Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Tips For Showing Your Home To Potential Buyers

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Selling your Washington DC area home just got a bit easier with these tips for showing – and selling – your home to potential homebuyers. The process of selling your home can be a tricky one, but put these home selling tips to use and you may have a closing date sooner than you thought.

  • The house should always be available for a showing. If yours is not, someone else’s is and that may be the house that ends up with an offer on the table. Even though showing the house at any point may be less than convenient for you as the homeowner, it may be worth the effort in the end. Allow your Realtor to post a lock box on the door or somewhere close by to make it even easier for showings.
  • Get out of your house; for showings that is. Potential homebuyers want to feel free to inspect every inch of the home without your watchful eyes upon them. When the homeowner is present during a showing, many customers report feeling as though they are intruding.
  • Shed some light on the house. Lighting is important when it comes to showing (and viewing) a home. Cheerful, clean and open are feelings you want your home to convey and this is achieved through eliminating unsightly shadows.
  • Never spray air fresheners in the home before it is shown. Although you may just want to create an inviting scent, what is inviting to you may induce an allergy attack in someone else. Also, potential homebuyers may be skeptical about the purpose of the air freshener and wonder what you are trying to hide. If possible, simply open the windows and doors for a few hours before a showing to let the stale air out and fresh air in. That’s the best air freshener money can buy.

Selling your home requires knowledge of the area and expertise in the real estate field, and that’s why you can rely on Michelle Buckman from Buckman Realtor.  For more professional advice on how to best market your home, contact Michelle Buckman, Washington DC’s real estate expert.

Foreclosure Crisis in DC

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Have you wondered why the inventory of “shells” and investment properties are in such short supply in DC?  It is because of standoff between the title insurance companies and the DC government over foreclosure laws.  The standoff has caused an artificial increase in property values because the supply of “shells” and houses that could be renovated and put into the stream of commerce is so low.

In 2011 there were only 10 or so residential foreclosures. Unless there are changes TO the law, the number in 2012 will remain the same.  It might even be worse. The reason for the low number is that DC modified its foreclosure law at the end of 2010 to include a mediation process on all residential foreclosures.  Maryland has also added a mediation component to its residential foreclosure process. The problem with DC’s process is that the mediation certificate issued at the end of the process does not have the force of law equal to an estoppel certificate and, therefore, no title insurer will issue a title insurance policy on a foreclosure sale.  The title insurance industry has been trying to persuade the District of Columbia to amend the law, but to no avail.  This standoff between the title insurance underwriters and the District of Columbia has caused a de facto moratorium on foreclosures and, thus, foreclosure sales.

To make matters worse, DC passed an amendment to the law last fall that requires any property that has any residential units (up to 4) to go through the mediation process.  It does not matter if a unit is owner occupied or not.  This also includes mixed use properties.

This amendment means that a commercial building owned by a limited liability company in Georgetown that has a shoe store on the first two floors and a tenant-occupied residence on the third floor—and has a commercial loan on the property—can only be foreclosed by going through the mediation process Thus, you cannot foreclose on the commercial loan because no title insurer will provide title insurance when you complete the foreclosure.

A more glaring scenario would be a corporation buying a single-family dwelling for renovation and investment purposes in DC.  Because the loan would be for investment purposes, it would be made by a commercial lender with a commercial promissory note.  If the corporation defaults on the loan, the lender cannot foreclose—even though it is a commercial loan taken out by a corporation—because the property is residential, and no one will insure the trustee’s deed out of foreclosure.

Amazingly, lenders continue to make loans on residential properties in DC despite the lenders’ lack of recourse on loan defaults.  It is entirely likely, however, that lenders will become increasingly aware of this issue, and then DC’s foreclosure law will have a chilling effect on new loans for residential properties.

In conclusion, DC’s foreclosure law is having a huge impact. Very few foreclosures are taking place, and the DC housing market is suffering as a result.  Even in the case of some commercial loans, DC’s new law have had a chilling effect on foreclosures, and might soon have a chilling effect on new loans for residential properties.

