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Same-sex couples are significantly more likely to face discrimination in the online rental housing market than heterosexual couples, according to a new study of 50 metro markets released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is simply wrong. It is unjust, and we as a country cannot stand for it,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said about the study’s findings.

For the study, HUD testers sent to landlords one e-mail from a heterosexual couple and another e-mail from a gay couple about the availability of a rental unit.

Heterosexual couples were “significantly more likely” to receive an e-mail response than gay male and lesbian inquiries.

“Heterosexual couples were favored over gay male couples in 15.9 percent of tests and over lesbian couples in 15.6 percent of tests,” according to the study.

“Federal housing laws do not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but 20 states and Washington D.C. have taken preventative measures to pass laws that prohibit discrimination again LGBT people,” MSNBC reports.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/18/same-sex-couples-face-housing-discrimination-new-study-shows/

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NOTE: REALTORS, members of National Association of REALTORS, are bound by The REALTOR Code of Ethics, Article 12, against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

SOURCE: MSNBC

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The new landmark transportation law was passed by the Virginia General Assembly to raise new revenue to fund transportation initiatives across the Commonwealth (HB 2313). This law is effective July 1, 2013.

Among the increase in sales, use and fuel taxes is an increase in the grantor’s tax, or that tax imposed on transferors of real estate located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
However, the increased tax is only applicable to certain geographic areas.
Specifically, the tax will be imposed on properties located in:

  • Arlington County VA
  • Fairfax County VA
  • Loudoun County VA
  • Prince William County VA
  • City of Alexandria VA
  • City of Fairfax VA
  • City of Falls Church VA
  • Cities of Manassas VA and Manassas Park VA
  • Town of Dumfries VA
  • Town of Herndon VA
  • Town of Leesburg VA
  • Town of Purcellville VA
  • Town of Vienna VA
  • Additionally, certain counties and cities in the Hampton Roads area will also be subject to the increased tax.

The current tax imposed is .10/$100 of the sales price or fair market value, whichever is higher.

As of July 1, 2013, the tax is increased to .25/$100 (or $2.50/$1,000). This represents a 150% increase in the grantor’s tax.
For example, on a $400,000 sale, the tax is increased from $400 to $1,000.

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The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 has been signed into law. The Act includes a number of changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Loan Guaranty program, including reverting back to the previous method of calculating maximum guaranty. This resulted in some loan limits increasing.

While VA does not have a maximum loan amount, the following county “limits” must be used to calculate VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. These limits apply to all VA loans closed August 6, 2012 through December 31, 2012. (more…)

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Money Magazine published its annual “Best Places to Live” list.

In 2012, Carmel, IN, took first place overall on the 100 top places list, with Reston, VA, topping the list locally at No. 7, followed by Centreville, VA, at No. 17. Four Maryland localities were ranked in the top 25.  Ashburn, VA, ranked No. 30 overall and No. 6 on the “Top-Earning Towns” list.

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Bethesda, MD, took the top prize for MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME with $184,606.  Ashburn, VA, 6th-place median family income averaged $146,093. The only other area in the region on the income list was Arlington, VA, with $132,580. (more…)

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Virginia’s Arlington County Public Schools contains 3 high schools:

  • Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
  • Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, VA
  • Yorktown High School, Arlington, VA
Visit here for College Readiness, Math Proficiency and Reading Proficiency:

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NOTE: All information presented here is believed to be accurate, but is subject to errors and omissions and should not be relied upon without verification.

NOTE: The view of the screen may be different on your computer depending on the BROWSER and FONT TYPE used.

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The 2012 Report is in and dozens of Virginia, Maryland and D.C. schools made U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the highest ranking high schools.

To produce the report,  21,776 public high schools were analyzed in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2009-2010 school year, to analyze. (Nebraska was the only state that did not report enough data and therefore was not evaluated for any part of the rankings.)

The rankings are based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college, as well as other factors.

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In Virginia, top-ranked schools were clustered in Fairfax County, Falls Church and Loudoun County, with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology rated second out of 100 nationally.

The following schools made the top 10 list for Virginia:

  1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
  2. George Mason High School
  3. George C. Marshall High School
  4. McLean High School
  5. James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School
  6. Langley High School
  7. W.T. Woodson High School
  8. James Madison High School
  9. Oakton High School
  10. Stone Bridge High School

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In the Maryland rankings, Montgomery County had seven out of the top 10 schools schools, with Winston Churchill, Walt Whitman and Thomas Wootton ranking in the top three spots. The other schools in the top 10 are in Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties.

