Tag Archives: buying a home

fall in virginia

Buying Your First House After 60

House buying is always an exciting process. Stressful but still exciting. The feeling of owning a property you can call your home is indescribable. Therefore, in this article, we chose not to pay attention to numerous homebuying myths, such as that buying a house at 60 years old isn’t a good idea. Instead, let’s focus on how you can fulfill your wishes now that you are financially stable and plan out your retirement. The following article shares tips for buying your first house after 60. 

Tips for buying your first house after 60

Moving homes, even if you were a renter for many years, brings significant changes. Thus, it can be difficult, no matter what your reasons are. For example, you might want to buy your first house because now is the right time or be closer to your family. 

For whichever reason you are purchasing a home, you can do a couple of things to make the transition seamless. For instance, hiring a professional realtor to find the best match for you and then hiring a moving company skilled at senior relocations to assist in this process is of extreme value. Then, with the right people on your team, each home buying and relocating will be as easy as possible since they have your best interests in mind.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the tips for seniors on their first homebuying adventure.

1. Hire a realtor 

First things first, you need to hire someone professional to lead you through the process. It’s worth keeping in mind that there’s a difference between a realtor and a reliable realtor. Also, you’ll want to make sure the one you end up hiring has credentials, so don’t be shy to ask them about those.

a realtor with a happy senior couple

Caption: Hiring a Senior Real Estate Specialist is beneficial when buying your first house after 60.

Alt tag: a realtor with a happy senior couple

If your agent is also a Senior Real Estate Specialist, that can only mean they undoubtedly know what they’re doing. This means they have completed training to specifically help people in the 50+ range successfully buy a home. 

2. Check your mortgage options

As a senior, you might have saved up enough money and decided to buy a house and pay in cash. It is an excellent idea if you are not tying up all of your money in the home. Additionally, paying in cash will make you a competitive buyer in the market.

On the other hand, buying a debt-free home isn’t a must. Purchasing your first house after 60 with a mortgage makes your assets liquid. You can still qualify for a competitive mortgage in retirement.

Luckily, there are helpful tips for each generation in the home buying process to help you understand how mortgage approval works when you’re not working. 

Finally, it would be wise to check with your bank or credit union if mortgage insurance is worth the cost of the premiums. It would be good to have this one, especially if you are risk-aware.

3. Understand your needs, don’t just go for what looks good

The houses you will consider greatly depend on your living situation, income, and plans. However, it would be wise not to be influenced by the property’s floorplan, size, convenience, or location. Instead, you will need to evaluate things differently as a senior buyer.

For instance, large houses might be appealing. However, you might quickly become overwhelmed by all the space you have to maintain after some years pass. 

4. Consider the future when buying your first house after 60

As a senior home buyer, your future will be focused on taking care of yourself instead of your children and family. 

Therefore, it would be a good idea to look for homes that can easily be remodeled. For example, you might want to look into houses that can be equipped with handicap-accessible features, such as ramps, lower countertops, and doorways.

At a minimum, a home appropriate for aging-in-place should have complete first-floor living with a wide doorway (wide enough for a wheelchair), ideally a step-free entrance, and be close to public transit and community resources.

5. Understand your budget

Apart from your monthly mortgage, you need to be aware of all the other costs. Some of the everyday expenses are:

  • property taxes
  • utilities
  • car petrol
  • medical bills
  • groceries
  • some other debts you might have
  • any potential repairs and miscellaneous expenses.

It would help if you considered all of these factors when home shopping in your sixties.

a man's hands stacking up on three piles of coins

Caption: You will need to think of all the expenses before committing to a home purchase.

Alt tag: a man’s hands stacking up on three piles of coins

6. Be realistic about your future health needs

When talking about finances, it would be good to consider what they will be like ten years from now. What type of needs will you have then? If the need arises, will you have the means to hire in-home caregivers? Will you need someone to transport you somewhere or take care of your lawn for you?

Even though we don’t think about the future in this way, it’s wise to be realistic when deciding on such a big step. The seniors who have a strong support system from their children and family don’t have much to worry about. However, sometimes the help of a loved one isn’t enough. For example, your house might need a professional repair, like converting your home to be wheelchair accessible. 

Therefore, it would be good to think about your finances in the future and how you will cover some unexpected expenses.

7. Determine your relocation

Finally, once you find the right home, the work isn’t done yet. The moving still awaits. The relocation specialists from Zippy Shell Moving and Storage NV recommend looking for a reputable company with experience in senior moving. Professional movers have the tools and expertise needed for heavy lifting, maximizing packing space, and transporting the items while ensuring safety.

Additionally, you can be in charge of handling your smaller keepsake items if you wish. However, the heavy lifting is best left to a professional to reduce any injury risks to yourself or your things. 

buying your first house after 60 means stability and more quality time with your spouse

Caption: Once you relocate, you can enjoy the process of giving the house your personal touch with your spouse.

Alt tag: buying your first house after 60 means stability and more quality time with your spouse

Final considerations 

To summarize, buying your first house after 60 isn’t impossible or that difficult. With the right people on your team who know all the tricks on homebuying, we are sure you will find a home suitable for you, your financial situation, and your future plans.

