Monika Edwards Harrison, Realtor
Monika Edwards Harrison, Realtor

Buyers Info
Sellers Info
Owning Your Home
Investing Advice
Mortgage Info
Neighborhood Info
School Info
Mortgage Calculator

Welcome to Monika's Blog!  Check here frequently to read current real estate articles, homeowner tips and general observations about national and local real estate issues that may directly affect you!

January 24, 2018

What does 2018 hold for the Washington Metro real estate market?  

Just like past year weather which forecasters use to predict future weather, there is

no one model that guarantees an accurate forecast of future trends.  Many factors

affect the Washington Metro market and some are the same as those affecting

real estate nationally and some are very different because each local market

is different from each other.  Even within states, markets often vary significantly

depending on the availability of jobs, community amenities, education, taxes

and availability or scarcity of housing.  Within the DC Metro area, there

are significant variations between neighborhoods, states, and local jurisdictions.

To get a general idea of what some forecasters are projecting, read on and

remember they may or may not be applicable to your sale or purchase....




December 21, 2017 

Things NOT to do when selling your home...

If you have ever sold a home, you have likely (hopefully) received good advice from a good Realtor about the

things you should do to make your home sell at a higher price and more quickly .  However, in

addition to all those pieces of advice there is one that sums up the rest...there are also things NOT to do that make

selling your home easier and less stressful for you.  Although there are 5 points outlined in this article, the most

important one is to step back emotionally from your home when you put it on the market.  I tell my clients to

place their emotional focus on their new home and treat their home on the market as a commodity that they

are now selling.   Read on for other suggestions..... 

July 23, 2017

Is there such a thing as "the best time to sell a home?"

Yes, there is.  The best time to sell a home is when it meets your personal and financial goals to do so.  There

are great opportunities to sell in any market but some markets create a bigger pool of potential buyers

or a greater level of interest in owning a home than during some periods.  During the recovery from the

housing downturn of a few years ago, many sellers were "upside down" (meaning their home was

worth less than their current mortgage and attendant selling costs) so this is a good example of a period

when it would be considered a "bad" time to sell a home.  However, in every market there are people

who need a place to live or investors who are using a negative economic climate to build their 

portfolio.  As this article says, all real estate is local, so what is happening across

the country or the adjoining state or even an adjoining neighborhood may have no effect on

the sale of your home. Alternatively, when interest rates are good, unemployment is low and 

local incomes can accommodate local housing prices, the opportunity to make a good sale

is highest.  

The key to any market is to understanding the local real market and behaving accordingly.

This is the best reason to deal with a real estate professional whose job depends on understanding

that market and who can advise on how to sell a home at its highest price and in the least amount

of time, in any market.

July 1, 2017

Just one more reason to have a good Realtor advising you!

What would you do if you had 22 offers on a home you were selling?  Who wouldn't take the highest price?  A seller

who had an agent helping them clinically evaluate the pros and cons of each offer and who understood, and could

advise them, on the impact of a low appraisal on their deal going through.....

September 30, 2016

Thinking of downsizing your home?

I work with clients at every stage of home ownership, from first time homebuyers to owners of many homes

considering downsizing because of lifestyle or career changes.  It sounds so simple--make the house

smaller and have less cost and fewer maintenance obligations--but it isn't and there is no one-fits-all

solution for everyone.  The traditional triggers of such a decision have included retirement or the

children moving out of the home, but we can now add to that a desire to be in more walkable communities

as well as a desire to pursue new career or volunteerism opportunities found in new areas.  The old

pattern of selling the large suburban home and moving to the further suburbs or second home has

changed significantly as owners decide that inner cities or closer suburbs are better suited to the

lifestyle they wish to pursue in their next phase of their lives.  To those acquainted with someone

considering downsizing, it seems a simple process of sell or give away things, pick out a new

home and move in with fewer possessions.  Unfortunately, the physical and mental aspects

of such a move are hard and often involve emotional attachments to furnishings and

possessions as well as the neighborhood, neighbors, or broader community which represents

a significant part of their life history.As with all buying and selling decisions, those

considering downsizing will benefit significantly from

using a process to evaluate the options, make hard decisions and move forward.  A key

factor in the success of such a process  will be the involvement of a great Realtor, financial

advisor, lender and family and friends who can advise without trying to unduly

influence the final decision.

September 29, 2016

It's time for some home maintenance...

Almost every season brings some benefits from  maintaining our home.  Fall maintenance

is largely getting ready for Winter, when the payoff of early maintenance becomes clear!

August 20, 2016

Renters find smaller units and higher prices...

Are you a renter who is thinking of buying a home?  You may be finding your rental dollar buying less home each year.  As prices

go up and square footage goes down, it may make sense to crunch the buying numbers.....

June 20, 2016

Are you thinking of buying an investment  property?  It's a good way to build wealth, but being a

landlord requires a process for success....

June 7, 2016

Baby Boomers move back to the city!

