When buyers move to Northern Virginia from out of the area, their search criteria can produce a vast number of results – none of which anyone will admit is “perfect”. So where do buyers compromise?
It’s often said that real estate is a combination of three factors – price, condition and location. You may have heard me say, “Pick two. Because even rich people still only get two of the three on their wish list.” If you can find the perfect house in the perfect location, it’s way out of your budget. If it’s the perfect house with the perfect price, it’s almost definitely not in the right location. Naturally, the last combination is the perfect price and perfect location but the condition is terrible. So which do most buyers choose?
This week, we’re visiting a community that is probably further West than most would consider but the compromises need to be adequately weighted, especially for investors. While Stephens City is 70 miles west of Tysons Corner, it’s also one of the last places in Northern Virginia where you can get single family new construction for under $300,000. When prioritizing the wish list, I will tell you from experience that most will extend their commute to get the home that suits their lifestyle best.
Southern Hills is a Richmond American community that is just getting started. Two collections (The Seasons, The Collection) of nine floorplans for over a hundred available lots. Base prices range from $281,990 for the Coral and Onyx floorplans to $343,990 for the Yorktown, which offers 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a 3 car garage and 3 finished levels – still under $500,000. While the community won’t have a full-scale suite of amenities, that also keeps the HOA fee down to $56 a month. Ideal for price sensitive, cost-conscience buyers.
The community offers four models to tour – the Onyx, the Citrine, the Arlington and the Hopewell. Pictured here is the most popular of designs, the main level Arlington. Built with three bedrooms and two baths on the main, the basement with two additional bedrooms and a bathroom can finish the space up to 3,300 square feet. The Seasons collection prides their standard features list on being more inclusive so that homeowners can get what they want and stay as close to the base price as possible. All models in Southern Hills have 9′ ceilings and 8′ doors, 36″ cabinetry and granite counters in the kitchen, washer/dryer installed and automatic garage door openers.
I mentioned previously that I felt like this was something investors should consider. Keep in mind, I’m not a lender – can’t give financial advice and nothing I’m saying can be taken to the proverbial bank. So here we go. Most investors will buy property with 20-25% down payment. On the smallest $290k Citrine model, let’s just say the payment would be $1400 a month (to include principle, interest, taxes, insurance and HOA). Now there were only 20 single family detached homes rented in Stephens City in the last 6 months but one of them happened to be in Southern Hills – for $2,500. Even if you were able to get $2,000 for a smaller floorplan, that’s some solid cash flow.
The reason I came out to Southern Hills is that I have two different clients looking for new construction under $300k. Sadly, there just aren’t that many options for those looking under $300k, for main level master bedrooms and in a condition that doesn’t require copious amounts of cash out of pocket. This option checks all the boxes but one: location. So let’s address that. Stephens City is home to The Family Drive-In Theater (a summertime favorite of ours), the fabulous Roma Casual Italian restaurant and minutes south of Winchester, which is where you’ll likely find anything else you need. Put a price on your quality of life and you’ll rethink your priorities. Trust me on this!
For a tour of the community, reach out at 703-261-5826. Investors, first-time buyers, retirees and everyone else welcome.