The Northern Virginia real estate market continues to amaze me. Inventory levels remain extremely low, demand remains extraordinarily high, and this is still occurring even though rates have increased slightly over the last few weeks. I do not believe this will change or slow down any time in the near future. The level of demand is just too high. We continue to see multiple contract situations as the new normal throughout much of Northern Virginia (and not really that new if you ‘ve been following my blog.) It is common to see all contingencies being removed and prices set way above the original list price in these situations. Stories of listings with 10, 20, or more contracts are common across all price points. Remember what that means. One person got a house and 19 others are still looking! So again, I don’t see this market slowing any time soon. All the being said, the condo market is the only anomaly as most condos are sitting on the market. So, what is going to happen the rest of the year is what I am often asked. My belief is that inventory will remain low for the foreseeable future as people have purchased or refinanced at exceptionally low rates. As rates increase, there will be little, if any, motivation to move. If someone has a $500,000 mortgage with an interest rate of 2.75%, what will motivate them to move to a home with a $750,000 mortgage at 4% or even higher? I think this is what will stagnate inventory levels over the next few years. People will only move if there is a genuine need to do so – like marriage, kids, schools, job, divorce, death, etc. Speaking about interest rates, they have inched above 3% for the first time in several months, but please keep this in mind, they are still below where they were this same time last year and are still below historical lows mortgages. I have an old interest rate card from when I started in the business in 1989 that was used to calculate a mortgage payment based upon rates. The LOWEST rate that was on that card was 8%!! Earlier I mentioned rates at 4% or higher as an example. I don’t believe we will be there for some time, so no need to worry about this happening. I foresee we will be in the low to mid 3’s for the remainder of the year. As always, I am more than happy to speak with you about your situation in more detail as each situation is unique and personal.
It’s a good life.
RE/MAX Affiliates Raised $8.3M for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2020
Fundraising milestone shows RE/MAX is for the kids – now more than ever.
The past year presented plenty of challenges, but RE/MAX affiliates worked hard to help ensure funding for Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals was not one of them. Whether it was through socially distanced events or virtual fundraisers, RE/MAX brokers and agents found creative solutions to show their continued support for patients treated at CMN member hospitals – and their families. The result: $8.3 million in 2020 donations.
During the 2021 RE/MAX R4 convention, RE/MAX announced that affiliates throughout the U.S. and Canada have now surpassed $170 million in total donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since the charitable partnership began in 1992.
Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Global Growth and Development, has seen the impact of the ongoing generosity.
“In our almost 30 years of partnership, there has never been a year where CMN Hospitals needed our support more,” Reagan says. “I’m proud to see RE/MAX agents continue to answer the call to help kids. It’s a testament to their extraordinary generosity and commitment to serving the community.”
Support for CMN Hospitals took many forms during the pandemic. Throughout the busy summer selling season, agents continued to make a donations through the Miracle Home Program. In October, agents began purchasing Miracle Masks – designed by CMN Hospitals Miracle Children – to do their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus, raising more than $17,000 for the cause along the way. And in a holiday season like no other, RE/MAX brokers across the country rallied their offices to participate in a virtual toy drive.
Affiliates received a special thank you from Marie Osmond, the world-famous entertainer and co-founder of CMN Hospitals, during a special appearance on the “Good Morning RE/MAX” Facebook Live series.
“I want you to know that even with all that’s going on right now, what you do blesses so many families’ lives,” she told the audience. “Every minute, 62 kids enter one of our children’s hospitals. You are amazing people, and it’s amazing to be involved with people who care. So, on behalf of all the kids, thank you.”
RE/MAX Gateway agents raised over $37,500 for CMN in 2020.
Heirloom Tomato Cheddar Tart with Everything Spice
Cook time: 35 mins | Serves: 6
Recipe and photo courtesy of Halfbakedharvest.com
-1 sheet frozen puff pasty thawed
-1/3 cup basil pesto – homemade or store-bought
-1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-4-6 heirloom tomatoes
-olive oil for drizzling
EVERYTHING BAGEL SPICE:
-2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
-1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds or tablespoon white sesame
-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
-2 teaspoons dried onion
-2 teaspoons dried garlic
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the thawed puff pastry on the prepared baking sheet and prick the pastry with the tines of a fork. Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch boarder and top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and top the tart with tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes lightly with olive oil and sprinkle generously with everything bagel spice. Top with basil. Slice and EAT!!
