Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

Before You Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need! | MyKCM

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area.

Thinking about buying? Call/text us at 703-242-3975

Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market

WHat Is My Home Worth

Here’s an update from “Keeping Current Matters” about the state of the national real estate market. In general, in Northern VA, we are seeing similar things to what KCM reports, but not in 100% of the areas. For most of you, this means it’s a GREAT time to sell!

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more info on YOUR neighborhood.


Lack of Homes for Sale Slowing Down the Housing Market | MyKCM

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the winter, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

National Association of Realtors

“Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8%…which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace.”

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com

“More than two-thirds of the markets are seeing less inventory now compared to a year ago.”

 Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most. As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41% cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011.”

 Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic

“The lack of affordable supply is really driving up home prices.”

 Peter Muoio, Chief Economist at Auction.com

“Tight housing inventory remains a constraining factor limiting stronger sales growth… We expect further price growth to entice more homeowners to list their homes, particularly as existing homeowners have greater equity.”

Bottom Line 

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.


Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE personalized consultation. Find out if your home is in a Seller’s Market or a Buyer’s Market!

WHat Is My Home Worth

Northern VA Housing Market – Post Election Update

Credit: Keeping Current Matters
Credit: Keeping Current Matters

Election years in Northern Virginia are usually a time when the real estate market takes a deep breath and pauses to see what will happen. “I’m putting my home search on hold until we see how the election shakes out”  and “I’m gonna wait and see what happens to interest rates after the election” are comments we’ve heard frequently over the past twelve elections.

Let’s look at the market stats for some of our Northern Virginia areas and see whether that rang true this year. The charts below show the number of home sales year-to-date year-over-year for 2014, 2015 & 2016. And there seems to be a pretty consistent pattern.

Northern VA Real Estate Market

Northern VA Real Estate MarketNorthern VA Real Estate MarketNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate StatsNorthern VA Real Estate Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other than in Ashburn, sales rose significantly in 2015 over 2014. And instead of the market pausing to digest the election, home sales continued to rise in 2016. This was true in Alexandria, Arlington, Great Falls, Herndon, McLean, Oakton, Reston & Vienna – as well as in a number of other areas.

Stay tuned for our CEO Terry Belt’s 2017 Crystal Ball Predictions! (You can read his 2016 Predictions here).

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you’d like a market analysis for your home or neighborhood. Statistics vary wildly between cities, school districts and price ranges. And if you’re thinking of selling in 2016, NOW is the time to prepare. Did you know that in many areas of Northern VA last year, Sellers who sold in January-February sold their homes for more than those who waited for the “Spring Market”?!

FREE INSTANT Estimate of Your Home’s Value

Search Home Values in YOUR Neighborhood or City on our STATE-OF-THE-ART WEB SITE

“Four Months Is Cray-Cray”

We often share with your the research that is brought to us by Keeping Current Matters. Recently, they quoted Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com. He said

“The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply—measured by NAR to be four months in January.  For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.”

I read that and thought, “Wow if four months is cray-ray, what is two months?” You see, places all around Northern Virginia are sitting at two months or less of housing inventory. That’s a Seller’s Market folks.

Search our state of the art home search site.

Low Inventory in Northern VA - Keeping Current MattersBuyers – you gotta be prepared. Sellers – NOW is the time.

Buyers – it’s not always price that wins a contract. Talk to your Realtor about price, AND about strategies in terms of:

  • Earnest money deposit
  • Whether or not to waive home inspection
  • Whether or not to waive financing contingency
  • Whether or not to waive appraisal contingency
  • Closing date
  • Escalation clauses
  • Introduction letters
  • Other important terms to the seller (example: they may want to rent back for a short time)
  • Finding homes to buy that are off market or before they hot the market

Sellers – preparing your home & pricing right up front will net you the MOST. Talk to your Realtor about strategies to elicit multiple offers. (Click here for an INSTANT online value estimate of your home and then call 703-242-3975 for a FREE personalized consultation.)

P.S. – Beware of selling on your own without a Realtor. You may save commission dollars, but you will likely net less on your bottom line. According to NAR, only 2% of Buyers purchased a home from a Seller they didn’t already know. 92% of Buyers used the internet and of those, 95% used an agent, builder or builder’s agent. So selling on your own can severely limit your exposure and consequently your final yield.


Keeping in mind the definitions that less than 3 months inventory is a Seller’s Market, 3-6 months is a Balanced Market, and more than 6 months is a Buyer’s Market – where do the towns and cities of Northern Virginia stand today:

Buyer’s Markets

  • Great Falls – 6.7 months

Balanced Markets

  • Dunn Loring – 5 months
  • McLean – 4 months

Seller’s Markets

  • Alexandria – 1.6 months
  • Annandale – 1.4 months
  • Arlington – 1.8 months
  • Ashburn – 1.8 months
  • Burke – 1.1 months
  • Centreville – 1.1 months
  • Chantilly – 1.5 months
  • Clifton – 2.7 months
  • Fairfax Station – 1.5 months
  • Falls Church – 1.7 months
  • Herndon – 1.4 months
  • Oakton – 2.1 months
  • Reston – 1.4 months
  • Springfield – 1 month
  • Sterling – Less than 1 month
  • Vienna – 2.7 months

Search our state of the art home finder site where listings are updated FASTER than other sites.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling in this “cray-cray” market, email or call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We specialize in real estate success stories. We’ll help you make the BEST move in today’s market.

Top Realtors Northern VA

Homebuyers Are On Borrowed Time, Sellers Take Note

Buyers Market or Sellers Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home in 2015, you may want to do it sooner rather than later. Why is that? Well, according to Gary Keller, Chairman of the Board of the world’s largest real estate company, “Home buyers are on borrowed time.” Keller made this comment back in February at Keller Williams Realty’s annual gathering of top associates from around the world as part of his economic update.

In case you’re thinking the comment made by Keller may have been self-serving just to encourage urgency among potential homebuyers, you might be interested to know that the Federal Reserve’s moves last week seem to corroborate Keller’s statement. From The Washington Post on March 19th: “The Federal Reserve cleared the way Wednesday for raising interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis.” The Fed was clear that a rate hike is not immediate or even imminent, but they definitely opened the door for that to happen this year. And as we see the economy improve, we also believe this will happen.

CEO The Belt TeamTerry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team says he is “advising our serious buyers that NOW is the time to buy. Rising interest rates, combined with rising home values mean that buying later will equal lower affordability and much less house. It is for this reason that we are also advising Sellers to sell sooner rather than later. If and when interest rates rise, some home buyers will be priced out of the market. And while home values are projected to rise in 2015, the projected rise is very moderate – about 3%, as compared to the 11% rise we saw in some areas over the past few years.”

Today, we spoke with Christine Todd, CEO of the Northern VA Association of Realtors (the 11th largest association in the U.S.). She told us that housing inventory in Northern VA is at a five year low and that throughout Northern VA, inventory is at 2 months. Two months of inventory translates to a Seller’s Market. That puts Sellers in the driver’s seat – making now a fabulous time to sell. It also means that Buyers have less options and it make take more time to find your dream home. And unlike the Rolling Stones song “Time Is On My Side”, it may only be a matter of time before rates rise. Another reason why waiting may not be to your benefit.

Whether you’re buying or selling, there are challenges on both ends. Buyers seek guidance on getting through credit hurdles, loan approvals and financing options. They need advocates who can advise on how to best compete, what their options are and how to find homes not already on the market. They want the RIGHT home. And while it sounds good to be a Seller during a Seller’s market (and it is!) – you still want to make sure you don’t leave money on the table and that once you are under contract, your sale actually goes to closing. THIS is where a top notch Realtor makes a difference and why the number of people selling by owner has gone down year after year.

The Belt Team has navigated the Northern Virginia real estate market since 1973. We have serious, long-term, committed Realtors on our team who are here to educate, navigate and advocate for you. When you read our online reviews, we think you’ll soon see why it’s in your best interests to work with what we think is the best real estate team in Northern VA. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If it’s time to change yours, give Terry Belt & The Belt Team a call at (703) 242-3975. It would be a pleasure for our family to help your family make the right move. And that right move just might be NOW!

Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Virginia

What Does A Shift In The Market Mean For Home Buyers?

In Northern VA, the housing market has shifted into a strong Seller’s market; so what does this mean for Buyers? Watch this 2 minute video to find out:

 

The one thing we would point out that is slightly different than what you saw in the video, is that The Belt Team recommends that buyers get pre-APRROVED, not just pre-qualified. In order to compete in today’s market, Buyers need to be fully approved for their mortgage and have a full approval letter from their lender BEFORE they write a contract.

Tom Reilly Buyer Specialist Northern VA Real EstateHappy Belt Team Buyer

For more tips on what Buyers can do to succeed in today’s market, contact Belt Team Lead Buyer Specialist Tom Reilly at (703) 629-1263 (or email Tom). His legal and technology background have provided him with some superb strategies that he implements on behalf of his buyers!

Yes, Northern Virginia, It’s Still A Seller’s Market

Are you wondering how the real estate market is in Northern Virginia, and whether it’s a Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market? Well, wonder no more. Inventory is low, low, low. And Buyers all over Northern VA are competing for the same homes.

The areas we get most asked about are Vienna & Oakton, so real estate stats for those areas are below. (Call 703-242-3975 or email us if you need real estate stats for Reston, Fairfax, Herndon, McLean, Falls Church, Arlington or any other area of Northern Virginia).

If you’re in the market to buy or sell NOW, you may want to read these articles:

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

Search Homes For Sale in Vienna

  • Number of Contracts: 13 (down from 18 the week before)
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 100 days (down from 103 the week before)
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 52 days (up from 36 the week before)
  • Inventory: 124 homes on the market (up from 115 the week before)
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 2.0 months (up from 1.9 the week before)
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 1.5 (up from 1.35 the week before) months

What Is My Vienna Home Worth?

Last week in Oakton Real Estate (22124):

Search Homes For Sale in Oakton

  • Number of Contracts: 13 (twice as many as the week before)
  • Average Days on Market for Active Listings: 88 days (down from 94 the week before)
  • Average Days on Market for Listings That Went Under Contract: 35 days (down from 125 the week before)
  • Inventory: 57 homes on the market (just 1 more than the week before)
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 90 day contract rate): 1.8 months (down from 2.1 the week before)
  • Number of Months Supply of Homes (Based on past 30 day contract rate): 1.2  months (down from 1.4 the week before)

What Is My Oakton Home Worth?

No matter why you’re moving, we can help you make the BEST move. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We think you deserve the BEST Realtors in Northern Virginia!

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better – One Family At A Time!”