Meta description: If you’ve rented your whole life and now want to have a secure place to grow old at, here are the tips on buying your first house after 60!

Photos used:

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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 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, 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.

new home

Buying or Selling in 2022? Look for an Agent with These 10 Qualities

Key Takeaways:

  • In today’s hot market, it’s more important than ever to choose the right agent to help you buy or sell a home.
  • Real estate agents don’t just offer local expertise—their insider knowledge and marketing prowess come in handy, too.
  • Thinking about making a move in the new year? Contact us to start planning now!

Here Are the Top 10 Qualities Every Successful Real Estate Agent Should Have

Did you know that 75% of buyers and sellers work with the first agent they meet? It’s true—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best decision. If you want to come out on top in today’s competitive market, experts often recommend interviewing a few candidates before settling on the right real estate professional for the job. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve outlined 10 qualities of a highly successful agent.

They keep up with the latest sold data

Analyzing real estate sold data

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll want to keep up with the latest sold data for your neighborhood of choice. Sold data reports consist of homes that recently sold in your area, as well as their final prices. Not only do these numbers help sellers determine an accurate list price, but they can also be used by buyers to gauge an area’s affordability. A top-notch agent should be willing to provide you with up-to-date data every step of the way.

They know what’s happening in the real estate market

It’s hard to know what the real estate market will look like next year. But with careful forecasting, a local agent should be able to provide some valuable insight. Agents can educate buyers and sellers on everything from price fluctuations to mortgage rates—just make sure they’re using accurate data to back up their predictions.

They’re social media savvy

Real estate agent using social media

Nowadays, home-buying and selling primarily happens on the internet. According to recent research, over 95% of buyers start searching for properties online, which makes it imperative that agents maintain an active presence on their social platforms. Be sure to ask your agent about the virtual tools they offer buyers and sellers, such as access to the MLS, social media promotion, and paid advertising. Bonus points if they have their own website, too!

They have a network of contacts

When it comes to buying or selling a home, it truly takes a village. A well-connected agent can refer you to their network of local contacts, such as plumbers, landscapers, lawyers, and so much more. You’ll rest easy knowing that you can trust their recommendations for local service providers!

Their referrals are positive

Buyer or seller leaving online feedback

If an agent provides legendary customer service, their past clients are more than willing to leave positive feedback—or even refer them to their loved ones! Ask your potential agent about their reviews, or take a look online to see what previous buyers and sellers have to say about working with them.

They’re punctual

This one should be a given! The current real estate market moves faster than ever before, which makes punctuality an even more important quality than usual. If your agent is on-time (or early!) to your appointments, you’ll know they’re treating you like a priority.

It’s easy to get in touch

Scheduling an appointment with a real estate agent

Keeping in touch is key when it comes to real estate, so you’ll want to share the same method of communication as your agent. Tell your agent from the beginning whether you prefer to text, email, or talk on the phone. Not responding in a timely manner is a big red flag.

They’re shrewd negotiators

Buyers and sellers alike should look for an agent with top-notch negotiation skills to get them the best possible price. And if you want to evaluate a real estate agent’s prowess, just ask yourself this question: how well did they negotiate with you to win your business?

They’ve built their own brand

Buyers getting the keys to their new home

Real estate agents don’t just help you buy or sell a home—they need to be expert marketers on both sides of the transaction. Solid branding can help agents rise to the top of the competition and build a reputation that people rely on, trust, and recognize. Exploring an agent’s social media and website can give you a good idea of their personal branding strategies.

You get along with them

When you’re trusting someone with one of your biggest investments, it’s crucial to get along on both a professional and personal level. If you can’t have difficult conversations with your agent—or if you don’t get along with them—consider going with another candidate. Personality can sometimes trump experience!

Find the Right Agent for Your Move

Ready to start planning your 2022 move? Now is the time to find the perfect agent for the job! Contact us today to learn more about what we bring to the table, or explore our other resources to get a head start on buying or selling. We’re always here to offer superior service throughout every step of the transaction!

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 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, 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.

a suburban neighborhood

The Differences between City, Suburban, and Rural Living

Every person in the world has a different opinion when it comes to urban and countryside lifestyles. Some would never give up the city amenities, no matter the financial burden and health threats that kind of life imposes. Others who experienced country life say that getting away from the city where you wake up to the sound of birds instead of traffic noise has no price. Still, there is a third option for those who are a part of both of these worlds – the suburbs. Each of these has many benefits and some downsides. Knowing the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you find where you belong if you’re starting to reconsider your living conditions.

Life in rural areas

Life in the countryside is a dream come true for anyone who wants to get rid of stress and anxiety induced by big-city survival. Rural living includes life in the open, spread-out areas and small communities. There is a lot of undeveloped lands, usually surrounded by magnificent nature.

