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Welcome to the inaugural Platinum Club Post!! What is that you ask? For several years now we at RE/MAX Gateway have, on a monthly basis, gathered the top 10-15 brokers from our company and, to provide a unique and valuable perspective, several elite brokers from some of our competitors to discuss at very high levels what we are seeing in the market place as it is happening. I know that is unusual but we have been friends and peers, sometimes for decades, and all of our clients benefit from this unique arrangement.

This gathering of elite brokers often represents over 100 transactions a month. Now that is some valuable anecdotal evidence! We discuss inventory levels, market projections, pending shifts and techniques that produce real results. I have found it to be an invaluable tool and a true differential advantage for my clients.
There are two topics we discuss each month: interest rates and our projections for them and inventory levels.

Sale inventory for the Northern Virginia region (inside the beltway, Fairfax, Loudon and Prince William counties) sits at 9.052 units which is the lowest level since May (9,625 is the high for the year). This is fairly stable and is leading to the broadly balanced market. We have discovered however that more than any time in recent memory we are experiencing “micro climates” in the market. Certain communities and smaller areas are either disproportionately hot or cold relative to nearby areas. This makes proper analysis by a real estate professional more crucial than ever.

As you have all seen for the second year in a row we had spring predictions of rate increases that have not manifested themselves. They did rise for a time this year but have retreated once again. The impact of this on the market is that buyers aren’t driven to make quicker housing decisions based on a fear of rising interest rates and thus monthly payments.

A major conclusion I’d like to share from this months meeting relates to property condition of homes on the market. There is this eternal question about putting in the effort and expense to update/renovate your home to maximize the price or put it on “as is” and price accordingly. We have seen for many months that the path to netting the most from the sale of your home is to make the improvements prior to putting your home on the market and this trend only continues to intensify. So we are telling all of our sellers that if they have the financial means and a little time the path to netting the most from your sale is to for the most part to make the improvements.

At the same time we are encouraging buyers to as always focus on the things you cannot change and to recognize that while rates did not rise significantly this year it is a trend that simply cannot continue indefinitely. So if you find a home that you like and has all the things you need but might also present some future room for improvements it’s a great time to make a move!

It’s a good life.