Is now a good time to sell my Alexandria VA home? That's a good question. And you'd be surprised to know that the answer is an absolute YES!
Buyers who are actively looking at homes for sale in Alexandria VA are serious. Many are motivated by the emotions of the holidays, and want to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas in their new house. Others may be motivated by Uncle Sam and want to finalize a purchase before the end of the calendar year. So while the overall pool of buyers may be smaller than what we typically see in the spring real estate market, fall is still a good time to get your home sold quickly.
Download my free 2018 Fall Home Selling Guide today. There's no registration required, so take a look, and don't forget to share with your friends. If you're not quite ready to sell your Alexandria VA home, be sure to sign up for your free Market Report. You'll get a monthly email report of all the homes that have come on the market and sold in your neighborhood. This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the market and see how home values are trending in your backyard.
If you find this information helpful, please share it with a friend!
There no shortage of information online, but when it comes to understanding exactly what you need to know when you're ready to buy a home in Alexandria VA, it can be pretty overwhelming. There's national real estate news, and there's local real estate news. What about interest rates, what are they doing, are they going up or down? Are home prices trending up or down?
Are You Covered in Alexandria VA? A Homeowner’s Insurance Guide
The weather in Alexandria VA has taken it's toll on homeowners in 2018. We started the year off with bitter cold temperatures that lasted for days, then we had a couple of weeks of non-stop winds in March, causing power outages throughout Northern Virginia, and now we are ending a hot and humid summer with the threat of a hurricane. Governor Ralph Northam has just declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.
No one likes to think about disasters. Severe weather, fire, theft—or even a seemingly small issue like a broken pipe—can wreak havoc on your home and result in thousands of dollars in damages. Fortunately, a good homeowners insurance policy can offer you peace of mind that you and your family will be financially protected if disaster strikes.
A homeowners insurance policy covers your home—as well as the belongings in it—in case of theft, accidental damage, or certain natural disasters. In fact, most financial institutions require that you purchase homeowners insurance before they issue a mortgage. While coverage varies, most policies also help to protect you from liability should someone outside your household become injured on your property. And that liability coverage is often extended to include damage you (or anyone living in your household) may do to someone else’s property.1
With all the protection offered, it’s equally important to understand what a home insurance policy does NOT cover. For example, homeowners insurance won’t pay to repair malfunctioning systems and appliances within your home. And terms vary, but standard policies typically exclude coverage related to floods, earthquakes, slow leaks, power failure, neglect, aging, faulty repairs or construction materials, and acts of war.2
Homeowners Insurance Covers Things Like:
?Liability for Non-Residents Injured on Property
?Liability for Damage or Injury Caused by You or Your Pets
Most Standard Policies DON’T Cover:
?Malfunctioning Systems & Appliances
?Neglect or Aging
?Acts of War
NARROWING THE COVERAGE GAP
So how do you minimize your risk when so many potential issues are excluded from a standard homeowners policy? Many insurers offer supplemental coverage options that can be tacked on to a basic policy. We explore this further in the section below on “7 Tips for Purchasing Homeowners Insurance.”
Some homeowners also choose to purchase a home warranty, which covers many of the systems and appliances in your home that are NOT covered by homeowners insurance. Home warranties are separate from homeowners insurance, so if interested you’ll need to seek out a policy through a dedicated provider.
While terms vary, a home warranty will often pay to repair or replace components of your HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and some appliances that fail due to age or typical wear and tear. Unlike homeowners insurance, home warranties aren’t required by mortgage companies. But many homeowners like the added financial protection and peace of mind that home warranties provide.3
Keep in mind, if you do purchase a home warranty, you will still be responsible for paying a service fee, or deductible, every time you use it. And you will be limited to using service providers who are contracted through your home warranty company.
7 TIPS FOR PURCHASING HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
Whether you’re shopping for a new policy on your first home or you’re considering switching providers on an existing policy, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Not all insurance policies—or providers—are created equal. A little due diligence can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
Prioritize Service and Value
When choosing an insurance provider, ask around for recommendations. Check with neighbors, friends, and family members, particularly those who have filed an insurance claim in the past. Find out if they had a positive or negative experience. Read online reviews. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to a reputable insurance broker who can help you compare your options.
Don’t just choose the cheapest policy. Instead, search for one that offers excellent client service and provides the best coverage for the cost.
Choose the Right Level of Coverage
Your policy limits should be high enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home. Don’t make the common mistake of insuring your home for the price you paid for it. The cost to rebuild could be higher or lower, depending on the value of your land, your home’s unique features, market factors, new building codes, and local construction costs.4
Also, consider whether you need a higher level of liability insurance to protect your assets. If your investments and savings exceed the liability limits in your policy, you may need to purchase an excess liability or umbrella policy.
Ultimately, you should make sure your coverage is adequate to mitigate your losses—but don’t pay for excess insurance you don’t need.
Inquire About Additional Coverage
Ask your insurance agent about additional coverage options that can help close any gaps you have in your policy.
For example, if you’re in a flood or earthquake-prone area, experts strongly recommend that you add those coverages to your policy. In fact, flooding is the most frequently occurring natural hazard, and a significant percentage of insurance payouts are for homes outside “flood zones,” or areas known to be at risk of flooding. So even if your home is not technically located in a flood zone, you may want to add flood coverage to your policy, just in case.5
Expensive jewelry, furs, collectibles, or artwork may not be fully insured by a standard policy. Ask about raising your limits for any items of particular value, or check with a specialty insurer about a separate policy for such items.
Decide on “Replacement Cost” or “Actual Cash Value”
Insurers can use a variety of methods to determine how much they will pay to reimburse you for a loss, but the two most common are “replacement cost” or “actual cash value.”
If your seven-year-old sofa is damaged in a fire, replacement cost coverage will pay you the cost to purchase a new, comparable sofa at today’s prices. Actual cash value coverage will pay you for the depreciated value of the sofa you lost—so what you would pay to buy a seven-year-old sofa rather than a new one.6
While a replacement cost coverage policy will result in a bigger payoff if you suffer a loss, it will probably require a larger annual premium. Compare both options to find out which is the better fit for you.
Consider a Higher Deductible
A deductible is the amount of money you are responsible for paying on a loss before your insurance company will pay a claim. Opting for a higher deductible can reduce your premiums.
Note that in some cases, your insurance policy may have a separate or higher deductible for certain kinds of claims, such as those caused by floods, windstorms, hail, or earthquakes.
While a higher deductible can save you money on your premiums, opt for one that is still affordable given your current financial situation.
Try Bundling Your Coverage
Combining your home, automobile, and other policies under one insurer can often result in a significant discount. And some insurers offer additional benefits, such as a single deductible if property insured by multiple policies is damaged. For instance, if a fire destroys your home and your car, you may only have to pay the higher of the two deductibles. Bundling can also make payment and renewal of your policies more convenient.7
However, bundling isn't always the best or least expensive option. In some cases, you may find better coverage options, service, and/or pricing if you split your policies between multiple insurers. So be sure to consider all of your options before making a final decision.
Reassess Your Policy Each Year
Even if you’ve done all your due diligence before purchasing a homeowners insurance policy, don’t set your annual renewal on autopilot. Instead, when it comes time to renew, take some time to consider factors that have changed over the past year.
For example, have you made any home improvements that would require you to raise your coverage limits? Have you made any security or safety improvements that qualify you for a discount on your premiums?8
Has there been a shift in market conditions that would make it more or less expensive to rebuild your home now? If so, you may need to adjust your coverage levels accordingly.
If you’ve made any changes to how you use your home, you may need to adjust your policy, as well. For example, if you’ve started a home-based business or occasionally rent out your home on a home-sharing site, you may not be fully covered by your existing policy.9
Finally, consider any changes to your financial situation that may require increased liability coverage limits. If you’ve grown your investments or inherited property, it may be time to purchase additional coverage to protect your expanding asset base.
MINIMIZE RISK, MAXIMIZE VALUE
Now that you understand the basics of homeowners insurance, you should be ready to start shopping for a policy that best fits your needs and budget. Your goal should be to minimize your risk while maximizing the value your policy provides.
While you never want to leave yourself without a safety net should disaster strike, you also don’t want to overpay for insurance you don’t need (and will hopefully rarely use). Aim to strike a balance that will provide you with adequate protection at an affordable price.
NEED MORE GUIDANCE? WE CAN HELP
If you’re in the market to purchase homeowners insurance or a home warranty, give us a call! We get a lot of feedback from clients on the best (and worst) providers and are happy to share what we know.
We can also put you in touch with a trusted insurance professional who can answer your questions and help you find the best policy to meet your needs.
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial or insurance advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.
Nestled in between Shirlington and Del Ray, this turn-key two bedroom, two full bath condo was just rented at The Grove. The unit at 2321 S25th Street Unit 208 was on the market for 23 days and received multiple applications.
With conveniences like easy access to I-395, Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Rosslyn, this is an ideal location for north bound commuters, or residents who want to be in a bike friendly area.
Do you currently own a home in Shirlington or Del Ray and would like to know how much your property would rent for? Give me a call at 703-623-8759 today. Our tenant application process is easy and online, so you can get your property rented much faster than processing paper applications.
Polished with all new carpet, fresh paint, and new wood laminate flooring in the sunroom, this Penderbrook condo was the perfect spot for new first-time home buyers. With an affordable price, and low monthly condo fees, this home is a great alternative to renting.
If you are in the market to buy a home in Fairfax, make sure you download our Spring 2018 Homebuyer guide. To search for more homes for sale in Penderbrook, click here.
Download Your Spring 2018 Home Sellers Guide for Alexandria VA (No Registration Required)
Just in time for the prime selling season in real estate, the Spring 2018 Edition of our popular guide for home sellers "Things to Consider When Selling Your House," is fully available. Be sure to download your free copy today, there's no registration required.
If you're a homeowner and you are thinking about selling your home within the next 2-3 months, this guide will help you to understand the market conditions nationwide, and give you some tips on getting the most for your home this spring.
Topics in this edition include:
The Real Reason Prices are Increasing
Where are Interest Rates Headed
How to Get the Most Money for Your Home
When you have the right information at your fingertips, getting your home sold for top dollar is inevitable. If you need a top Alexandria VA listing agent to help you, give me a call directly at 703-623-8759.
Download Your Spring 2018 Homebuyer Guide for Alexandria VA No Registration Required
Hot off the presses! If you are in the market to buy a home in Alexandria VA this spring, then make sure you download your free copy of our latest edition of "Things to Consider When Buying a Home." We understand that there's no shortage of information online, so we went the extra mile to break down the important things you need to know that will help you make an informed decision about your home purchase.
Here's a peak at what's inside:
A graphical update on Year-over-Year home prices across the country
Buying is Cheaper than Renting in 39 states, find out which ones
Another beautiful home snapped up by a lucky buyer in Alexandria VA. Spring has officially sprung with the real estate market here. One of the hardest things about being a listing agent, is once a gorgeous home sells, a fresh round of buyers want something just like the one that just sold!
Currently in the Greater Mt Vernon zip code of 22308, there is less than a two month supply of active homes for sale.
That means it's a sellers market and buyers have very few homes to choose from and a lot of other buyers to compete against. With such a favorable market for sellers, now is a good time for you to find out what your home is worth if you are thinking about selling.
If you are in the market to buy a home, make sure you understand the process and the current market conditions so that you can be prepared to make a winning offer. To see other homes for sale in the Alexandria zip code of 22308, just click here.
In December 2017, home prices in Old Town Alexandria averaged $739,827, just over $12,000 above the 5-year average of $727,689.
With many historic and waterfront homes in the popular zip code of 22314, Old Town Alexandria's real estate prices are predictably higher than the overall average of Alexandria City. Developers are clearing away older homes and bringing new construction condos and luxury rowhomes, satisfying the continuous buyer demand for homes close to metro and in a walkable community.
Property listings came in like a lion in 2017. In January there were 111 active listings, then volume shot up to 133,163, then 189 in the next consecutive months. The number of active listings peaked at 200 in October, then fizzled out to 145 in December.
What If I'm Selling My Home In Old Town Alexandria?
Throughout the year, it was a sellers market, with the month's total supply of homes barely breaking three months. In April the month's supply of homes was 3.1 and in October it was 3.03, making is very appealing for home sellers. Also, for ten months in the year, the median days on market was under one month. So, if you were selling your Old Town Alexandria home in 2017, the odds of you selling quickly were very high.
What If I'm Buying a Home In Old Town Alexandria
Cash is king. Of the 811 homes that sold in 2017, 130 buyers paid with all cash, and 538 used conventional financing, which usually comes with a sizeable down payment. Surprisingly, there were 99 home sales that were completed with VA financing. With VA financing, there is no down payment requirement for purchases under $417,000, however, in the luxury price range buyers will have to make a small down payment. Experienced lenders have the best mortgage programs, and with homes flying off the market within a month, buyers would be wise to have their mortgage approval secure prior to beginning their search.
Find Out More Today
If you are wondering what your Old Town Alexandria home is worth, take a quick minute and use our free online calculator. Each home in Old Town is different, whether it's historic, newly built, along the Potomac River waterfront, or steps to the Braddock Road or King Street metro. It's always best to have an experienced Old Town Alexandria VA listing agent to take a look for an accurate analysis.
Del Ray Average Home Price for December 2017 - $716,053
When gauging the real estate market activity for Del Ray, December's average sales price of $716,053 is just slightly below the five-year December average of $721,074.
The Del Ray home values are consistently above the average sales prices of Alexandria City. Take a look at the interactive chart below for a visual of the disparity in average sales prices. With a limited number of condos, many homeowners and investors seek out Del Ray's older rowhouses and duplexes to renovate them, adding contemporary finishes and sometimes additional square footage.
One of the biggest influences on home prices in Del Ray is the lack of inventory, or low supply of homes on the market. Take a look below at the number of 'Active' listings in 2017, in the last half of the year, the number of properties on the market took a nose dive and never bounced back.
April and June 2017 saw record highs of 38 'Active' listings on the market at a time, while in December, buyers had only 12 properties to choose from in their search.
What If I'm Selling My Home In Del Ray?
With less than one full month of inventory, homeowners have a far superior advantage. On average, homes stayed on the market for 43 days in December, and home sellers accepted an 99.4% of their original asking price for homes.
If you are wondering what your Del Ray home might be worth in today's real estate market, use our online home value estimator right now. Each home in Del Ray is unique, with different styles and degrees of renovation, so be sure to give me a call at 703-623-8759 for the most accurate market evaluation of your home and if you're looking to sell in the next 3-6 months.