This lifestyle is a choice of people who enjoy close-knit communities, where everyone knows each other. You get to enjoy the vast space, lovely views, healing nature. This is the perfect choice for people in search of more sustainable ways of living. With a bit of gardening and farming skills, you can provide for yourself and your family and perhaps even start a small business. In addition, the peace, quiet and clean air makes it perfect for those working remotely.

Since Virginia offers majestic nature, many young families and retirees decide to move to local counties. Besides the obvious health benefits of clean air and a stress-free environment, they provide a lower cost of living and much more affordable housing.

Countryside in Virginia
Magnificent woods, lakes, rivers, and trails could be at your disposal if you move to the countryside.

The downsides of living in the countryside

Even though countryside residents have many health and financial benefits, there are some downsides. One of them is the commute issue. If you don’t work close to your home, you’ll need to drive to work in the city. Even though some rural areas such as Orange County are less than 30 miles from Charlottesville, which makes the commute to work bearable, not all places have the same luck.

In addition, local shops and amenities can be found only in the strict village center. Thus, you will need to stock up on food and supplies to avoid driving to town anytime you need something. That means that families usually need more than one car to get around. Also, with fewer amenities, you have fewer available services. Not being used to this occurrence can be hard if you’ve moved from the city to the countryside. However, living in rural areas makes you resilient and craftier. After you get used to such living, you’ll eliminate the need for many things.

Suburban life

There are clear differences between city, suburban, and rural living, including housing costs, development patterns, and population numbers. However, the difference between suburban and city lifestyles was never clearly defined. Finding the perfect home in a suburb is a choice of many growing families, young professionals, and retirees searching for a slower pace and more affordable cost of living. The benefits of such a lifestyle are many since you get to live peacefully and more comfortably. Plus, the commute to work isn’t as daunting as when you live in the countryside.

A house in a suburban neighborhood
Suburban lifestyle, no matter how convenient, may often lack green surfaces and have nearly the same living costs as the city does.

The good and bad side of being “in-between”

Life in the suburbs is different from city life due to a slower pace and more affordable housing. Still, a suburb is considered a subset of the city. There is no official definition for it. It’s not a central part of the city, nor is it a town of its own. Some suburbs share some country-like living amenities, but still, they are not the countryside either. The cost of living is very similar to that in cities, and since cities are constantly growing and expanding, places around them are often modified with new buildings construction.

It’s safe to say that cities are slowly swallowing the suburbs, making them closer to the core. This is a good and a bad thing since you will be a homeowner in a competitive market. Still, everything you were trying to avoid while living in the city will eventually catch up with you. However, if you’ve tasted the suburban life and you need more action, maybe the city is something worth considering. Since most moving companies provide their services to wider areas, a transfer to the city from the suburbs is not something you should worry about.

City lifestyle

Needless to say that cities are the centers of happenings. They are densely populated hubs of industries, cultures, and politics. There is no better place for work opportunities, education, social and cultural life, and thousands of other amenities. Often you will hear that cities have a life of their own, that they never sleep, and that is true. They are the places where everything is happening, where progress takes place and dreams come true. Still, achieving those dreams is not always easy.

Busy streets of Richmond, VA
One of the perks of living in the city is the fact that you can get almost everywhere on foot.

Life in the city takes its toll

Even though life in the city can give a lot, it takes the same. To sustain in such an environment, you have to work very hard and overburden yourself with life’s many stressful factors. Daily traffic jams, rush, ever-emerging bills, limited living space, polluted air, lack of green surfaces, high costs of living, and many other small things add up to a substantial overwhelming worry. For example, for the price of a tiny apartment in NYC, you can get two beautiful homes in the countryside. This change can help you get the home of your dreams and a passive income. Even with the recent fluctuations in the housing markets worldwide, investing in real estate is always a great idea.

City life eats your money, and you can never earn as much as you can spend. No wonder if you feel a sudden rush to run away from it all. You don’t have to make a radical change and move to the countryside, but you can try living in the suburbs for a while. Even though the moving process takes a lot of time and preparation, you can still get everything ready in 7 days if you develop a good strategy.

Conclusion

Leaving the city would certainly make you healthier. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be happier. Country life is not for everyone – you have to be ready for it. The urge to get away is becoming more frequent with young Newyorkers who are moving to the countryside looking for sustainable ways of living. Others, however, find it hard to let go of all the city amenities. In addition, for some, the move is a financial necessity or comes with age. Still, it’s essential to know your options when the time comes to change directions. Whether you decide to focus on your career, family, or eco-friendly lifestyle, understanding the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you turn your life around.

Meta description: When looking for new living conditions knowing the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you turn your life around.

Photos used:

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https://unsplash.com/photos/YUha4PUGlws

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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 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, 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.

Explaining the Buzz Around iBuyers—and the Buzzkill

Key Takeaways:

  • Some sellers have turned to iBuyers for instant cash offers on their properties, but they have consequently sacrificed the personalization of their home sale.
  • iBuyers use outdated algorithms to value properties, whereas real estate agents use to-the-minute statistics to generate accurate, competitive prices.
  • Work with our team of local agents to expertly price your property—and we can even start crunching the numbers for your updated home value today!

