Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Neutralizing

The next topic in our “Tip Tuesday” series of posts on Preparing Your Home for Sale is NEUTRALIZING:

  1. Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting. Your objective here is to make your home appeal to the largest possible buying segment. Ask yourself, “How many of the available buyers would be able to move into your house and have their furniture fit in and not have to replace the carpeting or repaint the walls?” Position your home on the market to be as livable as possible to as many people as possible, and allow the buyer to mentally picture the home as theirs.
  2. Forget your personal taste…the “market” is always demand driven. The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond blue carpeting and bold wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones. Two coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made!

Remember, these weekly posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

So look for more home selling tips on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Cleaning

The next topic in our “Tip Tuesday” series of posts on Preparing Your Home for Sale is CLEANING:

  1. Make sure every area of the home sparkles and shines! Every hour spent will be worth it. Would you rather buy a clean car or a dirty one? Would you hurry to buy a pair of shoes with mud on them?
  2. Clean all windows inside and out. This helps make the house sparkle.
  3. Clean all carpeting and area rugs…along with tile and wooden floors.
  4. Clean and polish all woodwork. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
  5. Make sure all light fixtures are clean and shining!

Remember, these weekly posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

So look for more home selling tips on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Repairs

Thinking of selling your home but aren’t sure how to get it ready? Well…we’re here to help! This is the first in a series of “Tip Tuesday” posts about Preparing Your Home for Sale.

These posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

Today’s topic is REPAIRS:

  1. The rule of thumb is, if something is in need of repair, fix it! There are probably many small things in your home that you have simply become used to over time…things that you have been promising yourself that you would attend to. Well, now is the time. The buyer will mentally add up the cost of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than what it would cost you to do the repairs. And if there are too many items, even if they are not costly, the buyer may choose to buy another home. Many buyers do not have the time or “know-how” to make simple repairs. And because our marketplace is so competitive, they have come to expect a near-perfect property.
  2. Repaint.  If paint is in good condition, check for peeling.  Remove dated wall paper if not in style.
  3. Large repairs: In today’s climate of open disclosure & professional home inspections, the rule is “Treat a buyer better than you would treat yourself.” Repair any problems with major systems. It is to your benefit to address these kinds of issues up front rather than to have to re-negotiate.

So look for more home selling tip on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market:

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | MyKCM

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, reach out to The Belt Team so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down

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. 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, reach out to Terry Belt & The Belt Team to explore your options.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

2022 Remodeling Impact Report – NAR Research

Are you thinking about renovating or remodeling? Before you do, you might what to check this out!

Earlier this year, NAR Research released the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. This report goes in depth into topics like…

  1. Why homeowners take on remodeling projects
  2. The outcome of these projects
  3. Increased happiness once these projects are finished
  4. Typical costs of 19 remodeling/replacement projects (estimated by NARI members)
  5. How much positive effect they have on potential buyers (according to Realtors®)
  6. Estimated cost recovery if you sell your home (estimated by Realtors®)

Do you know what interior home projects give you the biggest bang for the buck (cost recovery)?? Here are the top 3…

  1. Hardwood Flooring Refinish
  2. New Wood Flooring
  3. Insulation Upgrade

Do those surprise you? If you are wondering where your next planned project ranks, Click Here to see full report.

NAR also recently spoke with Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR Research and got her perspective of the results. Read the full interview here.

If you are thinking about doing some renovations to get your home ready to sell but still not sure which ones make the most sense, reach out to Terry Belt to get his expert advise given your home, your market and the current market conditions. He has 30+ years of experience with homeowners in the NOVA area and would be happy to help!

703-242-3975 | Info@thebeltteam

Source: 2022 Remodeling Impact Report – National Association of REALTORS® Research Group

Planning To Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Reach Your Goal.

Whether you’ve just retired or you’re thinking about retirement, you may be considering your options and trying to picture a whole new stage of your life. And you’re not alone. Research from the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) shows 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the typical retirement age (65) every day, and only 47% of the people in that generation have already retired.

If this sounds like you, one thing worth considering is whether or not your current home will suit your new lifestyle. If your home doesn’t have the features or benefits you’re looking for, the good news is, you may be in a better position to move than you realize.

That’s because, if you already own a home, you’ve likely built-up significant equity, and that can help you fuel your next move. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“A homeowner who purchased a typical home five years ago would have gained $125,300 from just price appreciation alone.”

In fact, over the last twelve months, CoreLogic reports the average homeowner in the United States gained roughly $64,000 in equity due to home price appreciation.

You can use your equity to help you achieve your homeownership goals. Whether you want to downsize, move closer to loved ones, or buy a home in a dream destination, your equity can help get you there. It may be some (if not all) of what you’d need as your down payment on a home that better fits your changing needs. 

