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HomeSmart Realty is an independent real estate brokerage, committed to providing outstanding service and value to buyers and sellers. We are widely recognized as the preeminent real estate company in Washington DC Area, while also beeing known for developing quality working relationships with our clientele; relationships based on respect, integrity, and trust.

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Wether its buying or selling we are here to guide you step by step in those process. In each tab you will find an overview of what will happen during each process. No question will go unanswered when working with us.

Real Estate News
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Cash Buyers No Longer Overcrowding the Housing Market

2015-07-04 10:54:00

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Investing
Alex Kalina/Getty Images


By Bob Sullivan

In many parts of the country, housing prices gave returned to pre-recession levels. That's good news for sellers, bad news for buyers. But buried within the latest housing data is some good news for everyone -- everyone on Main Street, anyway.

All-cash buyers seem to be finally retreating. The percent of homes purchased by all-cash buyers in May was close to its long-term average going back to January 2000 of 24.8 percent, and well below its recent peak of 42.2 percent in February 2011, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac. It's one sign that the housing market is on the road back to a normal, "how do we find a place to live?" market, and away from the "how do I make a quick buck?" market.

What's an all-cash buyer? Someone -- or something -- with a lot of money. All-cash buyers don't need mortgages. They just show up with a check and buy a home. Generally, they are big investors such as hedge funds and foreign entities, buyers with no intention of living in the homes. They skew the market by soaking up inventory that could be purchased by a young family looking for a first-time home purchase. They also make such buyers look bad. If you were a seller and had two offers -- one all-cash, and one that still required financing to be arranged -- which would you choose?

"As housing transitions from an investor-driven, cash-is-king market to one more dependent on traditional buyers, sales volume has been increasing over the last few months and is on track in 2015 to hit the highest level we've seen since 2006," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.

The out-of-whack housing market has been suffering from a record level of all-cash buyers for the past several years -- well above historical norms, according to mortgage expert Logan Mohtashami. He says the retreat of cash buyers is a positive development.

"This is a positive as total sales are rising with less cash buyers as a part of the market place.... Less cash means more traditional buyers in the system, which means the supply and demand balance is more correlated to Main Street economics," Mohtashami said. "[This year] is trending between 24-27 percent, which is still very high, but this is the first time it's under 30 percent in every report."

Of course, the shrinking number of cash buyers doesn't mean prices are going down. In Manhattan, for example, the average sales price for an apartment just hit a record high -- $1.87 million. And it's not just New York. Home prices in Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco are positively bubble-icious, rising about 10 percent last year, soaring past pre-recession levels.

But with more first-time homebuyers and less inventory, at least the dynamics of home buying might change a bit.

"The competition in the marketplace is ... different," said Craig King, chief operating officer at Chase International brokerage, covering the Nevada markets of Lake Tahoe and Reno. "While inventory is tight, many investors have dropped out of the market and cash deals are not as prevalent as they were. Even in multi-offer situations, much has been equalized. This is great news for first-time buyers."

If you're looking to buy a home this year, make sure you know how much home you can afford (here's a calculator). And be sure to check your credit, since improving your credit scores can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your mortgage. You can get a free credit report summary every month on Credit.com to see where you stand. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Dennis Miller Sells Beach House for $3.5 Million Below List

2015-07-02 12:09:00

Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes, Selling

Riskin Associates via ZillowThe house features 6,000 feet in a beautiful cottage-style white but the real selling point is the 63 feet of beachfront.



By Melissa Allison

UPDATE: Comedian Dennis Miller and his wife sold their oceanside California mansion south of Santa Barbara for $19 million -- $3.5 million less than they were asking for the stylish estate.

ORIGINAL POST 1/4/2015: The beach retreat Dennis Miller and wife Carolyn Espley-Miller are listing for $22.5 million has an office -- but the buyers should expect to accomplish very little there, she warned.

"We joke that no work ever gets done, because we're either staring at the view or talking on the phone about how beautiful the view is," Espley-Miller told House Beautiful. "I had such a strong vision of a serene, whitewashed house on the sea. So I just gave the whole place a big dollop of white, from floors to ceiling."


Associated PressDennis Miller


The 6,063-square-foot home has views of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. It sits a little back from the beach on a half acre along Padaro Lane in Santa Barbara County, with five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and 63 feet of beachfront.

"Besides it being right on the sand, the Padaro location is the crème de la crème of beach locations for this area," said Dina Landi, who listed the property at Riskin Associates.

"One of the things that makes that particular house on Padaro Lane special is its very open floor plan, the incredible amount of natural light that comes into the house and the privacy you get" from it being set a little back from the beach, Landi said.

The light extends all the way to the master suite, where the bathroom is "very white and very simple," Espley-Miller told House Beautiful. "I wanted nothing to detract from the incredible view and the light."

Miller, perhaps still best known for his roles on "Saturday Night Live," appeared in the television series "House of Cards" in 2013 and narrated the reality series "Forever Young."



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5 Ways to Handle the Eyesore Next Door Before You Sell

2015-07-02 11:41:00

Filed under: How To, Selling
Getty Images


By Laura Agadoni

You're almost ready to put your house on the market when you realize it: The neighborhood eyesore is going to pose a problem.

Sure, we know some people might view any attempts to hide an eyesore from view as being underhanded, sneaky, and designed to fool unsuspecting buyers. They might envision unscrupulous sellers and agents who keep their fingers crossed, just hoping no one spots the eyesore next door.

If you feel that way, by all means, point out the junkyard behind you that's worthy of "American Pickers," the yard next door that looks more like a prairie than a lawn, or the bail bonds sign spray-painted on the wall across the street.

For the rest of us, here are five ways to resolve these eyesore neighbor issues so would-be buyers won't be scared off. And who knows? Maybe if you tackle these unsavory sights, you'll decide not to sell your home after all.

1. Ask your neighbor to fix the problem.

This solution can be tricky. There's really no easy way to tell someone that his or her house is the neighborhood eyesore. But there are some methods that might help.

"Just writing a friendly note (dropped off with a bottle of wine or another small gift) can sometimes do the trick," says Ross Anthony, a San Diego real estate agent.

It also can't hurt to mention to your neighbor that the more your home sells for, the more his or her home will be worth.

2. Be neighborly.

You know how people can become desensitized to certain smells? ("How did you know I had a cat?") Well, people can become so accustomed to the condition of their house that they don't notice when it looks run-down.

This sometimes happens with elderly homeowners: Either they haven't realized the condition of their home or they simply can't manage the upkeep. You might think a condo or townhouse situation might better suit your overwhelmed neighbor, but steer clear of that suggestion.

Instead, offer to spruce up the house yourself. "If it is an elderly person, I offer to help," says Sarah Bentley Pearson, an Atlanta real estate agent.

But it's not just elderly neighbors with houses that could benefit from a little TLC -- just think of all the work you did to get your house in selling shape.

Alexander Ruggie of 911 Restoration in Los Angeles says that if the next-door neighbor has a poor paint job, a wobbly fence, or a caved-in garage, there's no reason you can't offer to help fix the problem. "Most people would be surprised how much they can convince people to do when they offer to help do it."

3. Notify your HOA.

If you live in a community with a homeowners association (HOA), let it know about the unkempt house near you. One of the main reasons HOAs exist is to prevent homes in the neighborhood from becoming eyesores that could drive down the value of other homes.

Your HOA might send a letter to the offending neighbor warning him or her to fix the problem or face fines. Or the HOA might take care of the problem and then bill the homeowner.

4. Call the city.

If your neighbor won't mow his or her lawn, get rid of the junk outside, or let you help tidy up, you can always call your local government.

"If there is a really bad problem, like the grass is a foot tall and there are junk cars on the front lawn, your neighbors are probably in violation of local codes and can be forced to clean up," says John Z. Wetmore, producer of the TV show "Perils for Pedestrians."

Do this well in advance of putting your house on the market. The city could give your neighbor up to 90 days to meet housing codes.

Wetmore also suggests that you "walk around the block and pick up any litter along the public streets and sidewalks."

If the house is a bank-owned foreclosure, find out which bank owns the property by checking county title records. Insist the bank maintain the property.

5. Plant view-blocking trees or install a fence.

It might be worth the investment to block an unsavory view. If you plant trees, choose ones that are at least six feet tall to give you an immediate sense of privacy. Privacy fences should also be six feet high.

If your neighbors are noisy, putting in a small water feature can drown out the racket.

"You only have one first impression," says Anthony, the San Diego real estate agent. "You want potential buyers to fall in love with your home before writing it off due to an unkempt neighboring property."

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Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick Sell at $750K Loss

2015-06-30 19:16:00

Filed under: Celebrity Homes, Selling

ZillowThe Greenwich Village townhouse features six bedrooms and seven fireplaces, including this one in a bathroom.


By Melissa Allison



Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick should stick with flipping their hair.

