Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 51-59 of 59

4 Myths And 33 Facts About Real Estate Today


Mainstream Media Myth: Everybody is losing their house.

1. The US average foreclosure rate is 2.47%.
2. All of our markets (VA, MD, DC) have a foreclosure rate of less than two percent.
3. Foreclosure rates are moderate. Virginia ranks about 24th in foreclosure rates nationwide.
4. Only 7% of home loans in Virginia are sub-prime. Over half of Virginia foreclosures are on sub-prime loans.

Mainstream Media Myth: Everybody has a house to sell.

5. New home inventory topped out during the second quarter of 2006 and is thirty percent less today than it was then.
6. The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in June, rose 7.4 percent in August to 93.4 from an upwardly revised index of 87.0 in July. The August reading was 8.8 percent higher than a year earlier, and the highest level since 101.4 in June 2007. Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting pending home sales to drop by 1.8 percent.
7. Nationally, home sales were up 3.1 percent in August over July. Single family prices were up 1.1 percent in June from May.
8. Virginia second quarter (08) sales were up 48% over the first quarter (08).
9. Virginia median home prices were up six percent in the second quarter (08).
10. Single family inventory fell in Washington DC about 7.5% from April 08 to August 08.
11. Single family inventory fell in Montgomery County, MD about 7.5% from April 08 to August 08.
12. Sales are up and prices are down in many of our markets:
2nd Qtr 08 vs 2nd Qtr 07
MLS Area Average Price Sales Pending Sales
Dulles -18% + 7% + 37%
NVAR -14% -7% + 10%
Prince William -34% + 72% + 129%
Richmond Metro -2% -23% -26%
Roanoke Valley 0 % -22% N/A
Hampton Roads -2% -21% -15%

Mainstream Media Myth: The sky is falling with no end in sight.

13. The DC metro area added 35,000+ jobs from July 2007 to July 2008. This ranked fourth out of the fifteen largest metro areas. Nine areas had job loss or little noticeable gain.
14. The DC metro area has the lowest unemployment rate out of the fifteen largest metro areas and about two percentage points less than the national average.
15. Virginia is expected to add 19,000 jobs in 2008.
16. The average price of a home in Maryland has grown 9.3% since 1999.
17. People who purchased homes six years ago have, on average, seen the value of their homes rise over 24 percent, despite recent price declines.

Mainstream Media Myth: Now is a terrible time to buy.

18. On Tuesday, September 30, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine called it a good time to buy a home in Virginia.
19. The average price of a home in Maryland has grown 9.3% since 1999.
20. The average renter’s net worth: $4,800. The average homeowner’s net worth: $171,000
21. In a recent survey, 8 out of 10 economists stated they believed housing prices would be higher five years from now.
22. An overwhelming majority of economists surveyed - by a better than 5-to-1 ratio - agreed with the statement, “A person can increase their long-term wealth by purchasing a house rather than renting.”
23. Over the past 30 years, home values have risen more than 6 percent annually.
24. People who purchased homes six years ago have, on average, seen the value of their homes rise over 24 percent, despite recent price declines.
25. On average, the value of a home doubles nearly every ten years.
26. 60 percent of the average homeowner’s wealth comes from their home’s equity.
27. Homeowners benefit from the power of leverage. At an annual appreciation rate of 5 percent, a 10 percent down payment on a home will return 94 percent after three years. After five years, it increases to 225 percent. After ten, 623 percent.


28. Unlike many US businesses, Allegiance is not dependent on lines of credit.
29. Make no mistake: Allegiance is here for the long term.Division President Brian Sivak said it well the other day: “We became RE/MAX Allegiance to weather storms like this. Continue to use the Allegiance umbrella to stay out of the elements and together we will make it to clearer skies!”


30. The median selling price of a single family FSBO in Virginia was $249,500 compared with $313,400 for REALTOR assisted home sales. Is 26% more for a seller’s home worth paying a commission for? I’d like to think so.
31. Virginia’s population is expected to grow by 500,000 by 2010.
32. RE/MAX Associates averaged 39 percent more transactions than our nearest national competitor.
33. Keller Williams Associates averaged $1.1 million in sales in 2007. Long and Foster averaged $2.1 million. Allegiance Associates averaged $3.5 million.

