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

Nov. 2, 2022

7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price When Selling In Alexandria VA

7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price When Selling In Alexandria VA

Over the past few years, Alexandria VA real estate has witnessed first-hand the buying frenzy bid up home prices to eye-popping amounts. However, as mortgage rates have risen, buyer demand has cooled.1  Consequently, home sellers who enter the market today may need to reset their expectations and do things a little bit differently.

The reality is, it’s no longer enough to stick a “for sale” sign in the yard and wait for buyers to bang down the door. If you want to net the most money possible for your property in today’s market, you’ll need an effective game plan and a skilled team of professionals to implement it.

Fortunately, we’ve developed a listing strategy that combines our proven approach to preparation, pricing, and promotion—all designed to help you get top dollar for your home. But you will play an important role in the selling process, as well.

Here are some crucial steps you can take to set yourself up for success as a home seller in this market:

1. Make Strategic Repairs and Improvements

When you sell something, it’s important to consider what your customer wants to buy.  And according to the National Association of Realtors, only 6% of today’s buyers report that they are looking for a DIY fixer-upper.2  The vast majority want a move-in-ready home, which means that any outstanding repairs or dated features can be a major turn-off.

Before your home goes on the market, we’ll conduct a thorough walk-through to identify any problems that could prevent it from selling. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection. Finding and addressing issues like leaks, rot, and foundation problems up front can pay off in the final sale price. Plus, it prevents sales from falling through because of a red flag on the home inspection, a scenario no seller wants to face.

Beyond repairs, we’ll also help you identify the simple upgrades that offer the highest return on your investment. For example, new paint can give your home a fresh look at a reasonable cost. However, it’s important to choose the right colors. One study found that painting your bathroom light blue could lead to a 1.6% increase in the offer price!3 Similarly, minor landscaping improvements can pay off in a major way. A healthy lawn offers an estimated 256% return on investment.4

2. Declutter and Depersonalize

When buyers look at a home for sale, they’re trying to envision themselves living there. That’s hard to do if it’s chock-full of the current owner’s family photos, children’s artwork, and souvenir collections. Plus, cluttered homes look smaller, many times darker, and older items can make them feel dated.

Decluttering before you put your home up for sale will help you in the long run—after all, you’ll need to move all your things to your new home eventually. Now is the time to shred, digitize, or organize old documents, donate old clothes, or move bulky furniture into storage. At a minimum, you’ll want to pack away excess items neatly before potential buyers view the home. Remove personal photos, religious items, political items, and other trinkets to create a blank slate that viewers can imagine decorating with their own prized possessions.

If you feel overwhelmed by this process, we’d be happy to make recommendations or refer you to a local service provider who can help.

3. Stage Your Home for Success

Just as you take care to dress professionally for a job interview, you should always ensure your home looks its best for potential buyers. Home shoppers today are used to scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, and they want to see the same wow factor when touring a home.

The process of making your home look its best and appeal to potential buyers is called staging, and it can be a game changer. According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, an average priced staged home sells 5 to 11 times faster than its non-staged counterpart. Even better, the majority of staged homes sell for 4% to 20% over list price!5

Some sellers hire a professional stager, who may bring in furniture and décor to increase the home’s appeal. Others choose to stage their homes themselves. We can help advise you on which route to choose and how much to invest in the process.

It’s also important to consider what buyers in your neighborhood are likely to be looking for in a home. We can help guide your staging choices with our local market insights. For example, in neighborhoods where a large share of residents work from home, it may be effective to stage one room as an office space so potential buyers can envision their day-to-day routine.

4. Prep for Each Showing

Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect that (sometimes messy) reality. But when your home is on the market, it’s important to ensure that it is always ready for viewers, even on short notice.  A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home!

Before your home hits the market, it may be worth hiring professional cleaners to get in all the nooks and crannies.  After, try your best to keep things spic and span. Just a few minutes a day wiping down counters, sweeping the floors, and vacuuming can make a big difference.

It’s also worth noting that most buyers will open cabinets, drawers, and closets—so try to make sure everything is as neat and organized as possible. Keep toiletries and small appliances off countertops, and secure valuables and sensitive documents in a safe or off-site.

