Tag Archives: VA

Home Buying IS Within Reach!

So many people, especially the young, are discouraged about their ability to buy a home, especially with the newest generation of homebuyers having born witness to the “housing bubble.” But let’s face it, that was almost a decade ago and the real-estate market has made a strong comeback with fair pricing and an honest loan system accessible to those who never thought it possible in their lifetime. Lucky for us, we have the details on how you can reach buying a home especially if your profession is in law enforcement, education, firefighting, and healthcare thanks to the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

The VHDA offers free grant money for down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified homebuyers to help overcome common barriers in the housing market. Income levels have to meet specific requirements and the home has to be a primary residence. There are also programs for non first-time buyers so read on! Credit scores, income level and location are the factors that drive the type of VHDA financing you can qualify for. Not one program fits all and there many VHDA grant and loan programs to consider.

Some people are deterred by interest rates, others by the ever-increasing qualifications for acquiring a home loan. Then there’s that huge down payment that far exceeds the money many of us have available to use. And last but not least, the word “mortgage” in and of itself can be mighty intimidating. But have no fear! You can find the solutions here:

Homebuyers Classes and Education

Young couples and other first time homebuyers can benefit from free classes offered by the VHDA to help de-mystify the home buying process. If you don’t have the time for a class you can also request a packet of information to review at your leisure. But more importantly, and what I always recommend is a face-to-face meeting with a qualified VHDA loan officer. Empower yourself by learning the most recent qualifying information, which can change yearly, and to better understand the process and timeframes to finance and complete a purchase.  Knowing your lead times is critical to not only you but to your realtor and closing team to best plan your home search. Understanding the ins and outs of the home buying process can help lift the intimidating feeling many have when considering a home purchase.

Low and Zero Dollar Down Payments

For many homebuyers, coming up with that huge down payment is the main hurdle. However, the VHDA offers loans with low down payments — some as low as zero! This is easy to qualify for, especially for veterans and rural housing options. Rural housing options are not as daunting as they sound. You don’t have to buy a 50-acre spread. Most rural options allow for areas just outside of city limits and Prince William, Loudoun, and Fauquier Counties are just of few of the nearby counties that qualify.

30-Year Fixed Interest Rates

Home Buying IS Within Reach! What?! Thirty years without fluctuations in interest may seem like a pipe dream for some homebuyers. However, it’s as real as it gets with the VHDA. First time homebuyers and young couples can feel secure with the  “low 30-year fixed interest rate” as the primary feature on all VHDA home loans.

Fixed Monthly Payments

Just the sound of the words “mortgage payments” makes some people cringe. Yet, the VHDA offers a low fixed monthly payment to qualifying loans. VHDA fixed payments can make home owning less stressful.

I encourage you to take a look for yourself, and see just how easy it is to access these great benefits and buy a home of your own. For more information regarding the loan features and benefits mentioned here, visit the VHDA Home Loan page, or contact Belinda Jacobson-Loehle at Jacobson Realty and Home Staging today.


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New Licensing for Virginia Home Inspectors and What That Means to Buyers

New Licensing for Virginia Home Inspectors and What That Means to Buyers

Laws are changing all the time behind the scenes in the real estate world. While they affect home buyers and sellers, they’re not always kept in the loop about changes. That’s why we are going to explain the new licensing for Virginia home inspectors and what that could mean to you as a home buyer. Trust us, this new legislation is a good thing for you as a home buyer. It will help you be assured that you’re getting the highest quality home inspection when you purchase a home, no matter whom you choose to inspect it.

Currently, the state of Virginia has voluntary certification for home inspectors, which means that you may get different levels of education and expertise from different home inspectors. All of that is going to change effective July 1, 2017. Now the state requires licenses for all home inspectors. There will be specific education requirements, which are still pending at the state level. Everyone who is voluntarily certified prior to the mandatory certification will be automatically licensed by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

What does this mean for you as a buyer? This is really beneficial to home buyers. Regulating the home inspector industry will help give more consistent results from inspector to inspector. Everyone will be required to take the same 16 credits of education biannually so everyone will be 100% up-to-speed on the latest and greatest developments in the home inspection world. With the changing landscape of technological improvements in home systems like HVAC, home security, appliances and more, that continuing education is going to be increasingly important as home inspectors learn how to assess new developments in technology.

This also means your home inspector will have to carry $250,000 in general liability insurance. More insurance offers more peace of mind for you as the home buyer. All home inspectors will be required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and pass the National Home Inspector Examination, ensuring a standard of knowledge across the board for all home inspectors. This means you will get a more consistent product when you purchase a home inspection as a buyer. A home inspector will have to complete a minimum number of home inspections under supervision from a certified home inspector, which means they will have the benefit of hands-on learning from another certified professional.

Working with licensed professionals helps protect customers and the industry alike. This standardization of home inspection will ensure more buyers get a standard of safety in their home inspections. Have peace of mind that each and every home inspector has to have the same amount of education and receives the same knowledge each year. This will keep the industry thriving with licensed, insured professionals who are truly dedicated to maintaining a high standard of home inspections for customers.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the new year, let us help. Contact Belinda Jacobson-Loehle at Jacobson Realty and Home Staging today.

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Using QR Codes to Buy and Sell Real Estate

Using QR Codes to Buy and Sell Real Estate

A QR Code or “quick response” code will help you buy and sell real estate by saving you time if your are a buyer and by providing convenience to your marketing effort if you are a seller! It’s a win-win for every buyer and seller and QR codes will soon be the norm for real estate marketing.

QR code

You will see QR codes on many yard signs and in various marketing materials. Although it’s a funny looking square code it is similar to a bar code in that it provides detailed information in a small concise format, but it is much more powerful. A buyer will scan the code from the yard sign with their mobile device and it will “quickly” direct them to the property details such as price, photo’s and material facts about the property. No more phone calls to an agent, and no waiting to find out if the property is in your price range. For the seller, you are providing convenience to the buyer and accurate information in a timely manner.  No more worries about whether there are enough flyers in the brochure box to last through the weekend.

To get started you need to download the “free” scanning software/app for your mobile device, which includes smart phones, ipads, or something similar.  Just search for a QR scanner on the mobile device and download the best one for your product. Once downloaded, press the scanner button, aim the device at the QR code you want to read and it will quickly provide you the details. It’s fun, it’s easy and it’s an effect  real estate tool for buyers and sellers to use. To understand what I am saying try scanning the QR code above. If you need any help contact me at 703-338-9678 or via email, Belinda@JacobsonRealty1.com.

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