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: billduggan@atlanticbay.com


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.

In the News for Buyers and Sellers

October 31st, 2017

Is it Fall?

As I (Lee) was driving my girls to school Friday morning, my car was telling me it was 38 outside and the weather forecast was calling for it to be in the high sixty’s today. I have heard several people wishing the cool weather would arrive and stay around for a while and I can’t say I blame them. Our local real estate market normally cools down some in the fall as well, but as you can see below, seller’s don’t have to break out their winter jackets quite yet.

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 September 2017 there were 10,459 properties listed for sale, which is 510 fewer homes than in September 2016. Plus, it is a reduction of 392 homes from the month before (August 2017).

To put the number of properties for sale in better context, you need to look at the months’ supply of inventory. You get that number by dividing the total number of homes for sale by the number of homes that sold month. Said another way, if the demand from buyer’s stayed the same and there weren’t any other houses listed, how many months would it take to sell all of the homes that are currently listed? The month’s supply in September 2017 was 4.81 months. Between five and seven months’ supply is considered an average market, and, the lower the number, the more bargaining power seller’s traditionally have. Last year (September 2016) the months’ supply was 7.85 and locally it was over 10 during the bottom of the last recession.

Both the statistics and our experience show home prices creeping up. The median sales price was up 3.84% in year over year numbers, while the median sales price for the third quarter of 2017 was up 2.13% over the third quarter of 2016.

Sellers 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. We also greatly appreciate any referrals you can send our way and promise to take great care of them.

by: Lee Cross


Community Event

April 6th, 2017


Featured Property

April 6th, 2017

208 Widgeon Ct, Suffolk – $209,900

Updated kitchen with tile, fenced-in backyard, and only 21 miles to Norfolk or 23 to Newport News. Two first floor bedrooms (including the master), two first floor full bathrooms and another full bathroom along with two more large bedrooms upstairs. Plus the roof heating/air systems, windows and appliances are only a couple of years old.

Listed by: Lee Cross 757-726-7653












In the News for Buyers and Sellers

March 22nd, 2017

Will Buyer Demand Stay Strong?

Last month we wrote that our big question for the spring is will buyer demand stay strong? Based on just the numbers from February 2017, the answer is yes!

Looking at year over year numbers (February 2016 compared to February 2017) the number of homes for sale decreased a little over 10%, while the number of homes under contract went up by 7.79%. Suffolk led the charge with 25.69% more homes under contract than in February 2016. A quick note, keep in mind this is just one month, and a winter month. Last year we had more snow which kept more buyers from looking, so our snow free February almost certainly helped to inflate the year over year numbers.
However, when you look at what happened just in February 2017 across Hampton Roads, you see that 3,497 new properties were listed but 3,807 went under contract or were sold. If you were looking for a home throughout the month of February the statistics say you actually had fewer homes to choose from by the end of the month.

So what does this all mean? Our honest answer is, it is too early to tell, but we still feel that our prediction of this being a glass half full and rising seller’s market will stay true. If you are looking to buy a home, or if you are looking to buy a higher priced home than what you currently own, it is time to start looking. Using rough math based on buying a $200,000 house, interest rates increasing by 1% on your home loan will cost a buyer approximately the same as the cost of the home you are buying going up 10%.

If you have read this newsletter before you already know that studies show now is the best time of year to list your house, and with the Federal Reserve announcing they are planning on raising interest rates two more times this year buyers should be actively looking as well.

Of course this email is focused on the overall market, which may or may not apply to your personal situation. We are happy to sit down and talk about how our current real estate market affects you and your future real estate plans. Please give us a call (757-726-SOLD) or email (LeeCross@CallCrossRealty.com, HarryCross@CallCrossRealty.com).

by: Lee Cross


Featured Property

March 15th, 2017


115 Queen Anne’s Ct, Suffolk – $325,000

Custom-Built, All-Brick Home with 3 bedrooms (plus 24X20 FROG) on 0.75 acres. 1st floor Luxury Master Suite with jetted tub, separate shower, huge walk-in closet. Dream kitchen (21X19) with island, long bar, breakfast area & all appliances convey. Open concept floor plan, multi-level deck/covered porches & fully decked above-ground pool area, newer 16X12 shed. Many, many upgrades & conveniently located near Rt.58 bypass, Hospital, shopping & schools. NO HOA!

Listed by: Margaret Richardson 757-635-9546










Featured Property

March 8th, 2017

1474 Copeland Rd, Suffolk – $314,900

“Green Pastures Farm” says it all! Fruit trees and livestock with lean-to, shed and greenhouse (hoop house) on premises. This beautiful brick 1 story ranch home has 19 acres of land perfect for cattle or horses. 7 minutes from Rt.58 and conveniences of town.

Listed by: Tracy Williams 757-848-8817














In the News for Buyers and Sellers

February 27th, 2017
The Glass is past half-full!
Last month we talked about how the glass is half full and rising, and if the latest statistics for home sales in Hampton Roads continue in the same direction, our glass will be past half full by the end of the year.  The number of homes for sale continues to shrink, and buyers are starting to complain that there aren’t enough homes for sale.  Looking at year over year numbers, there are 10.76% fewer homes for sale in January 2017 than there were in January 2016.    The year over year numbers for January also fell for the average days on the market (down to 118 from 125) and the month’s supply of inventory (down to 4.37 months from 5.37).  Plus, the number of homes that went into pending (under contract) status in January 2017 was the highest for January since 2007.
The big question, is will this continue throughout the year or are we seeing a surge of buyers due to the rising interest rates?  Interest rate changes make a huge difference for buyers.  If a buyer is using a normal 30 year loan to buy a $225,000 house and the rates go up one percentage point they either have to pay about $115 more a month, or spend $25,000 less on a home to keep the payment the same.  Clearly this will matter to buyers, so even though rates can go up a point and still be historically great, it will have an effect on buying power.
Now is the time to get your home ready if you want to sell this year.  We are happy to do a quick, no obligation walk through of your home.  We can share with you some tips to help you get your house ready to bring top dollar, and tell you what your house could sell for in this market.
Please give us a call (757-726-SOLD) or email (LeeCross@CallCrossRealty.comor HarryCross@CallCrossRealty.com) and we will help you take advantage of this rising market

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