To help! I bought a house during the pandemic and winter is coming!


One of the effects of COVID-19 has been to delay us in the normal seasonal nature of real estate sales. Finally, however, we are starting to see his return.

Traditionally across the country, spring begins in late March or April and is the most popular time of year for buying and selling homes. In the DMV, however, spring arrives early – as early as February – and the market starts to warm up as the little snow we receive dissipates.

Summer has generally seen interest wane, as house hunting takes a back seat to vacations, summer camps, and attending barbecues, family reunions and more. outdoor activities and celebrations.

Fall has normally been the second major season for home buying and selling, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. Subsequently, during the winter market, people start planning their vacations, and although homes sell well when adorned with holiday decorations, the fall market may be better suited to allow for regulations. before the end of the fiscal year.

Although home inventories have remained low, we have found that homes in some areas take a little longer to sell in July and August. Plus, instead of 20 contestants for a single house in a popular neighborhood, there might only be five to 10.

Yet over the past two weeks, I’ve seen activity on my client portals, where buyers receive information about new homes on the market, grow exponentially from two or three a week to the same amount in one. daytime.

As businesses and government agencies continue to promote remote working, more and more people are realizing that they need to redevelop their existing homes to accommodate offices or purchase new homes with an extra room or two in it. effect. They don’t want mini mansions or even a 10/10 on Room Rater or Zoom, just a quiet, sculpted space with a door to keep out noise from the house.

Interest rates remain low and loan guidelines are not as strict as they were after 2005, with new loan programs available for a variety of situations. If you already own a home and have significant equity and good credit, refinancing your current mortgage might be just what you need to cut costs, eliminate private mortgage insurance, renovate your current space, buy a home. new home or invest in a second home or rental property.

For example, I bought my current home six years ago with a first mortgage at 4.125% and a second mortgage at 5.75%, two good rates for a 5% purchase at the time. Last spring I bundled them into one 2.875% loan, saving about $ 600 a month to spend on bills, renovations, unscheduled home repairs, retirement, and just a little fun.

Want to pay for your house faster? If you only make one extra principal payment on your loan each year, you can pay off a traditional loan 30 years earlier and save years of interest. Another option is a 15 year mortgage.

As of September 22sd, NerdWallet showed that the national average interest rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.169%, compared to 2.904% for a 30-year note. Your monthly payment will be higher when the loan is shortened to 15 years, but you will save thousands of interest over the life of the loan. Keep in mind that the rates shown may not reflect the impact of your credit, debt and equity on your borrowing capacity.

For those looking for investment property, your income and credit may allow you to refinance and use any excess cash in your capital to begin your career as a homeowner. It can be a great retirement program or a college savings account because a tenant pays your mortgage.

According to Karen Guess of HomeFirst Mortgage, the lending rules now allow a 15% down payment on your own funds (no freebies), instead of the 20% that was previously the norm. A credit score of 620 gets you started and 75% of the average rental income reported in the area can be credited as an asset based on a property appraisal. The current interest rate is only 3.5%, but rates can fluctuate daily, so always check with your lender to make sure you have the most recent information.

Whatever your needs, financing is not what it was in the early 2000s, when lenders wrote pre-approval letters on cocktail napkins and everyone was eligible for a mortgage without documentation. , “Fake news”. Contact your loan officer to get a mortgage you can afford with guidelines that make sense.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed associate broker in DC, Maryland & Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text him at 202-246-8602, email him via, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.


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