5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent

5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent | MyKCM

Owning a home has great financial benefits.

In a recent research paper, Homeownership and the American Dream, Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer of the Urban Land Institute explained:

“Homeownership appears to help borrowers accumulate housing and nonhousing wealth in a variety of ways, with tax advantages, greater financial flexibility due to secured borrowing, built-in ‘default’ savings with mortgage amortization and nominally fixed payments, and the potential to lower home maintenance costs through sweat equity.”

Let’s breakdown 5 major financial benefits of homeownership:

1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available

Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. A 20% down payment results in a leverage factor of five, meaning every percentage point rise in the value of your home is a 5% return on your equity. If you put down 10%, your leverage factor is 10.

Example: Let’s assume you purchased a $300,000 home and put down $60,000 (20%). If the house appreciates by $30,000, that is only a 10% increase in value but a 50% increase in equity.

2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent

Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!

3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”

Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 44X greater than that of a renter. As a matter of fact, it was recently estimated that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Owning is a hedge against inflation

House values and rents tend to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation. When you own, your home’s value will protect you from that inflation.

5. There are still substantial tax benefits to owning

We know that the new tax reform bill puts limits on some deductions on certain homes. However, in the research paper referenced above, the authors explain:

“…the mortgage interest deduction is not the main source of these gains; even if it were removed, homeowners would continue to benefit from a lack of taxation of imputed rent and capital gains.”

Bottom Line

From a financial standpoint, owning a home has always been and will always be better than renting.

Ready to buy? Call/text us at 703-242-3975

Now’s the Time to Move-Up and Upgrade Your Current Home!

Now’s the Time to Move-Up and Upgrade Your Current Home! | MyKCM

Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.

Much of the demand for housing over the past couple of years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home. Many of the more expensive homes listed for sale have not seen as much interest.

According to ILHM’s Luxury Reportthis mismatch in demand and inventory of luxury and premium homes has created a Buyer’s Market. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home was defined as one that costs $1 million or more.

“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.”

The authors of the report were quick to point out that current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern.

“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”

Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time! Give us a call or text 703-242-3972 or email info@TheBeltTeam.com and we’d be happy to help!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Tips For Getting Your House Ready For Sale

It is a sellers market! If you want to sell your home soon, it’s worth putting in the work now. Let’s get together to chat and start the process!

The Belt Team specializes in creating real estate success stories, and we would love to be a part of yours! If you, a friend, or family member are looking to buy or sell we would love to connect.

Thinking about selling? Visit http://www.TheBeltTeam.com

Thinking about buying? Visit http://www.BeltTeamRealEstate.com

Or give us a call at 703-242-3975

Fairfax County Real Estate Tax Assessments Have Been Mailed!

Those of you who live in Fairfax County should have recently received your real estate tax assessment.

For a large number of you (76%!), the assessment went up. And, well, that will likely mean higher taxes this year (the Board of Supervisors will set the 2019 tax rate later this spring, but if the past predicts the future, what you pay will increase either because of an increased tax rate or because your assessment increased). On average, assessments are up 3.6%.

However, the assessments did not rise as much as the previous year in part because values did not rise as much. While 2017 saw a 4.21% increase in median sold price in Fairfax County, 2018 was slightly lower at 3.03%.

(If you have not received your notice yet, you can check your Fairfax County assessment value online)


Here are some overall stats from Fairfax County:

Of the 354,695 taxable parcels in Fairfax County:

  • 294,520 have an assessment change
  • 60,175 have no assessment change

Here’s the breakdown of average home property assessment by property type (averages are not necessarily indicative of individual properties or neighborhoods):

  • Single family-detached homes – $673,407, up 2.17%
  • Townhouse/duplex properties – $422,490, up 3.12%
  • Condominiums – $272,914, up 2.98%

Now. Truth be told – the assessments in Fairfax County are oftentimes LOWER than actual “market value” (meaning what a “willing Seller” and “willing Buyer” agree a property is worth by ratifying a contract to sell/buy that property.)

If you are thinking of buying a home in Fairfax County, don’t be deceived into thinking you will be able to buy a home for about what the County has assessed as the value of the property. We are often asked how a Seller could justify an asking price above the Fairfax County tax assessment.

