Here is the update on the crazy Northern Virginia real estate market…round and round and round it goes, where it stops….perhaps I know! The data and our observations are speaking and the interesting thing is the market has shifted, and it happened quickly. Was it mortgage interest rates rising so high it stopped people from buying? No. Was it a flood of foreclosures and short sales hitting the market? Definitely not. Was it a pricing bubble that popped and collapsed home prices? Uh uh. Was it regular sales coming on the market giving buyers more choices? Nope.
So, what has caused the shift in the market? First, the frenzied market we experienced from mid-January through early May could not be sustained. We were experiencing 20-30 showings a day and in some instances contract numbers in the high teens to low twenties on houses we put on the market. Additionally, we saw prices escalate tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands above list price, with buyers waiving everything to “get” a home. It was a stressful time for everyone involved – buyers, sellers, and Realtors alike.
Now, we are seeing 5-15 showings in an entire weekend, and we are receiving between one and five offers. Still excellent numbers historically, but it is, in a different way, causing stress on sellers. The expectations of sellers are what they “heard,” “saw,” or “read” about the market two months or more ago – not recent facts. Well, the market shifts on a dime often with readily apparent rhyme or reason. This is where collaboration with the 150 other agents my Platinum Club panels with other Top Producers provides some insight. One of the primary drivers to this softening of the market is “buyer fatigue.” Buyers have gone out, written contracts, and lost out on many houses. They wrote what they perceived to be the perfect contract and were beat out by someone who had to have the home and irrationally made an offer the seller couldn’t refuse. The conversations I am having now with buyers and agents are – oh, they have three offers? Someone will pay too much; I don’t want to waste my time. Therefore, we are now seeing fewer offers; still, great offers – above list price and waiving contingencies, but the overall number of contracts and showings are down. So, if you are a seller or considering selling, your house will sell; just realize the market is different today, not bad, simply different. On the other hand, if you are a buyer, don’t give up; fewer people competing for homes mean you have a better shot at getting one now than a few short months ago. We can help you determine your best course of action, whether buying or selling, so call me to learn more!
Have a great summer!
It’s a good life.
5 Common Houseplants That Are Toxic to Pets
Bringing houseplants into your home can create a healthy and nature-filled design to your space. For a home with pets, however, there are some limits as to which plants may be harmful to their health. Because pets often find their way into many things around the house, it’s important to be aware of just what the effects may be when certain greens are ingested. Here are five common houseplants that are toxic to pets.
As one of the most popular succulents you’ll find in a home, Aloe Vera is great for humans because of its skin healing properties. However, it has an opposite effect on pets. Although the gel substance inside the leaves may not be toxic if ingested, the other parts of this plant can do harm to your pet’s digestive system.
Unlike poison ivy, regular ivy can add a unique and decorative design to any room in your home. However, when introduced into a home with pets, keep it out of their reach as when this plant is ingested, your pet may develop a rash and/or breathing problems. Depending on how much is eaten, it may even lead to a coma or paralysis.
This plant, though very common in interior design, can be one of the most dangerous for a family with pets. Because of the harmful toxins in and on this plant, eating and digesting this plant will result in tongue swelling and burning, increased salivation and difficulty swallowing, as well as vomiting. In some cases, the ingestion of this plant may even cause death to your pet.
This particular plant can come in many sizes. From a medium-sized tree to small windowsill plant, this is a popular plant for succulent lovers. However, it is important to keep your jade plant away from your pets. Though the toxins in this plant are unknown, ingestion may result in vomiting and incoordination. Additional symptoms your pets may experience are a slow heart rate and/or depression.
Similar to the toxins found in dumb cane, this colorful houseplant can be extremely dangerous to your pets. The side effects of ingestion are almost the same, causing your pet to suffer from oral problems such as increased drooling and salivation. Vomiting, digestive issues and even death are also possible reactions your pet may experience.
Grilled Salmon Cobb Salad
By Food Network Magazine
Yields 4-6 servings I Total time 55 min
-3 large eggs
-1 1-pound piece skinless center-cut salmon (preferably wild)
-1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest/ juice of 1 lemon
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
-1/2 shallot, chopped
-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-2 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
-2 avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
-2 ears of corn, shucked
-1 cup fresh basil, torn
-1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
-1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
-Chopped fresh parsley for topping
- Preheat grill to medium high. Put eggs in a medium saucepan, cover w/cold water. Bring boil, then remove from the heat, let sit covered, 10 minutes. Drain/rinse under cold water until cool. Peel, chop, set aside.
