Another Braemar Short Sale SOLD!

Another Braemar Short Sale SOLD!

Short Sales are a type of sale that happens when a seller owes more than their home is currently worth.  If there has been a hardship or relocation for work, family illness, etc, you can petition your bank to accept less than the principal amounts of your mortgage.  These sales are not for the faint of heart, and this sale proves that.

First listed on February 27, 2015 for $499,000, and eventually lowered to $478,000, this attempt at selling 13519 Marr Lodge Lane seemed to bring only low ball offers.  That was, until a buyer stepped 13519 Marr Lodge Lane sold for $448,350 on July 27th (2016.)forward that wanted the home, but had to rent it first.  No problem.  The sellers were current on their mortgage payments so they could certainly oblige.  Unfortunately, those buyers, who went under contract to buy the home on August 4th, bailed on the sale just about a week before the Short Sale was approved on October 13th (2015.)  On to the next…

The house wasn’t on the market long.  It was under contract on October 25th (2015) again.  This buyer lasted even less time.  They bailed on December 17th (2015.)  It is so frustrating that Short Sale Buyers will testify as to how flexible they are and can wait as long as it takes to get Short Sale Approval, but end up voiding the contracting after two months because it is taking too long.  No worries. Back to the drawing board.

Our third contract came in to play March 9th (2016.)  It took time to work through the issues with the sale, not the least of which was the Short Sale Bank auctioning the property for a price lower than our buyers were willing to pay.  Nonetheless, on June 20th (2016) the Short Sale was approved by both banks and the sale closed on July 26th (2016.)  It took nearly one a a half years from start to finish.  After three buyers and more complications with the Short Sale Banks that I can even express, it is a done deal for $448,350.

Chris Ann Cleland, Braemar Real Estate Agent, 703-402-0037If you have a Braemar home that you need to sell, be it in a Short Sale or traditional sale, let me know.  No One Knows Braemar Better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA

Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas VA


Another Braemar Single Family Home Gets a Contract in Time for Christmas

Another Braemar Single Family Home Gets a Contract in Time for Christmas

There is something very magical about getting buyers and sellers together in the week leading up to Christmas.  Buyers are still out house hunting and on December 17th (2015) this Braemar Short Sale at 9535 Laurencekirk Place received an offer.  On December 20th, the offer became a ratified contract when buyers and sellers agreed to terms.

9535 Laurencekirk Place in Bristow, VA went under contract on Decmber 20, 2015

The home had been listed for sale since October 3rd (2015.)  It started at a list price of $525,000.  The price was reduced to $499,000  to reflect falling market value and existing issues with the condition of the home on October 23rd, and again to $480,000 on November 9th. Those  condition issues were that the home needed new carpet on two levels and in the study, and fresh paint throughout.  There were also some repairs needs to a leak in the master bathroom and a new dishwasher needed in the kitchen.

Knowing Short Sales the way I do, I know that a bank doesn’t tend to look at these types of repairs as being as expensive as buyers tend to see them.  And banks certainly don’t want to make huge adjustments to the sales price on a Short Sale because even at market value, they are losing money they are owed.  So I advised the sellers to wait at $480,000.  I am glad they did.

Chris Ann Cleland, Braemar Real Estate Agent, 703-402-0037It will take a few months to get the settlement table on this one, since there are two banks that will need to approve the sale.  Until then, if you are thinking of selling your Braemar home, give me a call for a free market analysis.  No One Knows Braemar Better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA

Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas VA


Just Listed: Oberlin Model by Ryan Homes for $499,000

Just Listed:  Oberlin Model by Ryan Homes for $499,000

13519 Marr Lodge Lane listed for $499,000 on February 27th, 2015The Oberlin model by Ryan Homes is one of my favorites in Braemar.  It is not too big, not too small and has a floor plan as elegant and it is friendly.  This particular Oberlin is located at 13519 Marr Lodge Lane and hit the market on February 27th (2015) for $499,000.  It is a Short Sale, but don’t let that worry you about the condition of the home.  It is move in ready.

Living Room

The more formal areas of the home, the living and dining room, are just where you would expect them to, on either side of the hardwood foyer entry.  The hardwoods continue to the dining room and walk you back to the more informal areas of the home, the heart of which is the kitchen.

Dining Room

The kitchen is a cook’s dream.  Plenty of counter and cabinet space, a breakfast bar where friends and family can visit and watch while you prepare your favorite meal.  Double ovens, a cooktop and microwave give you all the tools to cook, and the dishwasher is there to clean up.


Most meals will likely be enjoyed in the dinette just off the kitchen, and open to the morning room and family room.  Personally, my favorite touch of plantation shutters is present in the living and dining rooms, as well as the morning room.

Dinette/Morning Room

The family room is a very generous size and features a gas fireplace which is perfect the winter weather we’ve been experiencing in Bristow this year.  Tucked to the far side of the family room is the study.

Family Room

Upstairs area all four bedrooms, the secondary bedrooms being larger than you may expect.  The Master Suite feature a large walk-in closet and luxury bathroom with soaking tub, separate shower and double sinks/vanity.  Even the second full bathroom has double sinks/vanity.

Master Bedroom

The basement gives you a large recreation space that is finished and ready to use for whatever hits your happy spot.  And if you wish to grow into the basement a tad more, there is a rough-in for an additional full bathroom and additional finished space that may work nicely as a media room.

With all the snow on the ground it may be hard to picture the warmth of summer and basking in early evening sun, but with the brick paver patio, you can enjoy your outside space as well.

Brick Paver Patio

Here are some side notes about this gorgeous home.  The laundry room is on the main level and the front load washer and dryer will convey.  There is also a powder room on the main level.  The garage fits two cars and gives you great curb appeal being a side loader.

Chris Ann Cleland, Braemar Real Estate Agent, 703-402-0037As a Short Sale, this home requires a patient buyer.  We expect to gain approval from our two banks within sixty to ninety days of sending them a contract.  If that’s a time frame that works for you, this is an outstanding opportunity to buy an amazing single family home in the Patriot High School district.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA

Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas VA


Bedroom Level Floor Plan

Oberlin Bedroom Level Floor Plan

Main Level Floor Plan

Oberlin Main Level Floor Plan

Basement Level Floor Plan

Oberlin Basement Floor Plan

Another Braemar Townhouse SOLD!

Another Braemar Townhouse SOLD!

This Braemar townhouse located at 10132 Pale Rose Loop, hit the market on May 8, 2013 priced at $285,000.  It was a Short Sale with one mortgage.

10132 Pale Rose Loop in Braemar sold for $290,000 on December 27, 2013There is a misconception in our neighborhood, and surrounding real estate market, that Short Sales bring down property values.  I know that is incorrect information because I list Short Sales as well as Regular Sales.  Trust me when I tell you that the banks and the investors that back underwater mortgages are NOT leaving any money on the table.  So as a general rule, I price Short Sale listings the same as Regular Sales.  It’s all based on property condition, and this end unit townhouse was in excellent condition.

It received multiple offers and was under contract on May 8th.  That’s where our story lags for a bit.  This particular Short Sale was a VA loan through US Bank.  US Bank proved to be horrendous at processing paperwork.  So much so that when the file continued to be held up in processing, I involved the Consumer Financing Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the VA (Veterans Administration) in late October.  I was about to involve our U.S. Senators when, miraculously, the report to the CFPB got the file noticed by U.S. Bank and was finally put up for investor review.  One month later, we had our approval letter.  The Seller’s mortgage debt was forgiven.

This Braemar townhouse sold on December 27th for $290,000.  That’s a lot more than the last reported average sales price of Braemar townhouses of $272,567, and $5,000 OVER its list price.  So next time you hear that Short Sales are bringing our neighborhood values down, remember this Short Sale is actually improving our neighborhood values.

If you have a Braemar townhouse or single family home you need to sell, please give me a call for a free market analysis.  No One Knows Braemar Better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA, Long & Foster REALTORS®


Braemar Garage Townhouse Off the Market in Five Days!

Braemar Garage Townhouse Off the Market in Five Days! 

This one car garage, end unit townhouse in Braemar hit the market on May 6, 2013 priced at $285,000.  Being a Short Sale, the Sellers realized that the buyer pool would be limited to those who could wait thirty to forty-five days for bank approval of the sale.  They 10132 Pale Rose Loop listed for $285,000 on May 6, 2013were shocked, when just two days into the listing period, they had two offers on this three bedroom, two full/ two half bathroom home.

The winning offer had the home removed from the MLS (multiple listing service) just five days later.

Now begins the process of getting the short fall of the mortgage payoff approved by the mortgage holder….in this case, the VA (Veterans Administration.)  While commonly known as a Short Sale, the VA’s version of a Short Sale is called a VA Compromise Sale but works much the same as a Short Sale.  The difference being that the VA Compromise Sale does affect your VA eligibility amount for future home purchases with a VA loan.

If you or someone you know has been relocated with the military and owes more than they are going to get for the sale of their home, call me and we’ll discuss the Short Sale option for your home.  I’ve been working with Bristow and Gainesville Short Sales since 2007 and can put my experience to work for you.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA, Long & Foster REALTORS®


Braemar Townhouse Report: March-April 2012

Braemar Townhouse Report:  March-April 2012

We’re nearly midway through May.  Seems it was just the beginning of 2012.  That’s what happens when you are busy helping people buy and sell in Braemar.  Our real estate market is on fire!  Since we’ve got two more months behind us, let’s take a look back at the months of March and April and see how our Braemar townhouse market fared.  We’ll make comparisons to last report (January-February 2012) and last year (March-April 2012.) And, as usual, we’ll divide townhouses into Garage and No Garage categories.

To begin, Townhouses with No Garage saw two resales in March and April.  The high sold price was $254,000 and the low sold price was $210,000.  The average of the two was $232,000, which is our new average market value for Townhouses with No Garage.  That’s a 2.9% decrease since last report, but a 1.7% increase since last report.  This is stability, and it is always welcome in the Braemar real estate market.

If you placed your Braemar Townhouse with No Garage on the market, priced to current market conditions, you could expect it to go under contract in just about two weeks.  You could also expect a buyer to ask for an average of just over 2% of the sales price in closing cost help.

Garage Townhouses saw five resales in March and April.  The high sold price was $285,000 and the low sold price was $254,000.  The average of all five sales gives us our new average market value for Garage Townhouses of $266,400.  That’s a 1.7% increase since last report and nearly an 18% increase since last year!  That’s incredible.

If you placed your Braemar Garage Townhouse on the market, priced to current market conditions, you could expect it to go under contract in just over a week.  You could also expect a buyer to ask for an average of just over 1% of the sales price in closing cost help.

The next Braemar Townhouse Report will be in July and will detail sales from the months of May and June.  Judging from the sales activity, there will be many more to report.  Until then, if you are looking to buy or sell a Braemar townhouse, give me a call.  I’ve been a full-time real estate agent and Braemar home owner since 2005.  I’ve also been a Short Sale Agent since 2007.  No matter what your equity position, I have the knowledge to get your Braemar townhouse sold in the shortest period of time and for the maximum dollar value.  No one knows Braemar better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®


Just Because the Bank is Willing to Take Less in a Braemar Short Sale…

Just Because the Bank is Willing to Take Less in a Braemar Short Sale…

Toward the end of summer, I was taking a family looking to purchase in Bristow through some Braemar homes.  We saw many Yardleys, and as I track the value of Yardley and similar models built by Brookfield in Braemar through my bi-monthly Braemar Property Value Reports, I was shocked when we came across a Yardley priced substantially below the going market value.

A call to the Listing Agent indicated this Braemar Short Sale had been approved by the bank on a previous contract at that price, and that they needed no more than that.  Mind you, the difference between what the bank was willing to accept and what they could have easily gotten in the market was at least $50,000-$75,000, if not more since values were increasing.  And a quick tour of the home indicated the home was nicely upgraded and had no major issues.

As a Braemar Short Sale Agent myself, I was curious as to WHY another agent would price a Short Sale so low, just because the bank had already said okay to that number?  After all, as Braemar Short Sale Agents we represent the best interest of the Sellers, and that means getting the highest payoff for the bank to minimize tax implications that can be associated with the short payoff.  The bank doesn’t pay the taxes on the amount of forgiven debt.  That falls to the Sellers.  And at a very modest 15% tax bracket, with an additional $50,000-$75,000 that wasn’t collected toward the loan payoff, that’s anywhere from $7,500-$11,250 in tax debt that a Seller may have to pay to the IRS, not to mention the state income tax.

Naturally, another side effect of the low sale, because the final sales price was only a smidge higher than the approved list price, is decreased property values for Yardleys in the neighborhood.  Again, a Yardley in outstanding condition sold for substantially less than it should have.  The bank could have made more money, the Sellers been forgiven less mortgage debt, thus incurring less tax implication, and the neighbors could have seen a higher sale price.

Picking the right Braemar Short Sale Agent goes beyond who can pick up the phone and ask the bank what they will accept.  It’s knowing the market values in the neighborhood and the pulse of our Braemar real estate market.  If you want to hire someone who knows Short Sales and knows our Braemar marketplace, let’s talk.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®


What Can Braemar Buyers and Sellers Expect When Dealing with a Short Sale?

What Can Braemar Buyers and Sellers Expect When Dealing with a Short Sale?

 Braemar buyers and sellers have many questions when it comes to Short Sales.  And as a Northern Virginia Short Sale Agent that’s been listing and selling Short Sales since 2007, I have answers.  These answers are specific to the experiences I have had since my first Bramear Short Sale in the fall of 2007.  I have been tracking my Short Sale statistics, and they reveal some interesting answers.

First question most people have when it comes to a Short Sale is:  What percentage of market value will a Short Sale Bank accept?  That answer is one I usually answer by my gut with a quick 95%.  Looking at what percentage of list price my Short Sale listings garner when they sell says my gut is right on target.  For starters, I don’t price my Northern Virginia Short Sales below market value.  I don’t see the point.  Banks want market value.  So when I see that my Short Sales are selling for an average of 98%, I am not surprised in the least.  By the way, the lowest percentage of list price one of my Short Sales sold for is 92%.  Highest is 110%.

The second most popular question when it comes to Short Sales comes from sellers:  How many days does it take to get a Short Sale under contract?  Short Sale Sellers often worry that getting their home under contract will take six months because buyers will avoid their home because of the Short Sale aspect.  On average, my Short Sale listings go under contract in 41 days.  That’s about six weeks!  And the median time frame is 22 days. 

The third question is a critical one:   How many long does it take to get a Short Sale approvedAgain, there is a ton of bad news in the marketplace.  I am here to tell you that on average, my Short Sales get approved 60 days after the contract is written.  That’s a number that comes from both one loan and two loan Short Sales.  If I break those numbers out, one loan Short Sales get approved in an average of 48 days.  Two loan Short Sales get approved in an average of 58 days.  The news is not nearly as bleak as you think…at least when you are dealing with an experienced Northern Virginia Short Sale Agent.

The final question is just as critical as the third:  How long does it take for a Short Sale to go to settlement?  This answer obviously includes the time frame it takes for approval and then some.  Typically, buyers will not have their inspection, or start their loan processing until a Short Sale is approved.  Generally, a Short Sale contract will allow a buyer 30 days from approval to get to settlement.  On average, from contract to closing, my Short Sales take 85 days. 

So there you have it.  All the answers to Short Sales you wanted.  But remember, those are statistics specific to MY Short Sale business.  So if you want these results, give me a call.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker–Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®


With Gas Prices Soaring, It’s a Good Thing Braemar is So Close to the VRE

With Gas Prices Soaring, It’s a Good Thing Braemar is So Close to the VRE

I was filling up at the Safeway gas station in Braemar Village Plaza on Saturday and snapped this photo of gas prices.  I am sure they are even higher now.  Seems we all get numb to ever-increasing price of gas.

I’m fortunate in my career as a Real Estate Broker that I can pick and choose how far I wish to drive for work.  And a lot of my job as a Listing Agent and Short Sale Agent can be handled remotely…so I get to work from my Braemar home just about every day.  However, for those that commute to Washington, DC and Arlington every day, the price of gas can present quite a crisis.  While gas prices continue to rise, many government employees have found their pay frozen.

It’s a good thing that Braemar is so close to the VRE.  For those of you unfamiliar, the VRE is short for the Virginia Railway Express.  Braemar is located less than six miles from the Broad Run VRE.  The VRE is a great commuting solution for Braemar residents who work in DC or the Arlington area.  The Crystal City VRE stop drops you off so you can hop a ride on the Metro to get you even closer to work.

The rising price of gas is likely to increase demands for homes like those in Braemar that are close to mass transit.  If you’re looking for your next home and would like to investigate Braemar, give me a call.  No one knows Braemar better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®