How’s the Housing Market?


The number one question Terry & Tom are getting at the holiday parties this season is “How’s the housing market?”. 

That is an extremely broad question in our opinion. We know you want a straight forward and direct answer, but bottom line is that it depends.  It’s kind of like the stock market. That may be a bad subject for people over the last few weeks (sorry!), but it’s very similar in the way someone would answer the question “How’s the stock market?”.

If you’re talking about the stock market, just like the housing market, there’s never a bad time to buy, generally speaking. There are always highs and lows. But we need to dig a bit deeper to discuss the market as it pertains to the person asking specifically. So, our question to them would be, “What’s your situation? Are you needing to sell, wanting to sell? Are you needing to buy, wanting to buy? These all play a role in how the market is doing in regards to their specific situation. 

If you are currently in the market to buy a home you may have seen national headlines about how strong the market is right now. What market are those headlines referring to? Be sure to check out our latest video to hear about different buyer/seller scenarios and what a healthy market looks like. 

Thinking of buying or selling or knows someone who is? We want to help anyway we can! Feel free to drop your questions in the comments or reach out to us. 

Give us a call at 703-242-3975 or Email: info@thebeltteam.com 

U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low – That’s GREAT! (If You’re Selling!)

Here’s the latest from our colleagues at Keeping Current Matters.
For info about YOUR neighborhood (or the neighborhood you want to live in), give The Belt Team a call at (703) 242-3975. We can provide you with detailed facts PLUS the “boots on the ground” data that will help you make the RIGHT move! Because what’s happening in Vienna may be different than in Arlington. Even more important is price range – because we are seeing a slowing in the upper ranges, while other price ranges remain HOT!
U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

Every summer, families across the country decide if this will be the year they sell their current house and move into their dream home.

Mortgage rates have hovered around 4% for all of 2017, forcing buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “U.S. home inventory has tumbled 8.9% over the past year and has now fallen for nine consecutive quarters.” There is now 20% less inventory than there was five years ago.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the perfect time.

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Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

Now is the time to sell.

That’s the opinion of our colleagues at Keeping Current Matters. (Our opinion depends on your personal situation, so give us a call at (703) 242-3975 and we will do an in depth analysis with you so you can be sure of what’s right for YOU.)

What Is My Home Worth

Here’s why KCM thinks NOW is the time . . .

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW! | MyKCM

If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it! The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:

“Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast.”

Yun goes on to say:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Recently named to Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Realtors list for the 3rd year in a row, we are one of the country’s top teams and would love to help you make the RIGHT move for YOU.

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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)

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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!

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

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

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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!

Homebuyers – Have You Seen The Ghost?

Real Estate

If you’re looking to buy a home in Northern Virginia, make sure you’re looking for the ghost – the ghost inventory, that is!

With today’s market conditions & extremely low inventory, it’s more important than ever for Buyers to work with well-connected agents who typically sell a lot of homes in the area you’re looking in. Why? A lot of homes are selling without ever coming on the market! We call this “ghost inventory”.

Just this past weekend, The Belt Team sold ANOTHER Vienna home before it ever hit the MLS. (Note: The Belt Team has sold almost twice as many homes in Vienna as any other Realtor or team in the past 5 years!) The Sellers have lived in their home for 23 years & are happy to get a great price on their home without the hassle of staging, prepping & showing the house over & over. And the Buyers are over the moon to find their dream home without the stress of falling in love & losing out to a higher bidder.

This is not an isolated case. In fact, we just were notified Friday about a review posted on independent review site Zillow.com and our clients Ben & Sai Apfelbaum who bought in the Pimmit Hills area of Falls Church also happened to mention how valuable it was that they were able to get into properties before they came on the market.

Kevin Kleifges The Belt Team

Here’s what they said:

“My husband and I worked with Kevin Kleifges of Keller Williams Realty’s BELT Team for almost four months as our buyer agent from the start of our search through move in to our new home. Kevin possesses great real estate agent qualities. Kevin knows the area (for us – Vienna / Tysons / Falls Church), is very professional, and has a lot of experience in the industry. In a market with limited inventory, he has a lot of connections with other agents in the area and was able to get us in early to look at new listings or even houses that had not yet been posted. Kevin always accommodated our schedule, including showing us listings in the worst inclement weather. He helped us successfully get a contract signed in a competitive market by crafting an offer that optimized the needs of all parties. He did a great job helping us to resolve the few problems we encountered with the house and the seller’s agent. (The seller’s agent did not demonstrate the same class or integrity). Everything ran smoothly from start to finish. We appreciated the ease of working with Keller Williams. They use electronic signature so we could just sign the contracts and addendums which is so convenient. We also received a friendly reminder emails from his office suggesting the actionable items we need to do at closing and before we moved in. I am really glad that we worked with him and all of the people in his office. In addition to the work of Keller Williams Realty, Kevin presented strong connections, including quality loan officer, home inspector and repair contractors (although I ended up using my own loan officer for the purchase). His inspector came with many years of experience and identified several issues that others would have missed, which saved us time, money and headache down the road. In summary, I would highly recommend working with Kevin and his team if you are looking for expertise, loyalty, and trust in your realtor.”

Bottom Line? You don’t need GHOSTBUSTERS, you need THE BELT TEAM!

Currently, The Belt Team has “ghost inventory” in Great Falls, Oakton, Vienna, Reston & Arlington. Call (703) 242-3975 to schedule an appointment & learn about our Preferred Client Inventory List (or email The Belt Team).

Sellers – If you’d like to maximize profits AND make your life easier – call (703) 242-3975 and ask for Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges. We’ll help you construct a strategy to do so.

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

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Are We In A Buyer’s Market or A Seller’s Market In Northern VA?

Northern VA Real Estate Market Fluctuation

When we meet with our Buyers & Sellers for their initial consultation, one of the things we talk about is what’s happening nationally, regionally and locally in the real estate market – how much homes are selling for, what’s on the market, and how fast homes are selling. The question that comes up most often is “Are we in a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?”

First, let’s define the terms:

“Balanced Market”: is a real estate market where there is about 6 months of housing inventory. There is no real advantage to one side or the other.

“Buyer’s Market”: is a real estate market where there are more homes on the market than there are Buyers, so much so that Buyers have the upper hand in negotiating and can often get a deal. Typically, a “Buyer’s Market” is defined as more than 6 months of housing inventory.

“Seller’s Market”: is a real estate market where there are a plethora of Buyers and not many homes on the market. This means Sellers have the advantage and this is a market where we see competing offers on many homes. Typically, a “Seller’s Market” is defined as less than 3 months of housing inventory.

So where are we today in Northern VA?

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

In most areas in Northern VA (Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Dunn Loring, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Reston, Springfield, Sterling & Vienna) – housing inventory is less than 2 months and we are in a Seller’s Market.

In Oakton, housing inventory is just under 3 months, which is technically also a Seller’s Market – but there are pockets – with some neighborhoods &  price ranges that are seeing a Balanced Market and others seeing a Seller’s Market.

In Great Falls & McLean, housing inventory is 6 months & 3 months respectively – so technically a Balanced Market. However, note that as you go up in price range, there are HUGE variances and some areas are actually still seeing a Buyer’s Market.

Here are the stats for each city in Northern VA:

CITY # Months Inventory Market
Alexandria 1.6 Seller’s
Arlington 1.8 Seller’s
Ashburn 2.8 Balanced
Burke 1.3 Seller’s
Centreville 1.1 Seller’s
Chantilly 1.3 Seller’s
Dunn Loring 2 Seller’s
Fairfax 1.1 Seller’s
Falls Church 1.5 Seller’s
Great Falls 6 Balanced
Herndon 1.8 Seller’s
McLean 3 Balanced
Oakton 2.5 Seller’s
Reston 1.3 Seller’s
Springfield 0.8 Seller’s
Sterling 1.2 Seller’s
Vienna 1.5 Seller’s

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a detailed analysis on YOUR neighborhood. After all, it’s only the area you live in or WANT to live in that matters!

I Want Buy A Home & Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation

I Want To Sell A Home & Schedule a FREE Seller Consultation

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

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

Snow Does Not Stall Spring Market In Northern Virginia

Oakton Real EstateThe first day of Spring is still a few weeks away, and we have a ton of snow on the ground; but if you take a look at home sales in Northern Virginia, you’ll see that the Spring market is already in full swing. (We know this anecdotally from our own listings & sales, but let’s take a look at the statistics.)

What SOLD In January & February?

The “Sold Price” of a home is not usually released until the home goes to settlement & the sale is recorded at the courthouse, So when you see articles about home “sales”, the data lags a bit. Homes that sold in January & February probably went under contract somewhere between November & January. How many homes settled and what was the average sales price? Check the list below for your area:

CITY # of Home Sales Avg Sold Price
Alexandria 472 $463,813
Arlington 286 $559,848
Ashburn 131 $482,696
Burke 63 $449,776
Centreville 98 $385,240
Chantilly 88 $450,969
Dunn Loring 2 $840,000
Fairfax 206 $480,367
Falls Church 161 $481,629
Great Falls 14 $1,120,100
Herndon 74 $453,627
McLean 76 $926,662
Oakton 31 $597,409
Reston 105 $408,003
Springfield 134 $416,077
Sterling 111 $384,360
Vienna 79 $719,238

Search homes for sale in Northern VA

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What Went UNDER CONTRACT in January & February?

In every jurisdiction, a LOT more homes went under contract in January & February than sold during the previous few months. Buyers are NOT waiting until “true Spring” to buy homes.

CITY # of Homes Sold # of Homes Under Contract
Alexandria 472 714
Arlington 286 373
Ashburn 131 208
Burke 63 91
Centreville 98 142
Chantilly 88 114
Dunn Loring 2 3
Fairfax 206 284
Falls Church 161 173
Great Falls 14 24
Herndon 74 99
McLean 76 98
Oakton 31 38
Reston 105 149
Springfield 134 191
Sterling 111 147
Vienna 79 114

Search homes for sale in Northern VA

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How Fast Are Homes Selling?

Not only are more homes selling, but with the exception of Great Falls & McLean, they are selling faster now than they were over the past few months. (Dunn Loring is also an exception, but the statistical pool is too small to call it a trend.) Keep in mind, these are averages. Many homes are selling the same weekend they go on the market. We listed one Thursday, a contract came in over the weekend and was ratified today. (Note that there are a variety of conditions in the marketplace – with some homes languishing and some getting multiple contracts. We had one listing in our office last month that received 17 contracts!) (Note: DOM = “days on market”)

CITY DOM Solds DOM Under Contracts
Alexandria 61 59
Arlington 48 40
Ashburn 56 39
Burke 43 36
Centreville 55 50
Chantilly 45 41
Dunn Loring 18 54
Fairfax 52 42
Falls Church 51 46
Great Falls 133 133
Herndon 48 40
McLean 86 96
Oakton 87 75
Reston 52 41
Springfield 54 47
Sterling 54 44
Vienna 53 50

Moral of the Story?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sellers: If you have been waiting for the market to improve so you can sell, NOW is the time. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a Seller Consultation. Not only will we discuss the market conditions of YOUR neighborhood, we will consult with you on staging, preparation, marketing, pricing strategies & more. (If you call this month, we will also pay for a consultation with our Professional Stager – a $195 value). You can also set up a FREE daily update (or weekly or monthly) so you find out what homes are selling for in your neighborhood.

Buyers: The market is tight. Be prepared to move quickly. You may need to compete. And in order to do so, you may need to lower the price range you are looking in. (If you can only afford to go to $700,000 for example, you may want to only look at homes up to $650,000.) You also need to make sure you work with Realtors who are proactive, seek properties on your behalf that are NOT yet on the market and utilize the most state-of-the-art home search web site (not sites like Zillow or Trulia that are NOT updated as frequently.) Contact us at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation. No obligation. We will discuss market conditions, strategies for competing, the entire homebuying process including how much cash you will need, financing options and more. Interest rates are low, so you might be surprised at what you can afford. And since prices are rising, you don’t want to wait!

The Belt Team’s mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change YOURS, call us TODAY at (703) 242-3975. It would be a pleasure for OUR family to help YOUR family make the RIGHT move!