intend to buy has to meet minimum property requirements. This means you’ll have to undergo additional inspections and appraisals. 

FHA loans

Couple moving in

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the FHA loan is designed for first-time or lower-income buyers. While most mortgages typically require a down payment of 20% or more, the FHA loan allows buyers to put down as little as 3.5%; that equals out to around $9,000 for a $250,000 house.

FHA loans come with a fixed interest rate and can offer a path to homeownership for buyers who don’t have enough saved for a traditional loan. However, you will be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) every month, which typically costs around 1% of your total loan amount. It’s also important to remember that the government does not issue your loan—you’ll still have to shop around for the right FHA-approved lender.

USDA loans

Farmland

The USDA loan is a government-sponsored mortgage program that targets buyers in more rural areas. While the USDA does have stricter credit and income requirements than the FHA, they’ll fund up to 100% of the purchase price for an eligible home. That means you won’t have to put any money down, and you may even enjoy a lower-than-average interest rate. 

Additionally, USDA loans require mortgage insurance, and you won’t be approved if your debt-to-income ratio exceeds 41%. Before applying, you should also check the USDA’s eligibility map to see if your area qualifies for the program. 

Other loans

House on a calculator

This is hardly an exhaustive list of all the mortgages used by today’s home buyers! Depending on your financial situation, you could qualify for a more niche loan, such as a balloon mortgage, bridge loan, or jumbo loan. Many banks, lenders, and state governments also have their own programs or incentives that are worth exploring. You can even combine different types of loans to create a financing plan that’s tailored to your needs.

If you don’t have time to research all of your options, it might be beneficial to work with a mortgage broker or ask your agent for recommendations. They’ll have the knowledge to guide you in the right direction!

Want to Learn More About Mortgages?

If you’re in the market for a new home, we’d love to discuss your financing options or recommend some top-rated lenders. Contact us today to learn the ins and outs of the home buying process, from finding a loan to finally getting the keys to your new place. We look forward to helping you start your next chapter!

Spectacular WATERFRONT Home For Sale in Lake of the Woods, VA! 146 Harrison Circle Now UNDER CONTRACT!!

Welcome to the spectacular, custom, 6400+ sqft waterfront home awaiting you at 146 Harrison Circle, where you will be wowed from the moment you arrive. The stunning stamped concrete driveway, incredible curb appeal, and lush landscaping are just the beginning. Imagine the memories you’ll make by getting your lake life started here! If you are seeking a waterfront home that has it all, then this is it! Great, private water frontage and lake views, dock with boat and wave runner lifts, expansive three tier deck with a different “experience” on each level (open and private spaces), and oversized windows and doors are just a few fine features of this fantastic property. Relaxing on any of the private or open deck areas or dock, fishing, kayaking, boating, or just taking in the views can be yours! On the interior, you’ll love the amazing architecture featuring unique ceilings and so much more, unique staircase, impressive floor to ceiling stone fireplace, and generous sized rooms.

Enjoy cooking in the gourmet kitchen in the center of the home that features granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and dining area with water views. The beautiful family room boasts walls of windows and doors with water views in every direction. The formal dining room with cathedral ceilings and formal living room united by a double sided fireplace will add ambiance while entertaining. The main level owner’s suite boasts a fireplace and attached office/sitting room/exercise room via the fun spiral staircase. The luxurious spa-like en-suite bath and two walk-in closets with built-ins are sure to please. The convenience of the main level laundry room with deep sink and tons of storage, along with a half bath, complete the main level. As you ascend the staircase, you’ll find a bedroom (don’t miss the secret room) with en-suite bath, as well as another bedroom and full bath. You will find entertaining an absolute breeze on the lower level! It includes a fabulous recreation room, bar, sunroom, two bedrooms, two full baths, flex space (currently used as an office), and an awesome media room that will make movie night a favorite activity. Begin making those memories now! For more information on 146 Harrison Circle, Click Here!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

How to Buy an Accessible Home That Accommodates You and Your Home-Based Business

Whether you’re looking to buy a house for aging in place or to accommodate your current accessibility needs, there are so many things to consider as the owner of a home-based business. In addition to looking for a house with wide hallways and doorways, zero-step entrances, and other accessible features, you’ll need plenty of open space for your home office. 

The Licata Group can help you with your search. Here are more tips to buy an accessible home that accommodates you and your home-based business. 

What to Look for in Your New Home

As you prepare to buy an accessible home for living and doing business, an experienced real estate agent will be an incredible asset. Your agent can help you to search for homes that meet your budget, location preferences, and accessibility needs — while also keeping the needs of your business, clients, and employees in mind as well.

