With the changing pace of the market, we are seeing more sellers starting to pay buyer closing costs. Lender partner, Eric Wigren of Atlantic Coast Mortgage, joined me today to show how buyers can use seller paid closing costs to buy down the interest rate on the mortgage and lower their monthly mortgage payment.
Watch the video below:
Did you give on the market and decide to 'sit it out'? If you've been thinking about buying a home, now might be a good time for you to get back in. Let's connect today and see if it makes sense for you right now.
The annual inflation rate in the United States is currently around 7.5%—the highest it has been since 1982.1 It doesn’t matter if you’re a cashier, lawyer, plumber, or retiree; if you spend U.S. dollars, inflation impacts you. Economists expect the effects of inflation, like a higher cost of goods, to continue.2 Luckily, an investment in Alexandria VA real estate can ease some of the financial strain.
Here’s what you need to know about inflation, how it impacts you, and how an investment in real estate, especially in Alexandria VA can help.
WHAT IS INFLATION AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME?
Inflation is a decline in the value of money. When the rate of inflation rises, prices for goods and services go up. Therefore, a dollar buys you a little bit less with every passing day.
The consumer price index, or CPI, is a standard measure of inflation. Based on the latest CPI data, prices increased 7.5% from January 2021 to January 2022.1 A little bit of inflation is considered healthy for the economy, but 7.5% in a single year is high.
How does inflation affect your life? Here are a few of the negative impacts:
We touched on this already, but as prices rise, your dollar won’t stretch as far as it used to. That means you’ll be able to purchase fewer goods and services with a limited budget.
In an effort to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the federal funds rate. Therefore, consumers are likely to pay a higher interest rate on new mortgages, car loans, and variable-rate credit cards.3
Wage growth tends to lag behind price increases. According to Moody Analytics, when adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings in January were down 3.1% from a year earlier.4 As such, life is becoming less affordable for everyone. Inflation can force those on a fixed income, like retirees, to make lifestyle changes and prioritize essentials.
If you store all your savings in a bank account, inflation is even more damaging. As of February 2022, the national average interest rate for a savings account is 0.06%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation. And economists don’t expect that rate to go much higher.3
One of the best ways to mitigate these effects is to find a place to invest your money other than the bank. Even though interest rates are expected to rise, they’re unlikely to get high enough to beat inflation. If you hoard cash, the value of your money will decrease every year and more rapidly in years with elevated inflation.
REAL ESTATE: A PROVEN HEDGE AGAINST INFLATION
So where is a good place to invest your money to protect (hedge) against the impacts of inflation? There are several investment vehicles that financial advisors traditionally recommend, including:
Some people invest in stocks as their primary inflation hedge. However, the stock market can become volatile during inflationary times, as we’ve seen in recent months.5
Commodities are tangible assets, like oil, livestock, and minerals. The theory is that the price of commodities should climb alongside inflation. But the classic choice–gold–hasn’t risen consistently during periods of inflation since the 1970s, according to data from Morningstar Direct.6
Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, are U.S. government-issued bonds that are indexed to the inflation rate. Bonds are considered low risk, but the returns they offer are generally low, as well.7
Real estate prices across the board tend to rise along with inflation and often rise faster than inflation.8 That’s one of the reasons demand for real estate is soaring right now.9
Take a look at the supply and demand for homes for sale in Alexandria VA over the past 5 years:
We've been in a sellers market for sure, with less than six months of housing inventory, but in most recent months, you can see that we are now in a hyper-sellers market, with less than one month of inventory on hand since November 2021.
We believe real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Owning real estate, especially now in Alexandria VA, does more than protect your wealth—it can actually make you money. For example, home prices rose nearly 17% nationally from 2020 to 2021, 10% ahead of the 7% inflation that occurred in the same timeframe.10
Plus, certain types of real estate investments can help you generate a stream of passive income. In the past year, property owners didn’t just avoid the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation; they got ahead.
TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
Though there are myriad ways to invest in real estate, there are three basic investment types that we recommend for beginner and intermediate investors. Remember that we can help you determine which options are best for your financial goals and budget.
If you own your home in Alexandria VA, you’re already ahead. The advantages of homeownership become even more apparent in inflationary times. As inflation raises prices throughout the economy, the value of your home is likely to go up concurrently. At the same time, you’ve locked in a set mortgage payment for the next 30 years, so you’ll be immune to rising rental costs.
If you don’t already own your primary residence, homeownership is a worthwhile goal to pursue.
Though the task of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can make homeownership easier to achieve. If you’re not sure how to get started with the home buying process, contact us. Our team can help you find the strategy and property that fits your needs and budget.
Whether you already own a primary residence or are still renting, now is a good time to also start thinking about an investment property. The types of investment properties you’ll buy as a solo investor generally fall into two categories: long-term rentals and short-term rentals.
A long-term or traditional rental is a dwelling that’s leased out for an extended period. An example of this is a single-family home where a tenant signs a one-year lease and brings all their own furniture.
Long-term rentals are a form of housing. For most tenants, the rental serves as their primary residence, which means it’s a necessary expense. This unique quality of long-term rentals can help to provide stable returns in uncertain times, especially when we have high inflation.
To invest in a long-term rental, you’ll need to budget for maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and insurance. You’ll also need to have a plan for managing the property. But a well-chosen investment property should pay for itself through rental income, and you’ll benefit from appreciation as the property rises in value.
We can help you find an ideal long-term rental property to suit your budget and investment goals. Reach out to talk about your needs and our local market opportunities.
Short-term or vacation rentals function more like hotels in that they offer temporary accommodations. A short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is rented for 30 days or less. The furniture and other amenities are provided by the property owner, and today many short-term rentals are listed on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.
A short-term rental can potentially earn you a higher return than a long-term rental, but this comes at the cost of daily, hands-on management. With a short-term rental, you’re not just entering the real estate business; you’re entering the hospitality business, too.
Done right, short-term rentals can be both a hedge against inflation and a profitable source of income. As a bonus, when the home isn’t being rented you have an affordable vacation spot for yourself and your family!
Contact us today if you’re interested in exploring options in either the long-term or short-term rental market. Mortgage rates are expected to rise, so you’ll want to act fast to maximize your investment return.
WE’RE INVESTED IN HELPING YOU
Inflation is a fact of life in the U.S. economy. Luckily, you can prepare for inflation with a carefully managed investment portfolio that includes real estate. Owning a primary residence or investing in a short-term or long-term rental will help you both mitigate the effects of inflation and grow your net worth, which makes it a strategic move in our current financial environment.
If you’re ready to invest in real estate to build wealth and protect yourself from rising inflation, contact us. Our team can help you find a primary residence or investment property that meets your financial goals.
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.
9832 Bartley Court in Fredericksburg has Just Sold for $13,500 above the asking price!
It's slim pickin's for townhomes for sale in Fredericksburg for under $300,000. This area has long been a popular destination for first-time buyers looking to make their hard earned dollar go a lot farther than what they can find in Woodbridge or Stafford.
My seller was a repeat client. Having just purchased this home not even a year ago with the help of one of Virginia's first-time homebuyer programs, she was very excited, and had even spruced up the home by finishing the lower level. A fully finished rec room was added, along with a new powder room that was previously used for storage by the former owner. On the main level, she added all new stainless steel kitchen appliances. Personal touches were added throughout the home.
Why the sudden move? Health reasons. My client was having health issues and unfortunately, 3-level living was causing too much pain on a daily basis. The excitement of having a separate bedroom area, a main level with two eating areas, and a lower level recreation room where she could relax in a totally different space after a day of teleworking, had now turned into struggle. Even with a laundry room on the lower level, having to carry laundry up two flights of stairs with health issues was just icing on a beautiful cake that was no longer edible.
The decision was made to sell, and the marketing plan was initiated. Like many homeowners, stage 1 was decluttering to show off the space. Once the pre-market prep was complete, the professional photographer arrived to take the high resolution photos so that buyers would get a glimpse of this beautiful home online.
The Fredericksburg housing market is not as fast paced as Alexandria, but once this home went live in the MLS, the online showings were booked non-stop. We received a total of seven offers. The highest offer was above $308,500, but was asking for closing costs and a home inspection with the right to negotiate any possible repair items. In a normal market, it's expected that a buyer will do a home inspection. In fact, as a listing agent, I prepare my sellers for this and we often take that into account when setting the list price. In this situation, my seller was looking for the quickest sale that allowed her to move, and to also limit the number of people entering the home. So, multiple inspections was not attractive. The winning offer had no contingencies. The buyer waived the home inspection, financing, and appraisal contingencies. And, the buyer offered a free rent back to allow the seller time to get settled into her new home without having to move twice, or be out by the day of closing.
9832 Bartley Court was listed at $295,000 and sold for $308,500. Homeowners in Germanna Point who didn't sell last year have amassed a considerable amount of equity. If you are curious about the value of your home in Germanna Point or Lee's Hill, click here for your free market value report now.
For more information and to see all photos of the home at 9832 Bartley Court, click here.
If you are ready to buy a home in the Lee's Hill neighborhood, here is a list of what's currently for sale.
There’s a lot to consider when selling your home in Alexandria VA, from the market and appraisals to where you’ll go next. Don’t forget, however, that design is also a key factor. It’s often one of the first things buyers notice when they walk into a home, and it’s also a detail that you, as a seller, can easily control.
According to Realtor.com’s 2022 housing market forecast, home for-sale inventory will increase from last year, as will the projected number of overall sales.1 This means, if you’re looking to sell your Alexandria VA home in the near future, now is the time to consider how you can stand out.
Updating your home design is one way to do that. Changes like new security features or upgraded siding can add value to your home now and be highlighted when you market it for sale later. To get the most out of your updates, focus on these popular home design features that will wow buyers in 2022.
Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, let's connect. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.
Millennials account for the largest share of current homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.2 Sustainable living tops the list of priorities for this generation. A recent Deloitte survey found that nearly one-third of millennials initiate or deepen their consumer investment in products or services that help the environment—this also includes the houses they choose to live in.3
Here are a few eco-friendly design features that will be attractive to these millennial buyers in 2022. Bonus, they can net a significant return on investment (ROI) for you, as a seller, too.