Assessed value is just ONE factor to look at when buying or selling. A better place to start is with a FREE INSTANT online estimate. Then schedule an appointment with The Belt Team for a custom estimate.

If you think your assessment is wrong, Fairfax County does have an appeal process. You can file an online appeal prior to April 3rd. More info here.

Also note that Seniors and People with Disabilities may be eligible for the county’s tax relief program. More info here.

If you have questions about your assessed value, the market value of your home or are thinking of buying or selling a home, give The Belt Team a call (703) 242-3975. We are happy to help you make the right move!

Just Listed! 8340 Greensboro Dr. Unit 109 – In the heart of Tysons!

8340 Greensboro Dr. Unit 109 McLean, VA 22102 was just listed by Beth Dadisman & The Belt Team.

Welcome home to The Rotonda! Located in the heart of Tysons. This 1 bedroom /1 bath first level condo has been fully renovated. Featuring ceramic tile flooring throughout (triple coated sealant), updated doors & hardware, Hunter Douglas shades (raise/lower in both directions) in LR/DR/BR, updated light fixtures, fully upgraded kitchen featuring granite countertops, cherry cabinets & drawers (soft close, pull outs), custom glass tile backsplash,& so much more! Close to DC with shuttle buses to metro every 15 min! Nearby restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Also, walking distance to the new upcoming hot spot The Boro Tysons (more shopping, dining, & entertainment!). It is move in ready!

This home is flooded with natural light through large windows and sliding glass doors. The flowing floor plan makes this home ideal for entertaining. Features include living room and dinning room directly off the kitchen, ceramic tile floors (triple coated sealing), and updated fixtures.

Do you love to cook? Then you will love this spacious kitchen! It was fully renovated & customized in 2014 making this a one of a kind kitchen in The Rotonda. Features include an abundance of cabinet and countertop space, granite countertops, cherry wood cabinets & drawers, updated appliances, and custom glass tile backsplash. It will be sure to wow your guests!

The bedroom is spacious and full of light. Featuring a spacious closet and the upgraded ceramic tile floors. The bathroom was fully renovated in 2014. Featuring updated bathtub, spray shower head, sink, toilet, vanity, cabinet with top lighting, & medicine cabinet.

You will love the patio right off the living room. It’s the perfect place to sit and read, visit and enjoy guests, drink your morning coffee, you name it! You will also appreciate the extra storage out there.

Amenities:

Gorgeous lobbies. indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, tennis courts, tot lots, community center, putting green, and so much more. The Rotonda has got it all!

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!

You are in the heart of Tysons! Minutes to Tysons Corner Mall, Tysons Galleria, & more! Shopping, dining, & entertainment surrounds you! Conveniently close to DC with shuttle buses to metro every 15 min! The Greensboro stop is just around the corner! Also, walking distance to the new upcoming hotspot The Boro Tysons (even more shopping, dining & entertainment spots coming soon!). Easy access to 495, Rt. 7, Rt. 66, Dulles Toll Rd & the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

FAVORITE FEATURES: 

We always ask our owners to tell us what they feel makes their
home special. Here are their favorite things in their own words…

-When the weather is nice, there is nothing like being out on the patio enjoying a book, cup of coffee, or any beverage of your choice!
-The house is full of natural light and warmth.
-The location is a dream come true! Super close to Greensboro Metro making it easy for day-trips into the city.
-The 4 large closets gave me more than enough storage space.
-All of the updates made this condo feel brand new!
-The updated design of the kitchen really opened it up so you could enjoy cooking! The ample countertop & cabinet space is a dream come true!

HOME IMPROVEMENTS/UPDATES:

  • 2016 Updated heating & cooling system with Shanahann’s
  • 2014 ENTIRE UNIT RENOVATED
  • Painted all rooms (Benjamin Moore)
  • Ceramic tile fooring (triple coated sealant) all rooms/closets
  • Updated all doors w hardware
  • Installed Hunter Douglas shades (raise/lower in both directions) in LR/DR/BR
  • Updated Ceiling light fixtures
  • 2014 ENTIRE KITCHEN RENOVATED
  • Upgraded to granite countertops
  • Installed cherry cabinets and drawers (soft close, pull outs)
  • Added Custom glass tile backsplash
  • 6+ electrical outlets added
  • Updated sink, garbage disposal
  • Updated stove, microwave, refrigerator , & dishwasher
  • Installed under cabinet lighting & updated electrical panel/wiring
  • BATHROOM updated tup, spray shower head, sing, toilet, vanity, cabinet/top/lighting, medicine cabinet

SCHOOLS:

-Spring Hill Elementary School
-Longfellow Middle School 
-McLean High School

Click Here for pictures & more details.