Want help finding a cleaning service to make your home shine for buyers? Reach out for a referral!

5. Price Your Home Correctly From the Start

In the past few years, you may have seen homes in your neighborhood sell for shocking amounts and wondered if you could get a similar price for your property. The temptation to list your home on the high side can be strong, but it’s best to be realistic from the start. Even in a hot market, some homes will sit for months. And the longer a property is listed, the more buyers worry that something is wrong with it.6

Of course, you also don’t want to set your price too low and lose out on potential profit. That’s why it’s essential to work with real estate agents (like us!) who know the ins and outs of our local market and what buyers are willing to pay today. In a quickly-evolving market, comparable sales from a few months ago can lag the current market reality.

 

Fortunately, if you’ve owned your home for several years, chances are good that it’s worth much more today than you paid for it. That means you stand to walk away with a handsome profit. In fact, recent reports show that homeowner equity is at an all-time high.7

6. Avoid Acting on Emotion

The past few years of over-asking-price offers with few contingencies have set certain expectations for many sellers. It’s only natural to feel hurt or even offended if an offer comes in lower than what you think your home is worth.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that those market conditions were unprecedented, and we are now returning to a more typical market. Home sellers who act rationally, rather than emotionally, are going to get the best results.

Remember: You can always counter a low offer. The same goes for repair requests and contingencies—everything is negotiable. However, it’s important to accept that the market is adjusting and flexibility is key. Keep your expectations reasonable, and remain open-minded. And you can rest assured knowing that we’ll be by your side every step of the way to help you navigate the process and negotiate a great deal.

7. Work With a Local Market Expert

The economics impacting mortgage rates may be national, but real estate markets are hyperlocal. That’s why working with a professional agent who understands your neighborhood’s dynamics is essential. Through our experience, we’ve gathered insights that can help us position your home for success in this market. Plus, we have the resources to connect with qualified buyers searching for a home like yours.

Working with a knowledgeable agent is also the secret to getting as much money as possible for your home. We have access to extensive data on recent sales in your neighborhood, which we will use to price and promote your property. That’s one reason why homes sold by agents draw much higher prices than those sold by their owners alone. While for-sale-by-owner homes went for a median price of $260,000 in 2020, the median for homes sold by agents was $318,000.8 That’s a difference of $58,000—and money you don’t want to leave on the table.

YOUR AGENT AND ADVOCATE

Selling a home in a fast-changing market can be stressful. You’re likely to hear conflicting advice and opinions from people in your life, and decisions like what color to paint your front door or how much to list your home for can be overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. The market may be adjusting, but it’s still highly advantageous for sellers—and we’re here to help you make the most of it. We’re listing experts in our area, and we know what steps you need to take for a smooth, profitable transaction.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, we invite you to reach out to schedule a free consultation. We’re happy to talk through your specific situation and goals and help you identify your next steps.

 


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Posted in Sellers
Oct. 17, 2022

Alexandria VA Homebuying | The Emotional and Non-financial Benefits of Homeownership

Alexandria VA Homebuying | The Emotional and Non-financial Benefits of Homeownership

The Emotional and Non-financial Benefits of Homeownership | MyKCM

With higher mortgage rates, you might be wondering if now's the best time to buy a home, especially in Alexandria VA. While the financial aspects are important to consider, there are also powerful non-financial reasons it may make sense to make a move right now. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with homeownership.

Homeowners Can Make Their Home Truly Their Own

Owning your home can give you a significant sense of accomplishment because it’s a space you can customize to your heart’s desire. That can bring you added happiness.

In fact, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:

There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area.”

And as a homeowner, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you typically won’t have to worry about the changes you can and can’t make, especially on the interior.

If you rent, you may not have the same freedom. And if you do make changes as a renter, there’s a good chance you’ll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out.

The Responsibilities of Homeownership Give You a Greater Sense of Achievement

There’s no denying taking care of your home is a large responsibility, but it’s one you’ll take pride in as a homeowner. Freddie Mac explains:

“As the homeowner, you have the freedom to adopt a pet, paint the walls any color you choose, renovate your kitchen, and more. . . . Of course, along with the freedoms of homeownership come responsibilities, such as making your monthly mortgage payments on time and maintaining your home. But as the property owner, you'll be caring for your own investment.

You’re not taking care of a living space that belongs to someone else. The space is yours. As an added benefit, you may get a return on investment for any upgrades or repairs you make.

Homeownership Can Lead to Greater Community Engagement

That sense of ownership and your feelings of responsibility can even extend beyond the walls of your home. Your home also gives you a stake in your community. Because the average homeowner stays in their home for longer than just a few years, that can lead to having a stronger connection to your local area. NAR notes how that can benefit you:

“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”

If you’re looking to put down roots in Alexandria VA, homeownership can help fuel a sense of connection to the area and those around you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey, including the ability to customize your home, the sense of achievement homeownership brings, and a greater connection to your community. Let’s connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.

              

Posted in Buyers
Oct. 8, 2022

Just Listed Alexandria VA | 2204 Shiver Drive in Randall Estates

Just Listed Alexandria VA |
2204 Shiver Drive in Randall Estates

 

Prepare to check everything off on your list!  Nestled on over a 1/3 acre lot on a wide, quiet street, this all brick raised rambler in Randall Estate is filled with contemporary finishes.  Welcome to 2204 Shiver Drive.

Step inside and you'll be greeted by the open, gourmet kitchen with quartz countertops. The breakfast bar looks right into the living room with oversized fireplace, so you can enjoy conversations while prepping meals! Hardwood floors are throughout the main level, perfect for your accents and area rugs. There are three bedrooms on the main level with the primary bedroom offering a private updated bath. Features include a frameless shower, elevated vanity, and octagonal floor and shower tiles.

The lower level is a multifunctional space that offers a rec room with second fireplace and wet bar, third full bath, separate home office/den area, and the 4th bedroom. People-watch and chat with the neighbors from the large front stoop, or relax on the rear covered deck or elevated patio and gaze out into the open back yard.

When you're ready to give up the monthly condo fees, or the vertical stairs of townhouse living, put this home at the very top of your list! Bright, open, and spacious interior with modernized features PLUS a backyard that's hard to find inside the Beltway. Close to Belle View Shopping Center, trails on GW Parkway, Mount Vernon, Old Town, National Landing, and DC!

Ready to tour this home at 2204 Shiver Drive in Alexandria VA?

Be sure to check out the 3D Virtual Tour from the comfort of your home by clicking here!  Then, call me at 703-623-8759 to schedule your private showing.  You simply have to see the yard and the street for yourself!  

Posted in My Listings
Oct. 4, 2022

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Homebuying in Alexandria VA

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Homebuying in Alexandria VA

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | MyKCM

Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home in Alexandria VA. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | MyKCM

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, let's connect to explore your options.

Posted in Buyers
Oct. 2, 2022

Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Your First Home in Alexandria VA

Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before
Purchasing Your First Home in Alexandria VA

With non-stop news about rising interest rates, rising home prices, declining affordability, and the low inventory of homes for sale, it's easy to see how many people who are thinking about buying a home in Alexandria VA might be pumping the brakes right now.  Deciding whether to jump into the housing market or rent instead is rarely an easy decision – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But in today’s whirlwind market, you may find it particularly challenging to pinpoint the best time to start exploring homeownership.

A real estate boom during the pandemic pushed home prices to an all-time high.1 Add higher mortgage rates to the mix, and some would-be buyers are wondering if they should wait to see if prices or rates come down.

But is renting a better alternative? Rents have also soared along with inflation – and are likely to continue climbing due to a persistent housing shortage.2 And while homebuyers can lock in a set mortgage payment, renters are at the mercy of these rising costs for the foreseeable future.

So, what’s the better choice for you? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying versus renting. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to schedule a free consultation and we’ll help walk you through your options. You may also find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

 

1. How long do I plan to stay in the home?

You’ll get the most financial benefit from a home purchase if you own the property for at least five years.3 If you plan to sell in a shorter period of time, a home purchase may not be the best choice for you.

There are costs associated with buying and selling a home, and it may take time for the property’s value to rise enough to offset those expenditures.

Even though housing markets can shift from one year to the next, you’ll typically find that a home’s value will ride out a market’s ups and downs and appreciate with time.4 The longer you own a property, the more you are likely to benefit from its appreciation.

Take a look at the interactive chart below showing median home prices for Alexandria VA over the past 10 years:

The blue line represents all home types, and over the past 10 years, the median price went from $461,000 in September 2012, to $543,500 in August 2022, peaking at $685,000 in June 2021.  The red line represents only detached homes, and that went from a median price of $642,450 in September 2012 to $895,000 in August 2022, peaking at $1,225,000 in June 2022.  Even though you can see the points during the years where the market fluctuated, over a 10-year period, owning a home in Alexandria VA paid off.

Once you’ve found a community that you’d like to stay in for several years, then buying over renting can really pay off. You’ll not only benefit from appreciation, but you’ll also build equity as you pay down your mortgage – and you’ll have more security and stability overall.

Also important: If you plan to stay in the home for the life of the mortgage, there will come a time when you no longer have to make those payments. As a result, your housing costs will drop dramatically, while your equity (and net worth) continue to grow.

 

2. Is it a better value to buy or rent in my area?

If you know you plan to stay put for at least five years, you should consider whether buying or renting is the better bargain in your area.

One helpful tool for evaluating your options is a neighborhood’s price-to-rent ratio: just divide the median home price by the median yearly rent price. The higher the price-to-rent ratio is, the more expensive it is to buy compared to rent.5 Keep in mind, though, that this equation provides only a snapshot of where the market stands today. As such, it may not accurately account for the full impact of rising home values and rent increases over the long term.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a typical U.S. homeowner who purchased a single-family existing home 10 years ago would have gained roughly $225,000 in equity — all while maintaining a steady mortgage payment.6

In contrast, someone who chose to rent for the past 10 years would have not only missed out on those equity gains, but they would have also seen U.S. rental prices increase by around 66%.7

So even if renting seems like a better bargain today, buying could be the better long-term financial play.

Ready to compare your options? Then reach out to schedule a free consultation. As local market experts, we can help you interpret the numbers to determine if buying or renting is the better value in your particular neighborhood.

 

3. Can I afford to be a homeowner?

If you determine that buying a home is the better value, you’ll want to evaluate your financial readiness.

Start by examining how much you have in savings. After committing a down payment and closing costs, will you still have enough money left over for ancillary expenses and emergencies? If not, that’s a sign you may be better off waiting until you’ve built a larger rainy-day fund.

Then consider how your monthly budget will be impacted. Remember, your monthly mortgage payment won’t be your only expense going forward. You may also need to factor in property taxes, insurance, association fees, maintenance, and repairs.

Still, you could find that the monthly cost of homeownership is comparable to renting, especially if you make a sizable down payment. Landlords often pass the extra costs of homeowning onto tenants, so it’s not always the cheaper option.

Plus, even though you’ll be in charge of financing your home’s upkeep if you buy, you’ll also be the one who stands to benefit from the fruits of your investment. Every major upgrade, for example, not only makes your home a nicer place to live; it also helps boost your home’s market value.

If you want to buy a home but aren’t sure you can afford it, give us a call to discuss your goals and budget. We can give you a realistic assessment of your options and help you determine if your homeownership dreams are within reach.

 

4. Can I qualify for a mortgage?

If you’re prepared to handle the costs of homeownership, you’ll next want to look into how likely you are to get approved for a mortgage.

Every lender will have its own criteria. But, in general, you can expect a creditor to scrutinize your job stability, credit history, and savings to make sure you can handle a monthly mortgage payment.

For example, lenders like to see evidence that your income is stable and predictable. So if you’re self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation proving that your earnings are dependable. A lender will also compare your monthly debt payments to your income to make sure you aren’t at risk of becoming financially overextended.

In addition, a lender will check your credit report to verify that you have a history of on-time payments and can be trusted to pay your bills. Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your odds of securing a competitive rate.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s always a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. Let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll give you a referral to a loan officer or mortgage broker who can help.

