In the News for Buyers and Sellers

June 25th, 2018
Summertime and the Housing Market is Fine!
I love summertime.  The days are longer, kids are out of school, people seem to be happier overall, and houses are selling.
Across Hampton Roads 9.36% more homes were sold in May 2018 than in May 2017, and even more impressive, the number of homes that went under contract in May 2018 was up 19.30% from May 2017.  These numbers are from the Real Estate Information Network (our local MLS), and the ones under contract match last months numbers.  In fact, in Hampton Roads this is the 48th month in a row that the year over year numbers have increased in the number of homes under contract each month.
Inventory (the number of homes for sale), continues to get tighter and Suffolk was the only city last month that had more than five months of inventory, though that number was only 5.05 months.  Five to seven months is considered average, and when it fall below five months economists say we are leaning towards a “seller’s market.”  Locally, the inventory shortage is mostly in homes priced below $225,000.
In more good news for sellers, our area’s residential median sales price increased 4.35% when comparing May 2018 to May 2017.  If you are thinking about buying, we would sugguest that it is definitely time to get the ball rolling right away.  With both prices and interest rates going up, buyers will most likely be paying more in future for the same house.  However, every situation is different, so give us a call Lee 757-726-SOLD (7653), Harry 757-434-9084, or send us an email ( or and we can help you decide what might work for you!
Enjoy the summer days!  Lee and Harry

In the News for Buyers and Seller

May 21st, 2018
Hampton Roads is a Rising Market!
The Hampton Roads real estate sales statistics from April continue to show a rising market.  According to numbers from the Real Estate Information Network (our local MLS), 19.30% more homes went under contract (pending) in April 2018 than in April 2017.  This continued what is now a four year trend of the year over year pending numbers rising (comparing the same month in different years to allow us to compare apples to apples).
But, interestingly enough, Suffolk was the only city in Hampton Roads to go down in pending sales.  The 19.30% was Hampton Road’s average. Newport News had the largest increase at 34.24%, and Suffolk’s fell 0.62%.  A tiny decline, but still well below the average for the area.  It is our opinion that part of this large difference in numbers is that buyers are having trouble finding the house that they want.
If you are thinking about selling don’t wait!  Sellers often make the mistake of waiting until summer to list their houses (studies show that July is the second most popular month to list your home).  It is true that more people typically move over the summer, but that is because the buyer found and put the home under contract 30 to 60 days earlier.  August is one of the slower times of year for sales because no one wants to move during the first few weeks of the school year.
We are happy to come out and give you a free comparative market analysis so you can know what your home can sell for in our current market.  Give us a call Lee 757-726-SOLD (7653), Harry 757-434-9084, or reply back to this email.
Enjoy your weekend,
Lee and Harry

In the News for Buyers and Sellers

April 30th, 2018
April Update and win a gift card!
Last month we were worried about sounding like a broken record.  This month, it is the same song, but a different tune.
The recognizable part is the year over year numbers continue to swing towards a seller’s market.  According to numbers from the Real Estate Information Network (our local MLS) there were 9,244 homes for sale in March 2018, which is 8.67% less than in March 2017.  March 2018 is the 32nd consecutive month of a decline in the number of homes for sale when looking at year over year numbers.  The number of homes under contract (pending) has also increased based on year over year numbers for the last 46 months.
The change has occurred in the absorption rate.  The absorption rate, also called the months’ supply of inventory, is calculated by dividing the total number of homes listed for sale by the number of homes that go under contract.  For example, if 100 homes are listed and 10 go under contract, that months’ supply of inventory would be 10 months.   A balanced market is between 5 and 7 months.    From December 2017 through February 2018, the absorption rate decreased each month, but it went up some in March 2018 to 4.11 months.  However, when you compare the year over year March 2018 is 12.37% less than March 2017.
We have been writing this monthly update for a couple of years now and are looking for some feedback.  We would love to hear what you like about the newsletter and what you think we should change.   Is there other information you think we should include?  In an effort to get you to hit reply and tell us, we will send Starbucks gift cards to the first five people who give us their thoughts.  We will put in everyone else who responds and draw out five more names to send Starbucks cards to as well.
Good luck, and even if you are like Harry and don’t like Starbucks coffee please respond as we can always send you to Sweet Frog instead.
By: Lee Cross

