Potomac Yard | Del Ray | Old Town Alexandria Real Estate News

March 16, 2007

Market Statistics

Don't let the rainy weather get you down. Remember, there's always a rainbow after the storm, and I can help you find your pot of gold by using real estate as your treasure.

From our MLS provider the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS),
"In his Chief Economist’s Commentary, NAR’s David Lereah explains why 2007 brings cautious confidence and hopefulness, as his forecast calls for modest quarterly gains throughout this year.
NAR Economist Ken Fears traces mortgage rates and the psychological effect of “payment shock” experienced by potential buyers in his Trends report. Are the most homes being sold in the middle price ranges or in the lower price ranges? The Trends chart lets you see for yourself. And, the Economic Monitor provides a good overview of home inventory levels, housing starts, and impact from the job market."

Click the following link to view the Watch Report and to see specific statistics by area:http://www.mris.com/reports/marketreport/index.cfm.

After a storm of increasing prices and bidding wars, we are still experiencing a slight calm. Is it the calm before another storm? The real estate market works in cycles, so only time will tell. As an experienced professional writing contracts and viewing homes every day, I can tell you that there are a lot of deals to be made right now. So, don't just sit on the fence...own one!

Posted in Uncategorized
March 7, 2007

In Like A Lion?

Historically speaking, the spring time has been the best time to sell your house, but what if you are looking at buying? Will you be able to find any good deals? Will prices start to creep up beyond your reach?

Here are five ways that buyers and sellers can get the most bang for their buck this spring selling season:

Sellers: This window of opportunity is like a pendulum. In order to attract ready, willing, and able buyers, it’s all about price. Remember, pricing too high could cause your listing to die a slow death of price reductions, and low ball offers. A competitive price will entice multiple offers, and competitive offers with fewer concessions and contingencies.

  1. Buyers: Don’t be afraid to make an offer, even if you feel the home is overpriced. On January 1 of this year, 323 listings in Northern Virginia expired. This means that these homes went off the market because they did not sell during a specific period of time. The majority of these homes were indeed overpriced, but many of these sellers would have been willing to negotiate with you.
  2. Sellers: Do what you can to prepare your home for the spring market. Take advantage of my offer for either a 10% off coupon for your purchase at Lowes, OR a FREE DVD from ‘Designed To Sell’. Save money on purchasing the materials you need to spruce up your home, or see first hand ‘before’ and ‘after’ effects from the pros on how you can get your home ready for the buyer’s eye.
  3. Buyers: Get your pre-approval now. It’s always free and there’s no obligation. My preferred lenders are always ready to help you. With your pre-approval you are informed of your credit score and alerted to any discrepancies that may exist. The higher your credit score, the more attractive your loan program and interest rate.
  4. Buyers and Sellers: Don’t make a decision without a Realtor! You don’t know what you don’t know, and my job is to provide you with the tools and information so that you have everything you need to make an informed decision. Knowing what your neighbor’s home sold for, knowing the comparables so that you know how to structure your purchase offer, knowing what inspections to obtain, knowing how to save money on closing costs are just some of the ways that I can help!

 

My professional prediction is that we will see a large number of homes enter the market this spring. Sellers who were unsuccessful in getting their home sold during the winter months are on the sidelines in hope of getting a better price. But with more competition…comes better pricing, which should bring more buyers out into the marketplace.

 

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb. 21, 2007

Double Dutch - Part 3 of 3

The last couple of weeks I have been comparing tracking and chasing the real estate market to learning how to jump rope double-dutch style. Finally, I'm going to show you where to look on the internet to help you do your due diligence when contemplating investing in real estate in any part of the country.

