Category Archives: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Quick Tips for Easy Spring Cleaning

3

The snow has melted, the days are longer, and all of a sudden everything seems in need of a nice freshening up.  If spring cleaning is on you mind but you are overwhelmed at the task ahead, check out these tips from MaxSold.com.

Decide what you are keeping

Heard of the KonMari decluttering method? Keep an item if it brings you joy and if you have room for it – if not, set it aside. Start with a post-its to speed up the process as you go along – bite the bullet and blaze through it in a day, or tackle one room at a time.

Don’t take it to the dump

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – it’s amazing how much money you can recover for your unwanted things. Instead of filling up landfill, fill up your wallet. Barry Gordon, the founder of MaxSold, an online selling platform, says “A chair that the owner was going to leave out in the side of the curb sold for over $2000, and a box of extension cords that would have gone to the dump sold for $40.”

Don’t prematurely sell off high value items

Ever post an ad online and get a response in an instant? This will leave you wondering if you grossly underpriced the item. The opposite is also true – if no one responds to your ad for weeks, maybe you overpriced it, and lowering the price over days for 100s of items is inefficient. Use an auction platform like MaxSold to sell everything where multiple people compete for the goods. Things that are better will engage more people and foster competition for not only items in demand, but for everything you are clearing out.

Don’t put stuff in storage

So many people are focused on “What’s my dining room going to bring?” The hard truth is that no one is going to give you a lot of money for your dining room. It’s going to be heartbreaking. It’s going to be awful. If you’ve got someone to give it to in the family, then that’s a good idea. But most people do not. And since they have nowhere else to go with it, they decide to put it into storage. Unfortunately, they end up paying thousands of dollars in storage cost each year, only to have the items further depreciate in value.

10 Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers

Spring is here, and so is spring home-buying and -selling. Buyers and sellers preparing to take action this season should put those plans into play now—according to Zillow Group’s Report on Consumer Housing Trends, the No. 1 regret for both buyers and sellers is “not starting their home search or prepping their home to sell soon enough.”

“This spring, both buyers and sellers should be prepared for fast-moving sales, intense negotiations, and even bidding wars,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “Home shoppers and sellers are motivated to become more strategic and knowledgeable about what’s happening in their neighborhood. Understanding whether you are in a buyer’s or a seller’s environment will help you manage your expectations and will give you insight into what you’re going to need to bring to the table in order to close the deal.”

For buyers, that means:

Keep your options open. More than half (52 percent) of homebuyers surveyed in the report said they also considered renting, and more than one-third (37 percent) of first-time buyers seriously considered continuing to rent. Savvy shoppers should have a Plan B in place, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don’t make a deal by the time they need to move.

Be realistic with your budget. Once you set it, stick to it. First-time home buyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (39 percent versus 26 percent), according to the report. Before you meet with a lender to determine how much mortgage you’ll be approved for, take a good look at your individual finances and spending preferences to determine the monthly payment range that you feel you can comfortably afford.

Get your financing squared away early. Plan to meet a few lenders four to six months ahead of when you’re planning to buy to ensure you can make a competitive offer quickly when you find your dream home. The majority (82 percent) of buyers get pre-approved, with 77 percent getting pre-approval from a lender before finding a home on which they are interested in placing an offer.

Find an agent with a winning track record. Take the time to find an agent who has expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses, and winning bidding wars. Only 46 percent of buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, according to the report, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process. Choose an agent based on sales and listing activity, area of expertise and reputation.

Communication is key. Make sure your preferred method—and frequency—of communication matches that of your agent. One-third (33 percent) of all buyers surveyed in the report preferred phone calls with their agent over emailing (21 percent) or texting (15 percent). Buyers can use the agent reviews on Zillow to learn more about prospective agents and their clients’ experiences.

And for sellers:

Start early and be strategic. Sellers consider putting their home on the market for five months before they list it—but the top seller regret is that they wished they spent more time prepping for the sale. Many cities have a magic window in the spring when homes have a higher likelihood of selling quickly for more money.

