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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why a Hybrid Mortgage May Be the Right Choice to Save You Money

There are many great Washington D.C. area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You may also call me at (202) 290-1313 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Explaining Hybrid Mortgages and How they can Help You

With interest rates moving up, it may be time to consider a hybrid mortgage. In the past, rates were so low that a 30-year fixed mortgage was basically a shoe-in for a buyer. However, we're now experiencing a rise in rates and that can open up options for buyers who aren't sure about the best way to finance their home.  

So, what are these hybrid mortgages? One example of these types of mortgages (some can be pretty exotic) is the Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (the 'ARM'). In this type of 15-30 year loan, the rate at the beginning is cheaper than at the end.  

Why to consider the ARM: Rates are still very good, but they are rising, and for some people who may not be living in their home for an extended period of time, it could be more affordable to go with an ARM Mortgage. These could also be helpful if you are considering moving out and keeping a property as an investment. In general, if you're unsure of how long you will be at a certain property, a hybrid loan could be the most economic choice for your situation. 

At a minimum, you have to consider a different mortgage even if you reach the same conclusion because as the market shifts, so too should the way we think about it.

If you are seriously considering a hybrid mortgage, please contact me because there are many things to consider. 

Call me at (202) 290-1313 or email me at

Monday, January 20, 2014

Did You Know That D.C. is a Hub for International Investors?

Here at Eng Gracia Properties, we have a systematic way of selling properties. One of the things we like to do is analyze information and data; along those lines, I have information on foreign investment in Washington, D.C. The job market in Washington, D.C. is terrific and it attracts many investors, both foreign and domestic. I happen to work with many investors here in Washington, D.C. that range from business owners to people working in professional capacities that have a little extra money and want to invest.

There are also larger organizations, like investment funds, that are pooling their resources and focusing on Washington, D.C. as one of the top markets in the country. For example, we have a large project downtown near our basketball arena called “CityCenterDC” and had actually stalled during the recession. Since then, the country of Qatar has funded almost $650 million to the project. If you read about Qatar and her priorities, one of the things they are focusing on is real estate in this country; with Washington, D.C. being one of the top areas of focus.

CityCenterDC is a project that will consist of high-end residential on top of high-end retail. Some of these apartments will fetch $1,000 per square foot; some of us are skeptical if there will be demand for them, but some are beginning to sell. There are model units available to be seen and visited if you are interested.

When you learn about Qatar, they are focusing on growth markets and markets that have a strong employment base. As I like to say, even if public opinion and congressional priorities shift and cause the size of government diminish, it would still be the number one employer on the planet. The good news is that Washington, D.C. has other elements producing a more well-rounded economy.

Initially, we saw many industries that sprouted and branched off of the government such as contracting and hospitality. However, we are seeing the emergence of new industries ranging from Biotech to National Security. This is sparking the interest of Qatar along with the influx of young professionals moving to D.C. Even during the downturn, D.C. saw increases in career opportunities.

When looking at a market in which you would like to invest, there are many elements that a person should analyze. Within that information, 50-70% of that information is related to the health of the employment base. If you have any desire to learn more about investing in D.C., don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thanks and have a great day!

Buyers click here to search all area homes for sale.

Friday, January 10, 2014

What Did The D.C. Market See in 2013?

What Did The D.C. Market See in 2013?

Now that we are in early 2014, I wanted to look back and review 2013. Clients have been asking how I would characterize 2013; I would call 2013 a growth year. I say this because more homes were sold and approximately 20% more condos and co-op apartments were sold. Depending on your community, the past 2-3 years have shown a serious decline in inventory but now it has stabilized. However, we are saying that 2013 was the first year where we haven’t seen a 20-30% drop in inventory and are still currently in a low inventory market.

For the apartments and co-ops in the city, the number of units sold was up 20.6%. That is serious movement! For single family homes, 9% more were sold in 2013. In essence, the big pieces of news to take away are that inventory has stabilized and the number of transactions has risen. We are currently analyzing the rates, the REO's and the builder updates to get the information out to you.

Thanks and have a great day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Investing in Real Estate is Easier than You Think!

Investing in Real Estate is Easier than You Think!

Today I wanted to talk to you about investing in real estate. I am personally a real estate investor and found my way into the real estate business this way. I was an attorney for twelve years and on the side I began investing in real estate. My passion for real estate investing led me into selling real estate, but I remain dedicated to growing my own wealth through real estate investing and helping others to do so also.