Want to learn more about applying for a mortgage? Reach out to request a copy of our report, “8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate.”

 

5. How would owning a home change my life?

Before you begin the preapproval process, however, it’s important to consider how homeownership would affect your life, aside from the long-term financial gains.

In general, you should be prepared to invest more time and energy in owning a home than you do renting one. There can be a fair amount of upkeep involved, especially if you buy a fixer-upper or overcommit yourself to a lot of DIY projects. If you’ve only lived in an apartment, for example, you could be surprised by the amount of time you spend maintaining a lawn.

On the other hand, you might relish the chance to tinker in your very own garden, make HGTV-inspired improvements, or play with your dog in a big backyard. Or, if you’re more social, you might enjoy hosting family gatherings or attending block parties with other committed homeowners.

The great thing about owning a home is that you can generally do what you want with it – even if that means painting your walls fiesta red one month and eggplant purple the next.

The choice – like the home – is all yours.

 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS

The decision to buy or rent a home is among the most consequential you will make in your lifetime. We can make the process easier by helping you compare your options using real-time local market data. So don’t hesitate to reach out for a personalized consultation, regardless of where you are in your deliberations. We’d be happy to answer your questions and identify actionable steps you can take now to reach your long-term goals.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. CNN –
    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/11/homes/home-prices-second-quarter/index.html
  2. NPR –
    https://www.npr.org/2022/07/14/1109345201/theres-a-massive-housing-shortage-across-the-u-s-heres-how-bad-it-is-where-you-l
  3. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/5-year-real-estate-rule/
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MSPUS
  5. National Association of REALTORS –
    https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/economists-outlook/price-to-rent-ratios-by-state-from-2014-2019
  6. National Association of REALTORS –
    https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/economists-outlook/single-family-homeowners-typically-accumulated-225K-in-housing-wealth-over-10-years
  7. Statista –
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/200223/median-apartment-rent-in-the-us-since-1980/
Posted in Buyers
Sept. 20, 2022

Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Alexandria VA Home for Good News

Watching the Stock Market?
Check the Value of Your Alexandria VA Home for Good News

Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Home for Good News. | MyKCM

While watching the stock market recently may have started to feel pretty challenging, checking the value of your Alexandria VA home should come as welcome relief in this volatile time. If you’re a homeowner, your net worth got a big boost over the past few years thanks to rising home prices. And that increase in your wealth came in the form of home equity. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. Because there was a significant imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase over the past few years, home prices appreciated substantially. And while rising inventory and mortgage rates have cooled the market some in recent months, home prices nationally remain strong.

But let's take a look at the interactive chart below to see home prices in Alexandria VA over the past 10 years:

In September 2012, the median sold price of a home was $461,000.  As of August 2022, the median was $543,500.  When you look at real estate values over the long term, you can see how the values  have increased over time.

That’s why, according to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner equity has grown by $60,000 over the last 12 months. While that’s the national number, if you want to know what happened, on average, over the past year in Virginia, look at the map below from CoreLogic:

Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Home for Good News. | MyKCM

Why This Is So Important Right Now

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), helps explain why this matters so much today:

“. . . the decline in the stock market has dented overall net wealth. It has fallen by $6 trillion from the first to the second quarter. Only housing wealth has held on, with homeowners' real estate wealth (home value minus mortgage balance) rising by $1.2 trillion.”

While equity helps increase your overall net worth, it can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale, and it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

Bottom Line

There’s volatility in today’s stock market, but home equity is still incredibly strong. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home, let’s connect.

 

Posted in Sellers
Sept. 15, 2022

Alexandria VA Buyers Are Regaining Some of Their Negotiation Power in Today’s Housing Market

Alexandria VA Buyers Are Regaining Some of Their Negotiation Power
in Today’s Housing Market

Buyers Are Regaining Some of Their Negotiation Power in Today’s Housing Market | MyKCM

If you're thinking about buying a home in Alexandria VA today, there's welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate sellers’ market than last year. And the days of feeling like you may need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.

Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing this year. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that had you sitting on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.

