Home Buyers – Don’t Let Your Heart Get Broken

Most people looking for a new home start their search online. In fact, according to the NAR, 43% of home buyers used the internet as the first step in their search. And 92% of buyers used the internet in some way as part of their search.

We don’t have statistics for this next fact, but based on our experience we can tell you it’s more common than not.

“Buyers shopping for homes often have their hearts broken.”

In fact, we are so sure of this fact that if you are a Buyer yourself, we will hazard a guess this has happened to you. You search and search and search. All of a sudden you find THE house online. The one you’ve been looking for. The PERFECT one. You call the agent. And it turns out it’s already under contract. Or maybe it’s already even SOLD! Many buyers who come to us have had this happen over and over before they started working with The Belt Team. Don’t let this happen to you. Because once you see the perfect house – nothing else will seem to compare.

Broken Heart - The House Is Already Sold

If you do a Google search for homes, your search will often yield info about homes that are not on the market. Even if you use the most popular search sites like Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com – you’ll often gather inaccurate or untimely search results.

What’s the answer?

Use the same service that we as Realtors use to help our clients find homes. It feeds directly from the local MLS and is updated more frequently than other sites. Our team invests tens of thousands of dollars per year to have access to this system. (Note: This is just ONE of many special technologies we pay for to enhance our clients’ real estate experience. Per NAR, the average Realtor only spends $848/yr.)

Yes, you will need to register to use it. The system is really easy to use, and it has so many bells and whistles that we want to ensure you are finding EXACTLY what you’re looking for. Time is money. And YOUR time is valuable. Don’t waste it looking at homes that may not be available.

Try it out. We’re pretty sure you’ll like it. (And by the way – it’s FREE to you and there is NO obligation.)

State-of-the-Art Home Search

(We also have a FREE, Instant Home Valuation Tool if you have a home to sell and are wondering what it might be worth.)

Search Northern VA Homes For Sale

The Belt Team is one of the top teams in the world for Keller Williams Realty, the largest real estate company. This is why we have access to tools such as our state-of-the-art home search site. But more important than numbers are people. Every client is important to us. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change YOURS, give us a call at (703) 242-3975.

(Read what clients have posted about our agents Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Tom Reilly, Beth Dadisman, Gail Belt, Martin Bristow & The Belt Team on independent site ZIllow.com here.)

Selling A Home In Northern VA? Meet Our Buyers!

Northern VA Home BuyersThe Belt TeamDownsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate

One of the benefits Belt Team clients have is the fact that we work with so many different Buyers & Sellers each year. It’s not unusual that we can “match-make”. We’ve sold many homes before they hit the market because we keep an active list of Buyers we’re working with (imagine saving the inconvenience of having your home in “showing condition” day after day after day). And we’vee found many homes for our Buyers before they hit the market (which is an added bonus in today’s competitive market of low inventory!).

We currently have quite a few Buyers who are ready to move and who have no home sale contingencies. “Help Us Help The Homeless”! Call (703) 242-3975 if our Buyers look like a match for you or if you would like to get on our “Meet Our Buyers” List!

MEET OUR BUYERS  . . .

(Note: Our active buyer list fluctuates daily and also includes buyers who prefer not to be listed here – especially in the upper ranges. We have buyers in almost all areas of Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington & more! Make sure to call (703) 242-3975 to check the full list!)

  • A professional couple with two teenage children are looking for a townhome walking distance from Metro in the Marshall High School District. Their ideal price is up to $700,000.
  • A young professional couple, both engineers employed by the government, are looking for a townhome near Gallows Road, Dunn Loring area is ideal. Their ideal price is below $550,000.
  • A dentist and his lovely wife and daughter want to live in the Westbriar Elementary District in Vienna. They would love to find a colonial that has been updated with an open floor plan. Their ideal home has a private back yard and can be priced up to $800,000.
  • First time home buyers seek a single family home in Falls Church or Annandale, with commuting access to the District, priced close to $400,000.
  • A professional couple renting in Reston is seeking a home in Reston or Herndon, priced under $450,000. Their ideal home is a single family near or in the Town of Herndon, or an updated townhome in Reston or Herndon.
  • An architect and an artist seek an open floor plan home. A townhome or single family with small yard will fit their needs. They would even consider building a home if land was available for $400,000 or less.
  • An investor seeks a cash purchase in Pimmit Hills where he owns several properties already. He can close in a week for the right opportunity.
  • A professional couple currently living in Ballston seeks a single family home, completely updated or renovated, with a master suite, finished lower level with bedroom suite, screened porch, and a fenced yard for their Welsh Corgi. Their price range is in line with their needs, up to $1.3M.
  • A World Bank employee is seeking a two bedroom, two bath condo in Vienna near metro, priced at $220,000 or lower.
  • A renter in Hawthorne Village seeks a condo to purchase in that development.
  • A family living in Vienna seeks an upgrade to their current home. Ideally, the home will back to woods and have a deck, patio or other outdoor enjoyment area. The home needs to be updated, with renovations to the master bath and kitchen. A finished walk out basement is ideal. Their price and buying power reflects their needs, an ideal range is under $1,000,000.
  • Four buyers looking for single family homes in Vienna under $600,000.