Still doing everything differently than generations before them, baby boomers

are defying the old pattern of retiring in the suburbs or the country.  Enticed by

city housing choices tailored to them and leisure and transportation options not

available in the suburbs, baby boomers are testing a new style of retirement.

Is this thinking part of your planning?


October 1, 2015

Are you a millennial thinking of buying a home?

Conventional wisdom has said that millenials do not want to buy homes but instead prefer to rent.

The assumption has been made that it is lifestyle preferences which have made renting more

attractive than buying.  New information says that this is not uniformly true and, like all potential

first time homebuyers, millenials may delay buying, not because of lifestyle preferences,

but because of debt or job uncertainty.  This makes millenials much like first time homebuyers

everywhere, especially in areas where housing prices are high and saving for a down payment

is challenging.  If you are a millennial beginning to think about buying, it's never too

early to become thoroughly familiar with the home buying and home financing processes.  A good

Realtor and a good lender are your best resource for making an informed decision and potentially

expanding your options.

August 20, 2015

Do you wonder why you bought Title Insurance when you bought your home or why you

may need it if you are buying soon?

Many buyers are unhappily surprised at the high cost of Title Insurance and always ask why

they need to buy it if the previous owners have bought it as well.  If everyone buys it,

how could an unforeseen or known issue arise?  It is, like most insurance,

something you have to pay for and then hope you never need and when you are paying

settlement costs in addition to your down payment you may think it could be money

saved without consequence.  For more information on its benefits, read on....

July 6, 2015

Are you a first time homebuyer?

This article has some valuable information but I can sum it all up in just a few words...

Before beginning your home search or visit to a lender, call a good Realtor referred to you by a friend,

family member or colleague!



April 25, 2015

The wild, wild world of the internet....

Recently a good friend, not wanting to burden me with finding a rental home for her, decided to find one online.  She was sure she found the perfect home at the perfect price, in the

perfect location and with the perfect period of time for her renting needs.  The Craigs List poster provided really nice pictures (of a model home, it turns out!), answered email

promptly and couldn't have been more charming in her responses to my friend.  It was all simply perfect and so easy.  Unfortunately, the person posting the pictures of someone

else's property and requesting just a few thousand dollars up front for the deposit did not own or rent the property and it was found to be a scam which had apparently

worked on some others who didn't ask their Realtor friend to "just look it over."  While legitimate internet sites and posters make our lives easier every day, there are many

scammers cheating unwary victims out of huge sums of money all day every day.  One thing that Realtors have that the typical consumer does not have is experience buying,

selling and renting real estate.  We know that when a price is too good to be true, it almost always is.  We know that sending money without seeing a property or having someone

knbowledgeable about property see it is a recipe for bad business.  We also know that the average person renting their small apartment isn't likely to set the table with perfect,

brand new linens, napkins, glassware and flowers just to post a picture of their 4x4 galley kitchen.  Wait--Did I say 4x4 galley kitchen?  Yes, that is what all the units in a particular

condo building have and we know this. So, there is no dining table space and, by the way, I saw that very same table scape in the model home of a national builder.  If you are like me, you work

hard for your money so don't send it to just anyone who asks you for it!

April 24, 2015

What is a "Stale" real estate listing and do you have one?

When sellers place their home on the market, they most often have a sales price in mind that reflects what they feel their home is worth.  It is not always what 

their agent thinks the home will sell for but the seller sets the price and so it goes on the market with a listing price that may be unrealistic given the condition of the

home, recent comparable sales, or other factors that make the likely sales price lower than the initial asking price.  So what's the problem with trying

for a higher price and why shouldn't a seller start high and hope for just a tiny bit less?  The quick answer is that homes get "stale" fast and its initial

entry into the market is the time a home is likely to command its highest market price.  Notice I said "market" price, not wishful thinking price.

Ultimately, even in a sellers' market, buyers make the home sell or sit.  If it is priced too high, buyers assume the seller is unrealistic and

won't consider a lower offer so they move on. By the time a month has passed, potential buyers have seen it online, maybe seen it, considered it and decided

that, even with limited inventory, it isn't the house for them.

Strategic pricing, or what I call "right pricing" is the key to selling most quickly while still getting the highest price. 

When you hire your real estate professional, hopefully part of why you selected that agent is because he/she 

knows the local market and can help you set an effective selling strategy.  A successful trategy does not include demanding more

money for your home because of a personal goal or  financial need and it does not include deciding to "let it sit until we find the right buyer."  

I have never seen a home go up in value as it sits on the market--possibly it happens but not in my experience.  

When you hear buyers use the phrase "There is nothing out there" and you see ten homes in your

neighborhood on the market for months at a time, it likely means that, because there are ten, many, if not all,

of these homes are  seen as overpriced from a buyer's supply and demand perspective.  If you have a stale home that

has been sitting on the market for months, it is almost always in your financial interest take aggressive action to make your

home fresh again, including lowering the price,  objectively addressing the negatives found in feedback from buyers and agents

and realistically assessing your selling strategy. 


