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)

WHat Is My Home Worth

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home | MyKCM

Here’s another great article from Keeping Current Matters. If you’d like to discuss strategy for selling YOUR home, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975.

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In reality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for their house (see chart below).

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home | MyKCM

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive, as the seller likely believes that he or she will net more money if they don’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.

If you’d like to discuss strategy for selling YOUR home, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. You can also request our FREE Report “40 Questions You MUST Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Sell Your House”.WHat Is My Home Worth

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

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

Our friends at Keeping Current Matters have provided us with some research indicating low appraisals could continue to be a problem in 2016. Here’s what they say:


Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

“First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.”


We concur. Our Northern VA market may not be seeing huge price increases, but there are still pockets where homes are selling with multiple offers and above sales price. In this situation, there are a number of strategies your Realtor may employ to protect you. For example, sometimes you can strike the appraisal and financing contingencies, or look for contracts where the buyer is making a large down payment. This is why who you select to represent you when selling your home is SO important. There are a million ways a sale can fall through. This is is just one. Make sure your Realtor knows how to bulletproof a transaction. Ask your agent LOTS of questions before you hire them!

Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 for more info about selling your home.

Watch Out For Shark Infested Waters in the Real Estate Market

Wondering how the real estate market is faring? Take a look at this snapshot from Keeping Current Matters:

Home Sales November 2015 Real Estate

What’s most important in the infographic is the quote from Lawrence Yun. You see, sales in November 2015 were down from sales in November 2014. In our opinion, the real reason for this is TRID.

TRID (Truth-In-Lending RESPA Integrated Documentation – or as some Realtors call it, “The Reason I Drink”) is a new government regulation that affects people who are buying and selling homes. We won’t go into all the details (and there are a LOT of them), but the bottom line is that TRID is causing increased costs and delays in settlement. We expect that when numbers come out for December, that many of the expected November closings will show up.

That said – TRID is just another reason why it’s SO important for consumers to be represented by Realtors who do this every day and can help their clients navigate what often feel like shark infested waters. Part of what we do is manage all the details of the buying & selling process. We make sure deadlines are met, you are protected, and that you get where you want to go when you want to be there.

We have heard all kinds of horror stories about delayed closings – Buyers with their household belongings on trucks for days, staying in a hotel because their settlement was pushed back due to a TRID delay. Others where their mortgage loan lock-in expired, only  to have to pay hundred or thousands of dollars to extend the rate. Sellers who pack up and move out – but can’t get their money when they need it because the Buyer was held up by TRID.

Terry Belt Realtor The Belt TeamTerry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team says, “You don’t need to know all the ins & outs of TRID, but your Realtor does. Our advice to you – whether buying or selling a home – is to make sure to work with a seasoned real estate team – the best you can find. It’s in your best interests to use their years of experience and their immense resources to your advantage. When problems arise, and with new regulations like TRID it’s not unusual – you need someone with creativity & pull on YOUR side. The more homes a Realtor sells, the more likely they are to be a great problem solver. So ask for details when you’re interviewing your Realtor. (We even have a list of questions you should ask your Realtor!)”

Schedule an appointment with The Belt Team by calling (703) 242-3975.

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The Belt Team is one of the Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents in the State of Virginia (as named by Real Trends) and one of Washingtonian Magazines Best Realtors in 2015. Our mission statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If it’s time to change YOURS, call us at (703) 242-3975 TODAY. It’s our pleasure to help you make the RIGHT move.

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5 Ways To Know If Your Realtor Is Tech Savvy (Does it even matter?)

 

    

Does it really matter whether or not your Realtor is “Tech Savvy”?

The answer is a resounding YES!

Watch this one minute video for a QUICK answer on how you know if your Realtor is Tech Savvy: !

As a Buyer or Seller, it really doesn’t matter whether YOU are into technology or not. We work with all kinds of folks and we adapt to whatever their comfort level & needs are when it comes to communication, home searching & more. And while technology can make buying or selling a home easier on you, it’s really not an absolute necessity that YOU be tech savvy.

So, whether you’re like my husband (who has a phone with no camera, no internet access and a flip top – he calls it a “dumb phone” instead of a “smart phone”) or you’re the first person in your office to get the latest gadget or download the newest app – you can be successful in buying or selling a home, doing it with the least inconvenience possible, and maximizing your exposure (if you’re selling) or your opportunity (if you’re buying.)

But only IF YOU HAVE A REALTOR WHO IS TECH SAVVY.

To understand why this might matter to you as a Buyer or a Seller, ask yourself these questions:

  • If you are a Buyer and you know that the Northern Virginia market is seeing many cases of multiple, competing contracts on homes that are new on the market – wouldn’t you want to have a Realtor who is uber-connected and knows about listings sooner rather than later?
  • If you are a Seller, don’t you want to maximize the exposure of your home to the market? It’s not your “Grandma’s Market” any more and a sign in the yard & word of mouth over the back fence are not how you get the word out. While traditional marketing still has its place, wouldn’t you want a Realtor who can provide exposure to new arenas? You may not be on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc – but don’t you want the folks who are in those places to know about your home too?
  • And whether you are a Buyer or a Seller, a Tech Savvy Realtor is also often a sign of a Realtor with superior market knowledge, sharply honed negotiating skills and an out-of-the-box mindset. Aren’t those things you would be looking for in today’s market?

The bottom line is that Social Media is not just “hype” – it can HELP you!

So, how do you know if a Realtor is “Tech Savvy”?

Many will say they are Tech Savvy when you ask them, but how do you REALLY know? Here are 5 Tips To Find A Tech Savvy Realtor:

1. Go to their web site and see if they have a blog. If they don’t have a blog, they probably are not Tech Savvy. If they do, how often do they post and what do they write about? If their last blog post was a month or more ago, it’s not a good sign. Scroll through the blog and see what types of things they post. This is a great way to see what kind of market knowledge they have, how they work, how they market their homes and more. A Tech Savvy Realtor will have at least one blog (oftentimes more than one) and will update it at least 2-3 times a week year-round and will include things like market statistics, advice to Buyers & Sellers, market trends and more. (The Belt Team has two blogs – one about Northern Virginia real estate and one about Life In Vienna. In addition, we have been tapped as Community Bloggers and blog regularly for Vienna Patch, Oakton Patch and WUSA9.com .)

2. Check out their KLOUT score. What’s a KLOUT score? Here’s what Klout’s web site says: “Klout measures influence based on your ability to drive action on social networks.” If you’re a Seller, don’t you want someone who can drive action on your home? And if you’re a buyer, don’t you also want someone who is ultra wired in? A Tech Savvy Realtor will have a higher than average KLOUT score. (An average KLOUT score is around 40.) So go to www.klout.com , sign up for a free account, find your Realtor and check them out. (Or just ask them what their score is. If they have no idea what KLOUT is, then you have your answer!) If their name doesn’t come up at all – they are definitely NOT Tech Savvy. If they do come up, you can not only check out their score, but you can see what topics Klout says they are influential about. Hopefully it will be “real estate”! (Klout scores fluctuate daily. As of this writing, my Klout score is 63 and among other things, we are listed as influential in “Real Estate”, “Blogging”, “Vienna”, “Business”, “Charities” & “Sales”).

3. Ask them if they have ever represented a Buyer who bought a home with them from afar – meaning someone who bought a home long distance without seeing the home in person. While this may not be the situation you are in, it is a great indicator of how Tech Savvy the agent might be. If they have done this a number of times, it likely means they are great with video, Skype, DocUSign and a host of other tools that make buying virtually much easier than you think. You don’t have to use those tools, but having an agent who knows how to benefits you. It’s a great indication that they are probably very sharp, go the extra mile and think outside the box.

4. Check out their Facebook page. How many “Friends” or “Likes” do they have? Do they have both a business & personal page? When was the last time they updated their status? Is their page an active forum where potential Buyers could be sourced for your home? Do they have lots of contacts so that perhaps they can find a home for you to buy that may not even be on the market? Ask them whether they have actually generated business from their Facebook page (or do they just “play around”?)

5. Search for online reviews. A Tech Savvy Realtor will have lots of online reviews. Just like travelers use Trip Advisor to check out hotel reviews and Yelp to check out restaurant reviews, home buyers and home sellers use sites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com to find out about good Realtors. Realtors who are not Tech Savvy will probably not show up on these sites. And if they do, they may only have a few reviews. Realtors who ARE Tech Savvy will have multiple reviews and show up on more than one site. If you do this, not only will you know whether or not the agent is Tech Savvy – you’ll also know a whole lot about them and what it’s like to be one of their clients. These reviews are posted directly by consumers – NOT by the agent. So you’ll find out the good AND the bad. (As an example, The Belt Team has 43 reviews on Zillow.)

Twitter ~ GChat ~ Hangouts ~ Circles ~ Facebook ~ IM ~ Skype ~ SEO ~ IVR ~ You Tube ~ Blogging ~ Texting ~ Pinterest

If you know what all these terms mean, then you’ve found the right real estate team to help you buy or sell. We combine yesterday’s values with today’s technology to make your tomorrow bright.

If you don’t have a clue what these terms mean, that’s ok – we DO! In today’s market, you need a team who is on the leading edge of technology to help you achieve your dreams. No need to be “tech savvy”, we’ll do it for you!

While The Belt Team lives old fashioned values like integrity & trust, we also pride ourselves on being on the leading edge of marketing & technology. Why? It’s in our clients’ best interests!

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