Call 240-847-0859 for a Same-Day Cash Offer on Your House

Blog

Learn about cash home sales, financing, foreclosures, short selling, and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

Mar 20, 2018
homeowners association virginia maryland washington dc

If you’re in the market to buy a condo, freestanding home, or townhouse in a shared community, chances are the areas are maintained by a homeowners’ association.  What are homeowners’ associations and how will they affect your life? Here are the things you need to know.

What is a Homeowners’ Association?

A homeowners’ association helps ensure that shared living communities look their best and everything functions smoothly. This could mean maintaining the neighborhood pool, tennis courts, landscaping, security gates, garbage collection, etc. Communities can’t expect individual homeowners to fix the pool pump when it breaks so the homeowner’s association will take care of the problems should they arise.

Who pays for their services?

These repairs and services aren’t free, so the community pulls together to pitch in. Homeowners’ association fees are typically monthly or annually, and the price that you would pay depends on the size of your home in the neighborhood. A family of six in a large home will probably use the shared facilities more than the single person in a small studio apartment, so the rates are adjusted accordingly.

How are they organized and what are the rules?

Homeowners’ associations have a board made up of homeowners in the community. These board members are elected by other homeowners in the community, and they make all decisions related to the community. Most associations typically hold regular meetings to discuss important issues or decisions and all homeowners are welcome to voice their opinions.

Each community will have its own set of rules or “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” that homeowners will sign and agree to once they move in. These rules can stipulate anything from the size of your mailbox, the type of dogs you’re allowed to have, and more. Associations put these rules in place to make sure the community runs smoothly and is consistent.

If you are buying a home in the Washington DC location, Virginia location, Maryland location, or Baltimore location. It is worth researching the rules of any homeowners association for a prospective property.

Read More

5 Tips to Help You Pick the Best Home Insurance Policy

Mar 11, 2018

Buying your first home in the Washington DC location, Virginia location, Baltimore location, or Maryland location can be one of the most emotional and substantial investments you’ll ever make. For this reason alone, you want to make sure that your investment is protected should the unexpected ever happen. Navigating the homeowner’s insurance market can be tricky at first, but with these five tips in mind, finding the right provider and policy for you is easier than ever!

Look for Ratings and Reviews

You read reviews and ratings before you buy a new pair of shoes, so why not read reviews for your new insurance policy? You want to look at how the company stacks up against other providers in your area, along with its history of paying claims and meeting its obligations to customers.

Find Discounts

If you install risk mitigating devices such as storm shutters, burglar alarms, and weather safety systems, many homeowner’s insurance companies will offer discounts on your premium! The companies hope that they never have to pay a claim so if you can make your home less risky, they’ll reward you.

Insure for Actual Value

It might seem logical to insure your house for the market value, but the market has up’s and down’s periodically, and the last thing you want to do is file a claim in a down period. Instead, insure your home for its replacement value which includes the costs to repair or rebuild the entire home.

Ask About Previous Repairs

Before or shortly after buying the home, ask the seller for a history of repairs or damages the home has endured. You want to know the home inside and out so you’re prepared should a previous repair become an issue again.

Understand Your Policy

We know that homeowner’s insurance policies aren’t the most riveting things to read, but you should have a solid understanding of your coverages. If you have any questions, make sure to ask your agent, so you know what’s covered and what’s not.

As always at 8 Day Home Sale, if you are looking to sell your house, we buy houses for cash. Head over to our home page to get an offer.

Read More

What is a Co-op Property?

Feb 26, 2018
co-op maryland washington dc virginia

When looking to buy a property that’s a part of a larger building, you might often see the term “co-op property.” While co-ops are similar to condos in some regards, there are a few distinct differences between the two.

You Can’t Technically Own a Co-op

“Co-op” is short for cooperative, which basically brings the concept of teamwork to homeownership. When you buy a co-op, you aren’t technically buying the property itself. Instead, you purchase shares in the corporation that owns the property and the bigger the co-op home, the more shares that you own.

The number of shares that you own doesn’t mean that you have more deciding power over other co-op owners in the building. However, the number of shares that you do own will affect the maintenance fees, your taxes, and some other financial aspects. Each co-op owner typically has roughly the same influence on the maintenance and direction that the company takes and the residents will vote on every decision that affects the property.

Additionally, some residents can have a seat on the board and will work to carry out the group’s decisions.

Where Are Co-ops?

You can find co-op properties largely on the east coast of the U.S. in the big cities like New York and Washington, DC. There aren’t many in Maryland or Virginia. According to a New York Times report, 75% of Manhattan’s housing is comprised of co-op properties, many of which carry the Trump name or other prominent brands.

Advantages of Co-ops

If you want to live at a specific address overlooking a landmark in New York City or Philadelphia for instance, you won’t have much choice in the type of housing you’ll have. Typically, properties in these areas are almost entirely co-ops. Also, living in a co-op property means that most of your neighbors are friendly and will pay their bills on time because of the strict application process which goes far in ensuring the building is properly maintained.

Co-ops are usually more “bang for your buck” than condos in that you receive more space for less money since many people are scared off by the ownership structure.

Read More

What to Look for When Choosing a Rental Property

Feb 15, 2018
Rental agreement, lease agreement for maryland

Are you interested in purchasing property to rent to others in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore? Whether this is your first time investing in rental property or if you have some experience, there are a few characteristics you should take into account when considering a property to make sure that you are getting the most for your investment.

Location

The area and neighborhood where the property is should play a crucial role in your decision process. The area will significantly affect the rent prices, the type of tenants that you will attract, and potentially your vacancy rate.

Development Opportunities

Referencing the location, what changes will the area experience in the coming years? If there is significant development planned around the property including shopping centers, apartment complexes, and business parks, it is a good sign and can have positive impacts on the property’s value over time.

Nearby Schools

If you are in the market for family-sized rental properties, the quality of the local schools should play a significant role in your decision-making process. Having quality schools close to your property will significantly improve its value in many ways besides price. For instance, families will be willing to stay longer if their kids are enrolled in a school they like which helps you reduce your vacancy rates.

Work that Needs to Be Done

When looking at rental properties, you should perform an adequate evaluation of the condition of the home. If you aren’t very experienced, you can hire someone to take a look at the property to make sure that you know what you are buying. If the home needs extensive work and you don’t have the skills or desire to fix it, it’s best to pass and find a property that is in better condition.

Property Taxes

Property taxes will vary from area to area, and because you are hoping to generate income from the rental property, you need to know how much you’ll be losing to taxes. Visit the local assessment office to see the property tax rates for the area so you can accurately include it in your revenue estimates.

Read More

How Much Money to Put Down on a House — Is More Always Better?

Feb 1, 2018

As a rule of thumb, many experts will recommend that you put down 20% or more when buying a new home. The reason they cite is that this huge sum paid before the mortgage will show lenders that you are a trustworthy borrower serious about paying off the home yielding a lower interest rate.

Is 20% still the tried-and-true standard or is it possible to buy a home with a smaller down payment? Here are the pros and cons of each option.

The Pros of Putting Down 20%

When you put down 20%, you’re more likely to secure a loan from reputable lenders with a lower interest rate. By putting down 20%, the lender then knows that in the worst-case scenario, they only need to recoup 80% of the home’s value should the borrower fail to pay the loan back. Since you’ve paid more up front, your monthly mortgage payment will be smaller.

Why Less Can Sometimes Be More

Usually, the minimum that you must put down to secure a 30-year mortgage is 3.5%. This is quite a bit less than 20% and will save you some money up front before the mortgage starts. By putting down less initially, you will be able to move into your new home sooner than later without having to spend months or years trying to scrape together the funds for a traditional 20% down payment.

You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to secure a mortgage loan, however, the more you put down up front, the less you’ll have to pay over time. Consider both of the options carefully, and do your research and crunch the numbers before signing any paperwork.

If you’d like to talk about selling your house in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC so you can buy another one, head over to our Contact page.

Read More

How the New Tax Cuts May Affect Homeowners

Jan 18, 2018
We buy houses virginia maryland washington dc baltimore

With Congress passing their new tax overhaul bill in late 2017, many Americans are wondering how it will affect them individually. The overhaul stretches far and wide and will likely impact every single American in one way or another. Let’s take a look at a few key points of the bill and how they will affect homeowners.

Changes in Property Tax Deductions

With the new plan, U.S. taxpayers and homeowners won’t be able to completely deduct local and state property taxes in addition to income or sales tax. The new plan allows individuals a $10,000 deduction to go towards state and local income along with property taxes or sales taxes.

This means that homeowners that live in a high-tax state might see an increase in their tax bill because they lost the deductions they had been able to take advantage of before.

You Won’t Need to Itemize as Many Things

The new Tax Cuts bill nearly doubles the standard deduction you can take from $6,350 to $12,000, which virtually eliminates the need to itemize mortgage interest and property tax bills if they fall below the $12,000 threshold.

Also, if you file jointly, the standard deduction increases to $24,000, meaning that most housing expenses won’t even come close to the threshold providing more tax savings for the future.

A Possible Benefit for Home Buyers

Many predict that home prices might temporarily drop in parts of the country once the new tax plan goes into effect. They believe demand may decrease because of the new stipulations added to the sale of primary residences. Before the plan, homeowners could deduct up to $500,000 for couples for the gross income made from a home sale.

The new plan stipulates that you must live in the home as your primary residence for five of the last eight years. Experts think this would reduce demand momentarily resulting in a small drop in home prices so if you’re in the market to buy a new home, this could be your opportunity to save some money.

Here’s a useful tool for determining how the tax cuts affect your tax bracket.

Read More

Buying a Short Sale

Jan 4, 2018
short sale in maryland virginia washington dc baltimore

If you are looking for a house in Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC, either to inhabit or as an investment, you might have heard the term “short sale” before. It can seem confusing, but in reality, it is an incredibly simple real estate term to understand and could save you thousands on your next property purchase.

The Basics

In the real estate industry, a short sale is basically when the proceeds of a property sale aren’t enough to cover the balance remaining on the property’s mortgage loan. To put it simply, the seller of the property owes more to the mortgage lender (the bank) than what they are selling it for.

For the seller to do this, the bank must agree to discount the loan balance which is essentially agreeing to take less money than what is initially owed. The owner will have to prove they are dealing with financial hardships before the lender will accept a real estate short sale. It will have severe consequences on the seller’s credit.

Why Would a Lender Accept a Short Sale?

It is worth asking since any lender in their right mind would want only to accept the amount of money owed to them and nothing less, right? In reality, if a house is foreclosed upon by the lender, they must still list the home on the market and sometimes wait months or years to sell the home.

Foreclosure is expensive for all parties, and most lenders would rather go through with a short sale, cut their losses, and avoid the hassle of reselling the property themselves altogether.

Pros and Cons Buying a Short Sale

Short sales are not necessarily better deals than regularly listed homes. For example, if someone bought a house at the height of the market and went underwater, their loan amount could be way more than the house is worth. Short sale houses are also sold “as is”. This means you could be left holding the bag on issues. Banks are also notoriously difficult to deal with when buying a short sale as they are effectively losing money. All that said, the right short sale can be a great buy.

Read More

What Should I Do if I Am in Tax Default in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC

Dec 22, 2017
We buy houses in Maryland and Washington DC for cash

Though we don’t always want to think about the worst case scenarios of homeownership, they can happen. Tax default is one of them.

What is Tax Default?

Tax default happens when you don’t pay property taxes for a duration of time set by your county. The past-due amount becomes what is known as a tax lien on your house. Your house cannot be sold without paying off the lien. Eventually, the lien can be sold to someone at auction, called a “Tax Sale”. The winning bidder will collect interest on the tax lien and eventually be able to take over ownership of your house, if you don’t pay off your delinquent tax amount with interest.

What Should You Do?

If you know are in tax default or know a tax sale is coming, your options are limited. Presumably, you don’t have the money to pay the back taxes. If this is the case and you have equity in your house, your best bet is to sell.

Since the typical home-selling process can take up to 6-months before a buyer closes on the house, you want to consider real estate investment companies who will pay, in cash, for the house in just a few days time. That way, you will receive the proper compensation for the value of your home, and be free of the impending governmental burden that will be used against you for back taxes, fees, and interest.