Here are some good sources for market statistics, demographics, and other information that will help you determine which areas would be a financial fit for your investing goals:
In Northern Virginia: http://www.nvar.com/ and click 'Market Stats'.
In Northern Virginia: http://www.MRIS.com/reports/stats and select your report from the drop-down menus

Nationally: http://www.realtor.org/ and click 'Research'
Nationally: http://money.cnn.com/ and under 'Real Estate', 'Best Places to Live', 'Best Places to Retire', and 'Home Prices'
Nationally: http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/buyersadvice.htm
Nationally: http://www.freedemographics.com/
Nationally: http://www.census.gov/
Nationally: http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=728
College Towns: http://www.collegerealestate.com/A+collegerealestate.htm
College Towns: http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/realestate/2004/09/
03/cx_bs_0903home.html?partner=rss, and click the link at the bottom for top areas
I would highly recommend that you create a folder for bookmarks called "Real Estate Investing" and bookmark all of these links.

Also, try to 'salami slice' your investment goals. Set realistic, attainable goals, and work your way up. It's not as hard as you think!

If you have any other links that you'd like to share, please send them. Surrounding yourself with people with the same goals as you, makes it easier to bounce ideas, and network with those who can lend you a helping hand. Look for a local investing group in your area, or perhaps your church.

Now, you have the information you need to know when to jump in and out of the different real estate markets! Are you ready to JUMP IN?

Note: the following link contains sound:
http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/show/doubledutch.html

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb. 6, 2007

Double-Dutch Part 2

Last week I compared tracking and chasing the real estate market to learning how to jump rope double-dutch style. This week, I'm going to show you how to watch the market (the ropes) in different areas, so that you have the information you need to know when to 'jump in' (buy) and when to 'jump out' (sell) and make a clean break.

If you can learn how to use the internet to your advantage, you can align yourself with updates and information to monitor real estate activity in Northern Virginia, or any other part of the country.

Any search engine, but particularly Google or Yahoo, is a good place to start. Think in general terms, write them down, then force yourself to carve out the fat and trim your search down to more specific terms.

For example, typing in 'real estate investing' returns hundreds of sites with get rich quick methods of investing in real estate. Remember, you're looking for information that you can use to help you make a decision. Delete your search, and type 'hot growth areas' OR 'hot job markets'. This will return specifics on areas that are currently experiencing an upswing in the market and have a stable local economy.

Another example, search for Fortune 500 companies, and try to find out where they are opening new offices, plants, stores, etc. Our own local Washington Business Journal (http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/) is a premier place for businesses to make their announcements to Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area. Remember, Virginia was cited as the #1 place for business in 2006!

Are you retiring within the next five years and leaving the area? Research where you plan to move, and do your due diligence to see if it makes sense to purchase your next home now as a rental property, and rent it out until you're ready to move-in. That way when you move in, your mortgage will be based on today's value as opposed to the future appreciated value.

Well, what are you waiting for? Start your search! Next week, I'll tell you the BEST sites to bookmark for staying on top of trends anywhere and everywhere.

Email me and let me know what you've found out, and if you're one step closer to investing in real estate! If you thought of a very unique search phrase that provided you with astounding results, please share!

Posted in Uncategorized
Jan. 31, 2007

Double Dutch

After 10 years of selling real estate, this is my second buyers market.

The major difference is that technology has come a long way in helping to educate consumers, and keep them informed. One month after becoming licensed, the MLS system upgraded from three-ring binder notebooks in individual real estate offices, to a computerized system where every broker could input listings, and the information could be accessed by any member of the MLS. Wow, what a concept!

However, the thought of using a computer every day was unimaginable to many agents, and several left the business. I had a background in technology, so I welcomed the change. Having everything systematized meant accessing the data quicker, and also being able to provide the information to consumers quicker.

Even when I purchased my first condo, I tried to convince many of my friends to buy homes. Many were fearful, but a few did decide to buy. As the years went by, and property values increased, a lot of us reaped the benefits of buying in a buyers market.

Timing the real estate market is like playing double-dutch jump rope. Two ropes constantly go around, and you have to time it just right so that you know how and when to jump in. I remember how frustrating it was when I was learning, but once I got the rhythm, it was easy to learn when to get in, and when to get out.

Are you going to be one of those people who buys in a sellers market, and sells in a buyers market? You don't have to be. As your real estate guide, let me help you learn how to time the market so that you know what to expect, and how to use different sources of information to make wise decisions about your future.

