February Market Update & Newsletter
The real estate market is never boring – it’s always changing. These days it seems like it is doing so week to week. Housing inventory, mortgage rates, buyer demand, consumer confidence, and so much more are consistently adjusting. So what has changed recently?
For starters, buyer demand has picked back up. We are seeing more interest and more questions from people online, more showings at our listings, and more contracts written – and as a result, more sales are happening. It also seems there is a more positive “buzz” around the market.
Why did this happen? As interest rates swiftly and steadily climbed, buyers became apprehensive. Couple this with the devastating effects of inflation and Fed rate hikes, and people got nervous about the real estate market. When would rates stop increasing? Would prices crash because of the increasing rates? Now rates have come down, inflation while still damaging has slowed and people are beginning to realize that a rate of 6.125% is historically a decent rate. If you look at the history of rates, 30-year fixed rates have been, on average, 7.75%. When I got into the business 33 years ago, I had an interest rate factor card I carried around to help me calculate mortgage payments. Do you know what the lowest rate on that card was? 8%. All of these factors are bringing back buyer confidence in real estate. It’s why we are where we are today – a healthy, more balanced real estate market.
Obviously, I have concerns about the future – where will inventory come from for all these buyers?
Right now we have only 1,337 homes on the market in Northern Virginia and with all of the recent sales, we have a one-month supply of homes. As you know, I run the numbers every Friday, and last week, we had 188 homes come on the market in the previous 7 days. By comparison, we had 466 houses go under contract in the previous 7 days. At this rate, we won’t have any houses to sell by Mid-March. What will be the result? Well for certain we are not going to see prices crash. We have little inventory and high demand. Stay tuned for more details as we go into the Spring Market.
As you know, every situation is different, so whether you are looking to sell or buy, please call me to discuss your situation in more detail. I am here to help you!
It’s a good life.
HOMEBUYING ON THE HORIZON? 4 WAYS TO PREPARE NOW
Read the full article on news.remax.com
The year ahead is full of opportunity to achieve goals. And for some, a major goal in 2023 is to buy a home. To help the process go as smoothly as possible, prospective homebuyers can start to prepare long before it’s time to search for a house. From organizing finances to finding a compatible real estate agent, it’s best to get a head start. Looking to buy a home in 2023? Consider these four ways to prepare now.
1. Get your finances in order
For starters, check in on your credit score. When it comes time to apply for a mortgage loan, credit score is one factor lenders consider to determine your eligibility. A better credit score can help you get increased access to financing options and ultimately a more desirable mortgage rate. Research loan options in advance, too. RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey shares that in today’s market, a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage isn’t a homebuyer’s only route and suggests they look into alternate options like an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), too. There are also specific loan programs for various cohorts, including veterans and military personnel. It’s helpful to get pre-approved by a lender prior to home shopping as it can set realistic expectations and help determine a budget.
Saving up for a down payment is one of the most important parts of preparing for purchasing a home – but there are other costs to consider along the way. Ideally, in addition to a down payment, prospective homebuyers will save up for other fees, including closing costs, moving costs, and more. Once living in the new home, it’s best practice to have funds set aside for regular maintenance and timely repairs.
2. Find a trustworthy real estate agent
With their experience and expertise, a real estate agent can be a homebuyer’s best asset in ensuring a smooth transaction. Seek out an agent that knows the area well, has a proven track record of success, and is a compatible fit. Not only is a real estate agent knowledgeable when it comes to helping finding clients the right home, but they also can help negotiate with sellers and recommend services in the area for financing options, moving services, and more. Best of all, work with a real estate agent you trust. According to a BrandSpark® survey of consumers, RE/MAX is home to the most trusted agents throughout the U.S.* and Canada**.
3. Consider what you want in a home
Take time to determine wants vs. needs in a future home. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer who’s done with renting, or a current homeowner looking to upsize or downsize, assess your current dwelling for clues as to what to prioritize in a living space. Is more storage a must? Does the need for a garage top all else? Creating a list now of these features can help identify – or rule out – properties when it’s time to start the home search.
4. Start area research
To help narrow down the home search radius when the process begins, do your due diligence in advance to figure out which areas meet the needs of you and your family. Some people may be moving to be closer to work, school or family and can start researching commute times to these locations (especially during rush hour!). And for those who have a dog, being near a park may be important. Research can be especially important for those moving from farther away, some of whom may be purchasing a home sight unseen. Use tools like online maps, Google street view, and local town and city websites to determine what areas have to offer.
Recipe of the Month
Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
Total Time: 5 Minutes
- 4 oz cream cheese softened (1/2 of an 8 oz brick)
- ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
- 8 oz. container Cool Whip thawed
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 graham cracker crust
- Combine the cream cheese and peanut butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 2-3 minutes. Add the Cool Whip and powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth.
- Spoon the filling into the crust and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Drizzle some chocolate syrup or add some chocolate shavings to the top of the pie. Enjoy!
HOME SELLERS: PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR WINTER SHOWINGS
Read the full article on news.remax.com
If you live in a colder climate, you know that winter presents some challenging weather conditions, like snow and ice. And if you’re selling a home in the winter, prospective buyers won’t be ogling a freshly mowed lawn or vibrant flowers – they’ll likely be eager to get inside and out of the elements.
Have a home hitting the market this winter? Consider these tips to prepare your place for showings.
Remember Harry and Marv slipping down the McCallisters’ exterior stairs in Home Alone? Don’t let that be your prospective buyers.
Ahead of tours or an open house, make sure agents and buyers alike can access the property. Shovel paths and entrance points, including the driveway, doors and walkways. Then, apply ice melt products, like sand and salt, which can alleviate slipperiness – especially on stairs.
Prepare for messy footwear
Many homeowners ask prospective buyers to take off their shoes before exploring the home. But snowy or muddy shoes and boots will still mar the entry way. To prevent mess, pick up a plastic or rubber shoe tray. Some people even opt for a boot brush mat outside the door for visitors to wipe off their shoes before stepping inside.
Stage for the season
Help buyers imagine themselves living in your home by staging appropriately for the season. In the winter, consider adding cozy fixtures like knit throw blankets, refreshed pillows, and a few candles dotted about. If you’re nearing a holiday, try artfully setting the dining table to show what future gatherings could look like.
Prior to a showing or open house – in any season – it’s best to thoroughly clean the home, pare down on personal items like photos, and declutter.
Open shades for natural light
Let’s face it – winter can bring some drab weather. To maximize natural lighting inside the home, open the curtains and blinds throughout.
In addition to embracing natural light, check each room for any burnt out light bulbs and replace them with new ones.
Turn the heat up
Whether you still occupy your home or have already vacated, ensure the heat is set to a comfortable temperature. Especially in the winter, buyers are searching for a home that feels like an inviting haven.
If the home has a fireplace, clean it up (hint: hire a professional!) and follow maintenance protocol depending on whether it’s gas or wood-burning. Plus, clean and stage the mantel. Buyers will likely be more focused on the presentation of the fireplace in the winter than any other season.
Consult a real estate agent
Work with an experienced real estate agent who knows how to best position a house to sell. Not only does a listing agent market the property, conduct open houses, and help facilitate the transaction, but they also can provide the names of trusted local professionals for services like repair, staging, and more.
10829 Heaven Scent Lane, Manassas, VA 20110
Listed at $800,000