You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa.

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa. | MyKCM

In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.

We are, however, in anything but a “normal market” right now. The media is full of stories about an impending recession, a trade war with China, and constant political upheaval. Each of these potential situations could dramatically impact the real estate market. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’

A Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.

They are much more than just guides.

This is much more than a normal real estate market.

The average guide just won’t do. You need a ‘Sherpa.’ You need an expert who understands what is happening in the market and why it is happening. You need someone who can simply and effectively explain it to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, even in these challenging times.

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” 

Bottom Line

Hiring an agent who has a finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one.

Call The Belt Team at 703-242-3975 and talk to one of our experienced agents. We have been in business for over 50 years and have closed over $1 Billion in real estate transactions.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand?

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCM

More good real estate supply and demand stats from our friends at Keeping Current Matters…

The price of any item is determined by supply, as well as the market’s demand for the item. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCM

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 3 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now very strong; only 2 of the 50 states have a ‘weak’ demand. Overall, buyer demand is slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong.

Seller Supply 

The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCM

As the map shows, 18 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 29 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 3 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are looking for homes.

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in our market now.

Call The Belt Team at 703-242-3975 and talk to one of our experienced agents. We have been in business for over 50 years and have closed over $1 Billion in real estate transactions.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

Some interesting market info from Keeping Current Matters…

With the current uncertainty about the economy triggered by a potential trade war, some people are waiting to purchase their first home or move-up to their dream house because they think or hope home prices will drop over the next few years. However, the experts disagree with this perspective.

Here is a table showing the predicted levels of appreciation from six major housing sources:

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

As we can see, every source believes home prices will continue to appreciate (albeit at lower levels than we have seen over the last several years). But, not one source is calling for residential real estate values to depreciate.

Additionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. There was not one state that even had a moderate probability of home prices lowering. In fact, 34 of the 50 states had a minimal probability.

What Is the Probability That Home Values Sink?| MyKCM

Bottom Line

Those waiting for prices to fall before purchasing a home should realize that the probability of that happening anytime soon is very low. With mortgage rates already at near historic lows, now may be the time to act.

So call The Belt Team now at 703-242-3975 if you are thinking about buying a home for the first time or moving up to your dream home. We would love to put our experience and expertise to work for you!

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High | MyKCM

Fannie Mae just released the July edition of their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The HPSI takes information regarding consumers’ confidence in the real estate market from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and condenses it into a single number. Therefore, the HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions.

Great News! The index reached its highest level since Fannie Mae began their survey. Breaking it down, the report revealed:

  • The share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of those who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months increased dramatically (16 percentage points) from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased dramatically (24 percentage points) from the same time last year.

The day after the index was released, Freddie Mac also announced the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in three years.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae explained the uptick in the index:

“Consumer job confidence and favorable mortgage rate expectations lifted the HPSI to a new survey high in July, despite ongoing housing supply and affordability challenges. Consumers appear to have shaken off a winter slump in sentiment amid strong income gains. Therefore, sentiment is positioned to take advantage of any supply that comes to market, particularly in the affordable category.”

Bottom Line

Consumers are feeling good about the real estate market. Since Americans are not worried about their jobs, see mortgage rates near an all-time low, and believe it is a good time to buy, the housing market will remain strong for the rest of the year.

So now’s a great time to give us a call/end us an email to help you buy or sell! 703-242-3975 / info@thebeltteam.com

ANNOUNCING The Belt Team’s 1st Annual Dog Days of Summer Photo Contest!

The Belt Team loves our dogs and we know many of you do too! So we want to see your photos in honor of our furry friends & the end of summer!

Click the link below to see more contest details (rumor has it 1st prize is a YETI dog bowl!) and to enter a photo that best shows your dog’s personality.

https://thebeltteam.com/photo_contest_

And yes, the adorable pups above are members of our Belt Team family. 🥰

And as always…if you, or anyone you know, need any real estate assistance, email us at info@thebeltteam.com or call/text 703-242-3975!  We would love to help.  (And not just in the Northern Virginia area.  We know fantastic agents all over the country and would be happy to make introductions!)

*Entry deadline: 5pm, August 21, 2019. One entry per household. Winners chosen by The Belt Team and announced August 28, 2019.

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years | MyKCM

Many of the questions currently surrounding the real estate industry focus on home prices and where they are heading. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) helps target these projected answers.

Here are the results from the Q2 2019 Survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2019
  • The average annual appreciation will be 3.2% over the next 5 years
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 16.8% by 2023
  • Even experts representing the most “bearish” quartile of the survey project a cumulative appreciation of over 6.7% by 2023

What does this mean for you?

A substantial portion of family wealth comes from home equity. As the value of a family’s home (an asset) increases, so does their equity.

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years | MyKCM

Using the projections from the HPES, here is a look at the potential equity a family could earn over the next five years if they purchased a $250,000 home in January of 2019:Based on gains in home equity, their family wealth could increase by $42,000 over that five-year period.

Bottom Line

If you don’t yet own a home, now may be the time to purchase. Owning or moving up to your dream home could allow you to ride the increase in equity of a growing asset.

Call The Belt Team and talk to one of our buyer specialists about the market in our area and buying your next home! 703-242-3975

Home Price Expectation survey – Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts regarding their 5-year expectations for future home prices in the United States.

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring | MyKCM

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The cost of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Give us a call with any questions you have. We are here to help! We can also connect you with some of the industries best lenders & title companies.

703-242-3975 or info@thebeltteam.com

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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!

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