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Happy Thanksgiving!

by Jorge Gonzalez

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy your day with your family and friends. 

1) Virginia Outperforms the Nation

Sales, foreclosures, mortgage applications and homeownership rates - in every one of these areas the Commonwealth is in better shape than the nation as a whole.

2) The Commonwealth’s Overall Economy is Healthy and Growing

Since January 2008, there have been more than 200 announcements by companies that plan to create more than 15,770 jobs and invest $2.19 million in the Commonwealth in 2009. These are in addition to the almost 19,000 jobs that have already been added in 2008.

3) Foreclosures Are Only a Part of the Picture

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports the  national foreclosure rate is actually just 2.75  percent — and only 1.46 percent in Virginia. Still, when you’re facing foreclosure, it’s cold comfort to know you’re in the minority. The good news is that lenders — from Fannie and Freddie to Citibank — have announced aggressive programs to rework loans and otherwise provide relief to homeowners facing crisis.

4) In Virginia It’s Cheaper to Close

According to BankRate.com, Virginia ranks  16th in the nation when it comes to lowest closing costs — an average of $3,007. (The highest are in New York at more than $4,000, and the lowest in North Carolina at $2,650.)

5) Demand is on the Rise

More savvy buyers are taking advantage of the current market conditions and finding great home values. In the third quarter 2008, mortgage applications climbed 13 out of 24 weeks and statewide the number of homes on the market has continued to decline since  January — a sign that prices may begin to rise.

6) The Future Looks Brighter

Between the nationalization of Fannie Mae and  Freddie Mac and the government’s newly passed rescue plan, the credit market should begin to loosen. That  will mean more buyers able to get mortgages which will begin to push home prices up again.

7) It’s Not Just the Economy

A home’s value is affected by more than the ups and downs of the economy. State and local governments can pass laws, modify zoning, close schools, approve malls, and make dozens of other changes to your neighborhood. Stay current on the legislation that can impact your home’s value: Join the Virginia Homeowners Alliance — it’s free and easy.

Source: Virginia Association of Realtors

House Hunting 2.0

by Jorge Gonzalez

Since I am a card carrying technology geek, I wanted to share with you a pretty simple computer solution to house hunting.  This is even a great way to visit Virginia Beach and other Hampton Roads neighborhoods if you are relocating, but currently live somewhere else on the planet.  The best part is you can do this right from your own computer anytime, day or night and it's FREE!

Try using Microsoft Virtual Earth (using bird's eye view feature) and Google Street View online.  Both websites are pretty simple to use once you get the hang of them.  Just type in the full address (include City & State) of a property you are interested in and will find yourself at the house.  Click on the house a couple of times to zoom in closer.

There are several types of views and ways to point and click to get closer to the house, change directions to view different angles of a home, and travel down the street like you were driving by. You can even fly over the house and the neighborhood as if you were in a helicopter by clicking and holding down the mouse button and dragging the mouse. 

The best part is it is actually fun to do and there are some really awesome close up views of most homes.  The Microsoft site is my favorite of the two because there is much more to see, but the Google site is interesting too. Give them both a shot and let me know if you found this helpful or not. 

Not in the market to buy a home yet?  Then just type in your own address and view your own house and neighborhood.  Most of country has coverage, but the best pictures are in more populated areas.  The Virginia Beach area has excellent quality pictures

$7,500 Tax Credit For First-Time Home Buyers!

by Jorge Gonzalez

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorizes a $7,500 tax credit for qualified first time home buyers purchasing a home between now and July 1, 2009.  If you would like more info about this program, please drop me an e-mail at Jorge@House4U.com.  I have a detailed 4-page handout about the tax credit and I can e-mail it to you in a .PDF file. 

Something to keep in mind, the Government considers a "First-Time Home buyer" as someone who has never owned a home.  However, they also consider you a "First-Time Home Buyer" if you have not owned a home in more than 3 tax years.  The easy way to determine this is if you have not claimed the mortgage deduction on your taxes for the last 3 tax filing years.  Technically, you could do this by filing early in 2009 and you could go back to 2007 and 2008.

 

This federal tax credit applies to all homes in the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area in Virgina.  

Is Your Home Energy Efficient?

by Jorge Gonzalez

Cooler temperatures and higher fuel costs have many Hampton Roads homeowners looking for better heating solutions. Heating and cooling systems are some of the most important investments you'll ever make in your home. These systems can account for 44% of your home's energy use. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the lower your utility bills. Home sellers with modern heating and cooling systems can command top dollar for these features, as buyers will factor the heat source into any offer.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Jorge Gonzalez primarily provides Real Estate and Property Management services for rental properties for the following areas of Hampton Roads:

Virginia Beach Real Estate For Sale and Virginia Beach Property Manager (Largest City In Hampton Roads)
Chesapeake Real Estate For Sale and Chesapeake Property Manager
Norfolk Real Estate For Sale
Suffolk Real Estate For Sale