Real Estate Tea With Lavina

July 21, 2020

20 Items To Check Before A Home Inspection

Posted in News
July 16, 2020

Buying or Selling a Home? You Need an Expert Kind of Guide

In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate through the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.

We are, however, in anything but a normal market right now. We are amid one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers take to purchase or sell a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’

According to Lexico, a Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.

They are much more than just guides.

This is much more than a normal real estate market.

Today, the average guide just won’t do. You need a Sherpa. You need an expert who understands how COVID-19 is impacting the thoughts and actions of the consumer (ex: virtual showings, proper safety protocols, e-signing documents). You need someone who can simply and effectively explain the changes in today’s process to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, especially in these challenging times.


Chatting with an agent who understands how the pandemic is reshaping the real estate processes is crucial. Let's connect today to guarantee your journey is a safe and successful one.

Posted in News
May 28, 2020


“Buyer Beware”


“A systemized approach to the homebuying process can help you steer clear of these common traps, allowing you to not only cut costs, but also secure the home that’s best for you.”


No matter which way you look at it buying a home is a major investment but for many homebuyers, it can be an even more expensive process than it needs to be because many fall prey to at least a few of the many common and costly mistakes which trap them into either:

• paying too much for the home they want, or


• losing their dream home to another buyer or,


A systemized approach to the homebuying process can help you steer clear of these common traps, allowing you to not only cut costs, but also secure the home that’s best for you. This important report discusses the 9 most common and costly of these homebuyer traps, how to identify them, and what you can do to avoid them.9 most common and costly of these homebuyer traps, how to identify them, and what you can do to avoid them.


Buyer Traps


1. Bidding Blind...


What price should you offer when you bid on a home? Is the seller’s asking price too high, or does it represent a great deal. If you fail to research the market in order to understand what comparable homes are selling for, making your offer would be like bidding blind. Without this knowledge of market value, you could easily bid too much, or fail to make a competitive offer at all on an excellent value.


2. Buying the Wrong Home...


What are you looking for in a home? A simple enough question, but the answer can be quite complex. More than one buyer has been swept up in the emotion and excitement of the buying process only to find themselves the owner of a home that is either too big or too small. Maybe they’re stuck with a longer than desired commute to work, or a dozen more fix-ups than they really want to deal with now that the excitement has died down. Take the time upfront to clearly define your wants and needs. Put it in writing and then use it as a yard stick with which to measure every home you look at.


3. Unclear Title...


Make sure very early on in the negotiation that you will own your new home free and clear by having a title search completed. The last thing you want to discover when you’re in the back stretch of a transaction is that there are encumbrances on the property such as tax liens, undisclosed owners, easements, leases or the like.


Shown (e.g. additions to the house, a new swimming pool, a neighbor’s new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.). Be very clear on these issues.


5. Undisclosed Fix-ups... 


Don’t expect every seller to own up to every physical detail that will need to be attended to. Both you and the seller are out to maximize your investment. Ensure that you conduct a thorough inspection of the home early in the process. Consider hiring an independent inspector to objectively view the home inside and out, and make the final contract contingent upon this inspector’s report. This inspector should be able to give you a report of any item that needs to be fixed with associated, approximate cost.


6. Not Getting Mortgage Preapproval...


Pre-approval is fast, easy and free. When you have a pre-approved mortgage, you can shop for your home with a greater sense of freedom and security, knowing that the money will be there when you find the home of your dreams.


7. Contract Misses...


If a seller fails to comply to the letter of the contract by neglecting to attend to some repair issues, or changing the spirit of the agreement in some way, this could delay the final closing and settlement. Agree ahead of time on a dollar amount for an escrow fund to cover items that the seller fails to follow through on. Prepare a list of agreed issues, walk through them, and check them off one by one.


8. Hidden Costs...


Make sure you identify and uncover all costs - large and small - far enough ahead of time. When a transaction closes, you will sometimes find fees for this or that sneaking through after the “subtotal - fees such as loan disbursement charges, underwriting fees etc. Understand these in advance by having your lender project total charges for you in writing.


9. Rushing the Closing...


Take your time during this critical part of the process, and insist on seeing all paperwork the day before you sign. Make sure this documentation perfectly reflects your understanding of the transaction, and that nothing has been added or subtracted. Is the interest rate right? Is everything covered? If you rush this process on the day of closing, you may run into a last minute snag that you can’t fix without compromising the terms of the deal, the financing, or even the sale itself.


Find out if your agent offers a Buyer Profile System or “House-hunting Service,” which takes the guesswork out of finding just the right home that matches your needs. This type of program will cross match you criteria with ALL available homes on the market and supply you with printed information on an on-going basis. A program like this can help you to affordably, move into the home of your dreams.


A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated


Posted in News
May 6, 2020


"What You Should Know BEFORE You Buy"


“A home will only sell for what the market can bare. What this means is that no matter how many upgrades were made, or how much money has been invested in the upgrades, a home will only sell for what the majority of home buyers are willing to pay.”


