10 Tips To Keep Your Home Safe During The Holidays

Holiday Meal

Have you figured out what you’re making (or what you’re bringing) for Thanksgiving dinner yet? I bet you have! But don’t forget to think about how to keep your home safe if you’re traveling during the holidays.

Here are 10 Tips To Keep Your Home Safe

(1) Be careful with your status updates on Insta, Facebook, etc. Don’t be too specific. For example: “Can’t wait to see Grandma & Grandpa” might be better than “Leaving for Ohio in 2 hours. Back on Sunday.

(2) Take advantage of the “nosy neighbors” you have (assuming you trust them!). Ask them to keep an eye out while you are away. Make sure they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.

(3) If you still have a newspaper delivered instead of reading online, make sure you suspend delivery. (And ask a neighbor to keep your driveway clear of the various “throwaway publications” that appear.)

(4) Think twice about setting up an auto-responder or voice mail message that says you’re out of town – especially if you work from a home office. A better idea might be to just say you are not checking messages until a certain date (as if you’re taking a “Stay-Cation”.)

(5) Set up timers on certain lights in your house. Install motion detector lights outdoors.

A Sheriff we know gave us some extra advice about this particular item. He said,  “My two cents on timers. If you use them, stagger the times they go on and off, create the illusion of movement in the house. Most people have them go on and off at the same time. Instead, have downstairs timers go on during normal dinner & TV time, and then go off. Then have upstairs timers go on like you’re going to bed. Works great and gives the bad guys doubts if you’re home or not.” GREAT ADVICE!

(6) Don’t forget to lock the interior garage door. Exterior doors are relatively easy to compromise. And lock ALL of your windows.

(7) Stop your mail. Or have a neighbor collect it daily.

(8) Don’t publish your physical address or personal information on your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. It’s amazing how many people advertise their birthdate, home address and more – just because the site asked you to fill it in when you set up your account. It’s not just children who do this, but many adults who are new to the world of social media are guilty of this as well. Even if your site is “friend-protected”, you’d be surprised at what web-savvy folks can find out. Be discreet!

(9) If your home is in an area of the country where it’s cold (as in freezing), don’t turn your heat off. You don’t want your pipes to freeze!

(10) You can always employ the tactics of Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone”!

SELLERS: Make sure you read our blog post about whether or not it’s a good idea to sell during the holidays. In general, low inventory & low housing supply mean good things for you. But there are lots of things to consider.

BUYERS: Inventory is low and even as we approach the holidays, homes are selling quickly. If you would like to buy now & celebrate the New Year in your new home, make you use our state-of-the-art home search site. Listings are updated on our system faster than other sites so you won’t miss out on your Dream Home!

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a more in-depth discussion & analysis – because it’s only the neighborhood YOU live in (or you WANT to live in) that matters. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and get very detailed about “YOUR Market” so that you can make the decision that is best for YOU!

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

Some interesting market info from Keeping Current Matters…

With the current uncertainty about the economy triggered by a potential trade war, some people are waiting to purchase their first home or move-up to their dream house because they think or hope home prices will drop over the next few years. However, the experts disagree with this perspective.

Here is a table showing the predicted levels of appreciation from six major housing sources:

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

As we can see, every source believes home prices will continue to appreciate (albeit at lower levels than we have seen over the last several years). But, not one source is calling for residential real estate values to depreciate.

Additionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. There was not one state that even had a moderate probability of home prices lowering. In fact, 34 of the 50 states had a minimal probability.

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

Bottom Line

Those waiting for prices to fall before purchasing a home should realize that the probability of that happening anytime soon is very low. With mortgage rates already at near historic lows, now may be the time to act.

So call The Belt Team now at 703-242-3975 if you are thinking about buying a home for the first time or moving up to your dream home. We would love to put our experience and expertise to work for you!

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High | MyKCM

Fannie Mae just released the July edition of their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The HPSI takes information regarding consumers’ confidence in the real estate market from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and condenses it into a single number. Therefore, the HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions.

Great News! The index reached its highest level since Fannie Mae began their survey. Breaking it down, the report revealed:

  • The share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of those who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months increased dramatically (16 percentage points) from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased dramatically (24 percentage points) from the same time last year.