Work with an agent from the start. The vast majority (90 percent) of sellers surveyed in the report who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent, and two out of three (58 percent) began working with an agent at the very beginning of their selling journey.

Pay attention to your online curb appeal. The majority of buyers begin their search online. Sellers who sold their home for more than list price made imagery and home information available online: 48 percent had professional photos taken of the home; 30 percent shot video footage; and 21 percent shot drone footage. Zillow’s video walk-throughs give sellers an easy way to show home features that are hard to capture in photos.

Home improvements can be a worthwhile investment. Sellers who fetched above list price tackled home improvements before listing their home, being 50 percent more likely to take on a large project like modifying an existing home plan and 20 percent more likely to renovate a kitchen than the average seller.

Don’t be afraid to try again. In many markets, nearly half of listing views occur in the first week the home is on the market. Twenty-six percent of those who sold above list price took their home off the market once to adjust the sales price, opting to start anew, rather than letting the home languish on the market with minimal activity.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Prepare for a Real Estate Rush This Spring

Everywhere you turn you hear real estate agents talking about the “Spring Market”, the “real estate rush”, the “Spring buyer frenzy”.  While a much larger number of people do tend to move between March and June, the hype really is just that… hype.  The 2017 Spring Real Estate Market, however, appears to be the real deal.  RISMedia tends to agree.

1

Homebuyers this spring will meet out-of-this-world prices and unsparing competition—a real estate rush.

According to Clear Capital’s recently released Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report, the national median days on market is 43 days, down from an 85-day stretch seen in January 2012. Days on market in Denver, Colo., Lincoln, Neb., and Raleigh, N.C., are coming in under two weeks, while days on market in Fresno, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., and Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., are finishing in under three weeks.

“Along with an increase in temperatures, the spring season also brings out the buyers and an increase in demand to the housing market, which most often translates to faster price growth and a decrease in marketing times,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital. “But what’s great news for homeowners—particularly those looking to get out of negative equity or sell outright—is unfortunately bad news for prospective buyers. This springtime uptick in demand is likely to put buyers in a major time pinch in areas where marketing time is already lightning fast.”

Home price growth in the first quarter of 2017 was 0.9 percent, according to the report, with quarterly growth across regions between 0.8 percent and 1 percent. Prices grew 1.8 percent quarterly in San Antonio, Texas, making it the fastest growing metropolitan market, while quarterly prices in San Jose, Calif., remained at a standstill, posting no growth.

“This situation, coupled with the already precarious affordability situation for buyers, can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts for the market as a whole, one where buyers rush to purchase homes at or above asking price in fear of waiting too long and losing out—pushing prices up and pulling marketing times even lower,” Villacorta says. “Buyers will need to remain vigilant this spring and constantly keep their eyes peeled for new supply entering the market, and, most importantly, be wary of rushing to purchase at sky-high prices.”

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Consumer Confidence Bounces Back to 15-Year High

Consumer Confidence Bounces Back to 15-Year High

Now that is what I call good news!  Read on for more…

1

Consumer confidence bounced back in February after waning in January, posting a 114.8 reading in The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®. The Expectations reading of the Index rose to 102.4, while the Present Situation reading rose to 133.4. January’s reading was 111.6.

“Consumer confidence increased in February and remains at a 15-year high,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January. Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree, jobs and income prospects. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.”

The percentage of consumers who believe business conditions are “good,” as defined by the Index, decreased from 29.0 percent in January to 28.7 percent in February; the percentage of those who believe business conditions are “bad” decreased from 15.9 percent in January to 13.2 percent in February. The percentage of those who expect business conditions to improve increased from 22.9 percent in January to 24.0 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect business conditions to worsen increased from 10.8 percent in January to 11.1 percent in February.