Depending on your personal and professional needs, several types of home features to look for include the following:

  • A spacious room with an open floor plan, wide door, lower light switches, and good lighting that can be used for your home office
  • A fully accessible bathroom that’s located near the office
  • Single-story floor plans
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Doors with lever-style handles
  • Ample parking for guests and employees
  • Space for a waiting room that can be used by your guests

If you can’t find a fully accessible home that accommodates the needs of you and your business, you could modify the property later on. MoneyGeek offers some tips on modifying a home for accessibility purposes and paying for the renovations with loans and grants. 

Accessible Home Office Essentials

After buying a home that accommodates you and your business, you’ll need to create an accessible office space. Wheel Chic Home shares some tips on choosing an accessible space for an office and furnishing it with an adjustable desk and chair, shelves, and multiple lighting sources. Some other accessible office essentials may include:

  • Handrails near the desk
  • Monitor stands
  • Phone or tablet tripods
  • Voice-activated power outlets or desktop plug sockets
  • Wireless technologies to reduce tripping hazards

Other Considerations

If buying a new house isn’t the right choice for you and your business, you could modify your existing home for accessibility purposes — or build an accessible office addition. But if you’re just now getting your business up and running, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration before deciding whether to renovate your existing home. 

For starters, you’ll need to check local zoning ordinances to determine whether home-based businesses are permitted in your city or county of residence. And to qualify for the home office deduction at tax time, you’ll need to ensure that your new workspace meets the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

In addition, you’ll need to choose a business structure for your home-based business. A limited liability company (LLC) is one type of business entity to consider when forming a home-based business as this type of structure offers tax advantages, limited liability, a simple filing process, and greater flexibility in how the business is managed. 

Moreover, there are a few ways to form a limited liability company, including online, by yourself, or with help from an attorney. However, attorney’s fees can be costly, and you’ll need to review local LLC rules and regulations if you plan on filing yourself. For many, filing online with a business formation service can be the simplest, quickest, and cheapest option. 

In Conclusion

As a home-based business owner with accessibility needs, there are so many things to consider when buying a house to accommodate you and your business. But even if you can’t find an accessible home that has everything you want or need, try not to be discouraged. You can always make a few accessible home modifications in the future!

Are you looking to buy an accessible home that meets your personal and professional needs? Contact The Licata Group to begin your search for the perfect home! 540-388-2541

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Northern Virginia or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available properties, please visit our website licatagroup.com

Be Our Guest: 4 Ways to Transform Your Home into the Ultimate Entertaining Space

Key Points:

  • Even in the middle of a pandemic, today’s homeowners are looking to make their spaces more conducive to entertaining.
  • Certain upgrades—especially those in the entryway, kitchen, and backyard—have the potential to boost your home’s resale value. And best of all, your guests will love them just as much as you do!
  • These projects might have a high return on investment, but you won’t have to break the bank to really wow party-goers…or potential home buyers!

4 Ways to Make Your Home Entertainment-Friendly

The holiday season is approaching fast—and while you may be adept at hosting an amazing get-together, your home could actually be holding you back. Seemingly minor annoyances, like a too-small kitchen or not enough seating, are exaggerated when your space is filled with guests. However, a few slight changes have the potential to transform your house into the life of the party. 

Ready to get your space looking its best for your next post-pandemic extravaganza? These four home upgrades are definitely worth the investment if you’re passionate about entertaining. Plus, they can even increase your home’s resale value when you decide to sell!

Spice Up Your Entryway

Art on a wall

When it comes to throwing a fantastic gathering, you want to make a good first impression from the moment guests arrive. So if your entryway is looking a little drab, it’s time to give it a little extra TLC.

Even if you have a small front porch, you can still spruce it up with a new welcome mat or seasonal wreath to set the tone for what awaits inside. From there, make your foyer more inviting by adding a few luxe, yet practical, touches. A small bench, mirror, or coat rack will help your guests feel at home right away. Don’t have a foyer? You can enhance just about any entryway with a statement rug or some wall art.

Focus on the kitchen

Kitchen with bar seating

Any memorable soiree almost always involves food. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a gourmet kitchen renovation to create a room that’s beautiful and functional.

Above all, your kitchen should be an area where you’re able to cook while still mingling with visitors. If you’re a gourmand at heart, splurging on some higher-end appliances or extras—like a chef-caliber stove with additional burners—can make a huge difference. If you really want to go all out, consider adding a larger kitchen island for more seating that won’t disconnect you from your guests.

