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

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

3 Reasons Why NOW May Be Your Time To Move Up

If you’ve been feeling like George Jefferson and thinking about “moving on up” (maybe you’ve outgrown your house or you’re just ready for a change), here are 3 reasons why NOW might be your perfect storm:

1. You might be able to have your cake & eat it too!

Have Your Cake

If you’re selling a home in the lower or mid price ranges (under $900,000) and moving into the over $1.2 million price range – you have a small window of opportunity that is open right now. The low-mid price ranges are moving swiftly. Housing supply is uber low. And that means values are rising. (Great for you when you sell your home!) On the other hand, the speedy market has not quite reached the upper ranges yet, at least not across the board, and so you may still have a quick window to buy above $1.2 million before prices rise in the same fashion as they have in your current home’s market. If you wait to make that move up, you may sell your current home for more than you could now (assuming prices continue to rise), BUT you would end up paying a LOT more for your new home when prices rise across the board.

Example:

If you sold now, you might sell your current home for $900,000, and buy your new home for $1.3 million. If you wait until next year, prices could rise 6%, netting you an additional $54,000 on the sale of your existing home; but costing you $78,000 more on your new home. You end up losing $24,000. (Note: Last year home prices in our area actually rose 7.12%.)

2. Interest rates continue to rise

Top Realtors Northern VA

This means unless you are paying cash, the price of your new home keeps getting more & more expensive. All of the major forecasters (Mortgage Bankers Association, FHLMC, Fannie Mae, etc) are predicting interest rates to exceed 5% by 2015. That’s about 1% higher than where rates are now. Keep in mind that a 1% rise in interest rates equals a 10% decrease in home price affordability. So moving up NOW may be much better than later in terms of your mortgage payment and how much house you can buy.

3. YOLO

Take A Leap

“YOLO” is the modern version of “carpe diem”. Seize the day. You only live once. While that sounds a bit cavalier, we actually say this from experience. People often wait so long for the “perfect time” that they miss it altogether. If the reason you’re moving up is that your family has grown and you really need more space, or maybe your in-laws are aging and moving in with you, or your children are back home after college – don’t miss this opportunity. While real estate is an investment and a huge part of your financial picture, family is everything and your home is where it all happens. So call your real estate agent, analyze the numbers and if it makes sense – take the leap. Our clients often tell us they wish they had leapt a long time before they did.

If you’re thinking of moving up – or moving down – call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll walk you through the process and help you analyze the “ins & outs” – where prices are in your current neighborhood & your dream neighborhood, whether you need to buy first or sell first, how you can find homes before they hit the market – there may even be some you haven’t though of!

If you’d like to maximize profits AND make your life easier – call (703) 242-3975 and ask for Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges. We’ll help you construct a strategy to do so.

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