Here’s What You Need to Know About iBuyers

An iBuyer is a company that makes an offer on your property by using automated value-estimating technology. Rather than partaking in the traditional home sale process, some of today’s sellers are relying on iBuyers to make all-cash offers on their properties. And since iBuyers use automated estimators to price your home, these companies are able to make their offers almost instantly.

Sellers have varying considerations when it comes to their home sales—some prioritize earning top dollar, while others just want to sell as quickly as possible. So depending on your home-selling goals, iBuyers could be a valid option for you. However, no matter what you want out of your home sale, you should always have an expert real estate agent by your side to guide you through the process.

When pricing your home, you want accuracy—not algorithms

Realtor showing home

As the local market starts showing signs of a shift, there’s never been a more critical time to know your home’s true value. In the real estate industry, agents price your home through a process called a comparative market analysis (CMA). This process compares your property to recently sold listings in the area that share similar features to your own home. Based on the CMA results, our agents are able to generate a competitive price that will have buyers flocking to your door.

On the other hand, iBuyers use a software they refer to as an automation valuation model, which essentially uses an algorithm to quickly process a property’s data and compute an offer price. When setting a list price for your property, you don’t want to rely on automatic estimators that promise instant (but not accurate!) results—entrust a local agent instead! And when you work with us, one of our pricing experts will evaluate your property in-person to pinpoint its value-boosting features and deliver you an accurate price in real-time.

The ideal timeline of your home sale should be top of mind

couple planning their moving timeline

This is when your home-selling priorities come into play—if selling your home quickly is your absolute top priority, then working with an iBuyer might best fit your needs. Many iBuyers can make you a cash offer within two days of when they receive your property’s information. Then, if you accept the offer and schedule a home assessment immediately, you could close on your house anywhere from two weeks to two months later, depending on any necessary repairs.

Although the extraordinarily quick timeline of selling your home to an iBuyer may seem compelling, you also have to consider our local market—it’s still skewed towards sellers. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, 87% of properties sold in August 2021 were on the market for less than a month. So with the ball still clearly in sellers’ courts, working with an iBuyer might not guarantee moving any sooner.

Need Selling Advice? We’re All Ears!

Ultimately, determining whether you should sell to an iBuyer is a personal decision based on your priorities. And as your local area experts, our agents are here to guide you through the home-selling process no matter which option you choose. Whether you need to sell your home this week or crave a competitive list price that will earn you a profit, you can count on us to accomplish your home-selling goals.

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 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, 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.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Picking the Perfect Neighborhood

Key Takeaways:

  • If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s important to choose the right neighborhood, especially if you care about resale value.
  • Certain neighborhood features can increase your home value—and make you feel right at home in your new community. 
  • When it comes to your home search, we have some features to keep in the forefront of your mind to make sure you pick the perfect (and most profitable) community! 

Here’s What Affects Your Home Value Every Time

When it comes to your home search, finding a house in the ideal neighborhood is half the battle. Your future community is going to decide how close you are to nearby conveniences, what qualities your home possesses, and the people who are going to be your neighbors. 

A home’s value is determined by how much prospective buyers in the market are willing to pay for your property, but we understand that each buyer is unique. While one buyer may prioritize nearby employment opportunities, another might place more weight on local entertainment or neighborhood amenities. However, property values are always impacted by one component—where they’re located. 

If you’re on the hunt for your next neighborhood, consider this your step-by-step guide on how to pick the perfect community!    

Location, location, location

aerial view of neighborhood homes

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s so important that we have to repeat it—location is everything when it comes to making a good investment in your next home. Think about it: typically, all the homes in a neighborhood, regardless of size or condition, fall within the same price range. Therefore, when it comes to valuing a property, location matters more than even the home’s characteristics.

When an appraiser is assigning a value to a property based on its location, they look at three primary factors—the reputation of local schools, employment opportunities, and proximity to entertainment. In addition to these factors, a home’s distance to everyday necessities, such as highways and public transit systems, play a crucial role in increasing its value.     

Neighborhood amenities are must-haves for more value 

enjoying an outdoor dinner

What could be better than having a host of amenities available right outside your front door? Neighborhood niceties such as community clubhouses, golf courses, and pools are often at the top of buyers’ wishlists when searching for a new home. All these features and more foster a fun, inclusive environment of community involvement. Plus, a spacious clubhouse serves as the prime venue to host events that are sure to bring the neighborhood together! 

In addition to a neighborhood’s current conveniences, you can research any future upgrades your community has coming through its digital planning documents. These documents should outline what improvements are planned for your neighborhood—like nearby shopping centers, schools, or parks—and when they’re going to be completed. Plus, it’s always a good idea to check and see if a neighborhood has a homeowners association. Your HOA will have a hand in maintaining and enhancing the community’s value over time. 

Other conveniences you should consider…

woman smiling on phone

At this point, you’ve probably considered some basic factors like nearby attractions, commute times, and all the amenities a neighborhood has to offer—but what about the everyday conveniences? To take your home search to the next level, you have to think about the seemingly small details. When evaluating your neighborhood’s location, cover your bases by mapping out the distances to the nearest medical centers, airports, and grocery stores—believe us, you’ll be thankful for this when you forget to buy eggs. 

