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Today, much of the rolling farmland has been replaced by stately new homes on spacious lots, though rural areas remain.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.

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.

Realtor Commission: How They Get Paid

If you’re working with a real estate agent in the Maryland location, Virginia, location, Baltimore location, or Washington DC location, you may have wondered how your realtor will be paid.  For those buying a home, it’s a surprise to learn that your realtor’s commission comes from the seller’s end of the table.  Let’s take a look at how commissions break down and how realtors earn their living.

Commissions

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, a person who works on commissions is paid a percentage of the final sale price.  For realtors, this means that all those hours they put in to help you buy or sell your home are not covered by an hourly wage.  If your house fails to close, they don’t get paid for the work they put in.  While commissions are negotiable, the standard rate for realtors is 6%.  At this percentage, if a house closes at $250,000, the commission is $15,000.

Buyer’s Agent

The commission for agents comes from the seller’s proceeds at the close of their sale.  As a buyer, if you work with an agent, their fee is also part of that commission.  Using the previous example, if the commission is $15,000, that amount is split between the listing and buyer agents at whatever percentage they’ve negotiated.  Most often the commission is split evenly with each agent earning 3%, but it can be negotiated differently.  Agents work with buyers knowing that they might not see a paycheck because they hope that when it’s time for you to sell, you’ll choose to work with them again.

If you’ve worked with a real estate agent, you’ll know the amount of time, energy, and work they put into each and every house.  Realtors know that unless your home closes, they won’t get paid.  It’s why they do everything they can to help you find the home you love and close the deal.

Buying/Selling Your House: 1031 Exchange

When you sell your house in the Maryland location, Virginia location, Washington DC location, or Baltimore location, any profits you make are subject to capital gains or recapture taxes.  To avoid paying those taxes, you can reinvest the profits in a new property under 1031 exchange.  To do this correctly, you’ll have to have a properly structured exchange.

There is a timeline for completing this exchange and you have just 45 days to find a property of similar or greater value than the one sold.  You only have 180 days total to complete the purchase of the new property.  This timeline is a bit tight if you want to take your time to shop around.

Like-kind Property

Another restriction on the 1031 exchange is the type of property purchased.  You can’t sell your business property and buy a house, or vice versa.  The property that is sold must be of like-kind to the property purchased.  They don’t have to be exact though.  You could sell a business and buy a business, or sell land and buy an apartment complex.

Debt and Equity

The 1031 exchange needs to be 100% in order to defer the taxes.  This means that the equity or profit from selling the property needs to be reinvested 100%.  If you make $50,000 on the sale of your house, you need to put that full amount back into the new property.  If you owed $200,000 on the property, you need to replace that same amount of debt as well.  You are exchanging the equity and the debt of one property for another.

Hire a Professional

Unless tax law and real estate are areas you considered yourself to be an expert in, you may want to consult a professional when looking at a 1031 exchange.  There are risks involved and if not done properly, you’ll still have to pay the taxes you’re trying to defer.  This is a great option for many people selling and buying a home, but to find out if it’s right for you, take the time to really learn the ins and outs of 1031 exchanges.

Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Associations

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.

5 Tips to Help You Pick the Best Home Insurance Policy

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.

What is a Co-op Property?

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.

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