How’s the Housing Market?


The number one question Terry & Tom are getting at the holiday parties this season is “How’s the housing market?”. 

That is an extremely broad question in our opinion. We know you want a straight forward and direct answer, but bottom line is that it depends.  It’s kind of like the stock market. That may be a bad subject for people over the last few weeks (sorry!), but it’s very similar in the way someone would answer the question “How’s the stock market?”.

If you’re talking about the stock market, just like the housing market, there’s never a bad time to buy, generally speaking. There are always highs and lows. But we need to dig a bit deeper to discuss the market as it pertains to the person asking specifically. So, our question to them would be, “What’s your situation? Are you needing to sell, wanting to sell? Are you needing to buy, wanting to buy? These all play a role in how the market is doing in regards to their specific situation. 

If you are currently in the market to buy a home you may have seen national headlines about how strong the market is right now. What market are those headlines referring to? Be sure to check out our latest video to hear about different buyer/seller scenarios and what a healthy market looks like. 

Thinking of buying or selling or knows someone who is? We want to help anyway we can! Feel free to drop your questions in the comments or reach out to us. 

Give us a call at 703-242-3975 or Email: info@thebeltteam.com 

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

Now is the time to sell.

That’s the opinion of our colleagues at Keeping Current Matters. (Our opinion depends on your personal situation, so give us a call at (703) 242-3975 and we will do an in depth analysis with you so you can be sure of what’s right for YOU.)

What Is My Home Worth

Here’s why KCM thinks NOW is the time . . .

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW! | MyKCM

If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it! The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:

“Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast.”

Yun goes on to say:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Recently named to Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Realtors list for the 3rd year in a row, we are one of the country’s top teams and would love to help you make the RIGHT move for YOU.

What Is My Home Worth

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

Selling Your Home in 2017? Easy Tip to Do NOW!

If you’re thinking of selling your Northern VA home in 2017, it’s never too early to prepare. Here’s an easy tip to get you started!

If you’re thinking of selling in the January to April timeframe, now is a great time for a photo shoot. Get some shots of the autumn leaves. Then when you put your home on the market this winter or early next year – when things are dead and brown – you’ll still be able to showcase your home at its best!

(Don’t forget to email The Belt Team and ask for our FREE Report “Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Selling A House”)

Inverness at Penderbrook Fairfax TH

Snow landscapes made lovely shots to show in that “in between” time in February-March, when it’s almost Spring, but the flowers aren’t blooming yet.

Snow Day in Vienna VA

(If you’re really organized, you can do what some of our past sellers have done and sign your listing now so we can have our professional photographer come out and shoot photos for you!)

Give Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges a call at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a pre-listing walkthrough. Fall and winter are a great time to start thinking about the updates and repairs you might need to make in preparation for next year. And you’ll want to talk to them first to ensure you don’t waste time or money on things that really aren’t necessary.

If you’re wondering about Northern Virginia Market Statistics – click the links below to find out: How fast are homes selling? What’s happening with prices? Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

Buyers & Sellers – Interest Rates Remain at Historic Lows . . . But for How Long?

If you’re pondering buying or selling NOW or waiting another year or two – you might want to take note of the latest info below from Keeping Current Matters!

Interest Rates Remain at Historic Lows… But for How Long? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; The higher the rate, the greater your payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where the experts believe rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen half a percentage point since the beginning of the year and has remained at or below 3.5% for the last 11 weeks according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The chart below shows how far rates have fallen this year (on the left), and uses an average of the projections from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors (on the right). As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.

Mortgage Rates - 30-Year Fixed Rate | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.0% over the last year and are predicted to be 5.4% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home prices and interest rate increases become a reality, families will wind up paying considerably more for their next home.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth.


Interest rate changes don’t just affect Buyers. They affect Sellers too. As rates rise, some Homebuyers are priced out of the market they want to move into. And they decide to stay where they are. Less Buyers means less demand and more competition. And that can put a downward pressure on prices.

If you’re wondering whether you should buy now or wait – or sell now or wait – there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are lots of things that should factor into your decision. Interest rates are just one. Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Our team is one of the top teams in the entire country, with lots of resources at your disposal, and we are more than happy to consult with you and help you and your family make the RIGHT move!

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The Northern VA Real Estate Market Is Shifting – Special Message from CEO Terry Belt

I’ve lived in Northern VA for almost my entire life. And I’m a third generation real estate agent. I know both our area and real estate well! One thing I know for sure is that the real estate market is not a straight, static line and it never will be. It is always moving.

I believe we are going to see our next shift in the next 12 months or so. Local bankers and experts are giving it 12-24 months in the Northern VA – Washington DC area market before it hits. I’m calling it sooner, and yet who knows? This means I believe we will move into neutrality, then back into a Buyer’s Market. We are likely at the peak of this Seller’s cycle between now and Spring. In fact, some parts of our market have already shifted notably over the past 3 months.

