Tag Archives: buying a home

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

Mortgage 101: What To Know Before You Apply

Everybody loves talking about mortgages. They’re fun, easy to understand, and a great icebreaker, right?….Wrong. Thanks to their lengthy process, technical jargon, and confusing options, mortgages have a bit of an intimidating reputation—but it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re in the process of buying a new home and dreading the mortgage application process, here’s what you need to know to keep things running smoothly. 

Know How Much You Can Spend

A person holding up money.

If you’re feeling antsy about getting started and want a general idea of how much loan you might qualify for, consider the 28/36 rule, or the Debt-to-Income ratio—AKA what most lenders use to help calculate your mortgage. 

Essentially, the 28/36 rule means that your monthly mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your gross income. Additionally, your outstanding debts—like mortgage, car loans, student loans—shouldn’t account for more than 36% of your gross income.

Get Your Finances in Order

Statistics on a laptop.

Not seeing the numbers you were hoping for after calculating your Debt-to-Income ratio? Then, hopefully, you’ve given yourself a little time to shift things in your favor. Paying off loans, improving your credit score, avoiding big purchases—these will all help you change those numbers. 

Of course, completing those tasks is a little harder to do in practice than in theory, so you may have to take a look at your budget and see where you can cut out some extras—at least temporarily!

What You’ll Need to Apply

 

Paperwork.

In the weeks before you plan on applying for a mortgage, you should start collecting all of the documents you need. Since a lender will be telling you exactly how much money they’re willing to loan, they’ll need a comprehensive understanding of your finances beforehand. Start gathering things like:

  • W2s/tax returns
  • Photo ID
  • Your two most recent pay stubs
  • Current and prior addresses
  • Asset information (retirement funds, 401(k), stocks and bonds, other investments) 
  • Gift letters

Depending on the lender you choose, you may need additional documents, so consider calling in to double-check beforehand. 

Find the Right Mortgage

Three women pointing at a laptop.

Once it’s time to start thinking more concretely about applying for a mortgage, you have several options to consider. While all the mortgage options out there could easily fill a whole blog post on their own, here’s a quick rundown to give you a general idea:

  • Conventional/Fixed-rate:  The interest rate of a fixed-rate loan won’t change over time, making it a popular choice for its predictability. Conventional loans typically require a 20% down payment or mortgage insurance for smaller down payments.
  • Adjustable-rate: The interest rate of adjustable-rate mortgage will fluctuate over time, sometimes lower than fixed-rate, sometimes higher. There is a cap in place so the rate doesn’t get too out of control, but ARMs are typically more popular with those who plan to refinance.
  • FHA: If you are struggling to come up with a down payment, you may have options with an FHA mortgage. Provided by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans come with a low down payment requirement and built-in mortgage insurance.
  • USDA: Live in a rural area? Then check out your USDA eligibility! A surprising amount of areas qualify for USDA loans, even if you aren’t living in the countryside. Plus, USDA loans don’t require a down payment and offer lower insurance premiums.

These aren’t the only options you’ll have, just the most common. If none of these sound right or you aren’t sure which to choose, just ask your lender!

Choose the Right Lender

When it comes time to decide who to work with, you’ll have to do your research. Each lender is different, meaning they’ll likely offer you different rates, charges, and loan options. 

Luckily, we’ve been working in real estate around the area for years, so we know exactly which lenders are right for which buyers. If you need a few suggestions before you kick off your search, just let us know! 

Still Have Questions?

That’s okay—we get it. Applying for mortgage is confusing and challenging, especially if it’s your first time. If you have any questions about the process, we’re here to help. 

Ready to start looking at a few homes in your price range? We can help with that, too! Check out our specialized search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call to start seeing a few in person!

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.

Guide for Canadians Buying a Property in Virginia

A brick suburban home, representing buying a property in Virginia.

Guide for Canadians buying a property in Virginia

Are you considering going into the Virginia real estate market? While this could turn out to be the investment of your life, you should be careful; buying a piece of real estate is no small feat. This will be a complicated process, during which you will definitely have a lot to do. So, before you make such a purchase, ideally you should consider all the factors; the amount of money you can spend, the features you want from a home, and the best possible neighborhood. But apart from that; as a Canadian who’s buying a property in Virginia; you should also consider the legal practicalities of such a purchase. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got it all covered right here! 