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if our Buyers look like a match for you or if you would like to get on our “Meet Our Buyers” List!

Holiday Home Safety

If you’re headed “over the river & through the woods to Grandmother’s house” for the holidays, here are 10 tips to keep your home safe while you’re gone!

(1) Be careful with your status updates on Twitter, 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 are 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.

One of my neighbors (who happens to know a bit about this topic since he is a Sheriff!) gave me 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!

All Creatures Great & Small (The Real Estate Version!)

Everyone looks for something different in a home. Some want low maintenance, easy living, lots of amenities & commuter convenience.

Ashburn Village Townhouse For Sale Ashburn Village Townhouse For Sale

Some want grandeur, elegance & acreage in horse country – plus a personal exercise area & sauna and plenty of room for entertaining and family living.

Luxury Home For Sale in Oakton

To each his own – right?

So here’s our version of the classic “All Creatures Great & Small – real estate style! Here are examples of the least expensive & most expensive home for sale in each of a variety of local cities: Vienna, Oakton, McLean, Great Falls, Fairfax, Arlington & Reston. It’s quite a spread! If you find you’re interested in one of these homes or would like some assistance finding your own castle, contact The Belt Team, because “big & small, we sell them all!”.

VIENNA

OAKTON

GREAT FALLS

MCLEAN

RESTON

FAIRFAX

ARLINGTON

The Belt Team‘s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. Call Terry Belt at (703) 242-3975 if it’s time to change YOURS!

Best Real Estate Agents in Northern VA

Home Sales Down Across The Board, What About Prices?

As professional Realtors, it’s our job to have a read on the housing market. We do this by taking the market’s temperature and by taking its pulse.

Northern VA Real Estate Temperature

So – What’s The Temperature?

“98.6”

That’s the exact number just about anyone can quote when you ask them what a normal temperature is. In real estate, we also like to know EXACT numbers.

Scroll down and you’ll find a year-over-year comparison between last year’s and this year’s home sales & home prices for each city in Northern VA. What you’ll see is that although each city varies in the exact number, the trend for the entire market is that the number of home sales is DOWN. Great Falls and Oakton lead the way with the largest home sale drop (44% and 36% down respectively). Burke & Springfield also had less home sales so far this year, but only dropped by 5% and 1%.

What About Prices?

Here we see a wide swing. Some areas have seen prices rise, while others have seen the average home price drop. Still other areas have remained flat. Dunn Loring leads the way with a 12.3% rise in price. However, with only 13 home sales so far this year, that number is probably less statistically accurate and more of an anomaly.

Chantilly and Vienna were the other two winners in largest price gain – with Chantilly prices rising 7% and Vienna right behind at 6.8%.

Quite a few areas (Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Herndon, Springfield & Sterling) are seeing prices rise, but very moderately – in the 2-4% range.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have what most consider to be the primary “luxury markets” of Northern Virginia – McLean & Great Falls. Both of these markets have seen the average home price drop since last year. McLean prices are down 3.1% and Great Falls is down 1.6%. We also have several markets that are close to flat lining. Oakton, Fairfax, Falls Church & Reston have all seen a less than 2% rise in prices.

(Search Homes For Sale in Great Falls) (Search Homes For Sale in McLean)  (Search Homes For Sale in Oakton) (Search Homes For Sale in Vienna) (Search Homes For Sale in Ashburn) (Search Homes For Sale in Springfield) (Search Homes For Sale in Burke) (Search Homes For Sale in Dunn Loring) (Search Homes For Sale in Chantilly) (Search Homes For Sale in Alexandria) (Search Homes For Sale in Arlington) (Search Homes For Sale in Herndon) (Search Homes For Sale in Fairfax) (Search Homes For Sale in Falls Church) (Search Homes For Sale in Reston) (Search Homes For Sale in Sterling)

And What’s The Pulse?

