Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

Many first time homebuyers have in mind that they need at least a 20% down payment and a monthly check for the mortgage. But that’s not the entire story when it comes to buying a home. There are a mountain of “hidden” costs — from closing fees to taxes — that can add up to more than $9,000 each year — and that number will only jump if you live in a major U.S. city. Three unavoidable costs — … [Read more...]

Buyer Beware: Red Flags when Purchasing a Home

Top Things to Watch For When Buying a Home  Virginia is a “Buyer Beware” state when it comes to purchasing a home. While there are lead based paint and the standard seller disclosures included in most active area listings, Sellers don't always disclose the whole truth to potential Buyers, especially if they're motivated to sell. Having a home inspection done is a must when it comes to … [Read more...]

Questions to Ask A Mortgage Lender Before Writing an Offer

Questions to Ask A Mortgage Lender Before Writing an Offer You’ve chosen your dream house, gotten pre-qualified and are about to write your offer - so now what? At Solutions, we recommend finding out as much as possible about your mortgage before you make the next big leap. In fact it is a good idea to talk with a lender, before actually looking at homes, so you know that you can afford that … [Read more...]

Homeownership Based on Age

Does Your Age Make a Difference When It Comes To Owning a Home? When it comes time to make the leap from renting to owning, many people wonder if it makes a difference depending on their age. We all know about the Baby Boomers - those born from 1946-1964 - the Gen X-ers - those born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s - and Generation Y or Millennials - those born in the early 1980s to early … [Read more...]

Questions Buyers should be asking their Agents

What questions should Buyers ask before putting an offer on a home? Here at Solutions, we get asked lots of questions by clients in their search for their dream home. Because of Equal Housing Laws, there are some we’re prevented by law from answering, but there are a number of answers we can find out or sources we can point you towards to look up the info you seek.Below are a few common … [Read more...]

Costs To Add Into Your Budget When Buying a Home

Ever wonder how much a house truly costs? You can crunch the latest mortgage rates, estimate your tax & insurance payments, and take a realistic look at how much house you can afford after getting pre-qualified with a lender, but there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the property costs. And those additional payments, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to derail … [Read more...]

How Are Buyer’s Agents Paid Anyway?

Here at Solutions, we often get asked many questions by prospective Buyers, but one in particular tends to stand out - “How do we, when we work as Buyer’s Agents, get paid?”Our answer is very simple - as Buyer’s Agents, we don’t work for free, but it’s the Seller who pays our fee, not the Buyers themselves.The Seller, who has already entered into a listing agreement, pays both their listing agent … [Read more...]

How to Avoid a Refinance Nightmare

Recent historically low rates created quite a rush on refinancing activity, making brokers and lenders quite happy with the increased business. Refinancing your home can be a great way to lower your monthly payments, but not all refinance deals are good ones.Sometimes a refinance loan might seem like a money-saver at first, but you could end up paying much more. It’s important to carefully examine … [Read more...]

How to Give a Neighborhood a “Test Drive” Before taking the Purchase Plunge

While your Solutions agent is going to provide you with all the available details on the home you are purchasing, there are a few items that cannot be shared as there are Fair Housing laws that any agent must respect. We talked about checking out a neighborhood in a previous blog, but now is the time to dig a little deeper if you want to find out answers to questions your Solutions agent is not … [Read more...]

Tips for a Successful “Walk-Through”

You’ve made it through the home inspection process, have your loan commit letter and approval in hand, placed your calls to the utility companies to transfer the accounts into your name, so, what’s left to do now before you close?One of the most important steps - the “walk-through” - is the next to last thing to check off your “to-do” list before you head into your closing company or attorney’s … [Read more...]

Helping First-time Homebuyers Find What They Can They Afford

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “first-time homebuyer?”  Chances are you think of a couple fresh out of college and starting new jobs. Did you know that a first-time homebuyer means anyone who has not bought a home in three years? Yes, you heard that right. This can apply to anyone, whether they had to go through a short sale or foreclosed on a home. If it has been three years then … [Read more...]

Can I Cancel a Real Estate Contract?

How Easy is it to Cancel a Real Estate Contract? Even though this isn’t an ideal situation, every Purchaser and Seller in the Charlottesville area has to be prepared for a contract being released, or cancelled, at any stage of the process. It’s important for either side to go over the contract with their Solutions agent to understand the details before it’s signed and, in particular, to recognize … [Read more...]

What’s a Kick-out clause anyway?

You may have seen the phrase “kick-out clause” and wondered what it meant. As used in a real estate contract, it allows a Seller to accept a Purchaser’s contingent offer to purchase his/her property, while allowing the Seller to continue to market the property. The length of time can be for 24-, 48- or 72 (or more) hours depending upon what the Seller and Purchaser agree to. If a Seller then … [Read more...]

Is Homeownership for me?

Renting Vs. Owning - How to Choose Homeownership Many potential buyers in our local market have already made their first steps towards homeownership - they’ve saved for a down payment, pored over the local listings for months, attended endless amounts of open houses, but time has passed them by and months, maybe even years, have passed and they’re still in their rental. For many first-time … [Read more...]

The Dos and Don’ts of calling the listing agent

The Dos and Don’ts of calling the listing agent Here at Solutions we get a lot of questions from potential buyers about the proper protocol for seeing a listing - should they go to see it with a buyer’s agent or simply call the listing agent? Buyers might wonder if only the listing agent should show a home. Yes, an agent is obligated to show his or her client's homes, but, if you’re working with … [Read more...]

Always Check out the Neighborhood Before You Decide to Buy

Imagine shopping for your dream home in the Charlottesville area market in the springtime. It’s easy to get in an expectant frame of mind when all of the flowering dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom and it appears that Open House signs are dotting every street on the weekends. You know that inventory is low because Match Day has happened at UVA Hospital, many people are arriving in town now … [Read more...]

The Perks of Being a Cash Buyer

Many Buyers these days want to find out how best to have an edge in the home buying process, especially during the hot spring market. Research by the National Association of Realtors on cash sales shows that about 30% of residential sales, in fact, are cash transactions, and, especially among investors and international buyers, more than 70% of properties are bought outright. If you can … [Read more...]

How to Juggle Selling Your Home & Buying Another in the Same Time Frame

This situation happens more often than anyone realizes - and, especially, if you are selling a house in one city and buying in another, it can get even trickier trying to make sure everyone who needs the proper paperwork and funds does, in fact, receive everything in a timely fashion. Although lenders are hard at work and deals are closing rapidly, there’s no guarantee that your new home will … [Read more...]

Things to Avoid Before You Close on Your New Home

Now that the contract has been ratified, the home inspection period has passed and everything agreed to, buyers may think that everything is smooth sailing until they close on their new home. Right? Not quite. There are a number of other things buyers must NOT do before the final settlement date. If they’ve been approved for a mortgage, they might be assuming that all they need to worry about … [Read more...]

Match Day 2014 UVA, Charlottesville Virginia

Match Day 2014 at UVA What is Match Day 2014? This is the day when over a hundred medical students at the University of Virginia will find if they are accepted! It is truly a fantastic day for these hard working students who have spent 8 years getting to this moment. Several months ago students picked their top choices of hospitals and many picked the University of Virginia Medical Center. … [Read more...]

What is an “Escalation Clause” and when would a Buyer want to use it?

As the Charlottesville Spring 2014 market starts to get busy, Buyers who have been waiting for more houses to come on the market are poised and ready to “jump on” a newly listed house that looks just right. Here at Solutions, we recommend that our Buyers get pre-qualified with a local Charlottesville lender so they can be ready to move quickly as soon as that “just right” house hits the … [Read more...]

Searching vs Finding a Charlottesville Home

When a client is searching for a home, they will often start with a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. The next step is to put in some key word, like Charlottesville Homes or Charlottesville Real Estate. Searching for a Charlottesville Home From the results they will try a few sample web-pages and often may even use a national site. Then they start viewing homes and even saving … [Read more...]

How much will my Charlottesville Home really cost?

