Friday Funday Video + 2 New Listings + 2 Open Houses = JACKPOT!

TGIF! That means it’s time for our Friday Funday Video, open house announcements and new listing announcements!

Our video this week is a tie-in with our two new listings. One home is located in the Town of Vienna and the other is in the City of Fairfax. Vienna and Fairfax are both small, charming communities – like an oasis amidst the large metropolitan area of Northern Virginia. The song that comes to mind just has to be “Big Love” – from a group called “Little Village”!

So check out the video for some inspiration. And if you’re looking for a home to fall in love with, scroll down for info on our new listings and Sunday open houses!

JUST LISTED IN FAIRFAX – 10711 Jones Street – $425,000

This wonderful home is in the heart of Fairfax City! In a quiet community backing to trees and just steps to George Mason University…with all the shops, boutiques & restaurants of “Old Town Fairfax” just minutes away. Truly a home to treasure!  Enjoy an updated, light & bright kitchen that opens to a family room addition with vaulted ceiling. Living room with woodburning fireplace & gas fireplace in lower level rec room. Main level has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. Plus there’s an additional bedroom & bath on the lower level. Spacious fenced rear yard with patio. $425,000

More Info about 10711 Jones Street in Fairfax

Contact The Belt Team

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OPEN SUNDAY 2PM-6PM – 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield – $494,500

Two level rambler in popular Ravensworth – only one stoplight from the Beltway & easy commuting! This home was beautifully updated in 2011 – including a new kitchen with granite & stainless, new bathrooms, a finished lower level with a rec room and new full bath – plus lots more updates. Enjoy a great, open floorplan – 4 bedrooms & 3 full baths. Outside, the deck offers lovely views of parkland beyond the rear yard. AND you can walk to Lake Accotink Park! $494,500

Directions: Beltway/495 to Braddock Road West, Left on Inverchapel to #5420

More Info about 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield

Contact The Belt Team

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OPEN SUNDAY 1PM-4PM – 103 Shepherdson Lane in Vienna – $619,900

    

Charming brick front townhome in the heart of Vienna AND in the Madison HS pyramid! 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 half baths & a two car garage. Hardwood floors throughout the main level. Granite kitchen. Family room with gas fireplace. Dramatic tray ceiling master bedroom. Fully finished walkout lower level with full-sized windows! Great “in town” location for convenient shopping & easy commuting! $619,900 Directions: From Tysons: Route 123 South into the heart of Vienna, Right Center St, Righ Shepherdon to #103.More Info about 103 Shepherdson Lane in Vienna

Contact The Belt Team

What's Happening in the Vienna / Oakton Market?

What’s happening in the Vienna & Oakton real estate markets? Are sales up or down? Are we in a “Buyers Market” or “Sellers Market”? How many homes are for sale?

       

Here are the highlights:

  • Inventory in Vienna continues to rise slowly, while Oakton’s inventory remains steady. Vienna has 231 homes on the market and Oakton has 94.
  • The contract rate in both Vienna and Oakton remains slow. Throughout 2011, Oakton has averaged about 6 homes per week going under contract. This past week, 3 homes went under contract. Vienna has averaged about 17 homes a week going under contract. But this week, we only saw 6.
  • The rate at which homes are selling dropped significantly this week. It’s hard to tell yet if this is a trend since so few homes went under contract. But due to the season, it’s likely that it is. Of the 9 homes that went under contract, none sold in 10 days or less (as opposed to the previous week where 44% of the homes did.)
  • As a result of the increased inventory and slowdown in sales, both Vienna and Oakton are either in or close to being in a “Balanced Market”. Vienna has a 4.7 month housing supply (as opposed to the 2011 average of 2.8 months). While Oakton has a 6.2 month supply of homes (as opposed to the 2011 average of 3.4 months). Vienna still has some breathing room before the scales tip into a Buyers Market, but we will be keeping a close watch on Oakton since this is the first time in 2011 that Oakton’s supply has exceeded 6 months.
  • No homes in Vienna or Oakton listed over $800,000 went under contract this week. Vienna has had only 4 homes in this price range go under contract in September. And the last home listed in Oakton above $800,000 that went under contract was on August 13th.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home soon, you may want to read:

And you may want to listen to these excerpts from Real Estate Radio Washington:

Email The Belt Team to schedule a Buyer or Seller consultation, to request a FREE WRITTEN REPORT of your home’s value or to be put on our FREE PRIORITY NOTIFICATION LIST for special buying opportunities that are not in the MLS or on the Internet.

