As we close out 2020…
A lot has transpired since the last newsletter… a presidential election, additional shutdowns, local jurisdictions reverting back to more restrictions on public gatherings, regional school districts canceling or staggering the return to the classroom, and of course, Thanksgiving. Luckily, we had great weather on Thanksgiving and could eat outside with our “at-risk” family members and maintain social distancing with them throughout the day.
Interest rates remain low on the real estate front; fewer people are re-engaging in forbearance on their mortgages, and houses are still selling – often with multiple offers. All in all, it’s a great market not only in Northern Virginia but around the country.
As we enter the holiday season, inventory levels remain low, making it difficult for buyers looking to take advantage of great rates. We are only 9% below last year’s level of homes for sale during this same week in time. As I look back, this was the beginning of the inventory shortage in our area. It will be interesting to see if we match our low from this past January when we had just over 1,800 houses for sale. If you are considering relocating, downsizing, or upsizing, call me to see how we can help you get into a home. We have strategies for every market to help people become homeowners.
So, the question I am often asked this time of year is, should we sell our house or wait until the spring. My answer is – it depends. Do you need to sell, or do you want to sell? If you sell, where will you go? If you have to sell and have the next home secured or have living arrangements lined up, sell today. If you are looking to sell to take advantage of the market, we need to talk sooner rather than later. As I previously mentioned, rates are great, purchasers are out in the market looking to buy, we know what other houses are for sale right now versus the springtime, and we know what price we can get for it based upon recent sales. Also, in all likelihood, if the house is in great shape, is in an ideal location, and is priced right, it will sell quickly with little inconvenience to the seller. If you find yourself in this situation, please call me to discuss your situation in more detail.
On the buying side the pinch in the pipe has been and continues to be finding a house that you like and that you can also acquire given the prevalence of bidding situations. Given that I see no reason to take your foot off the gas in the conduct of your search. Perhaps others will and it will result in less competition for you but I’d advise you to run hard through the end of the year in your search.
So until next year, please be safe and enjoy the Christmas holiday season.
It’s a good life.
Can We Still Safely Celebrate Holidays? Yes! Try These Ideas
Different doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. After all, it’ll be easier to avoid that family party you usually dread!
Yes, the holidays are going to be a little (a lot) different this year. The pandemic is now part of our everyday life, meaning that normal things like knocking on a bunch of strangers’ doors to get candy or simply gathering in a big group may not be possible. (At best, these traditions aren’t encouraged.) But the holidays don’t need to be canceled or minimized — unless you want to use the virus as an excuse to do less and by all means do you if that’s the case. If you’re still feeling the holiday spirit, you can make this time of year just as special even while safely distanced. Here’s how.
Make the most of the traditions you can safely continue
It’s so easy to focus on what we can’t do right now. But many aspects of the holidays can still happen just as they always have. You can make your great-grandmother’s corn casserole for Thanksgiving or build gingerbread houses. (Great way to use up all that leftover Halloween candy, right?) You can dust off the menorah and unwrap all your beloved Christmas ornaments. And, you can definitely drive around town and look at everyone else’s holiday decorations. (Don’t forget the hot cocoa!) Stay positive by getting really excited about all the things you can still do and put your energy into them.
Take advantage of festive pandemic-inspired events
While I’m looking forward to the day when this whole social distancing thing is over, I have to admit I’m impressed by the creativity so many people have shown to make the pandemic as fun as possible. The
holidays are no exception: Some cities are putting together drive-through haunted houses and reopening drive-in movie theaters to screen holiday movies, among other COVID-friendly events. For those with kids who will miss getting to see Santa, check out JingleRing which allows you to schedule a live or prerecorded virtual call with Ol’ St. Nick. Honestly, it’s kind of better than waiting in line to sit on a random guy’s lap anyway.
Borrow from other celebrations
Taking a fun, familiar activity and turning it into something new(ish) will ease the disappointment — especially because there’s candy involved. If you feel like going all out, you might try a scavenger hunt or by offering some extra special candy this year. You could also borrow from Valentine’s Day and send out little sweet treats in the mail to friends and family members and ask them to do the same for your brood.
Do the Zoom thing
One thing I really appreciate about these times is how normal it’s becoming to virtually gather with far-away family members and friends. Before the pandemic, if someone couldn’t make a holiday gathering, we just missed them. Now, my family members all hop onto Zoom just to sing someone happy birthday. For the holidays, you can use Zoom to Christmas carols together, share what you’re grateful for, or light the candles on your own menorahs. Getting to “see” everyone when you can’t be together in person is one aspect of the pandemic I hope we keep for years to come.
Make all the treats
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, baking, and eating with my family over these long months. Thank goodness the holidays are here because now I have a legit excuse to bake cupcakes, pies, and all the sweet stuff without having to make up a reason. You don’t have to be a home chef to create awesomeness in the kitchen.
Celebrate anything — whenever you can
Having something to look forward to can keep you going when you’re feeling worn out from #covidlife. Micro-celebrations can create fun memories and make this pandemic feel a little less draining. However you decide to celebrate, remember that it’s OK to feel bummed about the holidays not being the same as years past. Life is full of disappointment right now and it’s hard. But if you can look at the holiday-related changes that the pandemic is imposing on us as an opportunity to get creative — or a perfectly good reason to scale back this year — you and your family will enjoy more time making memories and less time feeling like this year is lacking. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a new way of celebrating that will become a family tradition post-virus.
Red Velvet Cookies & Cream Bars
Yields16 servings | Total time 45 minutes
For the cookies & cream lovers in your life, these bars are the ultimate.
· 1 box red velvet cake mix
· 1 large egg
· 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
· 2 tbsp. milk
· 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
· 16 Oreos
· 7 Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Bars
· Melted chocolate, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a 9”-x-9” pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, egg, butter, milk, and salt. Mix until combined. Place batter in prepared baking dish and smooth top. Lay down the Oreos in an even layer. Press down on Oreos so that they are flush with the batter.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Place unwrapped candy bars in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50 percent power until the candy bars are melted. Pour melted candy bars over the brownie and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula.
- Let set in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Drizzle with melted chocolate and refrigerate for another 5 minutes. Slice into squares & serve.
Why Waiting Until After The Holidays to Sell Isn’t a Smart Decision
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays. Here are six great reasons not to wait:
- Relocation buyers are out there. Companies are not concerned with holiday time and if the buyers have kids, they want them to get into school after the holidays.
- Purchasers that are looking for a home during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy.
- You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
- Homes show better when decorated for the holidays. There is less competition for you as a seller right now.
- The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, new construction will continue to surge, which will lessen the demand for your house.
Do you have the best Christmas Decorations?
Do you have the brightest house on the block? Is your home filled with Christmas cheer? Enter your home to win a gift certificate to a great restaurant near you!
Go to my facebook page at facebook.com/dominicksellshomes for more information on how to enter! Post your best interior and exterior Christmas lights and décor by December 25th and I’ll announce 2 winners on the 26th!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
From Chris Dominick Kringle