In terms of expenses, everyone has to pay utility bills, so you can save money by looking at who your local providers will be ahead of time. And speaking of planning, we recommend working with your agent to determine how your area’s property taxes will fit into your home-buying budget. 

Ready to Find Your Perfect Fit?

All these features are things you should be on the lookout for during your home search—and remember, the surrounding community is equally as important as the individual home when it comes to finding your perfect fit. As your local real estate agents, we’d be happy to help you find your dream home in just the right neighborhood—all you have to do is give us a call! 

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 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, 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.

A person circling the word "Approved" with a green marker, symbolizing the benefits of a good Virginia home loan guide.

Virginia Home Loan Guide

Orange County, Virginia, has become one of the most popular areas for people with families. Even though it’s a mostly rural area, it is still close to large cities like Richmond, DC, Charlottesville, etc. Rural areas and suburbs have become desired locations for families looking for new homes, or vacation homes, especially during the pandemic. With that in mind, we want to cover a simple and useful Virginia home loan guide and get you one step closer to your dream house! Let’s get started!

What is a home loan?

Let’s start by defining what a home loan is. Also known as a mortgage, it is a type of loan used only to purchase a house. A lender creates a contract with the borrower for a specified amount of money. The borrower uses that money to buy a house and pays monthly installments to the lender over a period of 15 to 30 years.

When you start browsing the hottest neighborhoods in Orange County, Virginia, be sure to check with your agent what the average cost of homes is. That will tell you if your credit score will allow you to get the amount you will need to buy a house.

Let’s break down the structure of a monthly loan

One of the most critical parts of our instructional is to teach you how to calculate your monthly payment. To get the amount of your monthly loan payment, take the principal amount (the sum that the lender borrows you) and apply the interest rate to it.

Per the US Bank, for fixed-rate mortgage loans in Virginia, the interest rate depends on the term and the type of mortgage. The common types are:

  • conventional fixed-rate mortgage – a kind of loan that conforms to the size of the loan and your financial budget, and the interest rate is fixed until it is fully paid;
  • adjustable-rate mortgage – interest rate fluctuates and will change based on the predetermined index;
  • FHA mortgage – Federal Housing Administration loan has more flexible lending requirements than a conventional loan. It also includes insurance premiums, but more of that in the next section;
  • VA mortgage – Department of Veteran Affairs loan will allow eligible service members to purchase a home with a low down payment, or without a down payment;
  • Jumbo mortgage – this type of loan is what you would usually use if you want to purchase a luxury home when the price exceeds conforming loan limits. To get it, you need a high credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio;

What are insurance premiums and property taxes?

When buying a home in Virginia, you also need to pay an annual insurance premium that protects your home from any damage. It also protects you from a financial loss or if someone gets injured on your property. Furthermore, you need to pay quarterly property taxes to your local municipality.

It often happens that a lender pays for both the taxes and insurance premiums. In that case, you will actually pay more than your monthly mortgage payment, and that money goes into your escrow account. Then, the lender uses it to cover the expenses when they are due.

When we consider the cost of purchasing a home, paying your real estate agent, and organizing a relocation, you can see how important it is to precisely calculate all of the expenses and know your financial limit. Through this guide, we will also teach you how to save money whenever possible. Since you cannot cut corners when it comes to paying your lender, you can at least consider consulting Verified Movers, and they will connect you with affordable and licensed moving companies in the area.

What is a promissory note?

When you sign the contract with your lender, there is also a second agreement included. It is called a promissory note, and when you sign it, you oblige yourself to repay your home loan and the interest rate. Furthermore, you pledge to stick to the repayment schedule.

A second mortgage and how to use it

It is a common practice to get a second mortgage after you purchase your house. This loan comes in two forms: home equity loan and home equity line of credit.

While with a home equity loan, you borrow a sum of money and pay it back with interest over time, a home equity line of credit works a bit differently. You can borrow a granted amount of money over time, and you can split it. That means you can borrow one amount during this year and the rest during the following year. This means you can calculate how much money you need, and you are not under the obligation to get the whole sum.

A second mortgage is calculated if you take the total cost of your home and subtract the remaining mortgage balance. If you bought a home worth $150,000, and you have $100,000 to pay, that means you own a percentage of your home in the sum of $50,000. That sum is how much you can borrow for your second mortgage.

One of the major benefits of a second mortgage is that you can spend it on anything you want. While you can do home renovation projects, you can also spend money on anything else, like paying for relocation. With that money, you can hire movers that provide an easy and stress-free process. It will undoubtedly make your life a whole lot easier and free up some time to focus on other more pressing matters.

How to secure a mortgage

When you apply for a mortgage, the first step is to research lenders and find the best interest rates for your pocket. Securing a mortgage is a lengthy process, though. The main requirements are a favorable credit score, a low debt-to-income ratio, and a down payment.

