Northern Virginia Real Estate Market UPDATE! What You Need To Know To Sell Your Home

House inventory has dramatically increased in Northern Virginia. Buyers have more options. Real Estate Agents & Sellers alike… You need to watch this video blog for tips and tricks to help sell the home. Want to talk about your property in specific? Call Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 or email read more…

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway


Northern Virginia Homes For Sale – The Inventory Is Climbing!

The inventory of homes for sale in Northern Virginia is growing quickly. You need to know how to set yourself up for success in this Spring real estate market! Are you buying or selling? Contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777 or email for information and strategies to put yourself ahead in this housing market.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

What’s HOT? The Washington Wizards and the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market!

Scott MacDonald of RE/MAX Gateway offers valuable information for home buyers, home sellers, and real estate agents on the Northern Virginia real estate market trends.

What is driving the real estate housing market? Watch Scott’s Market Minute.

Want to know how to increase your odds of multiple offers? Sellers are urged to price houses competitively and make repairs as recommended by an experienced REALTOR, as this will help to ensure the home shows well to prospective home buyers.  Contact Scott MacDonald (703) 652-5777

Now is a great time to list your home for sale!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

Is the spring market coming?

In Northern Virginia our inventory levels of active resale homes for sale continues to decline.  We are down to just over 4,600 homes on the market and we have a 1.8 month supply of homes.  Houses that went under contract the last 7 days hit a 6 month high this past week.  In a nutshell, houses are selling.  Why is this happening?   Interest rates hit another record low, we are creating jobs here, rental rates are increasing and our population is growing putting more demand on housing.

Last week I was asked when will we see the spring market or in other words, when will more houses be coming on the market?  Some people say when the banks start releasing foreclosures, some say mid-March, and some say when their price rise.  Let’s analyze each of these responses.

So far we have not seen the foreclosures hit the market and as a matter of record, the inventory has actually decreased to a 6 month low with only 311 currently for sale.  In addition, “Notice of Trustee sales” published have actually remained very low as well averaging only 3 pages per day versus substantially higher numbers in 2008-2010. Lastly, I started tracking short sale inventory just over 2 years ago and we are at an all-time low in this area as well – only 651 are for sale in Northern Virginia.

As far as the inventory levels increasing in mid-March, only time will tell but several agents have indicated they have houses in the process of being prepared to go on the market around this timeframe.  If they are not only preparing them for sale but are going to price them accordingly, they will sell.  Two properties we listed on Friday received multiple offers because they were price properly and in the right condition.  And now for the statement, “when my price increases, I will sell” is a tougher one to answer for many people.  Rise compared to what?  When they were purchased?  Compared to 2004-2007 prices?  Compared with the last sale in their neighborhood?  Until these questions can be answered, we can’t help them.

We continue to have one of the best real estate markets in the country and it will be this way for the foreseeable future.  Please feel free to contact us to learn more about how this market affects you and your situation.

What’s up with Gateway? News from our Quarterly Meeting

The Lorton office is progressing quite nicely – we should be officially open the week of the 10th along with the help of the county.  Feel free to stop by anytime for a visit as we are getting settled in with the technology, and finishing touches.  Hope to see you there soon!  Since this time, we have received our Occupancy Permit – great job to Brett for seeing this difficult process all the way to fruition – it was extremely frustrating and tenuous.

We have a great opportunity to potentially sublease some of our space in Chantilly.  The landlord has a need for the space coupled with KHov’s desire to give up some space so if you see activity over the next month or so, you will know what is happening.  In addition to relinquishing some space, we will be extending our lease for an additional 10 years.

For those of you unfamiliar with the changes at RE/MAX, RE/MAX has changed their name to RE/MAX, LLC.  What does this mean to you?  It puts our Independent Contract Agreements out of date.  In addition, it refers to RSN which is now RE/MAX University, it references Web Roster which is now on Mainstreet and some other minor changes.  Therefore, we have a 3 page revised agreement that we need you to sign to bring us into compliance with the headquarter company.  Kate will be sending out the agreements for you to sign – please do so at your earliest convenience.  Thanks!