For our detail-oriented readers, here are last week’s stats:

Last week in Vienna Real Estate (22180,22181, 22182):

  • Number of Contracts: 6
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 113 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 118 days
  • Inventory: 231 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 3.6 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 4.7 months

Here are last week’s stats for Oakton Real Estate (22124):

  • Number of Contracts: 3
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 96 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 33
  • Inventory: 94 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 5.1 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 6.2 months

Information Sellers Need To Know About Updates & Staging

If you’re thinking about selling your Northern Virginia home, either now or in the future, you may be wondering what updates you should make. And if you’re going on the market soon, you may also be wondering whether professional staging is “worth it”.

Check out this two minute video – you may be surprised at what you hear. And feel free to contact The Belt Team to schedule a personal walkthrough of your home. We can discuss with you which updates are necessary for saleability and which updates might add value. Market conditions vary around the country and we’d be happy to fill you in on what the Northern Virginia marketplace expects. There may be even some updates you think you need to make, that you really don’t. We don’t want you to spend money you don’t need to!

Friday Funday Video & Two New Townhome Listings

TGIF! That means it’s time for our Friday Funday Video AND our new listing announcements!

We have just listed two fabulous townhomes in Northern Virginia – one in Oakton & one in Centreville. You can preview the listings below. But first, in honor of townhome living, we bring you our Friday Funday Video. Hope you get a giggle out of this! (And note – our new listings are even better than Barbie’s Dream Townhouse – because they might be YOUR Dream Townhome!)

JUST LISTED! 

CENTREVILLE – $319,000                          OAKTON – $639,900

                    

    

More info about 4612 Seasons Drive          More info about 9969 Cyrandall Drive

Contact The Belt Team

What Happens When Your Appraisal Comes In Low?

In our last market update, we mentioned having recently seen a number of appraisals come in low – meaning below sales price. (An appraisal is an independent property valuation that is usually ordered by the bank or mortgage lender on behalf of the buyer.) So what happens? Does this mean your home sale or purchase is automatically derailed?

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The short answer is – it might or it might not. (The National Association of Realtors reported that one in five contracts was canceled in July because of “appraisal issues”.)

In one case we had last month, the appraisal came in over $100,000 below the agreed upon sales price in the contract. Since the contract was contingent upon a satisfactory appraisal, the purchasers had the option of voiding the contract. The Buyers & Sellers tried to come to an agreement to lower the price, but could not reach an accord. And the contract fell apart. The home went back on the market.

What was interesting to note about this case (and very frustrating to all concerned!) is that the appraiser was not familiar with our area. Not only did he live in another state, but he was so unfamiliar with Vienna (where the property was) that he got lost on the way to the home to do the appraisal and had to spend 20 minutes on the phone with our office directing him to the property. (Note that this home is EASY to find and in a sought after, popular area.)

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Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurence. While many appraisers are professional, full-time, local experts (just like many Realtors are), some are not. And based on various lending requirements and other regulatory legislation, there is very little control able to be exercised by Realtors, Sellers, Buyers and even Lenders on the selection of which appraiser to use.

Another common occurence in situations like ours is that when the appraiser is not familiar with the area, and has not been in other similar homes in the neighborhood, he/she often relies strictly on tax records and MLS information. And while that information is important, it is sometime lacking in critical detail. For example, the MLS or tax record may leave out an important “detail” like the fact that the home backs to power lines. This “little detail” has HUGE impact on what Buyers are willing to pay and should be adjusted for when doing a valuation of the home. What we see happen sometimes is that a home is undervalued because an appraiser uses a home like the one backing to power lines as a comp (comparable), but does not adjust the value of the subject property (the one he is trying to set a value for) upward since that home does not back to power lines. How could he if he doen’t know?

We had another situation last month where the appraisal came in below sales price. In this case, the buyer was making a significant down payment (more than the minimum required by the lender), so the buyer had the option of voiding the contract, re-negotiating the sales price with the Seller or proceeding to settlement despite the low appraisal. The buyer was a local buyer, one who had already been living in the general vicinity of the home and who knew the value of the neighborhood and the “intangibles” that an appraiser may not recognize or be able to adjust for based on lending guidelines. So the Buyer chose to proceed to settlement at the original sales price, despite the low appraisal. 

There are all sorts of different scenarios that may play out when an appraisal comes in low. These were just two examples. One conclusion we have made is that the experience of the Realtors on both sides of a transaction has direct influence on what happens (just as the experience of the appraiser affects the outcome). If you are buying or selling a home – a low appraisal is just one of the possible “challenges” you may face. You need a Realtor who can not only fill out forms & “pull comps” for you, but who can discuss re-sale issues you may not have thought of, who can resolve financing issues you may not be aware of and who has vast resources to draw upon.

