Date Archives: August 2018

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Avoid These Home Buying Errors to Prevent Striking Out

Home Buying Errors to Avoid

Real estate and baseball have a lot in common.  Scouting a new right fielder for your team is like house hunting.  Playing each game is like attending open houses.  And winning your league's championship is like having a seller accept your offer.  

What many home buyers don't understand is that the 30 to 45 days before closing day is like the home stretch of a baseball game.  Errors that happen during this time could get your closing day delayed for rain or even thrown out at third.  

Okay, enough with baseball.  In the real estate world, there are mistakes home buyers can make during the time prior to closing day that can jeopardize closing on their new home.

Our real estate agents are ready to be by your side during the home buying process.  Here are the five mistakes to avoid so your home buying experience is a "home run!"

  1. Switching Jobs
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the final closing process is to quit or switch jobs. Lenders always re-check your employment status and income before they finalize the closing. Changing jobs will require lenders to repeat the underwriting process, which results in a delay that can last anywhere between several days to weeks. Even staying with the same company but switching between a salary position to an hourly rate will have an impact on the closing process. Instead of making any drastic changes, it is best to wait until you sign the mortgage papers before you make any changes in employment.

  2. Low Home Appraisal
    A mortgage is always contingent on the home appraisal, and a lower than expected evaluation can pose problems. For example, you and the seller must renegotiate the price if the home appraisal is lower than the original selling price. Depending on the seller, this may be an easy process or a somewhat difficult one. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, you will need to decide between making a larger down payment or walking away from the deal.

  3. Title Issues
    Various title issues can also delay the purchase of your home or even completely ruin the deal. These title issues are wide-ranging, whether it is errors in the public record, missing heirs, boundary disagreements, or liens. Purchasing title insurance can protect you from most of these scenarios, but it will still potentially cause delays in the purchase of a home.

  4. Expensive Purchases
    Spending too much money at once can also cause significant issues during the final closing stage and make it more difficult to buy a house. Mortgage lenders will always check the bank statements of a borrower during the approval process, and it is never a good idea to spend a large sum of money on home furnishings before you sign the final papers. While banks will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, it is typically always higher than expected and not having enough extra cash in the bank can jeopardize you purchasing a home.

  5. Contract Disagreements
    Contract disagreements can arrive at the worst times and derail the final closing. These disagreements can be the result of many scenarios, whether the seller doesn't want to include the entire contents of the home in the transaction or if the seller refuses to pay for any additional repairs in the house. Discussing these issues with your real estate agent can help you work through these issues and try to find a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Before you buy a house, it is essential to understand how to avoid these common mistakes to save you time and stress. Old Dominion Realty has been helping clients buy and sell homes since 1962.  One of our local REALTORS® is always close by to guide you through the buying and selling process.  Contact an Old Dominion Realty office near you to start your search for the perfect home. 

Contact Old Dominion Realty


7 Reasons Why a Buyer Might Say No to Your Home

Sell Your Home Why It Might Not Sell

If Your Home Isn't Selling, It's Time to Understand Why

Not being able to find a buyer is every seller's worst nightmare. As a seller you want to do whatever you can to make your home stand out to buyers.  Our real estate agents have complied this list of things not to do so you aren't canceling out your efforts to sell your home.

  1. Your house needs a little TLC.
    It can be tempting not to make repairs or upgrades when you won't be staying. But consider it from a buyer's perspective. People are busy, and the prospect of having a home improvement project every weekend just isn't appealing to a lot of people. Move-in-ready is much more tempting. Your competition is move-in-ready, so the more you leave for a buyer to do, the less likely it is they'll want to bother. Buyers specifically looking for a fixer-upper often are also looking for a bargain. This means your home may be going for significantly less than what it is really worth.

  2. Your house looks like something is wrong, even though it isn't.
    If there's still evidence of a disaster such as water stains or warped flooring from a broken pipe or char marks on the wall from a kitchen fire even though repairs have been made, buyers will assume they haven't.

  3. It's dark or smelly.
    As much natural light as possible helps buyers feel welcomed and keeps the house from looking dreary. Weird smells, no matter what the cause, are just flat out gross and buyers worry those smells are permanent. Neither will leave a good impression of your home. You can't let buyers use their imagination here, it will only lead to negative thoughts.

  4. Odd renovations.
    It may have made sense for you to turn your garage into a man cave or a guest bedroom, but a buyer will more likely want to put their car there. Even if they don't, they will expect it to be a garage. Consider undoing any less than traditional renovations.

  5. It's in a hard to sell neighborhood or is poorly laid out.
    You can't do much about where your house is located, but other minuses can sometimes be turned around. Try to make the most of what you have. An oddly shaped yard can be made much less obvious with good landscaping. Moving or adding an electrical outlet or two can make sense. Closet organization systems can make the most of the storage space you do have.  

  6. It's overpriced.
    This is the most common reason a home doesn't sell. People have an emotional attachment to their homes and are sometimes overly optimistic or just ignore their agent's advice.

  7. It's being badly marketed.
    Lack of or ineffective marketing can mean buyers won't know about your home or love your home enough to come to see it in person, let alone make an offer.

If you're not sure what might be keeping your home from selling, have a neutral third party take a look around, you might be surprised at what you find. Our real estate agents have been helping homeowners across Virginia and West Virginia sell their homes since 1962.  Contact Old Dominion Realty today to find out what we can do for you!

