Spring is here…. Save for the dusting of snow!

The real estate market in Northern Virginia continues its roll into the Spring selling season. Inventory on resale homes has risen slightly, but so have sales. The slight rise in interest rates have not slowed things down and we don’t expect anything to change. The nice thing if you are looking to buy, you now have more selection – but if the house is in great condition, you will be in a competitive situation. You will definitely want to put your best foot forward in this type of buying scenario.

Here are a few tips to consider when looking to buy a home:

  • If the house is not over priced but is fair, be prepared to offer at least full price with an escalation clause or go in with your highest and best – usually above list price to secure the home.
  • Put down a large Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) – This doesn’t actually cost you anything (It goes towards your cast to close at settlement) and lots of agents and buyers are mistakenly putting small deposits down costing them deals.
  • Have a very short finance contingency time frame and have your lender call the listing agent to discuss your qualifications.
  • Conduct a home inspection (for informational purposes) with the right to void if you discover anything you were not expecting to find or if a repair is costlier than you expected.
  • Determine the seller’s time frame and add that date as your settlement date. If they need a longer time frame to close, consider adding free rent-back period with an early close so they are not worried about a long, drawn out closing.
  • Cover all your own closing costs, or if you need help with them and there is room in the market value, bump up your offer to allow the seller to help.
  • Do not ask for a home warranty paid for by the seller.
  • Write a personal letter to the seller explaining why you want to be the next home owner.

Finally your top notch broker should be writing a compelling letter laying out all the positives of your contract and service providers.  Super important.

And remember context!  The more you want the house the more of these strategies you need to employ.  There is nothing wrong with paying full market price for your dream home (not overpaying!).  So communicate clearly your level of interest to your broker so we can best advise you.

These tips won’t guarantee you will get the house, but they will help.

If you are thinking of buying, please call me to discuss your situation and how we can make these suggestions work for you. If you are selling, I have strategies to discuss with you on pricing, staging, and how to handle multiple contracts when they come in on your house – if you don’t want to wait until next month.

It’s a good life.



Partner Spotlight

MVB Mortgage

The Burruss Team

The Burruss Team at MVB Mortgage is not your average, local mortgage lender. Are you looking to buy a new home before you sell your current home? Call Josh. Have you been self employed just less than 2 years and no one can give you a loan? Call Josh. Here at MVB Mortgage, we are a true portfolio lender. That means we have control to make “common sense” underwriting decisions in a lending world that is turning into online algorithms.

We have the products for everyone from first time buyers to construction and renovation clients.  The highest level of customer service is our hallmark and closing each loan on-time is a standard by which we measure ourselves.  In a highly competitive real estate market, the Burruss Team is there to support your every need.  With a staff of 4 individuals, there is always coverage for you.  With over 15 years of mortgage experience, Josh has had his hands on over $4 billion dollars of closed transactions.  When you are in the market to purchase, refinance or construct, make your first call the Burruss Team at MVB Mortgage.

Contact us at:
[email protected] or 541-266-6502


Local Events

There is always something fun to do in and around Northern Virginia!

Ben Lomond Historical Site – March 3 & 17, 2018
10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 20109
Throughout early Virginia, much of this area was settled by English and Scot-Irish immigrants who continued their traditions here. For St. Patrick’s Day join us as we make traditional Irish cuisine as it would have been made before pasteurization and electricity!  For more information and to register, call: 703-792-8320. 10am—12pm. $30 per family.

Amazing Farm Fun at Ticonderoga’s,-March 10, 2018-April 18, 2018
26469 Ticonderoga Rd., Chantilly, VA 20152
Activities the entire family can enjoy! Weekend Easter Egg Hunts and activities for ages 2 and up. Enjoy giant slide hills, huge jumping pillows, hayrides, animal feeding areas, pedal kart track, swinging bridge and more! Food vendors, snacks and s’mores. For ticketing and information visit: www.ticonderoga.com.  Weekends.  10am—5pm.

Family Movie Night — March 23, 2018
Sherwood Community Center
3740 Old Lee Hwy., Fairfax, VA 22030
Family-friendly movie on a new state-of-the-art big screen! Bring a canned food item for the Food Drive to benefit “Britepaths” a volunteer-based organization to help identify and address the unmet fundamental needs of Fairfax County residents. March 23 movie: Despicable Me 3. Call: 703-385-7858 for more information.  7pm-9pm. FREE.

Avenue Q The Musical!  March 3, 2018-April 1, 2018
Workhouse Arts Center
9601 Ox Rd., Lorton, VA 22079
“Avenue Q The Musical!” Winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book! Avenue Q is a night of gut-busting humor, a laugh out-loud musical with a delightfully catchy score and a story filled with heart. Visit: www.workhouseartscenter.org or call 703-584-2900 to purchase tickets. $20-$35.


Sellers: It’s Risky Pricing High to “See What Happens”

Every seller wants to get the best deal for their house—especially when you consider that as much as $500,000 in profit can be earned tax-free. Who can blame them?  So why not just price your house to the moon? After all, you can just bring it down later, right?

Well, there are a few problems with that. If you price high and then slowly start bringing it down…and down…and down…buyers are going to notice. It makes that home start to seem like it’s in a bargain bin. You want your home to appear like a deal, not cheapened goods. When it sits on the market for an extended time because of overpricing, buyers are going to wonder why. Would you feel urgency as a buyer if you read that a property was listed 180 days ago? Probably not.

Today’s market lends even more context to the need to be smart in pricing.  Because the market is so brisk and good homes sell extremely quickly, if you are on the market for 45-60 days now (let alone 180) your home can become stigmatized.

To set a realistic price, consider these tips:

  1. Get a great broker who understands the market in your community.  This market is hyper local.  Have an honest discussion with your real estate agent. He or she knows the area, and wants to sell your home as quickly as possible for the most competitive price. What does he or she think is reasonable?
  2. Do your due diligence. What have houses like yours sold for when the deal was made in a reasonable time? And what were the original prices of those homes?  How much and to what levels were improvements done?  Turn key or “wow” homes sell at a premium.
  3. Be an assertive seller, but don’t overplay your hand. Remember, the little extra money you hold out for may not be worth the couple extra months of mortgage payments you’re stuck paying in the meantime!  (Not to mention keeping your home in showing condition, uncertainty, etc).  Think in terms of ranges.  Now is certainly the time to push towards the high end of the range, but going outside of it is often counter productive.

Are you thinking about buying or selling this spring? Now is a great time for us to meet to talk about your specific situation. Give me a call, I’d be happy to help!


Why do we Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of  the death in the fifth century, of the patron saint of Ireland. 

The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1000 years.  On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.

Lenten prohibition against the consumption of meat was waived and people would dance, drink and feast — on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage!