It’s a Seller’s Market! Should I Downsize Now?

This article about downsizing (or “rightsizing” as we like to call it!) from “Keeping Current Matters” brings up some great points. Call us at (703) 242-3975 if you’d like someone to help lay out your options and walk through current market conditions with you. You might also check out our blog posts:

It's a Seller's Market! Should I Downsize Now? | MyKCM

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in an article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profits from the sales of their current homes and splitting it in order to put down payments on smaller homes in their current locations, as well as on vacation/retirement homes where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values which makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 78.9% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let’s meet up to help guide you through the process.Call Terry Belt &The Belt Team at 703-242-3975. Don’t you deserve the BEST?!

WHat Is My Home Worth

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

Here’s the latest national update from our friends at “Keeping Current Matters”:

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed this week, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Should I Sell Now Or Wait Until Spring

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now. 

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market. 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last three years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study byHarris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.4% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

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

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

You deserve the best. Call Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more info or to schedule a FREE, personalized consultation about selling your home.

What’s Happening in Northern Virginia

Viva Tysons Dec 2015If you’re thinking of moving to Northern Virginia (even if you already live here!) and you’re wondering what our area is like and what’s going on – a great way to gain insight is to pick up an issue of Viva Tysons Magazine.

It’s like a hyperlocal version of Washingtonian Magazine – focused on the Tysons, Vienna, McLean, Falls Church areas. It’s a fabulous glossy magazine where you can read about new restaurants, politics, store openings, cultural events, new construction, charities, school activities, VIPs – anything and everything that’s “happening” in the Tysons area and surrounds.

In many issues, you’ll also find an article from The Belt Team – one of Virginia’a Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents. This month’s issue includes our take on Northern Virginia as a “Retirement Paradise!”

Northern VA Retirement

Search Homes For Sale in McLean

Search Homes For Sale in Vienna

Search Homes For Sale in Falls Church

Search Homes For Sale in Great Falls

For more information about what it’s like to live in Northern Virginia, call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Most of our team has lived in the area for 40+ years. We’re happy to share our knowledge with you so you can make the RIGHT move!

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA

Thinking of Downsizing? 4 Tips To Simplify Your Life!

The Belt Team works with many clients who are downsizing. (And we like to call it “right sizing.”) So why do people think about moving “down” and how can you simplify the process?

Downsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate  Halstead at The Metro II

Here are the most common reasons our clients “right size” to a smaller home:

Travel – A smaller home is easier to maintain. And that means they can travel more – visit grandchildren – or take those trips they’ve always dreamed of. This is not uncommon with empty nesters.

Health – Sometimes their current home is just too much to take care of on top of whatever health concerns they are dealing with.

Financial Freedom – Some people bite off more than they can chew. Or their priorities change (or their job situation) and they don’t want to be tied down to a big mortgage payment.

Commuting Time – Buying a condo or townhouse closer to the city might be enticing after commuting an hour each way in order to have that single family home.

Age – Perhaps it’s time to move into a community where you can get the extra assistance you need and/or have more opportunity for recreation and cultural activities. And maybe it’s time for a place without stairs.

Here are 4 Tips To Simplify Downsizing:

1. Plan Ahead

Schedule appointments with your financial advisor, your Realtor and your lender. Each one will walk you through a variety of things you’ll need to either do or think about: cash flow, market conditions, important amenities, lifestyle changes, tax considerations & more.

And don’t wait until you HAVE to move. As soon as the thought crosses your mind – start gathering information. This will make it SO much less stressful when the time comes. My parents moved several years ago. After 30+ years in the same town, the move was emotional. They didn’t “have to” move at the time, but they were starting to think about things like stairs and maintenance of such a large home. Not long after they moved, Dad fell & became very ill. If they had still been living in the big house, his road back to “normalcy” would have been long extended. But since they were in their condo by that time, he was able to come home so much sooner. Looking back now, they are so happy they moved when they did.

2. Start Educating Yourself To The Market

Online searches are a great way to see what your money will buy AND see what range your current home might sell for. You may find you have to compromise some of your wish list or you might find your money buys more than you think.

3. Family Is An Easy Way To Simplify

If you have children (or grandchildren) who may benefit from some of the “things” you’re ready to let go of, but you’re not ready for those cherished items to leave the family; make family holidays a “shopping time”. Send each visitor home with a (re)gift! You could also enlist one of the younger generation to help you sell unwanted items on Craig’s List. Offer them a percentage of the sales – and you have a win-win. Less clutter for your home. And you’re helping teach entrepreneurial skills & hard work!