The savvy New Yorkers bought this Greenwich Village townhouse in 2011 for nearly $19 million. They put it on the market the next year, and after almost three years of trying to unload it, have finally found a buyer -- at $18.25 million, as first reported by Curbed.

The couple and their children reportedly never lived in the 6,800-square-foot home, which is 25 feet wide and has six bedrooms and seven -- count 'em, seven -- fireplaces.

There are twin fireplaces on the "parlor" floor, a marble fireplace near the kitchen, a Victorian fireplace in a guest suite and a stone fireplace -- plus a hand-carved stone tub -- in the master suite. Photos indicate a couple more fireplaces in bedrooms.

The ground floor opens onto a split-level, landscaped garden that is also visible from a Juliet balcony off the second floor, and the master suite boasts a large, private terrace.

The listing agent for the home was Fredrik Eklund of Douglas Elliman.





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Why Mom and Dad Should Charge Millennials Rent

2015-06-30 18:16:00

Filed under: Investing, Lifestyle, Renting
Getty Images


By Erin Lowry

The cliche of 20-somethings taking up refuge in their parents' basements is a now tired way to describe millennials. Unfortunately, it became a stereotype because it's true. Millennials have been known to graduate college, quit work or just opt out of adult life and scurry back to the nest.

But for every millennial who ran home to mommy and daddy, there is a set of parents who allowed a grown child to linger in a state of arrested development without consequence. Which begs the question, what is a loving parent to do?

Charge the kid rent, of course.

Before boomers and millennials alike end up in a blind rage, understand that extolling a little tough love is exactly the way parents can lead a stray millennial back to the expressway toward adulthood.



The Return Home Trend

There is no shame in needing to head back home for some time to figure out the next steps. A lot has changed in how the world works. Not that long ago, it was standard that many young men and women would graduate from college and get married just a few months later.

Today, few millennials are leaving college and heading straight down the aisle. Plus, the job market was slow moving for those who graduated four to eight years ago. And let's not forget to mention the massive student loan burden. So a precedent was set that those who elected not to leap into graduate school or who were struggling to find employment would return home -- for a little while.

A little while sometimes turned into years. And hordes of graduating millennials each May still return home (even though the job market has warmed up again).

This phenomenon has been aided by parents willing to let their children take up residence at home and return to a life of mom and dad cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and fulfilling other parts of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Living at home is just easy.

Why Millennials Need to Cough Up Rent

Just because living at home is easy doesn't mean it should be free. The easier the lifestyle, the harder it will be for a child to feel motivated to strike out on his or her own and learn the life skills necessary to survive outside the protective bosom of mom and dad.

This is why millennials living at home need to pay rent.

The demand for rent means the millennial needs to get a job -- even if the job is stocking shelves at the grocery store or whipping up drinks at Starbucks. Keeping idle hands busy and dealing with obnoxious customers in exchange for a paycheck barely above minimum wage will help motivate young millennials to find a career and put that degree to good use.

Paying rent will also force a child living at home to learn how to budget for paying student loans, going out with friends and purchasing whatever they consider necessities. This assumes parents aren't back on the allowance bandwagon and subsidizing the child's stay at Resort de Mom and Dad.

Asking for rent from a child doesn't mean it needs to be at market value. You don't need to charge the same amount he or she would pay to live in an apartment in your town. About $100 or $150 a month would do just fine.

What to Do with the Money

The money a child contributes to rent could go toward paying household bills. If you use this method, be sure to share with your child how you are spending his or her money. It will help rationalize the need to pay rent if your child sees their money is helping to pay off the mortgage, pad the grocery budget that dropped since he or she went off to college or pay off a parent PLUS loan taken out to help him or her through college.

Parents who don't feel the need to use the money collected from a child can quietly create a "parental 401(k)." This will force a child to save money without him or her knowing it. When it comes time for the child to move out, parents can present the nest egg in the form of a check, or deposit it into a bank account. If parents are feeling really generous, they can provide a percentage match like an employer would. This is a great way to plant a seed to encourage a child to put money in an employer-sponsored retirement plan once he or she starts a job.

Alternatives to Charging Rent

Many parents have trouble with the idea of charging their child rent. It doesn't feel right. That's fine, but it doesn't mean your nesting millennial should get off without contributing to the family pot.

Instead of asking for an upfront monthly fee, you could require a child to buy the family groceries or put money toward one of the monthly bills such as water, electric or cable. Or you could just return to the glories days of the chore wheel. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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