Steven M. Buckman, Esquire, managing member
BuckmanLegal, PLLC
buckman [at] BuckmanLegal.com

Preparing For A Real Estate Transaction in 2012

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Happy New Year everyone! With just a few days before we say goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012 with open arms, I thought we would spend a few minutes talking about what you can do to prepare to buy or sell a home next year. Buying and selling real estate often takes many months of preparation and getting started now can make the process that much easier.

Start with evaluating your credit score. You have certainly seen commercials on television, heard others talking about it and read numerous articles about the importance of your credit score when buying a home. This remains true. It is always a good idea to review your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus annually, which makes the beginning of a new year the perfect time — it’s an annual reminder that will not change.

Evaluate your credit history with each company to ensure accurate information is being reported by current and former creditors. If you do find an error that could negatively impact your ability to obtain a mortgage, you will have plenty of notice and time to fix the problem. Nothing would hurt your chances of buying your dream home faster than the inability to secure a mortgage for your dream home — especially when other offers may be on the table.

Consolidate expenses where possible, and save the money. Many companies offer “bundle” packages for their services that will allow you to receive the same services at a lower price. Saving the extra money for a down payment on a home allows many first time home buyers to secure a lower interest rate and may even eliminate the requirement for private mortgage insurance, or PMI.

Research the areas you think you want to buy a home in before you begin house shopping. Even though it can be fun to browse through homes until you find the perfect one for your family, imagine the frustration when it turns out your dream home comes with a tax bill you cannot afford, or that you are unhappy with the school choices in the area. Knowing what to expect from the area and community before you choose a property is the easiest approach.

For more tips or if you have questions, just give me a call and I’d be happy to help!

Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a happy new year. I look forward to working with you soon!

~ Michelle

Using Social Media To Sell Your Washington, D.C. Home

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Hi everyone! Hope you all are handling the sunshine and high temperatures without too much pain and suffering. I was just talking with my friends in the Trinidad neighborhood last week and we quickly agreed we shouldn’t complain about the weather. We wait all year for summer to get here, and when it does, we complain about being too hot. I guess we just can’t be made happy these days. : )

But back to the subject at hand. Unless you live in a cave or under a rock (and obviously that’s not true – you have Internet access!), you are aware of the growing popularity of social media. Social media is the general name given to online tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and various other products which encourage collective collaboration and sharing of information. Even though most of the products started out as a way for people to interact with family and friends around the world, they have quickly become powerful marketing and business tools as well.

Using social media to sell your home – whether in Washington, D.C., Palisades, Trinidad or NW DC – is a great idea. The ease and availability of these tools allows information to pass from one person to a countless amount in a matter of mere moments. All it takes is a click of a button and your friends can share the information about your home to their friends, who can pass it on to their friends and this can continue forever. The marketing capabilities of these networks is nearly unmatched. Even though the results may be somewhat hard to quantify on paper, if it sells the house – that’s a pretty steadfast confirmation of its power.

I use social media tools in both my personal and professional lives for this very reason. When I have a property listed that I think is perfect for a particular person, I’m quick to jump on Facebook and share the info. And I always make sure to tell that person to pass the information on if they know of anyone in the market to buy a home in Washington DC. This is just one more tool in my tool box of ways to get the best and quickest results possible for my clients. It’s this attention to detail I hope will turn my clients into faithful and long-time clients.

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for the latest news and trends in the Washington DC real estate market. Plus, as always, a little fun as well.

~ Michelle

Jazz Festival Anyone?

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Spring is here and this weekend as we take time to remember friends and loved ones on Memorial Day, enjoy some of the musical magic offered by the DC Jazz Festival. My friends from the Chevy Chase area will be attending and I hope to see many of our friends and neighbors there too.

The largest music festival in Washington, DC, the DC Jazz Festival offers more than 100 performances in dozens of locations throughout the city. The Festival organization invests in year-round music education for DC students and residents, promotes music education in schools and supports continued efforts to diversify the jazz music audience. What a great program, that adds to the community through cultural advancement – exactly what we need.

So gather your friends, coworkers, friends and everyone else and explore your city – there is surely something for everyone!

Be safe this holiday weekend and enjoy all that jazz!

~ Michelle