April 6, 2015

How spending just a little money can refresh the look of your home...

We all have friends who have spent lots of money upgrading their home, either for personal enjoyment or resale.  

Some times they get their money back and some times they don't. It isn't always necessary to spend big to get big 



February 15, 2015

Are you worried about your pipes freezing during this long winter?

While most of us like to see fresh snow falling or maybe even playing in it, the hazards of extremely cold weather on a home are many.

Frozen pipes are always scary because they can result in water damage that is often undetected and potentially costly.  Read here to learn

a bit about how to handle this winter problem....


January 21, 2015

Will you be buying a home or refinancing in the near future? 

The choice of a Realtor is one of the most important decisions you will make as you begin the process of purchasing a home.

The selection of a lender is a second!  We comparison shop for many items and it just makes good sense to do the same

with the institution and person who will make our purchase less expensive, easier or more orderly and with an on-time loan.

Your Realtor can give you good recommendations and your friends may have some others.  By starting the pre-approval process

early, you will have the time to comparison shop for the best rate and for the lender who seems to have your goals in mind.

It just makes sense!


January 18, 2015

Do you wonder about the benefits of staging a home or know what it involves?

With the popularity of television shows about staging, more people have heard of it but not everyone knows if it would beneficial to their home sale or if the money spent would be a good investment.  The good news is that not all staging involves much money and small efforts can have big payoffs.  A good Realtor who knows what buyers are seeking can be extremely helpful in making your time and money go its farthest.  Assisting with staging is just one of the many services I provide clients and it is always exciting to see the outcome of this effort! 


December 18, 2014

Are you a baby boomer thinking about moving for your retirement?

With many old retirement practices no longer true and people working longer both of financial necessity and preference, the places boomers gravitate to have changed.  With factors such as weather and jobs influencing choices, check out these lists to see where your preferred locations rank...

December 16, 2014

Trying hard to save for a down payment on a home?

For many first time home buyers, saving the money for a down payment is the biggest impediment to buying a home.  Between down payments and closing costs, the amount of cash needed to close the deal can be daunting for even the most motivated buyer.  It looks like there is good news on the horizon as Fannie Mae develops a new program that would let qualified buyers put as litte as 3% down.  Watch for more information on this as banks begin making these loans....

November 24, 2014

But I thought it was fall....

Early winter weather in the fall has most of us thinking about the real winter ahead.  Even though we did it last year, it is time to once again winterize our homes so that we stay warm and spend less money on utilities and repairs.  Here are just a few tips to get ready!

And the only thing better than tips on winterizing our homes is tips on winterizing our homes ON A BUDGET!

November 23, 2014

What is "walkability" and what does it have to do with real estate?

These days you may see a reference to a walkability score when discussing the pros and cons of a particular home's location.  Walkability refers to the home's location and the owner's ability to walk, bike or take public transportation to work, dining, shopping and entertainment.  This has become especially important in large urban areas as a younger demographic places an emphasis on getting around without a car.  Interestingly, this is also becoming more and more important to seniors who need an easy way to give up the car while still getting to the places they need and want to go.  Washington, DC rates high on the walkability factor and areas around it are touting their scores as a means of attracting new buyers.   Does walkability matter to you?

November 22, 2014 

How is the real estate market doing? Are people buying homes this late in the Fall?

It's never a bad time to buy a home if your finances permit!  Mortgage applications are up just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, so if you are still interested in buying a home in 2014, go see some of the great inventory that is still out there! Lenders have money and interest rates are good!

September 25, 2014

Is your family considering living multi-generational living?  

If so, here are some ideas for making process work more smoothly...

September 15, 2014
Do you wonder if you will EVER be able to afford a home?
It may be a bit discouraging to see the price of homes going up while our incomes
stay the same. Home prices in the DC metro area have always been a shock to
new arrivals who came from much of the rest of the country so, unless there is
a significant boost in income, those who could buy elsewhere can't often buy
in this area.It never hurts to think creatively and here are some "boxes" that may
help you think "out of the box!"

August 16, 2014
Do you expect to inherit property from a friend or family member?
Inheriting property is a complicated matter and not just a matter of
inheriting and enjoying the family vacation home!Although the property
being inherited may hold happy memories or present future opportunities, deciding
what to do with it may not be an easy process.Often the best
course of action involves working a competent legal staff and a
great Realtor who can use their expertise to help you achieve
your personal goal for the property....

July 17, 2014
Are you thinking of buying your first home and wondering what type of
loan you might qualify for?Is an FHA loan one you've considered?If so,
you may be able to cut your annual costs by taking a few classes that
can help you become better prepared for the home buying process...

June 19, 2014
Do you watch television shows about remodeling your home and think
doing it yourself could be for you? If you are a house hunter, do you think
you would like to buy a fixer-upper and do the work yourself because it
looks so easy on television? You may be in for a few surprises!