The Following schools made the top 10 list for Maryland:

  1. Winston Churchill High School
  2. Walt Whitman High School
  3. Thomas S. Wootton High School
  4. Poolesville High School
  5. Walter Johnson High School
  6. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
  7. Richard Montgomery High School
  8. Severna Park High School
  9. Eastern Technical High School
  10. River Hill High School

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  • In Prince William County, Osbourn Park High made the top 600.
  • In Prince George’s County, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, made the list at No. 23.
  • The top-ranked D.C. Public Schools are Benjamin Banneker High School and Coolidge High School.

The full list of schools is available on U.S. News & World Report’s website.

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SOURCE: U.S. News & World Reports; WTOP

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More Americans are showing a preference for living closer into the city than the outer suburbs, according to newly released U.S. Census data. The annual rate of growth in American cities and surrounding urban areas recently surpassed exurbs for the first time in two decades. (more…)

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Loudoun County in Virginia held to its designation as the county with the highest MEDIAN household income.

http://www.LoudounTimes.com published a great article on that topic:

“The county has held the top spot, intermittently swapping with neighboring Fairfax County, for the past five years. Loudoun’s median household income totals $119,540 followed by Fairfax County with a median income of $103,010; Howard County, Md., at $101,771; Hunterdon County, N.J., ($97,874); and Arlington County, Va., ($94,986).”

To read the article and the comments visit:    http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/economist_loudouns_richest_in_the_nation_designation_an_overstatement454/

NOTE: Loudoun County VA is located in the high cost of living area with high home prices and high taxes, therefore high median household income should NOT necessarily be equated with high median household wealth.

NOTE: Loudoun County MEDIAN household income of $119,540 means that 50% of households earned less than $119,540 in 2011 and 50% of households earned more than $119,540 in 2011 in Loudoun County, VA

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SOURCE: LoudounTimes.com

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Real estate agents are always bombarded by SPAM email, bogus advertisers who promise that only their companies deliver miracle results and are the best deal around, not to mention the ever pushy viagra marketeers, etc  – we are used to it. It is almost an expected part of our business because our e-mail addresses are so very public.

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However, this morning I received an email that established *new bottom* in scamming and brazen, nonchalant white collar crime.

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For clarification, MRIS, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, is the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area MLS, Multiple Listing Service and is used by real estate agents to market and list real estate and homes for sale or rent. The MRIS is available only to member real estate agents and is supported solely by membership fees.

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The email I received this morning was sent from Mris.com  <helpdesk@mris.com> which requested a payment needed to upgrade the email to 2.5GB.  

The link included in the email asked for the email address and — the PASSWORD – to the email account so MRIS could upgrade the account. Agents are allowed to have THREE email accounts, so THREE payments would have to be made to upgrade each account …. and of course three passwords disclosed…..

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Now, real estate agents are some of the MOST SAVVY, SMART, INTELLIGENT, even SHREWD people that walk on this Earth – one has to be *shrewd* in real estate business. This is the ONLY business where being *shrewd* is actually a VIRTUE, a necessary part of daily life.

Please note that being *shrewd* does NOT prevent one from being HONEST, CARING agent with HIGH level of INTEGRITY.

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When I received the email, one look at it told me that it could NOT possibly be a legitimate email sent by MRIS office:

  • our email accounts were upgraded a while ago and are now at a nice size of 2GB
  • I mostly use a KW-email account, so my MRIS accounts have a LOT of memory space left
  • MRIS help desk uses (helpdesk@MRIS.***) …. NOT helpdesk@MRIS.com  – the scam email address did not match address used by helpdesk at MRIS office.

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Needless to say, I reported the scam immediately to the MRIS office.  Do you think it should be *hard* to find the crooks responsible for the fraudulent email???

I do NOT think so.  Perhaps someone from FBI would like to earn some brownie points and take interest in this case. Let me know.

But do NOT tell me it is impossible to find those brazen arrogant criminals – white collar criminals – that plague the internet … and get away with a murder. Literally.

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HERE BELOW IS  THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM helpdesk@MRIS.com

—- Webmail Technical Services—–

Dear Mris.com Email Subscriber,

You have exceeded your email quota limit of 450MB and you are advice to expand your email quota limit within 48 hours. You need to upgrade your email quota limit to 2.5GB. You can use the below weblink to upgrade your email account:

www.nw-binc.com

Thank you for using our web-mail.

Checkout new features and enhancements with our newly improved and secured webmail.

—-Copyright © 1997-2011 Webmail Technical Services!. All rights

reserved—–

******

Anyone at the FBI looking to earn some brownie points?

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Senate Passed Loan Limit Extension Amendment – FHA loan limits back at $729,750 – click the link for more information: https://viviannerutkowski.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/conforming-loan-limits-for-conventional-mortgages-and-fha-loan-limits-at-729750-for-high-cost-of-living-areas-in-northern-virginia-and-arlington-county-va-fairfax-county-va-fauquier-county-va-lou/

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On October 1, 2011, mortgage loan limits for the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) dropped from temporary levels to reduced limits based on permanent criteria established by Congress in 2008.

The base limit for most of US remains at $417,000, but the formula for establishing limits for high cost areas, like Northern Virginia, changed from 125% to 115% of the area MEDIAN HOME PRICE which means a drop in loan limit from $729,750 to $625,500.

It means that $625,500 is the maximum loan amount for one unit residential properties in high cost areas that can be purchased and securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs).

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As with the conventional loans insured by GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), on October 1, 2011, the loan limits for the FHA loans also declined due to changes set in law. FHA loan limits are set slightly differently than those for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By law, the lowest limit for any county in US for one-unit homes is $271,050. The ceiling for FHA loans in high cost areas declined on October 1, 2011 from $729,750 to $625,500 for one unit residential properties.

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The new 2011-2012 GSE Conforming Loan Limits in Washington, D.C. area, Northern Virginia and Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA are as follows:

  • 1 – UNIT         $625,500
  • 2 – UNIT         $800,775
  • 3 – UNIT         $967,950
  • 4 – UNIT      $1,202,925 

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The loan limits for VA Loans, mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, will change on January 1, 2012.  The current VA loan limit in Northern Virginia area is $818,750 thru December 31, 2011http://www.googlerealestate.com/va-loan-limits-2011/

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The new GSE Conforming Loan Limits for all counties in USA and Northern Virginia, Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA: http://www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentTypeID=3&contentID=159279&subContentID=353571&channelID=311

The new FHA Loan Limits for all counties in USA and Northern Virginia, Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA:
http://www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentTypeID=3&contentID=159279&subContentID=353572&channelID=311

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Click here for Mortgage Calculators and Interest Rates TODAY

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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Leesburg Virginia won Money Magazine’s List of the Best Towns to Live for Northern Virginia area and was placed at number 4 on the Money Magazine’s List of the Top 100 Places To Live in United States for the year of 2011.

Money Magazine also placed Herndon VA at number 34, just ahead of Oakton VA at number 36 on the list. Montclair, a Northern Virginia community located in Prince William County VA was at number 35.

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LEESBURG, Virginia

“Leesburg, which snuggles up to the Virginia-Maryland border, offers proximity to plenty of good jobs not just in government but also in defense contracting, consulting, and technology. True, commutes can be abysmal. But residents say that the tradeoff to live in this pretty town, which has seen more history than a Ken Burns film, is worth it. Many antebellum red-brick buildings still stand, now filled with restaurants and art galleries.”

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL5144984.html

More about Leesburg, VA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leesburg,_Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia, is the seat of the Loudoun County, Virginia, government. Loudoun County continues to hold it’s title as the most wealthy county in USA with the median household income at $112,000 in 2010.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highest-income_counties_in_the_United_States

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HERNDON, Virginia

Herndon is located in the northwest corner of the Fairfax County in Virginia. The town provides a great base to explore the many jobs in the area. Herndon is located near the so-called Dulles Technology Corridor, and is home to such world- known companies as AOL, Microsoft, and Verizon. Many Herndon residents also work in Washington D.C. which is located about 22 miles away. The Herndon public schools are known for being talent magnets. Newsweek consistently ranks Herndon High in the top 5 percent of the country.”

The median sale price of a home in Herndon, through July 2011, was $454,500, according to Zillow.com. A total of 138 Herndon homes sold in July, according to the site.

According to the Census Bureau, there are 6,962 Herndon households, out of which 41.7 percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8 percent were married couples living together, 9.4 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6 percent were non-families.

The median income for a household in the town was $92,947, and the median income for a family was $108,446, according to a 2007 estimate.