I recently returned from masterminding with Gary Keller, the Chairman of the Board of Keller Williams Realty (the world’s largest real estate company with over 140,000 Realtors), and with our Top 100 agents. Approximately half of the metropolitan areas in the USA are already undergoing this shift. I am tracking it closely. We may or may not have one more spring as crazy and frenetic as this past one was, with multiple offers in the entry price ranges and buyers beating down seller’s doors. As one of the area’s top teams, The Belt Team has been privileged to help 71 families buy and sell homes so far this year, and we expect to help many more in the coming months. We have an excellent handle on the market and especially the micro markets throughout Northern VA and Washington DC. Sometimes those micromarkets are geographical and sometimes they are price driven.

What does this mean for you? Well our market has two primary seasons, although we are lucky that we don’t have extreme seasonality here. The majority of our residential real estate sales come in the spring. Our secondary market is fall: September/October. If you have been thinking about selling your home in the next few years, I highly urge you to email or call me (703-242-3975) so we can begin the conversation about home prep, pricing, and timing. You may not decide to sell now, and yet I highly recommend having the conversation now. I think selling in the next 60 days is outstanding timing.

Call, or email any time. We are happy to talk and meet with you, advise you on preparations & timing, and to give you a property and pricing analysis of your home with no obligation. Feel free to browse our website. I look forward to a continued conversation.

Best,
Terry Belt
CEO, The Belt Team

CEO The Belt Team

Sell Now or Wait Until April?

Sell Now or Wait Until SpringIf you’re wondering whether you should sell now or wait until true Spring – April, May or June – you might want to read the latest info from Keeping Current Matters:


Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year. Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates Sellers listed their homes in 2015 all fell in April, May or June.

 

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.


CEO The Belt TeamKevin Kleifges, Realtor, The Belt Team, Keller Williams RealtyBottom Line

If you’re planning on selling your home in 2016, NOW is the time to meet with The Belt Team to evaluate the opportunities in YOUR market. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a consultation.

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.

Financial Markets Are Rumbling – Should I Sell Now or Later?

Credit: KCM
Credit: KCM

As summer comes to an end, children go back to school, and the days start getting shorter – we often get calls from folks who are thinking of selling in the Spring asking us to stop by to consult with them about what does and does not need doing between now and then.

Well – in light of the current upheaval in the financial markets, our phones are ringing a little more frequently than normal. And we are happy that our clients consider us to be part of their “financial health team”.

We have set up consultations this week to discuss our clients’ short and long term plans and where real estate fits into those plans. We have advised several to stay where they are because their plans are not likely to be influenced by a normal real estate cycle. We have also advised some to move up their timetable. If you would benefit from this type of consultation, ring us at (703) 242-3975 and we’ll set up a time to visit.

Here’s what CEO Terry Belt had to say last week when a past client in Vienna inquired about meeting over Thanksgiving in anticipation of selling next Spring:

CEO The Belt Team“To the extent that your plans for selling are certain, I recommend you go on the market before Spring – some time in late January or February.  Homes sell faster and for more in recent years at that time because of less competition.  I am particularly concerned about next Spring and Summer as I believe we are topped out in the current cycle and we are at the very beginning of a shift.  The inventory in Vienna has almost doubled in the past 6 months, price appreciation has flattened, the contract price to list price ratio has deceased, days on market to sell has lengthened, and buyer/showing activity levels have decreased. The current market is still what I consider very healthy, but I do see changes coming and if interest rates nudge up and the stock market adjusts, I think the trends we are seeing here will not favor Sellers. Interestingly, Gary Keller, the chairman of our company, went on record yesterday predicting a national shift in the market that we will start to feel in the next 6-8 months and a full downturn within 2 years.  He has predicted the last 3 housing cycles in advance very accurately.”

If you would like to speak to one of our Senior Listing Specialists about today’s market – call (703) 242-3975. We are happy to leverage the wisdom and experience we have gained in the previous downturns to YOUR benefit.

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Should I Rent My Home or Should I Sell?

Sell Now Or Sell LaterI’m not sure whether I should rent my home or sell my home. What would it rent for and what would it sell for?

With the market changes we’ve experienced since the housing bubble burst, this is a question The Belt Team gets a lot. And we are happy to do both a rental and a sale market analysis for you. But when counseling our clients, we also know there is much more to consider than just the simple numbers of rent, mortgage and sale price.

If you have never been a landlord before, there are many things to weigh – whether to hire a management company or not, who will do repairs, whether you’re prepared if your tenant loses their job and defaults, when you might actually need the proceeds from the sale of the home, and more.

It’s not always about waiting and hoping to get top dollar when you sell at some magic point in the future. So if you’re considering renting your home out, you need to analyze the decision from an investor point of view.

Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that lists 10 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Rent Your Home.

Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 for more info. Our clients are clients for life, so whether you sell now or in the future, we’ll help you to make the best decision for your family and your pocketbook!

You can start here with a FREE, Instant Home Valuation Estimate and also search our state-of-the-art web site for rental prices in your neighborhood.

Sell My House or Rent It Out