A credit score is considered good if it’s above 670. You can still get it with a lower credit score, but your interest rate will be higher. Your debt-to-income ratio should be below 36%, and the down payment is at least 20% of the price. The higher the down payment is, the lower the interest.

Virginia home loan guide made easy

Do not be frightened by the process of getting a mortgage. We hope that this Virginia home loan guide has everything you need to go through the process with ease. Once you have your dream home secured, you will have a lot to do Virginia and you will never be bored. Best of luck in buying the home of your dreams!

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 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, 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.

Finding an Ideal Home When Starting or Growing A Family

When you decide to have kids, your housing priorities change. A small and cozy apartment may be perfect for a single person or a couple, but life with kids in a minimal space is more than challenging. Growing families will often outgrow their previous homes and decide to move to a better one for their needs. Searching for your dream house is exciting, but be ready to make many important decisions about the next chapter of your life. Here’s what you need to know about finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family.

Timing

There is no universally right timing for buying a home. Many millennial homebuyers are currently searching for homes for their families. Some decide to buy before they have children, while others wait. Everything has some pros and cons:

  • If you buy a family home before having kids, you’ll have room to grow, and maybe you’ll be more relaxed. You won’t have to move while expecting a baby and going through a rollercoaster of emotions that all parents-to-be face. The downside to this timing is that you might not know all your parenting decisions yet, which may affect the home buying process.
  • If you wait until your baby is on its way, you may have a better picture of what you want for your kids. However, finding a home at that time and organizing a relocation may be very stressful for a pregnant woman.
  • Waiting until you have one or more kids will give you time to better understand the family’s needs and priorities. However, looking at homes while your kids are young can be overwhelming.

Whether you find yourself in any of these situations, just have in mind that finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family isn’t easy, but it’s worth any trouble.

When you already have kids, you know your family’s priorities, and that will impact
your home buying process.

Set your budget

Set your price range and know what you can afford. Think carefully about many factors. For example, if you’ll have more kids, will both parents be able to continue to work, and you’ll still have two incomes? What is your usual monthly budget? A large home will require more investment and more maintenance. The bigger the house, the higher the electrical bills and other utility bills will be. That’s why you need to consider energy-efficient appliances when home-hunting.

Location

No matter the timing, the budget, or the location, moving to a new home while having to juggle family and all other responsibilities will be challenging. What is important is that you choose a good long-term investment and consider all the factors before deciding. Probably some compromises will have to be made, so discuss everything together with your partner.

The main thing you want for your kids is a safe neighborhood with a family-friendly community and amenities. Research and check the quality of schools in the potential neighborhood, crime rates, and demographics. Then, drive around that area. Make a visit after school hours and on weekends. Do you see families with children? Are there many playgrounds, swing sets, or basketball hoops? Are there kids playing outdoors? Check nearby recreation and entertainment options – parks, recreation centers, pools, fitness centers, museums, etc.

Search for a family-friendly location with lots of parks and playgrounds, good schools, and a low crime rate.

Home size

When deciding on the home size, first create a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves. If you know for sure that you’ll only have one child, a home with two bedrooms is desirable. However, if you’re expecting a second or a third child, look for a home with at least three bedrooms. Your children can share a room, but while one of them is still a baby, it may disturb the older brother/sister’s sleep. Think about all aspects, the present and future.

When your kids grow and become teenagers, they’ll probably need separate bedrooms and a place where they can hang out with friends. Furthermore, more and more people work remotely, so many young professionals are looking for a home office in a house. Think if you will need a guestroom. Pets are also members of a family and have needs. So consider the outdoor space too. A garden will also be crucial for your family gatherings during the summer, such as barbeques, birthday celebrations, family dinners, etc.

Location and home size are crucial for finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family.

Kid-friendly features

Finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family includes finding as many possible kid-friendly features. When looking at houses, you need to answer all of these questions:

  • Are the doors, windows, and stairs safe enough? Will your family be safe from break-ins or possible accidents? Stairs must be safely gated for the security of your baby and toddler.
  • Is there enough storage space? More kids – more stuff. As kids grow, they’ll have more and more clothes and toys, not to mention bicycles, various requisites, and sports equipment. You need as much closet space as possible to be able to store all their items.
  • How big is the yard? Kids need to spend time outside in the fresh air. A house with a big, fenced yard will ensure they have a safe place to play.
  • Is there a bathtub?  Look for a house that has at least one spacious bathtub; children love them.
  • Will you have a laundry room? A laundry room is actually one of the top home features for 2021. Everybody who has children needs to deal with lots of dirty clothes. Your washer and dryer should be conveniently placed in a laundry room that isn’t adjacent to the children’s room. They might wake each time the washer and dryer are on.
  • Is there an open-floor space? A kitchen should overlook the living room, so you’ll be able to cook while your kids are playing. Open spaces are great for family bonding, game nights, and movie nights.
  • Is a home kid-proofed? When expecting a child, baby-proofing is necessary. Install outlet covers and cabinet stops and replace outdated electrical systems.
  • Will you have enough space for parking? Is there a garage? This will all influence your everyday life.