The percentage of consumers who believe jobs are “plentiful” decreased from 27.1 percent in January to 26.2 in February, according to the Index; the percentage of those who believe jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 21.1 percent in January to 20.3 percent in February. The percentage of those who expect more jobs in the coming months increased from 19.7 percent in January to 20.4 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect less jobs in the coming months decreased from 14.4 percent in January to 13.6 percent in February.

The percentage of consumers who expect higher income, as well, increased from 18.1 percent in January to 18.3 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect less decreased from 9.4 percent in January to 8.2 percent in February.

Source: The Conference Board

Source: Freddie Mac

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Make that list… and check it twice!

Yes, I know we are entering into one of the busiest times of the year; never-the-less, there are a few essential items that every REALTOR should complete by the end of the first week of the new year, less the find themselves with out of date, year old information.

To-Do ListOut with the old, in with the new, and update what is remaining!  There is nothing worse for a business person than having old or out of date information floating around in cyberspace.

To help you get your new year off right, here is a handy dandy list to help you start 2017 off on an updated and accurate note:

  1. Update your profile on the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Resource Center.
    Make sure all of your information, including your picture, is correct and up-to-date.
  2. Update your profile on Home Swing:
    Make sure all of your information is correct and up-to-date
    Make sure your “notifications” are properly set so you are emailed or texted when you receive an incoming web lead.
  3. Update your profile on Zillow, Realtor.com, and anywhere else you have a profile:
    Register with Zillow if you have not done so
    Make sure all of your information is correct and up-to-date
    Up-load testimonials if available (see number 4)
  4. Ask 2016 clients and customers for testimonials and post on your website.  If you have not done so, do it now.
  5. Edit your CRM in Home Swing:
    Add, remove, and edit your contacts in Home Swing.
  6. Send everyone in your CRM/Contact list/SOI a “Happy Holiday” or “Merry Christmas” Card.
    At minimum send them an e-card from the Resource Center
  7. Set up your drip campaigns for 2017.
    Log into Home Swing and set up appropriate drip campaigns for next year
    Set up a holiday card campaign at minimum
  8. Update your knowledge and information about company programs
    Are you prepared to discuss and promote the following?  Real Estate Rewards, The Global web-site, Membership in the Credit Union
  9. Review your 2017 business goals:
    If you have not already, establish your production goals;
    Put your lead generating plan in writing and commit to it;
    Set targets for interim goals (1st quarter listings, sales and income)
  10. Sit down with your broker or coach and commit to a coaching and accountability plan for the new year.  This will make achieving #9 much easier.

Finally, look back over your successes in 2016 and enjoy a few days off with your friends and family.  It was a great year!

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Outperforms AGAIN!

From the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Blog…

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Demonstrates Sustainable Growth Trajectory

growth-story-graphic

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic continues to outperform the industry in sales volume according to MRIS data. As illustrated above, we had record-breaking double digit growth for the month of October 2016 versus October 2015. And year to date growth (January ’16 through October ‘16) of 42.3% versus MRIS industry average of 9.48%.

“We are constantly at work creating opportunities to provide value to our agents and their clients,” said Kevin Wiles, president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic.

“Managing sustainable growth requires ambition, commitment and dedication,” Kevin said. “Our branch leaders, agents and support staff are the best in the industry – results bear this out.”

This is just more evidence that we really are #GoodToKnow!

 

Dallas/Fort Worth-Area’s Leading Real Estate Team Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Real Estate News

Did you hear the news?  One of the Top 5 teams in the entire Keller Williams network is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty family!  Russell Rhodes and his team, based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, just joined our company down in Texas!

Dallas/Fort Worth-Area’s Leading Real Estate Team Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas #GoodToKnow

Russell Rhodes and The Rhodes Team arrive with a strong service ethic, powerful production history

RESTON, VA  (Nov. 1, 2016) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty today announced that The Rhodes Team, a production and service leader in Dallas/Fort Worth real estate, has joined PenFed Realty Texas.