1. The Return of Contingencies

Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.

The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. And a recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study:

  • 95% of sellers reported buyers requested a home inspection
  • 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection findings

This goes to show buyers are more able to include these conditions in their offers today and negotiate as needed based on the outcome of the inspection.

2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs

Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was a common negotiation tactic for sellers to cover some of the buyer’s closing costs to sweeten the deal. This didn't happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.

Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be a negotiation tool you’ll see as you go to purchase a home. Just keep in mind, limits on closing cost credits are set by your lender and can vary by state and loan type. Work closely with your loan advisor to understand how much a seller can contribute to closing costs in your area.

Bottom Line

Regardless of the extremely competitive Alexandria VA housing market of the past several years, today’s data suggests negotiations are starting to come back on the table. This is good news if you're planning to enter the housing market. To find out how the market is shifting in our area, let's connect.

                    

Posted in Buyers
Sept. 13, 2022

Three Things Alexandria VA Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market

Three Things Alexandria VA Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market

Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market | MyKCM

It’s clear the 2022 Alexandria VA housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it’s also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that’s a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.

The good news is you can navigate today’s housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.

1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria

If you’ve been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that’s starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven’t considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:

“Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.”

2. Explore Alternative Financing Options

Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:

“A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.”

Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.

3. Look for Grants, Gift Funds, and Down Payment Assistance

There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is your agent's down payment resource portal. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:

“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”

Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.

Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, let’s connect. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction.

Posted in Buyers
Sept. 2, 2022

Sell My Home Alexandria VA | Here's Why It's Still a Sellers Market

Sell My Home Alexandria VA

Here’s Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here's Why It's Still a Sellers' Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Alexandria VA Months Supply of Homes

Locally, let's take a look at the market stats for the supply of homes for sale:

Going back ten years, you can see that currently, we have less than ONE month's inventory of homes for sale.  

Some Highlights

  • While buyer demand has moderated and housing supply has grown in recent months, it’s still a sellers’ market in Alexandria VA because inventory is low.
  • The latest data shows sellers continue to benefit from serious buyers and competitive offers. In July, the average home received 2.8 offers and 39% sold over the asking price.
  • You haven’t missed your opportunity to sell. Let’s connect to start the process today.

Posted in Sellers
Aug. 31, 2022

Homebuyers in Alexandria VA | You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease

Alexandria VA Home Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | MyKCM

One of the top stories in recent national real estate headlines was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. With so many buyers looking to purchase a home and so few of them available for sale, fiercely competitive bidding wars became the norm during the pandemic – and it drove home prices up. If you tried to buy a house in Alexandria VA over the past two years, you probably experienced this firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way.

But here’s the news you’ve been waiting for: data shows clear signs bidding wars are easing this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined considerably over the past few months (see graph below):

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | MyKCM

The graph shows homes were seeing a high of around five offers earlier this year. But the latest data shows that average was down to just shy of three offers per recently sold home. This shift is happening largely because rising mortgage rates moderated buyer demand and slowed home sales, resulting in a growing supply of homes on the market. Essentially, more choices for buyers.

Take a Look at What's Been Happening in Alexandria

The chart below show the inventory of homes, or active listings, in Alexandria VA over the past 5 years.  This is a visual representation of the volume of available homes actively on the market for sale now vs the years leading up to the pandemic.

As you can see, we're still not up to the levels of the pre-pandemic years of 2017-2018, and we're barely above the 2019 levels.  More homes have been coming on the market consistently since March, so buyers are having more opportunities in the market now.

What This Means for You

If you put your home search on pause because you were outbid last year or because you didn’t want to deal with the peak intensity of bidding wars, you can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. While it’s still a sellers’ market, an uptick in inventory gives you a window of opportunity to jump back in. You may still be competing with some buyers, but it likely won’t be anything like it was just a few short months ago.

Bottom Line

If you put your plans on pause because of intense bidding wars in recent years, it may be time to kick off your home search. Today, bidding wars are easing and that may mean less competition for you as a buyer. If you’re serious about buying a home or making a move, let’s connect to get started today.

 

Posted in Buyers