Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, off-topic ideas, and links here.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2008-04-16-bargain-hunting-real-estate_N.htm"Bargain hunters boost home sales in some markets"
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24128655/Rep. Frank threatens tough mortgage rulesWASHINGTON - Congressional Democrats and President Bush will agree on a bill to help half a million or more struggling homeowners get into lower cost mortgages, but it won’t be through the bankruptcy courts, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee predicted Tuesday....."Frank’s package, scheduled for a committee vote next week, would allow the Federal Housing Administration to back as much as $300 billion in mortgages for struggling homeowners. Servicers would have to agree to take a loss on the existing loans, while borrowers would have to show they could afford to make new payments on their refinanced mortgages"...“There’s some risk here, but the alternative is a longer and deeper recession, serious problems for the cities, and ... a drop in housing prices that is faster than it should be,” Frank said.“People are very afraid of being accused of not having done something to avoid (a) longer and deeper recession,” he added.
Why doesn't he make a law guaranteeing you home value will rise 10% every year?Be much simpler.
The risk is a longer deeper recession?Talk about clueless... all they are doing is trying to find some way to prop up the housing market at an unsustainable level. In the end prices will still fall until incomes can support them and the government will have wasted billions of dollars trying to fight the invisible hand.
The lender of record would have to agree to accept 85% of the present value of the property. Why would they do this???? Sure, the alternative is to foreclose and take your chances of ending up with 75%, but once you open the door, now 100% of your customers with loan to values greater than 90% are going to stop paying the mortgage and demand the same deal. All of a sudden the number of people defaulting and asking for relief may jump 20 fold.
Hello all, To kinda continue the apples and oranges thing but on a different topic. I see alot of houses that advertise more bedrooms than there really is. I often cross check a listing with the tax listing and the tax listing shows less bedrooms than the MLS listing. So when is a bedroom a bedroom or just another room that actually had a different purpose. This is one of my pet peves and find this all misleading.
darren, the truth is some where in between. Some listings are counting rooms that were never meant to be BR's IMO. And then you have properties that rooms were sub divided.I know of a 2 BR unit in the Foxcroft in Fairfax City that divided the LR/DR in to a BR and LR combo. I know that with some Reflection Lakes TH's - the MBR's we divided in to an extra BR - making a 3br place in to 4br's. I am sure many more of these are in PWC of late....
Darren,A room can only be called a bedroom if it has an emergency egress such as a window. This has to be a large enough window to allow for use as an emergency exit. Not those little windows you see in basements. That's the main rule I believe. There may be something about being a seperate space and a door etc.I am pretty certain any room additions have probably not been reported to the appraiser's office as it could result in higher taxes. A contractor is supposed to get a permit for construction which would clue the County in that something is happening, but if the homeowner did it themselves, no one knows until they try to sell it.
With regard to tax listing bedrooms vs actual bedrooms, here in Arlington at least many of these 80 year old homes are still listed as one bedrooms, though the owners have blown them out into McMansions. Not sure why that is, but my presumption is that if you do work on the house, it doesn't get registered on the tax rolls until you sell it.
darren,Yes! I have recently seen some 2 bed/2 bath townhouses in Ashburn Village being listed as 3 bed/2 bath, where the loft or basement area is part of the bedroom total. I agree that this is very misleading and I still maintain it has to do w/marketability.pat,And some states (not sure about VA) require a closet, as well.
Gruntled, Arl. Co. is inconsistent. When I converted a screened porch to (very small) finished space, county tax inspectors came right out and left me a note saying they wanted to be let in. Sure enough, the following year they added 150 square feet and correspondingly higher taxes. But I've seen houses converted to McMansions or substantially added onto 2 or more years ago that are still shown as the original space, so those owners may still be paying less than little ol' me in my little abode. I had assumed mine was increased in response to permit filings, but how could much bigger projects get away with not filing for permits?Also, those asking about bedrooms:1) many Arl. Co. listings include basement bedrooms. So a little Cape Cod may have 4 BR, with 2 in the basement.2) state rules vary, but to officially "count" some states require that, to be considered a BR:a) you not have to walk through the room to get to another room.b) the room must have a closetc) if in the basement, it must have a window large enough to allow escape in case of a fired) sometimes, it must meet a minimum size requirement, e.g., 8X10.
Interesting info about the closet's. We have been considering removing the built in closets in our bedroom and putting in IKEA wardrobes. Would that mean it no longer counts as a bedroom?In Europe, no rooms have closets. All armoires and wardrobes.
Friday, September 22, 2006Real Estate 101a - What is a 'Bedroom?' Welcome! This is a series of articles that I've cooked up to describe the basic terms that appear in Real Estate transactions. Recently,I had new 'first time' buyers that I took out on a tour to show properties... and I realized that most of the common terms that we take for granted are... well, unclear to most first time buyers!Disclaimer: All of the stuff that follows is according to Washington State Real Estate law, rules, and practices and etc. Other states may have their own interpretation of this and similar terms. Right? Right.So for this first installment: What, exactly, is a 'bedroom?'The legal definition of a bedroom, for the purposes of Real Estate is simple: it is a room, attached to the main structure of a single-family home, that has two crucial features:1. It has a door that can be closed.2. It has a closet.Simple, eh? Well, not really. And here's where we get into trouble... and where some Real Estate agents may (intentionally or otherwise) misrepresent a property that they've listed.What if it's a good-sized room, currently used as a bedroom, but it doesn't have a closet?Nope. Per definition, it's not a bedroom. A bedroom must have a closet. In this case, it's a 'bonus room' or 'recreation room' or 'sitting room' or 'home office room' or something like that. But not a bedroom.What if there's a room with a closet, but somebody removed the door?That's a bedroom. Assuming the door can easily be replaced, and someone hasn't knocked out a lot of wallboard and plaster to make the entry wider... to the point where it's unlikely that a door can be re-installed. This is a gray area. Many Listing Agents would still call this a 'bedroom.'What if there's a room with a closet, but it can only be reached from outside the house, meaning a door that opens to the great outdoors?That's a bedroom. Weird, eh? This is attractive to owners who want to rent one or more rooms, but it's still a bedroom. Hope that there's a bathroom that can be accessed from such a room!What if there's a room with a closet, but it's in a separate building out in the backyard?That's not a bedroom. That's an 'outbuilding' that has a room with a closet. It's not counted in the 'bedroom count' of the single-family dwelling.What if somebody converted a closet by removing the door(s), and putting up shelves - to make it like a 'home office' storage space where you could put books and stuff?That's still a bedroom. A pickup-truck-visit to Home Depot could turn it back into a Real Closet in an afternoon's time.What about old 'Victorian Era' homes - where closets were never a consideration? Where a 'closet' was seperate furniture that you placed in the room to make it a bedroom? This is another gray area. There are many 100-year-old homes that have no closets in any of the rooms - yet 2, 3, 4, or 5 of the rooms were clearly intended to be 'bedrooms.' But by definition, none of these rooms are 'bedrooms.' What about attic space that's been finished... nice floors, walls and ceilings... and a cute little stairway that leads up to it?Does it include a closet? If so, that's a bedroom.What about the same attic space that doesn't have a stairway? Instead, you have to pull down a ladder to get to it?Nope - not a bedroom. That's part of the attic. Even if it's nicely finished, and has a closet.Well, there you have it. Bedrooms are complicated things! How many bedrooms do you really have in your home?
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