The day after the index was released, Freddie Mac also announced the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in three years.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae explained the uptick in the index:

“Consumer job confidence and favorable mortgage rate expectations lifted the HPSI to a new survey high in July, despite ongoing housing supply and affordability challenges. Consumers appear to have shaken off a winter slump in sentiment amid strong income gains. Therefore, sentiment is positioned to take advantage of any supply that comes to market, particularly in the affordable category.”

Bottom Line

Consumers are feeling good about the real estate market. Since Americans are not worried about their jobs, see mortgage rates near an all-time low, and believe it is a good time to buy, the housing market will remain strong for the rest of the year.

So now’s a great time to give us a call/end us an email to help you buy or sell! 703-242-3975 / info@thebeltteam.com

Thinking of Buying or Selling: Three Things You Need to Know From the Experts

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | MyKCM

Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:

  1. Home prices are appreciating at a more normal rate: Home prices have been appreciating for about ten years now. Experts at the Home Price Expectation Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae are forecasting continued growth throughout the next year, although it should be leveling-off to normal appreciation (3.6%), as we move into 2020.
  2. Interest rates are low: Over the past 30 years, the average mortgage rate in the United States has been 8.27%, and rates even peaked as high as 18% in the 1980s. Today, at 3.81%, the rate is considerably lower than the historical 30-year average. Although experts predict it may climb into the low 4% range in the near future, that’s still remarkably lower than our running average, suggesting a great time to get more for your money over the life of your loan.
  3. An impending recession does not mean there will be a housing crash: Although expert research studies such as those found in the Duke Survey of American CFOs and the National Association of Business Economics, are pointing toward a recession beginning within the next 18 months, a potential recession isn’t expected to be driven by the housing industry. That means we likely won’t experience a devastating housing crash like the country felt in 2008. Expert financial analyst Morgan Housel tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | MyKCM

In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:

Bottom Line

With prices appreciating and low interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership!

Call or Text The Belt Team at 703-242-3975! Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better – One Family At A Time!” And we LOVE creating Real Estate Success Stories for our clients.  

Welcome Dana Menking to The Belt Team

At The Belt Team, our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better”, One way we do that is by ensuring the highest level of service for our clients by hiring top notch Real Estate Agents to help our clients. As our business grows, so does our sales team.

MEET DANA

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From a young age, Dana was surrounded by construction, home improvement, and architecture. Much of her interest in homes, lies in the experiences she shared with her father, a contractor who always brought her to job sites. Growing up in this environment helped her gain an intuitive knowledge of what people look for in their own home.

Dana grew up in Yorktown Virginia, and has family throughout Falls Church, Loudoun, and McLean. She went to George Mason University, earning a Bachelors in Business Management. Her four years at George Mason turned Northern Virginia into her home – traffic and all.

Before becoming a licensed agent, Dana was in the Commercial Real Estate industry. She became a force in lead generation, instant relationship building, and the art of persuasion. When it came time to pursue her real passion, she chose Northern Virginia’s best – The Belt Team – for it’s deep connection to the area, and caliber of service provided to its clients.

Dana has an ideal foundation for real estate. She has expertise in the local area, strong negotiating skills, and a pure love for the industry. Her main goal is to be an advocate for you – to listen to everything you say, and everything you don’t say. She wants to help you navigate the home buying and selling process. Let’s get to work!

Welcome to the team Dana!

Want to join the team?

If you’re interested in joining a team who’s out to change the world, call Terry Belt at (703) 242-3975. We are Changing Lives For The Better, including those on our team!

The 6 Best Sledding Hills In Vienna, VA

Real estate is all about location, and so is SLEDDING; so in honor of this weekend’s blizzard, we present you with the 6 Best Sledding Hills in Vienna, VA!

(And PS – If you start going stir crazy – this is a GREAT time to search for a new home on our state-of-the-art web site or get a FREE online INSTANT estimate of your home’s value.)

Sledding in Vienna VA

Whenever anyone talks about snow, don’t you find your mind wandering back to your childhood and remembering all the adventures you had in the snow? We sure do. Some of us on The Belt Team started out life in Southern California. We didn’t have much experience with snow in our early days. In fact, we hardly even ever saw rain! I remember traveling to Denver for a wedding once and in order to play in the snow, we had to wrap plastic baggies around our hands & feet because we didn’t own gloves or boots (who needed gloves & boots at the beach?!).

