Northern Virginia Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 19, 2019

What Is The Gresh Group Thankful for This Year?

As we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to reach out and let you all know how thankful our team is for your support.

Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

 

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated by nearly all Americans. As I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, know that you are among them. Clients, friends, staff, peers, and even those who I have yet to meet make my business what it is. For that, I’m extremely grateful. Everyone here at the Gresh Group wishes each and every one of you a happy Thanksgiving. We hope your home is filled with love on this wonderful holiday. To see my full message, watch this short video. 

 

Also, if you have questions or would like more information, you can always reach us at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@simplyyourbestmove.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!.

 

Posted in Holiday
Nov. 14, 2019

The #1 reason to list your house in the winter

 
 
Friends and Clients—

Many sellers believe spring is the best time to put their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. What they don’t realize is if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that’s when they’ll have the most competition.

So, what’s the #1 reason to list your house in the winter? Less competition.

Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the month's supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.
 
 
 
As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your house for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – January). 

Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!
 
 
 
In 2018, listings increased from December to May. Don’t wait for these listings and the competition that comes with them to come to the market before you decide to list your house.

Added Bonus: Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter

At this time of year, purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s get together to determine the best time to list your house. Just give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email today.
Nov. 11, 2019

Happy Veterans Day

In honor of the brave men and women 
who have given their lives..  
we Celebrate Veterans Day! 
Posted in Real Estate
Oct. 24, 2019

3 reasons to use a real estate pro in a complex digital world

 
 
Friends and Clients—

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:


  • Online website (93%)

  • Real estate agent (86%)

  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.

2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

 
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
 
When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.
 
Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line


If you’re ready to start your search online, just give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email today. You’ll want someone who is educated and informed at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.
Posted in Real Estate
Oct. 11, 2019

How does the supply of homes for sale impact buyer demand?

 
 
Friends and Clients—

The price of any item is determined by supply, as well as the market’s demand for the item. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand
The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”
 
 
The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 3 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now very strong; only 2 of the 50 states have a ‘weak’ demand. Overall, buyer demand is slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong.

Seller Supply 
The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”
 
 
 
As the map below shows, 18 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 29 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 3 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are looking for homes.

Bottom Line
Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase.

If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in our market now. My phone number is (703) 328-3434 or you can email me.
Sept. 13, 2019

5 tips for buyers in a tight housing market

 

Friends and Clients— 

Determine and stick to a budget. 

Before beginning the house-hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive pre-approval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account the additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget

Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs.

When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house-hunting process.

Be ready to make a decision quickly.

In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

Bid competitively and limit contingencies.

It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

Work with a Realtor.

All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor, a member of the National Association of Realtors, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market. 


If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call, text, or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Aug. 22, 2019

This Is the Best Way to Guarantee Your Home Sells Quickly

What is the No. 1 way to guarantee your home sells fast?

Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

 

What is the No. 1 way to guarantee your home sells quickly after you put it on the market? The answer is simple: bury a statue of St. Joseph in your yard. This is guaranteed to work—go online and you’ll be able to find thousands of testimonials that say the exact same thing. In fact, if you buy the statue online, it comes with instructions on how to bury it and the prayer you need to recite. All you have to do is bury it face down, make sure it’s pointed toward your home, and say the prayer. What’s the second-best way to guarantee a quick home sale? Give me a call. I look forward to working with you. 

 

Also, if you have questions or would like more information, you can always reach us at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@simplyyourbestmove.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!.

 

Aug. 8, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

 
Friends and Clients— 

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?
There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 - 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.
There are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?
Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800...They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.”

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs
The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line
If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available.


And If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home or have questions about making a down payment, just give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email today. 
July 26, 2019

What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers



Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?
Friends and Clients— 

Over the last few years, many sellers have been hesitant to put their houses on the market because they feared not being able to find another home to buy.

We’ve reported on inventory shortages in the past, and it’s been a constant concern for potential buyers throughout recent years. New research shows the inventory concern is starting to decrease among potential buyers.

According to First American, the two leading obstacles to homeownership that buyers feel today are Affordability and Limited Inventory. This means the feeling that homes are less affordable has risen, while the fear of limited inventory has decreased, delivering a wealth of good news for sellers.
At the same time, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a steady month-over-month increase in the number of homes coming to market for purchase. In the past, the lack of listings and available inventory slowed down the real estate market. This recent increase in current inventory has many buyers and sellers now thinking it is time to make their move – and rightfully so! For the last two months, we’ve seen over 4 months of inventory become available for sale, a promising number that’s been slowly increasing this year and creating more buying opportunities.
To further support the idea of an improving real estate market, Sam Khater, the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac says,
 

In the near-term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve 
from both a sales and price perspective.
 
Many experts, like Sam, believe the second half of 2019 will drive a stronger market than we saw at the beginning of the year. This is great news for homeowners who have put off getting their houses on the market and are now ready to make a move.

Bottom Line


What a difference we’ve seen over the course of this year! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time as inventory is on the rise. If you’d like to know more about your specific area, just give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email today. 
July 12, 2019

What the Push for Rent Reform Means for Homeowners



Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?
Friends and Clients— 

Rent reform is brewing across the country.

Starting in New York and Oregon, sweeping new legislation is being proposed at the local, state, and federal levels.

And no wonder. Rents are higher than ever, and many renters are unable to find an affordable place to live. So what can be done?

Well, some of the proposed reforms would overturn bans on rent control.

Others would make it harder to evict tenants. 

Still others would make it more difficult to pass on the costs of making improvements on the property in the form of higher rents.

What does this mean for you?

Well, at this point, all these reforms are still in the proposal stage. So it's hard......in Northern Virginia and the Washington DC Area.
 
But here are a couple of predictions:

If rent reform measures like the above get enacted, renters will rejoice, while landlords will complain. However, things are unlikely to stop there.

Rent control and related measures, while well-meaning, often have unintended consequences.

For example, they make some landlords sell off homes that they used to rent out.

This decreases the number of homes for rent — while simultaneously increasing the number of homes for sale. It also tends to drive down home prices.

Combine this with the lower incentive for investors to buy a home in order to rent it out, and home prices tend to get depressed even further.

If a scenario like the above comes true, then my prediction is that home values will drop as a result of rent reform—and homeowners will take the hit.

That's why, in case you've been considering selling your home, then now might be a golden moment.

Home prices are near all-time highs.

The number of homes for sale in the Northern Virginia/Washington, DC area are still limited, and mortgage rates are at a temporary dip.

In other words, supply far outstrips demand, and the market still favors sellers.

But it won't stay this way forever. Particularly if rent reform really starts rolling. 

So it might make sense to start making some moves now. You can get started by getting an estimate of the current value of your home, based on recent sales in the Washington, DC area:

Enter your home address here to find out what your home is currently worth: 

And if you have any questions about selling or more broadly about real estate conditions in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC Area, give me a call at 703-328-3434. I am here to help.