Herndon is one of the four incorporated towns in Fairfax County, Virginia.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL5136648.html

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OAKTON, Virginia 

Oakton, Virginia is another Fairfax County, Virginia community that made the Money’s 2011 list. Oakton is an un-incorporated town.

Money Magazine wrote: “Hundreds of tall oak trees–from which the town got its name–dot the rolling countryside here,” the Money editors wrote. “But scenic vistas are hardly the only reason to live in Oakton. This affluent unincorporated area is a logical choice for commuters to D.C. and to area jobs hub Tysons Corner: it’s located along both U.S. 66 and Route 123. And the schools here are very good.”

The article notes that the tradeoff comes in the form of home prices. According to Zillow.com, the average sale price of an Oakton home is $675,500, which is up 3.1 percent in the last 12 months.

According to census figures, Oakton is comprised of 11,118 households, out of which 32.7 percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8 percent were married couples living together, 7.9 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.2 percent were non-families. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.08.

According to a 2010 estimate, the median income for an Oakton household was $167,512, and the median income for a family was  $188,308.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL5158472.html

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MONTCLAIR, Virginia

Montclair in Prince William County, Virginia made the Money Magazine’s List  in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Montclair VA was number 35 on the 2011 List, right after Herndon VA at number 34 and before Oakton Va at number 36.

Magazine wrote: “Montclair is located 25 minutes south of the Beltway and 40 minutes from Washington, D.C., this unincorporated area offers residents plenty of commutable jobs plus lots of wide-open space. Homes surround a 108-acre man-made lake, the site of community activities such as Montclair Day in June and Fourth of July fireworks. Nearby Prince William National Forest Park offers various camping and walking trails to explore the outdoors.”

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL5152658.html

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Direct Link to the Money Magazine’s 2011 List of 100 Best Town to live:

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL0846355.html

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SOURCE:  Money Magazine

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

 

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Arlington County Virginia adopted the Budget for the new Fiscal Year 2011 – 2012 which begins July 1, 2011 and ends June 30, 2012.

Compare the tables for real property (real estate) and personal property (vehicles, etc.)  tax rates for Northern Virginia counties.

Arlington County Virginia real estate tax rate and personal property tax rate per $100 of assessed value for the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 are as follows:

ARLINGTON COUNTY, VA REAL PROPERTY PERSONAL PROPERTY
TAX RATE $0.958  $5.00

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http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/ManagementAndFinance/ManagementFinanceMain.aspx

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NOTE: The above information is deemed to be accurate, but is subject to errors and ommissions and should not be relied upon without verification – contact the county directly to confirm.

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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The real property (real estate) tax rates per $100 of assessed value for the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 for Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA are as follows:

ARLINGTON FAIRFAX FAUQUIER LOUDOUN PRINCE WILLIAM
 $0.958  $1.07  $0.97  $1.285  $1.204

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The personal property (vehicles, etc.) tax rates per $100 of assessed value for the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 for Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA are as follows:

ARLINGTON FAIRFAX FAUQUIER LOUDOUN PRINCE WILLIAM
 $5.00  $4.57  $4.65  $4.20  $3.70

SOURCE:  Arlington County VA;      Fairfax County VA ;        Fauquier County VA;     Loudoun County VA;       Prince William County VA

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NOTE: The above information is deemed to be accurate, but is subject to errors and ommissions and should not be relied upon without verification – contact the counties directly to confirm.

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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October 1, 2011 the government plans to scale back the size of “jumbo” mortgages it guarantees in high-cost real estate markets, which includes Washington, D.C. area and Northern Virginia counties that I serve as a real estate agent: Arlington County VA, Fairfax County VA, Fauquier County VA, Loudoun County VA, and Prince William County VA.

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On October 1, 2011 the maximum loan amount that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee is set to decrease from $729,750 to $625,500. This might make mortgages more expensive or more difficult to get for buyers in high-cost areas, MSNBC.com reports.

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For example, after October 1, 2011 a borrower who seeks a government-backed mortgage for a $1-million property may have to come up with a $370,000 down payment instead of $270,000, Rob Chrisman, a mortgage banking consultant from San Rafael, Calif., told MSNBC.

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Up until 2008, any loan more than $418,000 was considered a jumbo loan, but that later swelled to $625,500 and then was temporarily set at $729,750 (which expires at the end of September 2011).

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Once the current jumbo loan limit expires, lenders who want to make loans OVER $625,500 either will have to hold onto the mortgage themselves or find a private investor to purchase it.