The Rhodes Team, led by Broker Associate Russell Rhodes, has been among the top-producing real estate teams in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex since 2012, according to data compiled by REAL Trends and The Wall Street Journal. It is the only group to place among Keller Williams Realty’s Top 5 teams worldwide for sales volume during each of past 10 years. Additionally, The Rhodes Team ranked 47th for transactions and 50th for sales volume across the entire U.S. real estate industry as measured in REAL Trends’ 2016 study of top teams and agents.

“We are delighted that Russell and his exceptional team now represent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex,” said Rick Wylie, brokerage president. “The Rhodes Team is a production powerhouse with a stellar reputation for client service earned over many years.”

Rhodes said the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand, combined with the strong, local presence of PenFed Realty Texas, will help his team grow and serve more of the area’s real estate consumers. “We’ve been watching the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and are impressed by its business principles and core values, which are closely aligned with our own,” he explained. “At the same time, PenFed Realty’s growth has been phenomenal and we want to be a part of it.”

PenFed Realty’s ownership – Tysons, VA-based PenFed Credit Union – also attracted Rhodes with its focus on the U.S. military and military veterans. “The military is huge for me; I feel indebted to the men and women serving in our military branches,” he said. “I am proud to join an organization with such a meaningful mission.”

Rhodes entered real estate in 2001 and formed his team shortly thereafter. The Rhodes Team quickly ascended industry ranks with an unwavering focus on customer satisfaction. That satisfaction starts with Rhodes, who operates by the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated. “I treat my agents with the utmost respect and care, and my agents do the same for their home-buying and selling clients,” he said. “We don’t rest until we’ve met our clients’ expectations.”

Client satisfaction is reflected in the team’s production totals. The Rhodes Team generated nearly $196 million in sales volume in 2015, 61% of which was attributed to repeat customers and client referrals. “We’re in business to represent the needs and best interests of each and every client,” Rhodes said. “This is how we create long-term client relationships – we want our customers for life.”

The Rhodes Team operates with 15 agents and 12 administrators at 3624 Long Prairie Road, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, Texas. Visit www.rhodesteam.com.

“We congratulate PenFed Realty Texas and The Rhodes Team on their exciting union,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We look forward to supporting them and their continued success in the years ahead.”

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty is a full-service real estate company with annual sales volume of $3.8 billion with 1,700 sales agents and 50+ offices providing complete real estate services nationwide. PenFed Realty is a wholly owned subsidiary of PenFed Credit Union (PenFed). PenFed is a financial institution with $20 billion in assets and more than 1.5 million members. PenFed Realty is also a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, operated by HSF Affiliates LLC. Visit PenFed Realty at www.PenFedRealty.com; see PenFed Realty Texas at http://WeKnowTX.com.

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, based in Irvine, CA, is a real estate brokerage franchise network built for a new era in residential real estate. The network, among the few organizations entrusted to use the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway name, brings to the real estate market a definitive mark of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. Visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com.

Irvine, CA-based HSF Affiliates LLC operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices of America, Inc., the nation’s second-largest, full-service residential brokerage firm, is a majority owner. HomeServices of America is an affiliate of world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Want to learn more about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty and what makes us such a great company? Call Maxine McLeod Miller at 703-836-1464 to learn more!

The Home-Buying Equation

1

Buying a home for the first time can seem daunting. One way to alleviate the process is to organize your finances before embarking on the house hunt. Unsure how to get yours in order? Remember A + B + C + D + E:

Ask + Budget + Check + Differentiate + Estimate

Before you start searching for a home, ask a real estate professional for guidance. He or she will have expertise related not only to financing, but also to negotiating a deal in your favor.

Next, set a budget that takes into account your down payment, your anticipated monthly mortgage payment (with interest), and your closing costs. These figures are all important considerations in the home-buying process.

