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Thinking of Investing in Arlington or Falls Church? Some Tips! May 13, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Falls Church.

Real estate investing, a great way to diversify your portfolio for long-term planning. Especially now.

With rates low, and prices hit, it’s like we’re having a “Real Estate Sale.” Meaning – it’s a great time to invest! Arlington was voted one of the best places to live during a recession, since Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area is in it’s own bubble. Since real estate is local, each market has individual characteristics that make investing smarter. Some of them are:

1. Real Estate Type. You’ll get faster and greater gains by investing in a single-family home, versus a townhouse, and even more so than a condo. Condos make for great living, but high condo fees eat into cash flow. Also, single-family homes appreciate at a faster rate than condos

2. Location, Location, Location! Staying along the orange line corridor (Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, VA Square, Ballston, East Falls Church, West Falls church, and Vienna) will warrant higher prices than those outside of walking distance to the metro.

3. Comps. Have your Realtor run rental comps for the neighborhood and similar properties. Your safest estimate for rental income should be the lowest rental comp. If you end up getting a higher rent – GREAT! – but better to estimate low, than estimate high and have to shell out additional money to cover your mortgage.

4. Fixer-Uppers…sweat equity is great potential for a higher return on your investment, especially if you intend to hold it for a few years before you flip it. For example, many of the Falls Church properties up for sale now are in the $300k range – rewind to 2005, and they were in the $500k’s (there’s an example of where the market went wrong!). Look for the potential to knock down a few walls, redo a bathroom, etc. to improve market value.

5. Intangibles. Look for the intangibles of a property that will make it more appealing to buyers and tenants. Charm? Character? Or better yet, the possibility to add some.

There are so many great books on investing in real estate, but if you’re curious to see how you can become an investor in your local market, talk to a local Realtor. We’re always willing to help!



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