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NOTE: This is only my personal opinion. It will be interesting to watch how decreasing the maximum loan amount will affect home prices in Washington, D.C. area.

It may have two-fold effect:

  1. The prices for expensive homes may DECREASE as there will be FEWER buyers able to afford the bigger down payment requirement and thus the supply of homes will be greater than demand for them.
  2. However, the prices for homes that are now in $550K-$750K price range may INCREASE as there will be greater demand for those homes because buyers who would have purchased homes with the $729,750 loans now will qualify only for $625,500 and many of them cannot afford bigger down payment.

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The Federal Government needs to do whatever it needs to do to protect the TAXPAYERS. In general, the monthly mortgage payment should NOT exceed 31% of the monthly income, and the TOTAL monthly debt payments should NOT exceed 45% of the monthly income. Clearly, the market shift is not over and we need to accept it with a smile – maybe one day it will be a good story to tell the Grandchildren and collectively learn from the experience. Cheers!

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog..

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The New York Times reported in March 2011 that ARM mortgage loans are on the rise.

Shortly after the subprime mortgage crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages were often blamed for leading to soaring rates of loan defaults and home foreclosures — which ultimately caused many borrowers to shun them due to its higher risk than fixed-rate mortgages. Now more borrowers are revisiting ARMs.

ARMs, which have low initial interest rates that change over time, were improved and are not exactly the same as they were before the subprime crisis. Lenders have introduced more conservative ARM products that no longer offer extra-low “teaser” rates that adjust every six months or “pick-a-pay” and “option” features that let borrowers pay less than the monthly interest that will leave them with a bigger bill later on, The New York Times reports.

The ARMs most in demand are “5/1” and “7/1,” which have fixed interest rates for the first five or seven years and then adjust annually at a capped rate.

Bank of America has reported a higher interest in its ARM products, with nearly twice as many ARM transactions last month than last year.  ARMs account for 10 percent of all of its mortgages, the bank reports.

SOURCE:  The New York Times

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NOTE from Vivianne: There is nothing wrong with the adjustable-rate mortgages as loan products as long as the ARM WAS FULLY EXPLAINED BY THE LOAN OFFICER and THE BORROWER UNDERSTANDS THE CONSEQUENCES. ARMs might be good for borrowers who expect their financial situation to improve in a few years. ARMs might be good for Families where Mothers plan to go back to work after raising the children and the Family Income increases.

Of course the million dollar question is: what if that does not happen??? What if the market declines?  It is wise to take the conservative approach, but EVERY borrower’s circumstances are different and in the end it is the Borrower/Purchaser who makes the FINAL decision and the one who bears the consequences.

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NOTE from Vivianne: real estate market is very LOCAL. In Northern Virginia area: Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County the real estate market stabilized and home prices in some neighborhoods/packets improved since 2007. Arlington County VA real estate and home prices experienced the least decline.

But the market is still volatile and it mean that home prices might somewhat fluctuate in the future in Fairfax County VA, Loudoun County VA, Prince William County VA and the metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia area. ARM mortgage loan home purchasers should consider it in their decision.

Northern Virginia home buyers may contact me directly for a NO Obligation Home Buyer Consultation.

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VIVIANNE RUTKOWSKI

REALTOR®, ABR, GRI, SFR, CHRE, CDPE
Licensed in Virginia

KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY
50 Catoctin Circle,  NE,  Suite #101
Leesburg,    VA      20176
Toll-Free: 877.765.3799
Mobile: 540.229.5429
E-Fax: 888.864.3374
E-mail: VivianneRutkowski@gmail.com
WEBSITE: www.RealtorVivianneRutkowski.com
WEBSITE: www.RealEstateWithViv.com
BLOG: http://VivianneRutkowski.WordPress.com
TRULIA:  http://www.trulia.com/profile/VivianneRutkowski/
ZILLOW: http://www.zillow.com/profile/VivianneRutkowski/

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Clear Capital’s Home Data Index report says a few cities are already on the rebound and showing some gains in home values – the Washington, D.C. area home values are expected to increase 6.5%

This is not true for every market as home prices are expected to continue to fall in most metro areas.   

“Overall we’re seeing prices start to stabilize going into 2011, but unfortunately some of those markets will stabilize in the downward direction where others will see a sustained recovery,” Alex Villacorta, senior statistician at Clear Capital, told MSNBC.

