About 1.5 years ago I made a decision to get in better shape so I could live a more independent life as I aged and would not become immobile relying on others to help me do daily tasks.  Scott MacDonald How I doubled my success 1JUL2015During this time, as I start each day at the gym, I listen to or watch motivational videos and it makes you reflect upon your own beliefs and how you should live your life.

My belief is I need to live with the following elements in mind:

  1. Live with passion – if you don’t love it, don’t do it
  2. Have a purpose – know what is your why
  3. Be relational – build strong relationships, don’t burn bridges
  4. Be charitable – give to those less fortunate than yourself
  5. Have gratitude – be grateful for the people, experiences and the belongings in your life
  6. Have reflection – remember where you came from, learn from experiences, and don’t forget but don’t live in the past
  7. Goal oriented – you have to have goals
  8. Inspirational – be a leader, inspire others to do more
  9. Fairness/kindness – you can’t get further faster by being a jerk
  10. Lead by example – don’t get outworked by anyone, try harder, do you best

With these components in your life, you will be a success in any endeavor.  These beliefs have taken me to a new adventure, as a team of us from RE/MAX Gateway are going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Now, go sell something

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

The Northern Virginia real estate market continues to remain stable. Recent numbers show that houses are selling, prices are raising slightly, and inventory levels are increasing slightly. All of these numbers are at healthy levels in my opinion. 2015 Interest Rates Home Prices in the Northern Virginia Real Estate MarketThis news is making now a good time to both sell and buy a property.

One thing that has been a wild card is interest rates. Increased rates can hamper the steadiness of our market and right now they are near 2015 highs.  Over the past 3 weeks, there have only been two days where rates managed to improve even a little bit.  Four out of the past six days have seen uncommonly big moves higher.  These are the sorts of moves that we’d normally only see 2-3 times per month, so to see 4 of them in just over a week is alarming. It is definitely an area we need to pay attention to moving forward.

Going forward, I see more of the same out of our housing market. There will be a good home selection for buyers to choose from, reasonable prices and rates remaining in the 4% range. As good homes come on the market that are priced right, they are selling because there are buyers in the market looking to own. Houses that have been on the market because the owners “pushed” prices, didn’t have them in the right condition or just had bad timing (putting them on the market at the end of October) will continue to sit. Buyers want fresh listings, not old, tired listings that have been lingering on the market. Therefore, it remains critical to have your house staged, in the right condition and priced right to get it sold if you are looking to put your house on the market.

If you have any questions or concerns about your situation, feel free to call me today 703-652-5777 . I am happy to discuss how we can help you.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Watch Scott’s Market Minute!

Low interest rates, low resale housing market inventory and great loan options.  If you are considering buying or selling real estate – contact me for a free consultation 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net

Will You accept Scott MacDonald’s NFL Challange?

You either rise to the challenge or you don’t.

HIGH PERFORMANCE success tips from Basketball to Business

Which will you do – rise and excel?

Will you do nothing or the same things you have always done and get what you have always received or get even less?

What will you become if you do act?

You need to make the decision to accept the challenge of achieving your goals. 

You have set them for yourself.  Act accordingly to make them happen.  Put the action items in your calendar, plan each day the night before, have a to do list of high priority activities in place to accomplish your goals and do them.  Get a routine in place and make it a habit.  If you want time, you need to make it – you won’t find it.  Your calendar is gateway to success.

Too often I hear excuses of why something cannot be done.  Stop with the excuses and start making things happen.  It is a choice.  It is easy to do nothing it is hard to make a change, accept the challenge and become better.  You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.

The critical thing you need to realize is you have to start.  Whatever you need to do to take the first step to success and achievement.  Put down the fork, go to the gym, make the call, go to the networking event, hold the open house, blog, do videos, visit with your past clients, just do the activity.  Whatever the goal you want to attain needs to start with “a first step”.  What is your first step?  Why?  What happens if you don’t take it?  More importantly, what happens if you do?  Life is full of choices – make the right ones to get you moving in a positive direction and get you out of your rut.

Important things to remember are to not overestimate the competition and do not underestimate yourself.  You are better than you think.  By doing the activities required for success, you will develop the skills, mental toughness and ability to forge ahead when things get difficult.  By taking action you gain confidence in your abilities, you stretch outside your comfort zone and you learn. 

Will you make mistakes?  Yes. 