- Drizzle salmon with juice of 1/2 lemon, season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Make dressing: Combine juice of remaining 1/2 lemon in a small bowl w/lemon zest, vinegar, shallot & tarragon; whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in olive oil until combined; season w/salt & pepper.
- Brush grill grates w/oil. Lightly brush lettuce, avocados & corn w/oil. Grill vegetables, turning, until well marked, about 2 minutes, lettuce and avocados—5 to 6 minutes for corn; transfer to cutting board. Grill the salmon, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, let rest 5 minutes.
- Roughly chop lettuce, transfer to a large platter. Add basil & dill, toss. Cut kernels off the corn, chop avocado & salmon. Arrange the corn, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, salmon & avocados in rows over the salad; season w/salt & pepper. Drizzle with dressing, top w/parsley and enjoy!
Backyard Design Trends for 2021
Now that the weather is warm again and we’re getting outside, it’s time to think about what to do in the yard and garden. We looked around to see if there were any trends for 2021…and we found some that we think you’ll love.
- Bigger & Better Gardens – With pandemic restrictions, families have been eating at home rather than going out to restaurants. This has resulted in more home gardens. The trend for 2021 is leaning towards bigger and better home gardens, reminiscent of the “victory gardens” of generations past, and embracing healthier eating habits. Keep in mind that gardening is also a great stress reducer and something that can involve the whole family! One benefit of a bigger garden and a bigger yield is excess food that you can use to help feed neighbors or donate to your local food pantry.
- Outdoor Living Spaces – Tired of being cooped up in your home with the entire family? Isn’t everyone? We are seeing a trend towards creating permanent outdoor living spaces, like outdoor living rooms, kitchens, and play and exercise areas. Look for outdoor-hearty furniture and appliances, and fade-resistant, waterproof cushions. Install a fireplace or pizza oven for extra appeal. Backyard courtyards are also trending, with outdoor living spaces replacing traditional yards. Decks and patios span the house, with multiple entrances from various rooms to cooking, dining, lounging and entertaining areas.
- Defined Areas – Creating separate spaces throughout the yard with walkways, plantings, fences, walls, lattice, and seating options offer homeowners private and intimate areas where they can “get away from it all.” Take advantage of views, exposure and lighting when planning.
- Urban Oases – Even in small outdoor spaces, people are infusing their lives with plants. They’re building “garden rooms” with houseplants, hanging blooming plants, and installing small (and sometimes vertical) vegetable and herb gardens along with sitting areas where they can enjoy the view. Sustainability is important, with low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plantings.
- Backyard Habitats – With fewer cars on the road, the area’s wildlife has made a resurgence. Setting up bird- and bee-friendly gardens, beehives, insect hotels, and feeding stations let you get up close with nature while helping to nurture the various species.
- Changing Architecture – Both remodeling and landscape architecture have seen a surge in interest since the pandemic began. People are paying more attention to their homes and their style of living than ever before. Gazebos, arbors, screened porches, decks, pool areas, outdoor living rooms, and water features are in demand. On both the front and back of the home, elegant entranceways and walkways are being installed to match and enhance the home’s architecture.
- Texture, Color and Whimsy – Yards no longer consist of “just grass.” Homeowners are looking to include texture and color through stone, metal, pottery, glass, mosaics, and decorative items. Incorporate items from your heritage or travels. Choose things that make you smile. From the simple to the exotic, a bit of whimsy offers delight and serves as a conversation piece.
- Added Luxury – Lighting, sound systems and air movement are being incorporated into outdoor landscape and living area designs, along with spa-type features like a sauna, hot tub or plunge tub.
- Engage a Professional – For structural or landscaping changes you should consult with, or hire, a professional. While some jobs can be done yourselves, larger ones, or projects involving structures or ground issues should be left to those in the know. There are a number of great landscape architects and landscape designers in our area to choose from. With the home as the center of our lives, our outdoor living spaces are ever-so more important. And since we’re not traveling, why not put that vacation budget towards a permanent addition to your home!
- Don’t have a usable backyard space? We can change that! Contact me today so we can find the backyard, and home of your dreams!