Clear Capital takes into account unemployment rates, foreclosure rates, and real estate inventory in its index.

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The following is a list of 10 cities that Clear Capital expects will rise in property value in 2011:

1. Washington, D.C.: 6.5 percent price increase
2. Houston: 3.6 percent price increase
3. Honolulu: 3.4 percent price increase
4. Memphis, Tenn.: 3.2 percent price increase
5. Columbus, Ohio: 2.1 percent price increase
6. Dallas: 1.4 percent price increase
7. New York: 1.3 percent price increase
8. Birmingham, Ala.: 0.9 percent price increase
9. Pittsburgh: 0.8 percent price increase
10. New Orleans: 0.5 percent price increase

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Meanwhile, Clear Capital reports that real estate markets in Florida and the Western parts of the U.S.—such as cities in Arizona and “Breadbasket metros” like Oklahoma City, Okla., and Dayton, Ohio— most likely will see the largest price drops in home values over the year.

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Virginia Beach, Va., is expected to have the highest drop in 2011, with a 12.8 percent price decrease, according to Clear Capital report.

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SOURCE: MSNBC

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Interest Rates for FHA Loans, VA Loans, and 30 Year & 15 Year Conventional Fixed Mortgage Loans in Arlington County Virginia, Fairfax County Virginia, Fauquier County Virginia, Loudoun County Virginia, and Prince William County Virginia

To check the latest interest rates for FHA loans, as well as 30 year & 15 year conventional fixed mortgage loans and VA loans in USA and in Arlington County Virginia, Fairfax County Virginia, Fauquier County Virginia, Loudoun County Virginia, Prince William County Virginia, visit:

http://www.realtorviviannerutkowski.com/mortgagenewspopup.shtml

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The 2010 independent audit of the Federal Housing Administration, a branch of HUD, showed the agency’s financial condition has improved from 2009, when it announced its capital reserve fund had fallen below the 2 percent level mandated by Congress. The annual audit showed that the capital ratio for the single-family portfolio rose from 0.42 percent to 0.79 percent over the year 2009.

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The audit, which calculates the financial condition of the agency’s insurance fund, also showed the mortgage insurance fund grew more than $1 billion in 2010 and reserves are expected to remain above $9.9 billion even if home prices were to fall further. The audit indicated that FHA will most likely NOT require a bailout now or in the future.

“As the leading advocate for home ownership, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® strongly supports FHA’s mortgage insurance programs,” NAR President Ron Phipps said. “FHA announced major changes earlier this year and took critical steps to strengthen and ensure its long-term financial soundness, and those efforts have paid off.”

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FHA’s audit reflected a change in home values, and was not tied to excessive increases in defaults or unsound underwriting practices. In fact, the credit quality of FHA borrowers has increased significantly in the last several years; the average credit score for FHA customers has grown to 693, and less than 8 percent of the agency’s purchase borrowers this year had FICO scores below 620. The capital reserves are not FHA’s only reserve fund; FHA also has a cash reserve account separate from the capital reserve – and actual total reserves have grown to $33 billion.

“The future health of FHA’s reserve funds depends heavily on the direction of home values in the coming years, as the higher the home prices the more the agency collects from the borrowers for insuring the FHA loans. However, home values have shown patterns of stabilization over the past 18 months, and in a recent independent survey, most economists expect modest home price gains over the next 3 years, so FHA’s reserves should steadily improve,” Phipps said.

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FHA has played a key role in providing mortgage liquidity to qualified home buyers in recent years and has greatly increased its market share; according to the agency, FHA guaranteed nearly 40 percent of home purchases in the past year.

National Association of REALTORS® is working closely with FHA to reassess and amend their lending policies so even more qualified home buyers can become home owners.

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To check the latest interest rates for FHA loans, as well as 30 year & 15 year conventional fixed mortgage loans and VA loans in USA and in Arlington County Virginia, Fairfax County Virginia, Fauquier County Virginia, Loudoun County Virginia, Prince William County Virginia, visit:

http://www.realtorviviannerutkowski.com/mortgagenewspopup.shtml

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NOTE: For additional financing and mortgage details always contact your lender.

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SOURCE: National Association of REALTORS®

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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The sluggish economy and the sluggish housing market of the 2007-2010 influenced homeowners’ preferences as to home space, designs, and floor plans.

The most dominant home features that homeowners look for in the homes now are affordability, and function over extravagance, according to the latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey for the second quarter of 2010.

