Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Neutralizing

The next topic in our “Tip Tuesday” series of posts on Preparing Your Home for Sale is NEUTRALIZING:

  1. Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting. Your objective here is to make your home appeal to the largest possible buying segment. Ask yourself, “How many of the available buyers would be able to move into your house and have their furniture fit in and not have to replace the carpeting or repaint the walls?” Position your home on the market to be as livable as possible to as many people as possible, and allow the buyer to mentally picture the home as theirs.
  2. Forget your personal taste…the “market” is always demand driven. The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond blue carpeting and bold wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones. Two coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made!

Remember, these weekly posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

So look for more home selling tips on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macshares:

“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”

That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.

While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.

It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.

Bottom Line

The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and contact The Belt Team to explore your options in our area.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Cleaning

The next topic in our “Tip Tuesday” series of posts on Preparing Your Home for Sale is CLEANING:

  1. Make sure every area of the home sparkles and shines! Every hour spent will be worth it. Would you rather buy a clean car or a dirty one? Would you hurry to buy a pair of shoes with mud on them?
  2. Clean all windows inside and out. This helps make the house sparkle.
  3. Clean all carpeting and area rugs…along with tile and wooden floors.
  4. Clean and polish all woodwork. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
  5. Make sure all light fixtures are clean and shining!

Remember, these weekly posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

So look for more home selling tips on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

Tip Tuesday: Preparing Your Home for Sale – Repairs

Thinking of selling your home but aren’t sure how to get it ready? Well…we’re here to help! This is the first in a series of “Tip Tuesday” posts about Preparing Your Home for Sale.

These posts will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible sales price in the least amount of time. We will concentrate on areas like: (1) Repairing, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere and (6) Staging.

Today’s topic is REPAIRS:

  1. The rule of thumb is, if something is in need of repair, fix it! There are probably many small things in your home that you have simply become used to over time…things that you have been promising yourself that you would attend to. Well, now is the time. The buyer will mentally add up the cost of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than what it would cost you to do the repairs. And if there are too many items, even if they are not costly, the buyer may choose to buy another home. Many buyers do not have the time or “know-how” to make simple repairs. And because our marketplace is so competitive, they have come to expect a near-perfect property.
  2. Repaint.  If paint is in good condition, check for peeling.  Remove dated wall paper if not in style.
  3. Large repairs: In today’s climate of open disclosure & professional home inspections, the rule is “Treat a buyer better than you would treat yourself.” Repair any problems with major systems. It is to your benefit to address these kinds of issues up front rather than to have to re-negotiate.

So look for more home selling tip on Tuesdays and if you are thinking of selling your home this year, please reach out to The Belt Team and let our 50+ years of experience in real estate work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

A Look Back at 2022 & Happy New Year!

Here we are at the beginning of another year…where does the time go?! The 2022 real estate market had its ups and downs but one thing that was, and remains, consistent for The Belt Team is the trust & support from all of our clients, friends and family. And for that we are grateful!

As we reflected on this past year, we thought it would be fun to put together a short video of some of our favorite moments from 2022 for you to enjoy!

Sending each and every one of you our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2023!

Terry Belt and The Belt Team

3 Best Practices for Selling Your House This Year

A new year brings with it the opportunity for new experiences. If that resonates with you because you’re considering making a move, you’re likely juggling a mix of excitement over your next home and a sense of attachment to your current one.

A great way to ease some of those emotions and ensure you’re feeling confident in your decision is to keep these three best practices in mind.

1. Price Your Home Right

The housing market shifted in 2022 as mortgage rates rose, buyer demand eased, and the number of homes for sale grew. As a seller, you’ll want to recognize things are different now and price your house appropriately based on where the market is today. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“Price your home realistically. This isn’t the housing market of April or May, so buyer traffic will be substantially slower, but appropriately priced homes are still selling quickly.”

If you price your house too high, you run the risk of deterring buyers. And if you go too low, you’re leaving money on the table. An experienced real estate agent can help determine what your ideal asking price should be.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses longer. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), since 1985, the average time a homeowner has owned their home has increased from 5 to 10 years (see graph below):

3 Best Practices for Selling Your House This Year | MyKCM

This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your loved ones grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

While you may love your decor and how you’ve customized your home over the years, not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you focus on your home’s first impression so it appeals to as many buyers as possible. As NAR says:

“Staging is the art of preparing a home to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers in your market. The right arrangements can move you into a higher price-point and help buyers fall in love the moment they walk through the door.”

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your house ready to sell.

If you’re considering selling your house, call The Belt Team today so we an help you through the process while prioritizing these best practices.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

What To Expect From the Housing Market in 2023

The 2022 housing market has been defined by two key things: inflation and rapidly rising mortgage rates. And in many ways, it’s put the market into a reset position.

As the Federal Reserve (the Fed) made moves this year to try to lower inflation, mortgage rates more than doubled – something that’s never happened before in a calendar year. This had a cascading impact on buyer activity, the balance between supply and demand, and ultimately home prices. And as all those things changed, some buyers and sellers put their plans on hold and decided to wait until the market felt a bit more predictable.

But what does that mean for next year? What everyone really wants is more stability in the market in 2023. For that to happen we’ll need to see the Fed bring inflation down even more and keep it there. Here’s what housing market experts say we can expect next year.

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates in 2023?

Moving forward, experts agree it’s still going to be all about inflation. If inflation is high, mortgage rates will be as well. But if inflation continues to fall, mortgage rates will likely respond. While there may be early signs inflation is easing as we round out this year, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Inflation is still something to watch in 2023.

Right now, experts are factoring all of this into their mortgage rate forecasts for next year. And if we average those forecasts together, experts say we can expect rates to stabilize a bit more in 2023. Whether that’s between 5.5% and 6.5%, it’s hard for experts to say exactly where they’ll land. But based on the average of their projections, a more predictable rate is likely ahead (see chart below):

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

That means, we’ll start the year out about where we are right now. But we could see rates tick down if inflation continues to drop. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“. . . mortgage rates could pull back meaningfully next year if inflation pressures ease.

In the meantime, expect some volatility as rates will likely fluctuate in the weeks ahead. If we see inflation come back under control, that would be good news for the housing market.

What Will Happen to Home Prices Next Year?

Homes prices will always be defined by supply and demand. The more buyers and fewer homes there are on the market, the more home prices will rise. And that’s exactly what we saw during the pandemic.

But this year, things changed. We’ve seen home prices moderate and housing supply grow as buyer demand pulled back due to higher mortgage rates. The level of moderation has varied by local area – with the biggest changes happening in overheated markets. But do experts think that will continue?

The graph below shows the latest home price forecasts for 2023. As the different colored bars indicate, some experts are saying home prices will appreciate next year, and others are saying home prices will come down. But again, if we take the average of all the forecasts (shown in green), we can get a feel for what 2023 may hold.

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That means nationally, we’ll likely see relatively flat or neutral appreciation in 2023. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

Bottom Line

The 2023 housing market is going to be defined by mortgage rates, and rates will be determined by what happens with inflation. The best way to keep a pulse on what experts are projecting for next year is to lean on a trusted real estate advisor. Let’s connect!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Home Sale Statistics in Northern Virginia – November 2022

Listen to Terry in the quick video below talk about the Northern Virginia real estate market as we come to the end of 2022. Are we still in a Seller’s Market? How do we compare to other regions in the country? What are interest rates doing?

If you have specific questions about the market you would like answered, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

After watching, take a look at all of the regional stats below along with links to some of our hyper local areas.

Northern Virginia November 2022 home sales:

1,782 homes went under contract in the region. This is down 44% from the same time period in 2021.

38% of the homes that went to settlement in November 2022, sold in 10 days or less from when they hit the market.

• Average sold price was $676,877 (up 5% from the same time period in 2021).

1,979 homes came on the market. That’s down 23% from November 2021.

• Homes that sold (closed) averaged 27 days on market, 6 days slower than in November of 2021.

• There is currently a 1.0 month supply of homes (remember, in a balanced market – the demand from buyers equals the supply from sellers – there is a 5-6 months supply) in the Northern Virginia – and 3,141 homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single-family).

OVERALL: Northern Virginia remained in a Seller’s Market. Inventory decreased from the prior month but was up 35% year-over-year.  The number of homes going under contract and coming on the market also declined, and both of these numbers continue to be down significantly from this time last year.  Average sold price was down from October but up compared to November last year.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, please reach out to Terry & The Belt Team and let our experience work for you.

(703) 242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | or fill out our Contact Us form

To see what the conditions are like in your community, click on the link to your desired city below! 

Vienna: November 2022 Home Sales

Oakton: November 2022 Home Sales 

McLean: November 2022 Home Sales 

Great Falls: November 2022 Home Sales 

Reston: November 2022 Home Sales 

Falls Church: November 2022 Home Sales 

Arlington: November 2022 Home Sales

Alexandria: November 2022 Home Sales  

*Data compiled from SmartCharts, MarketStats by ShowingTime, whose data comes directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Your House Could Be the #1 Item on a Homebuyer’s Wish List During the Holidays

Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“There’s still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.”

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

3. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. Plus, purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are ready to buy.

4. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you. That can help you minimize disruptions, which is especially important this time of year.

5. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. And, many buyers are looking to escape rising rents and avoid falling into the rental trap for another year. As an article from Zillow says:

“Over the next 12 months, rents are expected to grow more than inflation, the stock market and home values.”

Your home could be their ticket to leaving renting behind for good.

Bottom Line

There are still many reasons it makes sense to list your house during the holiday season.

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, reach out to The Belt Team so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Our Bright Night: Celebrating 10 Years of Our Minds Matter

Our Minds Matter (OMM), formerly the Josh Anderson Foundation (JAF), was founded in 2012 in Vienna, VA with the vision to end teen suicide.  The Foundation was named after Josh Anderson, who died by suicide in 2009 at the age of seventeen. Josh was what you might call a “typical” teenager and had his whole life ahead of him. The Foundation’s goals are to equip teens with mental health education, resources and support so they never die by suicide. 

On Friday, December 9th, OMM will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary at their Our Bright Night event and The Belt Team is honored to be one of the sponsors.

“10 years is an amazing milestone, and we’re excited to celebrate on December 9th at the Showroom in Washington, D.C. with the partners and supporters who have gotten us to where we are today — including The Belt Team at Keller Williams. We started in 5 clubs in Fairfax County, VA — and now we’re in 140 schools in the DMV and throughout the country! It’s amazing to see so many dedicated teenage students promoting mental health at their schools, and prioritizing their own mental health. OMM has built the platform and structure over this past decade — but it’s the students who make the difference every day within their school communities.”

Lauren Anderson, Executive Director

If you are interested in attending Our Bright Night and supporting this wonderful foundation, tickets are still available. Visit their event website HERE to find out more details about the event, how to purchase tickets and/or become a sponsor. Also take some time to read about OMM’s mission and values and how they are making an amazing impact on our teens and community at www.ourmindsmatter.org.