This is a great question and the typical answer from a Charlottesville Real Estate Agent is to refer you to a lender. While speaking with a lender will certainly get you a more precise answer, and I do recommend getting a pre-qualification letter from a qualified lender, it would be difficult to get a lender to redo the calculations on every home you are considering. For this reason, … [Read more...]

Charlottesville Real Estate can be a little Fishy

Several months ago I started the house hunt with a young couple and their two children. They were familiar with Charlottesville but also had some specific requirements. They wanted excellent schools, a neighborhood and privacy (all within budget). Sometimes a neighborhood and privacy are a dichotomy. Well the hunt was on and we soon found the perfect home, in the school district my clients … [Read more...]

Warren Buffett: Is it time to buy Real Estate?

We all know who Warren Buffett is and when he speaks people listen. Well last week Warren Buffett was interviewed on CNBC and was talking about Real Estate. Specifically is it a good time to buy real estate in the United States... Is buying your own home better than investing in stocks right now? “If I knew where I was going to want to live the next five or 10 years I would buy a home and … [Read more...]

Understanding Charlottesville Real Estate

It is funny to me that so many people are discussing Charlottesville Real Estate like it is something special. I think all areas are special or at least unique. The truth is that to fully understand Charlottesville Real Estate, you must have something to compare it to. Since I am from California, I often compare it to that area of the country. But I am thinking on a larger scale after my recent … [Read more...]

Baby Boomers Turning 65 look at Charlottesville

Below is information I recently came across regarding the growth of Baby Boomers. My thought is that there will be (already is) a trend for boomers to move to the Charlottesville area. Stay tuned... Boomers Turning 65 Baby Boomers, the group born between 1946 and 1964, begin turning 65 this year. AARP New Mexico, using data from the Census Bureau, says the number of people 65 and older … [Read more...]

Discussing First Time Buyers with Charles

There is nothing more intimidating that being a first time home buyer. Sure there is a lot of information available but a FTHB needs much more complete information and explanation regarding the process and what steps to take.   We love working with FTHB's. We understand that you do not go thru the process of buying a home everyday, but remember we do! More on Charlottesville … [Read more...]

Discussing Real Estate & Homes on Saturday

Charlottesville Clients Today I am off to show homes in Charlottesville. These clients are looking for a 3rd home to purchase with me. It is great to have clients who are so loyal to my business. I am running out the door, so this is a very short post. Have a wonderful Saturday! … [Read more...]

Charles Showing Charlottesville Real Estate

Showings I had a client snap this photo of me showing homes from last Winter (yes winter, I can tell because I had 2 shirts on).Well, I had to chuckle when he said this is you showing Homes to us. So what the heck am I pointing out in this photo? Is it the open space or a place to jump off to the first floor? I think we were just having a little fun seeing Charlottesville Real Estate, … [Read more...]

What my clients are demanding..

Since many of my Charlottesville VA Real Estate clients are tech savvy their have unique demands!!! My clients demand: 1. Access to MLS data! - Search for homes 2. Google map data link on the area, (near a busy road, railroad?) showing school locations, shopping etc… Example (I am expanding this) 3. Tax data. Not just the tax rate but also the history of assessed values, with owner … [Read more...]

One thing I do not miss about California…

California fire threatens 10,000 A wildfire in the mountains above Los Angeles is threatening some 10,000 homes, California officials have said. Firefighters are using planes to drop fire retardant on areas at risk Full Story: Click Here … [Read more...]

Four Seasons Charlottesville Virginia

If you are looking for that low maintenance home (Baby Boomers 55+) then Four Seasons of Charlottesville may be a place to consider. This private community with gatehouse has professionally designed landscaping with a tree lined entry and street. The club house above is just amazing. There is everything you would want, from a gym to an indoor swimming pool and spa! Imagine strolling … [Read more...]

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Charles McDonaldBy Charles McDonald - Charles, and his firm, Charlottesville Solutions, are known locally and around the world for helping people relocate to the Charlottesville area. His background (running his own engineering firm for 20+ years in the Silicon Valley) has given him the skills to not only develop this site but also to manage a stellar group of agents!
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Charles McDonald, REALTOR® and Principal Broker, is Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia. 434-515-1585
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