Here are a few highlights from the report, based on nearly 300 residential architects who were surveyed by American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends about the design preferences of U.S. households.

WHAT’S IN                                    

Home offices: More people are working out of their home or telecommuting, prompting more home owners to want a dedicated workspace in their homes.

Outdoor living areas: Home owners want to expand their living space into the outdoors and are seeking to incorporate more outdoor living elements into their lifestyles, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a public statement about the survey.

Mud rooms: The need for additional closets and other storage space, as well as the increasing informality of space in the home, is driving more home owners to want mud rooms, according to the report.

Energy-saving features: Home owners are seeking energy efficient products and systems that will reduce their rising utility costs. Those energy efficient products and materials that have boasted the greatest increase in interest in recent months include items such as double and triple glazed windows, tankless water heaters, and low maintenance materials.

WHAT’S OUT

  • Media rooms/home theaters
  • Exercise/fitness rooms
  • Hobby/game rooms
  • Home workshops
  • Kid’s wings/guest wings
  • Interior kennels
  • Interior greenhouses
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NOTE from Vivianne:  I must say that I do NOT necessarily agree with the result of the survey which indicated that home exercise and fitness rooms are on the way out – to the contrary, I believe that exercise/fitness rooms will gain in popularity simply because they are closely tied to our HEALTH and, therefore, not merely a passing fad.  I would definitely keep the space available for exercise/fitness room.

As for media rooms/home theaters, they are very popular with some home buyers, but like fireplaces, swimming pools, or wet bars, media rooms and home theaters are a matter of personal preference.

SOURCE:  REALTOR® Magazine

 

(more…)

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Fairfax County, Virginia and Loudoun County, Virginia are the counties with the highest MEDIAN income in the USA for the last few consecutive years.

Read more about it on my March 19, 2010 blog: https://viviannerutkowski.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/loudoun-county-virginia-tops-the-list-of-americas-25-richest-counties-in-2008/

However, the Washington, D.C. region remains also one of the most expensive in the country.

The Washington area families now need to bring home six figure salaries to feel secure, a new study shows.

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In order to maintain “basic economic security,” families of four based in Fairfax County, VA — the most expensive in the Washington region — need to earn $108,000 to feel financially secure, according to a detailed cost-of-living analysis by local organization Wider Opportunities for Women.

Meanwhile, the typical single childless worker in Fairfax County earns an income suggesting economic security, the WOW study says.

In other words: it costs money to raise children, which in turn raises a question: are parents paid enough by the society for raising the next generation?   Is having children becoming a privilege, and not the biological right simply because of economics?

I do NOT mean here the irresponsible right to have an UNLIMITED number of children. Only 1-3 children as a replacement of the older generation.

The WOW study found out that Montgomery County families in Maryland who only needed $80,000 two years ago, now need to make $104,000.

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To feel secure, study participants say they need food, a roof over their heads, a doctor, and a small emergency fund.

However, we should mention also a retirement fund for the parents and a college fund for the children, and a downpayment for a house.

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“We’re facing a growing gap between the top and the bottom, with increasing unemployment and job losses and people making less than they did a couple years ago,” Audrey Singer, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, told The Washington Post.

“There’s been a lot of concern about how people can make ends meet in a region such as this one, which has been fairly buffeted during the recession.”

The median household income of Washingtonians is roughly $85,000, according to the Post report, and unemployment rates are well below the national average.

To read the full report visit: http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=2075378#

and   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/10/AR2010101003347.html

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NOTE: Observations in this blog are personal views of the agent.

SOURCE:  WTOP,  The Washington Post

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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Arlington County Virginia adopted the Budget for the new Fiscal Year 2010 – 2011 which begins July 1, 2010 and ends June 30, 2011.

Compare the tables for real property (real estate) and personal property (vehicles, etc.)  tax rates for Northern Virginia counties.

Arlington County Virginia real estate and personal property tax rates per $100 of assessed value are as follows:

ARLINGTON COUNTY REAL PROPERTY PERSONAL PROPERTY
TAX RATE $0.958  $5.00

NOTE: The above information is deemed to be accurate, but is subject to errors and ommissions and should not be relied upon without verification – contact the county directly to confirm.

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NOTE: Advertisement Ads which appear in most posts on this Blog are run by WordPress and do NOT necessarily represent the views of Vivianne Rutkowski or Keller Williams Realty. Visitors to this blog are NOT obligated to click the ads to visit this blog.

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