October Market Update & Newsletter
The Federal Government was able to avoid a shutdown by passing a last-minute funding deal to keep the government open for 45 days. One of the keys to getting this temporary measure passed was removing the funding for Ukraine and its war against Russia. This is a short-term solution, but they were able to make happen – for now. How would a government shutdown actually impact real estate? If someone is a non-essential federal government employee, they will temporarily lose pay (they always get it after the shutdown is resolved). If they are a government contractor affected by the shutdown, they do typically completely lose their pay. This impacts consumer confidence and lifestyle, which is the consequence that could certainly have an impact on the market.
The next area of concern is those requiring flood insurance – FEMA would close during the shutdown, so those types of closings will be delayed. Most other areas would not be affected as much, which is good news for real estate. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are funded by lenders and not the government so they will be operational. The VA and FHA will also be able to respond and loans will close through them. The IRS will not be shut down (big shocker!) so verifications will be available for lenders. Local governments won’t shut down, so title searches and recordation of transactions won’t be affected. Again, it is the psychological impact and loss of wages that will really be the only market impactors.
So, how is the real estate market today? Rates continue to rise so it is affecting some price points – but certainly not all. Each market has its sweet spot but most areas continue to see good activity as well as multiple contracts. All that being said, we are seeing an increase in the days on the market, and houses aren’t jumping off the shelf like they were before. Pricing is critical today so if you are thinking of selling, let’s have a conversation. People need to buy houses despite the rates, so houses are selling. It is not all doom and gloom like the media portrays, especially in the local market. If you are digesting market news it is critical to differentiate between local and national reporting. We have just over 2,000 houses for sale in all of Northern Virginia and just a 1.3-month supply of homes. Don’t be fooled by the headlines. As always, call me to learn more – I am here to help.
Have a great Fall!
It’s a good life.
4 Essentials for the Ultimate Firepit Area
Read the full article on www.bhg.com
Firepits provide warmth and an inviting ambience for outdoor entertaining. A few simple touches can turn your firepit area into the ultimate hangout spot. Here are five firepit essentials for making epic outdoor memories that you won’t soon forget.
1. Safety Features
Safety is always a top priority when enjoying a firepit. Ensure you install safety features like a firepit pad, spark screen, firepit lid, and fireproof sand at the base. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure a safe distance between the firepit and any flammable materials.
2. Comfortable Seating
Since backyard firepits are all about stretching the fun well into the night, comfy furniture is essential for maximizing the benefit of your firepit. A built-in L-shaped bench or outdoor sofa will frame the flames and create a communal and intimate seating arrangement. Always have extra chairs and side tables nearby to expand as friends gather.
3. Mood Lighting
Not only is lighting essential for safety, but it also affects the perceived scale of the yard. Consider installing low-voltage landscape lighting around the firepit, highlighting key features and pathways. Hang string lights around a fence line and walkways and add portable lanterns to create a magical atmosphere that is highly functional.
4. DIY Landscaping
Firepits can be sophisticated glass structures or rustic stone designs, but they’re seldom an afterthought when it comes to landscape design. Make the most of a firepit by incorporating landscaping that draws people into the space. Add flowers to pathways that lead to seating. Try palms, ferns, bamboo, or succulents that feel lush without much fuss. Similarly, add pavers, gravel, or stone materials to enhance the area.
If you’re feeling adventurous or your space lends itself to more color, add fire glass and painted rocks to transform your firepit into a mesmerizing focal point. These decorative materials add a touch of whimsy to your space and captivate attention.
If the firepit is part of an outdoor kitchen or bar, try a more maximalist design as the season warms and a cozy setup during the cooler months. Use appropriate materials to ensure sound is blocked and bar equipment is hidden or blended into the overall look.
5. Assorted Accessories
Enhance your outdoor firepit experience with creative accessories that make the space even more functional. Firepit tools, such as wood and tool storage, a fire starter kit, a firepit poker, ash bucket, shovel, lid, and fireplace tongs are must-haves. Elevate your firepit by having a designated place for these items and coordinating them to look like a set.
Consider items needed to transform your firepit from just a heat source to a cooking surface. Come prepare for firepit cooking by having a cooler or food storage area to break out the marshmallows, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and more. Firepit cooking accessories include roasting sticks, grill gloves, a cooking grate grill, and more.
Recipe of the Month
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.
- Roll out each puff pastry sheet into a 12×12-inch square and cut each sheet into nine 4-inch squares.
- Spoon pumpkin mixture into the center of pastry squares; wet edges of each square with water, fold over, corner to corner, and pinch edges together. Place onto prepared baking sheets.
- Bake in the preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on the pans for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
HOW TO MAINTAIN RESALE VALUE WHILE ENJOYING YOUR HOME
Read the full article at news.remax.com
Buying a home is a big investment, both emotionally and financially. Homeowners should enjoy their home for the reason they purchased it, whatever that might be. But they can also protect – and even enhance – the property’s resale value at the same time. Here are four ways to help resale value while reaping the benefits of upgrades and enjoying your home.
Keep up with regular maintenance
Maintaining a home over time can help avoid larger repair issues down the road. This could include work such as:
Clearing out gutters
Having the HVAC system cleaned
Replacing batteries and light bulbs when needed
Aiding curb appeal with lawn and weed maintenance
Managing pest control
Inspecting for interior water damage or roof leaks
Cleaning that goes beyond the normal routine
Invest in energy-efficient features
Implementing environmentally friendly tactics in a house can help you save money on your energy bills while adding value to your property. To determine where to focus – common examples are updating poorly insulated windows and replacing older light fixtures – conduct an energy audit before you begin. These modern features could appeal to buyers if you ever decide to sell. Demand for energy efficiency in homes is on the rise – according to research by Freddie Mac, over 80% of homebuyers want Energy Star-rated windows and appliances, and energy-efficient lighting in a prospective home.
Renovate key rooms
Renovation projects can be an effective way to increase a property’s resale value, especially in highly trafficked areas of the home. A 2022 consumer survey by RE/MAX found that the top upgrades sellers plan to make before listing their home are to the kitchen and bathrooms. Removal of dated features like popcorn ceilings and wall-to-wall carpeting should also enhance your experience of living in the home, as could larger renovations such as installing new appliances in the kitchen, finishing a basement to create more space, adding a bathroom, and more.
Consider curb appeal
Maintaining your home’s outdoor space is a must for enhancing curb appeal and enjoying its external appearance. Not only does it keep a property looking tidy, but can also be a creative way to express yourself with gardening. For future resale value, think about the longevity of new plants that could be added to the yard. Trees, bushes, and perennial flowers can enhance the exterior of your home, and will continue to flourish with age. With regular maintenance, new saplings can age into mature trees and create shade and privacy on your property. This means you can enjoy them now, knowing they will help in a future sale, too. Even if you adore your current dwelling, you may want to upsize, downsize, or seek other features like more acreage (which Fido would love) sometime down the road. In the meantime, it’s critical to maintain your home while you’re in it – for your current enjoyment and for resale value in the future.