The Belt Team Awarded Top 100 Real Estate Blog on The Planet

Northern VA Real Estate BlogsThe Belt Team was just notified that we have been named to the “Top 100 Real Estate Blogs on the Planet” list!

Our competition included not just other Realtors (of which there are more than 1.2 Million in the U.S.), but also entire brokerages (like Keller Williams Realty), listing portals (like Zillow) and news organizations (like Inman News). We are one of only 2 Realtors or teams in the entire state of Virginia to make the list. (The other was in Charlottesville). We are thrilled because that means the Sellers we represent have market exposure like no other Realtor can provide in Northern VA. And our buyers get the local “boots on the ground” info they need.

Real estate is local. It’s actually hyperlocal. What you read about in the paper, hear about on the news, see posted on Facebook, skim on Twitter or see delivered to your email – is NOT necessarily what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood. Even right here in Northern VA, what’s happening in Arlington may not match Alexandria. Great Falls and Falls Church may be on opposite ends of the spectrum. And even in the same town, things can be different. For example, the Vienna market is currently seeing both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market depending on price range.

THAT is why we started blogging TWENTY years ago. If you are thinking of buying or selling in Northern Virginia, THIS is where you want to be to find out local statistics and strategies for how to win in TODAY’S Northern VA real estate market. In addition to posting new listings, coming soon and TONS of local market stats, we also share real estate related strategies and info that benefit our clients.

Here are a few of our most popular blog posts over the years:

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you interpret the market in YOUR neighborhood or the neighborhood you’re moving to, so you can make the BEST move!

WHat Is My Home Worth

 

 

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 – Listed by The Belt Team & Open July 2

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 is listed by The Belt Team and is OPEN SATURDAY July 2nd from Noon to 3PM. Here’s a sneak peek:

More info, price & additional photos of 5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 

Call Tom Hanton & The Belt Team at (703) 283-6418

Welcome to this beautiful, light-filled custom home with over 4,400 square feet of finished living space (and room to expand)! This property offers 5 bedrooms & 4.5 baths (including a main level bedroom suite!), shining hardwood floors on the main level, gorgeous moldings & architectural details throughout, a gourmet eat-in kitchen with granite & stainless appliances, a separate dining room, a family room with gas fireplace, attractive sun room, grand master retreat, whole house music/intercom system and much more! The back deck creates a perfect outdoor living space. Great for commuters…don’t miss this opportunity!

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030

 

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 – Just Listed by The Belt Team

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 has just been listed by The Belt Team. Here’s a sneak peek:

More info, price & additional photos of 5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 

Call Tom Hanton & The Belt Team at (703) 283-6418

Welcome to this beautiful, light-filled custom home with over 4,400 square feet of finished living space (and room to expand)! This property offers 5 bedrooms & 4.5 baths (including a main level bedroom suite!), shining hardwood floors on the main level, gorgeous moldings & architectural details throughout, a gourmet eat-in kitchen with granite & stainless appliances, a separate dining room, a family room with gas fireplace, attractive sun room, grand master retreat, whole house music/intercom system and much more! The back deck creates a perfect outdoor living space. Great for commuters…don’t miss this opportunity!

5818 Colchester Road, Fairfax, VA 22030

 

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

The Presidential Election and The Real Estate Market

Keeping Current Matters The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing

Every four years, as things start to heat up on the Campaign Trail, we get inquiries from our clients about what the election will mean for the market. It used the be the case here in Northern VA, that we would see a period of pausing, followed by a potential great transition and turnover of homes if a new party was elected to office.

Now that our economy in Northern VA is not solely reliant on the federal government, that is no longer the case. While we still have many government employees, government contractors and elected officials living here – we also have many large companies (for example tech firms), as well as many entrepreneurs and small business owners, many in the service industries.

CEO The Belt Team“If you’re thinking of buying or selling, give us a call, ” said Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team. We’ve been through every election cycle in Northern VA since 1972. In fact, a Presidential Election is part of what brought our family here from California. We’d be happy to share our expertise with you. Each Buyer and Seller faces a unique situation. And the conclusion about timing is not always black and white. Call us at (703) 242-3975.”

In the meantime, if you have been wondering about the market, you’ll want to read what our friends at Keeping Current Matters have to say. They gathered input and predictions from a variety of sources.


Every four years people question what effect the Presidential election might have on the national housing market. Let’s take a look at what is currently taking place. The New York Times ran an article earlier this week where they explained:

A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years — particularly ones like this when there is such uncertainty about the nation’s future — industry becomes almost paralyzed. A look at the last several dozen election cycles shows that during the final year of a presidential term, big corporate investments are routinely postponed, and big deals are put on the back burner.

The research is even more persuasive on the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate inevitably will become president.

We are seeing this take form in the latest economic numbers. However, will this lead to a slowdown in the housing market? Not according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the National Association of Realtors.

The Impact on Housing Throughout 2016 : Let’s look at what has happened and what is projected to happen by these three major entities.

National Association of Realtors
“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”

Freddie Mac
“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”

Fannie Mae
“Consumers and businesses showed caution at the end of the first quarter…(but) Home sales are expected to pick up heading into the spring season amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans.”

Bottom Line
Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.

Real Estate Property Tax Rate Rising In Fairfax County

Fairfax Real Estate

Last week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the Fiscal Year 2017 (Tax Year 2016) budget to include an increase of FOUR CENTS in the real estate property tax rate. This becomes effective July 1, 2016.

The last time the tax rate increased was in 2014 – from $1.085 per $100 of assessed value, to $1.09. That makes this year’s increase 8 times the last increase.

What does this mean for you and what will the new tax rate be?

  • Current Rate: $1.09 per $100 of assessed value
  • New Rate: $1.13 per $100 of assessed value

Here’s the calculation:

Your Assessed Value – Divided by $100 – Multiplied By $1.13 = Your Property Tax

So, if your home was valued at $800,000 last year, then you paid $8,720 in property tax. If your assessed value stayed the same this year, your new tax would be $9,040. (A small $320 increase.  However, 55% of homes in Fairfax County were also assessed at higher values this year than last year. So the increase is larger than it looks.)

Note: Assessed values and market values are not always the same.

Click here to find out the Fairfax County assessed value of your home.

Click here for an INSTANT online estimate of your home’s market value. Then call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at 703-242-3975 for a detailed, personalized review. We’re happy to assist will ALL of your real estate needs!

Home Prices and Interest Rates – Here’s the 411!

Wondering what’s happening with home prices and interest rates in the national real estate market? Check out this one minute video:

When you’re ready for a hyperlocal update for areas in Northern Virginia like Vienna, McLean, Oakton, Great Falls, Fairfax, Reston, Arlington, Annandale, Ashburn, Falls Church, Burke, Dunn Loring & Alexandria – contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Local numbers don’t always mirror national trends and you may even find wide variations in adjoining towns and cities in Northern VA!

How Much Is MY Home Worth (FREE, Instant Online Estimate)

Search our State-of-the-Art Home Search Site (updated FASTER than others so you don’t lose out on homes before you know about them!)

Crystal Ball Forecast for The 2016 Northern VA Real Estate Market

Northern VA Real Estate Forecast 2016

But we’re going to do it anyway!

At this time of year, our phone starts ringing off the hook looking for our CEO, Terry Belt, asking for his forecast of what this year in real estate will hold. And while his crystal ball may be as imperfect as everyone else’s, he has weathered 28 years in the Northern VA real estate market and done it uber successfully. This brings with it a good look in the rear view window, but at the same time an ability to spot & react to trends quickly.

Realtor The Belt Team     Real Estate Predictions

Here are Terry Belt’s Top Predictions For The 2016 Northern VA Real Estate Market

  • Over all, we’ll see a good year in Northern VA. The national and local press are all telling “feel good” real estate stories and this is great as it resonates positively for consumer confidence, which is a huge factor in the market.
  • The first half of the year will bring a very healthy market. I predict the second half of the year will soften as inventory grows.
  • We will see slower appreciation than we have seen the past 5 years. Statistics for the past five years for various Northern VA markets are on our web site:

(FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth)

Wild Cards – Things To Watch: 

  • Interest rates (already up once and likely to continue rising)
  • Stock market
  • Job creation, especially locally where we are trailing the nation
  • Inventory

(Our FREE state-of-the-art buyer search site)

My Advice To 2016 Buyers & Sellers:

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in 2016, the absolute most important thing you can do is to make sure you have the best Realtor representing & advocating for you. There’s a lot to navigate along the way – appraisals, surveys, legal disclosures, when to sell, how to price, how to stage, what to disclose, what not to disclose, mortgage financing, how to compete and more. Every market has its own ins & outs & idiosyncrasies.

According to NAR, 90% of homes are sold by 10% of the Realtors. So my advice to clients, whether they are buying here in Northern VA or across the country in California or even across the ocean in Europe – is to make sure you work with the best. You know they’re the best when they’re in that top echelon of performers. The more transactions a team does, the more prepared they are to be your advocate and help you navigate successfully.

Buying or selling a home is often one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, financial transactions of your lifetime – not to mention the emotional importance of your home and family. Do it right!

12694 Valley Oaks Ct Fairfax Va 22033 – Listed by The Belt Team

12694 Valley Oaks Ct Fairfax Va 22033 has just been listed by The Belt Team. Here’s a sneak peek:

More info, price & additional photos of 12694 Valley Oaks Ct Fairfax Va 22033

Call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

Welcome to this gorgeous, light-filled colonial in a fantastic location…convenient to shopping, restaurants, great schools and easy access to major commuting routes! Along with 3 finished levels, 4 bedrooms & 4.5 baths, this property has a flowing floor plan, attractive architectural details like extra wide crown molding & pillars, a two-story entry foyer & family room with large stone fireplace, a spacious eat-in kitchen with sun room, a separate dining room, an elegant master retreat, a finished lower level with expansive rec room and back deck.

For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation. The Belt Team is one of Northern VA’s Top Real Estate Teams.

12694 Valley Oaks Fairfax VA 22033

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA

15,315 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

Great info about home sales from Keeping Current Matters:

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U.S. Home Sales

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 15,315 houses sold yesterday, 15,315 will sell today and 15,315 will sell tomorrow.

15,315!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to theNational Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 15,315 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.8 months supply of inventory available for sale, (6 months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

(Reprinted – KCM)

******************************************************************************************************Top Realtors Northern VA
We would add that it’s important to analyze YOUR particular market – not just use the national figures. But the principles remain the same. You need to know how many homes are selling and the number of months supply of inventory. If you would like a FREE personalized analysis – give our Listing Specialists (Terry Belt & Kevin Kleifges) a call at (703) 242-3975.

General Market Stats & Trends: