Category Archives: For Sale

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.

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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.

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The Seller Who Tests the Market

When you see the market rising, it’s tempting to price your home even higher than nearby homes that recently sold. So you tell your listing agent that you want to “test” the market to see if you can get even more for your home.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to choose a list price higher than recent comparable sold homes, but that strategy seldom works unless the market is climbing rapidly. If you’re looking for a quick, hassle-free sale, you need to decide which is more important – getting more for your home or moving on to your new life somewhere else.
Let’s say your neighborhood’s highest, most recent home sale was $500,000, and your agent suggests a listing price of $510,000. You want to test the market at $530,000 – which is $20,000 more than your agent recommends, and $30,000 over the latest comparable.

Your home hits the market at $530,000 and has tons of showings the first week. Your strategy is working, except that you don’t receive any offers. By the second week, there are few to no showings. Agents are reporting back to your listing agent that their buyers said your home “needs work,” or that they “found something more suited to their needs.”

After months of making two mortgage payments, your home finally sells at $518,000. Meanwhile, you paid months of overhead to get $9,000. You actually lost peace of mind and threw away a lot of money.

Overpriced homes simply take longer to sell. If you’re tempted to “test the market”, remember that the market will test you.

For accurate pricing, staging, and home selling assistance, always remember to call your favorite Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty agent at 703-836-1464.

Homeselling Tips: Four Ways to Price Your Home to Sell

Four Ways to Price Your Home To Sell

Is your home really worth your asking price? The best way to answer that question is to consider the same criteria that homebuyers do: market conditions, location, condition and price.

  1. Market conditions: Smart buyers hire a real estate professional to help them navigate market conditions—whether their city, neighborhood and price range is in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and what strategies to employ to get the best home possible for their money. The greater the inventory, the more room buyers have to negotiate.
  2. Location: Buyers narrow their searches to neighborhoods within their price ranges. They look at your home and its competitors and choose the one they perceive to be the best value.
  3. Condition: Your competition is not only other similar homes in your area, but what buyers could get if they purchased brand-new. Your buyer is comparing size, number of bedrooms and baths, amenities, updates, views, landscaping and décor. The closer you can put your home to move-in readiness, the higher the price buyers will pay.
  4. Price: Price your home to get immediate and serious offers. You can’t put a price on everything, but many features such as fine workmanship, room flow and convenient storage are simply worth more to buyers. A buyer may compromise on a neighborhood, or they may pick a home in less than perfect condition, but only if the price is right.

Most importantly, trust your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professional to show you how to make your home the best choice in any market.

First Look: Home-Buying Season Is Already Booming

The 2016 home-buying season is in full swing, with homes in April moving 7 percent faster than one year ago, even as asking prices continue to break records. This, according to new data released this week by Realtor.com.

Median age of inventory is now 68 days, moving five days faster in April than a year earlier and 6 days faster than last month – pointing to solid momentum this spring. The median-priced home was listed at $245,500, 9 percent higher than one year ago and 2 percent higher than March. For-sale housing inventory is increasing on a monthly basis, but remains lower than one year ago.

“A robust buying season has already fully bloomed this spring, clearly demonstrated by our preliminary read on April inventory and activity on realtor.com,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com. “Pent-up demand, lower mortgage rates and strong employment continue to power the strongest and healthiest real estate market we have seen in a decade. Close to 550,000 new listings came onto the market in April, which helped total inventory grow 2 percent over March. However, we know that sales are picking up faster than inventory since the median age of inventory fell again by six days after falling a whopping 22 days in March. As a result we have 4 percent fewer homes available for sale compared to last year and homes stay on the market five fewer days.”

The median age of inventory for April is expected to be 68 days, down 7 percent year over year and down 8 percent from March.

The median listing price for April will likely reach a record high of $245,500, a 9 percent increase year over year and a two percent increase month over month.

Listing inventory in April showed a 2 percent increase over March. However, inventory decreased 4 percent year over year.

Realtor.com’s Hottest Markets receive two to three times the number of views per listing compared to the national average. In terms of supply, these markets are seeing inventory move 17-45 days more quickly than the rest of the U.S. They have also seen days on market drop by an average of four days from March.

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

Seller’s Advice: Your Checklist for An Impressive Showing

House for saleLooking for ways to get a house ready to go on the market? Even if a home sale is not in your future, follow these tips from Realty Times writer Blanche Evans and you will notice how much more warm and welcoming your home can be.

Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home “showtime” ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets.

What you need to stay organized is a handy checklist so you can be ready to show at any time. When you get the call that buyers are on their way, give everyone in the household a basket and assign them each to a room to pick up clutter quickly. Set a timer and tell everyone to grab up any toys on the floor, clear tabletops and countertops of junk, and quickly Swiffer-sweep the floors. Check for hazards like dog chews on the floor.

Turn on all the lights, and get ready to skedaddle. You have to let buyers have privacy so they can assess your home honestly. Take the kids for an outing. Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you:

Keep your home show-ready with these nine tips:

Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.

Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations that pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.

Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.

Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.

Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.

Have a family plan of action: Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.

Remove prescription medicines: Despite qualifying by the buyer’s agent, some buyers have other intentions than buying your home. It’s also a good idea to lock your personal papers such as checkbooks away. Do not leave mail out on your desk.

Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.

Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.

Strategies for Effective Home Staging

It is interesting to read up on the latest strategies and techniques for effective home staging. Staging today is not an option if an owner is serious about selling a property.  Second only to pricing, condition and staging are key to impressing potential buyers and therefore, securing the sale of your property.