Before deciding that your next home must be a fixer-upper, you should do some homework into what to expect when purchasing these types of homes. Many prospective home buyers tend to have a romanticized version of the entire process, and are quite shocked when confronted with the hard reality. Fixer Upper homes can often represent a good deal, but there are some points that a home buyer should be aware of before making that offer.


MYTH #1 . . . 

I can make a “killing” in the real estate market by buying a run-down home, for tens of thousands of dollars less than the average home, fixing it up, and then immediately selling it for full price, or more. 


FACT #1 . . . 

Most homeowners looking to sell their “fixer upper” home understand that they will have to list their home at a price that reflects the cost involved in restoring the home to its original condition. The asking price of a fixer upper is usually calculated so that the savings represent- ed by the lower than average market price is roughly equal to the amount of money that a buyer could expect to spend on necessary renovations. Updating the “look” of a home, or upgrading to higher-end finishes, is not included in these calculations, and you should be careful not to spend so much money on renovations that you are unable to recoup your investment.


MYTH #2 . . . 

If I’m buying a fixer-upper home, I don’t need to bother with the added cost and aggravation of a home inspection because I already know what I’m getting. 


FACT #2 . . . 

A home inspection should always be included in an Offer To Purchase and Sell agreement, and it is arguably even more important to include one when you are looking to buy a fixer upper. Structural defects are normally not visible to the untrained eye, yet will cost much more to repair than the obvious cosmetic fix-ups. Most licensed home inspectors will not only detail the defects that they uncover, but can also give you a good idea of the costs involved in fixing them. 


MYTH #3 . . . 

It’s better to pay a lot less and buy a “fixer upper” in an undesirable area, than to pay more for a comparable “fixer upper” in a better neighbourhood. 


FACT #3 . . . 

Most of us have heard the quote, “the three most important things to look for when buying a home are: location….location…and location!” While this is obviously meant to be funny, and is a somewhat oversimplified rule of home buying, it does drive home the point of how important it is to consider where you will buy your home. Purchasing a fixer- upper in a desirable neighbourhood will cost you more initially, but the payoffs -- personal peace-of-mind and higher return on your home investment when you sell -- should not be overlooked.0


MYTH #4 . . . 

Once I fix this house up, I can turn around and sell it for double the price I paid. 


FACT #4 . . . 

A home will only sell for what the market can bare. What this means is that no matter how many upgrades were made, or how much money has been invested in the upgrades, a home will only sell for what the majority of home buyers are willing to pay. Factors to consider when calculating your possible return on investment: 


1 Location: What kind of a neighbourhood is the home in? The type of neighborhood will determine which type of buyers you will attract when you decide to sell. For example: An area consisting of mostly “first time buyers” will attract buyers who have a strict and limited bud- get. They are looking for affordability above all else – including high-end finishes and perfectly landscaped gardens. 

2 Neighbours: What are the neighbouring homes like? A beautiful home surrounded by unkempt, run-down homes will sell for much less, than a beautiful home surrounded by well- kept, nicely maintained homes. 


3 Surroundings: What are the surrounding features? Buyers are willing to pay more for a home that is in a convenient, yet quiet locale. While you may find it convenient to side onto a school, many potential buyers would eliminate such a location due to the noise level associated with the presence of hundreds of excitable children, and the congestion caused by school buses and parents dropping off and picking up students. 


MYTH #5 . . . 

I can make a lot more money by turning this single family home into a multi-family dwelling. 


FACT #5 . . . 

While this statement is for the most part true, it may not be possible. Most towns and cities have strict zoning laws that not only dictate the maximum allowable occupancy within any given area, but also dictate the size and design of a home when building new, or creating additions to an existing structure. 

Once you have thoroughly investigated the pro’s and con’s associated with purchasing a fixer upper home, and you have decided that it’s right for you, be sure to “run your numbers”. 


1. List Price of Fixer Upper 

2. Average Recent Sale Prices of Similar “Non Fixer Upper” Area Homes 

3. Estimated Cost of Repairs from Reputable Source (e.g. referred Renovation Company) 

4. Buffer Amount for “Unexpected” Repair Costs (usually 1/2 of estimated total) 

5. Selling Expenses (real estate fees, lawyer fees, closing costs) 

6. Amount of Profit You Desire versus Amount of Actual Profit


 For example: 

1. $200,000.00 = List Price of Fixer Upper 

2. $255,000.00 = Average Sales Price 

3. $ 25,000.00 = Estimated Repairs 

4. $ 12,500.00 = Buffer for Repairs 

5. $ 17,000.00 = Selling Expenses 

6. $ 20,000.00 = Desired Profit Versus Actual 

Profit of $500.00 


If your intent was to purchase the house shown in the example above, make the repairs, and immediately list the house for sale, your Actual Profit shown is only $500.00. If, however, your intent was to purchase the same house, but actually live in it for a few years before selling, you would normally expect to turn a much better profit for two reasons: 


• First, historically speaking, the real estate market normally goes up over time and your anticipated sale price would be higher - affording you more profit. 