Tax Breaks for Homeowners

March 1st, 2018


Top Four Tax Breaks for Homeowners
As tax time rolls around, it’s good to know that some of your largest home-related expenses are often tax-deductible – which is great news! Here are the tax breaks you may be able to take advantage of as a homeowner.
This is usually the most significant tax break you’ll receive, since a big chunk of your monthly mortgage payment goes towards paying off interest for a while after your purchase. All of the interest you pay during the tax year will be deductible.
Own a second home? Your interest for that mortgage is also deductible. If you rent out your property part of the year and live in it the other part, you may be eligible to deduct that interest. Just beware, if you live or vacation there less than 14 days out of the year or less than 10% of the number of days you rent it out, the IRS may consider it a residential rental property, eliminating your ability to take an interest deduction.
When you buy a home, you have the ability to pay “points” to your mortgage lender in order to lower your interest rate. Typically, a point is 1% of the loan price – so if you bought or built a new home that costs $250,000 and you paid your lender for one origination point, you should be able to deduct the $2,500 in closing costs paid, from your taxes the year of the home purchase. Let’s say your lender asks for 1.5%; this would mean you can deduct $3,750 from your taxes the year of the home purchase. Generally, you can also deduct points on the year’s taxes if you took a home equity line of credit in order to make home improvements.
If you refinanced or took out a home equity loan for something other than home improvements, you might have the ability to deduct points as well. However, it usually must be spread over the life of the loan instead of in a single year’s tax return. While it may not provide as big of a tax break, the savings will still add up over time.
You’ll also have another big deduction to take on your tax return – property taxes. No matter where your home is located, you’ll pay some form of real estate tax. If you have an escrow account(most mortgages do), it means you’ve been paying a portion of your total property tax bill for the year as part of your monthly mortgage payment. But don’t fret, you don’t have to keep up with the dollars and cents in order to take this deduction. Your lender will send you an annual statement, which will break down what you’ve paid in taxes and interest and what portion went to your escrow account to be used towards taxes. You can only deduct the amount your lender paid from your escrow towards taxes.
In addition to saving you money on energy costs, making improvements to the efficiency of your home may qualify you for a tax credit. Tax credits are actually somewhat superior to deductions, since they are dollar-for-dollar savings no matter what tax bracket you fall into.
Upgrading your home’s windows, roofing, appliances and more with energy efficient equipment will generally count toward a tax credit of this nature, but it’s important to check with the IRS to be sure, as things can change from year to year.
You may be wondering if there are any home expenses that are off-limits when it comes to lowering your tax bill – and the answer is yes. Here are just a few things you unfortunately cannot deduct from your tax return:
  • Insurance premiums, such as comprehensive, fire, or title insurance
  • Principal paid on your mortgage
  • Home utilities, such as water, gas, or electricity
  • HOA dues
Even though not every home expense qualifies you for a deduction, taking advantage of the big-ticket items like interest and property tax deductions can help you save a pretty penny come tax time.


For more information about this loan program or to discuss which loan option is best for you, give me a call… Bill Duggan, Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group,  757-615-5172 or

In the News for Buyers and Sellers

February 26th, 2018

Feeling and Selling Like Spring!

We realize the calendar doesn’t say April, but as we are writing this, the expected high is 76 degrees and the buyers are out looking as if it is peak season. There were 8,773 homes for sale in January according to the numbers from Real Estate Information Network (our local MLS). This is a year over year decline (January 2018 compared to January 2017) of 6.87% which holds a two and a half year trend of a decline in the number of homes for sale.

As we wrote last month, buyers are having trouble finding what they want and the number of homes for sale is down to under 3.92 months (divide the number of homes for sale by the number of homes that sold that month). In an average market the months of supply is between 5 and 7 months. All the signs are pointing to a spring that should see the average sales price continue to drift upwards and demand to remain strong especially over the next couple of months.