Do you relish in mixing the perfect drink for your party-goers? Try transforming a rolling cart or some extra counter space into a bar. Just set up some bottles, put out your best glasses, and accessorize with a decorative ice bucket or other bar tools. If you have the room, you can even install a wine fridge!

Create social zones

Set dining room table

One of the biggest misconceptions about party-planning is that you need a large, open space to entertain. Believe it or not, you don’t have to knock down walls to craft a layout that works well for gatherings of any size. Instead, focus on creating designated social zones that encourage your company to chat and explore.

In most cases, guests tend to gravitate towards the kitchen—but you want to have plenty of alternatives to avoid everyone crowding in the same room. Every social zone should have a distinct focal point that draws attention and creates a visual connection between each space.

In a living room, your focal point could be a roaring fireplace, your favorite artwork, or a large sectional sofa. A table of appetizers in a dining room can draw hungry visitors out of the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different techniques for each gathering!

Upgrade your outdoor space

Outdoor patio

Ready to take your celebration outdoors? Making improvements to your yard, patio, deck, or balcony will elevate your next get-together—and can also yield an impressive return on investment.

If you haven’t already, you might want to buy a table, chairs, or a couch able to withstand the elements. This establishes another social zone for visitors (and you!) to enjoy. A pergola, fire pit, new pavers, or outdoor lighting are a few other upgrades that help tie everything together. If you love to barbecue in the summer, you may even want to indulge in an outdoor grilling station with a sink and some counter space.

Want to Get Your Home Looking Its Best Before You Sell?

Making a few key updates to your home can impress guests and potential buyers. Whether you’re ready to sell now or just have a few questions, you can trust us to help you navigate your next real estate journey from start to finish.

Give us a call to learn more about selling in today’s hot market—we’ll even let you know how much your property is worth with our free home valuation!

market stats 2020

October 2020 Lake of the Woods Real Estate Stats

In October, 24 homes sold in Lake of the Woods.
1 sold between $130-200,000;
4 sold between $200-249,000;
6 sold between $249,900-299,000;
9 sold between $300-399,000;
2 sold between $400-599,000;
1 sold between $500-699,000;
1 sold over $700,000+

27 Active Listings for Sale
51 Homes Under Contract
264 Homes Sold since January 1, 2020.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

Busting the Biggest Home-Buying Myths of 2020

This year has been difficult for just about everyone, but if you were (or still are) thinking about buying a home in 2020, you might be feeling more than a little overwhelmed. An ongoing pandemic, the subsequent recession, and general uncertainty have forced many house-hunters to put their real estate dreams on hold. However, despite all these potential obstacles, homeownership is still a very attainable goal.

Don’t Let These Myths Keep You From Buying a Home!

Buying a home is a huge decision, and it’s one you shouldn’t make without careful planning. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding the home-buying process and the real estate market as a whole, especially as the nation continues to navigate an unpredictable year.

Still unsure about making a move during 2020? Here are four of the most common myths that deter today’s buyers—and why you shouldn’t believe them.

It’s not a good time to move

Family packing up for a move

On the surface, this myth may seem true. Towards the beginning of the year, a majority of sellers chose not to list their homes, while many buyers didn’t feel comfortable moving during quarantine. This caused the national real estate market to experience an unusual spring slump. The good news is that the market has made substantial progress since March—actually, real estate has become one of the most stable investments you can make in 2020. 

Pent-up buyer demand has helped the market recover in record time. In fact, the number of mortgage applications, closed sales, and pending sales are up by double-digit percentages compared to last year. And if you’re still hesitant to buy during a pandemic, you’ll be happy to learn that most agents now offer virtual tours and have put social distancing measures in place to keep clients safe.

Homeownership isn’t affordable

Piggy bank and house figure

Does it seem like houses are getting more and more expensive these days? You aren’t just imagining things—home prices are about 6.5% higher than they were last year. This means a home that was worth $250,000 in 2019 could now sell for nearly $270,000.

While this may seem like bad news for buyers, you shouldn’t be deterred by rising prices. Historically low interest rates have helped to make homes more affordable, even as they continue increasing in value. Although a small change in interest rates may not seem drastic, it can actually save you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifespan of your loan.

If you already have a bit saved up in the bank for a down payment, buying a home can even be more affordable than renting. Today’s average mortgage payment of $1,275 is $188 less than the average monthly rent. That equates to a savings of over $2,200 per year!

You need a 20% down payment

Saving for a down payment

You’ve probably heard that you need at least a 20% down payment to buy a home. While there is merit to putting down as much as possible, you can still purchase your own place with as little as 0% down by using the right loan.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, the median down payment for all buyers in 2019 was just 12%, and first-timers only put down an average of 6%. You might also qualify for an FHA or VA loan, which offer down payments as low as 3.5% or 0%, respectively.

