Sunday, September 03, 2006

Home For Sale in Fairfax , VA

Address: 2902 MAPLE LN, Fairfax, VA 22031

This 4br, 3 full bathroom house built in 1978 is available for sale at 680,000. It is fresh on the market, just 11 days, and still it has had one price reduction from 699,000 to 680,000. It is located in a fairly nice upper middle class area in Northern Virginia (Washington, DC suburbs).
Commuter's dream! Customized and updated sfh---on .43 landscaped acre w/ pond & waterfall!--between vienna and dunn loring metros, minutes to rts 50, 66 and 29, and restaurants and shopping! Highlights: granite kitchen counters & island; hardwood on all main level; marble flooring in 3 baths; custom light fixtures & recessed lighting; no hoa! Welcome home!
It was last sold on 12/20/04 for 580,000. Fairfax County has assessed its current 2006 value at 600K. Will it sell at 680K?


  1. Without knowing what other surrounding similar properties have been selling for in the last 3 - 4 months, it is impossible to tell if it is fairly priced or not. (Not that it matters since "asking" price is just that ... And the market will determine the fair selling price.) What it sold for last December isn't relevant because we don't know (1) was this an arms-lenght, non-distress, regular sale? (2) have any renovations been undertaken in the time since? and (3) what has that area been doing pricewise since then? (e.g., prices in my neighborhood in the District have continued to go up since last December.)

    BUT, these are all questions that a determined --- and smart --- potential buyer should be seeking the answers to when he/she is looking to buy a house. To expect to get a fair deal otherwise is to leave everything to chance and expect for others to be looking out for you. And that won't happen.

  2. I forgot to mention also that assessed value is probably the worst gage to use in determining a property's true value. Assessed values are determined by someone sitting in an office based on trends for the area and what they know about a specific property (which in most cases isn't much). Additionally, as I've witnessed over the years, a house's assessed value can also vary markedly depending on the owner's propensity to fight increases in assessed value and for other reasons such as a person's "city hall" connections. In some jurisdictions it can also be affected by such factors as a homeowner's age (assessments get frozen after a person reaches 65) etc. Bottom line is don't look at the assessment for anything other than to get an inkling at what YOU may be paying in taxes if you buy the property ... And even that is not guaranteed.

  3. "Bottom line is don't look at the assessment for anything other than to get an inkling at what YOU may be paying in taxes if you buy the property ..."

    In virginia the assessed value by law is required to be the market value. That does not mean that assessor's sometimes get it wrong.

  4. David said:
    "That does not mean that assessor's sometimes get it wrong."

    or that it doesn't lag the market by months and/or years ...

  5. i_will_not_cooperate, most of the bubbleheads on here are looking for a fair deal ... and not a handout as you apparently are.

  6. David, true that there are many local areas that are simmering, and a few that have 'deflated' (like in Colorado for isntance).

    FYI you and/or your readers may be interested in a few facts about another area.

    Thought I'd add some real estate facts about another area.

    FYI in the second fastest growing state outside of California, it appears that the
    growth in Cape Coral Florida real estate (ranked fastest growing city in US Census
    2006 for pop'ns over 100,000) has not all been lost (despite it's real estate
    appreciation has dropped
    to 18% from a 3 yr average of 28%).

    Total Sales for 1 Week (last week) in this 155,000 pop'n city
    came to $45,527,400.00.

    Here are the figures...feel free to
    follow through and learn more.


    1631 Del Prado Blvd sold to Coral Pointe Investment LLC $23,141,200.
    125 NE Pine Island Rd. sold to Cape Croal 20 LLC $2,550,000.
    3670 Del Prado sold to Talan, Corp. $675,000
    Ne Pine Island Rd. sold to Pine-Andalusia LLC $369,500.
    1106 NE 8th St sold to Edward Short $90,000

    SE Cape Coral-33904:

    N. Cape Coral-33909:

    SW Cape Coral-33914

    Central Cape Coral-33991

    NW Cape Coral-33993

    Residential Sales TTL:

    Commercial Sales TTL:

    TTL= $45,527,400.00

    For any of those real estate investors or homebuyers that have any
    uncertainty, it's hard to ignore these numbers.

    The market is still moving week and that much in
    transactions - pretty darned good.

