This spacious & well designed office condo offers secure Class-A space in the heart of Reston. 5446 sq. ft. with eight windowed offices. Large conference room with designer finishes. Full kitchen. Glass entry atrium with marble and upgraded carpet. Convenient to major road arteries, & Reston Town Center. Silver Line Metro Wiehle Ave station = 1 mile from Robert Fulton Dr to Wiehle. Lots of parking! Sunrise Oak Professional Park.
If you’re buying a home, you might be wondering whether or not you need title insurance. If you’re getting a mortgage, then your lender will require you to purchase a lender’s title insurance policy; but you also have the option to purchase one for yourself.
What is title insurance and why buy title insurance?
Title insurance is an indemnity contract by which the insurer (title insurance company underwriter) agrees to indemnify the insured( purchaser) against losses covered by the policy. Title insurance is one premium agreement to indemnify a policyholder, in amounts not to exceed the face value amount of the policy (the contract sales price), for losses caused by either on record and off record defects that are found in the title or interest in and insured property to have existed on the date on which the policy is issued .
Title insurance protects the purchaser of real estate property from issues such as:
Over our years in real estate, we have not seen things like this happen very often, but when they have, our clients have been very grateful they bought title insurance. (It’s kind of like health insurance. When you’re young & healthy, it seems like a waste of money to pay for insurance. But if you’ve ever been in an accident or dealt with a catastrophic illness, then you know how important that insurance can be.)
If you’re trying to buy a home in Northern Virginia, you’re well aware that inventory in many areas is just about as low as we’ve ever seen. And it’s been that way all year.
Some buyers & agents are walking around wringing their hands about how their buyers just can’t compete. Or how they lost out on that perfect home because it sold before they even knew it was on the market.
Instead, we like to think outside the box (just look at our car!) And so this year, we searched high & low for what we call our secret weapon – and we implemented the Showing Partner Model.
The concept is based on a study that was discussed at length in the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Basically, the idea is that mastery of a skill to the point of greatness (whether that’s art, athletics, public speaking, music or negotiation) comes with 10,000 hours spent practicing & developing the skill. We decided to apply that study to our business (because our buyers & sellers deserve GREAT, not just good.)
Here’s how the Showing Partner Model works.
Our Lead Buyer Specialist (Tom Reilly) and our Showing Partner (Beth Dadisman) work in tandem. Instead of the traditional model where one agent does everything (or two agents work together to “cover” for one another), our buyers have two agents each working at their specialty – and both working directly with the buyer. That way – each one is twice as good at their particular area of expertise because they hone that skill twice as often. (We do the same thing for our Sellers – with a Listing Specialist and Client Care Manager.)
STEP 1: CONSULTATION
Buyers meet with both Tom & Beth for an initial consultation (no cost, no obligation). You discuss:
What you are looking for IN DETAIL
Why you are moving
General market overview
Market analysis of your target area
STEP 2: LOOK AT HOMES
Beth specializes in knowing the market, showing houses and identifying exactly the right home for our buyers. Because that’s all she does (she does not write contracts, negotiate, etc) – she is SO much more knowledgeable than the average agent. She’s like a hawk stalking the market, swooping in for the kill. (That sounds a bit harsh and she’s really a sweet person, but she looks out for her buyers big time!) And she saves them tons of time because she doesn’t show properties that are not a good fit for the criteria they have identified. (We also have a state-of-the-art home search website that our buyers use. It’s faster and more up-to-date than others, so they see new listings first & don’t miss out!)
STEP 3: NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACT
Tom, who not only is a top-notch, experienced Realtor, also has a legal and technology background. His role is Master Negotiator. When you find that “perfect” home, he moves fast & furious to get the wheels turning. Tom also provides a second set of eyes and an objective perspective on the property you have identified – making sure you are aware of such things as potential resale challenges – so that you are well informed when making an offer.