Studies show that Sellers will often wait to list their house until later in the spring and summer. We feel, and the data backs us up, that if you are planning on selling this year you should go ahead and get your home on the market now.

If you are thinking about selling, and/or are starting to do some work to get ready to list your home please let us come and give you advice first. Sellers will often do repairs that don’t bring them as much return as they think, or they would have been better off doing something else. We don’t charge for coming by and giving advice, so give us a call (Lee: 757-726-SOLD (7653) or Harry: 757-434-9084).

By: Lee Cross


Looking To Renovate?

January 30th, 2018

Atlantic Bay Mortgage group is excited to announce a VA Renovation Loan.  This VA renovation loan may be the right loan option for qualified veterans looking to make home renovations. This loan allows active duty and retired service members to bundle renovation costs into a new or existing VA home loan. With a VA Renovation Loan, borrowers can make the changes they want, with one loan, one rate, and one monthly payment. The VA Renovation Loan allows borrowers to make home renovations, repairs, or improvements totaling up to $35,000. Your loan amount will be based on the appraised value of your home after improvements have been made. Repairs must start within 30 days of closing and take no more than 3 months to complete. The loan product is not applicable for major renovations, but rather intended for upgrades to your new or existing home.

* Minimum credit score: 640 (purchase) 660 (refinance)
* No monthly mortgage insurance needed
* No down payment required
* Renovations up to $35,000 with a $5,000 minimum repair amount
* Must be primary, owner-occupied residence
* For purchase or refinance (no streamline)
* Renovation costs are financed into your VA loan
* Borrower must use a licensed general contractor
For more information about this loan program or to discuss which loan option is best for you, give me a call… Bill Duggan, Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group,  757-615-5172 or

In the News for Buyers and Sellers

January 29th, 2018
It’s Cold Outside, but Sales are Warm!
The end of the year numbers are in for 2017, and they continue to show a positive trend for sellers.  The number that sellers care the most about, the median sale price across Hampton Roads, was $230,000 for 2017 which is up roughly 2.2% from 2016, according to numbers from the Real Estate Information Network (our local MLS).  More exciting for sellers is that the number of homes for sale has declined for 29 straight months when comparing year over year numbers (December 2017 to December 2016).  December 2017’s supply of homes for sale was down to 3.90 months.  An average market is between 5 and 7 months, and average days on market for homes across Hampton Roads dropped to 87 days in 2017.  The average days on market was 108 in 2016.
While we don’t have a crystal ball, 2018 is looking like a year in which the average sale price for houses should continue to drift upwards.  Demand is very strong in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range.  In fact, we have several buyers looking that can’t find what they want.  If you are thinking about selling give us a call (Lee: 757-726-SOLD (7653) or Harry: 757-434-9084).
by: Lee Cross


December 29th, 2017





A new year brings new goals!  If home-ownership is one of your aspirations in 2018, below are the top six mistakes you should avoid when getting a mortgage.


There are so many things that that rank high in terms of importance, but realistically, having good credit is a big factor to obtaining a mortgage. Start by first educating carefully reviewing your credit report – you can get one free from each credit reporting agency annually. If your credit needs work, it’s best to take some time to whip it into shape so you’ll qualify for the lowest interest rate – which can save you a lot of dough over the life of your mortgage loan!


When it comes to obtaining a mortgage, not all lenders are created equal. Each lender has different mortgage rates, so shopping around for the best deal can save you a big chunk of change. Also, you’ll have several different loan types to choose from – these vary widely and have a huge impact on the size of your monthly mortgage payment. I’m happy to discuss the various options that will work best for you.


It’s so easy to find yourself casually browsing Zillow and falling in love with the “perfect” home. One of the biggest disservices you can do to yourself is to become attached to a home, only to realize during the mortgage application process that you can’t afford it. One of the smartest things you can do as a new homebuyer is to meet with mortgage lender first to see how much you can afford. Taking this step as a buyer paints a detailed picture of your finances, allowing your lender to tell you the specific amount you’re approved for and giving the seller peace of mind that you’ll be able to move forward with an offer.