Wellness Retreat Nooks
The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health. For example, in an effort to prioritize mental health, many people are relocating to quieter, more peaceful homes, with 22 percent of city dwellers planning a move to less congested residential areas, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute’s (HIRI) 2021 Insights Summit.7
However, no matter where you live, you can still intrigue buyers by jumping on this trend. At-home wellness amenities, which were once viewed as luxuries, are now on many homeowners’ must-have lists. Indoor spaces that function as a retreat for wellness and self-care have become extremely popular, according to HIRI.
Improve your quality of life in your home with reading nooks, spa-inspired bathrooms, and exercise or meditation spaces. Even if your house doesn’t have the square footage to section off an entire room for relaxation, making simple tweaks to natural light, air purifiers, and indoor plants can help you feel better in your home now while enabling future buyers to see the opportunity for their own space.
Calming Paint Colors
Paint colors that produce a calming atmosphere will also be a key selling point in 2022. Soft earth tones and natural hues will prevail this year, including various shades of blue, green, brown, and beige. Recent research suggests steering clear of trendy paint colors in favor of a more classic palette to bring the feel of nature indoors in a subtle and soothing way.8
In fact, the same research found that buyers are often willing to pay an extra $4,698 for a house with a light blue bathroom or an extra $1,491 for a house with a dark blue bedroom. Another crowd-pleasing hue to refresh the walls with is BEHR’s 2022 paint color of the year, known as Breezeway.9
This shade of green with silver undertones was created to mimic sea glass. As the BEHR website describes it, Breezeway “evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”
Home Safety Features
Buyers want peace of mind more now than ever before. According to a 2021 survey from the American Institute of Architects, members report seeing an increase in the popularity of these home safety features10:
Consider how you can build home safety features like these into the design of your home to enhance your quality of life now and attract more buyers later. For example, you could install a backup generator in the garage and sell it with the house or update your major doorways to be wider.
Before making an investment in expensive home safety upgrades, contact us. We can help you determine what will deliver the greatest ROI for your location and goals.
Designated Work Spaces
It may come as no surprise that after the pandemic, 63 percent of homebuyers want their next house to feature room for a designated office, according to the National Association of Home Builders.11 In addition, 70 percent of these buyers want the office to be at least 100 square feet (or a 10x10 room).
If you can, consider turning a bedroom or a den into a work-from-home office. When designing the space, make it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Position a desk near the window for natural light, install a bookshelf unit, arrange a few succulents on the work surface, and hang a few framed posters or a cork bulletin board on the wall. You want the space to foster productivity as well as be a place in your home you enjoy spending time.
When you get ready to sell, we can help you highlight your designated work space. Given the high demand for this design feature, it can help you interest more buyers and attract more competitive offers—if marketed creatively.
Luxury Kitchen Retouches
The kitchen has always been a main focal point of interior design, and that’s no different in 2022. Families will always need this space to come together in their own homes.
This year’s buyers want a kitchen with new upgrades and retouches, but you don’t have to renovate the entire kitchen to make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips on how to create a kitchen that buyers will love without spending too much money on renovations:
Unique Accent Walls
In a recent interview with the National Association of Realtors, Brian Santos, the director of education for Fresh Coat Painters, explains that bold, unique accent walls are trendy right now.12 An accent wall gives a home character while maintaining the calming feel of natural- and neutral-colored walls.
Santos also explains that this is part of a design aesthetic that draws inspiration from the Roaring Twenties, and it’s likely to remain a sought-after home feature in 2022. Here are some bold colors to consider for your home’s accent walls:
If you’re planning to sell in the next year, talk to us before adding an accent wall. Depending on your target buyer, it may be a design feature that actually hurts your home’s value. We can run a free Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help you understand what would resell best in your neighborhood.
Exterior Siding Updates
A new exterior siding refresh is one of the most affordable renovation projects you can do to help increase a home’s resale value. The average cost is just $12 per square foot, but higher-end material options can push costs closer to $50 per square foot.13 What’s more, there are many siding materials available, from fiber-cement, brick, and wood to vinyl, metal, and stone.
While all these options can infuse the exterior with character and add curb appeal, fiber-cement and vinyl deliver the highest ROI. In fact, according to a 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a vinyl siding replacement can boost resale value by $11,315 (68.3 percent cost recoup), and a fiber-cement siding replacement can boost resale value by $13,618 (69.4 percent cost recoup).14
Give your home this simple, affordable, and attractive facelift before putting it on the market. If you’re not sure how to get started yourself, our team can connect you with a trusted vendor to guide you through the process.
Keep These Home Design Features on Your Radar in 2022
These design features can infuse personality into your home while helping to close the deal if you plan to sell in 2022. The average buyer knows just what they’re looking for in a space they plan to call home, so with some investment and foresight, you can give your house an edge over the competition—and boost resale value in the process.
However, you don’t need to make all these changes to attract more buyers. We can help you determine which design features you should add to your home by sharing insights and tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. We can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area, which will help us decide what changes need to be made. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!