Buying a House in Howard County, Maryland

Why is it a good idea to buy a home or sell a home in Howard County? Well the Baltimore Sun says “Howard County has a distinct and thriving collection of communities, old and new, stable and growing. In Columbia, nearly a quarter of the land is preserved as open space. Woods, parkland, playgrounds and other public spaces are required by covenant to remain undeveloped”.

Howard County is ranked #1 in Best Counties for Families in America according to Niche 

Living in Howard County offers residents a suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Howard County there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and young professionals live in Howard County and residents tend to be liberal. Howard County is highly sought out with young families due to their highly rated public schools 

Today, much of the rolling farmland has been replaced by stately new homes on spacious lots, though rural areas remain. The western end of the county offers some of the highest-priced housing in the area. Local amenities include a library, a senior center and a regional park with a 50,000-square-foot, multi-use community center.

Whether you are seeking an efficiency apartment or a luxurious single-family home, there are a variety of options for homeowners and renters. Howard County remains a highly desirable area with a strong real estate market, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, which tracks home sales throughout the region. The company reported the median price of a home sold in Howard County as about $424,950 in September 2018.

Although costs in this part of the country are higher than average, some assistance is available for those in need. Federally subsidized housing is available through Heritage Housing Partners, which has emphasized the need to include affordable housing in Columbia redevelopment plans and the county.

If you are interested in selling your home fast Maryland, DC and Virginia residents so that you can move into the #1 ranked County, please call us.

Hot and Affordable Maryland Neighborhoods to Buy a House In

Finding a place to put some roots down isn’t easy anywhere. Home buying involves countless factors to be considered and loads of stress no matter where you decide to buy, but it’s especially hard if you’re looking in the Greater Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia locations.

Living near the city offers unbeatable convenience, whether it cuts down commute time or keeps you close to the nation’s monuments, everyone wants a different aspect of city life. Even if it comes at a cost. But for most families looking to settle down near Washington D.C., the main problem is space. It’s the hunt for space, a garage, a yard, and uncrowded streets that ultimately draw people a little farther away from the heart of the city and into neighborhoods that may not have been on the radar in years past but are becoming more and more appealing as prices go down and new developments arise.

So what makes these neighborhoods attractive?

Southeast D.C.’s Marshall Heights has been catching fire in terms of affordability, but what most don’t know is that just bordering this hot neighborhood on the Maryland side is a great community with an unbeatable price-per-square-foot value in the 20743-zip code.

Value is increasing in neighborhoods across Prince George’s country as well, which has historically been cheaper than other D.C. communities. The Hyattsville area offers drop-dead gorgeous cape cods and Victorians that are charming and reasonably priced, considering proximity to the city. District Heights is a budget-friendly community with a $204,500 median home price which is 30% lower than the Maryland average, and not much added commute time.

You can’t really go wrong picking the right Greater D.C. school district for your kids. Marlow Heights, Hyattsville, and most Prince George’s County schools spend an impressive $16,054 per student compared to the country’s average $12,383 and has an impressive student to teacher ratio.

While the District of Columbia and Alexandria have been the places to watch for in the past, these Maryland neighborhoods are worth keeping an eye out for, something tells us you should take a look at these neighborhoods sooner rather than later.

Top 5 Hottest Neighborhoods in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia is a unique area, close to the nation’s capital yet without all the commotion of big city life, making it a great area to settle down in, no matter what your interests or stage in life. Because of its technology sector and its proximity to D.C., the economy is stable and wealthy, yet diverse and filled with vibrant local communities.

A mix of suburban and urban areas, Northern Virginia has something to offer everyone from the great schools to the many outdoor activities and the shopping and dining options.

There are many great neighborhoods in Northern Virginia! Here are just five of the many best neighborhoods to live in NOVA!

  1. Del Ray

This neighborhood, just minutes away from D.C., is a surprisingly slow living focused community with an abundance of single family dwellings and local shops and eateries. With its historic and eclectic architecture, this area has definite suburban charm, making it the perfect place to raise a family.

  1. Shirlington

This lively and pet-friendly community attracts business professionals and creatives with its up-and-coming small town feel, due to a recent revamping of the area. It also boasts a great community focus, and numerous local shopping, dining, arts, and outdoor spaces.

  1. Mosaic District

This fashionable neighborhood is Known for its abundance of local shops and restaurants, including boutique and luxury shops, farmer’s markets, and many other foodie and fashion attractions. Its townhouses, beautiful apartments, and homes are complemented by many dynamic businesses, shopping centers, and green spaces.

  1. West Falls Church

This suburb of D.C. is rated one of the best places to live in VA with many opportunities for fun, food, fitness, and art. Its diverse culture, as well as its outdoor attractions, make it a great neighborhood for young professionals and families alike.