Will it be difficult at times?  Yes.

Will it kill you? NO. 

So stop wasting time and move forward and grow from what you have learned.  Go out and make your own luck.

You have set your goals – do what it takes to make them happen.  You wouldn’t have written them out if you didn’t expect them to happen.  Life is changing rapidly, daily and you need to adjust to become better and make your dreams come true.  It is so important to increase your level of commitment so you can overcome the frustrations you have had with your previous results.  Doing nothing to change to improve yourself is actually regressing.  Regression is not an option.  Take the appropriate action required.  Now is the time.  Procrastination is over and 2015 is the time to start to make something more of yourself.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

 

Happy New Year Gateway Agents,

Now that the holiday season has come and gone, it is time to get geared up for 2015 and make it your best year ever.  In order to achieve all you desire, you will have to make sacrifices, develop more willpower, practice more discipline, have more consistency and continue to grow personally and professionally.THRIVE IN 2015

The sacrifices you will have to make will come in various areas. 

One is time.  Time with family and friends will be limited.  As you will be busier than you have been before, are you ready to make this sacrifice and are they?

Another area is investing in yourself and your business.  Do you have the money and resources available to you and are you willing to allocate them appropriately this year to realize the success you are planning for in 2015.  Lastly, committing yourself to working more efficiently, effectively and focused is a huge sacrifice – are you ready to make the sacrifice for your success?

Developing willpower – the ability to say no to unproductive, time-wasting activities is huge.  You will have to say no to coffees, lunches, happy hours, and ball games with family and friends to keep you focused and on point.  Do you have what it takes to develop this necessary ingredient to high levels of achievement?  Get willpower do to the hard things and get successful.

Practicing and working on discipline is critical to getting the results you want for yourself.  Getting up earlier, staying at the office a little later, developing a morning routine that gets you on track the rest of the day, sticking with a structured schedule – daily – and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone are the pieces of the puzzle that will get you further, faster.  Be disciplined in your activities, work smarter not harder and achieve great things in 2015.

Accomplishing tasks, making things happen and doing them regularly, with consistency is a key ingredient to success.  The important thing to keep in mind here is to not let a few disappointments slow you down.  Consistently set a schedule – with top priorities the night before you leave the office, consistently call your database, consistently attend networking events, consistently grow your database, consistently review and adjust what your plan is according to how the market fluctuates.

Growing personally and professionally is another success factor.  Start an exercise program, eat healthier, drink less alcohol and sodas, stop smoking, and take time to think.  Grow professionally by attending trainings, get involved in mastermind groups, obtain a designation, get a mentor or coach and meet with an “expert” in the business to get their perspective on what is happening and what they are doing to be successful.

Here are a few more tips to consider – stay positive, stay focused, talk to yourself and stop listening to yourself, read more and watch less TV, stop complaining, hang around people more successful than you, volunteer your time, learn something new every day and take action.

Don’t just survive, it’s time to thrive in 2-0-1-5!  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

The beginning of the year always brings about hope, excitement and anticipation of good things ahead and 2015 is no different.  We believe that this year will be a much better year for real estate in Northern Virginia.  There are many reasons for this optimism – great rates, new financing programs, lower inventory levels, positive consumer confidence and pent-up demand.

Let’s review each of these areas.HOPE SPARK IN 2015 REAL ESTATE MARKET

  • Great rates. Although there has been a very slight uptick in rates recently, rates remain very low historically.  Additionally, the interest rates will remain low through 2015 perhaps not reaching 5% until later in the year.
  • New financing programs. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have both begun to accept 3% down payments for first time home buyers.  There will be guidelines such as a minimum 620 credit score, borrowers will have to take an educational class, and they couldn’t have owned a home in the last 3 years to qualify.  With 45% of renters delaying a home purchase because of available funds for a down payment, this should increase the number of home buyers in 2015.
  • Lower inventory levels. In September of this year, we reached a 7 year high in inventory in Northern Virginia with 9,163 houses for sale.  Since that time, the number of available homes has declined each week.  We now have just 5,944 homes for sale which resulted in a brisk sales month for December.  Some of these properties will come back on the market this upcoming spring, but many sold.  As long as we have a moderate winter weather-wise, inventory will slowly enter the market and we won’t have the accelerated inventory levels we experienced in May of 2014 due to the weather.
  • Positive consumer confidence. Many more people today believe that the economy, their personal situation and the real estate market are all going to be better in the future.  These optimistic expectations are leading indicators to people purchasing in the upcoming months – including housing.  Additionally, Freddie Mac and builders also have high expectations of the housing market.  These expectations will have a positive impact on housing in 2015.
  • Pent up demand. As previously mentioned, December experienced a brisk sales month here locally.  We continue to receive calls, emails and internet requests on our homes for sale.   This shows us that there are many people ready to buy the right home that suits their personal lifestyle needs.  Also, many people who went through distressed sales just a few years ago are able to purchase again.  Job growth coupled with population growth locally will also increase demand for housing.

One other area to see home ownership grow in 2015 and beyond is the Millennial homebuyers.  They believe in home ownership as a wealth building opportunity and an overwhelming majority of them will be buying in the next 5 years.  Lastly, rising rental rates will push more people into ownership as a cost savings measure.

All of these positive influences in our region will strengthen our housing market in 2015 and beyond.  As we see our local economy continuing to rebound after 4 years of stagnant growth, this will have a positive impact on housing.  To see what this means to you, please feel free to contact me.

Cheers in the New Year!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Happy New Year 2015 _ ScottyMacsBlog Real Estate Market

 

Wow, November really WINTER SCENEflew by this year. It’s hard to believe that December is here already. At this rate, when we blink it will be a New Year. This being said, with December comes reflection and projection.

Let’s reflect, this year, what resonates with me is that it was odd to say the least. Looking back, for the real estate business it has been especially challenging. We have not had a year where we couldn’t predict the market because there were no trends that lead the way for us. The harsh winter weather carried into May so there was no momentum from a spring market to carry us into the summer months. We had overly choosy buyers, rising inventory, fewer first time buyers, fewer investors, more inventory coupled with more days on the market plus even more. You name it, it happened and we couldn’t predict what would happen next. What we did have this year were very low interest rates – stable house prices – inventory was plentiful but nowhere near historic highs yet we had a “different” year. In a year where buyers should have been coming out of the wood work, they stayed on the fence. There are many in the business happy to see an end to this year from a business perspective.

So, let’s talk about next year. We are expecting a strong spring market based upon what our top producing agents are talking about in our mastermind meetings. Many of them have buyers ready to buy homes, they have realistic sellers ready to put their homes on the market and rates will remain low through the spring market. We hit a low in first time buyers last year that we haven’t seen since 1987 but there are financing changes upcoming with lower down payment requirements and changes in regulations relaxing the tight underwriting standards we have had recently. These revisions will make first time buyers and Millenials a viable option that will help revive the housing market in the lower price points that will help the market flow up stream. We expect that the month’s supply of homes will remain between 3.5 – 4.5 months so sellers will need to be patient. Overall, we are optimistic that the real estate market will be strong in 2015.

Have a fantastic, safe and relaxing holiday season with your family and friends. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about your situation, feel free to call me.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

As you grow and develop it is necessary to experience discomfort. You will need to break out of your comfort zone and create a new comfort zone that will help you expand yourself and your business. In some cases in can be referred to as expanding your box – get out of your box and experience exponential success. Let’s review how this can be broken down into manageable steps:

D – Decide that you need to do more than you are doing to get you more results than you are receiving today. Being satisfied with your results today won’t advance your future. At the same time, getting fewer results than you desire is going to put you further behind. Decide to do more today.

I – Implement the strategies required to make you attain the success you need to grow. It could be building more relationships, making more calls, attending more events, or whatever it takes to get you in front of more people. Relationships are the key to success. Build relationships deeper, make new ones and make them count for you and them!

S – Strategdiscomfort blog picize the what, how and benefits of what your actions will do for you and others. It will be necessary to adapt to the changing environment and make yourself relevant. Technology is rapidly changing all aspects of our lives and you need to make sure your strategy is in alignment with these changes.

C – Create the vision to make it happen. Write down what is necessary for your success, visualize your success in these undertakings and the results it will bring you and others – and they will happen.

O – Ownership of the ideas, thoughts and necessary tasks to get you to where you want to go will enable you to achieve your success. If you don’t buy into the end result, you won’t leave your comfort zone and make it happen.

M – Mastery of stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone through repetition, role playing and rehearsal will make you more comfortable in doing what is necessary to take yourself to the next level. Become a master of what steps you need to take to make it take place for you.