Most often, the TV remodeling projects that look like they are completed
in a few hours or few days have had weeks of preparation to get them
ready for those few hours or few days! In addition, they often have lots
of people behind the scenes with just the right tools,skills and sources
to bring everything together for the show. Likepreparing a great
meal,whichrequires planning and shopping (sometimes at multiple
stores!), the cooking of the meal is just a small piece of the work!

Also, many of these shows give unrealistic prices for the actual
cost of the project, including ridiculously low prices for auxiliary
labor even if you are doing some of the work yourself. I find this
with some clients who want to buy a fixer upper to save money
only to realize afterward that the actual cost to achieve their remodeling
goals is significantly higher than they would have paid to buy the
home with the already completed feature. Eve small jobs become big
jobs when skills, toolsand time are scarce and that doesn't include
the drain on the pocketbook!

Before making a fixer-upper your only buying strategy, start
looking at the materials, skills and tools you will really need and get
realistic labor prices from professionals. You may find that you
keep more of your money by opting tobuy a bit more
expensive home with a bit of a higher monthly
mortgageand keeping your discretionary funds for other

May 19, 2014
Happy Safe Memorial Day!
A few tips for making the weekend both fun and safe!

2014 Memorial Day Safety Tips

This year, Memorial Day weekend takes place Friday, 23 May through Monday, 26 May. This weekend celebrates the unofficial start of summer with cookouts and fun, but it can also be a dangerous weekend if you don't take safety precautions.

Grilling Safety:

-- Never grill indoors--not in the house, garage, tent, camper, or any enclosed area.

-- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

-- Keep the grill in the open and away from the house, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.

-- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling food and after handling raw poultry or meat.

Driving Safety:

-- Make sure all passengers wear seat belts at all times.

-- Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel. Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced.

-- Plan ahead. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.

-- Do not cut in front of large trucks. Trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop.

-- Use a map or GPS. Knowing the route will allow you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.

-- Be aware of trucks' blind spots. If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.

-- Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and reduce the impulse to speed.

-- Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather.

-- Never drink and drive.

-- Designate a nondrinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi, if you plan to drink.

Water Safety:

-- Never swim alone.

-- Wear a life vest when boating.

-- Never drink when operating a boat.

-- Supervise children at all times in and near the water.

-- If a child is missing, always check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

Sun Safety:

-- Always use sunscreen and apply it generously throughout the day.

-- Wear a hat and sunglasses.

-- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

May 13, 2014
Worried that you maynever be able to afford to buy your first home?
It's no secret that homes in the DC metro areaare expensive and seem
especially so for people who have recently movedhere from less
expensive areas. However, there has long been a correlation between
metro area incomes and housing pricesand, when asked, many potential
buyers whorecently moved to the area will admit that theirincome is
higher here than in the area they left. For most first-time homebuyers,
affordability is really about how the current interest rate and price of
homes translates into a monthly mortgage payment.However, monthly
affordability is often secondary to the down payment necessary to obtain
a mortgage at the best rate and that is often the potential home buyer's
biggest obstacle.

I believe saving for a down payment on a home is a lotlike saving for
any priority goal, whether it is college tuition, a newcar or money
to send your child toa more expensive school--the first step is to get started!
Saving even a little from each paycheck and doing so consistently becomes
a habit andseems less like a sacrifice than a positive step toward
a more important priority. I have a friend who was shocked to realize
he was spending almost $300 per month on a couple of lattes at a localcoffee
shopeach day!Most of us can find something that we spend money on that
we might be able to eliminate or scale back--and maybe even to better health
or better living. I also tell my clients that when they do buy they need to keep
their mortgage payment low enough to have "movie money" and by that I
mean some discretionary income to do some of the things theyenjoy.
That, however, is AFTER they have saved enough money to have their
down paymentto make that mortgage possible.

One of the first importantsteps tomakinghome ownership a top priority
is meeting with a good Realtor and good lender. Between us, we can
help you forge a plan to buy in the shortest time possible byrealistically
assessing the potential price of the home you want to buy and identifying
financing programs thatwill allow youto make that purchase sooner rather
than later.Let us knowwhen you are ready!

April 9, 2014
Are you finally ready to buya home?
Of course I believe a good Realtor is your best friend,
but here are some other things to keep in mind when
you decide to move ahead!

March 21, 2014
Are you a renter who wonders if it is better to buy?
As a lifetime buyer of homes, I always say it is better
to buy if you can possibly do it, but don't take it
from suggests it is actually cheaper
(after taxes, of course) to buy a home rather than
rent in most metropolitan areas. If this data
convinces you to look at buying, call me!

March 14, 2014
Are you stressing about home values in
the future? Worried that you may buy a home
now and see its value go down again?
Of course no one has a crystal ball but there
are individuals and groups who watch real estate
related trends very carefully and almost all of
them agree prices will go up over the next several years...

March 3, 2014
Are you a potential first time homebuyer in
If so, there is exciting news about
savings accounts for this purpose and a tax
break on Virginia taxes.....It's not law yet
and because it's a legislative matter there
are no guarantees, but it is worth your
time to read the article below!

February 12, 2014
Thinking of selling your home and wondering
how to get it ready?