Call Beth Dadisman & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975!

Happy Valentine’s Day! How to Know if You’ve Found the Real Estate Agent of Your Dreams!

Whether you are buying your first home, or selling your house to move up to the home of your dreams, finding the right agent to help you on your journey should be your first step! Look for someone who guides you with the ‘heart of a teacher’ and keeps your goals top of mind. Let’s get together to chat about all the ways we can make your dreams come true!

The Belt Team specializes in creating real estate success stories, and we would love to be a part of yours! If you, a friend, or family member are looking to buy or sell we would love to connect.

Thinking about selling? Visit www.TheBeltTeam.com 

Thinking about buying? Visit www.BeltTeamRealEstate.com 

Or give us a call at 703-242-3975

Just Listed! 504-J N Thomas St. Arlington, VA 22203 – In the heart of Ballston!

504-J N Thomas St. Arlington, VA 22203 was just listed by Beth Dadisman & The Belt Team.

Welcome home to this gorgeous 4 level townhome tucked away in a great Arlington location! Located in the heart of Ballston, featuring 3 bedrooms /3.5 baths, interior newly painted, shinning hardwood floors, corian countertops, updated bathrooms, stunning architectural details, & so much more.  The location is unbeatable! Minutes to the Ballston Metro (Makes commuting fast & easy!), Harris Teeter, & the new Ballston Quarter (packed with shopping, restaurants, & entertainment!). The open floor plan is an entertainers dream come true. Perfect home for a growing family!

Main Level:

The main level is flooded with natural light through large windows. The flowing floor plan makes this home ideal for entertaining. Features include living room and dinning room directly off the kitchen, shining hardwood floors, gas fireplace, stunning fixtures, and beautiful architectural details including custom crown molding, chair rails, and columns.

Do you love to cook? Then you will love this spacious kitchen! Featuring an abundance of cabinet and countertop space, recessed lighting, corian countertops, island with breakfast bar, and cozy eat-in area with a window seat.  Eat-In space can also be used as office space!

UPPER LEVEL 1:

Upper level I is an absolute inviting retreat. Featuring the master bedroom with en-suite and additional bedroom with full bathroom.

The master bedroom features 2 walk-in closets, plush carpet, ceiling fan, vaulted ceilings, and window seat. The spacious updated master en-suite features a Jacuzzi tub, standing shower with custom tiling & stunning fixtures, and double vanities.

You will appreciate the additional bedroom on this level with attached full bathroom. Featuring Elfa closet system, large windows, and plush carpeting. En-suite bathroom features shower/tub combination.

UPPER LEVEL 2:

This is the perfect space for a guest suite, or growing families, the options are endless. You will appreciate the full bedroom, full bathroom, and laundry on this level. Bedroom features include spacious closet, large windows, built-in desk/shelving, and plush carpeting.

The updated full bathroom is gorgeous! From the fixtures to small details it will be sure to wow guests. Full bathroom was added in 2018. The updated front loading LG washer and dryer are conveniently tucked away in the bathroom as well.

LOWER LEVEL/OUTDOOR FEATURES:

The spacious foyer welcomes you into the home. Includes garage entry & flows to a spacious recreation room and outdoor space. The recreation room features gorgeous custom built-ins, Polk Audio surround sound speakers (installed in recreation room & front of the house above the garage), and fresh paint. Imagine movie nights, game nights, you name it!

You will love the easy access to the private fenced in patio from the recreation room. Imagine enjoy summer nights, cookouts, whatever you want out on the patio! This is a sanctuary,  perfect  for  children,  pets,  and  so  much more!

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!

This location is unbeatable. You can shop and dine in newly opened Ballston Quarter, Harris Teeter, restaurants, theater, gyms, its got it all! Plus there is a Target and community recreation center coming soon.

