“Was Anyone Ever Murdered or Did Anyone Die Here?”
With Halloween coming up and skeletons seemingly around every corner in October, it is a great time to address a rather macabre subject that ocassionally comes up with buyers as they narrow down their home selection. It happened just this afternoon that a buyer asked, “Was anyone ever murdered or did anyone die here?” Her friend, a former client of mine, told her that sellers didn’t have to tell you unless you asked. Let’s unpack fact from hearsay.
Just because you ask a seller this question does not mean they have to answer it. Sellers are required to disclose material defects to the property, but not events that transpired there. The Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act specifically states:
Purchasers should be aware that neither a seller nor a real estate licensee is obligated to disclose facts or occurrences which have no effect on the physical structure of the property, its physical environment, or the improvements located thereon, or the fact that the property was the site of a homicide, felony, or suicide.
The thought that someone may have died in a home they are contemplating purchasing is not the only thing that can cause a buyer anxiety. It was actually a closing just days before Halloween 2019 when sellers and I, as their Listing Agent, were accused of violating the Residential Property Disclosure Act. Buyers were doing their final walk through and noticed the neighboring lot was an old family cemetery. While the idea of living next to a cemetery may freak out some buyers, that’s just as much a non-disclosure for sellers. All a seller is held to is disclosing any material defects of which they are aware within the boundaries of their own property. Deaths, murders and suicides are not among them.
Navigating the Northern Virginia real estate market can be complicated on many levels. I would love to help you if you are looking for a place to call your own. Investing in yourself vs. a landlord is the first step to building wealth. Give me a call and let’s get started find you a house that YOU can haunt for years to come.
Ever wonder how buyers find the agents that represent them? In the case of most buyers I represent, it is a matter of being referred by a former client. However, when buyers are relocating from out of state and have no contacts in the area, how do they find a trustworthy, experienced agent? One way is by attending open houses.
In the case of the buyers pictured above, our paths crossed when I was holding an open at my listing 9477 Cromarty Court. They were investigating the area around Manassas and seeing how far their desired price range could get them. Not very much. In Texas, where they were selling their existing home, they had a much larger home for a similar price as 9477 Cromarty. They were disappointed, but we talked for quite a while about what they wanted. It would not be hard to make them happy, but they were going to have to up their price range. Thankfully, what they were qualified to buy was a heck of a lot more than what they wanted to spend.
Evidently, my experience in the marketplace is easy to spot. Just as easy as my honesty. That’s why they called on me when their home in Texas was scheduled to close and they wanted to get under contract in Virginia. They hand no desire to extend their rental on the increased month to month rate.
We saw only four properties together. However, there were many they saw during open houses. As they tried on various neighborhoods and homes, they did a lot of leg work themselves, registering me as their agent each time. When they happened on a property that hit the mark atyet another open house, I made sure to get out to see it myself the same day. By the following day, we saw it together.
Requirements of a roomy, well equipped kitchen was a must. Mr. Buyer is an avid cook. Generously sized bedrooms was another desire. Private outdoor space was on the wish list as well. The final requirement was being a reasonable distance from work and Dulles Airport. The Warrenton beauty above, just outside the town was a home run. It hit all the requirements and was one of the most solidly constructed homes I have ever toured. Turns out, it was custom built by the owner who is a builder.
They say buyers and sellers should only meet at the closing table. In this case, they met at the home inspection, which was great. Mr. Buyer had many questions about things he’d noticed in the home. Mr. Seller was happy to share all he knew. The relationship of cooperation between the parties could not have been better. The seller took care of issues out of pure pride and courtesy. The buyers were so thrilled to have their first Virginia home be cared for so well.
Are you looking for your next home? The market is tough, but not impossible. Get in touch with me for your own consultation and let’s see if the market can meet your expectations. My many connections from lenders to inspectors can make the process a beeze.
Every buyer has a different journey when it comes to finding the place they will call home. The scarcity of houses on the market is something that makes the house hunt more of a struggle lately. At the closing table today, I remarked to the buyer clients pictured above that they had seen relatively few homes before having success. They said it felt like more.
This family was connected with me in October by their father/father-in-law, a past client who sold with me, moved to Florida and pursued a second career in real estate. Between our first home tour and when they found their home, we saw a total of only eight homes. Those were over the course of six house hunting days. They would see something of interest, we would take a look. Some houses were easy to make an instant no for a decision. Some were homes required more pondering. Of course, in the time it may take to consider it overnight, the thought provoking home would be under contract. In a seller’s market, homes move fast. In the 2021-2022 market, homes seem to be moving in a matter of hours. It can be soul crushing.
One thing that was the most helpful was the local father/father-in-law who is a licensed contractor, coming on home tours with us. Contractor dad stole my heart when he called himself the Dream Crusher. That’s my line! There is never a hard sell in my world. Buyers get reality checks about work needed and cost to do it, commute times and more that often have me dubbing myself the Dream Crusher.
Contractor dad was able to give the important things a look and give his blessing or advice to move on. This made it easy to move forward with the one when we found it with no home inspection, just well and septic inspections.
While it may have felt like a lot of disappointment in offers not made on potential houses that they slept on, this family wrote only one offer and nailed it, just like their family members did with me last year. One offer and done! I am so excited for them, especially their daughter. Word at the settlement table was she woke up at 6:15am today, excited out of her mind because it was “house day.” She now gets a room all to herself. You have to love that happy ending.
If you need help finding a home, reach out and let’s get started.