Northern VA Real Estate Pulse

When the nurse takes your pulse, it’s your heart rate that’s being measured. So as professional Realtors, we also measure the heart rate of the market. How do we do this? We monitor the “anecdotal data” we gather from open house attendance, conversations with potential & actual buyers & sellers, info from our trusted lending & settlement partners, competitive contract situations & more. That’s why a real estate team that does so many sales is much more in tune with what’s happening in the market than a solo agent.

The heart rate in Northern VA remains healthy, but it has definitely changed over the past few months. While there are still pockets where homes sell in a few days, and even have multiple contract offers; there are many areas where homes are sitting on the market for months. Open house attendance is good, but there are not many opens that are just swarmed with people. Part of this is the seasonality of the market. But part of this may also be the psychology of the market. For a variety of intangible reasons, the market seems to have softened somewhat. And buyers are a bit more tentative.

BUYERS: Before you start looking for a home, ask your Realtor to update you on YOUR market numbers . Define your market by price range and city, maybe even school district, zip code, bedrooms, acreage – whatever things are important to you. This will help you approach the market more intelligently in terms of whether you can make a low ball offer or whether you may still have to compete and pay over asking price.

SELLERS: Pricing your home to the market is the MOST important thing you can do to avoid sitting on the market for months. (Condition is second.) Many Sellers think testing the market is ok. In some cases, that strategy might work. But in most cases, all it does is lower the eventual price your home sells for and prolongs your carrying costs of the home. Statistics from the National Association of Realtors show the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price it will sell for. If you have priced the home “too low”, the market will respond accordingly and you’ll get multiple offers that bid the price back up to the max the market will bear.

Call (703) 242-3975 if you would like a zip code, school district or neighborhood analysis.

FREE Instant Online Home Valuation

Our New State-of-the-Art Home Search Site

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better” – if it’s time to change YOURS, call (703) 242-3975 or email The Belt Team and let us know how we can help! (The Belt Team is ranked in Top Teams in the State of VA – out of 30,000 Realtors).

Statistics below per MRIS – Jan 1 to July 31.

Northern VA 2013 Sales 2014 Sales Yr Over Yr Avg SP 2013 Avg SP 2014 Yr Over Yr
Alexandria 3122 2869 -8% $485,653 $500,383 3%
Arlington 1807 1644 -9% $599,888 $621,221 3.6%
Ashburn 1069 911 -15% $482,263 $495,125 2.7%
Burke 377 357 -5% $438,739 $447,383 2.0%
Centreville 638 567 -11% $386,947 $395,292 2.2%
Chantilly 513 434 -15% $449,341 $480,806 7.0%
Dunn Loring 17 13 -24% $793,618 $891,538 12.3%
Fairfax 1365 1163 -15% $494,691 $502,509 1.6%
Falls Church 941 801 -15% $504,457 $510,076 1.1%
Great Falls 177 100 -44% $1,217,869 $1,198,601 -1.6%
Herndon 525 460 -12% $469,813 $484,617 3.2%
McLean 471 418 -11% $1,082,324 $1,049,266 -3.1%
Oakton 247 159 -36% $663,576 $664,913 0.2%
Reston 732 626 -14% $457,445 $465,474 1.8%
Springfield 776 772 -1% $432,298 $446,459 3.3%
Sterling 737 676 -8% $378,760 $393,913 4.0%
Vienna 530 483 -9% $744,413 $794,770 6.8%

Real Estate Market Shift Spells “Opportunity” for Some, “Reality” For Others

Opportunity or Reality

The real estate market in Northern Virginia is continuing to experience a subtle shift. While we’re still seeing competitive situations and multiple offers on some homes in some areas, other areas are seeing average time on market as high as 6 months and housing inventory of more than a year. If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, you will definitely want to take a look at these numbers – because numbers tell a story!

City # Homes On Market Avg Days on Market # Under Contract Past 30 days #Months Housing Supply
Vienna 242 102 73 3.3
Sterling 281 50 109 2.6
Springfield 257 52 113 2.3
Reston 283 54 97 2.9
Oakton 104 112 28 3.8
McLean 321 108 66 4.9
Herndon 237 65 77 3.1
Great Falls 224 179 15 14.9
Falls Church 296 58 117 2.5
Fairfax 445 55 182 2.5
Dunn Loring 7 49 1 7.0
Chantilly 53 51 14 3.8
Centreville 243 61 80 3.0
Burke 105 48 53 2.0
Ashburn 558 93 143 3.9
Arlington 610 75 246 2.5
Alexandria 1181 79 440 2.7

The area and price range you’re looking in will vastly affect what strategy you employ.

If you’re looking to buy in Great Falls for example, then you have a HUGE amount of leverage when making an offer. Currently, there are 224 homes for sale and the average time those homes have been on the market is SIX MONTHS. There is also a FIFTEEN MONTH supply of housing right now. That means if homes sell at the rate they have over the past 30 days, then it would take 15 months to sell all of the homes currently on the market. That spells OPPORTUNITY for buyers. And it spells REALITY for Sellers. It’s no longer the time to price aggressively to “see what the market will bear.”

(Search Homes For Sale in Great Falls)

On the other hand, if you’re looking in Burke, you’ll find the complete opposite. Average days on market for active listings is less than two months. And there is only a 2 month supply of housing. Less than 3 months housing supply means that Burke is still experiencing a Seller’s Market. What does this mean? Sellers may still be able to push the envelope; and Buyers will likely find themselves competing for homes. This means Buyers need to adjust their contract strategy accordingly – being prepared to offer more, use an escalation clause, drop contingencies, offer a free rentback or a number of other strategies.

(Search Homes For Sale in Burke)

When you look at the chart above – what you’ll see is that in general, the higher price areas (like Great Falls & McLean) are starting to see longer marketing times and a much larger housing supply. While the more affordable areas (like Burke & Springfield) are still firecely competitive.

(Search Homes For Sale in Great Falls) (Search Homes For Sale in McLean)

(Search Homes For Sale in Burke) (Search Homes For Sale in Springfield)

Areas like Vienna, Oakton & Ashburn are experiencing what we call a “W” Market. Buyers in these markets are extremely price sensitive and there are pockets of Buyer & Seller submarkets embedded within each – some Seller’s, some Buyer’s, some Balanced Markets.. As an example, we recently put 3 listings on the market in Vienna between $800,000 and $900,000. One had multiple offers and sold in 3 days over list price. The others are still on the market. We are seeing Buyers step back and make much more considered decisions – sometimes not even looking at homes they feel are overpriced, and/or not being able to look past issues like dated kitchens. This means Sellers must be much more on target when setting that initial price in order to end up at the top of the W, and not at the bottom.

(Search Homes For Sale in Vienna) (Search Homes For Sale in Oakton) (Search Homes For Sale in Ashburn)

For more info about YOUR neighborhood or the neighborhood you WANT to live in, contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help create a personal strategy for YOUR market. regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, you deserve the BEST Real Estate Team in Northern VA!

Top Northern VA Real Estate Agents

Northern VA Home Sales Down, Prices Up in First Quarter of 2014

First quarter statistics have been released. In most areas the number of homes sold in the first quarter of 2014 was down compared to first quarter 2013. However, in most areas, prices rose. Only 3 areas saw an increase in home sales: Dunn Loring, Centreville & Springfield. In every other Northern Virginia city, home sales declined year over year. On the other hand, prices were up in all cities except three: Ashburn, Great Falls & McLean. The other areas saw average prices rise from 2.1% to 10.2%. (See chart below for sales & prices in each city.)

Call (703) 242-3975 if you would like a zip code or neighborhood analysis.

