JD Power Rates Local Builders

Many builders in the area use the rankings of JD Power to rate their quality.  I thought you may find it interesting to know what local builders rank the highest.  This list covers all of the DC area. 

 Click HERE for the ratings.


Builder Financing: To Use Or Not To Use

Every builder is offering them.  It is either the cherry on the cake or the deal that draws you in. 


The major incentive that most builders are currently offering is to cover your closing costs.  This sounds great since you otherwise have to pay it out of your own pocket.  It is never included in the ASKING PRICE.   Oh really?  Yep, it sucks but thats the way it is. 

 So, the builder says, “Don’t worry about them, we will cover them.”  Everyone is happy until you realize that you have to use their lender and their title company to get the incentives.  But you already have your own lender.  You even came in with your own lender lender (well, if you knew it would help you would- maybe next time).

The Problem

1.  Their lender is going to most likely charge you a discount point costing you to loose a lot of the money they just gave you.  So, instead of $10,000 for incentives, its more like $5000.  Will they change their mind?  Maybe, maybe not because they are still giving you money you wouldn’t get if you use someone else.

2.  Their rate stinks… Not always the case but for some reason the rate you get after the discounted point is still more than the rate your lender offered you when didn’t pay a point.  Strike two.

3.  Some times there are addition incentives like a finished basement or extra money to buy upgrades that are also tied to the lending and using a certain title company. 

This makes it a really tough choice.  Most people usually end up gritting their teeth and going forward because they can’t stand feeling like they are loosing otherwise.

babyeyes.jpgNow… before I paint too ugly of a picture about builders (I love builders) and their lenders know that they are not all sticklers.  Some builders have stopped requiring you to use their lenders and will still offer the incentives.  How nice. 

Here are a few tips when writing a new construction contract:

1.  Use a Realtor (I know a good one). 

For those of you do-it-alone-rs it is VERY ODD that you are scared to use a Realtor when BUYING a home.  There are no fee’s for you (unless your Realtor charges them on top of what they get paid?).  The builder will pay them and it won’t cost you any money.  And NO… you won’t get a discount for not using a Realtor because they love all the business that us Realtor’s bring them and don’t want to kill the relationship.  You might realize that they can  SAVE you a lot of MONEY.

2.  Go in with a LENDER APPROVAL LETTER (this is different from a pre-approval letter).

When negotiating a deal the question in the back of the Sales Reps mind is, “I wonder if these guys even have the money or credit to buy this.”  This will show them that you are serious and will demand their full attention. 

3.  Make Your Deal Contingent

**  In other words, tell them… Hey, I want your house and as you can see I am qualified to buy it.  However, for this deal to work I am going to use MY current lender and I still want all of the incentives you are offering.  **

This does not always work but you stand a good chance with a lender letter in your hand.  The sales rep most likely can’t make the decision so they will present it to their boss and get you an answer.

 4.  Pray

It always helps.

If you are interested with finding out about more new construction deals in the area contact me.  I have the scoup on Ashburn New Construction that will help you. 

Lowest HOA Fee’s In Ashburn…

houses.jpgHOA Fees….. Good or Bad???

For those of you who somehow do not know what an HOA fee is, it stands for Homeowners Owners Association fees.  Many communities now (or should I say, almost EVERY) community in Ashburn has them.  The fees go to pay fees associated with living in the community. 

Depending on the community and what is offered, the fees will vary.  For example if a community provides a pool, gym, internet, cable, trash, snow removal, common grounds, a tot lot, etc.. the fees will most likely be high.  A few communities that have higher fees but many benefits would be Belmont Land Bay/ Country Club (inside the gate), Broadlands South, and Lansdowne on the Potomac (Leesburg). 

Depending on ones personal usage of such benefits such as the gym, pool, etc… one could argue that they do not want to pay for such facilities because they do not use them.  For those who do use the facilities the fees are many time justified. 

couch.jpgSo obviously it depends. It’s a broad stroke to call them bad since they ALSO provide a level of INSURANCE against odd neighbors.  I have a listing in another local city who does not have an HOA.  Since my client is obviously wanting to sell their home it is never beneficial to have neighbors with COUCHES on their porch along with a dingy old CHAIR (a bad idea for selling your home- a free tip).  The problem is that my client can do nothing about it because he has no one to report it to.  So much for no HOA fee.

Here is a list of neighborhoods with single family detached homes with HOA fee’s under $100.  (This list is not exhaustive.  The fee’s could be different per home and I am not listing all of the benefits.  Forgive me for any mistakes.  Their are a lot of neighborhoods in Ashburn). 