On January 21st, I listed 14530 Kylewood Drive for $315,000. Before we hit the market we received a very serious offer from a buyer who was desperate to be in the Gainesville area in an affordable home. Having come off of the second half of 2021, where things had not be crazed, but still favoring sellers, I wondered if it may be the best offer the sellers got. Heck, based on a look at the comps when signing the listing in late December, it was likely to be the only offer. My seller wanted to work something out with the buyer, who incidentally had a home sale contingency. However, when that buyer panicked about the amount over list he had written and didn’t sign my seller’s counter that only shortened time frames, I advised my seller to withdraw his counter offer. Thank goodness he heeded my advice.
Turns out that a condo with fees at just under $500/month, got a total of fifteen offers.
Were any of them just at list price? Not a single one. Every offer was above list price. And surprisingly, buyers willing to waive inspections, appraisals or offer a low appraisal guarantee were back in full force. What a difference a week makes.
If you are a buyer in the western suburbs of Northern Virginia, get yourself an agent that is actively engaged in the market. A full-time professional who notices quickly when the pace or conditions shift. Looking over the fifteen offers I saw submitted, I realized how poorly some of these buyers were being represented. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.
In other news my buyer-clients, who wrote their first offer in a similar price point in Warrenton over the weekend, got their offer accepted. You don’t get winning advice from agents who are barely engaged in the market.
If you need a buyer’s agent, give me a call. If you want the best results and expert evaluation of multiple offers, get in touch with me. This is what I do every day. I make it my job to know the market so I can best represent YOU.
There is something special about selling real estate during the holiday season. The sale that closed today is one that gives tremendous satisfaction. It all started with a call from a colleague in Colorado Springs in October whose friend in Gainesville needed help finding a home for her and her family. The colleague gave me her friend’s number and I reached out. While the colleague gave me a very brief overview of what was happening, I really didn’t get the full perspective until talking to her friend.
It was at that moment that I met a family going through a life altering experience. After marrying as former high school sweethearts in 2020, and looking to retirement in the next five years, this was a newlywed couple that would be spending their post childbearing years together. They didn’t expect a late night call to come get their grandkids due to unforeseen circumstances. At that moment, this couple took on their four granddaughters, the oldest nine and the youngest six weeks. In their newlywed bliss, they had purchased a condo that was certainly large enough for a couple, but not optimal for more than that. And since they had recently been named legal guardians of the girls, they needed a home NOW!
Some pieces needed to fall into place to make financing the home possible. Mainly, the sale of a home in Colorado Springs. My colleague had that piece handled and it was due to come on the market in late October/early November. Of course, with the inventory still not meeting demand in the greater Gainesville area, home shopping was not an option until that Colorado home was at least under contract. By the time this couple identified the Warrenton home they thought would be the one, I had brought in a local colleague to help, as I was fairly tied up with my elderly mother overcoming a medical issue. House hunting could not wait until I freed up.
My colleague kept me in the loop the whole time. I was so nervous about their chances of getting the only home they had written an offer on, but had to put my faith in the fact that the Colorado Springs colleague would handle the discussion about the home sale there with the utmost professionalism when called by the Warrenton listing agent. When Mrs. Buyer asked if she should write a personal letter, going into the multiple offer situation, my response was something like, “Coupled with a strong offer, it could only help. You certainly have a compelling story that tugs at the heart strings.” My colleague and I discussed optimal offer terms and put it togther.
Sure enough, it all came together to make our buyers’ offer chosen. The sellers even wrote a letter back thanking them for the letter and expressing their own gratitude to care and raise their grandchildren in the home they had loved so much. It was meant to be.
Today, December 20th, our buyers purchased the home of their redesigned dream. They have a large back yard for the granddaughters to romp in and plenty of bedrooms. There is even a humongous covered porch that is going to become the romper room. Best of all, the granddaughters have not seen it yet. They get to see it on Christmas Eve, when the magic of the season will be at its height. Their grandparents are even putting a gigantic red bow on the entry so the girls know this was all for them.
The only thing better than a repeat client, is a repeat client who has had a real estate license. Someone who has worked in the industry and knows the complications and aggravations that may happen and trusts you to handle their transaction.
Today, I am celebrating the fifth transaction with repeat clients, one of which used to be an agent in my office. It all started in 2010 with the sale of a home they had purchased. Not all sales are happy moments, and getting through that one (a Short Sale,) was trying on all of us. We stuck with the process, sold their home and then got them settled into a rental. In 2014, they called me up again. With the necessary elapsed time since the Short Sale to qualify for a mortgage, we hit the road and found them a great home.
It was a pleasure to hear from them again this year. Time to sell their existing home and find a home where their parents/in-laws could live with them. Life events are frequently the catalysts for moving.
The timing of events was critical. They received multiple offers on their home, but knowing they would become buyers in a very competitive marketplace, they decided to work with an offer that gave them the maximum amount of rent back, which was sixty days. Why? That rent back period was the time when they didn’t have a home sale contingency or a coinciding settlements contingency, because by then their home would have already sold.
The home search involved areas I have become very familiar with , 55+ communities due to their main level bedrooms. We searched Dunbarton and Heritage Hunt but ultimately found their next home in the little known 55+ community of Suffield Meadows. What a fantastic find! It’s a small community tucked off of Route 29 surrounded by what used to be farmland. It is a gorgeous setting.
Are life events making a move necessary for you? Get in touch with me and I will be happy to help you. My primary service areas are Western Prince William County (Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket) and the surrounding areas.