Finding a good real estate agent in Virginia 

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving down the street or if your move is a long-distance one; if you ask us, choosing your new neighborhood and the specific piece of property will be of major importance. And if you want to play this smart, you should contact an experienced local real estate agent. Trust us; a good agent is worth their weight in gold. During the process of buying a property in Virginia, a professional agent will lead you every step of the way. They’ll draft the order you write, and negotiate in your name with any potential sellers. If you hire an agent to take care of the purchase for you, they’ll get a better deal in terms of the smaller details too, such as the house closing costs and the escrow process.  

Hiring a real estate agent 

Apart from handling some of the specifics of buying a property in Virginia, your real estate agent can be of help in other ways as well. Having a professional who knows the real estate trends of the area will be of major use, trust us. And besides; in most cases, working with a real estate agent on buying a home won’t actually cost you a dime. Why? Well, the usual practice is the seller paying the whole commission for the realtor. Typically, that’s around 5% of the sale price for the home, that the seller’s agent and your own agent split between each other. Also, your real estate agent can help with finding other professionals who can provide you with different services in the process of purchasing a home; like home inspectors or mortgage brokers. 

A two-story brick home in Virginia.

If you want a quality home, hire a good realtor!

Naturally, you must be wondering what the best way to select a particular real estate agent is. First and foremost, you want to make sure that your potential agent is licensed; check the registry of the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Apart from that, you want to hear the different reviews on real estate agents, on places like Trulia and Zillow. Trust us, if you choose your real estate agent correctly, and use other professionals prudently, buying a home here can be an extremely pleasant experience.  

Sale disclosures 

As a Canadian who’s buying a property in Virginia, one thing is certain; you’re probably not too familiar with local laws. Even people who’ve lived in Virginia their entire lives aren’t always well-versed in the legalities of home purchases in the area. For example – while you’re searching for the perfect neighborhood in the area, you might want to familiarize yourself with the seller disclosures that the law demands. And just what are these, you ask? Well, these are regulations which obligate home sellers in the state of Virginia to report some types of defects on their properties. The aforementioned Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has the details within their Residential Property Disclosure document, but we’ll give you the gist of it here.  

A small blue suburban house.

There are certain issues that a seller must disclose

In essence, there are a few kinds of defects that a seller must disclose during a real estate transaction. First of all, they must tell the buyer if the property is nearby a military air installation. Secondly, they must report any defective drywall. Also, a seller must report if their property was at any point the site of a meth lab, if it hasn’t been cleaned up in accordance with state guidelines. Finally, a seller is obligated to tell the buyer if their home has a septic system that isn’t fully functioning.  

Also, people selling houses which were built before 1978 have an additional piece of compliance to perform. They need to make certain that their house complies with federal regulations on lead-based hazards, and more specifically lead paint.  

Getting a home inspection 

If you were to take a look at seller-disclosure regulations in other states, you’d find that buyers are much more protected. In other words, the list of defects that the sellers have an obligation to report is far larger. But with the disclosure limits here, buying a property in Virginia usually means one thing – hiring someone to do an independent home inspection.  

A suburban home with a driveway and a garage.

If you want to make sure you’re buying a good home, a home inspection is in order

In the process, this outside inspector has to check out an entire host of potential issues. For example, you want them to see if the house is susceptible to any pests or termites. Then, you need to be sure that there are no structural issues, and that the roof and windows stand upon a firm foundation. And finally, there are the drainage and other soil issues, as well as mold or the presence of certain odors.  

Hopefully, any Canadians buying a property in Virginia can find this guide useful. You are surely going to enjoy 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.

Saving up for a New Home? Here Are All the Costs You Need to Know

Once you’ve found the perfect home and secured the loan, all that’s left to do is start chipping away at those mortgage payments…right? In actuality, there are a handful of other, often-overlooked expenses that come with buying a home, but as long as you know what you’re getting into, they’re plenty manageable.

Take a look at our comprehensive list of all the costs of buying a home.

One-Time Payments & Closing Costs

A person holding up keys to a house.

Closing Costs

For buyers, closing costs are typically low and range from 2-5% of your purchase price. A lot of these costs are one-time expenses, and totals can vary from state-to-state.

If you want a better idea of what closing costs could be for you, check out this helpful guide on the average payments for each state.

Miscellaneous Fees

There are quite a bit of one-time fees bundled into your closing costs, but most of them are pretty inexpensive. Some of the most common expenses include the home inspection, appraisal, credit report, deed recording, land survey, notary fees, title insurance, and document prep fees.

Recurring Payments

A woman and a child counting coins.

Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments are the most obvious cost when buying a home. These are your predictable, monthly payments decided by both the final price of your home and your down payment—in addition to a few other bundled costs. A larger down payment means a smaller mortgage payment, and it’s a good idea to pay this off quickly, since it will accumulate interest.