From Least to Greatest:

1.  Ashburn Mews  $30 Quarterly

2.  Belmont Ridge  $36 Quarterly

3.  Belle Terra  $68 Quarterly

4.  Alexandras Grove  $50

5.  Amberleigh Estates  $50

6.  Ashbrook Village $70  (Excersise Room, Basketball Courts, Pool)

7.  Belmont Green $79.75 (Pool)

8.  Ashburn Square $85 (Pool, Basketball Courts, Tennis Courts, Workout Facility)

100% Financing Going Away?

With the continuation of lending restrictions being tightened FANNIE MAE  (Federal National Mortgage Association- the guys that buy a lot of the mortgages and set most of the lending guidelines) has once again made it a little more difficult for some to grasp the goal of home ownership this time around. 


Their goal is not to be a jerk but to help fix the mess that we are in… I hope.  They are in the process of judging markets accross the United States and deciding if they are considered Declining or NOT.  Just for your information,  Loudoun and Fairfax have been flagged as DECLININGYikes.  Well, lets be honest, we all knew this. 

Fannie Mae does not buy loans over the conforming limit being $417,000.  This does not mean that they will not provide financing for homes in a declining market.  It only means that they will not provide ONE HUNDRED PERCENT for homes in a declining market.  Most lenders will now require 5% down. 

*GOOD NEWS*  There are still some 100% programs out there.  Some lenders will finance them, some will not.  And I am not talking about Shady Loans, though some may be.  I can refer you to some great lenders in the area who shouldn’t go belly up tomorrow.

Some buyers may also want to consider FHA loans which have tight restrictions but will allow 3% down and will work with rough credit. 

For more information about this issue which we have yet to see play out check out this Fannie Mae site HERE.

Lets pray that this will help in the long run, but I fear that the issue isn’t as much current buyers put previous buyers with bad loans. 

SORRY–  Forgive mis-spellings or typos.  Let me know if you find any.


Book Sale! Ashburn Library

book-sale.jpgOn Friday and Saturday January 25 and 26th, 2007 from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday the 27th from 10am to 1pm Ashburn Library Advisory Board will hosting thier hosting a book, video, and music sale at the Ashburn Library.  

 book-sale.jpgbook-sale.jpgThe Ashburn Library is located off of Hay Rd. in Ashburn.  Items will be priced a low 50 cents to $2.00 acording to the Loudoun Independent.  Donations will be accepted from the 12th through the 23rd during normal business hours. 

Considering RENT TO OWN (LEASE OPTION) ?!%??

Homes sometimes will rent before they will sell.  For those who are willing to take the RISK of renting out their home, this can be a good option.  For many who now need to get out of their home quickly there is another option.  LEASE TO BUY or sometimes called RENT TO OWN. 

 This option allows an interested party the option of renting your home while they are able to get their financing in order.  The interested party may need time to clean up their credit or gather enough money to afford a down payment.  BEFORE you anoint this new found idea as the light at the end of the tunnel it is a vital that you consider both sides of the equation. 

 1.  The tenant may decide they do not want to purchase by the end of the lease term.  This could leave you with an extra mortgage payment if you have moved on and a major problem if the value of the home has decreased.  I HAVE SEEN THIS HAPPEN.

 2.  The tenant never fixes the financial issue and cannot even pay the rent.  Before you start believing that this is an easy fix, you should check your states laws on EVICTION.  It could be a lot harder to evict a tenant than you think. 

 3.  If the market has declined…. and the home is not worth what you originally agreed too the bank will not give the tenant a loan worth its current value.  This means that if you had waited and possibly sold it a year ago you would have made more money. 

If you are a buyer…. I would strongly encourage you to make the original contract with the seller/ landlord contingent upon having a future appraisal done.  If it has gone up in value then the price stays the same as originally set.  If you feel it has gone down then the price should reset. 

4.  MANY TIMES…..  I have seen buyers after renting for a while ready to move after finding all the quirks with the home which they will find any where they purchase. 

If at all possible, you stand your best chance of this being successful to have a CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT even if you know the person whom you are working with.  Or should I say, ESPECIALLY if you know the person you are working with.  Your REALTOR should be able to assist you with this. 

Loudoun County Facts


  • The 2nd most affluent county in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • The 8th fastest growing county in the United States with 50.7% growth since 2000. (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • Average residential unit price (2006): $558,800
  • The highest number of advanced degrees and scientist/engineers per capita of any county in the nation.
  • 14.2 million s.f. of existing office and industrial space with an estimated
  • In 2006 Dulles Airport served more than 23 million passengers, with over 5.2 million of those passengers on international flights and ranking as the 14th busiest airport in the U.S. in 2006.
  • Dulles Airport serves 81 U.S. cities and 39 foreign markets.
  • Dulles Airport employs more than 18,800 people, and generates $6.2 billion in business revenues for the regional economy.