These days almost everyone has heard
of staging and how important it can be
to showing a home at its best. If you read
magazines or watch design television, there
are tons of tips thatcan help you get started
with the process. From my work as a Realtor,
one of the most interesting approaches
tostaging for sale is the application of
Feng Shui, which uses ancient principles to
bring harmony, health, wealth and happiness
into your life.Sellers are often pleasantly
surprised at howsmall changes can change
the energy flow of their home and buyers
report just liking the "feel" of the home.
End result--happy house equals happy buyer,
happy seller and happy Realtor!

February 11, 2014
Mistakes every homeowner can avoid....
Now that you've bought that house, let's get
started with the projects that will make it
truly yours! In our zeal to make it "perfect"
many of us make mistakes that can cost
time, money and aggravation. To avoid
some of the most common mistakes, have
a plan, have professional help when it is
needed, and remember that haste often makes

February 11, 2014
Upgrading to cut down on home maintenance costs....
Finding the home and buying it are often exciting and fun;
maintaining the home, not so much! Much like buying another
expensive item, a new car, spending money to maintain
the car or home isnotsomething most people like
to do.Unless you enjoy a good project, routine
maintenance usuallygenerates two questions:
--What,--it costs HOW much?
--Didn't I just do this a few months ago??
Fortunately, some tiresome maintenance projects can
be done much less frequently with upgrades
that may cost a bit more at the beginning but
save money and time down the road.....

January 24, 2014
Is your home weathering this severe winter well?
This year the mid-Atlantic region seems more like
the frozen north! Winter weather brings challenges
that are best anticipated and planned for but if
you do experience a problem, the experts have
some solutions.....

January 24, 2014
Is a kitchen remodel in your future?
Who doesn't love a beautiful kitchen?? I have jokingly
told some of my clients that it is apparently not possible
to live without stainless appliances and granite, as this
seems to be the first positive or negative of almost
every kitchen inthe homesI show! Well, of course
it is possible as stainless appliances and granite counters
are often not the expensive parts of a kitchen remodel
and with relatively little expense can be added if the
rest of the kitchen fits our needs.Nontheless, as with
bathroom remodeling, there are trends in kitchen
remodeling, that, iffollowed,make it easier
to sell a home andoften results in a higher sales price.
For current trends, read on.....

January 24, 2014
Are you thinking of doing some remodeling of your home?
Many of us undertake remodeling projects to add something
we want in our home or tofixa feature ofour
home that just doesn't work for us.Of course it's not
possible to anticipate everything that the future buyer
of our homes will value, but we can often get some
idea of current trends by looking at what new home
buyers are demanding of builders. Is your remodeling
project in sync or out of sync with these trends?
If out ofsync,give it a bit more thought--your future
sales price may be affected!

January 24, 2014
Do you know what a reverse mortgage is?
Many people think they know what a reverse mortgage
is and how it works.They may also thinkit isjust
great or just awful based on a television ad or a
horror story told by a friend who thought it was the
answer to their financial problems and found out
that it really wasn't.

The truth is somewhere in between and, likemost
financial solutions, one size does not fit all.
For some segment of the over-62 homeowner
population, a reverse mortgage could be a good way to
use their home as a means to monthly or yearly income.
However, it is a government program and therefore
has rules and regulations which govern its availability
and benefits. The only way to see if this is right for you
is to thoroughly investigate it with a lender who fully
understands the rules and plainly and without bias
explains those rules to you. If you thinkareverse
mortgage could be beneficial to you, a friend or family
member, call me and I can help you find such a


January 6, 2014
Do you know what a home costs in your preferred

Unless you follow home sales regularly, you may not really
know what a home in your preferred neighborhood is likely to
cost. This is especially true in neighborhoods with homes of
different sizes and styles and a mixture of updated and
non-updated homes. With the price increases of last year,
some DC metro neighborhoodsended 2013 muchmore
expensive than they started 2013. Consumer sentiment
says prices should go higher in 2014--whether potential
buyer or seller, it pays to not only see the numbers
but understand what makes one home worth more than
another! When it comes to really understanding
all kinds of markets and all kinds of homes,
no onedoes thatbetter than a great Realtor.

January 3, 2014
Are you self-employed and finding it hard to get a mortgage?
Working with lenders to obtain a mortgage can be challenging
under the best of circumstances, but the self-employed find
it even more difficult. If you are self-employed, it is especially
helpful to speak with a good lender well before you find your
home of choice so you can get your records in an order that
is acceptable to the lender. Don't know a good mortgage lender?
I do!! This is one of the services I provide my clients--get in
touch if I can help!

December 22, 2013
Big changes coming to mortgage lending in January of 2014....
In just a few weeks, mortgage lenders will be implementing new practices
required by HUD for any mortgage involving HUD guaranties or funding.
Like most processes and practices involving lending, these changes
are complicated and the consumer is not expected to become an expert
on the process. It is, important, however, that anyone who is likely
to buy a new home in 2014 talk to a lender sooner rather than later to
determine how these changes affect their buying power. If you were
pre-qualified in 2013, the change in these programs, increases in interest
rates and fees and other changes in underwriting practices are likely to affect
your bottom line! Don't know a lender to contact? Call me for several lenders
who have provided excellent service to my clients and begin the process
of looking for your new home early!