44 years ago, we moved from California to Vienna. And not long after we arrived, IT SNOWED! Dad bought us our first sled and we immediately set out to enjoy this new world of speed & excitement. We had an old-fashioned Flexible Flyer sled and soon gained a reputation for the fastest sled in Waverly. We’d sled for hours and hours, with brief intermissions for hot chocolate and sustenance, only to head out for more. Night-time sledding was the best. Those were the days.

Since we’re finally having a “real” snowstorm we thought we’d share what we think are the . . .

6 BEST SLEDDING HILLS IN VIENNA!

6. Clarks Crossing Park

5. Cunningham Park Elementary School

4. Glyndon Park

3. Abbotsford Drive in Waverly

2. The “Bowl” at Wolf Trap National Park For The Perfoming Arts

1. The BIG HILL AT WOLF TRAP – This is the “Daddy of em all”!

So what are your favorite snow memories? And your top spots for sledding? (It all depends on where you live in Vienna, doesn’t it?!)

PS – If you start going stir-crazy and need to get out, there’s one place in Vienna we have always found open during a snow storm (at least since 1977 when it opened) and that’s The Amphora. Even back in the 90’s when we had three double-digit snow storms in a several week period, The Amphora stayed open. We will be posting a list of what’s open after the snow begins to fall so STAY TUNED!

And now . . .

LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!

The Belt Team Is Hiring Real Estate Agents!

We’re looking for talent to join our team. Should we be starting a conversation – either with YOU or someone you know? Feel free to share this!

We don’t look for real estate experience. We can train that. That’s our job. Your job is to be your awesome self and show up every day with a great attitude, a work ethic beyond compare and a desire to build a BIG life.

Many of you are crushing it in your sales or business development roles. You may even already have a real estate license. We also know you might be realizing you’re hitting a ceiling. Or that you want a bigger life. Some of you are thinking this might be the time and the year for a change, or at least a conversation about one.

If this sounds like you, please confidentially reach out to us. We specialize in developing talented individuals into incredible real estate agents. We have all of the tools, training, coaching, accountability, and experience to do that.

So who is The Belt Team?

The Belt Team is a family founded real estate team in Northern VA, focused on our own families, each other as Belt Team family and our clients whom we treat like family. We are headquartered in McLean, VA and owned & lead by CEO Terry Belt. The Belt Team is ranked in the Top 300 Teams for Keller Williams Realty (the world’s largest real estate company by agent count, with over 155,000 agents and sold over $52 Million in 2018.

Mission: “Changing lives for the better”

Real estate is our vocation. Through this vocation, we have the ability to impact lives in a most meaningful, positive way – the lives of our clients, our families, ourselves and every person we come in touch with.

In real estate, we have the awesome blessing of being invited into our clients’ homes at some of the most important times of their lives – when they’re having babies, celebrating a new job, getting married, rightsizing after retirement or losing a spouse. And we advise them about their most important fiancnial asset they have. We take our vocation seriously.

Values: “God, Family, Business” – in that order.

  • We put our customers and clients first.
  • We are results-oriented. Each team member owns their job and their results.
  • We are a lead-generating team. We do today what others won’t so tomorrow we can accomplish what others can’t.
  • We are coachable & teachable. We put our egos aside in order to learn and grow.
  • We are competitive and we like to win. We think it’s healthy and fun. And good for our clients.
  • We believe that exceeding expectations and standards is the standard.
  • We believe that together everyone achieves more.

Here are some of the qualities we look for:

  • Integrity
  • Talent – as evidenced by a proven track record of sales success – show us the numbers!
  • Drive
  • Intelligence
  • Outstanding communication skills (show us when you apply to be a candidate!)
  • A servant heart and an obsession with customer service
  • Lifelong learners with a history of action & growth trajectory
  • Competitiveness
  • People who believe in the power of team
  • Coachability
  • EQ & LQ – high emotional awareness, likes to laugh, and can laugh at yourself

Email your resume & cover letter to Info@TheBeltTeam.com. Tell us what you’ve been doing specific to sales – including sharing your SPECIFIC TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS and why you’re thinking about real estate. We’d love to start a conversation!