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Northern VA Home Sales

Northern VA 2013 Sales 2014 Sales Yr Over Yr Avg SP 2013 Avg SP 2014 Yr Over Yr
Alexandria 951 867 -9% $451,880 $488,773 8%
Arlington 536 486 -9% $570,179 $585,200 2.6%
Ashburn 331 253 -24% $466,963 $462,281 -1.0%
Burke 96 114 19% $415,793 $426,403 2.6%
Centreville 173 182 5% $354,407 $372,015 5.0%
Chantilly 166 144 -13% $429,711 $463,140 7.8%
Dunn Loring 2 4 100% $882,500 $834,000 -5.5%
Fairfax 414 344 -17% $463,841 $488,611 5.3%
Falls Church 282 251 -11% $466,898 $476,777 2.1%
Great Falls 55 25 -55% $1,248,293 $1,108,758 -11.2%
Herndon 138 124 -10% $419,152 $447,186 6.7%
McLean 143 128 -10% $1,135,881 $931,091 -18.0%
Oakton 54 48 -11% $509,763 $562,012 10.2%
Reston 194 190 -2% $427,210 $441,990 3.5%
Springfield 208 232 12% $395,386 $428,874 8.5%
Sterling 211 194 -8% $349,394 $379,676 8.7%
Vienna 140 129 -8% $718,021 $733,301 2.1%

Coming Soon on Riva Ridge Drive in Great Falls

Stay tuned – we’ve got another great listing coming soon in Great Falls! This one’s on Riva Ridge Drive – on a wonderful private lot with a great backyard. Call (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing or email The Belt Team for more information!

Foxvale Farm

Search all homes for sale in Great Falls

FREE INSTANT HOME VALUATION

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change YOURS, call (703) 242-3975!

Top Northern VA Real Estate Team

 

First Quarter Housing Update – Northern Virginia – Plus 5 Home Buyer Tips

How is the housing market doing around Northern Virginia? Wondering where prices are? How many homes are selling? Whether it’s a Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market or Balanced Market? Let’s take a look at the stats:

City # Sales Avg Price Avg DOM Housing Supply Buyer or Seller Market
Alexandria 867 $489,013 58 days 1.7 months Seller
Annandale 103 $440,984 54 days 1 month Seller
Arlington 486 $585,193 44 days 1.5 months Seller
Ashburn 244 $461,566 53 days 2.3 months Seller
Burke 114 $426,403 37 days Less than 1 month Seller
Centreville 182 $372,015 50 days 1.1 month Seller
Chantilly 40 $450,406 30 days Less than 1 month Seller
Dunn Loring 4 $834,000 48 days 6 months Balanced
Fairfax 343 $488,140 45 days 1.1 month Seller
Falls Church 251 $476,777 46 days 1.2 months Seller
Great Falls 23 $1,160,393 135 days 8 months Buyer
Herndon 124 $447,186 43 days 1.4 months Seller
McLean 128 $931,091 88 days 3.8 months Balanced
Oakton 48 $562,012 80 days 2.8 months Balanced
Reston 190 $441,990 45 days 1.5 months Seller
Springfield 234 $424,165 48 days Less than 1 month Seller
Sterling 193 $380,053 46 days Less than 1 month Seller
Vienna 127 $729,021 53 days 2 months Seller

FREE – What Is My Home Worth – Instant Market Valuation

Search Homes For Sale in Northern VA On Our State-of-the-Art Search Site

This week and next week are “Spring Break” for Northern Virginia schools. We typically see an upswing in inventory just following this period. So stay tuned.

If you’ve been waiting to find that dream home, this just may be the time – but you’ll likely have to move FAST to beat others to the punch. Best way to do that?

1. Sign a Buyer Broker Agreement so you have a Buyer Agent working on your behalf. If you call a Listing Agent, they only have one person’s interests at heart: The Seller’s.

2. Know what you’re looking for. Know the reality of what your money buys. If you’ve been looking for a while and haven’t yet bought, then you know prices are rising and interest rates are rising. Now’s the time to get real if you want to get into a new home.

3. Have your loan approved before you look for homes. Your approval letter MUST accompany your contract offer. Sellers won’t even look at a contract without it.

4. Remove as many contingencies as are prudent. If you’re not sure which ones you are comfortable with removing or which ones you are able to remove – discuss this NOW with your agent – before you’re in a competition.

5.Use a state-of-the-art home search site (like BeltTeamRealEstate.com). What’s the biggest complaint we hear from people who use Zillow, Trulia & Realtor.com? That the data is outdated. They call about listings that are long under contract. Our site is updated constantly and our buyers often tell us it’s the best site they used. Don’t miss out!

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If now is the time to change yours, give us a call at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you make the RIGHT move!

Condo Open Sunday in West Village of Shirlington

4131-C South Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington – Open Sunday, April 13th 1-4PM!

List Price: $459,000

Arlington Condo For Sale

Directions, pictures and more information about 4131C S Four Mile Run Drive

Search all condos for sale in Arlington

Call (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!