Buying a home in Winchester, VA

When buying a home in Winchester, VA, there certain things you’ll want to consider.  Some things are obvious, and some are easy to overlook in the excitement of a new home purchase.  For instance, your considerations may be,

1. How much can I spend?  That’s something you will need to know before Buying a Home in Winchester, VAyou ever get in the car to look at a property.  There is no sense in looking at a $500,000 house on a $125,000 budget.  How much can you spend?  You will want to talk to a loan officer before you get to far into your search.  He/she can help you determine how much you can afford to spend on a new home.  Your Cornerstone agent will need to know that information when you meet.

2. What do I really need?  Want?  When buying a home in Winchester, VA, you need to know how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc., will you need?  Then, if you had the option, what do you want that exceeds your needs?  Your Cornerstone Business Group agent can help you discover if the house you need or want is available in your price range.

3. If you have kids, you will want to ask, “What schools will my children attend?”  Go by and take a look.  Are they schools you want your kids to attend?  If they aren’t, that will likely mean more decisions.  If you found the perfect house with a poor school district, you may consider and search out private schools, or you may even consider homeschooling.

4. Do you want neighbors?  When buying a home in Winchester, VA you have a lot of options. Do you want neighbors? If you love the idea of neighborhood get-togethers – you will want to look in town or in the suburbs.  If you really don’t want to see a neighbor every time you walk outside, you will likely need to look at country living.  Both locations have their advantages.

5. Where is the closest shopping?  Do you want to drive 5,10, 20, 30 miles to buy groceries?  Location, location, location.  What’s the best location for you?

6. How close do you need to be to your work?  If your work demands immediate response to a distress call, that may affect your decision.  You can’t afford to be an hour away if that’s the case.

7. Do you have health issues that may be potentially dangerous if you’re not near a hospital?

8. Do you need to be near a major highway? 

9. Would bad weather make it difficult to get to local services, school or work?

Buying a home in Winchester, VA10. Will this be a long term purchase, or are you just looking for a starter home?  If you have a vision of a much bigger home with land or other amenities, but your budget isn’t there yet, you will want to look at homes that are easy to turn around and sell in any economy.  Buy what you can afford that will be easy to sell.

There are a lot more issues that you need to consider when buying a home other than price.  When the time comes to start that process, call the Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we will help you get started. We are your local real estate sales pros.

Buying a home in Winchester, VA.

This post was originally posted at Buying a home in Winchester, VA. 



Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer Distressing

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer Distressing

The good news for the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market just keeps rolling in. It’s safe to say that Winchester distressed properties are no longer distressing most home-owners. What is a distressed property? A distressed property can be a short sale or a foreclosure (or REO, real estate owned).

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingA short sale is a property the lender gives the home-owner permission to sell below the current loan balance. Many homeowners who bought in the pre-recession years, bought their homes at a premium price. For instance, a home that sold for $400,000 in 2006 lost value during the recession, and owners who carried those mortgages found themselves in trouble in 2008 and beyond.

Winchester distressed properties: What are they?

The Winchester real estate market lost an average of 33% in the fall of 2008, and soon after, Winchester distressed properties shot up. That $400,000 home was now worth $280,000 – $300,000. That left the home-owner with a debt of up to $100,000 beyond his home’s value which was no longer backed by his real estate. That scenario is where the often used real estate term, “under-water” originated. In that case, the owner was drowning in his mortgage debt because he owned more than the home was worth.

Distressed properties came in waves. The first wave of distressed properties came by way of foreclosure. Many families who were dependent on two incomes were reduced to one income as the economy and the real estate values contracted. They were followed by investors who over-extended themselves, and finally, those owners who were hanging on by their fingernails lost their battle in 2009 through 2013. That opened the door to a wave of short sales.