Next week, I'll show you where to look to help you time this real estate market, and markets throughout the country...so stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 21, 2006

Spend Well This Holiday Season

Happy Tuesday, I hope your week is off to a fantastic start and that you're looking forward to a bountiful holiday season.

We're about to enter the time of year where the pressures of the holiday season can entice people to make some poor financial decisions that will affect them in the coming year.

Don't wait until January 1 to start working on your wealth plan for 2007, start right now. Did you know that for many people, it can take until March to pay off the debt that they incurred from the previous holiday season? If you have a long list of gifts that you think you're obligated to buy, here are some helpful tips to encourage you to stay in control of your finances:

* - Write out your list ahead of time. This will tell you exactly who's on your list, and no matter who has been naughty or nice, you can plan ahead.
* - Next to each name, write the amount that you'll spend for each gift. This helps you to establish your spending limit.
* - Set aside the days that you'll go shopping. If you wait until the last minute, you might be forced to make impulsive decisions about purchases.
* - Purchase gift cards...no sales tax!!!
* - Don't charge it!!! If you can't pay cash, then don't buy it. It's too easy to whip out that charge card, and forget how much you've actually spent.

If you're renting now, consider a home purchase for the holiday season. Sellers who have their homes on the market now are very serious about selling, and willing to entertain all offers and negotiate. Closing costs contributions and other selling incentives can enable buyers to find an affordable home even though there may be months remaining on an existing lease.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 9, 2006

FREE Mortgage With New Program

I wanted you to be the first to know about a new mortgage program being offered by Prosperity Mortgage!

With this program, any Northern Virginia area homebuyer can buy a home and have three, six, or even nine months with NO MORTGAGE PAYMENT. This program can be used for any conventional loan, and it can be used to purchase any home, no particular subdivisions or neighborhoods to target, but any home.

How it works, the program allows for a maximum seller contribution of up to 6% of the sales price. Any money left over for closing costs, will be held by the mortgage company in a separate account, and will be paid directly from the account and applied to your principal and interest payment for your new mortgage.

For example, on a $350,000 home, the average closing costs are roughly $7000. However, when negotiating your sales contr act, if the seller agrees to pay 6% of the sales price toward your closing costs, or $21,000, then the remaining $14,000 will be set aside for your mortgage payment.

Assuming you have a zero down payment, and a 6.5% interest rate, your principal and interest payment are approximately $2213 per month. With $14000 left over, that money will be paid directly to your mortgage company, and you will have SIX MONTHS WITH NO MORTGAGE PAYMENTS!!!

What does it take to qualify?

  • Stable employment history
  • About 6-9 months at your current job
  • A minimum credit score of 620, and
  • You must settle on your new home after November 15, 2006.

More information about this new program will be available upon request. If you would like more information, just email me, and we will answer all of your questions about this phenomenal new mortgage program.

I've also just set up a special Toll-Free number specifically to provide more information on this program. If you'd like to tell a friend, the Toll Free number is 1-800-728-1885 x2824 and it is available 24 hours a day!

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 12, 2006

The Boomerang

With Monday being a Federal holiday, the week is definitely going by quickly, and I hope you're enjoying yours.

This week, I'd like to provide additional links to keep you posted on the housing market, both locally and nationally. For a national perspective, it seems like things are balancing out. Those buyers on the sidelines for a 'time-out' might be still on the bench once things pick up again.

I remember the drama of the sellers market, and how tough it was to get those buyer contracts accepted. And more often that not, I heard, "Man, I wish I would have bought when the market was slower." If you're one of those people who tries to buy in a seller's market, and sell in a buyer's market, give us a call so that we can provide you with the right tools to help interpret the market.

Here is an article from Lew Sichelman - Real Estate Market Turndown Nearing End... http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20061011_downturnend.htm

For housing reports for other metro areas: Click Here

For local statistics, visit the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors website at http://www.NVAR.com and click the 'Market Stats' link.