Prior to house-hunting, check your credit report and score. Your credit is a determining factor in a lender’s approval or denial of your mortgage loan application, as well as your mortgage interest rate. Take steps to correct any errors on your report, or improve your score, if necessary.

Shop around for mortgage lenders to differentiate between loan offerings—even a slight variation in rates or terms can lead to significant savings over the life of your loan. Your real estate professional may recommend a lender, but it is ultimately your choice with whom to obtain a mortgage.

Estimate oft-forgotten homeownership-related expenses, such as your monthly homeowners insurance premium, your maintenance costs, your moving expenditures, your property taxes and your utility rates. These will all play a role in your overall affordability.

Completing A, B, C, D and E will not only prepare you for the home-buying process, but also lay a strong financial foundation for you as a new homeowner. The result of the equation speaks for itself!

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Homeselling Tips: Attract Real Buyers, Sell Quickly

You want your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional wants to sell your home quickly and at the highest price possible and in the Alexandria and greater Northern Virginia area, many think it is easy as pie. If your REALTOR makes the home selling process look that easy, then you know you have hired the right professional for the job! They are getting the job done for you with the least amount of hassle. One of the key things any good agent needs to do is make sure your home must is exposed to qualified buyers who are serious about finding a home. This is a basic step, no matter if your house is in Alexandria, Virginia or on Maui!

What do serious buyers look like? They are ready to buy and show it by getting prequalified by a lender and knowing their price range. They have criteria to meet, including likes and dislikes. They have a moving date in mind. They’re represented by a real estate agent. They’ve already eliminated homes using the Internet and your home is on the short list. They can make a solid offer on the right home today.House for sale

Serious buyers aren’t nosy neighbors, open house explorers, or people who can’t or won’t make a realistic offer. Serious buyers won’t waste your time because they don’t want to lose the opportunity to buy your home to another buyer.

Your listing agent’s job is to network, advertise, and market to make serious buyers aware of your home. How attractive your home is to buyers is up to you. Here are five ways to help your agent attract buyers to your home.

  1. Verify market prices with your agent. Price your home for today’s market reality.
  2. Stage your home to best advantage. Declutter, depersonalize, clean it, paint it, and enhance curb appeal with fresh landscaping.
  3. Fix everything that’s a problem. No leaks, chips, smells. Move-in ready condition is what most buyers want. Don’t give buyers room to argue price due to condition.
  4. Do something extra for your home. Some updating, fresh paint, new appliances, or new countertops can work wonders.
  5. Be a serious seller. Just as a serious buyer is ready to buy, show you’re ready to sell by offering your home at an attractive price, being flexible about moving dates and other terms, and making your home available for viewing with their agents.

If you are considering putting your house on the market, give us a call and we will be glad to assist. No worries if you are outside the Washington, DC metro area, we will be happy to help you find the right agent in your market.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Continues to Outperform the Industry

Hot off the press… Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty continues to break records!

Mid-Year Review

According to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic President Kevin Wiles, “The Mid-Atlantic team delivered a company sales record in June and a record-breaking first half of 2016. Thanks to all of our amazing agents and employees, the Mid-Atlantic region had the best 6-months in the history of the company.”

Highlights:

  • In June, closed a record 746 units for $283 million in sales volume, surpassing our previous high sales mark by $30 million.
  • YTD growth in average sales price (ASP) through June was more than 8% as opposed to  MRIS, which grew by less than 1% at .05%.
  • BHHS PFR sales volume grew YOY by 21.3% (YTD through June), which exceeds MRISgrowth for the same period by more than 11%.
  • YOY unit sales increased by 12.7% (YTD through June), which exceeds MRIS growth for the same period by more than 5%.

“This is a phenomenal success story,” Wiles said. “For two years in a row, we have outperformed the industry average. I want to sincerely thank the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic team for delivering on our commitment to perform with excellence. You continue to do this with the unparalleled customer service that is the hallmark of our strong brand,” Wiles said.