All Winchester-Frederick County distressed properties have declined over the past three years, but the most recent news is the best. Of the current pending sales (homes under contract), only 8.7% are distressed properties. This is a place where an interesting phenomena has taken place. Up until this year, foreclosures have always been the primary source of distressed properties, but in June of 2017, short sales are leading that group of Winchester distressed properties at 6.2% of that total. Foreclosures make up the rest at 2.5%. That number is likely to return to higher foreclosures as short sales continue to fall, but both categories are on the decline.

Winchester distressed properties: By the numbers

There are 289 pending sales in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. Of those, there are 15 short sales and 7 foreclosures. If you know how the numbers unfold, you can decide whether this is a time to panic or is it the natural progression of a market on the move.

Of the 15 short sales that are pending, 77% (13) were homes purchased before 2008. Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingBecause of the inflated home values before the recession, those properties would be prime candidates for an under-water mortgage. The highest number of short sales also corresponds to highest home sale prices immediately before the recession (2007). The remaining 13% of Winchester distressed properties (2) were purchased after the recession began.

The reason there so many short sales pending in June 2017 is because of the way short sales progress. Before a home-owner can qualify to do a short sale, she must communicate with her bank that she can no longer afford her home and she needs to do something. The home-owner has a few options. None are very good, but she can allow the home to be foreclosed, or offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure or she can begin a short sale.

Winchester distressed properties: How short sales work

A short sale is only possible if the bank agrees to allow the home-owner to sell the property below the loan balance. When the bank agrees, the home is listed and buyers can make offers. Once a buyer makes an offer, the seller can accept the offer, but that does not mean that the property will ever go to closing. The bank also has to agree to the offer. This is where the third part approval is needed a second time in the sale. It’s also traditional real estate sale practices and timelines disappear.

A bank may take 3 months to 6 months to 18 months to accept the buyer’s offer. Even though the seller has already said, “Yes,” to the buyer’s offer, the bank has to sign off on it. Of the pending short sales, 6 of those properties were listed in 2016. Only 9 were listed this year (2017). Some of those short sales have been under contract for months waiting for “third-party approval.”

The bank will hire local real estate agents to assess the property to make sure the list price is a fair price, and they will compare the buyer offer to that assessment. If there is a large gap, they bank will likely turn it down, and that can come after 90 days, or more, of waiting. A short sale is not a good property for someone who has to move quickly. Once the bank has accepted the buyer’s offer, then the process of a traditional sale begins. Home inspections are scheduled, earnest money deposits are deposited, title searches are conducted and the process begins to move toward closing.

Winchester Distressed Properties Are No Longer DistressingThere are 15 short sales pending in June 2017, but they are more likely a sign that the market is doing a little housekeeping after the recession. If the balance of the homes under short sale contracts had been purchased in 2013 and beyond, I would be concerned. Since they are pre-recession purchases, they’re showing that real estate prices were over-inflated, buyers were over extended and the market was in deep need of a correction.

Another reason not to panic over the June 2017 numbers is that there are 535 active listings on the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. Of that number, only 3.8% are distressed properties. That’s a negligible number compared to where the market has been in the past decade. Only .01% of those distressed properties are short sales. The Winchester distressed properties are no longer distressing home-owners, and that’s good news for everyone in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market.




Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we’ll offer a home warranty to sweeten the deal.

Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we’ll offer a home warranty to sweeten the deal.

Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we'll provide a home warranty to sweeten the deal.we’ll offer a home warranty to sweeten the deal. A home warranty gives the buyer confidence that if anything happens in the first year of ownership, they’re covered. They can extend the warranty after the first year at their expense if they choose.

A home warranty will  provide peace of mind for the new home-owners. Depending on the warranty purchased, a home warranty can cover all major systems, including, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof and appliances. Most home-owners fear a big-ticket item breaking down and wiping out their savings or reserve cash. The home warranty can relieve those fears and assure a buyer that you have their back.

Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we'll provide a home warranty to sweeten the deal.When you sell your home with Cornerstone, we have you covered. Our goal is to make sure your home is listed and sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time. A home warranty will encourage buyers to know they can put away worries about major home repairs. That alone may be the issue that pushes a home-buyer over the decision hurdle.

List and sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and kiss your home goodbye!

Sell your home with Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and we’ll offer a home warranty to sweeten the deal.

*Some restrictions apply.

Listing your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home

Listing Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home

When listing your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, be sure to follow these simple guidelines to get the highest return and the smoothest transaction.

When Listing Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home: Remove yourself emotionally.

I know, it’s your home. You put a lot of love and effort into it and you want others to feel the Listing your Winchester - Frederick County, VA Homesame way. I appreciate that, but the truth is, buyers don’t care. They really don’t. They’re not buying your experience, they’re buying their own experience.

Remember, your house is just a building. When you’re gone, it reverts back to a house. I urge my clients to never fall in love with anything that can’t love them back. Recently, I sold the house I grew up in. There were thousands of memories in that house, but once my parents were no longer there, it was just a box with bedrooms. The real treasure at that place was the people who resided there. Once they were gone, the lure of all of those memories was gone.

Divorce yourself from your memories. It will be tough, but you’ll be able to make more rational decisions on price, condition and timelines. It really will benefit you overall. And, when you’ve settled into your new home, you can start building those memories all over.

When Listing Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home: Make the most valuable preparations to sell, and avoid the most costly and unprofitable ones.

I once had a client who wanted to put a pool in before listing his home. Why? A pool creates a funnel effect on potential buyers. A high number of buyers don’t want a pool, and the small number who would, may not be in the market when you list. No, use your time and money on things that really do profit you in the sale.

  • Paint
  • Update the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Make sure the flooring is in excellent shape.
  • Clean out the closets, basement, storage areas.
  • Make sure the house smells clean – no deodorizers, incense or perfumes.
  • Light it up – make sure the windows let in lots of light and have the lights on for would-be buyers.
  • Make it inviting.

When Listing Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home: Be ready to negotiate.

In today’s Winchester – Frederick County, VA real estate market, sellers are in charge. That’s a good sign, but buyers still remember the discounts of the recession. So, they are coming into your home expecting to get a better deal than list. That’s OK. That’s human nature.

Listing your Winchester - Frederick County, VA HomeDon’t be offended by a lower than list offer. Negotiate. I always ask sellers what their magic number is when I interview for a listing. If the number far exceeds the market, I turn down the listing and move on. There is no sense to plant signs like flowers all over town if there is no way to sell the home.

On the other hand, if the seller is open to reason, data and reality, I’ll gladly take the listing. I’m in the home selling business. My goal is to get my client the best deal possible. That isn’t possible if the client has unrealistic expectations. If a property is on the market for six months to a year, something is wrong. It’s going to fall into one or more categories, such as:

  • Poor condition – Remedy that before listing.
  • It is too cluttered to really see well.
  • It’s in a poor location. Or, the neighbors make it a poor location.
  • It is hard to show. Limited showing times limit the buyer pool.
  • It is on a rough and winding road. I’ve had this struggle multiple times this year alone.
  • It’s over-priced.

That last point is a high hurdle to overcome. A great house that is overpriced struggles to get attention. I’ve seen a few wonderful homes sit for years because a seller had an incredible number in mind that didn’t match local sales. One seller asked me to list her home, and when I asked what her magic number was, she said, “$675,000.” I laughed and then realized she was serious. Needless to say, I didn’t get the listing. She also didn’t get the price.

Sadly, I told her it would likely sell for $275,000, which mortified her. I had sold the house next door the prior year, and I had a good idea of where the market was. After three years of languishing on the market, it sold for, you guessed it, $275,000. The listing number has to be realistic to attract buyers.

There are many more things a seller can do to sell quickly and for top dollar, but this is a great jump off point. When you’re thinking about listing your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros. We’ll do everything possible to get you the best deal.

Listing Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home