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In another of our recent low appraisal situations, we had a Buyer and a Seller who both really wanted the sale to go through – despite the low appraisal. The Seller could not afford to lower the price. And the Buyer did not have additional money for a down payment, but felt the value was there, planned to be in the home for the long-term and really wanted the house, even though it appraised for less than sales price. In this case we were representing the Seller. A nice, hard-working, but less experienced agent was representing the Buyer. This agent was not able to help her Buyer find a way to get financing. Since our team has been working in the local market since 1973, we have a vast array of contacts & resources that we can call upon in difficult situations. We were able to connect the Buyer with one of our top lenders. The lender had a special program requiring less down payment and was also able to obtain a more accurate appraisal. And this sale went through. Happy Buyer and Happy Seller.

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Each situation is different. Can the appraisal be disputed by the Realtor providing better comps – comps that fit the lender’s requirements? Can a new lender be brought into the picture? Does the Buyer even want to proceed if the appraisal is low? Can a new sales price be negotiated that both parties agree upon? Would a different loan program work? Can the Buyer make a larger down payment so that the lender will proceed with a low appraisal? Is there a relocation company involved and does this affect a buy-back or reimbursement? Would it be better for the Buyer not to proceed? These and many more questions are the types of things your Realtor should walk you through!

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team for a more in-depth discussion & analysis We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and get very detailed about the homebuying or homeselling process so that you can make the decision that is best for YOU!

This Week In Vienna & Oakton . . .

What’s happening in the Vienna & Oakton real estate markets?

Here are the highlights:

  • Inventory in Vienna & Oakton continues to rise slowly, but surely. Vienna has 225 homes on the market and Oakton has 94. Oakton’s inventory has only been this high once in the past 37 weeks. This is GREAT news for those who have been looking to buy, but just haven’t found the right home. – more homes to choose from!
  • The contract rate in Oakton remains slow. Throughout 2011, Oakton has averaged about 6 homes per week going under contract. Three weeks ago, Oakton had 2 homes go under contract. Two weeks ago, it was 5 homes. Last week – only 2 homes.  Vienna’s market is still active – with 25 homes going under contract in the past 2 weeks.
  • Homes are still selling fairly quickly. Of the homes that went under contract this past week, 44% sold in 10 days or less.
  • After being in a “Sellers Market” for most of this year, Vienna is definitely moving into a “Balanced Market”. With sales below the weekly 2011 average for the past 6 weeks, we are now at a 3.3 month supply of homes based on the past 30 day contract rate (and 4.2 months based on the 90 day contract rate).
  • Oakton remains in a “Balanced Market” – with a 5 month housing supply based on the past 30 day rate of contracts (and a 5.9 month supply based on the 90 day contract rate). If inventory continues to rise in Oakton and sales remain slow, this could push Oakton closer to a “Buyers Market”.
  • One home in Vienna listed over $800,000 went under contract this week. In Oakton – there were none. Vienna has had only 4 homes in this price range go under contract in September. And the last home listed in Oakton above $800,000 that went under contract was on August 13th.

For our detail-oriented readers, here are last week’s stats:

Last week in Vienna Real Estate (22180,22181, 22182):

  • Number of Contracts: 14
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 114 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 43 days
  • Inventory: 221 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 3.3 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 4.2 months

Here are last week’s stats for Oakton Real Estate (22124):

  • Number of Contracts: 2
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 91 days
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 26
  • Inventory: 94 homes on the market
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 5.0 months
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 5.9 months

Just Listed In Oakton – Easy Commuting!

Major renovation done in 2008 – inside & out, including the addition of a 3rd floor! Six bay windows enhance the beauty of this home. Hardwood floors throughout the main & upper levels. Three bedrooms on the upper level – plus three more on the lower level! Spacious kitchen with granite countertops. Fully finished walkout lower level. Fabulous covered deck & fenced rear yard. Great location for easy commuting, shopping & recreation! $599,000

More Info about 2923 Chain Bridge Road in Oakton

Contact The Belt Team

Friday Funday Video & Sunday Open Houses

So . . . you’re thinking of buying a home. What do you do first? Start surfing the web!

(You can search all Northern Virginia homes in the mls here).

And what else do you do? Stop in at open houses!

You’re in luck! This weekend, we have three wonderful homes being held open – two in Vienna and one in Springfield. Details are listed below.