  1. Reston

With its booming economy, diverse attractions, and famed Reston Town Center, this neighborhood is a beautiful place to live with an abundance of larger homes, townhouses, and luxurious apartment suites. Its growing developments and local community create a happy medium between an urban and suburban feel.

As always, if you are interested in selling your house in Virginia, let us know.

The Best Up and Coming Washington DC Neighborhoods to Buy a House

The term best is really quite a subjective word, especially when you’re discussing real estate in the Washington D.C. location.  But, as we end 2018 and fly into 2019 there are a few neighborhoods that everyone would agree are definitely “up there” when it comes to the best places to buy a home or invest in real estate in the coming year.  Let’s check em out!

Kingman Park

Right next to Capitol Hill, this up and coming neighborhood has two big things going for it.  First it’s right next to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. And second, it’s still quite affordable!  Right now The District of Columbia is renovating the RFK campus and many people think the surrounding neighborhoods like Kingman Park will be big beneficiaries of this.  As of now, you can grab a livable row house for about $400-$600K. Not a bad investment with a bright future!

Edgewood.

In the Northeast corner of the District, this neighborhood is nestled right in the middle of the Bloomingdale, Brookland and Eckington, three areas that have seen explosive housing and retail development over the last few years.  The great thing about Edgewood is that it’s close to all the new amenities of these three booming neighborhoods, but you can purchase a quaint row home here for roughly a third of what you’ll pay in Brookland. You’ve got a great restaurant scene and you’re right next to The Catholic University of America, the Brookland Red Line and Monroe Street Market.  What’s not to like?

Hillcrest

If it’s more of a suburban feel you’re after, this neighborhood is located in the Southeast corner of the District and a short commute to Capitol Hill.  You’ll find charming brick colonials for about half the price compared to Capitol Hill row, and the views are incredible!

Two Hot New Neighborhoods in Northern Virginia

Maybe you’re already living in the D.C. Metro area and looking for a change of pace, or maybe a new job has you relocating out this way. Either way, it’s great to know where the up and coming neighborhoods are located, and we’ve made the perfect list!

Pimmit Hills

In the Falls Church/Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County, you’ll find a hot new community known as Pimmit Hills. New development, great schools and local attractions make it a great place to live!

Many agents feel like the area is undervalued for the location right next to Tysons Corner, but it won’t last for long. The local High School is rated above average compared to other schools in the state by GreatSchools.org, and with convenient metro stops close by, it’s super convenient for commuters.

Stats:
Median Household Income: $101,852
Average Commute Time to DC: 26 minutes
Schools: Lemon Road Elementary, Mary Ellen Henderson Middle, Marshall High
Zillow Forecast: Up 2.2 percent in 2018

Town of Herndon

Founded in 1857, Herndon is in the process of transforming from an old-fashioned town to a bustling and revitalized art-focused and interesting community.

Currently, the city is teamed up with Comstock Partners to build out an 18,000-square-foot arts center, as well as some new retail and residential space. The plan is for this to be completed within a couple years.

But the new art center isn’t the only reason Herndon makes the HOT neighborhood list. Stroll around and you’ll find ArtSpace, a place for local artists to showcase their work in the galleries and aspiring artists can take classes, Friday Night Live concerts in the summer, fun restaurants such as Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern and The Ice House Café & Oyster Bar, and even a local farmer’s market open from April through November. It’s a great place for families and young professionals alike!

Stats:
Median Household Income: $101,872
Average Commute Time to DC: 25 minutes
Schools: Herndon Elementary, Herndon Middle, Herndon High
Zillow Forecast: Up 1.8 percent in 2018

A Look at the Increase in Property Values in Washington, D.C.

If you’ve ever been to Washington DC, you’ll understand why thousands of people continue to flock there.  It’s a beautiful city, with a rich history and all the amenities residents could wish for. And for the first time in over a decade, property in the nation’s capital is selling as fast as it can be listed.  Property values are on the rise in Washington, D.C., and don’t show any sign of stopping.

High Demand

The reason for the increase in property values is simple: high demand and short supply.  There are more buyers looking for property than homeowners selling. When the demand is high, prices go up.  Even homes valued in the millions are selling quickly, a strong indicator of the desirability of the area. Houses and condos that are listed in the region are off the market in an average of 18 days.  With property selling so fast, buyers need to be ready to make an offer immediately, and many sellers are enjoying bidding wars, which can drive up their selling price significantly.