With inventory so low, the Showing Partner Model is a HUGE advantage. Some buyers have to wait around until their agent has time to show them homes (we had one client whose previous Realtor would only show homes after 6PM!). But between Tom & Beth (and the rest of our team) – our buyers get almost 24/7 coverage. The same thing happens when it’s time to write a contract. Some buyers finish looking at the house and then have to wait for their agent to drive back to their office, draw up the contract and send them the paperwork. In our case, Beth is so skilled at knowing the market and knowing her buyers, that she often has already told Tom which home she thinks the buyers will love. And Tom has already talked to the listing agent and gotten the paperwork rolling.
Here’s how recent buyer Mike Taphorn described it: “Beth from the Belt Team helped us find the home that we were looking for. We were indecisive about whether to stay in Fairfax County or move to Prince William County, and Beth patiently showed us homes in both Gainesville and Clifton/Centreville areas until we found the home we were looking for. And Beth was the one who found, and helped us jump on this listing before it drew too much competition. Beth’s partner Tom also played a key role in negotiating the sales contract and contingencies until we reached settlement.”
One of our favorite buyer success stories from the Showing Partner Model came earlier this year when we identified what we thought would be a dream home for our buyers the Pogors. We showed the property & the buyers fell in love. But it was Friday and an open house was scheduled for Sunday. Tom not only got the contract executed & presented so well & so fast, but also convinced the Seller to respond and ratify the contract and cancel the open house (which was a HUGE relief to our buyers since it likely would have resulted in competing contracts and a higher sales price IF they even got the home.)
HUD announced some good news in August for borrowers who have been through foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy – and lenders just started to roll it out this month. If this profile fits you and you’re ready to buy a home, here’s what you need to know about the program we are offering:
Program For Shorter Waiting Period after Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, and Short Sale.
The waiting period after a bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale has been reduced to just one year from the event!
1. Purchase Transactions Only
2. Housing counseling must be completed 30 days prior to loan application
3. The bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale must be related directly to the loss of job OR 20% income reduction for at least 6 months
4. Credit must have been satisfactory before the bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale and be satisfactory for a minimum of 12 months after the event.
*** Program requirements may change
Belt Team CEO Terry Belt comments, “We are thrilled to be partnering with a lender who shares our values and whose mission is to help change lives for the better. Not only does New Penn Financial offer the program above, but they have all kinds of niche products that fit the many needs of our clients.”
Contact Paul Diaz at New Penn Financial for more information. Buying a home could happen sooner than you hoped!
If you’re buying or selling a home in Northern Virginia in 2014, you should be aware there are usually changes to the regional contract forms twice a year – on January 1st & July 1st. Examples of forms changing on January 1, 2014 include:
Home Buyers & Home Sellers – make sure you are not caught unaware & put behind the 8 ball!
Terry Belt, Realtor & CEO of The Belt Team says, “It’s not unusual for us to get contracts on our listings on forms that are out-of-date and even on forms that are from other states. Laws change & local practices change – and it’s in YOUR best interests to make sure you are represented by a Realtor who works full-time and is proficient at writing good contracts. Whether you’re buying or selling, you want to be protected and you want clarity on both sides.”
Let’s take the Home Inspection Addendum for example. Under the new form, Buyers (and their agents) need to be especially aware that if the end of the negotiation period comes, and the Seller has not responded to the Buyer’s request to repair or replace items found on the home inspection, the contract does NOT become void (as it does under the 2013 contract). Instead, the Purchaser has the option to void – and if the appropriate Notice to void is not delivered or delivered on time, the contingency is automatically removed & the contract remains in full force & effect.
“What this means“, clarifies Tom Reilly, Lead Buyer Specialist for The Belt Team, “is that the Buyer can void the contract, but must now take proactive action to do so, rather than just allowing the contract to lapse. This is a huge change in practice in Northern VA. We will ensure that our Buyers understand this so that if there are MAJOR inspection issues that arise, and the Seller does not respond or agree to address them, our Buyer will not end up bound by a contract inadvertently.”