But first, it’s time for our Friday Funday Video. In light of all the rain we’ve been having in Northern Virginia (we may be surfing in the streets soon!) and in honor of those of you who are surfing the web for homes, we bring you Tillman, the Surfing Bulldog!

OPEN SUNDAY 12-2PM – 9430 Lakeside Drive in Vienna – $1,197,850

Rarely available custom luxury home in the sought after Spring Lake community. Located on a beautiful ½ acre plus, impeccably maintained lot on a quiet dead end street. Fabulous recent updates and oversized rooms throughout – great for entertaining and casual living on 3 levels. Renovated kitchen in 2011. Fabulous cathedral ceiling living room. And outside you’ll enjoy a private oasis with lovely landscaping plus a pond with waterfall! $1,197,850

Directions: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Right Beulah, Right Lakeside to #9430. OR: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Right Old Courthouse Rd, Left at light to stay on Old Courthouse, continue to 4 way Stop, Left Beulah Rd, Left Lakeside to #9430.

More Info about 9430 Lakeside Drive in Vienna

Read about “Life In Vienna”

Contact The Belt Team

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OPEN SUNDAY 1-3PM – 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield, VA – $494,500

Two level rambler in popular Ravensworth – only one stoplight from the Beltway & easy commuting! This home was beautifully updated in 2011 – including a new kitchen with granite & stainless, new bathrooms, a finished lower level with a rec room and new full bath – plus lots more updates. Enjoy a great, open floorplan – 4 bedrooms & 3 full baths. Outside, the deck offers lovely views of parkland beyond the rear yard. AND you can walk to Lake Accotink Park! $494,500

Directions: Beltway/495 to Braddock Road West, Left on Inverchapel to #5420 More Info about 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield Contact The Belt Team

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Just Listed In Fairfax – Backing to Golf Course & Trees!

Lovely condo backing to golf course & trees! Open, airy floorplan with a wonderful sunroom/den, living room with fireplace & built-in bookshelves, spacious kitchen with new stainless appliances, two master bedrooms suites – each with its own bath, laundry room with full-sized washer & dryer, covered balcony with access to extra storage space. Plus a super convenient location for easy commuting & fabulous Penderbrook community amenities. $249,000

More Info about 3805 Ridge Knoll Ct #103B in Fairfax

Contact The Belt Team

Surfing Northern VA (Friday Funday Video & Sunday Open Houses)

So . . . you’re thinking of buying a home. What do you do first? Start surfing the web!

(You can search all Northern Virginia homes in the mls here).

And what else do you do? Stop in at open houses!

You’re in luck! This weekend, we have two wonderful homes being held open – one in Vienna and one in Springfield. Details are listed below.

But first, it’s time for our Friday Funday Video. In light of all the rain we’ve been having in Northern Virginia (we may be surfing in the streets soon!) and in honor of those of you who are surfing the web for homes, we bring you Tillman, the Surfing Bulldog!

OPEN SUNDAY 1-4PM – 9430 Lakeside Drive in Vienna – $1,197,850

Rarely available custom luxury home in the sought after Spring Lake community. Located on a beautiful ½ acre plus, impeccably maintained lot on a quiet dead end street. Fabulous recent updates and oversized rooms throughout – great for entertaining and casual living on 3 levels. Renovated kitchen in 2011. Fabulous cathedral ceiling living room. And outside you’ll enjoy a private oasis with lovely landscaping plus a pond with waterfall! $1,197,850

Directions: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Right Beulah, Right Lakeside to #9430. OR: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Right Old Courthouse Rd, Left at light to stay on Old Courthouse, continue to 4 way Stop, Left Beulah Rd, Left Lakeside to #9430.

More Info about 9430 Lakeside Drive in Vienna

Read about “Life In Vienna”

Contact The Belt Team

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OPEN SUNDAY 1-3PM – 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield, VA – $494,500

Two level rambler in popular Ravensworth – only one stoplight from the Beltway & easy commuting! This home was beautifully updated in 2011 – including a new kitchen with granite & stainless, new bathrooms, a finished lower level with a rec room and new full bath – plus lots more updates. Enjoy a great, open floorplan – 4 bedrooms & 3 full baths. Outside, the deck offers lovely views of parkland beyond the rear yard. AND you can walk to Lake Accotink Park! $494,500 Directions: Beltway/495 to Braddock Road West, Left on Inverchapel to #5420

More Info about 5420 Inverchapel Road in Springfield

Contact The Belt Team

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