Here are some fall-related tips to help make a home more appealing:House for sale

  • Too many holiday decorations create a cluttered atmosphere (such as Halloween, Thanksgiving & seasonal decorations). Less is more in this instance.
  • Skip seasonal candles (they can be a safety risk and often have too strong of an odor).
  • Well-lit rooms not only look larger—they also make properties more inviting. Open blinds and shades to let in natural light; turn on lights and lamps for additional illumination.
  • Up the ‘coziness factor’ by adding pillows and plush throws to chairs and sofas.
  • Keep the thermostat set at a comfortable level – it is easy to cut off the AC in favor of opening the windows in September and October but if it is unseasonably warm, keep the air conditioning turned on.  The opposite is also true, if it is unseasonably cold, go on and cut on the heat.  The temperature of a home is key to creating an inviting atmosphere.

DC Metro housing supply growth continues

Hot off the presses from RBIntel…

Sales down [MRIS-wide] from July 2013; Listing Activity up

OVERVIEW

The Washington, DC Metro Area continues to have lower levels of buyer activity than in 2013.  Closed sales have now decreased from their prior year during every month in 2014, and decreased 8.4 percent from last July.  New pending contracts have had year-over-year decreases for eight consecutive months.  In July, new pending contracts fell 4.8 percent, with decreases in each property segment.   Despite the lower buyer activity relative to 2013, closed sales and new pending contracts continue to be higher than in 2010, 2011 and 2012.  The median sales price increased modestly from last year, rising 0.7 percent.  This increase was driven by townhomes and condo properties, with condos reaching their highest July-level since 2007, and townhomes reaching their highest level on record, with data starting in 1997.

Inventory continues to rise and active listings reached their highest level of any month since November 2011.  However, the number of homes for sale remains low, at just 43.2 percent of its peak-level.  New listings continue to rise, and have now increased from the prior year for five consecutive months.

Click here to view PDF version of this report

CLOSED SALES

Seventh consecutive month of year-over-year declines; decreases in all property segments.  In July, there were 4,539 closed sales in the Washington DC Metro Area.  This is 8.4 percent, or 414, fewer sales than this time last year and marks the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year declines.  But closed sales remained higher than the July-levels in 2010 through 2012.  All property segments had fewer closed sales than July 2013.  Sales for single-family detached homes decreased 13.2 percent, or by 330 sales, from last year and had the sharpest decline of all property segments.  Sales for townhomes decreased 5.3 percent, or by 66 sales, while those for condo properties decreased 1.6 percent, or by 19 sales.  As compared to last month, the number of sales decreased 9.3 percent, which is a milder decrease the 10-year average June to July change of -10.5 percent.

PRICES

Modest increase in prices led by townhomes and condo properties.  At $428,000, the median sales price for the region increased 0.7 percent, or by $3,000, from last July.  This is the highest July-level for the region since 2007.  The median sales price for single-family detached homes fell 1.2 percent, or by $6,750, to $535,000 and was the only property segment to have a lower median sales price than last year.  At $418,000, the median sales price for townhomes increased by $19,000, or 4.8 percent, from last July.  The median sales price for condo properties increased 3.4 percent, or by $10,000, from July 2013 to $300,000.

Of the jurisdictions, the city of Alexandria had the highest growth in in median sale price, rising 9.3 percent.  The median sales price in Prince George’s County rose by nearly as much and increased 8.8 percent.  Three jurisdictions in the area had declines in median sales price from this time last year: the city of Fairfax (-9.2 percent), Montgomery County (-1.5 percent) and Fairfax County (-1.1 percent).

NEW CONTRACTS

Decreases in all property segments; eighth consecutive year-over-year decline.  The number of new contracts declined from last July, falling by 4.8 percent, or by 240 contracts, to 4,773 contracts.  This is the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases.  But the number of contracts is above its July-levels in 2006 through 2012.  All property segments had fewer contracts than last July.  New contracts for townhomes fell the most, and decreased 7.6 percent, or by 100 contracts.  New contracts for condos declined 7.3 percent, or by 99 contracts, from last July, while those for single-family detached homes decreased 1.9 percent, or by 44 contracts.  New contracts decreased 7.4 percent from last month, which is a milder decline than the ten-year average June to July change of -8.5 percent.

INVENTORY

Highest number of active listings since November 2011; increases in new listings in all property segments. Active listings in the Washington, DC Metro Area increased 33.5 percent, or by 2,808 listings, from last July to 11,119 listings.  Active listings have now increased from the prior year for ten months in a row and have reached their highest level of any month in nearly three years.  Despite these gains, active listings are 56.8 percent lower than their 2007 peak.  Of the property segments, active listings for townhomes had the largest increase from last year, rising 45.3 percent.  Active listings for condo properties rose 37.7 percent.  There were 6,431 active listings for single-family detached homes, 28.3 percent more than this time last year.

For the fifth consecutive month, new listings were above their year-ago level.  There were 6,282 new listings in July, an increase of 8.1 percent, or 470 listings, from July 2013.  New listings for townhomes had the highest growth of the property segments and rose 9.3 percent, or by 137 listings from last year.  New listings of single-family detached homes rose 8.9 percent, or by 253 listings, from this time last year, and those for condo properties increased 5.2 percent or by 77 listings. Homes continue to sell quickly and the median days-on-market is 17.  While this is five days higher than last year, it is lower than the 10-year July-level average of 29 days.