This is just one example of MANY changes we will be seeing in 2014. But it’s a great illustration of why it’s important to have an agent representing you who write contracts frequently and is abreast of ALL the changes. The average Realtor in the United States only sells about 5 homes per year. And many buyers & sellers choose to be represented by agents who practice less than full-time – just because they are a family member or friend. Savvy buyers & sellers know that it doesn’t cost any more to be represented by the BEST Realtors in the area. (And it keeps those precious family relationships intact!)
Whether you’re buying a home or selling a home in Northern Virginia, you may be wondering what the top 5 most sought after eco-friendly home features are. Find out in this 1 minute video!
Contact The Belt Team for more information. If you’re selling now, our top-notch Seller Specialists Terry Belt & Kevin Kleifges can help assess which features may add value or salability to your home. Not ready to sell yet? You may want to update and save some money on utilities in the meantime!
Have you figured out what you’re making (or what you’re bringing) for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I bet you have! But don’t forget to think about how to keep your home safe if you’re traveling during the holidays.
Here are 10 Tips To Keep Your Home Safe
(1) Be careful with your status updates on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Don’t be too specific. For example: “Can’t wait to see Grandma & Grandpa” might be better than “Leaving for Ohio in 2 hours. Back on Sunday.”
(2) Take advantage of the “nosy neighbors” you have (assuming you trust them!). Ask them to keep an eye out while you are away. Make sure they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.
(3) If you still have a newspaper delivered instead of reading online, make sure you suspend delivery. (And ask a neighbor to keep your driveway clear of the various “throwaway publications” that appear.)
(4) Think twice about setting up an auto-responder or voice mail message that says you are out of town – especially if you work from a home office. A better idea might be to just say you are not checking messages until a certain date (as if you’re taking a “Stay-Cation”.)
(5) Set up timers on certain lights in your house. Install motion detector lights outdoors.
One of my neighbors (who happens to know a bit about this topic since he is a Sheriff!) gave me some extra advice about this particular item. He said, “My two cents on timers. If you use them, stagger the times they go on and off, create the illusion of movement in the house. Most people have them go on and off at the same time. Instead, have downstairs timers go on during normal dinner & TV time, and then go off. Then have upstairs timers go on like you’re going to bed. Works great and gives the bad guys doubts if you’re home or not.” GREAT ADVICE!
(6) Don’t forget to lock the interior garage door. Exterior doors are relatively easy to compromise. And lock ALL of your windows.
(7) Stop your mail. Or have a neighbor collect it daily.
(8) Don’t publish your physical address or personal information on your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. It’s amazing how many people advertise their birthdate, home address and more – just because the site asked you to fill it in when you set up your account. It’s not just children who do this, but many adults who are new to the world of social media are guilty of this as well. Even if your site is “friend-protected”, you’d be surprised at what web-savvy folks can find out. Be discreet!
(9) If your home is in an area of the country where it’s cold (as in freezing), don’t turn your heat off. You don’t want your pipes to freeze!
(10) You can always employ the tactics of Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone”!
BUYERS: Inventory is low and even as we approach the holidays, homes are selling quickly. If you would like to buy now & celebrate the New Year in your new home, make you use our state-of-the-art home search site. Listings are updated on our system faster than other sites so you won’t miss out on your Dream Home!
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a more in-depth discussion & analysis – because its only the neighborhood YOU live in (or you WANT to live in) that matters. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and get very detailed about “YOUR Market” so that you can make the decision that is best for YOU!
Striking brick-front town home in a fabulous location next to the new Silver Line Tysons Metro! Open floor plan on 3 finished levels, 3-level sun room extension, eat-in kitchen open to family room with gas fireplace, formal dining room, two great master suites & finished lower level walkout with custom bar & built-in bookcases. Deck off family room & stone patio off rec room. Backs to wooded common area.
Delightful pristine colonial on a beautiful lot oh so close to “Downtown Vienna”, parks & more! Quality built & great floorplan. Kitchen opens to family room with fireplace, large formal living room/dining room, main level library. 2 walk in bay windows. Large master bedroom suite w/sitting area, spacious bath & wet bar. Many recent updates including refinished hardwood floors, stainless appliances, roof/gutters, hvac & more! Expansive fenced private backyard & deck. Enjoy “in town” living at its best!