November 26, 2013
Are you having trouble finding homes with the features you value?
One of the reasons new homes appeal to many people is because builders
of new homes build homes that offer the most popular features current
buyers tell them they want. Easy enough if you are building a new home
maybe, but not so much with existing homes which, despite upgrades,
often lack the open floor plan or upgraded technology which many of
today's buyers value. To see what other features sell homes today, read

November 5, 2013
Are you thinking of buying your first home and will you really qualify
for a loan? How tight is credit anyway??

I work with lots of first time home buyers!At our first meeting, I often
find well-educated, seemingly informed buyersmaking plans on incorrect
or incomplete information about the home buying process. For example,
manyfirst time buyers read the weekly interest rate chart and assume that
is the interest rate that will be offered to them withoutunderstanding that
the rate depends on one'scredit score, income, size of down payment, and
type of loan program.Often they have under-estimated or completely
forgotten the closing costs they will incur whenpurchasing a home.
I pride myself on fully educating my clients about the process so that
there are no surprises andas little stress as possiblegiven the large sums
of money that are usually involved! A partner critical to my success is
a good loan officer who can help the buyer understand that there are
usually a number of loan options but that they have different requirements
that the buyer has to meet.Loans are available, but not without strings
or stringent requirements.Everyone benefits when the buyer understands
what is required anddevelops a plan for meeting those requirements BEFORE making an offer. Surprises are great for many things--home buying is
not one of them!

October 23, 2013
Thinking of buying new construction and wondering what builders are offering
buyers today?

Builders frequently survey buyers to determine what features
are most in demand and what design trends will best serve their market. To
see what the latest survey reveals, check this out....

October 16, 2013
Thinking of buying but wondering what happens at a closing? And is it a closing or a settlement?
My clients know exactly what to expect at closing/settlement (the words are used
interchangeably) because an informed client is a happy client! If you haven't had
this experience and don't quite understand what will happen, the attached
article lays out many of the common activities that accompany most closings....

September 29, 2013
Are you still trying to decide whether renting or buying is right for you?
Here are some common myths dispelled....

September 16, 2013
Are you shocked at the estimate your moving company gave you?
After buying the house and paying closing costs, the last thing you want to spend
money on is moving. Check out these ways to trim moving costs and use the savings to buy things for your new home instead!

September 14, 2013
Have you been underwater on your mortgage?
If it's been a while since you checked the value of your home, you may be pleasantly surprised at the increase in value which many homes in the DC metro area saw this year. To get a true idea of what your home may sell for, call a
Realtor to give you objective data about home sales in your area!

August 10, 2013
Are you a Baby Boomer? Do you currently live in the suburbs? Maybe a move is in your future!
Past generations associated retirement with moving TO the suburbs or smaller cities not FROM the suburbs to more urban environments. As usual, Baby Boomers don't behave like their predecessors, even when it comes to buying that "retirement" home.....

June 27, 2013
Thinking of buying new construction?
The favorable economic climate of this quarter has created a boon for builders of new homes. Some buyers always want new construction, especially when they see a gorgeous model with every upgrade imagineable! Some buyers like a particular neighborhood or area but can't find the right floor plan, amenities or modern features that are valuable to them. To be competitive with established neighborhoods, builders should be offering something special and not available elsewhere. Think this is always true? Apparently not so...

June 17, 2013
Are you wondering if you can refinance your home?
Although prices have come up significantly in the last year, some
borrowers are still "under water" on their mortgages. If you have had trouble getting information that helps you sort through your options,
this web site may help...

May 21, 2013
Still trying to decide whether to remodel or move? The "right"
answer is different for every homeowner......

April 16, 2013
Did bankruptcy or other credit score problems keep
you from homeownership over the past several years?
The answer is yes for many, but some prospective buyers
now see a glimmer of hope as new FHA lending policies create
a promising path.....

March 22, 2013
Do you know what your home would sell for
in today's real estate market?

Chances are you think you do but it may be more
what you would like to get than what neighborhood
comps really show.Most of us think our home is
special and we should--it's our home!However,
a prospective buyer may not be as emotionally invested
as we are and will likely take a good, hard look
at it's pros and cons when deciding what THEY
think the price should be.Don't make these mistakes
when you price your home....

February 12, 2012
Do you wonder why housing costs so much in
the DC Metro area?
With a few exceptions and unusual factors,
there is generally a close correlation between
incomes andthe cost of housing in an area.
For a bit of an explanation of our high costs,
look at the10 metro areas with the highest
concentration of high-income households

and you'll see our area ranked third.