New Inventory

With so many buyers looking for a place to call home, new construction and development is expected to increase as well.  Developers can sell these new houses and condos at a premium, since many homeowners don’t want to have to deal with renovations and repairs.  Buyers in today’s market want their house to be move in ready, looking like the properties they see on T.V. and in magazines. These conditions in the D.C. real estate market are all coming together to create the perfect scene for increased property values.

Washington, D.C., and its surrounding areas, have long been one of the most stable real estate markets in the country.  The region continues to enjoy an influx of residents, and the rising property values reflect the high demand for housing, with no signs of slowing!

How School Districts Affect Home Value

Depending on the state you live in, school taxes, which all homeowners have to pay, may be  directly related to the value of the home. Homes located within more desirable districts tend to have a higher value than comparable homes in other districts.  Before you put in an offer, let’s take a look at the relationship between school districts and home values and what you need to consider.

School District and Home Values

Better performing school districts are often surrounded by higher valued homes.  There is no way to definitively determine whether the houses are more expensive because of the performance of the school district, or that more affluent families can afford these houses and seek to live in better school districts.  The schools’ performance may be due to families with higher education who encourage high performance from their children. The more money and education a community’s residents have, the higher performing the school district.

Researching Districts

If a great school district is what you’re looking for when considering your next home, make sure to do the research.  Education records for public schools is public record. You can find out the teacher salaries, demographics of the schools, student test scores, rankings, and how many students are receiving free lunch. Schools with a higher teacher to student ratio and with higher percentages of students on free lunch programs tend to perform worse than districts with lower numbers.  

When a district is doing well, home values tend to increase.  More people want to live in these neighborhoods and the demand drives the price of the properties up.  With increased values, taxes increase, and many families can no longer afford to consider purchasing one of these homes.  When you’re searching for a home to buy, make sure you take a look at the school district. Even if you don’t have children, the performance of the schools in the Maryland location, Virginia location, and Washington DC location will affect you as a homeowner.

How Property Taxes and Mortgage Interest Affect Yearly Tax Returns

When it comes to owning a house, there are some benefits homeowners may see when they do their annual taxes.  Along with other expenses related to your home that may be deducted, homeowners can deduct the cost of their property taxes and mortgage interest from their federal taxable income.  

Mortgage Interest

Mortgage interest is the amount of money homeowners pay in interest on their mortgage.  Since interest rates vary depending on the terms of each individual mortgage, this number is different for every homeowner, and many rates will change throughout the life of the loan.  When it’s time to prepare annual taxes, the amount of money that was paid in interest on a mortgage can be deducted from total income.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are determined by the county in which you live.  These taxes can include different taxes such as school, and city government taxes, combined into one payment.  The county sets the property tax percent and the amount a homeowner pays depends on the value of their home. For example, if the property tax is 3%, a house worth $100,000 will pay $3,000 per year, while a house valued at $300,000 will pay $9,000.  The taxes paid can vary if a home increases in value, or vice versa.

When you do your taxes, the money you paid for mortgage insurance and property taxes can be deducted from your total taxable income.  If your taxable income is $50,000, and you paid $5,000 in insurance and taxes, you new taxable income is $45,000. The more deductions you have, the lower the taxable income is, and the more money you may potentially receive in a tax refund.  Your accountant will know what can and cannot be deducted, so the best course of action is to keep track of all interest, taxes, and monies spent on your home.

How to Find Good Tenants

Finding the right tenants in the Maryland location, Virginia location, or Washington DC location is essential to having a good renting experience.  Your property is an asset and you need to be able to trust your tenants to take good care of it.  Approaching the search for tenants in a businesslike way is the key to finding the right people. Here are some tips to help you fill your rental with good tenants.

Know the Law

Every state, town, and county has its own rental laws.  Make sure you understand the laws for the location your property is in.  This will help you create a lease document that is lawful and fair for both you as the landlord, and your tenants.

Select Advertising

Advertising your open property is a must to finding the right tenants, but be selective where you post your listing.  There are sites such as rentals.com or zillow.com that may charge you a fee for your post, but will bring you better results than free sites such as Craigslist.  Put up a sign in the window or lawn of the property, and advertise locally in stores or newspapers. Provide details and the rent to get responses from people who are actually interested.

Application

Always have a rental application asking for names, social security numbers, income, and previous landlord references.  Run a background check on potential tenants. Many renters expect to pay for this, so you can charge a one time fee to do so.

Strong Lease Agreement

Spend the time before you look for tenants drawing up a strong lease agreement that clearly details the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenants, late rent fees, occupants, and terms for evictions.  Even if something seems obvious, spell it out in the lease.

Set the Bar High

Just because ten people have applied doesn’t mean you have to choose one of them.  Don’t lower your standards for a tenant just to get your property rented. Keep looking until you find a tenant you feel good about.