Kirin Blog

Welcome to Kirin Blog: Your destination to get the inside scoop of the Greater Washington DC Metro real estate market. Whether you are a buyer, seller or investor, you will find the most up-to-date information on our blog. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

Closing Tips for Buyers

November 27, 2012

Make sure your closing date is included in your offer. Most of the time, closing dates are kept and you can move in or out according to schedule. However, if you’re moving in, make sure to give yourself a few days leeway. You wouldn’t want to wind up in limbo for a few days, without a home to stay in or a home to go to.

Helpful Tips for Home Sellers

November 27, 2012

Keep detailed records of all moving expenses if your move is job related. Many expenses, including house-hunting trips, are tax deductible. If you move 35 miles or more from your home, you can deduct your family’s travel expenses, such as meals and lodging; moving costs of your furniture and household goods; food and hotel bills for up to 30 days if you have to wait to move into your new home; and the costs related to selling your home. There is a ceiling on deduction. Please see IRS’ Publication 521 for detail.

Buying the First Home

November 26, 2012

Homebuying can be stressful especially for first time buyers. The whole process can be made simple when you have a team of experienced professionals on your side.

To get started, you will find a real estate professional who will represent you in the transaction. There is a huge difference between a full-time realtor and part-time agent, and an experienced professional versus a brand new licensee. You need someone who knows the market and has the expertise to handle the negotiation or any road blocks along the way. A good realtor will have a network of reliable vendors to refer you when the need comes — home inspectors, pest control technicians, HVAC service providers, roofers, contractors, etc.

Selecting a mortgage lender is a must before you start house hunting. Don’t select a lender just because he or she offers you the best rate. You want to make sure the closing cost is reasonable and the loan can be closed on time with appraisal and underwriting ordered and completed on a timely manner. If the loan cannot be closed on the settlement date as agreed by both parties, buyers will risk losing the escrow security deposit.

Sign up for our next First Time Homebuyer Seminar by getting on our seminar distribution list.

Selling properties at above $700K

November 26, 2012

Even though the housing market in general is picking up pretty well in the Greater Washington DC market, properties priced above $700K still post a challenge in many neighborhoods. There are a few reasons for this. First, the target market for properties in the upper brackets is much smaller. The household income has to reach a certain level in order to qualify for mortgage. The income range will be between $120K-150K depending on debt-to-income level, amount of downpayment, credit score and loan terms. The down payment requirement is much higher as well in absolute financial terms. For a $700k house, 20% down payment will mean $140,000 plus closing costs. Most people who purchase properties at higher bracket will need to unload their existing home to come up with the downpayment for a new purchase. All these said, if the property is priced right, shows well and is located in a desirable neighborhood, it will receive offers. Sellers just need to be a bit more realistic in terms of the length of time the listing will sit on the market.

What buyers should know before entering the housing market

November 21, 2012

The Greater Washington DC market is heating up.  Many listings in sought after locations have multiple offers.  In one of recent transactions, my buyer had to compete with 26 other contracts.  That is an extreme case.  But many properties are under contract in a matter of weeks if not days.  Location, showing condition and price are three key decisive factors for buyers. To get better prepared, buyer should have a pre-approval letter ready before house hunting. That way, a contract can be submitted right away as soon as a desirable property is identified.

Buyers today compete not only with other regular buyers but also investors. Properties under $400K are in the highest demand because they are more affordable and less risky. Locations that are located closed to metro stations and/or within good school districts are most desirable.

Investing in today’s market

October 18, 2012

More buyers and investors see the value and opportunity of investing in today’s housing market.  With approximately 3.5% interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage and a healthy rental climate, most investors do get positive cash flow after putting a 20-25% down payment.  The challenge right now is getting that property before it get snapped by another investor.  Investors shall get the pre-approval letter ready before house hunting.  They need to make a decision fast and get the contract in on time for consideration.