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Agents help you prepare for the unexpected

From tornadoes to mold, have you thought of everything?



title insurance, gay news, Washington Blade
As the Midwest and even areas close to D.C. are coping with tornadoes this month, such events can impact a real estate purchase. (Photo by Justin Hobson via Wikimedia Commons)

When buying real estate, just when you think you have done everything you can to put your best financial foot forward, there are times where things that are out of your control happen.  

Think of the Midwest with the tornadoes, Puerto Rico and Florida and Texas with hurricanes. Think of going under contract to buy a condo and finding out the building’s finances are not in order and the bank won’t give you a loan. Or there is a problem with the title to a property and it could take weeks or months to clear up. Or you are buying new construction and the tax IDs from the city haven’t been assigned yet, therefore delaying settlement.  

That’s why a good agent will protect their buyers with contingencies, and that’s why there exist such systems as homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, mortgage insurance — we all have to plan a little wiggle room for those situations in life where we did the best we could, but still came up short.  

If I do a home inspection with a client and we discover leaks and mold and all kinds of unfavorable situations, hopefully I have built in a home inspection contingency to get them out of the contract. If a homeowner bought a home and the title was not cleared correctly, that’s where the title insurance comes in when they go to resell and need to clear up the title and who is going to pay for that?

If the condo building you want to buy in has a budget problem and the owners of the various condos are not current with their condo dues, then hopefully the financing contingency can come into effect because the bank won’t be able to issue a commitment letter for the loan, and the buyer can walk away.  

A good agent will understand the layers of protection and contingencies, and can explain how to insure their client from the inadvertent surprises that come up when buying or selling a home. A good agent will also not act as an insurance salesperson, an attorney, a home inspector, or a structural engineer, but will be able to lead you to the right person to help you as a client make the most informed decision possible in that situation.

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group of Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or [email protected]

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Real Estate

Migration patterns and what that means to the DMV

Single-family homes remain popular as telework grows



The growth of telework since the pandemic has prompted many to relocate to larger homes.

I recently spent two weeks out West, in Colorado and Texas. I kept hearing a similar refrain from many locals — “The Californians are coming!”— when the topic of real estate would come up. I have also heard on the East Coast that many New Yorkers and people from bigger urban areas in the Northeast are starting to flock to warmer climates such as Florida and other parts of the South and Southwest. How does this affect real estate in our metro are of the DMV?  

With the amount of federal government offices, universities, three major airports, the Port of Baltimore, the state capital of Maryland and the Naval Academy located in the region, as well as the tech corridor of Northern Virginia, an extensive regional Metro system, the U.S. Congress, and too many law firms to count, I don’t think our region will need to worry about losing too many of its residents.  

There will probably be much more opportunity to telework going forward, and I am sure that in the year to come many of the universities and organizations might be incorporating more options for a hybrid learning environment as the vaccination roll out and rate continues to slowly rise, depending on the jurisdiction.  

What does this mean for the homeowners or those who want to be homeowners in the District, Maryland and Virginia? My guess is that it is still going to continue to be a seller’s market in the single-family home market, where yards, porches, and extra bedrooms continue to be the most desired features.  

For first time homebuyers, the rates are still rather low, hovering around the 3 percent rate depending on credit score. The buying power for a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom condo has increased for many first-time homebuyers over the last few years.  Also, the demand for the one-bedroom or two-bedroom condo market may have decreased a little due to the pandemic, which might be creating opportunities for the first-time homebuyers to move up the chain, into a condo at a decent price, or ask for the repairs and terms that are not frequently being offered currently in the single family home market.  

At any rate, after the Labor Day holiday, I will be offering monthly homebuyer seminars, and free seller consultations to help buyers and sellers figure out what is the best plan of attack for them to achieve the next step of homeownership or selling their home and either leveling up or down, depending on their needs.

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or [email protected].

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Real Estate

How to prepare yourself in this seller’s market

Millennials are putting down the avocado toast and picking up mortgages



Just because it’s a seller’s market, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to buy.

For the first time, Millennials are cutting back on spending money on multiple streaming subscriptions, $10 drinks, and avocado toast. They are dipping their feet into purchasing their first home. The current market conditions can be tough for some buyers though, so being prepared is more important now than ever. 

The first step in the home buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Your agent should be trustworthy and someone who is knowledgeable about the area, sales contract, and local programs that may be able to save you money. Once you find the perfect agent, ask them to refer you to their preferred local lenders. When talking with lenders, not only should you focus on interest rates, but also ask about their in-house processing and underwriting. This may be able to give you a competitive advantage against other offers. 

Once you’ve decided on your lender, they will need several documents to help them determine your eligible purchase price. Now is the perfect time to get your documents in order, including 30 days of pay stubs, two years of tax returns and/or W2s and 1099s, and two consecutive bank statements. Providing these documents in a timely manner can help expedite the pre-approval process and prevent delays once you’re under contract. The lender will also look at your median credit score from the three major credit bureaus. Since your credit score has a direct effect on your interest rate, it’s important to pay close attention to your score. If your credit score needs a little help, talk to your Realtor and lender to see if they have recommendations on how to boost your score or programs that may be able to help.