Perhaps your lender said you qualify for a $200,000 home, so you begin looking at homes right around that amount – but don’t forget to consider the down payment that you’ll need to have at closing. At a minimum, for a $200,000 FHA loan (with 3.5% down), you would need to bring $7,000 plus additional closing costs and fees in cash to the table in order to close on the home. If you don’t have that amount of money stashed away, take some time to build up your savings before you start your home search.  One way to plan savings for a down payment is to automatically deposit into your savings account- start by putting 20% of your paycheck into savings for a few months.


In addition to the cash you’ll need for a down payment, there are other fees you’ll be responsible for in order to close on your new home. Some of these fees may be negotiable, but many are fixed. Be prepared to shell out cash for the appraisal, title, insurance, up-front real estate taxes, lender fees, and more. Several days before closing, you’ll receive a closing disclosure, which breaks down the terms of your loan, all final costs expected at closing and the details of who pays and who receives money at closing.


You’re probably so excited about moving and planning how you’re going to decorate your new home – but before you go on a spending spree, put that credit card away!  Your finances will be thoroughly analyzed during the underwriting process, and your lender will expect your financial situation to remain largely the same until closing day. As hard as it may be, avoid spending money on things outside of your necessities (groceries, gas, utilities, etc.) until you’ve closed on your new home.

If you can avoid these big mistakes when buying a home, the mortgage process should be smooth sailing! Be sure to contact me to discuss your mortgage options-

Bill Duggan, Sr. Mortgage Banker, Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group  757-615-5172 email:


In the News for Buyers and Sellers

December 29th, 2017
The Weather Outside is Frightful but the Real Estate Market is….?
The weather outside is frightful, but the real estate market is steadily moving closer to delightful!  In fact, compared to the market we were in ten years ago, we are way beyond delightful and approaching wonderful.
Based on numbers from our local MLS system (Real Estate Information Network), last month was the 39th straight month that prices have increased when you compare year over year numbers (November 2017 to November 2016).  Plus, the number of homes for sale across Hampton Roads continues to decrease.  This decrease holds true in both year over year numbers and comparing month to month (October 2017 to November 2017).
If you are a long time reader, you know that studies show that the ideal time to list your house is early spring.  But, both in our office and from conversations with fellow agents, buyers are having trouble finding a house that they want. Thus, a good argument can be made that if you are planning on selling your house this year, you should consider listing your home now.  This decision really should be made on a case by case basis, so give us a call (Lee: 757-726-SOLD (7653) or Harry: 757-434-9084) or just reply back to this email and we will be happy to set up a time to talk in more detail about your personal situation.
We appreciate your support over the past year and are thankful for you.  We  hope you had a great Christmas and lastly, make sure you check out our Facebook page for the Christmas light contest!
Happy New Year,
Lee and Harry Cross

In the News for Buyers and Sellers

November 27th, 2017
There Are Not Many Black Friday Deals
Last month we wrote how things normally slow down in the fall and while that is still true, the last week around the office has felt more like the real estate market has just pumped the breaks.  We aren’t anywhere near a complete stop.  We have been averaging a ratified contract every other day over the last ten days, which would be a lot, even for spring time.
Based on numbers from our local MLS system (Real Estate Information Network) the number of homes for sale across Hampton Roads continues to go down.  In October there were 10,172 homes for sale which is 287 fewer homes than September and 679 fewer homes than August.  In just two months, the number of homes for sale has gone down over 6% across Hampton Roads.
Please keep in mind that as a general rule, no one wants to move their Christmas Tree (speaking of Christmas Tree, make sure you check out our contest below).  There are almost always more homes available for sale in the spring, but at this point our inventory of homes for sale is down below normal numbers and buyers are having trouble finding homes in certain price ranges.
Seller’s sometime wait until Spring and Summer to list, but with the inventory level low, if you know you are going to move, we should go ahead and talk through the pros and cons of listing now.  Give us a call (Lee: 757-726-SOLD (7653) or Harry: 757-434-9084) or just reply back to this email and we are happy to set up a time to talk in more detail about your personal situation.

Entries (RSS)