F – Find people who will help push you out of your comfort zone and want to see you become successful. Having others hold you accountable, help you grow and have your best interest at heart is vital to your growth.

O – Opportunities will become available to you as you make yourself expand and grow outside your comfort zone. You will be able to direct your future and take advantage of these opportunities. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity – be ready by experiencing discomfort.

R – Reward yourself for your new found comfort zone. If you don’t take the time to pat yourself on the back with small, medium or large rewards for your efforts, you won’t continue to put forth the effort. Rewarding yourself is a critical piece to keeping you motivated to do more.

T – Track and measure your results so you know how far away or how close you are to your goals and what you need to do to expand yourself to make these dreams a reality. What can be measured can be improved. Tracking what needs to be done for your success is imperative to receive results.

Discomfort allows you to grow and become better in the end and it is necessary for your success in all areas of your life. As the saying goes, if you aren’t growing, you are dying. Step up your efforts, step up your activities, grow outside your comfort zone – with baby steps or by leaps and bounds – and get where you want to go faster and perhaps even further than you expected. Get it? Got it? Good!

Now, go sell something!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

What is your driving force?  What is your true passion?PASSION

In the search for a meaningful and fulfilling life, it is extremely important to determine what you are passionate about. Too many people go through the motions of life without purpose because they are not pursuing their passion.

Here are my thoughts on passion.

Prioritize what is important to you.

Assess yourself and see if you have the ability to do what you are passionate about.

Skills will be necessary, so develop them continuously.  The better you are at what you love, the more passionate you will be about it.

Seek the people and the knowledge you will need to get better.  Always learn more from those who have been there and read voraciously to be the expert on your passion.  A mentor will get you where you want to go more quickly with fewer hiccups.

Initiate – as Nike says, just do it.  Take action to pursue your passion.  If you delay, you will only be hurting yourself, your success and your happiness.

Optimism, positivity and productivity in your life will ensue when you follow your dreams.  The choice you have every day to be positive or negative is easier to make when you are taking action on your passion.

Never give up – never, ever give up.  There will be obstacles in any endeavor but remember to keep your eye on your prize, you will make great things happen.

If you are looking to improve your life, do more of what you desire, improve by enhancing your skills and learn from others that know what you want to become.  Take action sooner rather than later.

Now, go sell something!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Well, we have good news to report on the market – We have reached a point of stability.

We are now officially into the winter market as we are starting to see things wind down.  Our listing inventory is currently at 8,512 houses for sale which is actually down from our 7 year high last month.  STONE BALANCEWe have a 3.7 month supply of homes which is about the same level as last month.  Obviously, we would like to see more sales as would our sellers but we are maintaining our sales levels, not decreasing which is more good news.  Additional positive news is interest rates remain low and prices are stable so the opportunity for buyers to lock in reasonable monthly payments is available.  From the buyer’s perspective, now is a great time to buy.

I had a conversation with Josh Burruss of MVB Mortgage about payments with rates where they are today versus a situation where they to go up .5% – here is the result of our discussion.  Currently the rate on a 30 year fixed conforming mortgage is approximately 4.00% (APR 4.058%) based on a sales price of $500,000 with a down payment of 20%.  If the interest rate were to rise just 0.5% (4.50% – APR of 4.562%) from current levels, the principal and interest payments would increase by approximately $117/mo.  The difference in the overall finance charge in these two interest rates over the life of the loan is approximately $42,241.94.  As you can see, just a half percent in interest rate can mean a huge difference in overall cost over the life of a mortgage.  If you want to discuss this with him in greater detail, feel free to call him at 703-727-4239.

Moving forward, we need to pay attention to the end of QE3 and the government’s subsequent completion of bond buying.  We are expecting rates to rise into 2015 as a result of this policy.  Right now we have great rates so take advantage while you can because the Fed still thinks it will be a “considerable time” before it begins to raise interest rates. The Zero Interest Rate Policy remains in full force, as it has been since it began at the end of 2008.  This policy will change because we cannot sustain this type of monetary policy as it just continues to add to our National debt.  Plus, we need a market-driven interest rate environment and a more predictable monetary policy to help foster long term economic growth.  This will definitely impact our housing recovery moving forward.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your housing situation in more detail so please feel free to contact me via email scottmacdonald@remax.net or give me a call 703-652-5777

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

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