Is August A Good Time To Sell My Home? Or Should I Wait Til September

Sell My Home Now or Wait

“Should I put my home on the market now or wait until September?

This is a question we have recently been asked a lot. And this year’s answer is not the same as it used to be. Conventional thought was that August was a slow real estate month, families were on vacation and if you were thinking of selling, it might be better to wait until September when kids are back in school and more buyers have time to look at homes.

This year, however, we are advising that our Sellers are better served by not waiting to enter the market. Interest rates are rising. And serious buyers are looking now. We’ve had a number of open houses. At each one, there was a larger number of buyers than average. And, the key factor we noticed (very different than in many years past) –  is almost every buyer was represented by a Realtor.

Why is this important? Because the majority of “serious” buyers (buyers who actually buy and are not just “lookie-loos”) have Realtors working on their behalf – especially in a market like today’s where inventory is low and buyers are competing for the same homes.

This puts potential sellers in a great position. Should you wait until September? We say “Carpe Diem!” The time to sell is NOW!

(Buyers – our advice is the same to you as well. Prices are rising and so are interest rates. Each month you wait is costing you money!)

(NOTE: Every situation is not the same. If you’d like a PERSONAL consultation on when we recommend you sell, and what items need doing before that, call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and provide you with 42 Questions You MUST Ask Your Realtor Before Selling A House)

WHat Is My Home Worth

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home | MyKCM

Here’s another great article from Keeping Current Matters. If you’d like to discuss strategy for selling YOUR home, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975.

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In reality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for their house (see chart below).

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home | MyKCM

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive, as the seller likely believes that he or she will net more money if they don’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.

If you’d like to discuss strategy for selling YOUR home, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. You can also request our FREE Report “40 Questions You MUST Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Sell Your House”.WHat Is My Home Worth

Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House

The article below came out last week from Keeping Current Matters. We thought it was right on target. It surprises us how often people trust the sale of their largest asset to someone who may not be an expert – just because they are a family member, a neighbor or a friend. They list their home with this person out of obligation. And then they take a BIG leap.

Questions To Ask When Selling Your Home

While they may be able to trust them in terms of their personal relationship, they often cannot really trust this person’s expertise, negotiating skills & problem solving abilities. When you’re selling your home, you need it all. Personal trust (integrity, To be able to trust they will have your best interests at heart) AND to trust they have the ability to do the job at a high level.


Here’s what Keeping Current Matters had to say:

You and your family have decided to sell your house. It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness. To what degree do you need to trust them?

You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below: 

1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns

In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family’s overall wealth. 

2. Set the correct market value on that asset

Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest in.

3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset

Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.

4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction, including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser).

That’s a lot of trust. Make sure you pick a true professional to help with the sale of your home.


So how do you know if you can trust the sale of your home to someone?

1. Interview them.

Ask questions. Ask for statistics – things like: how many homes they’ve sold (that will tell you whether they have good problem solving skills, relationships & resources for you to use), what their list to sell price ratio is compared to the average (that will tell you about their negotiation skills), and what their average days on market is (that will tell you about their expertise). Spend more time asking questions like these than asking where they advertise and what kind of videos they do. And don’t choose the realtor who just throws out the highest number. The results they get are what you’re after. If they are experts, you won’t need to tell them how to do what they do best.

2. Ask for references.

Call people who have sold their home with the team you’re interviewing and find out first hand what it’s like to work with them.

3. Google them.

You’ll be surprised what you see (or don’t see).Pay special attention to third party sites like Zillow. Realtors cannot control what is posted there (unlike the testimonials you see on their personal web sites.) And when you read the reviews, read between the lines. Are they generic (“she’s great”) or are they specific (she sold our home in 9 days over list price and has the patience of Job”)?

