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October 29, 2016

How Do You Sell A House to an Investor?

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Many homeowners have at least a basic understanding of the way traditional home sales work: find a realtor, sign a listing contract, and hope for a buyer. However, many homeowners are surprised to learn how fast and simple it is to sell a house to an investor. Here’s an overview of the process:

Step 1: Contact an experienced real estate investor. If you’re reading this, and you have a house to sell in Northern Virginia or the Washington DC area, your work is done. (Click here to see a list of the communities where 4 Brothers Buy Houses buys homes.) If you live outside our areas, an Internet search can help you find an experienced investor in your area.

Step 2: Request a free, no-obligation quote. Investors gladly offer potential sellers a no-obligation quote, which contains the purchase price the investor is willing to pay for the house. When making quotes, 4 Brothers Buy Houses uses the same information real estate agents use when setting the sales price of the homes they list, which means you get the price your home is actually worth—not the hypothetical price a buyer might or might not be willing to pay.

Step 3: Accept the investor’s offer and sign a contract.If (and only if) you decide to accept the investors’ offer, the investor arranges for preparation and delivery of a home sale contract, deed, and any other required paperwork. Investors don’t ask you to make repairs, give credits against the purchase price, or gamble on approval of a loan.

Step 4: Sign the deed and other required documents. A deedis a document that transfers ownership of a home. To sell a house, the owner has to sign a variety of documents, including a contract of sale and a deed. When you sell to an investor, these documents are prepared for you—but you can hire a lawyer to represent you if you wish. In fact, 4 Brothers Buy Houses encourages sellers to hire a lawyer to review and explain the sales documents.

Step 5: Receive the purchase price . . . in cash! Like many investors, 4 Brothers Buy Houses pays cash for the homes we purchase. Sellers receive the purchase price at closing, which can occur in as little as ten days from the date the seller accepts the offer.No waiting on loan approvals, contingencies, or inspections.

That’s all there is to it! Selling to an investor is fast, simple, and secure—less costly than hiring a real estate agent and far less hassle than “For Sale By Owner.” If you have a house to sell, give 4 Brothers Buy Houses a call today, or click here to receive a quote online!

October 16, 2016

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

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Old or defective roofs can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars in higher heating costs and property damage from leaks and other weather intrusions. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Check your roof’s condition regularly, and call a roofing specialist if you see indications that your roof needs repair or replacement, including:

  • Properly functioning roofs don’t leak. If you notice water leaks in your ceilings or around the tops of walls, call a roofing specialist immediately. Roof leaks can be difficult to locate without professional help, and regular or repeated leaks are an indicator that your roof has passed its useful age.
  • Cracked Tiles or Curling Shingles. Tile and shingle roofs are designed to lie flat, with overlapping areas that prevent water from penetrating into the sub-roof and the interior of the home. Significant cracking or curling of tiles and shingles weakens the roof and creates opportunities for leaking.
  • Moss Growth or Significant Discoloration.Moss and airborne algaes often grow on old or damaged roofs, especially in damp climates or where overhanging trees prevent sunlight from reaching the roof. Both moss and algaes can damage shingles and other roofing surfaces, and significant growth can indicate it’s time to replace the roof.
  • Missing Shingles, Tiles, or Roofing Granules.A roof should offer uniform protection against the elements. Older roofs begin to shed their shingles (often in pieces), and may lose their protective granular coatings. If you notice pieces of shingle, roofing granules, or tile chips in your gutters, or spot “bare” patches on the roof itself, call a professional immediately.
  • Noticeable Sagging. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that a sagging roof is a sign of trouble. Whether sagging takes the form of localized divots or depressions in the roof or a “general sag” that covers the entire home,if you notice the sagging, it’s likely time for replacement.

Modern roofs are far more durable than they were decades ago, but even now, roofs are designed to last between 20 and 30 years (though ceramic tile may last longer). If you roof is more than 20 years old, you may want to arrange an inspection even if you don’t see any of these warning signs. Early identification of roofing problems can save tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.

Old or damaged roofs can also cause problems for home sellers – buyers pay attention to roof conditions, especially in the colder months. If you want to sell your house, but don’t want to repair or replace a damaged roof, consider selling directly to 4 Brothers Buy Houses – we buy homes in any condition, and don’t request repairs before we close. Click here for a no-obligation estimate and quote today.

October 10, 2016

What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a Home?

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Buying a home is exciting, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner looking to upsize, downgrade, or relocate. However, many would-be buyers struggle with the decision to purchase a home due to concerns about credit scores and how to qualify for a purchase money loan (sometimes called a mortgageloan).

People are often afraid to ask how high a credit rating they need to qualify for a home loan, even though it’s a common question. The answer varies, depending on the type of loan a buyer needs (and other personal factors, including employment status, income history, assets owned, and available funds to put toward a down payment), but here are some general guidelines you can use to determine whether your credit score qualifies you for the loan you need to buy a home:

  • Know Your Credit Score Before You Apply. Always know your credit score before applying for a loan. If you don’t know your credit score, obtain a copy on your own, or ask a licensed mortgage broker or banker for help.
  • Conventional Loans (Fannie Mae-Backed): 620 Minimum Credit Score. Although exceptions do exist, new conventional loans backed, insured, or underwritten by Fannie Mae (the U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association) typically require borrowers to have a credit score of 620 or higher; like other types of loans, exceptions may exist where borrowers have the funds to increase the down payment, qualify for special programs, or in other loan-specific circumstances.
  • FHA Loans: 580 Minimum Credit Score. FHA loans are available to buyers with a minimum credit score of 580 who can provide a down payment equal to at least 3.5% of the purchase price; however, applicants with lower credit scores may also qualify for FHA loans if they can provide a down payment of at least 10% of the purchase price.
  • Better Credit Scores May Help You Obtain Better Loan Terms. Generally speaking, the higher your credit rating, the better the interest rate and other terms a lender or bank will give you on a loan. While other factors also impact your eligibility and ability to qualify for a home purchase loan, buyers should strive to maintain as high a credit score as possible when planning to apply for a loan or purchase a home.

Personal and family income, investments and savings, and debt-to-income ratios also play a role in loan eligibility and amounts, as doa variety of other factors. Contact an experienced banker or mortgage loan expert for an individual evaluation of your personal situation and your ability to qualify for a loan.

Disclaimer: Your ability to qualify for a loan may vary, even with the credit scores listed above. While these guidelines are helpful, you should never rely on this or any other online article to make decisions about home loans or other financial situations. This article is not, and should not be taken as, financial advice, an offer to make a loan or a representation about whether any person can or will qualify for a loan or purchase money financing.

October 4, 2016

Five Reasons to Sell Your Home in Autumn

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Many homeowners consider fall a “difficult” time to sell a home, and many people believe that homes sell better during the spring or summer seasons. While home sales often peak in the warmer months, that doesn’t mean you “can’t,” or “shouldn’t” list your home for sale in other seasons. In fact, here are some excellent reasons to list your home for sale now:

  • Better Visibility in the Market.Statistically, fewer homes go on the market during the autumn and winter months, which means that every new listing gets more attention from realtors and potential buyers. Placing your home on the market when inventory is lower gives you a definite advantage where visibility is concerned!
  • Faster Closing Times. While no one can guarantee the speed at which an escrow will close, selling your home in the autumn often means that mortgage and escrow companies have fewer active deals in progress—freeing up more time for escrow and mortgage officers to work on your sale. Fewer deals in progress translates to fewer (or shorter) delays, which can speed up the pace at which your deal closes, or at least reduce the chance of delays.
  • More Attention from Realtors. Real estate agents, like everyone else, have only so many available hours in a working day. Listing your home for sale in the autumn, when fewer properties are on the market, may earn you more attention from your listing agent—and from buyers’ agents too.
  • Letting the Holiday Spirit Work For You. People love the holidays, and listing your home for sale in the autumn lets you take advantage of that holiday spirit, by staging your home in ways that reflect the season. Holiday snacks at open houses, autumn colors in the yard, and tasteful seasonal staging can help put buyers in a festive mood.
  • A Higher Percentage of Serious Buyers. With the weather turning cold and children back in school, fewer people have the time or inclination to visit open houses or make showing appointments on a whim. Buyers actively looking for homes in the autumn and winter are generally serious about buying—often before the end of the year—and listing your home in the autumn can help you take advantage of these motivated buyers.

Listing your home in the autumn carries some serious advantages—but only for sellers who take the time to price, stage, and prepare the house for sale in a proper manner. As at any time of year, overpriced homes and those in need of serious work may linger on the market. If you need to sell your home in the autumn, you may also want to consider contacting an investor like 4 Brothers Buy Houses, who can purchase your home for cash without all the hassle of staging, hiring a real estate agent, and scheduling showings and open houses. Curious? Click here to receive a no-obligation quote and more details today.

September 25, 2016

August 2016 Housing Sales and Market Update For Washington, D.C. & Surrounding Area

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*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.com

4 Brothers Buy Houses is proud to share this update on current Washington D.C. area housing sales and market conditions.*

August Median Housing Prices in the Washington D.C. Area Reached the Highest August Levels in Almost a Decade:

In August,median home sale pricesin the Washington D.C. area were$420,750 – a 2.4% increase over August 2015 and the highest average August prices since 2007. Sales volume also rose, with August 2016 sales a striking 16% higher than last year’s August numbers. Single-family home and townhouse sales increased in August, but the total number of condominium sales was lower – 3.4% below July 2016 numbers.

On average, Falls Church City remainsthe most expensive place to buy, with an August median sales price of $799,000, and Prince George’s County is the most affordable: median sales pricesthere in August were just over $257,000.

Regional Housing Sales Increased inAugust 2016, While New Listings, & Inventories Saw a Slight Decline.

According to figures published by RBIntel.com:

5.089home sales closed in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in August 2016, almost a 13% increase over August of 2015.

Pending sales increased over 2015 numbers as well, with 4,907 properties reported as “sale pending” at the end of August—more than 4% higher than August 2015, but almost a 7% drop over pending sales figures from July of 2016. This may suggest an overall market slowdown as autumn approaches, but the numbers still show improvement over 2015 figures.

New sales listings decreased in August, with only 5,500 new properties on the market – over 11.5% lower than July’s new inventory and more than 5% lower than new listings in August 2015. All three types of residential properties: single-family houses, townhomes, and condominiums showed reduced inventory in August.

Average “Days on Market” Increased Slightly in August 2016.

The median days-on-market for listed properties in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in August 2016 was 22 days –three dayslower than August averages from 2015, but five days higher than the average DOM in July of 2015.

Alexandria City remained the slowest regional market in July (median days-on-market: 27), and Falls Church City remained the fastest-moving area, with amedian DOM of 6 (two daysshorter than July’s numbers).

Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods, and the speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.

September 17, 2016

Fire Safety Tips for the Autumn Season

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Most people associate autumn with the return of chilly nights, spectacular foliage, and cozy evenings in front of a crackling fireplace. But as colder temperatures return, so do autumn hazards, including an increased risk of fires.

Whether you’re planning get-togethers, family events, or quiet evenings at home, it’s important to ensure your house is safe as well as welcoming. Here are some simple—but important—tips to help keep your home and family safe from fire this fall:

  • Service Heaters and Furnaces. HVAC and other furnace systems should be serviced annually, before the start of the winter season. Regular maintenance can spot problems and help prevent dangerous gases or fires from harming your home and family.
  • Replace the Batteries in Smoke Detectors & Alarms. Establish a set “battery day” when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms each year. (Many homeowners do this on the day they turn back the clocks to Daylight Savings Time.) When replacing the batteries, remember to test the alarms to ensure they function properly, too.
  • Check or Replace Fire Extinguishers. House fires increase in frequency during the autumn and winter months, and as cold temperatures return homeowners should check existing fire extinguishers and replace them if necessary. If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher in your home, consider buying one this autumn to help protect your house and family.
  • Exercise Caution When Burning Leaves. Many cities and counties regulate leaf burning, either by scheduling approved “burn days” or requiring permission and permits for burning leaves. Never burn leaves (or anything else) unless the law permits the burn, and always take safety precautions to ensure that fires remain in control. Also: never leave a fire unattended!
  • Reconsider Use of Space Heaters. Many people consider portable “space heaters” a convenient source of warmth in chilly months. However, many portable heaters exceed the safe electricity draws for power outlets in your home, creating a significant risk of blown circuits and electrical fires.
  • Practice “Candle Caution.” People love candles, especially in autumn and at the holidays, but the welcoming flicker of tapers also creates a risk of fire. Never leave burning candles unattended, and place them only on safe, stable surfaces away from high-traffic areas and out of reach of children and pets.

Fall is a happy, busy time when people begin to gather inside with families and friends. When preparing your home to welcome guests, or simply creating a cozy evening for yourself and your family, don’t forget to keep an eye out for fire hazards. A few simple steps can keep your home much safer, and more joyful, for everyone this autumn season.

September 12, 2016

Six Top Tips for Selling a House in Fall

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Many people may tell you that houses sell faster in the spring and summer months—and market data tends to support that assertion—but properly priced, well-prepared homes will sell in any season. The key to selling your home in the autumn is making sure you stage and prepare your home for autumn-minded buyers by shifting your staging and selling focus to aspects of the house that are most important in the colder months:

  • Tune Up Furnaces Early. Chilly showings and open houses may require turning on the heater, but unused heating units often have a noticeable smell when used for the first few times each season. Regular furnace inspections and tune-ups not only help eliminate unwanted furnace odors, but increase efficiency and improve the life of your HVAC system.
  • Light it Up. Turn on lights inside the house to chase away “autumn gloom” before potential buyers arrive for a showing, and make sure all the lights are on before an open house. Cheerful, bright spaces sell best in the winter months.
  • Rake The Yard. Autumn leaves are lovely on the trees, but not when they’re littering the yard. Lawn and landscape maintenance are even more important when you’re listing a home for sale in the autumn months.
  • Decorate Your Home For Fall. Pumpkins, autumn flowers, and cheerful harvest or fall-themed decorations can increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Welcoming wreaths, plump orange pumpkins, and other decorative touches make your house look welcoming when buyers arrive.
  • Price it Right. Overpriced homes sell more slowly in any season, but especially at times when the market doesn’t move as quickly. After the end of the spring and summer selling season, overpriced houses languish on the market, but well-priced properties continue to sell.
  • Focus Your Ads on Seasonally-Appropriate Features. Swimming pools are less attractive in the chilly winter months, but fireplaces, updated heating systems, and renovated kitchens are great selling points for autumn buyers. Without ignoring important features like updated baths and swimming pools, focus your advertising on the features buyers are thinking about right now.

Even though the summer home-selling season is almost over, it’s not too late to sell your home this year. Focus your efforts on making your house attractive to autumn buyers, price it well, and you may “fall” right into the perfect sale.

If you need to sell your home even faster, or don’t want to risk the autumn market, consider selling your home directly to an investor. Investors buy “as-is,” with no loan or inspection contingencies, and usually close the sale in days instead of the weeks or months you have to wait with a traditional sale. Click here for more information, or to obtain a no-obligation quote from Four Brothers Buy Houses today.

September 5, 2016

5 Warning Signs of Furnace Problems

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As autumn approaches and colder weather arrives, most homeowners will turn the furnace on for the first time in several months. Can you tell the difference between normal furnace “warm-up” and a genuine problem in your HVAC system?

Here are some tips to help you identify early warning signs of a problem with your furnace or other home heating system:

  • Strange Heater Noises. Unusual banging, squealing, or popping may indicate your furnace is coming to the end of its useful life. If your furnace starts making loud or unusual sounds, arrange a professional inspection right away. Sometimes the problem is merely overdue maintenance, but don’t risk your family’s safety by delaying a furnace check-up.
  • New or Unusual Illnesses in the Family. Aging furnaces lose efficiency, making them less able to filter dust, mold, and allergens from the air. In some cases, older heating units also develop cracks that allow toxic carbon monoxide to enter the home. If you or your family members start showing signs of increased allergies, headaches, dizziness, or other unexplained illnesses, arrange for a furnace technician to service your HVAC unit as soon as possible.
  • Peculiar Furnace Smells.Some furnace smells are harmless, but others are signs of potential breakdowns ordangerous malfunctions in the HVAC system. Never try to diagnose a furnace odor on your own. Call a professional heating technician as soon as you notice any unusual smells or odors coming from the furnace or heating vents.
  • Temperature Differences Between Rooms. Older or malfunctioning furnaces have trouble circulating heat efficiently. The result? Some rooms may stay cold, while others (usually closer to the heating unit) become uncomfortably warm. If you notice unusual temperature gradients, or significant differences in the way your heater maintains temperatures in different parts of your home, it might be time for furnace repair or replacement.
  • Increased Energy Bills.Energy costs often rise in autumn and winter, as colder temperatures require more active heating of the home. However, sudden or significant jumps in gas and electric bills are often indicators of a furnace problem.

Annual furnace maintenance, including regular tune-ups, can extend the life of your furnace and help diagnose potential problems early, avoiding hundreds or even thousands of dollars in HVAC repairs. An air-conditioning tune-up at the start of summer, and a furnace inspection in early fall, will help you ensure your HVAC system is safe and ready to keep your family comfortable year-round.