    Check more out at

  7. i_will_not_be_reasonable said:
    "300% appreciation in 5 years is far from being "normal" Price reductions are showing up daily, when they are reduced 260%, I'll deal."

    you're going to be renting a long long time! :)

  8. chip said:
    "Worse than a corner lot, etc."

    LOL ... corner lot properties usually sell at a premium!

  9. whitetower,

    With 20% down, and a 6.5% fully amortizing 30 yr mortgage, your payments are $3,438.45. Minus out 35% for fed and state tax benefits and you're down to $2,234.99/mo ... guaranteed for the next 30 years ... with no payments for all years following that. Compare that to the $2,500/mo rent that can be raised at any time ... and most definitely will be raised numerous times over the next 30 years ... and I think we can see who the real sucker is.

  10. I_Will_Not_Cooperate said...
    "136K down."

    Most people "moving up" would have a lot more than that to put down even if they were only rolling over their current equity and not adding any more cash to the down.

  11. Lance, when posting your numbers, include the mortgage interest threshold that needs to be crossed before deduction of mortgage interest can occur.

  12. chris g said...
    "Lance, when posting your numbers, include the mortgage interest threshold that needs to be crossed before deduction of mortgage interest can occur."


    There isn't one. You itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction and that allows you to get the full benefit of mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, etc. (The standard deduction is meant to approximate the deductions you are otherwise entitled to such as your state income taxes paid. It doesn't include an approximation for special deductions such as house-owning related and charitable contributions ... hence you have to itemize if you want to get the benefit of those. And you then you get the full benefit of it.)

  13. Asking prices mean nothing. Do your research to see what nearby similar properties have sold for and let that be your guide as to what is a fair and reasonable price to offer. When making your offer, cite the comparable sales upon which you are basing your offer.

  14. Sorry to butt in here, but when the State needs to step in, we can with some certainty say that “most” homebuyers that purchased in the last few years are in trouble:

    That’s right Lance, nothing to see here, move along people.

    (Thanks to for the link)

  15. whitetower said:
    "After 18 years, you will be paying less interest than principle. After 24 years, the amount of interest will be less than your standard deduction for a married couple."

    It really won't be until something like year 20 that you are paying substantially less interest. At that point chances are it won't matter because you'll already have rolled over into a new house (with a new mortgage) or refinanced to cash out some of the tons of equity you'll have earned. You might also be retired and not have much taxable income. Also, in 20 years, the payment in real terms will be sooooo small that it won't matter whether any of it is tax deductible or not. Just look back to see what I mean. If you had bought an average Northern Virginia house 20 years ago for something like $175,000, your mortgage payment would have been something like $1,200 ... far cheaper than any rental payment out there ... and you'd have hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity in it. Would the fact that you couldn't today deduct as much interest matter in the least? No .....

  16. Sorry Lance, it was a long day yesterday for me. Yes, there is no mortgage interest. I realized I was trying to say that everyone gets the standard deduction, unless they want to itemize, so the focus should be on whatever is gained in tax deductions above the amount of the standard deduction. But I gave it some thought and admit that it doesn't really apply in this scenario.

    However, you do need a slight adjustment for the deductions, because your scenario assumed all-interest at the beginning. Actually there is $2946.67 of interest and $491.78 of principal with the first payment. Deduct taxes on the interest, then add principal, and the total is $2407.12 for the first month (you had $2234.99). The real estate taxes (tax-adjusted) and the insurance would bring the total above the rental amount of $2500/month. Not taking into account potential appreciation (buy benefit) and maintenance costs (buy drawback), a renter would probably come out ahead for the first 5-7 years, and then the buyer would come out ahead.

    Whitetower, although what you say is true that the mortgage interest decreases over time, the tax-adjusted payment for a buyer only increases about $12 per year in this scenario, or about 0.5% payment rise per year. It is highly likely that rental payments would increase faster than 0.5% annually. But in this real estate market, there is no question that it's difficult to buy, considering the potential depreciation.

  17. Whitetower said:
    "Put another way, since: 1. housing price appreciation is questionable in the long term,

    and 2. long-term maintenance costs will exist,

    and 3. there are no tax benefits in the long-term, therefore long-term house ownership becomes a financial liability."

    Whitetower, based on your misconceptions, it is no wonder you think you are better off being a renter. Try this as a reality test ... When you look at successful people around you, are they for the most part renters or homeowners?