Whether you’re selling in Vienna or McLean, Great Falls or Falls Church, Oakton or Oak Hill, Arlington, Ashburn or Annadale – wherever you live – you deserve the BEST real estate team. For a FREE report of “Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Selling Your Home” – email The Belt Team or call (703) 242-3975. We are listed in the Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents in Virginia and are happy to help you make the RIGHT move.

Click here for Reviews on Zillow about Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Tom Reilly, Beth Dadisman, Gail Belt & Tom Hanton

Top Realtors Northern VA

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

Our friends at Keeping Current Matters have provided us with some research indicating low appraisals could continue to be a problem in 2016. Here’s what they say:


Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

“First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.”


We concur. Our Northern VA market may not be seeing huge price increases, but there are still pockets where homes are selling with multiple offers and above sales price. In this situation, there are a number of strategies your Realtor may employ to protect you. For example, sometimes you can strike the appraisal and financing contingencies, or look for contracts where the buyer is making a large down payment. This is why who you select to represent you when selling your home is SO important. There are a million ways a sale can fall through. This is is just one. Make sure your Realtor knows how to bulletproof a transaction. Ask your agent LOTS of questions before you hire them!

Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 for more info about selling your home.

Watch Out For Shark Infested Waters in the Real Estate Market

Wondering how the real estate market is faring? Take a look at this snapshot from Keeping Current Matters:

Home Sales November 2015 Real Estate

What’s most important in the infographic is the quote from Lawrence Yun. You see, sales in November 2015 were down from sales in November 2014. In our opinion, the real reason for this is TRID.

TRID (Truth-In-Lending RESPA Integrated Documentation – or as some Realtors call it, “The Reason I Drink”) is a new government regulation that affects people who are buying and selling homes. We won’t go into all the details (and there are a LOT of them), but the bottom line is that TRID is causing increased costs and delays in settlement. We expect that when numbers come out for December, that many of the expected November closings will show up.

That said – TRID is just another reason why it’s SO important for consumers to be represented by Realtors who do this every day and can help their clients navigate what often feel like shark infested waters. Part of what we do is manage all the details of the buying & selling process. We make sure deadlines are met, you are protected, and that you get where you want to go when you want to be there.

We have heard all kinds of horror stories about delayed closings – Buyers with their household belongings on trucks for days, staying in a hotel because their settlement was pushed back due to a TRID delay. Others where their mortgage loan lock-in expired, only  to have to pay hundred or thousands of dollars to extend the rate. Sellers who pack up and move out – but can’t get their money when they need it because the Buyer was held up by TRID.

Terry Belt Realtor The Belt TeamTerry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team says, “You don’t need to know all the ins & outs of TRID, but your Realtor does. Our advice to you – whether buying or selling a home – is to make sure to work with a seasoned real estate team – the best you can find. It’s in your best interests to use their years of experience and their immense resources to your advantage. When problems arise, and with new regulations like TRID it’s not unusual – you need someone with creativity & pull on YOUR side. The more homes a Realtor sells, the more likely they are to be a great problem solver. So ask for details when you’re interviewing your Realtor. (We even have a list of questions you should ask your Realtor!)”

Schedule an appointment with The Belt Team by calling (703) 242-3975.

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The Belt Team is one of the Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents in the State of Virginia (as named by Real Trends) and one of Washingtonian Magazines Best Realtors in 2015. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If it’s time to change YOURS, call us at (703) 242-3975 TODAY. It’s our pleasure to help you make the RIGHT move.

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Northern Virginia – Retirement Paradise?!

Is Northern Virginia “Retirement Paradise”?

Just a few years ago, the original “baby boomers” hit what we used to call “retirement age” – the age of 65. People don’t necessarily retire at age 65 any more. But as Boomers age, they often start thinking about lifestyle changes. And one of those decisions involves finding the best place to retire.

Based on our experience of working with seniors and soon-to-be-seniors (you are eligible to join AARP at age 50!), we’d like to offer up that Northern Virginia is the PERFECT retirement paradise.

Best Places To retire
Photo Credit: Keeping Current Matters

 

Here are a few reasons why we think so:

Cultural Life

Retirees often consider university towns because of the wonderful opportunities to experience cultural life at a lower cost than in big cities. Here in Northern Virginia, we have multiple universities that offer all kinds of events – theater, classes, sporting events, talks. With George Mason University, Marymount University & Northern VA Community College right here in Northern VA; and with American University, Georgetown University & Catholic University just minutes over the bridge into DC – there is a plethora of cultural opportunities. Add to that awesome places like the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theater, Vienna Community Center’s Vienna Theatre Company, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, tons of FREE museums in DC. And the list goes on and on!

Outdoor Recreation

Northern Virginia is a mecca for those who want to stay young in their retirement. You will find many golf courses, fantastic hiking, great parks in Fairfax County, nature walks, places to fish & boat, jog trails like the W&OD and more.

Health Care

Living in Northern VA means you have access to world-class health facilities like National Institutes of Health, Georgetown Hospital, Inova and more. The top specialists are plentiful and easily accessible. Even more interesting is Inova’s recent 99 year lease of the facility being vacated by Exxon Mobil. They will be creating a new facility that specializes in research & treatment of complex diseases through personalized medicine. This means doctors will be able to personalize treatment to individual patients’ genetic makeup. We believe this will make Northern VA an even more attractive place for seniors to live as the new facility will likely draw in some of the premieer doctors in the world.

Transportation

If you are a young retiree, locked & loaded & ready to travel – you can’t beat Northern Virginia. We have 3 airports within 30-60 minutes of one another (Dulles, Reagan & BWI) – two of which are international airports. You can fly in & out to your heart’s content. The world is your oyster.

If you’re an aging retiree, the convenient transportation is a plus for your family. It used to be that our families stayed close by. But in today’s global society, it’s not unusual for families to be spread around the globe. If this sounds like your family, living in Northern VA might mean you see them more often, because it’s so easy to get in and out. In addition to the 3 airports, we’ve got great train service and a fabulous public transportation system. Once you hit the age where you prefer not to drive, this is an added bonus!

Keeping Your Youth

I remember when my in-laws retired to Florida. One of the biggest concerns my mother-in-law had was “I don’t want to live around a bunch of old people. That will just make me feel old.” If that’s how you feel, then Northern VA is an ideal place. With a heavy millennial population in the area (per Forbes Magazine, Arlington is in the Top 3 Cities Attracting Millenials) – you will definitely keep your youth!

Cost

This may be the one area where Northern VA is not ideal. Home prices here are high compared to some retirement areas. But here’s the thing. If you already live in Northern VA and are trying to figure out where to retire – you just might want to add Northern VA to the list. Why would we say that if the prices are so high in comparison? Well, The Belt Team has been selling real estate for almost 50 years. In those years we have helped many, many retirees sell their homes so they can move out of the area.

And we have helped many of those same folks a few years later when they moved back.

The grass is not always greener. And although it may cost a bit less elsewhere, it’s hard to replace things like the network of friends you may have built up over the years, the familiarity with stores & back roads, the relationships with doctors, and the communities you may have developed within your church. The money saved by living elsewhere often pales in comparison to losing these other treasures.

So what do you do?

Our past clients have found that downsizing is a great retirement compromise. And that actually it turns out it’s not a compromise in the end, but truly an ideal solution. In addition, there are a number of 55+ Communities in the Northern VA area. Many of our clients have embraced the amenities & activities this easy lifestyle offers – especially in their younger years. One of them told me “I had no idea it would be so fun!”.

If you are thinking about retiring in Northern VA – whether moving here or downsizing here, give The Belt Team a call at (703) 242-3975. We are VERY experienced with the special needs & concerns seniors and soon-to-be-seniors have. And we even have 2 members of our team who are seniors who have downsized!  It would be our pleasure to help you make the RIGHT move.

Downsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate

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