4. Open House Instead of Garage Sale

When my parents moved, they had an open house. It was like a garage sale, except the items were free. They were moving from a huge house where they entertained a lot – to a smaller condominium, and Mom had so many lovely things she just didn’t use any more. She wanted to know that they were going to someone who would enjoy using them the way she did. We set up tables and displayed all the items – silver platters, crystal, percolaters, linens. Mom invited folks over – a number of whom were friends in my generation. They were so excited. I still have a friend who talks about how awesome Mom’s turkey roaster is! (They don’t make them like they used to.) Not only did this help clear her house of clutter and make moving easier – it was also a nice way for Mom to connect with folks before she moved.

The Belt Team has helped hundreds of clients downsize. And some on our team have even downsized themselves! If “rightsizing” is in your future, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and walk you through all kinds of helpful ideas to help you make the RIGHT move!

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

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. if it’s time to change yours, call (703) 242-3975 today!

Downsizing Your Home

Downsizing Made Easy – 4 Tips To Simplify

The Belt Team works with many clients who are downsizing. (We like to call it “right sizing.”) There are a number of reasons people think about moving “down”:

Downsizing Your Home Northern VA Real Estate

Travel – Some of our clients downsize to a home that’s easier to maintain so they can travel more – visit grandchildren – or take those trips they’ve always dreamed of. This is not uncommon with empty nesters.

Health – Maybe your current home is just too much for you to take care of on top of whatever health concerns you are dealing with.

Financial Freedom – Some people bite off more than they can chew. Or their priorities change (or their job situation) and they don’t want to be tied down to a big mortgage payment.

Commuting Time – Buying a condo or townhouse closer to the city might be enticing after commuting an hour each way in order to have that single family home.

Age – Perhaps it’s time to move into a community where you can get the extra assistance you need and/or have more opportunity for recreation and cultural activities. And maybe it’s time for a place without stairs.

Here are 4 Tips To Simplify Downsizing:

1. Plan Ahead

Schedule appointments with your financial advisor, your Realtor and your lender. Each one will walk you through a variety of things you’ll need to either do or think about: cash flow, market conditions, important amenities, lifestyle changes, tax considerations & more.

And don’t wait until you HAVE to move. As soon as the thought crosses your mind – start gathering information. This will make it SO much less stressful when the time comes. My parents moved several years ago. After 30+ years in the same town, the move was emotional. They didn’t “have to” move at the time, but they were starting to think about things like stairs and maintenance of such a large home. Not long after they moved, Dad fell & became very ill. If they had still been living in the big house, his road back to “normalcy” would have been long extended. But since they were in their condo by that time, he was able to come home so much sooner. Looking back now, they are so happy they moved when they did.

2. Start Educating Yourself To The Market

Online searches are a great way to see what your money will buy AND see what range your current home might sell for. You may find you have to compromise some of your wish list or you might find your money buys more than you think.

3. Family Is An Easy Way To Simplify

If you have children (or grandchildren) who may benefit from some of the “things” you’re ready to let go of, but you’re not ready for them to leave the family; make family holidays a “shopping time”. Send each visitor home with a (re)gift! You could also enlist one of the younger generation to help you sell unwanted items on Craig’s List. Offer them a percentage of the sales – and you have a win-win. Less clutter for your home. And you’re helping teach entrepreneurial skills & hard work!

4. Open House Instead of Garage Sale

When my parents moved, they had an open house. It was like a garage sale, except the items were free. They were moving from a huge house where they entertained a lot – to a smaller condominium, and Mom had so many lovely things she just didn’t use any more. She wanted to know that they were going to someone who would enjoy using them the way she did. We set up tables and displayed all the items – silver platters, crystal, percolaters, linens. Mom invited folks over – a number of whom were friends in my generation. They were so excited. I still have a friend who talks about how awesome Mom’s turkey roaster is! (They don’t make them like they used to.) Not only did this help clear her house of clutter and make moving easier – it was also a nice way for Mom to connect with folks before she moved.

The Belt Team has helped hundreds of clients downsize. And some on our team have even downsized themselves! If “rightsizing” is in your future, give us a call today at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and walk you through all kinds of helpful ideas to help you make the RIGHT move!

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

FREE – How Much Is My Home Worth

The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better“. if it’s time to change yours, call (703) 242-3975 today!

Downsizing Your Home