February 10, 2013
Are you a veteran?
If so, don't overlook the Veterans Administration's
loans as a great way to buy a home! The VA recently
guaranteed its 20 millionth loan and more are
on the way!
For more information, check their website at

January 21, 2013
There's NEVER enough storage!
Thinking of selling your home this year? It's a
great time to do so, but buyers are picky, picky,
picky! In addition to creating a "Wow" factor
by making your home meticulously clean and
orderly, you can appeal to many buyers by
organizing and highlighting your home's
storage options. One place everyone looks
is the kitchen, and a well organized pantry--no
matter it's size or location--is a great asset!
With whole stores devoted to organization, it's
relatively easy to get this space ready to impress!
Baskets, bins, clean shelves, and some imagination
are just the ticket!

January 8, 2013
You're Reading This on the Internet--You aren't Alone!
Research shows that more and more buyers begin
their search for a home on the internet. As many as
90% of buyers now use it for some part of the
process. However, please remember that not all
web sites are created equal and many sites
contain information that is interpreted without
a context or is just plain wrong! Use my services
or those of another Realtor to help you use data and
information wisely--it's always smart to make informed

December 18, 2012
Do you currently pay Private Mortgage Insurance and
wonder when and under what conditions you can stop
paying it?
Unfortunately, like so many other rules relating
to loans, the criteria are not entirely uniform or
simple. Read on to get a bit more clarity...

December 11, 2012
Latest polls show increased confidence in the economy..
Confidence in the economy is often related to how
well the housing market is doing. Even with the
fiscal cliff looming, the number of Americans
thinking the economy is on the right track is growing
and part of this is because housing prices have
trended up and money for loans has become more
affordable and available. Are you thinking of buying
a home or selling yours? If so, take advantage
of this favorable environment and move forward.
What lies ahead is always a mystery--what we know
today is that buyers are looking for a good home
in all price points!

December 10, 2012
VA Home Loan Amounts to Rise for 2013
Are you a veteran? Do you want to purchase a home
with no down payment? The good news is that the
VA loan limits are rising from $838,750 to $843,750
in 2013! If you need help finding that perfect home,
call me--I work with many military members and
families and it is always my honor to do so!

November 13, 2012
Do you need to clean up your credit report?
We have all seen the television ads which tell
us twe can get our free credit report by visiting
an online site. In my experience, before you get to
the "real" free credit report, you'll have to sift
through a number of sites that offer you lots of
information, but it's not free. So, if you are like
many of us, you sift through those and then
decide you don't have time to really find and
order your free credit report. As much trouble
as it is, you do benefit by looking at your reports
at least once a year. This helps with discovering
identity fraud, simple processing errors, and
accounts which you thought you closed but still
remain open or any number of errors that might
cause a problem ifyou seekto establish new
credit or buy a home. It is also important to learn
what your credit score really is and if it is lower
than you thought (and, in my experience, this is
a common occurrence), here are some ways to
improve your credit may not be easy or
fast, but if you are thinking of buying a home
any time in the next several years, it's essential
to getting a mortgage and getting it at the best

October 31, 2012
While you are getting ready to trick or treat for
Halloween, use these tricks to get your home ready for
Preventive maintenance can not only save you
money on heating costs--it can save
you both aggravation and money on problems
that happen because of the toll that cold, ice, and
wind take on your home. This doesn't apply only
to single family homes--some of the coldest
winters I ever spent inside a home were spent in
my 10th floor "luxury" condo where the leakage
around my windows made me carry a portable
heater around like Linus carries his blanket!
I can't think of a good reason why I didn't put new
weatherstripping on the windows!

October 30, 2012
Are you a veteran?
If you are a veteran and thinking of buying a home, don't
overlook the benefits of using a VA loan to buy that
home. While it does have upfront costs, the opportunity
to buy with no money down may permit you to buy
that home sooner rather than later. I advise all my
buyer clients to talk with a lender before making
buying decisions andto explore the types of loan programs
that will work for them. That way theyknow upfront
what the costs to use various loanoptions will likely be.
You can often keep more money in your pocket
if you are fully informed!

October 16, 2012
Are you still waiting for home pricesto come down?
As I have reported for many months, prices in most of the
D.C. Metro region are on the rise. It appears this may
also be true for many other parts of the U.S. The good
news is that the number of foreclosures has slowed; the
bad news is that inventory of good homes at low prices is
down. Ask me forthe last six month's sales prices
in almost any part of the D.C. Metro area--you may
be surprisedat the jump in prices in your favorite
neighborhood. It might be time to shorten your timeline
for buying--a new home makes a great holiday gift for

October 5, 2012
Have you been thinking of buying a new home from a builder?
Don't wait too long! New home prices are up to their highest
level since 2007 and rising. This time of year is a great time
to buy a new home because builders want to get your home
built before the bad weather hits and they want to close
out their sales of already-built homes for their calendar
year accounting. One last piece of advice--get a Realtor
to help you with your purchase! I have helped lots of
clients buy new construction and each would tell you
that it helped them with pricing, free options, and general
management of issues that come up after the contract
is signed. And remember, you aren't generally paying
the Realtor's commission--the builder is--so our help is
"free" to you!