You will love how close you are to Ballston Metro. Plus you’ll have easy access to Rt. 50, Rt. 66, & Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

FAVORITE FEATURES: 

We always ask our owners to tell us what they feel makes their
home special. Here are their favorite things in their own words…

When the weather is nice, there is nothing like being out on the patio enjoying a book, cup of coffee, or any beverage of your choice! 

The house faces East/South filling the living room with plenty of natural light and warmth.

The location is a dream come true! Super close to the Ballston Metro making it easy for day-trips into the city. 

The large his and her closets were gave us more than enough storage space.

The floor plan is perfect for entertaining! Great for hosting Super Bowl Parties, holiday parties, 4th of July and anything else we want to celebrate! 

The lower level recreation room was where the kids spent most of their time. It was perfect for a game room, movie room, or playroom.

In the winter cozy-ed up by the gas fireplace is where you will find us!

HOME IMPROVEMENTS/UPDATES:

-2018 Added full bathroom on 4th floor
-2018 Updated shower in Master Bathroom
-2017 Updated LG front loading washer/dryer installed
-2014 All windows replaced
-2014 Replaced (1 of 2) AC Units
-Polk Audio surround sound speakers installed in recreation room & in front of the house above the garage
-Smart House! Ecobee 3 smart thermostats installed for both HVAC systems, 2nd generation Kevo smart lock, Ring Video Doorbell Pro, All four, smoke/CO detectors are networks and have Roost batteries installed, Leviton Z-Wave switches (installed for most lights), Samsung SmartThings v2 Hub,LifX Gu10 downlight installed in the living room fan/light

SCHOOLS:

-Barrett Elementary School
-Swanson Middle School 
-Washington Lee High School

Click Here for pictures & more details.

Call Beth Dadisman & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975!

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale | MyKCM

One of the biggest challenges sellers face when listing their house is decluttering. Cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

Those planning to sell soon are in luck! Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.

“The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!

“Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.”

When selling your house, first impressions matter! Before you or your agent schedule a photographer to take photos for your listing, make sure to tour your home with fresh eyes. Look for any imperfections that a buyer might notice.

When you sort through your more sentimental items, consider packing them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during open houses and showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you need to do right before you move!

Bottom Line

Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. This will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you’re off to a great start in your new home!

Thinking about selling? Visit www.TheBeltTeam.com 

Thinking about buying? Visit www.BeltTeamRealEstate.com 

Or give us a call at 703-242-3975

Shhhh! What NOT To Say When Your Home Is On The Market!

Real estate markets around the country differ in terms of the protocol of how showings are handled. In some areas, homes are shown by appointment only with the listing agent present for every showing. In Northern Virginia, it’s customary for buyer agents to let Sellers know when they would like to show the home to their clients. The Seller then lets the agent in or the agent accesses the home through the lockbox that is placed on the door. (Appointment only listings exist, but unless the home is in the multi-million dollar luxury category, this can be a huge detriment to selling.)

This means Sellers are often home when agents come to show. We recommend that our Sellers leave during showings so Buyers can really picture the house as “theirs”. The other reason we recommend they leave is because it’s in their best interests NOT to discuss the following things with the Buyer Agent or the Buyers. Why? Because potential purchasers want to obtain the LOWEST price and BEST terms for themselves. And Buyer Agents represent them, not you.

The conversation might be a casual one. Just a meet & greet as you head out the door. But don’t get caught off guard and end up in the DANGER ZONE!

7 Things Home Sellers Should Not Say

7 Things Sellers Should NOT Discuss With Buyers (or Buyer Agents):

1. Reason for selling

2. Motivation/urgency to sell

3. Willingness to consider an offer less than the listing price

4. Terms under which you would sell

5. Relocation, timing, benefits & policies

6. Items of personal property which you “might” be willing to include in a sale.

7. Any confidential information that would serve to disclose your negotiating strategy.

For more tips about how to sell your home for the highest price, contact Terry Belt & The Belt Team. We are known nationally for our top-notch negotiating skills and Belt Team listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than average. It’s why we are routinely recognized among the best Realtors in Northern VA, and rank in the top realtors in the entire state.

FREE – What Is My Home Worth?

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better“. If it’s time to change yours, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975