Local Real Estate Update

Historically, the summer time has been a good time to be a home buyer but not such a great time to be a home seller.  We have had many people ask if our opinion has changed in the season of COVID-19 and record low interest rates in place to stimulate the real estate market.  The answer is yes and no.  Like everything else in real estate, it is location dependent.

Today we are taking a look at two of our favorite zip codes:  22314 which covers Old Town Alexandria and 22301 which includes Rosemont, DelRay, and the surrounding area.

In DelRay we are seeing some good news and some not so good news.  The average sales price is up 29% from last year but the average days on market is also up by 120%.

In nearby Old Town we see not only a 54% increase in the average days on the market year over year, but a 14% decrease in the average sales price as well.  It is interesting to note that in 22314 we also saw a 113 increase in new listings compared to June of last year.

Who knows what the future holds but compared to previous years, I would say that at least in Alexandria, when the temperatures go up, the number of home buyers tend to go down.

 

 

Mortgage Market Update, July 2020

This month’s market Primary Mortgage Market Survey® from Freddie Mac showed that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.03 percent, the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971.

“The summer is heating up as record low mortgage rates continue to spur homebuyer demand,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “However, it remains to be seen whether the demand will continue if COVID cases rise to the point that it hinders economic growth.” In addition:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.03 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 9, 2020, down from 3.07 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.75 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.51 percent with an average 0.8 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.56 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.22 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.02 percent with an average 0.3 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.00 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.46 percent.

Freddie Mac. ©2020. All rights reserved.

An Outdoor Oasis in the Heart of Delray

Enjoy Southern Living at its Finest at 507 E. Alexandria Street 

As previously reported, one of Delray’s finest homes is on the market. Featuring a total of 5 bedrooms, three baths, and over 2800 square feet of living space in in the main house, this home is sure to delight!

Screened porch overlooking backyard

One of the most delightful aspects of this home is the incredible outdoor living spaces.  

The front of the home features a lovely, neighborly front porch perfect for rocking chairs and greeting Trick or Treaters on Halloween. 

The rear of the house is will delight you with every Southerner’s dream porch: completely screened with a blue two-story ceiling, ceiling fan, and custom curtains.  It is a simply a lovely place to relax and enjoy your morning beverage, have an glass of iced tea, or to host a springtime dinner party.

Large Trex Deck, perfect for grilling and chilling

Accessible from the Pella French doors in the great room or off of the screened porch, you will find the  outdoor entertainer’s favorite part of the house!  A large Trex deck overlooking the backyard! With the Onkyo receiver system providing music from the house to the deck, it is perfect for happy hours and cooking out! 

If you are just looking for a place to retreat, you will find it a terrific place to just grab a book and enjoy your private space.

Backyard oasis with a fountain and walking paths

The deck overlooks the wonderfully landscaped backyard.  The yard is a garden oasis in the city with irrigation, abundant landscaping, a small patio, walking paths, and a fountain. 

Leaving no detail untouched, the shed in the backyard is not only painted to match the main house, but it is currently set up as a workshop and even has electricity.

Storage shed, workshop, play house, endless options! 

Other exterior perks include yard lighting, Leafguard gutters, recently painted Hardiplank siding, and trim for worry free upkeep. 

Big bonus:  The finished basement is currently a 1-bedroom apartment with its own entry, living/dining/kitchenette combo room, separate and private bedroom with ensuite bath and its very own laundry room with washer and dryer.

Open Saturday and Sunday

Come join us this weekend for the first open house of this Delray gem or take a 3D Virtual Tour. A delight for commuters, it is just a few blocks to the Braddock Metro and two blocks from the Avenue where you can enjoy restaurants and shopping. This is the home you have been waiting to hit the market!  It has been updated and expanded and is ready for a new owner to call it home!  

Priced to sell at $1,295,000. For more information or to arrange a tour, Contact me!

Thinking About Downsizing After You Retire?