There are many ways to invest in real estate but there is one very simple way I prefer because it does not involve many people. All you need is one buyer, one loan and one property; this is single family properties. I previously invested in multi-unit properties and dreams of owning massive buildings (I would still love to), but that comes with an amount of complexity to it that makes it difficult to do on the side. I’m not making a living off of my real estate investments, but it’s something I do on the side just as I invest in my retirement fund and other investment vehicles to slowly accrue wealth. There are enough people in the D.C. area with disposable income that should be considering this possibility. However, this can be very easy to over think and over complicate.

At this moment, there is a marriage of two great things happening: you can obtain a quality single family home and receive a rent that’s relative to its price. It’s always been simple to do this, but it hasn’t always been so lucrative. Right now we have great interest rates and a number of neighborhoods where renters are willing to pay top dollar rent for properties even though you don’t have to pay top dollar to buy into those areas.

I highly encourage you to consider this strategy. It is not like winning the lottery by any means, but is very fixed and determinable. I hope you are as excited as we are about investing in D.C. properties. Thanks and have a great day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Stage Your Home Properly

How to Stage Your Home Properly

Today I wanted to speak with you about the art of selling property. Where we begin is looking at the property itself and how it’s priced. We work with our clients to stage their property, thin out what you have and make the property more comfortable and easier to move around by de-cluttering. We also offer marketing and staging services.

We are among the top realtors in the country when it comes to continuously reinventing our marketing approach by dedicating entire staffs to working out agreements with our marketing partners for better distribution. With de-cluttering, we are ensuring that our professional photographers have something beautiful to capture.

With our marketing strategy, we provide something called “Command Central.” Command Central is a tool that tracks inquiries from yard signs and online search engines. More and more, the industry is moving towards online marketing which changes your pricing strategy in how you present your price online.

When you look to hire a realtor, I urge you to hire one that is savvy and is constantly looking for new approaches; this means finding a realtor who has a robust marketing budget and is willing to spend money to make money. Utilizing websites like Trulia and Zillow are the norm for us and we are constantly revaluating our marketing strategy. We are someone of the biggest budgeted amongst realtors and running ourselves as leaders and holding ourselves to higher level.

Thanks and I look forward to seeing you around the way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Don't Think it is Time to Sell? Think Again!

Give your home the attention it deserves and sell it for the price you want!

We are constantly asked whether it is a good time to sell. In most neighborhoods, my clients and friends have reported that their homes are now more valuable as they ever were. A few factors play into this. There is a profound lack of inventory; we’re coming off of three straight years of 20-30% declines of homes being listed. This decline was most likely caused by the consumer’s lack of trust and confidence in the market after the downturn a few years back. I’m here to report that you should check in again, with us, and find out if this is the right time to consider selling. You may have noticed there are not many homes for sale in your community; it’s happening everywhere. The lack of inventory is affecting buyer behavior, causing them to react quickly because they have fewer choices. Every opportunity a buyer has to view a home is deemed more precious since opportunity doesn’t come around that often.

Another great aspect is the interest rate environment. The summer did bring us a roughly 1% increase in rates, but we have come down from that with three straight weeks of declining interest rates. Buyers are realizing that the market is moving very fast and are starting to compete. We know this market is very different than it was three years ago, so we encourage you to give us a call. You may find that it is just the time to sell. Thanks and have a great day!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Government Shutdown October 2013

Government Shutdown October 2013

Strictly going by the manner of the media, one would think the market is in shambles. This is not true, however, people are feeling pessimistic about the market as this summer brought a 1% rate increase, a potential sequester looming and the current government shutdown. The real issue in the D.C. market is the lack of available inventory. There has been a slight increase in supply from the slow summer months, but based on current trends and historical standards, we have hit a low point in regards to inventory. Depending on your location and price point, we’re coming off a two year stretch of inventory being down 20-30%. Although this is only one factor, it’s very powerful especially in terms of the current bumps we’ve been hitting.

In addition, even with the government shutdown, D.C. remains one of the best job markets in the country. In a robust job market with very young and strong professionals, having a job provides all the confidence for buying or renting a home. This provides a lot of room for growth and development. Another strong part of the market is the builder segment. Builders are still putting up condos and individuals are continuing to purchase homes on the resale market to flip.

Overall, the market is a mixed bag with very strong forces moving in both directions. The strongest factors appear to be the stable job market and the lack of inventory. The supply issue makes purchasing harder on buyers but works favorably for sellers. The rates are still historically low and hovering between 4.5-4.75% in most loan scenarios. This is still encouraging and the market appears to be balancing out.

If you have any other questions, please contact me as we are the top Keller Williams team. Thanks and I hope to see you out there!