Bottom Line

Retirement is a big step and so is buying or selling a home. As you move into this new phase of life, let’s connect so you have an expert to guide you through the process as you sell your current home and give you expert advice as you buy one that’ll better suit your needs.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Wondering what your home is worth? Click Here for a FREE INSTANT home valuation!

How to keep your house cool in this heat!

Since we’ve all been dealing with high summer temperatures we asked our friends at John Nugent & Sons for some tips on how to keep the COOL IN and the HEAT OUT! Here you go….

  1. Check for leaks in doors and windows.
  2. Change/clean air filters every month…more frequently if you have pets.
  3. Close curtains to block the sun’s rays during the heat of the day.
  4. Make good use of ceiling fans.
  5. Close air vents in unused rooms.
  6. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.
  7. And…remember to schedule regular maintenance and safety checks for your home’s HVAC systems!

Thanks to John Nugent & Sons for the great tips!!

Should You Buy a Home with Inflation This High?

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still going up. You no doubt are feeling the pinch on your wallet at the gas pump or the grocery store, but that news may also leave you wondering: should I still buy a home right now?

Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains how inflation is affecting the housing market:

Inflation will have a strong influence on where mortgage rates go in the months ahead. . . . Whenever inflation finally starts to ease, so will mortgage rates — but even then, home prices are still subject to demand and very tight supply.”

No one knows how long it’ll take to bring down inflation, and that means the future trajectory of mortgage rates is also unclear. While that uncertainty isn’t comfortable, here’s why both inflation and mortgage rates are important for you and your homeownership plans.

When you buy a home, the mortgage rate and the price of the home matter. Higher mortgage rates impact how much you’ll pay for your monthly mortgage payment – and that directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. And while there’s no denying it’s more expensive to buy and finance a home this year than it was last year, it doesn’t mean you should pause your search. Here’s why.

Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation

In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. Not to mention, as home prices continue to appreciate, your home’s value will too. That’s why Mark Cussen, Financial Writer at Investopediasays: 

Real estate is one of the time-honored inflation hedges. It’s a tangible asset, and those tend to hold their value when inflation reigns, unlike paper assets. More specifically, as prices rise, so do property values.”

Also, no one is calling for homes to lose value. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicsays:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

In a nutshell, your home search doesn’t have to go on hold because of rising inflation or higher mortgage rates. There’s more to consider when it comes to why you want to buy a home. In addition to shielding yourself from the impact of inflation and growing your wealth through ongoing price appreciation, there are other reasons to buy a home right now like addressing your changing needs and so much more.

Bottom Line 

Homeownership is one of the best decisions you can make in an inflationary economy. You get the benefit of the added security of owning your home in a time when experts are forecasting prices to continue to rise.

Please reach out if you need assistance in buying your next home.

Info@TheBeltTeam.com | 703-242-3975 | Contact Us

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think

One of the biggest concerns for a homeowner looking to sell is the time they’ll have to put in before listing their house. If that’s the case for you, you should know – your home might be closer to list-ready than you think in today’s housing market. A survey of recent sellers from realtor.com finds that many were able to get their house ready in less than a month. It says:

“With many homeowners expecting a quick sale, and in many cases a lack of contingencies, the preparation process took less than a month for over 50% of home sellers this past year, with 20% completing it in less than two weeks.

Those sellers expecting to sell quickly are following recent buyer trends. With mortgage rates and home prices rising, buyers in today’s market are serious about finding a home quickly. But with the limited number of homes for sale, there are very few options for those buyers to choose from. That means many may be willing to take on projects after they purchase.

Because of this, you may be able to focus on less time-consuming tasks before putting your house on the market. According to the survey mentioned above, some of the top things recent sellers completed before listing over the past year include landscaping, making minor cosmetic updates, and touching-up paint (see image below):

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

A Real Estate Advisor Will Help Streamline the Process and Keep You Focused

Of course, each situation is different, and knowing what repairs or updates your house needs to stand out in your local area is critical. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. In a recent article, NextAdvisor explains:

“. . . Real estate can be hyper-local, and demand can vary from one neighborhood to the next. It’s a good idea to work with a local real estate professional to determine an ideal listing price and if any improvements or repairs need to be completed before putting your home on the market.”

Your trusted real estate advisor knows the ins and outs of the market in your specific area. They’ll help you identify the places where you should and shouldn’t spend your time and money – and that can enable you to list quickly.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to take advantage of the incredible conditions for sellers in today’s real estate market but are worried about the time it’ll take to get your home ready, you might be closer than you think. Let’s connect so you can see what you need to do before listing your house today.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!