Is This Your Situation?

No matter if it is you or your parents or grandparents, older homeowners have different needs than the average homeowner. Check out this article from our news letter for helpful guidance.

Family

Having relatives close by grows in importance for many. If family members have moved away from the family home, a relocation could be in order. Or, for those with family nearby, this could simply entail downsizing or rightsizing to a smaller place across town.downsizing?

Roots

Many older homeowners choose to stay put because they want to maintain their existing friendships and community connections, meaning home needs may change but the zip code may not.

Size

Some homeowners in larger homes find the time and money necessary for its maintenance to be too much and simply look for a smaller home or a condo/townhouse that doesn’t require the same level of upkeep—or the same square footage.

Finances 

Many homeowners stay in the same city or state in which they raised their family despite the fact that a change in climate might be inviting. Many retirees examine their financial situation and the tax implications of moving to another state and realize it may not be a wise move monetarily.

Emotions

Before any move away from family—and a family home—can succeed, both the owners of the home and their entire family must be able to make an emotional break from the home. This will make the transition for the owners easier and the transaction simpler when all parties realize that the move is a business matter and not about a memory-filled structure that is being “lost.”

Give me a text or email today if you’d like more information on the process of downsizing to a smaller home. The simplicity that a small house can offer is well worth checking out your options.

507 E Alexander Ave

Nestled in the heart of Delray

Expanded and Updated Single Family Home in the Heart of Delray

This Delray gem, located perfectly near the Metro and a few blocks from the Avenue where you can enjoy restaurants and shopping, is the home you have been waiting to hit the market!  It has been updated and expanded and is ready for a new owner to call it home!

The first floor features hardwood floors, an open kitchen with granite and custom tiled backsplash,  stainless appliances, jumbo cabinets with extra storage, and an oversized pantry.  There is a formal dining room with built-in buffet which steps down into the great room with cathedral ceiling and a gas burning fireplace.  Sunlight fills the house with the custom Pella windows.  Also on this floor is the formal living room, library, and  two bedrooms with an adjoining bathroom.

Upstairs you will find a large loft overlooking the great room.  Currently used as an office, it could make a great wellness retreat or second family room.  You will also find the huge master bedroom with cathedral ceiling and dual walk-in closets, master bathroom, laundry room and a fourth bedroom.

Enjoy evenings on the fabulous screened porch, and parties on the Trex deck in back overlooking the private backyard!  The yard is a garden oasis in the city with irrigation, abundant landscaping, walking paths, a fountain. 

Garden oasis with fountain and inground irrigation.

Garden oasis with fountain, lush landscaping, yard lighting, and inground irrigation.

In 2005 the owner raised the roof and meticulously renovated this home to include many unseen, high-end touches and finishes that are sure to delight.  From updated plumbing and electric to smart switches and five thermostat zones to an Onkyo receiver system for music throughout the house and deck.  The Leafguard gutters, Hardiplank siding and trim are maintenance and worry free.  All this, and it is on a double lot!

Big bonus:  The finished basement is currently a 1-bedroom apartment with its own entry, living/dining/kitchenette combo room, separate and private bedroom with ensuite bath and its very own laundry room with washer and dryer.  Currently leased until January 2021.  Perfect for the owner who would like a little extra income with the option to update in the future for a 5 bedroom, 3 bath house. 

Priced incredibly at $1,295,000. For more information or to arrange a tour, Contact me!

Alternatives to Granite in Your Kitchen

Thinking of doing an update in your kitchen?

The granite question is one I am frequently asked from clients, friends, and family. The questions range from “Is granite out of date yet or is it still in fashion?” to “Is it worth the money?”

Long story short, yes to both. Luckily there are some great new options on the market that will update your space and in some cases are less expensive than granite. Check out this article from our newsletter below.

countertop optionsGranite has long been the top choice for kitchen counters. But it can be expensive, and as a result, many people are looking at a variety of alternatives. Perhaps you just want a completely different look in your kitchen. Before you make your decision, the following are some of the most popular countertop options at a variety of price points to help you evaluate all of your options.