8 Tips For Home Buying In A Seller’s Market
Home prices have been going up for 50 consecutive months across the country, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The median existing-home price in April was $232,500, up 6.3 percent from April 2015. Housing inventory is 3.6 percent lower than it was a year ago, when it was at 2.22 million homes. Mortgage rates remain low, giving consumers incentive to shop around for mortgage lenders and homes. It’s still possible to buy a home in a seller’s market, though it’s obviously more difficult than it is in a buyer’s market or otherwise. Here are eight tips for buying a home in a seller’s market:
1 – Determine you’re in a seller’s market—This first step can help you know for sure if you’re in a seller’s market so you can adapt your home buying strategy to it. A real estate agent can help with a few easy calculations. One is to use a market absorption rate calculator, which tells you how many months it would take to sell all the remaining homes, or inventory, for sale in a given area. A low number means you’re in a seller’s market. The calculator first asks for how many homes were sold in the last 12 months. It divides that number by 12 months, and then divides the rate into the number of current listings. Unsold inventory in the United States was at a 4.7-month supply at the end of April, up from 4.4 months in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Most of the shortages of homes for sale are in the West, with the Midwest having the most inventory. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market. Another measurement is the sales price to list price ratio, says Bruce Ailion, a real estate agent at RE/MAX Town and Country in Atlanta. A 103 percent ratio tells you it’s a hot market with multiple offers, a 98 percent ratio is a seller’s market, and 84-88 percent is a distressed buyer’s market, Ailion says.
2 – Make your best offer first—In strong seller’s markets Ailion recommends making a list price offer quickly to prevent competitive interest. “Many agents are happy to get the seller their price and do not want to do the extra work of multiple offers to get $10,000 more when their compensation is only $300,” he says. “A buyer can take advantage of the lazy seller’s agent.”
3 – Be ready to bid—If a quick offer of the listing price doesn’t work, the next step is to still make your best offer, but be prepared for it not to be your final offer. Ailion says he often adds an escalation clause of 2-3 percent more than the highest bid received. “This expresses a strong desire for the property and a willingness to pay the most,” he says. “Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.” He says he’s also used this method in a slow market where a buyer wanted the property but not at the seller’s price. The buyer’s lower offer includes a 2 percent escalation if another buyer comes in. Bob Gordon, a real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Boulder, Colo., recommends preparing for bidding wars on their favorite properties by only looking at houses up to 89 percent of their maximum budget. This will give them extra funds in a bidding war, Gordon says.
4 – Don’t counter—There are no counter offers in a seller’s market, Gordon says. “Buyers really need to put their best offer on the table,” he says. “Owners are going to see three, five, 12 offers all at once. They don’t need to write a counter, they can pick and choose the very best offer. So buyers better be amazing on the first go.”
5 – Show cash—Show a seller how serious you are by offering more cash than normal in earnest money — a deposit made to the seller to show a buyer’s good faith in a transaction. If a high earnest money deposit in your area is $20,000, then increase it by $10,0006 – Offer non-price factors. Some sellers will accept your price if you provide some non-price considerations that can speed up the transaction, also called contingencies.
6 – Offer non-price factors—Some sellers will accept your price if you provide some non-price considerations that can speed up the transaction, also called contingencies. “In a strong market a buyer needs to consider waiving the financing contingency, limiting inspection to three to five days, and placing larger earnest money deposits to provide non-price consideration,” Ailion says. In some very hot markets, the property might not appraise for the highest offer, and the loan won’t be approved. A lower offer with strong non-price factors may win out, says Ailion, who had a recent buyer compete with 13 offers and be successful with non-price considerations even though they were several bids below the top. The more contingencies a buyer has in their offer, the greater risk for a seller and the more likely a seller is to reject them in a seller’s market. One of these is a home inspection contingency. A home inspection is important for a buyer, but some buyers will waive it to help improve their offer. Buyers can also help themselves by being flexible with dates and deadlines in a contract. Giving a seller extra time to move out, for example, can make a seller’s offer more appealing.
7 – Have money for a low appraisal—High home prices can lead to home appraisals that don’t climb as fast, leaving lenders to not fund the loan. Gordon, the Colorado real estate agent, recommends that home buyers have money set aside the pay the difference between a contracted purchase price and the appraisal. “Savvy home sellers are looking for purchasers that can make up the difference between the negotiated sales price and the appraisal,” he says.
8 – Use videos and letters—Not everything in a home sale is about money. A seller’s nostalgia for their home can be strong, and a short, personal letter from a buyer that shares how they’d enjoy living there might sway them. Promising to maintain the architectural heritage of a historic home, for example, or showing how much you look forward to taking care of the rose garden on the property can show that you’ll also have a sentimental attachment to the home. Gordon says his clients shoot videos and write letters. One client noticed photos of international travel at a condominium he wanted to buy, so “he wrote about recently visiting Italy and how the condo made him think of his visit overseas,” Gordon says. Another client beat out a higher priced offer with a video shot on her patio with her prized rose in the background. At the closing, the seller told them “Well, when my daughter saw that video, she said ‘Mom, these are the buyers for your home!’” Gordon says. Appealing to the heart may not be your first strategy in a seller’s market, but it could be a smart way to complete a deal before it has even started.
My two new listings flew off the market the first weekend they were listed!
9005 Tyler Ct, Manassas
8789 Brook Estates Ct, Lorton