Relocation to your dream home

Once you find all (or the majority) of these features in a home that you can afford, you can start the homebuying process. When the home is yours, the only thing left is to hire relocation experts that are right for you and prepare for a move. Pack your stuff carefully and methodically, and rely on a babysitter if necessary. It will make the situation easier for all of you.

Final thoughts

With all of this in mind, we hope that finding an ideal home when starting or growing a family will be successful and as quick and easy as possible. Once you move in, you’ll have countless happy moments and make thousands of happy memories together.

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 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

Take These Steps on the Path to Homeownership

Homeownership is undisputedly the Great American Dream. There is a good reason for that, especially as interest rates have dropped. And while the pandemic has changed the landscape of buying a home, with patience and the help of great real estate professionals like The Licata Group, you can make this a reality. If you’ve never walked this path before, there are a few steps you can take to help your dream come true. 

Step 1: Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a number that gives lenders a good idea of whether you’re financially responsible. Ideally, you’ll have a score of 720 or higher. You may be able to get a loan with a credit score of 580, but the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. It’s always a good idea to know what’s hiding on your credit report before you contact the lender.

Step 2: Know What You Can Afford

Knowing your credit score is only part of the puzzle. You also have to figure out how much you can reasonably afford for your mortgage. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, most lenders will also consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Generally speaking, you are more likely to repay your loan if your DTI is 43 percent or less. Your credit score and DTI may also determine which types of loans you are eligible to receive. 

If you have very little credit, as many homebuyers do, you might want to consider an FHA loan. Often, you can put less money down and still walk away with a reasonable monthly payment. If your goal is the lowest mortgage possible, plan to put 20 percent down and stick to a 30-year loan. Fifteen- and 20-year loans are also available, and they can help you pay your house off faster, but they’ll cost more money each month.

Step 3: Find the Right Realtor

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start shopping for a reliable real estate agent. This is the person who will represent your best interests throughout the home-buying process. While it is technically possible to buy a house without this kind of assistance, keep in mind that a buyer’s agent does not charge you. Instead, barring a few exceptions, their time and expertise are compensated by the commission offered by the seller.

Step 4: Begin Your Search

Now that you have a handle on money, you can start your home search. First, determine how much home you actually need. Plan for the future and look for a home that will provide enough room to accommodate your lifestyle and space needs for the next five to 10 years. This is where the affordability factor comes into play, and your realtor will be able to steer you in the right direction. Note that on average, homes in Lake of the Woods currently sell for $335,000.

Step 5: Found It! Make an Offer 

When you think you have found the perfect house, put your game face on and make an offer. Depending on your local climate, you may want to offer close to the asking price – your agent can help you make that determination. Keep in mind, however, that even after they accept the offer, things may change depending on the home inspection and appraisal.

In a normal scenario, when your offer is accepted, things will move quickly, usually between four and six weeks. However, the pandemic could have an effect on how long you wait to close. Regardless, during this time, you’ll be contacted by your lender for additional information, and you will be in close contact with your agent. If everything goes off without a hitch, you’ll find yourself sitting at the title company on closing day, holding the keys to the next chapter of your journey.

 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

Image via Pexels

Thinking About Starting a Business and Relocating? Here’s What to Keep in Mind

There are so many incredible aspects to working in the modern era, and one of them is the simplicity of setting up a  home-based business. Running your own business has numerous advantages, but it can also require some changes, such as relocating to a bigger home. If you are set on starting a business but your place isn’t suitable for both living and working, expert real estate agency The Licata Group offers a few things to keep in mind.

Moving to Accommodate Your Business

Starting your business and moving at the same time is no joke; however, it is doable. It will take energy, time, and money, but what will help you the most is significant planning ahead of time and a checklist to keep you on track. 

What Goes Into Home Buying

Before planning to buy a new home, it’s crucial to check your credit score to see what you can and cannot afford. The next step is working with a professional from The Licata Group who can help you with the process to figure out what type of house will fit your needs.

The home-hunting process can be daunting, especially when you’re also starting a business, but it is essential to keep a few things in mind, such as finding out which location will be ideal for your new clients. You should also make a list of aspects you want in your house, such as a workspace or a garage, to allow your business to function at its maximum – both for now and in the future – and enable you to live comfortably while running a startup.

Once you’ve found the right home, make an offer and schedule the inspection to ensure the house doesn’t have any underlying issues. What you need to do next is secure your financing, get a homeowners’ insurance policy, close the sale, transfer your information to the new place, and move in.

Whether you decide to use a moving company or handle everything yourself, set up a budget for this process to keep yourself on track financially. If you’ve decided on a DIY move, make a point to stay organized by packing room by room, labeling your inventory, and finding cheap packing supplies. Sorting your stuff first when relocating will help you tremendously and allow you to get working sooner than later.

Starting a Successful Business in a Bigger House

Today, more people are starting businesses, and they are doing it from the comfort of their homes. Still, not all states allow this, so make sure you research your state’s regulations to avoid mistakes and make your business legal.