Property Taxes

Property tax payments don’t go towards just one thing—they actually cover quite a bit, like road construction, community maintenance, public works, and local government salaries. The exact amount you’ll pay in property tax is calculated by the county based on your home’s value, and the rates tend to rise and fall over time. Many buyers pay their property taxes through an escrow account set up by the lender.

Homeowner’s Insurance

It’s better to have insurance and not need it than need insurance and not have it, so homeowner’s insurance is pretty crucial to home owning. While it’s almost always required when you get a mortgage and then bundled into your monthly payments, be sure to double-check that you’re covered.

Private Mortgage Insurance

If you can’t afford a 20% down payment on your home, you’ll have to pay PMI as a way to ensure that the lender won’t go under if you default on your loan. You don’t have to pay PMI forever—it ends once you pay off 78% or more of the principal amount—but until then, expect to pay up to 2% of your loan amount annually.

HOA Fees

Moving to a neighborhood with an HOA? Your dues can range anywhere from under a hundred dollars to over a thousand, but they come with perks like landscaping and exterior maintenance, and some even include added benefits like swimming pools and fitness centers. Not all neighborhoods have an HOA, but your agent can tell you what your payments will be if yours does.

Utilities

Lastly, utility fees can come as a surprise to new homeowners who are used to renting. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars per month for water, electricity, heating and cooling, and trash services. If you’re curious what your utility bills might look like, just ask your agent, and they can likely secure a few statements from the past owners.

Ready to Make an Offer?

A man and a woman sitting on a couch with a dog and a cat.

When it comes to buying a home, the most important thing you can do is be prepared. While there are a handful of costs to keep in mind, the satisfaction of calling a place your own is well-worth it in the end.

Are you ready to get started on your home-buying journey? With years of professional and local experience, our team knows all about navigating the expenses that come with buying. Give us a call today at (540) 388-2541 to get a better idea of your costs, and let’s get started!

Dan Seiler Introduction & Why You Should Use a Licata Group REALTOR!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

writing

The Pros & Cons of a Buyer’s Letter: Standing Out in a Busy Market

Imagine, after weeks of searching, that you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s in the perfect location with the right features and exactly the amount of space you need. But after requesting more information, your agent informs you that there are already several offers made on the house. How do you stand out in a busy market and snag your dream home?

When buyers are looking to make a lasting impression on sellers, they often opt to submit a letter to the seller. In fact, a recent study found that buyers who submitted letters were 9% more likely to have their offer accepted.

A Buyer’s Letter can work both with you and against you, so it’s important to understand what they are and when you should use one.

What is a Buyer’s Letter?

A man typing on a laptopA Buyer’s Letter is pretty much what it sounds like — a letter written by the buyer for the seller in order to stand out in a busy market. The letter is your chance to make a case for why you should get the home over other buyers.

Many people opt to write about how they envision their lives in the home, how well they would take care of it, how much owning this specific home would mean to them, and similar sentiments.

You might also use this space to talk yourself up, bringing up steady finances, your down payment, and job security — things geared towards making the seller confident in choosing you.

Advantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A man and a woman shaking handsA Buyer’s Letter sets you apart from the crowd and makes you more than just an offer on a sheet of paper — it allows you to connect with the seller on a personal level. In a constantly growing and changing market, being able to stand out or connect puts you a big step ahead of other buyers.

Is the home close to a golf course? Does the seller have bikes in their garage? Are there signs of pets in the home? If you notice you have common interests, including them in the Buyer’s Letter can elevate your standing.

When you choose to forgo a Buyer’s Letter, you miss out on the chance to advocate for yourself, which can go a long way in the seller’s final decision.

Disadvantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A woman writing in a notebook. While there are plenty of pros to using a Buyer’s Letter, there are also pitfalls to consider. Making your case is great, but it does give the seller leverage. If you really love the house as much as you say, then what’s to stop the seller from raising the asking price?

Maybe the seller accepts your offer, and you move to the home inspection stage. If issues turn up, then the seller might refuse to make costly repairs, assuming that you’ll buy the house no matter what.

Another unexpected con of a buyer’s letter? It can be tricky for sellers to navigate around discrimination issues. If a seller picks a buyer of a certain race, religion, gender, or family status instead of another, they could face backlash. Be aware of this when writing your letter so as to not put the seller in an uncomfortable position.

Need Help Standing Out?

If you’re kicking off the home-buying process and need help standing out, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you secure your dream home, and answer any and all of your questions in the process.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.