August 28, 2016

How to Know When to Replace the Windows in Your Home

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Homeowners generally know when it’s time to replace a roof, repair a leaking pipe, or fix an appliance—but many people have trouble deciding when it’s time to replace or update the windows in a home. Window replacement can be troublesome and costly, but new windows offer numerous advantages, from energy savings to boosting a house’s sale price.

Here are some tips to help you decide whether or not it’s time to replace the windows in your home:

  • Cracked or Damaged Panes. Obviously, broken windows need replacing immediately, but cracks and chipsare equally dangerous, especially in older panes. Shattering glass can cause serious injuries to people, pets, and property; repair or replace your windows at the first sign of cracks or other damage.
  • Drafty Rooms and “Breezes” Near Closed Windows. Over time, wooden window frames and casings can warp, shrink, and crack, allowing air to enter the home. This increases energy costs and makes your home less comfortable. If you notice a breeze with the windows closed, consider replacing the window ASAP.
  • Replacement of Non-Tempered Glass With Safety Glass.Older windows and sliding doors are often constructed from “standard glass,” which shatters into dangerous shards when broken. Modern building codes require replacement of standard glass with tempered or “safety glass,” which breaks into “pebbles” that carry a lower risk of injury or death. Replacing dangerous older glass with modern tempered windows and doors increases the safety (and, often, value) of your home.
  • High or Increasing Energy Costs. As windows age, they shrink and warp, allowing for seepage of air both into and out of the home. This increases cooling costs in the summer months and makes it more expensive to heat your home in winter, too. Noticeable increases in your energy bills—especially in the summer and winter—may be a sign that it’s time to replace those aging, leaky windows with energy-efficient panes.
  • Difficulty Opening or Closing. Windows should function smoothly, with little to no sticking or trouble opening or closing. Older hung or counterweighted windows tend to stick (or refuse to open) as they age, and may also slam shut without warning. In addition to making the windows hard to use, these problems create safety issues and risk of injury to adults and children. Once your windows refuse to open (or shut) without difficulty, it’s time to consider replacement.

Increasingly affordable prices and a wide range of modern designs have made replacing windows far simpler, and less expensive, than it was in the past. Ignoring the warning signs of aging windows leads to rising energy costs and even a risk of injury to your home and family members. Whether you’re planning to sell your house or simply want to improve your family’s safety and comfort, proper, timely window replacement is a wise investment for any home.

August 20, 2016

July 2016 Housing Sales and Market Update For Washington, D.C. & Surrounding Area

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4 Brothers Buy Houses is proud to share this update on current Washington D.C. area housing sales and market conditions.*

*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.com

In July, Washington D.C. Area Median Housing Prices Showed a Slight Decrease From June, But Remain Slightly Above July 2015 Levels:

In July,median home sale pricesin the D.C. Metro area showed a slight overall decrease from June’s prices, but reached the highest average levels for the month of July since 2007. Condominiums saw a 4% overall increase from last year’s prices, but both single-family homes and townhomes had a very slight decrease—less than 1% in each category.

On average, the area’s most affordable homes are still in Prince George’s County, while Falls Church City remainsthe most expensive place to buy, with a July 2016 median sales price of $708,000.

Regional Housing Sales, New Listings, & InventoriesDecreased inJuly 2016:

According to figures published by RBIntel.com:

5,045home sales closed in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in July 2016, a 3.4% decline since July of 2015 but more than 5% above the five-year average for sales in July.

Pending sales decreased in July as well, with only 5,267 properties reported as “sale pending” at the end of July—0.9% higher than July 2015, but a 17% drop over last month’s pending sales figures.

New sales listings decreased by 17% over June’s new listing numbers, with only 6,225 new properties coming on the market in July 2016. Overall inventory decreased by almost 13% from last year’s numbers (3% since June), with 10,943properties reported as on the market in the Washington D.C. area (and surrounding counties) as of the end of July. Single-family houses, townhomes, and condominiums all show reduced inventory as of the end of July.

Average “Days on Market” Increased Slightly Over June 2016.

The median days-on-market for listed properties in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in July 2016 was 17 days –three dayshigher than June’s average DOM, but two days less than the average days-on-market for July of 2015.

July’s slowest regional market was Alexandria City (median days-on-market: 23), and Falls Church City remained the fastest-moving area, with amedian DOM of 8 (just one day slower than it was in June).

Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods, and the speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.