Butcher Block

Wood looks great in many kitchen designs, especially if you want to look rustic or homey. Most woods aren’t durable enough for countertops, but butcherblock is an excellent choice. Butcher block is assembled wood that is heavy duty and made specifically for chopping or food prep, and it makes a great countertop in your kitchen.

Engineered Surfaces

Engineered surfaces cover a lot of ground, but some common types are Silestone or Correll. These are manufactured countertops designed to give you the look and feel of real stone. They aren’t necessarily the most inexpensive option, depending on which option you select, but they can be more affordable than granite.

Marble

Some people prefer the look of marble to granite. It’s considered luxurious and can give your kitchen a really rich look. Marble is a more porous stone, however, and can become problematic in certain areas of your kitchen, such as when used as a backsplash. Marble is best used in moderation, so you might want to include it as a feature rather than as the entire surface.

Concrete

For an industrial-looking applications, concrete is a fantastic option. It can be created in any size or shape and is relatively inexpensive. But even when finished, concrete can be susceptible to scratches and stains. On the plus side, though, these counters can be fixed with relative ease. Concrete may be one of the things that is fairly easy to install yourself.

Tile

Some people shy away from tile on countertops, but if done properly, it can be a good fit. Tile countertops do need to be properly grouted to prevent dirt from building up and they should never have food prepared directly on the surface; otherwise, tile of various sorts can make for amazing counters.

Stainless Steel

Metal is also a go-to option for many people and stainless steel counters are a great fit. Stainless steel is durable and elegant. It is easy to clean without any fear of damage or staining. They can scratch and even dent depending on your care and use of them.

Contact us today to learn more about other kitchen counter alternatives.

Three Easy Upgrades to Increase Home Value

Contact Maxine for more home improvement tips.

Whether you’re planning to sell or rent, a little renovation goes a long way in helping to increase your home’s market value. For most homeowners, the biggest concern is usually the budget required for upgrades, renovations, and home maintenance. The great news is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on home improvements. Here are three tips for some of the best home upgrades that add value:

  1. Knock down a wall, and go for an open concept. Not only will it create the illusion of a bigger space, but it’s also a home design trend that’s very much in demand today. Just make sure to have the wall assessed for possible electrical wires housed behind it before hitting it with a sledgehammer.
  2. Brighten up the bathroom. Bathrooms are among the most important considerations for many tenants and prospective homebuyers, so it’s pertinent to get this area of the house right. Buff up the tiles and replace the faucets, showerheads and toilet seats. There’s no need to replace all the tiles, just those that are cracked and chipped. The trick is to find the right cleaning agent that can help make the tiles look good as new.
  3. Apply a fresh coat of paint. Choose modern color palettes to give the house a fresh new look.

Source: Reprinted with permission from RISMedia ©2020. All rights reserved.

How to get the best mortgage rate

A house is a major purchase. In fact, it’s typically one of the biggest purchases people make in their whole lives. If you’re like one of the millions of buyers who get a mortgage for their dream home, securing the lowest interest rate possible could go a long way toward saving you money over the lifetime of the loan.

According to national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling, here are five factors homebuyers need to consider to get the best mortgage rate:

Questions? Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

Good credit score. The higher the credit score, the better the mortgage rate. People with lower scores are considered more at risk of defaulting on the loan. To improve your score, make sure you pay all your bills on time and try to eliminate or significantly lessen credit card balances.

Down payment. Building savings and being able to put forward a larger down payment will help you receive a lower mortgage rate. Ideally, you should try to save up enough to make a 20 percent down payment.

Steady employment. Working for the same employer for at least two years shows mortgage lenders you have steady earnings, which makes you a more attractive borrower.