After you’ve been pre-approved, it’s time to look at properties. With these current market conditions, properties typically don’t stay on the market for very long. Depending on the type of property, some may only be on the market for a few days. Doing your due diligence at the beginning of your home search can help save you time and focus on the properties that really fit your criteria. Now is the time to make that wish list, visit neighborhoods, research schools, and get a really good idea of what you’re looking for. In this market, it’s very important to see a property as soon as it hits the market. By fully understanding your search criteria in advance and making sure you’re available to see properties after work or on a lunch break, you will be better prepared to make an offer when “the one” hits the market. 

The most common question I get now is, “should I wait?” In most cases, the cost of waiting can cost you. With historically low interest rates and housing prices continuing to increase, now is still a great time to purchase real estate. Being prepared, patient and having an informed Realtor and lender on your side will definitely help in this market.

Teddy Rojanadit is a licensed Realtor in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland with Bediz Group at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Follow him at @teddydcrealtor on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. He can be reached at [email protected] or 202-664-3736.

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Real Estate

The five-step downsizing plan

Set goals and a budget — then de-clutter



Before you downsize, you’ll need to de-clutter your home.

Are you considering downsizing? For any number of reasons, this might be a decision that makes sense at this point in your life. 

Perhaps you have children that are now grown and have moved out, or you entertained large parties and those days have passed, now having more space than you can use. Maybe you simply want less home to take care of and fewer chores on your to-do list. Perhaps you’d like a smaller mortgage, so you can put the extra money toward other things. Or possibly, you’re willing to pay a slightly higher mortgage so that you can have a smaller home in an area where you’ve always wanted to live. Whatever your reasons, if you’re thinking of downsizing, having a plan can be extremely valuable. Those preparing to downsize may find that following this helpful five-step plan can make the process a smooth and successful experience:

Think through your goals: This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that people often overlook. As you think about downsizing, take the time to sit down and come up with a detailed list of your goals. Ask yourself the necessary questions that will help you to narrow and focus your search. These are questions like: What’s important to you in life — being close to family and friends? Living in a place you love? Having easy access to medical care? Access to an international airport? Spend some time thinking through your priorities and desires. How much of a mortgage will you be able to pay, particularly if you are retiring or anticipating increased health care costs as you age? Maybe you’re able to live mortgage free with the sale of your larger home.

How much square footage would you feel comfortable caring for? How will you prepare for the move? Thinking carefully about your future by working through important questions like these can help you move closer toward a concrete vision of your ideal downsizing situation and provide peace of mind and confidence during the process. 

• Look for a location you love: Location is an important aspect of any real estate transaction, but this can be especially true when downsizing. What are your reasons for downsizing? Thinking this through may help you to choose a location that is ideal for your needs. Are you downsizing because you are getting older and health issues are a concern? If so, choosing a location close to a city center where you can easily access medical care might be important. Are you downsizing because you’re tired of living in a large home in a suburban area and want easier access to amenities that a more urban environment may offer? If so, looking for more walkable neighborhoods closer to a larger metropolitan area might be important for you. Are you retiring and downsizing because you want to live in that gay-friendly city that you’ve always loved? Focus your home search there. 

• Be sure to budget: After you’ve thought through your goals and decided on a desirable location, you’ll want to spend time closely looking at your financial situation and coming up with a realistic budget to achieve your goals. Meeting with a financial professional to review your assets and debts, what you might make from the sale of your current home, and what the total costs of downsizing might be can be tremendously helpful, and can ensure that you make your move with financial confidence and security.

Don’t forget to declutter: Certainly, downsizing means you’ll have less space – and this means less room for extra stuff. Before your move, take advantage of the downsizing process as an opportunity to let go of items you no longer truly need or use and to make space for new things and experiences. It is important to get started on this process early. Often, when people are downsizing, they still overestimate the amount of room they will have for extra items. Don’t make this mistake. Taking the time to sit down and think about what will fit within your new space removes the stress of later having to dispose of those belongings after you move.

Find the right agent: The importance of this step in your downsizing plan should not be overlooked. Whether you are staying relatively close to home or moving across the country, you will need an agent who knows the community you’re interested in and can help direct you to neighborhoods and homes that will best fit your needs. This can particularly be true when you are an LGBTQ home buyer or seller and you want to ensure that you find not only a house that you love, but also a community where you can feel truly at home. Working with the right agent can reduce your stress, save time, and greatly increase your overall satisfaction with your real estate experience. Wondering how to find exactly the right agent for your needs? At, that’s where we come in.

Whatever your real estate needs – whether you are looking to buy, sell, upgrade, or downsize, at, we are here for you. We are passionate about connecting LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with agents who are talented, experienced, and committed to helping their clients achieve their real estate dreams. In any real estate experience, having an agent who knows and loves their community and who values each client, and understands that client’s unique needs can be invaluable. We are dedicated to delivering that experience every time. You deserve nothing less. We look forward to helping you soon.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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