As Summer Rolls in…
First and foremost, I trust you are staying safe and making wise decisions when going out in public, so you remain healthy!
So, you may be wondering what was happening in the real estate business during the pandemic while we were on stay at home status. As I mentioned previously, we were deemed essential, so we could still “work” and help people make wise decisions when selling, buying, or leasing properties. And let me tell you, this pandemic did now stop our local real estate market, as houses are selling and selling fast in many cases. The median days on market in Northern Virginia in March were six; in April, it was five, and I am guessing that we will have the same result in May. The average days on market stand at just 28 days. We still have an extremely low inventory level today, and we have a tremendous number of buyers out in the marketplace resulting in a feeding frenzy in many price points and in most locations throughout Northern Virginia. Today, the number of homes for sale is 40% below this same time last year and is down 51% from two years ago. We currently have less than one month’s supply of homes, which is historically low. The bottom line is – we need more houses to sell to keep up with the demand.
I noticed a bit of a demarcation line Memorial Day week-end in the market While not summer on the calendar it typically marks the beginning of the outdoor season of grilling and fun and entertaining and it came at a time when we were still in lock down but it had been announced that it was ending the following week. Plus the weather was gorgeous. A huge number of people took all of that into consideration and decided it was time to get out there and look at and buy homes. The faucet looks like it has been opened up a good bit from a demand perspective.
Mortgage interest rates are incredibly low – around 3.25% today. The great rates are one contributing factor to home sales as it is more affordable (on a monthly basis) to own versus renting in many cases. The rental market remains on fire as well as demand is strong for rentals. Additionally, prices are increasing across the region, and buyers want to begin their wealth-building strategy of home ownership. One interesting dynamic that we are seeing is more first-time buyers entering the market and fewer investors/cash transactions.
It is still a great time to both buy and sell if you take the proper precautions. Give me a call me to discuss your situation in more detail, especially now that we are entering Phase 1. The big question to be answered by the next newsletter is… Did more people decide to sell now that we are in Phase 1 or potentially Phase 2? Lastly, if you went into forbearance on your mortgage or other debts or if you are thinking about it, please call me so I can explain the process and ramifications.
It’s a good life.
Seasonal Home Improvement: Summer Maintenance Checklist
When the sun is out and warm weather is finally here to stay, the last thing you should worry about is home maintenance. Use our quick summer home maintenance guide to get the hard work out of the way at the beginning of the season.
Don’t worry if the weather is already heating up; most of these tasks are indoors:
- Oil garage-door opener and chain, garage door, and all door hinges.
- Remove lint from inside and outside washer hoses and dryer vents.
- Clean kitchen exhaust fan filter.
- Clean refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays.
- Check dishwasher for leaks.
- Check around kitchen and bathroom cabinets and around toilets for leaks.
- Replace interior and exterior faucet and showerhead washers if needed.
- Seal tile grout.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
Yields 1 dozen | Total time 45 min
· 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ thick half-moons
· 1 (10-oz.) package baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and halved
· 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
· 2 small lemons, cut into eighths
· 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 garlic clove, grated
· 1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme, oregano, or rosemary
· Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
· Kosher salt
· Freshly ground black pepper
- If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Thread each skewer with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and lemon pieces, alternating each.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Brush all over skewers, then season skewers with salt and pepper.
- Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve hot.
Is the Coronavirus Changing Your Homebuying Plans?
There are options to help you move forward.
Many would-be home buyers were just beginning their home search this spring when the coronavirus outbreak transformed day-to-day life. Yet in many parts of the world, real estate remains active. There are still houses being listed and sold every day. The way we do business is changing, but it’s still going on.
As home buyers evaluate their next step now that many states are reopening and home showings resume, it’s important to consider all of their options, according to Cande Green, a real estate agent with RE/MAX DFW Associates in Frisco, Texas.
“We’re finding ways around the problems and issues of the current situation,” Green says. “Agents are still working and are here to answer questions to help buyers adjust their plans.” For home buyers who now need more flexibility in their timelines and finances, the strategies below could help them move forward with confidence.
1. Consider putting less down to save more money for an emergency.
The advice is always to have three-to-six months pay set aside for a rainy day, but people aren’t always able to do that. Due to the uncertainty of how the Coronavirus will impact the economy long-term, you may opt to reduce your down payment to have more money set aside in savings.
2. Work with an agent to have a backup plan written into the contract.
With government social distancing and stay-at-home orders varying from state-to-state, real estate agents are adapting their business to serve clients in a continually changing environment. That includes some agents now specifying more flexibility and extended timelines in the real estate purchase agreement for their clients. It’s designed to protect both the home buyer and seller, given the unique circumstances. Everybody understands the current situation. In many states, there is an addendum that can be executed to allow for an extension on the contract if circumstances connected with Coronavirus added delays.
Some buyers who leverage video tours or virtual showings may be nearly ready to move ahead with a purchase, but they want one final look at the property in person, this can be written in the contract as well. The property is classified as under contract and off the market until the buyer can visit in-person and make a final decision.
3. Visit the home from a safe distance.
Buyers can learn a lot about a home without stepping foot inside. Once a buyer has narrowed down properties using online tools, driving or walking past the property can be a good next step in the elimination process.
Before scheduling any showings, may agents ask their clients to look at every photo, virtual tour or video that is available online and take a drive by the property to make sure it’s definitely one they want to take an in-person look at. Driving past the property can also give the potential buyers insight into neighborhood features – perhaps there’s a park that wasn’t mentioned in the listing, or there’s a charming wine bar within walking distance.
4. Hire a trusted guide.
One of the most valuable perspectives an agent can offer buyers right now is the knowledge and expertise of navigating a variety of markets and circumstances. Adapting to changing environments isn’t new; the challenges are just different. As the real estate process continues to evolve to fit life, real estate agents continue to serve as trusted guides through one of life’s most important transactions.
If you are looking to buy or sell in the future, I would be honored to serve as your trusted guide and REALTOR. Give me a call to discuss your situation in further detail.