September 22, 2012
Have you been thinking of refinancing your home?
With interest rates historically low, this may be a great time
to refinance your existing home loan. These days,
most refinance borrowers are choosing fixed rate loans
and the monthly savings are high! Have you thought
about refinancing your high rate loan to free up some
money to pay a bit toward an investment property?
It's a great way to get a double advantage from
today's great low interest rates!!

August 28, 2012
Are you a buyer still sitting on the fence?
If so, you are likely missing the best opportunity to buy a home at
a great price with corresondingly great interest rates. Both
prices and interest rates are rising, with the result being a
higher monthly mortgage payment for most borrowers.
If you are waiting for prices to bottom out, start reading the
papers and get on the internet--prices everywhere are now
headed upwards and, if we are lucky and the economy picks up,
higher housing prices will surely continue. Don't come late to this
party--the cost of admission could be high!

August 8, 2012
Going on a vacation this year?
Are you planning to be away from your home for extended periods
of time this summer? If so, here are some tips for keeping
your home safe during your absence....

August 3, 2012
Have you been turned down for a refinance?
With interest rates so good right now, many of us have thought
about refinancing our mortgages.The prospect of lowering
our monthly payments is likely very attractive and many of our
friends have done it! Unfortunately, some times the lender
we call says we are not eligible. If this has happened to you,
check outsome options for further action....

July 26, 2012
Thinking of hiring a home contractor any time soon?
Rarely a day goes by without someone I know asking me if I
know a good painter, plumber, handyman, etc. to do a project
in their home. Fortunately, as a Realtor, I do keep a list of contractors who have done good work for me or my clients
but sometimes they aren't available, have gone out of business
or into another business or don't do that specific type of job. Whatever you do, don't just give your business to the first
person who shows up at your door or leaves a flyer in the
mailbox. Follow these ten tips tofind andcheck outa high
quality, reputable contractor.....

July 17, 2012
It's not just me--even The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Housing Bust is over!
We have been fortunate in the DC Metro area to have a relatively
easy ride through the housing storm but it appears even most of
the rest of the country which was harder hit is finally recovering.
For that reason, it may be time to sell that rental property you own
and have wanted to sell in smaller town USA or to buy that rental
property before it becomes much more expensive. The old saying
is that "A rising tide lifts all boats" and this is one lift we all welcome.
Behave accordingly!

July 6, 2012
Are you still sitting on the fence about buying?
My neighbor asked me yesterday why even more people aren't buying a home these days. We had a good discussion about how hard it might be to save for a down payment or that some people may still be waiting for prices to drop (not here!) Despite that, he couldn't get past the incredibly low interest rates and the buying opportunity that they present! He's right--interest rates are at record lows and serious buyers will do well to take advantage of them--AND there is money available for qualified buyers.......

July 2, 2012
Do you know the differences between FHA and VA loans?
Each loan product has some benefits and some negatives and it pays (in real dollars, either monthly or up front) to know the differences.
Here is a concise summary of the major differences.....

June 9, 2012
More about vacation homes!
Tax deductions have a lot to do with how you use your home. To learn more about how your use of your vacation home impacts your tax return, read on...

June 3, 2012
Thinking about buying a vacation home?
This time of yearmany of usthink we would like to buy a vacation home.The beach or mountain cabin we've rented was just perfect andwouldn't it be nice to own one just like it?? Before taking the plunge, make sure you think not once, not twice, but three times about yourplans andbe sure your goalswill be met by the type of property you buy!

May 30, 2012
Is a mortgage loan modification right for you?
There has been so much news coverage about expanded loan modification programs proposed for so many mortgage holders that it almost sounds like everyone will qualify for at least one of these programs.Not only is this not true, it is also not true that everyone who is eligible should rush out to seek a loan modification.Like so much ofeverything else involving money and credit, it pays to be informed and make decisions about what is right for you, even if it is not what others are doing.

May 20, 2012
Are you thinking about becoming an investor and landlord?
With today's low interest rates and lower prices on some homes, you may be thinking about buying some investment property and you may already know people who have done just that.Before you take the plunge, consider these tips...

May 11, 2012
Are you just starting to think about home ownership?
The decision to buy a home is often one of the biggest financial decisions people make. To put it into perspective, just think of it as committing to buy 10, 20 or 30 cars at once! As a real estate professional, I am biased in my thinking that it makes no sense to try to do this without a great Realtor! Our services involve not only helping you look, but finding excellent lenders, home inspectors, and service companies. Add to that assessing neighborhood and location pluses and minuses, determining potential resale value, and helping you navigate the full process of determining the right price, purchase contingencies, home inspection findings, concessions, and settlement issues and I believe a great Realtor's value is firmly established!

However, perhaps the most important thing we do for a buyer is to help make some sense of the processes which every buyer and seller work through to get a home bought and sold. There are many important steps in the process; the article below lays out five of the basics to a good purchase....