Your orders read PCS to Fort Belvoir In Alexandria, Virginia.
You have heard it is expensive from people who you have talked wth.
Most Wonder will I find a home within my BAH allowance.
The truth is it all depends on what you are hoping to find if you coming from Hawaii you will not have any price shock but if you are coming from the Carolina's it may be another story! No matter your rank or price point the story is the same.
So you have started your search on line maybe you have had an idea you will get orders so you have been looking at Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, MilitaryByOwner trying to get a feel for the area. That is a great place to start but our market can be quick. You probably have even seen homes you like but then they disappear and you wonder why?
You may have even emailed or called a few agents about homes you have seen but you do not have a house hunting trip planned yet. You know once ou have orders in hand in the future you are coming to househunt or you plan to come directly to your new location and will try and find temporary lodging until you find a home.
Vital Information you need at this point in the process!
1. First Virginia is a Buyer Agency State and you will need to sign a Buyer Agent Agreement before house hunting on your very first meeting with a REALTOR it is the law! This is for your protection and you can read an article that explains it here in the Washington Post There is no cost to you but you will need to align yourself with an agent.
2. Next Temporary Lodging is very difficult to find and you will pay a premium! A great buyer agent will have locations they will recommend and alternatives to this option if needed. If you are coming on a house hunt you will see all the market has to offer in three days or less. So if you are coming for a week you will have time to sight see and enjoy getting to know the area. Or you can save money and plan a shorter trip for house hunting.
3. Most homes for sale now can be moved into with 30 to 60 days with the average being 45. So plan on that lead time if you are coming for a house hunt. If PCSing with no advance house hunt plan on getting temporary lodging being needed for 60 days. The Reason is not many sellers want a delayed settlement and most will not accept a contingent contract so we need to prepare you for this. If you own a home it must be sold, under contract or rented prior to submitting and offer unless you qualify for both. This is where working with a local lender early in the stages of a move can really help. If you need to sign for let's say a 90-day short term lease a good buyer agent will be able to show you how not to be paying for both short term lodging and a new mortgage at the same time. Also, if you are planning on renting for a year most rentals come on the market on the 1st and 15th of each month and are available in 30 to 60 days. So your lead time to come to look for a rental is typically 60 days before your move date. You will need a security deposit equal to a months rent, plus the rent and, of course, a pet deposit if it applies. For more information please contact me.
4. If you use USAA for your banking and no longer use checks because you do everything online you will need to plan ahead. When buying or a home you will need a check on several occasions. When you write an offer you will three checks a deposit check, a check for the Home Inspection, and a check for the lender to order your appraisal. When Renting a home you will need a check for each adult for a credit check and also two checks one for deposit and the other for rent. The good news is we now have two USAA branches in our area
5. You will want to make sure you keep copies of these checks if you are buying because the lender will require them to compete for your loan. You will need to show the source of the funds meaning where did they come from your savings, money market, checking account or where they a gift. . If you do banking online that is great, you will have access to your bank statements online if not please keep six months of banking records available and at your fingertips when you PCS you will need them.
6. There is a lot of construction going on in the vicinity of Fort Belvoir Virginia area and will be through 2015. If you want to live north of the base to avoid most of this work expect prices for Townhomes to be 375,000+ and older detached homes will start in the 500,000's plus. Homes in around Mount Vernon Virginia will be quite will be in the $650+ range. You will find wonderful options some newer but most older homes with lovely updates in well-established communities. If you want to be south of the base look the community of Lorton, Virginia only 5 miles down the road and homes will, for the most part, have been built within the last 20+ years. I can even help you find a new home in that location as well! Now if the price is a factor head south 8 miles to Prince William County click here to see homes for sale in Lake Ridge, Virginia and Woodbridge Virginia area. Prince William County Virginia is centrally located between Fort Belvoir and Marine Base Quantico.
7. Use a local lender if at all possible many folks relocating in want to use USAA which is great but I can tell you many regretted that decision due to needing to fax documents ( who has a fax home anymore??) I bank with USAA and have my car insurance through them. But their process can be more cumbersome that you may be prepared for. If you are working with a local lender and REALTOR, we will be happy to fax documents for you if needed but most likely the need will be eliminated.
8. Come prepared to select your first and second choice home because in price points under $450,000 in Prince William Virginia and under $750,000 in Fairfax CountyVirginia the market can be brisk if the house is priced right and shows well. We do not want you to waste your precious house hunting time and come up empty handed. I always have your timeline, goal and backup plan in place before we go looking at homes.
9. Also, you need to know not all homes are equal. There are many short sales still showing up on the market in our area. If you are relocating, you do not have time to wait months for the bank. We are in an appreciating market and the banks know it, their process is slow and many times they come back with an approval higher than the price negotiated! If the buyer walks they put it back on the market and start all over again. Sounds like fun right...NOT!
If you want to use your VA Loan Entitlement you can buy up to $625,500 as long as you qualify and do zero down. If you have used your VA previously or still own a home with your VA you can still buy using your VA in many circumstances. Call me for details. You can also buy a home above the VA limit and only need to put down 25% down of the higher asking price. Let's say the you want a home that is $50,000 then you will need $12,500! No matter what loan you use if you want Closing Costs paid please know they run 3% of the sale price. If you want some or all your closing costs paid we need to find homes that have enough equity to make that possible. Little to no equity ties the sellers hands to offer closing costs unless they did into assets other than the house OUCH! These are the things you do not learn from looking at homes online.
Time to House Hunt
When you come to house hunt let me show you an example of how I help you to find your home. We pull up the listings and go and look at them. Once we start to narrow down to a specific neighborhood we will look at the available and past sales together to determine what to offer. The numbers do not lie and show us trends and market conditions. For this example, I am giving you a snapshot of a local neighborhood called Wessynton near Mount Vernon, Virginia just northeast of the base. It shows there are two Active rentals for $3285.00 and they have been on the market for 53 days. Notice on the bottom of snapshot the average rental was for $2675.00 and rented in 14 days so this is telling us that the Rentals on the market now are either in exceptional condition and or testing the market to see if they can get higher. Time will tell!
Look at the sales data
Look at the Red arrows and circles.....
One Home is Under Contract at $745,000 and was only on the market only 15 days!
Seven Homes have sold in this community call Wessynton notices the lowest sale sold in 3 days or so you would think. But it looks like it was relisted at a lower asking price and then sold. Notice they paid no Subsidy ( closing costs Remember TIP #9 this home would not have worked with VA Loan if you needed closing costs!) in fact in this community the numbers say to expect seller to pay no more than $3500 in closing costs for you and homes are selling at 97% of asking price! So this tells you to be realistic at your budget and know you are going to get a little break on price or terms but not both. This can be a tough lesson for folks relocating to the area.
"My goal as your Buyers Agent is to help educate you and help you attain your goal of a home versus you all learning a lesson of frustration, and bickering and just having a miserable unsuccessful house hunt!"
In closing, you can work with anyone you choose. The questions you need to ask yourself?
- Will the agent you choose know the communities inside out and backward?
- Will the agent know the floor plans and features of the home by just looking from the outside? Why does this matter?
- Will they know how to do the research on the numbers to save you time, stress and money?
- Do these things matter to you?
If the answer is yes and you choose to work with me I will help you to maximize your house hunting time and your budget and circumstances.
I want to make this as stress-free a process as possible for you. I know my 25+ years of working with people relocating to this area has allowed me to get very good what I do. I would be honored to help you find your new place to call home. I will be happy to give you references to my past military buyers so you can ask them first hand what it was like to work with me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Here is my link to see all homes available through Home Snap your access to the REALTORS MLS
Call or Text Me now at 703-801-9367