Winter is Almost Over!
At least as far as the temperature of the Real Estate Market in Northern Virginia! The market continues to gain momentum despite the daunting low inventory levels. There are many buyers in the market ready to buy the right home and in many cases it is difficult to do so leaving them and their agent frustrated. Typically, this time of year we start to see houses come on the market, but we have not seen a week-over-week increase in inventory since the fourth week of September last year! That is an amazing run, hopefully it will change soon for our buyers. If you are considering selling, let’s get together to see how to position yourself for success in this market.
All indications are pointing for 2018 to be another great year for real estate sales, despite starting off with low inventory levels and increasing interest rates. Interest rates are projected to be in the high 4’s, possibly low 5’s by the end of the year– scary, NOT! When I first got into the business in 1989, rates were in the 12’s. I have an old interest rate card for calculating payments and the lowest rate on it is 8%!! Yes, the rate increase will have a small but not substantial impact in my estimation. There is too many bullish tailwinds in the job market, tax cuts, wage growth and bonuses to blunt this in any meaningful way. What could have a greater impact is escalating prices when coupled with these modest mortgage rate increases. This may force some first-time buyers to sit on the sidelines because of qualification purposes or potential sellers staying in their houses longer because they don’t find it beneficial to relocate. As always, time will tell.
The low inventory levels are resulting in multiple contract situations in many cases, but not in every situation so it is important to have the right expectation when putting your house on the market. Upper end prices are taking longer to sell as is typically the case. Houses that have not been priced properly, are in poor condition or have undesirable lot conditions will accumulate days on the market as well. In these situations, it is critical to hire a professional to give you the proper guidance to maximize your sought-after results. I am here to help you navigate the sale in these circumstances, so please call me to discuss your situation in more detail. Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
It’s a good life.
David Green, Vice President of Walker Title
I started in the title industry in 1986 and have been with Walker Title from its start in 1994. WALKER TITLE, LLC is a full service title agency and settlement company specializing in both residential and commercial transactions in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area. Walker Title has 21 real estate title professionals and 3 offices to service its customer’s needs. Our experienced staff can assist you in handling any real estate transaction, which includes house purchases, refinance, land acquisitions, construction loans and complex commercial transactions. Our dedication to customer service makes Walker Title’s settlement and title insurance services second to none. We can provide you with the knowledge to make your real estate transaction a smooth and pleasant experience from contract to close.
There is always something fun to do in and around Northern Virginia!
Smithsonian Tech-Quest: Race to the Moon – February 2-10, 2018
National Air & Space Museum-Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Pkwy., Chantilly, VA 20151
This free STEM-based alternate reality game is set in the thrilling era of early space flight. The game involves hands-on activities about launching a rocket, setting a course and landing safely on the moon. Ages 10 and up. Admission is FREE.
airandspace.si.edu/smithsonian-techquest for more information. 10:30am—4:00pm
Second Saturday Art Walk at the Workhouse—February 10 , 2018
9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA 22079
Join us to discover all the Workhouse Art Center has to offer. This is the perfect time to meet nearly 85 resident artists creating art in the studios or exhibiting in the galleries. Experience thrilling performances, classes and exhibits of the region’s finest sculpture, painting, glass, ceramics and fiber art works. 6pm—9pm – FREE
31st Annual YMCA Chocolates Galore & More! – February 23, 2018
Lansdowne Resort & Spa
44050 Woodridge Pkwy, Leesburg, VA 20176
This special evening is one of Loudoun’s finest culinary and social events! All proceeds directly fund the YMCA’s Caring for Community scholarship program and enable the YMCA to serve the needs of local families. Attendees will enjoy dancing, free-flowing champagne, tasting the area’s best desserts, hor d’oeuvres and much more! For more information visit: www.loudounchocolates.com. 7pm—11pm. $50.
Gainesville Valentine’s Serenade! February 14, 2018
5615 Wellington Rd., Gainesville, VA 20155
Join the Night & Day Quartet at the awesome new Club Eclipse in Gainesville for Valentine’s Day as they weave a romantic mood with lively swing and jazz music. Contact [email protected] for more information. 6:30pm—9:30 pm.
Why do we Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
How did Valentine’s Day start? Having a particular Valentine’s Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February which was their official start of springtime! It’s thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box, hence the Valentine’s Day box made by many school children today to collect valentines.
6 Decisions to Make Before the Home Search
In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.
- What’s your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.
- What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, home office or playroom? How many cars need covered parking? It’s critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.
- Do you want a condo or single-family home?Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won’t be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you’ll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.
- How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.
- What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don’t have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you’d like to live in.
- Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you’re willing to put into a home – or how much you’ll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you’ll want to figure out
your renovation budget before you start your home search. A 203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you’re not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can’t or don’t want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that’s move-in ready might be right for you. After considering all these factors, you’ll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you’re headed.