• Second, the money that you would have been paying in rent to live elsewhere - with no return - is actively paying down your mortgage and increasing your equity. 


As with all investments, though, nothing is guaranteed. So when looking to finance a home, keep in mind that the real estate market has taken some big hits in the past. Never overextend yourself financially. 


Please note that the figures in the calculations shown were used for example purposes only. Local housing prices, repair costs, and selling costs will vary greatly from one location to another. It is recommended that all Buyers thoroughly research their local costs and legal restrictions before purchasing



23315 Frederick Rd, Clarksburg, MD 20871


Posted in News
Oct. 30, 2019

Signs You Are Ready To Sell Your Home

Posted in News
Oct. 16, 2019

19641 White Saddle Drive - Germantown, MD

This home features:

3 Bedrooms                 

2 Full Baths and 2 Half Baths..       

1,660 Total finished SqFt

Fenced Private Yard         

Updated Kitchen with new cabinets, tiled Floor and Granite Counter top

New Roof                 

Newer HVAC                 

New Windows

Posted in Listings
July 28, 2017

Soar Above Rockville Real Estate

Adventurous spirits go all out above Rockville real estate. At Go Ape Treetop Adventures daredevils conquer ziplines and obstacle courses. Guests explore the forest canopy up close to the clouds. It almost feels as if the sky’s really is the limit. Perfect for family fun, children ten and older can participate in the activities. Self guided excursions last a few hours but the memories linger for a lifetime. Ropes, bridges, and ziplines of various heights keep folks moving along. Rockville real estate has never looked better. Those in the group often spot colorful species of birds in the treetops making this their Rockville home.

Inspiration Is Sky High Near Rockville Homes

With a mission of inspiration, everyone is encouraged to go at their own pace. Visitors not wishing to get off the ground are welcome to view from below. Wandering the forest trails, spectators can capture great moments with their cameras. Time spent at Go Ape Treetop Adventure is more than merry during birthday parties, family reunions and company picnics. Treks here are perfect icebreakers for those on first dates and add a unique feel to bachelor parties and bridal showers.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 800.971.8271. Closed toed shoes are required and weather appropriate clothing suggested. Seize the moment and jump off into adventure today.


Posted in News
July 28, 2017

Memories Are Grown On Germantown Real Estate

Germantown real estate is growing and prospering at Butler’s Orchard. As a working farm, food here is literally farm to table fresh. Filled with wholesome goodness shelves at the Farmers Market overflow with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Scents from the bakery tempt tummies with homemade fruit pies and blueberry donuts.

Children Living In Germantown Learn The Workings Of The Farm

Families from the Germantown real estate area take advantage of the pick your own program. Memories are made as flowers, herbs, berries and more are picked right from the fields. At certain time potatoes can be dug right out of the ground. After the farm work is done nature trails are enjoyed and picnics spread out on tables. Giant slides get out extra energy and farm animals are waiting to say hello.

Seasonal and sensational Strawberry Blossom Tours are amazing experiences. Groups of school aged children living in Germantown learn the workings of the farm and leave with a strawberry plant of their own to care for.

Butler’s Orchard hosts several festivals throughout the year. Springtime set the scene for Bunnyland where plenty of cute, cuddly bunnies and ducklings are ready to play. Activities include fun in the hay and an egg hunt. October’s Pumpkin Festival features a corn maze, caramel apples, live music and of course the best pumpkin patch ever. Last Call For Fall brings them all out for face painting, hayrides, campfires and kettle corn.


Posted in News
July 28, 2017

The Gang’s All Here On Frederick Real Estate

Good times are had by all on Frederick real estate. At the Flying Dog Brewery toasts are raised high. Year round, seasonal, and limited release handcrafted beers are perfected on location. Those living in Frederick who want to delve deeper into the brewery’s workings can schedule a tour. Behind the scenes excursions are complimentary and open to guests twenty-one years and older.

Grab A Glass And Let The Good Times Roll Near Frederick Homes

The tasting room welcomes thirsty patrons with open arms. Up to 20 selections are on tap. Individual samples, flights of four, and growler fills satisfy one and all. Savor pale ales, stouts, and IPA’s. Flavors vary from cool and crisp to robust. From The Truth Imperial Ale to Bloodline Blood Orange Ale there is something to whet everyone’s whistle. Tasters who find the blend they like can bring a filled growler back to their Frederick home. Any 64 ounce container can be used. Those in need can purchase a Flying Dog growler right from the brewery.

Special events are often in the lineup. Fun and unique happenings include classes such as the science of beer and yoga in the brewery. The Flying Dog Brewery also brings its best brews out to local events off site. Check the calendar for where they are going next.


Posted in News