Fixed rate vs. adjustable rate. Fixed-rate mortgages keep the same interest rate the entire life of the loan. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rates change over time, beginning with an introductory period that lasts three, five, seven or 10 years of a steady rate. Following this introductory period, the ARM rate may change periodically

15 year vs. 30 year. If you have a consistent income and feel you’ll live in your home for an extended period, it may be worth considering a 15-year loan rather than the average 30-year loan. Although a 15-year loan means higher monthly payments, it’ll save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Make sure you shop around for lenders and do research, even when refinancing, to make sure you’re getting the best rate for your situation.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice.

Source: Reprinted with permission from RISMedia ©2020. All rights reserved.

Thinking of Buying a Place? Ask These Questions Before You Make An Offer

Whether you are buying your very first condo or your fifth house, read on for some very important questions to have answered before putting in an offer on a place.

Getting ready to put an offer on a home? Before you do, ask these questions to make sure you’re moving ahead on the best possible deal.

Were there any renovations to the home? The sellers may have made improvements over the years that weren’t recorded at City Hall. Make sure you have a full run-down of all the changes that have been made, both to ensure structural safety and legal compliance, and to fully assess the home’s value.

How old is the roof? Just because the roof is currently in good condition doesn’t mean it’s not soon on its way out. Make sure you know how old it is and if repairs or a replacement may be in your near future.

How long have the appliances been here? You’ll also want to know how old the appliances are and what shape they’re in. Many home sellers update the appliances before putting their home on the market, so find out if this is the case. Make sure all manuals and warranties are left behind as well.

What are the neighbors/neighborhood like? You’ll have to drill down to avoid getting general responses, so ask if there are families with young children on the block vs. retirees, what traffic is like, what amenities are nearby, etc. For further intel, take a stroll around the neighborhood and chat with someone out walking their dog or doing some yardwork. Their friendliness – or lack thereof – could be an indicator in and of itself.

What’s included in the sale? Many sellers will include certain items in the sale of the home to help sweeten the deal, such as select pieces of furniture, lighting fixtures or outdoor appliances, like a lawn mower or hedge trimmer. On the flip side, you may be assuming certain items will be included that aren’t. Seller’s exclusions should be outlined in the listing description, but sometimes they’re not so be sure to ask.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia ©2020. All rights reserved.

A great year for housing

In case you are not subscribed to my newsletter, here is some good news and excellent reading about the housing market from our friends at Freddie Mac.  If 2019 was any indication, 2020 will be a relatively good time for potential homebuyers to make the transition to homeownership.

Questions? Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

Over the last 12 months, interest rates fell by almost a whole percentage point and high demand resulted in a steady increase in home values across the nation. Current market projections forecast low mortgage rates continuing into 2020, providing potential buyers the opportunity to lock in favorable mortgage terms and start building long-term financial independence.

Let’s break down the housing market’s latest trip around the sun.

Strong equity gains

You often hear that one of the benefits of buying a home is building equity. But what exactly is equity? In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. It’s the portion of the home that you own. Over time, through paying down your principal balance and your home’s appreciation, you can build equity.

But it’s important to note that some markets appreciate faster than others and there is no guarantee that your home will increase in value. It all depends on market conditions at the time you sell your home.

According to CoreLogic’s most recent homeowner equity report, 2019 was a strong year for equity gains. On average, U.S. homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase by 5.1% since the third quarter of 2018 and the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year.

Interest rates dropped

2019 was a year of declining interest rates. According to our mortgage rates survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged an interest rate of 4.51% at the start of the year but dropped to a low of 3.49% during September of 2019. Our latest forecast predicts that in 2020, rates will remain low, averaging around 3.8%.

So, will 2020 be a good year to buy a home? A look back at the past year shows a strong and steady market. Based on the forecast, the outlook is promising for the housing market with interest rates projected to remain low and appreciation expected to continue as we settle into the next decade.

Freddie Mac. ©2020. All rights reserved.