It’s worth researching different types of mortgages, as well as down payment assistance programs available in your area. They could provide the financial boost you need to finally buy a home!

You can’t buy if you have debt or bad credit

Calculating and reducing debt

The average American has accrued $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. Even if you don’t owe quite that much, any kind of debt or a low credit score can seem like a pretty big roadblock if you’re trying to make a move. However, there are still a few options that can get you on the path to homeownership.

The easiest way to boost your credit score is to pay off your debts; consolidating your loans into one monthly payment could help you reduce your debt-to-income ratio. There are also a variety of loans tailored to buyers with lower credit scores, such as FHA, VA, or balloon mortgages.

It can take time to pay off debt and rebuild your credit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards buying a home. If you have any questions about your individual situation, it’s best to contact your agent or financial advisor. They’ll have plenty of resources available to guide you in the right direction!  

Take Advantage of a Hot Market

Are you thinking about buying a home before the end of the year? Contact us today to get the ball rolling on your real estate journey! We look forward to teaming up and finding you a place that checks all the boxes.

Need to sell before you buy? We can help with that, too!

Make Your Home Boo-tiful with These 4 Halloween Staging Tips

If you step outside on a cool October afternoon, you might just smell some pumpkin spice and freshly picked apples wafting through the air. That can only mean one thing: Halloween is just around the corner! And while this ghoulish holiday delights both kids and kids-at-heart, it also creates interesting staging opportunities for home sellers.

As tempting as it might be to pull out your most spine-chilling decorations, buyers probably don’t want to walk through a haunted house to tour your space. If you want to avoid a home staging horror story, we have a few tips to help you incorporate a little spooky flair without going overboard.

Here’s How to Add a Tasteful Touch of Halloween to Your Home Staging

While it’s totally acceptable to add a dash of Halloween-inspired decor to your home, your goal should be to stage for the season, not the holiday. That means using more fall-focused decor instead of going all-out with spider webs, skeletons, and other eerie touches.

Here are a few guidelines to get your home looking its best for autumn buyers. And if you ever have questions about what is and isn’t appropriate, just ask your agent for advice!

Start with your front porch

Pumpkins on a doorstep

If you absolutely have to add a bit of Halloween fun to your home, consider transforming your front porch into an area that both buyers and trick or treaters will love. Start by setting out some natural touches, like pumpkins, potted mums, or even a small bale of hay. You can always tone up the holiday spirit with a Halloween-themed welcome mat or wreath.

Try to keep all of your outdoor decor as low-key as possible. That means waiting to put out any inflatables, cobwebs, or light displays until you move into your new home.

Put out some pumpkins

Painted pumpkins

Looking for an easy way to get buyers in the Halloween spirit? Pumpkins are one of the most versatile fall accessories, and they work well inside and outside! Aside from the traditional jack-o’-lantern, you can also set out some smaller, uncarved pumpkins throughout your home. If you’re in the mood for a DIY project, paint some craft pumpkins in neutral tones to create little pops of Halloween cheer.

Pumpkins don’t all have to look the same, either. Head to your local pumpkin patch to check out different sizes and colors—there’s no better way to add a splash of orange, white, green, or brown to your space! 

Avoid over-the-top accessories

As you stage your home for buyers, it’s best to leave your most outrageous Halloween decorations in storage for next year. While you may love mummifying your living room or embellishing with spiders and bats, these additions can quickly morph into an unwelcome distraction during a showing. Instead, consider adding more subtle accents, such as dark-colored lanterns with votive candles, a fall-inspired tablescape, or candy displayed in tall jars.

You should also ensure that none of your accessories are gorey or frightening. The last thing you want to do is have buyers wondering if your house is truly haunted!  

Appeal to the senses

Votive candles

Autumn is filled with endless signature scents, sights, and flavors—and you can use them to your advantage when staging. To set the mood inside your home, try putting out some Halloween candy in a decorative bowl as a refreshment for buyers. Fall-inspired candles can add a sense of warmth, so don’t be afraid to bring on the pumpkin spice.

If you really want to go above and beyond, boiling a pot of apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla before a showing will help you invite some of the season’s best aromas into your home.

Leaves May Be Falling, But Home Sales Aren’t!

Don’t get spooked by the home selling process—our team is here to help! We have the tools you need to get top dollar for your home before the busy holiday season. And even if you’re still on the fence about selling, we’d be happy to give you a free report of your home’s current value. There’s never been a better time to cash out on your hard-earned equity, so just give us a call to get started!