At 8 Day Home Sale, we are here to help, and we buy houses in Maryland, Virginia, Baltimore, and Washington DC for cash. Contact us if you are facing tax default.

Read More

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo Versus a Single Family Home

Dec 13, 2017
we buy houses maryland virginia washington dc baltimore

When it comes time to purchase a house in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore, buyers have a lot of options. Some of the most commonly compared housing options comes down to condominiums versus single-family houses right now.

Aside from location, housing type is one of the most important decisions for an individual or family to make. It’s important to sit back and really consider the unique pros and cons that accompany condos and single family homes today, as they could make or break your living experience. By focusing on lifestyle and cost, you can better determine which is right for you.

Condo

PROS: In recent years, there has been a huge upswing in condo purchases over homes due to a resurgence in urban living. Condos are most typically located in urban areas, with walkability to shops, restaurants, and other places of interest and entertainment. Condos come with resort-like amenities, including pools and fitness centers, cleaning services, and 24-7 support. Especially with people living busier lives today, condos offer a convenient solution to a low-maintenance lifestyle.

CONS: As you could guess, this kind of convenience plus luxury amenities does not come at a cheap cost. One major drawback to the condo life is association fees, collected outside the monthly mortgage payment and put towards building maintenance and amenities. These fees can be expensive, and they can increase at any time when extra money is needed. Additionally, condos mean you’re sharing a building with other homeowners, presenting a potential for noise and other disturbance complaints.

Single Family Home

PROS: The best advantage of buying a single-family home is that you have total control over the property. It is all yours. You can remodel, make changes, and do whatever your heart desires without the consent of others. Homes also allow for extra indoor and outdoor space, providing you with much more wiggle room than a condo. Accommodating for families and pets, your home can expand with your family, equipped with closets, attics, basements, and garages. Lastly, homes offer you more privacy, placing outdoor space between you and your neighbors.

CONS: Homeownership is tough work, however. As part of the privacy and personal control perk, you are completely responsible for maintenance inside and outside the property, including upkeep of the yard and trees. You also need to factor in buying equipment and tools for the maintenance when purchasing a home, as well as the service costs for bringing in professionals to make repairs. Finally, utility bills with homes are much higher than condos, as you have to heat/cool and power up much more space than that of a condominium.

What’s Right For You?

If you’re single, looking for an urban setting and working long hours at work, a condo might seem appealing. However, if you’re newly married, looking to start a family and add personal touches to your living space, then consider the single-family home option.

Read More

Pros and Cons of Selling Your House Yourself (FSBO)

Dec 2, 2017
fsbo for sale by owner in maryland, virginia, washington dc, baltimore

If you’re considering the sale of your house in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Baltimore, you have lots of questions. Selling your house is one of the largest financial transactions most people do in a lifetime, you want to make sure you make the right decisions and avoid unnecessary costs which eat into your profit. Perhaps you’ve even wondered if you really need an agent to sell your house; after all, you can easily meet potential buyers and show your home…but is that all there is?

Before you decide to try and sell your house without an agent, learn the pros and cons associated with the “go it alone” technique known as “for sale by owner”.

Pros of Selling Your Home as a FSBO

Save Money on Commissions

Selling your home as a FSBO (for sale by owner) will certainly save you the cost of commissions for the listing agent. While all commissions are negotiable, most range from 4-6% nationwide. Typically, half of the negotiated commission is then offered to the agent who finds the buyer. Most FSBO listings still sell to a buyer with their own agent, thus you save only half the cost of commission.

No Strangers in Your Home

By selling your home as a FSBO, you never need to worry about who’s in your home or with whom. You will arrange all showings yourself and will be present for the visits.

Control of the Process

By representing yourself in the transaction, you can control what is communicated to the other party. You control the negotiations at every stage of the process.

Cons of Selling Your Home as a FSBO

Pricing

While overpricing a listing is bad, underpricing the listing is worse. When you are not privy to the market analysis in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), you do not have the most comprehensive data to use when pricing your home for sale.

Time

Arranging home showings takes time. Not only is it common for buyers and their agents to run late, or early, but you must be there to meet each party.

Read More