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Selling/Buying Real Estate in a Sellers Market

Downsizing? Upsizing? Ready for something different? So you’ve decided it’s time to sell your house. You couldn’t have picked a better time. House prices have recovered from the recession and have in some areas surpassed pre-recession prices. Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Unemployment is down and wages are increasing. Many listings are getting multiple offers and above asking price.
Buyers are falling out of the trees.

What could be wrong with the above scenario. Unless you’re moving to a rental you’re also going to be a buyer. If you already own a house you could be at a disadvantage with buyers who don’t have a house
to sell. However, there are ways to deal with this without making you homeless. If you’re sitting on enough available cash to buy your next house, you don’t have to worry about it.

First step is to contact your neighborhood realtor. This is where I come in. Have an agent like me come over and check out your home and make suggestions to get your house ready to go on the market. Next
ask the agent to do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your house. The CMA reviews the neighborhood for houses on the market, houses under contract and houses that have already sold. Now
the price range for your house can be determined.

In the good old days, when it took months to buy a house, you could write a contract contingent on the sale your house and before you closed on the next one. This is referred to as a Right of First Refusal contract. The seller will continue to market their property. If they get a better offer, you’ll usually have 24 hours to perform or the other buyer gets the house. Since we’re in a sellers market, very few sellers will consider this type of contract. There are plenty of eager and qualified buyers in the market who don’t have a house to sell. However, this may work on a listing that’s been on the market awhile.

You could put your house on the market and sell it. Selling your house is not going to be difficult if it’s reasonably priced right. If you have a non-contingent contract on your house, you could make an offer
on the next house subject to the settlement of your house. Seller will still expect a lender approval letter which is subject to selling your house. This may work. However, any offers that are contingent on
selling your house are not looked on favorably in this market.

Well now what do we do? I can sell my house but I can’t buy another one. There is another option depending on whether you can get approved for another mortgage to purchase your next house. You
still have a mortgage on your home. So now you have two mortgages. This may sound financially irresponsible and reckless. It’s not. However, as long as you can still sleep at night and not have a
nervous breakdown, you can do this. Understand that not everyone can qualify for two mortgages at the same time. Strategizing your options should be discussed with an experienced mortgage
professional at the beginning of the process. I can refer you to some excellent local lenders.

Now your house is ready to go on the market. You should be looking at houses with your agent and going to open houses so you know what the market is like. When you find the next house, you’ll have to pounce on it and make an offer.

The really good listings are selling on the first day. This means you can’t go home and sleep on it since another buyer may grab it. Here’s where being approved for two mortgages comes into play. One of
the first questions the seller’s agent is going to ask your agent is, “Does your buyer have a house to sell?” Your agent will say they have a house but are approved for a mortgage that does not require
them to sell their house first. Your agent will attach a copy of a letter to your contract from your lender confirming this. Since you listened to your agent and made a great offer, the seller accepts your offer
which beat the others.

Now we put your house on the market immediately and sell it. We make the closing date on your house before the closing date on the next house. If we do this, you will only have one mortgage at a
time to deal with. Also, don’t forget to put a rent back clause in your buyer’s contract. A rent back clause means you will still occupy the first house for a set period of time after closing. This is usually less
than a week. This will give you time after both closings to move into the next house.

Congratulations you have managed to sell/buy in a very competitive market.

Jim Donohue has been a Hills and Heights resident for 35 years and has been selling real estate for 23 years. He’s a Realtor with Long & Foster.

Leave the Show to the Pros!

According to Richmond Fire and Emergency Services, fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 fires each year in the United States. Hospital emergency rooms see in excess of 10,000 people for fireworks-related injuries each year. Sparklers, which can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees, account for more than 1/4 of emergency room fireworks injuries. Over 50 percent of fireworks injuries occur with people under the age of 20. As we approach the Fourth of July and other summer celebrations, please remember:

  • Don’t handle fireworks. At all. This includes sparklers.
  • Don’t attempt to alter or modify fireworks.
  • Don’t allow children to pickup spent fireworks.
  • Don’t forget that you can be held legally and financially liable for injuries cause by using fireworks.

It’s a violation of Richmond City code to store, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks except at a permitted event with the display handled by an approved, competent operator. Leave the fireworks to the pros.

Richmond Police Offers Summer Camp for Middle School Students

The Richmond Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General will sponsor the 2018 Virginia Rules Camp August 20-24, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Henderson Middle School, located at 4319 Old Brook Rd, Richmond, VA 23227.

The purpose of Camp is to educate young Virginians about Virginia laws & to help them develop skills needed to make sound decisions, avoid breaking laws & become active citizens in their schools & communities. Campers are paired with Richmond Police Department & Office of Attorney General personnel. There is NO charge to attend Virginia Rules Camp.

-FREE transportation to/from camp
-FREE breakfast, lunch & snack
-MUST be City of Richmond Resident
NOTE: Campers MUST be a MIDDLE School Student (grades 6th through 8th) during the Fall 2018
Activities include, but are not limited to the following:
-Learning about Virginia laws
-Arts & Crafts
Deadline to Register is July 30, 2018

Richmond 300 Parking Study Survey

At recent Richmond 300 Parking Study meetings, DESMAN and VHB (the parking consultants) presented the parking existing conditions, which include an inventory of parking (number of spots) and an occupancy analysis (number of cars in the spots).

For each study area, DESMAN created two products 1) a presentation of existing conditions, and 2) a set of 6 maps showing on-street parking, off-street parking, parking utilization, and land use), and requested comments on the materials presented.

In neighboring Manchester, key takeaways include:

  • demand along Semmes is spilling over onto adjacent blocks during weekdays,
  • some “hotspots” are just successful projects that take an entire block without providing supply onsite,
  • now is the time to start proactively setting policies to support continued development

Residents are encouraged to complete the survey by Sunday, July 8, 2018.

Links to the materials from each meeting and a survey to collect comments on the materials are available at


Come Walking with Us, the WHCA Safety Committee

The Woodland Height Civic Association Safety Committee met on March 28th and identified a number of safety and health concerns that might need to be remedied.  Some of these are: Traffic concerns, road signs, broken sidewalks, clogged storm drains, unsafe street trees, park safety, street-lighting and alley issues.

The Safety Committee is organizing a series of walks to identify problems in our area and report them to the City for repair. The committee has broken the neighborhood into Six Zones to help divide up the work.  The first walk took place on Saturday, May 5, between 10 and 11 AM starting at W. 29th and Bainbridge at Carter Jones Park.   We will document concerns then enter them into RVA311. You can help with walking/documenting or entering.   Subsequent walks will focus on other areas of Woodland Heights and will be announced on Nextdoor and Facebook Woodland Heights pages.

Come out and join us for these walks. You can get some exercise, visit with neighbors and help make Woodland Heights a safer community!

From Riverside News, Spring 2018 Issue