1st Dominion Realty

Buying a Home

What do I do to assist people who want to purchase a home? What kind of services are helpful?

What is a Foreclosure?


When a homeowner stops making payments on their home loan, the lender will make several inquiries to see why and try to remedy the situation. However, if the homeowner is still not making their monthly payments the lender will begin foreclosure proceedings. Shortly thereafter the owners will be instructed by the sheriff’s department to leave the property, and depending on what ‘device’ is utilized to foreclose, the lender either sells it on the open market or auctions it off on the courthouse steps. The lender may still seek recovery of the balance of the loan from the now former owner. The former owner’s credit record will be affected adversely. I have helped many people purchase foreclosed, REO and bank owned properties. Why would a home buyer be interested in a foreclosed property?  Such properties are likely to be priced way below what market value should be — in other words, they can be an incredibly good deal for the home buyer.  Contact me for more information.

Finding A Home To Buy:

Central Virginia is a BIG area of the state. Albemarle, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Nelson, Amherst , Augusta Counties… The City of Charlottesville and the towns of Ruckersville, Scottsville, Crozet, Madison, Palmyra, Lovingston, Nellysford… And lots of place names like Dyke, Nortonsville, Howardsville, Wintergreen, Belmont, Lake Monticello, Blue Ridge Shores… And many developments: Glenmore, Forest Lakes, Trailridge, Poplar Glen, Mill Creek, Lake Reynovia, and on and on.

Even if you lived here for a while you won’t know every location. But you may have a good idea about where you want to be and what you are looking for. An older home, a newer home or a historic home; renovated, a fixer-upper, or new construction; single family with a big yard or a small yard, an attached home or a condo (be careful about the latter); a farm or horse property; amenities & association fees… There’s lots to choose from and to think about.

If you are relocating here and are not real familiar with the area you will want to consider: why are you coming here (work, education, retirement), and how does that affect your decision of what type of property to purchase and its location?

Even if you already live here, let’s get in the car and talk while we’re seeing some properties. I can search for properties (listed by all realty companies & FSBO sites) based on your early assessment of what you want to buy, what you want to spend, and where you want to be. I refer to this as “doing homework”. As you see the different homes and their prices, condition and locations, you will start to refine your ideas about what you want and where you want it and what you can expect to pay for it. You will be developing a sense of the market. I can tell you a lot about the market, and I can show you the MLS sales record and the public tax record which is all very good information, but you setting your eyes on properties and locations is what makes it all real. Let’s get in the car and go see some properties.

And if you are not familiar with central Virginia, let’s cover some territory. Say you are taking a job at the university and you’d prefer no more than a 20 minute commute to work. A 20 minute driving time radius out from your work place at UVA covers a big territory. If you are unsure about where within that territory you want to be, the only way to find out is to get in the car and tour the area. And we’ll stop to see some properties along the way so you get a good idea about locations, property types and prices. Let’s get in the car and see some properties!

Financing Consultation:

Most mortgage loans today are structured around the individual borrower. In other words there isn’t much of a ‘rule of thumb’ any longer. There are many different loan products that can serve a variety of needs. There are also a number of web-based and remote lenders to choose from. The choice is yours to make, but it needs to be an informed choice. Do not be lured by promises of low interest rates and low lender fees. No lender lends money for free. What is given with one hand is usually taken back with the other, and at settlement when your attorney or settlement agent goes over the HUD settlement form with you, indeed there are no application fees or discount points. Instead you will find ‘wire service fees’, ‘money warehousing fees’, ‘document processing fees’, etc, etc, etc. Indeed most loans will come with fees other than just discount points and origination fees. Ask for the “Good Faith Estimate” of the transaction. By law, this has to be close to the reality you see at the closing table. And that LOW interest rate they advertise to get you in their office… You’ll find that rate is offered only to their most qualified borrowers.

Now let me say this, there are many lenders who are honest, straightforward, hard working and well serving. I find that many of my buyer clients who are shopping around for a mortgage product end up choosing a lender not based on the rate or fees (the straight-up lender’s products will all be fairly close) but on the personality of the person they talk to. They like that lender and feel comfortable working with him or her.

And I think it is a good idea to work with a local mortgage loan lender or broker. You can walk into that person’s office and see him or her face to face. The meaning of that will only dawn on you if you deal with a web-based or distant lender. Do be aware that underwriting may take place somewhere else and you may not see or communicate with the loan processors or underwriter, but your local lender will be known to them. Also consider that a local lender wants you and I to refer future business to him or her. That person will want you and I to be happy with the service you get.

Now just a quick word of advice in the event you are planning to purchase a home in the near future: Don’t make any big purchases (i.e., a new car, appliances, trips, etc. – anything that will show up on your credit record).

If you have debt that can be comfortably eliminated, do so. Your credit report may show debt that you have already paid off. You can generally get those items removed from your credit report fairly easily.

100 per cent loans are hard to get now. You will need money for down payment and closing costs. You will also need money for an earnest money deposit, a check that you will write at the time you make an offer on a property. The earnest money is applied towards your closing costs or the sales price of the home – it works for you dollar for dollar, and you will see it reflected on the HUD statement at settlement. You can ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs, but be aware that if the price of the home is reasonable to begin with, the seller will not want to give up very much.

I can give you the names and contact information for a number of mortgage loan brokers I have worked with in the past who are excellent. Just let me know.