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Why Hire a Professional to Sell Your Home

Hire an Agent to Sell Your House
There is a reason most sellers--roughly 90 percent--use a professional real estate to sell their homes.  Professionals have the real estate "know how" to sell your home quickly and for the right price.  If you're still considering a FSBO to save the price of a commission, think again. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® reports people who choose to "go it alone" and sell without a REALTOR® often make less money than they would hiring a REALTOR®

Selling a house quickly and for the most money takes time, marketing skills, knowledge of the local neighborhood, and negotiation skills--to name a few.  Using a real estate agent can be the difference between a successful sale and months of frustration.

If that's not enough cause to hire a professional, here are four more reasons why hiring a REALTOR® like those on our team at Old Dominion Realty is the right choice for you.

  1. Your Trusted Guide
    There is more work to selling your home than sticking a sign in your yard and hoping for a buyer to knock on the door. Many people do not know where to begin. You need to understand both the process of selling your house and the market you are trying to sell it in. Without this knowledge, you could end up selling your home for too low a price or not selling it at all.

    With the right REALTOR®, you can rest easy knowing that they will guide you every step of the way. These real estate professionals can take you from setting the right price all the way to the closing table. Every step in the process is critical to the success of selling your home.

  2. Knowledge and Experience
    Selling a home at the best price requires expertise and experience. Your real estate agent should know the local market well. They know what areas are selling well and what options are motivating sellers. Armed with this information, you can quickly prepare your home for sale and establish a fair market asking price.

    REALTORS® also have the experience to handle any surprises. They are trained in the entire process of listing, pricing, negotiating, and selling your home. Regardless of what happens during the sales process, your real estate agent has more than likely handled it before and will be able to handle it for you as well.

  3. Network of Professionals
    Our real estate offices have teams of professional real estate agents that work together. This team also has access to an entire network of worldwodie real estate professionals not just in Virginia and West Virginia. Through Old Dominion Realty's affiliation with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), professionals across the globe and their clients will see your real estate listing.

    By unleashing the power of this network, your real estate agent can connect you with interested home buyers from another country or across town. They can also narrow the list to qualified buyers that are looking for homes in your neighborhood. Your agent can connect the right type of buyers with your house in a shorter period possibly resulting in a faster sale at a better price.

  4. Marketing Plan for Success
    Perhaps the most important reason for choosing an Old Dominion Realty professional to sell your home is the fact that they can provide a proven marketing plan to sell your home.

    It starts with a thorough assessment of your house and your expectations for selling. They will leverage their capabilities to market your home to qualified buyers. Using market-driven research, they will negotiate the best price and get you through to the closing table.

So are you ready to answer the question of "what is my home worth?" Contact Old Dominion Realty and let our real estate agents help you sell your home.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Planning Your Move to a New Country

Insider Tips for Relocating to a New Country

Moving to a new country is no easy feat. Sometimes, people spend years planning that kind of a move before they take action; however, in many situations, it's essential to move quickly. In either the case, it's critical to have the help of a real estate professional with the connections and expertise you need to move across the globe.

Old Dominion Realty is that real estate company. As a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), Old Dominion Realty has access to a global network of real estate brokerages helping customers find homes in other cities and states in the United States and abroad.

Our real estate agents have supported many clients buying a house in a new country.  When you're ready to make a move, keep these points in mind:

Start with Your Job Search

A job search should come first when moving internationally. Most of the time, an employer will have to sponsor your long-term stay.

In the best case scenario, your current employer will help with all the paperwork. Even when this is happening, though, keep an eye on the process and stay in touch with any corporate contacts. A small mistake can cost you months.

In some cases, you might be permitted to visit a country temporarily for a brief job search. In many European nations, the maximum length of stay is 90 days. Standards vary widely elsewhere in the world. You may be required to leave the country and re-enter if you receive a job offer. 

Prepare Your Family

If you have children, proper schooling should be your next focus. Some countries organize public schools very differently from the U.S., so early research is critical. You could be required to submit your child's academic transcripts for evaluation before grade placement.

No matter a child's age, moving to another country can be challenging. It is exciting but means saying goodbye to old friends and the familiar. Spend time with young ones and teach them about the country and all it has to offer.

Of course, your spouse is an invaluable partner. He or she also needs to make many transitions. Keep communication open and honest – and remember, it's okay to be worried or even scared. You are in it together.

Move Your Pets

Another issue to be aware of is pets. While most countries accept common companions like dogs and cats, you may need to provide special vaccinations. Your animal might be in quarantine for a period after you move.

When it is finally time to move your pet, you're in luck. Many reputable international airlines offer your pet the ability to travel for a reasonable fee. Just make sure you have an appropriate carrier and understand your obligations upon arriving in the new country.

Many countries other than the United States recognize service animals, but you may need to have them certified before your arrival. Check with the host country's embassy or consulate.

Pack and Relocate the Right Way

When you move internationally, there's usually a grace period where you pay reduced customs on your belongings. It's never too early to start planning so you can sell or donate items you don't want to keep.

If possible, it's easiest to send items in waves: Your most important things first, followed by luxury items. Just don't let your customs break expire!

Airmail is fast but can be pricey, while shipping by sea is much more economical, but can take weeks.

Want to know more about buying a house abroad?

Contact Old Dominion Realty for personalized advice.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

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