For free updates on whenever a home sells in your Northern Virginia neighborhood, or where your Northern Virginia rental property is located: http://www.FreeNeighborhoodUpdates.com

We already know that the land is scarce. So once the new construction builders have finally sold their loads of 'Immediate Delivery' homes at rock bottom prices, who's going to hold the cards...the homeowners, because they'll have the goods, and housing will be in demand again!

It's a great time to add real estate to your long-term portfolio! The time to buy real estate with little or NO money down, closing costs paid, and interest rates bought down...is NOW.

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 27, 2006

Buy The Best!

As a ten-year veteran in real estate, I can say that the real estate market is balancing out...or normalizing.

For those who thought the crazy sellers market of yesteryear was the norm, now may seem like doom and gloom.There are some buyers who are still on the fence right now. Two weeks ago, I mentioned who the primary buyers of today are. For the masses who are still thinking about putting their home search on hold, I can say that now is the time to buy the 'Cheapest of the Best'!

When fuel costs escalate and interest rates climb, we do see a pause in the real estate market here in Northern Virginia. Consumers who considered purchasing in further out locations in order to get 'more house for the money' start to reconsider, and debate if it's more cost effective to pay more to live closer in. For this reason, homes in good locations, close to metros and bus lines, and in good school districts always fare better in a slowing real estate market.

If you are one of those buyers who thought the only way you could buy was to go far out, then reverse your compass! One of the best ways to make sure that your property maintains its value is to buy the CHEAPEST home in the BEST neighborhoods, the CHEAPEST home zoned in the BEST school pyramids, or the CHEAPEST home that's WALKING DISTANCE to the metros.

After all, you're supposed to make money when you buy...not when you sell.

Need helping finding the cheapest of the BEST? Give us a call!

We'll be around this week for your real estate needs.

Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 14, 2006

So...Who's Buying Anyway?

Good Wednesday afternoon! We're at the middle of the work week and as the weekend draws near, we continue to hear mixed messages about the current housing market.

When you're out this weekend running your errands, and driving by those 'For Sale' signs, you just might ask yourself, "So, who is buying now?" I'll tell you! The financially savvy, the long-term real estate investors, the 'under contract' sellers, and the month-to-month renters that's who!

* - The financially savvy. These are not the people who want to 'get rich quick' and buy real estate with high hopes of a double-digit appreciation on a monthly basis. These are your buyers who dance in tune with their real estate agent, account, mortgage broker, and financial planner, and discipline themselves by saving regularly and investing in multiple avenues (diversifying). These buyers understand capital gai ns tax and are moving up to take advantage of the $250,000 exemption for singles, or $500,000 for couples. These buyers also understand that real estate markets have their cycles just like all other markets, and take to heart Warren Buffett's mantra 'buy when no one else is buying, and sell when no one else is selling'.

* - The long-term real estate investors are the ones who are now bailing out the inexperienced overnight investors who were looking to make a quick buck. Been down to the county courthouse recently? The crowd of investors has definitely gotten smaller, but guess what, that means better deals are being made and foreclosures are not being bumped up amongst investors and sold at market value. Long-term investors are setting themselves up to be 'equity-rich' when the next sellers market cycles through. And that, in turn, will enable them to use the properties they buy today as leverage for future purchases.

* - The 'under contract' sellers are those sellers who studied the market, and listened to their real estate agent and waited until their home was under contract before purchasing another home. In a sellers market, a loan approval and clean contract were the rules, now a non-contingent seller who is moving up is in the perfect position to be selective, and take advantage of countless builder incentives with a new construction, never-lived-in home.

* - The month-to-month renters who 'laid dormant' during the sellers market are now 'blossoming' into homeowners. They are taking advantage of seller paid closing costs, low contract deposits, and interest rate buydowns. Renters with credit issues don't have to succumb to above market interest rate mortgages. With seller buydowns, the household budget can remain in tact.

So, despite the grim reports, there are still lots of buyers taking advantage of this buyers market. Do you know anyone looking to buy a home today?

Work hard...play harder...live well!
Make That Move!

We'll be around this week (and weekend) for your real estate needs!

Posted in Uncategorized