Source: Charlie Bengel, Jr., CEO of RE/MAX Allegiance

Virginia Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

The Commonwealth of Virginia has created an informative website to help homeowners who are facing the possibility of foreclosure and to help them be more proactive in preventing foreclosure.   You can find out more about preventing foreclosure at this website:

From my own past experience with homeowners in this situation is that they are embarrassed and most wait too long to do anything about it. One resource that should be helpful on this website is the list of major mortgage companies and the proper phone numbers to call for assistance.  In many cases, the problem when an owner calls is they never speak to the correct department. 

If you wish to discuss your options or a possible short sale to prevent a foreclosure, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at or at 757-287-3400.  Please note their is no reason to be embarrassed about your situation, it is becoming more common than ever before. 


Fed Commits To Lowering Mortgage Rates

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

The Federal Reserve announced they were establishing a target range for the federal funds rate to 0% to 1/4% and committed to driving down mortgage rates with the following statement that was released:

...over the next few quarters the Federal Reserve will purchase large quantities of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities to provide support to the mortgage and housing markets, and it stands ready to expand its purchases of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities as conditions warrant.

This is significant to home buyers and home owners who wish to refinance in the coming months.  We we likely see mortgage rates to continue to fall as new money is pumped into the system.  The reality is with rates dropping further from today's levels, it will be more cost effective to own than to rent and home buyers will be able take advantage of the mortgage interest tax deduction.  First time home buyers get a triple benefit since they also get to take the $7,500 tax credit when they buy a home. 

What Is That Alphabet Soup After Your Name?

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

Most people are familiar professional designations like CPA and MD after names of Accountants and Doctors, but real estate professionals have many opportunities to earn designations too. Most depend on whether they are in Brokerage Management, Property Management, Appraisals, and Real Estate Sales.

The letters ABR, CRS, GRI after my name are professional desiginations I have earned over the course of my career. 

ABR - Accredited Buyer’s Representative Designation is provides specific training and education for providing buyer-client representation and is the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation.  Buyers should always look to see if their agent has a ABR designation before entering into a buyer broker agreement.  I was one of the first real estate professionals to earn this designation and their are a little more than 50,000 active ABR Designees today.

CRS - Certified Residential Specialist Designation is the highest Designation awarded to sales associates in the residential sales field. The CRS Designation recognizes professional accomplishments in both experience and education.  Since 1977 the Council of Residential Specialists has been conferring the CRS Designation on agents who meet its stringent requirements. Currently, there are more than 39,000 active CRS Designees.  Buyers and Sellers should always ensure their agent has earned this designation. 

GRI - Graduate REALTOR® Institute Designation is the mark of a real estate professional who has made the commitment to provide a high level of professional services by securing a strong educational foundation. REALTORS® with the GRI designation are highly trained in many areas of real estate to better serve and protect their clients.

Professional real estate agents who are willing to dedicate themselves to their profession should be willing to further their education after being licensed.  A Virginia real estate license itself just provides basic knowlege to enter the business.  These Designations take years to earn and are based on experience and education. 

Why hire the least experienced agent with no training when for most peole real estate is the one of the largest investments of their life, when it does not cost anything extra to hire the higest qualifed person you can find.  

Dirt On The Bushes' New Home

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

Who said it is not a good time to buy a home? George and Laura Bush are going to be relocating soon and just purchased a new home in Dallas. 


GW Bush New Home


Read more about the details here ....

Homeowners' Refinancing Jumps by Record Pace


Applications to refinance home-mortgages jumped by a record amount, as borrowers flocked to take advantage of falling mortgage rates -- which were driven down by the government's announcement that it would step in to stabilize the mortgage market.

On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that its index of refinance applications had tripled, the largest increase since the group began tracking this data in 1990.

Applications to purchase homes, which tend to be less sensitive to interest-rate movements, also increased, though by a smaller amount.  The surge in application volume comes as mortgage rates fell by more than 0.50 percentage in the past week.


Source: WSJ Online

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, 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  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.  

Displaying blog entries 51-59 of 59

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

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Chesapeake Real Estate For Sale and Chesapeake Property Manager
Norfolk Real Estate For Sale
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