To lead your small business to success, look for gaps in the market – this means you need to find a need that’s not met in the industry and fill it by delivering more than expected. You must then choose a business structure and put together a business plan. Your business should also have an online presence, so look for cost-effective marketing tactics, such as using social media and email to make you and your services known.

To start most businesses – depending on the service or product you plan to offer – you don’t necessarily need a degree; however, having a master’s certification can gain you some leverage, such as higher pay, a broader network, and increased credibility. If you find that you need to boost your business acumen, consider enrolling in an online degree program that doesn’t cramp your ability to run your business at the same time. 

Starting a home-based business is attractive for many because it offers a work-life balance. While moving to a bigger home to accommodate a new business may seem lofty for some, it is the best decision you can make if you consider the costs, future profits and choose the right property.

When you’re ready to find the perfect home, connect with a professional from The Licata Group to find the perfect Home. Call today to begin your house hunting journey! 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

Image Source: Pexels

Buying A Home in Virginia After Retirement

Buying a new home and moving for retirement is something that is pretty common in the United States. It also seems that it is something that almost everybody is doing nowadays. However, this process is something that will take some time and consideration. Buying a home, moving and starting over is exciting. However, it is also a task that you should take seriously. Think about your life now, and how it will change once you retire. What are the pros and cons of relocating? And starting fresh? Yes, starting fresh is possible even at the golden age. You’ve probably never had more money and time at your disposal. Now, you can finally enjoy life to the fullest. And you deserve it. Let us guide you through buying a home in Virginia after retirement process, and help you handle it the best way possible. You don’t only need it, you really do deserve it.

Reasons for buying a new home after retirement

We all have different reasons, however, we all have the main goal in common – we want to make our lives better, every aspect of it. And that is the main reason behind every home buying process. In Virginia, Japan or anywhere else in the world. We just want what’s best for ourselves and our loved ones. Retiring and enjoying your mature age comes with many benefits, and one of them – you will have much more time on your hands. Time to take charge of your life. And that sometimes means changing your surroundings and starting over.

Your family home might have served you for many years, but it’s probably not the right fit for you anymore. It might feel like an empty nest, or it might be too big now when the kids have moved out. Maybe you want to be closer to your grandchildren. We all have our reasons, however, investing in real estate comes with a great deal of work that needs to be done. Our number one advice for you would be to really think through your reasons. Make sure that they are good and reasonable ones.

Gathering the money

Yes, we need to mention and talk about this aspect when having a conversation about buying a home in Virginia after retirement. Your budget. It is real estate, and such investments don’t come cheap. That is why you need to really consider your budget, as well as your wants and needs. What are you looking for? And can you afford it? These two things can also be very different, so make sure you know your budget as well as your limits.

Calculate your budget. Look into your savings. Talk to your loaning manager and ask for some advice. Try to get all the information and advice that you can use to your advantage along the way. And also – don’t depend, but rely on professional assistance. Having someone who knows the real estate business to its core on your team is of crucial importance. Why? You will want to get the most value for your money’s worth. We all do.

Yes, you will want to hire a professional

As we have mentioned before, having a seasoned professional when buying a home in Virginia after retirement is your best option. It will save you some precious time, energy and even money. Hiring realtors or real estate agents sounds more expensive than it is. And their service, on the other hand, is much needed. Even though you might be buying your 10th house this time around, if you are not a real estate professional yourself, you will need some help for sure.

This market changes, without us even noticing. And in order to get as much value for your money, you will definitely need some advice and someone who can lead this whole process. Especially if you are coming from another state. Relocating from one place to another is stressful enough as it is, and moving interstate, well – let’s just say, there will be many things to consider when moving to another state. Let professionals assist you. It is the best thing you can do.

Decide what you’ll do with your current house

You will have to make this call, sooner or later. And even though leaving our old lives behind sounds fun and exciting, leaving all these memories behind as well can be harder than you might have originally expected. That is why you need to think about this move. And we mean – really think. Will you leave your old house to your kids? Or are you going to sell it?

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do it fast. Letting time pass by won’t help you, and especially if you tend to get nostalgic. Allow yourself to enjoy your new beginning, and say goodbye to your old life. Leaving your old family house behind doesn’t mean you’ll leave all the people you love (or the memories you share with them) behind. It is just a property. And the sooner you start thinking this way, the sooner this process will become enjoyable. And you really want things to go smoothly, trust us on this one.

Set up your criteria

Your new home in Virginia needs to be perfect. It needs to meet your expectations and everything you have dreamt of all these years. Make a list of things that are a must and a list of things that are a no-no. You will have to make a compromise here and there, but there are still some things that are and should stay deal breakers. You deserve the best. And now, you can finally be picky.

Enjoy the process

Your real estate agent will lead the way, and all you have to do is to follow his or her lead. Of course, it is your house and you make all the calls, however, your real estate agent (or realtor) is there to do all the hard work. Buying a home in Virginia after retirement is something that you have waited for for so long. Make sure you enjoy it!

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Norther 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