Perhaps it’s time to JOIN THE BELT TEAM AND CHANGE YOUR WORLD!

Winter Walk of Lights 2018! Oh What a night!

This years client appreciation event at Meadowlark Gardens may have been our best year yet! The night was full of donuts, bundt cakes, candy canes, hot chocolate, magical lights, raffles, live music, and good company!

We had so many amazing families and friends come enjoy the evening with us. Getting to celebrate our clients is truly one of the best parts of the job! Our clients have let us into their lives for many years, and we have been privileged to help them create a home for themselves and their families. Thank you for trusting us and thank you for such a wonderful night! 

Nothing but smiles all night long! 

Families got to enjoy donuts, hot chocolate (With all the fixings!), candy canes & more! Thursday night was a chilly one, so this sure warmed them up after going through the Walk of Lights.

Did I mention there was live music? Everyone loved it! They even took request from the little ones running around. Number 1 request of the night…Jingle Bells! 

The Setting was a sight to be seen! If you haven’t been to Meadowlark Gardens add it to your list of places to see this Holiday Season!  

Thank you again to our wonderful sponsors and to all the local businesses that donated raffle items. NV Roofing, Sanchez Construction, Gary Clark Inc., Karin’s Florist, Caboose Brewery, Vienna Inn, Church Street Pizza.  

UNTIL NEXT YEAR BELT TEAM FAMILY! 

Belt Team Annual Client Appreciation Event! Walk of Lights 2018

wol evite

We are grateful to have been invited into so many clients’ lives over the years. To end another successful year, and to toast our future together, we invite YOU (our past & current clients) to bring your family and join us for mingling, raffles, dessert, coffee & hot chocolate in The Atrium at Meadowlark Gardens.

All past & current clients will also receive free entry that night to Meadowlark Gardens’ Winter Walk of Lights courtesy of Manuel Sanchez (our favorite handyman!), Gary Clark (Gary Clark Incorporated/Former Player for the Washington Redskins!) and John Francis (NV Roofing) (Tickets are normally $8-$16 each.) Don’t miss this! Take a peek!

We’re looking forward to seeing you. Come say hello to the entire Belt Team – Terry Belt, Gail Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Beth Dadisman, Tom Hanton, Kelley Johnson, Jerry Belt, Patty Schuebel, & Pauline Medrano!

Fun Facts About The Winter Walk of Lights

  • This is the 7th year for the Walk of Lights.
  • It takes 3 MONTHS to install the lights & displays!
  • You can ask for a Scavenger Hunt form at the front desk.
  • The huge tree at the end of the walk has 50,000 LED lights.

SPONSORS:

The Belt Team chooses our partners VERY carefully. Serving our clients well is our number one priority. We are happy to share our sponsors with you and highly recommend their services. Manuel Sanchez, our “go-to” guy for handyman repairs and home improvements,  Gary Clark, NFL Legend and a 2x Super Bowl Champion of the Washington Redskins and the founder and driving force behind Gary Clark Incorporated, and John Francis & NV Roofing can help you out with all your roofing needs!

sanchez

Manuel Sanchez, Owner, Sanchez General Contractor Inc


Gary Clark

Gary Clark, Founder, Gary Clark Incorporated


NVR LOGO

John Francis, CEO, NV Roofing 

 

4017 Oxford St. Annandale, VA 22003- Listed by The Belt Team

4017 Oxford St

4017 Oxford Street, Annandale, VA 22003 Just Listed by The Belt Team

Welcome home to this lovely cottage in the sought after Englandboro neighborhood just outside of DC on a .9 acre lot! This exquisite property is truly one of a kind featuring 4 bedrooms /3.5 baths & full guest house featuring living room, kitchen, 1 bedroom/ 1 bath! Exceptional details include shining hardwood floors, granite countertops, updated kitchen, recessed lighting, immaculate screened in porch, large deck, and so much more! The outdoor space & floor plan are an entertainers dream come true. The large deck & gorgeous landscaping are ready for you to host your house warming!

Price, lots more photos & additional info 4017 Oxford Street, Annandale, VA 22003

Call Tom Hanton & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975!

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more info!