The free trip to Vegas is moving along nicely for some – not so much for others!  Joe Doman is in the point standings lead as he has participated in the most trainings, charity events, etc. so far.  You still have time to catch up as the contest doesn’t end until the end of the year.  For more details on how you can get to Vegas on us, please let me know!

Please remember to sign your paperwork on listings and buyer agreements!!  As is the case every quarter, we need to discuss paperwork.  Please be compliant so we don’t need to have this covered next meeting!

We are putting together bowling teams for RPAC for each of the offices.  Please let us know if you can make it out on the 16th of June to Bowl America at Fairfax Circle. We’d love to see you there!

Gary Plaag of Couragio Consulting helped us all tremendously with our presentations thanks to Kathy Worek giving Gary her listing presentation.  We were all amused and educated at the same time.  For more details on how Gary can help you get better results, call him at 703-858-6162.

Now, go sell something!


Shopping for a Condo? Ask These 4 Questions before You Buy

Condominium homes have always been, and will likely
always be, an efficient and economical route to becoming a first-time
homeowner. They can offer the comfort, prestige, and even luxury appointments
that apartment living may lack, often at a cost that is not much different than
rent. With the current first-time home buyer tax credit and the deadline for
the move-up tax credit fast approaching, I advise you move fast on any condo
purchase you may be considering.

With my experience as Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am well
aware that not all condominiums are the same, however, so make sure you ask the
following four questions before you buy:

What will you own?
Read the bylaws and be sure you understand what you will be responsible for and
what belongs to the condo association. Will you own the boat dock at the back
of your unit? Can you elect to build a spa on your patio? Generally, unit owners
own and are responsible for the interior of their condos, while costs for
outside maintenance including common areas and sewer lines are the
association’s responsibility.

Who lives there?
Are the majority of residents owners or renters? Owners generally take more
interest in proper maintenance and are more willing than renters to serve on
the association board and enforce complex rules and regulations–including the
regular collection of homeowner dues.

How effective is
the homeowner’s association?
Do they have legal counsel,
reasonable funds and a capable, caring volunteer board? One way to judge is to
check with residents about restrictions, oversight and timeliness of repairs
and upgrades. Another is to take a hard look at the grounds and be wary of
signs of neglect.

What about special
The association should have the power to special
assess for needed, one-time large expenditures. Otherwise, things that need to
be done may never get done at all, leaving the complex vulnerable to disrepair
and lowered property values.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to become a homeowner or to downsize by
buying a condo (remember, the move-up tax credit does not require you to move
to a larger or more expensive home).

Thinking about remodeling?

Whether you are thinking about putting your home on the market or you are concerned about increasing your home’s equity in a time of depreciating house values, knowing which remodeling projects yields the best return on investment, is critical.

Not all home remodeling projects are equal in terms of ROI, however. Here are the National Association of Home Builder’s suggestions for the best ways to add value to your home:

• A Home Office Remodel
With more and more people telecommuting in today’s difficult business climate, home offices are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Creating a state-of-the-art space for potential teleworkers is a surefire way to increase your home’s value.

• Renovate or Add a Family Room
A family room is an excellent way to make existing homes more like new construction. Take into account what homes in your area are like. People like to purchase homes that blend with other homes around them.

• Replace the Roof
The roof is one of the first impressions people have of a home. Replace an old roof or change the character of your home by looking into architecturally styled roofing tiles.

• Landscape Your Yard
Landscaping is also an integral part of your home’s first impression. A professionally landscaped yard adds value to your home and increases your living space.

• Replace Old Windows
Thirty percent of a home’s energy is lost through its windows. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones ups the overall quality of the house and saves you money on monthly utility bills.

• Remodel Your Basement
Do you have space that serves as a black hole of unused items…like your basement? Remodeled basements make excellent game rooms or guest suites, adding value to your home without adding space.

• Paint, Paint, Paint
It’s been said over and over but can’t be emphasized enough. Hire a professional if you need help and keep the colors neutral if you’re looking to sell.

• Remodel Your Kitchen
Kitchens sell a home, and in this case, size does matter. But a kitchen remodel is a long-term investment; you’ll see payback 10 years down the road. Sometimes doing it yourself can save money, but always bring in a professional for the big jobs.

• Remodel or Add a Bathroom
A bathroom remodel can mean making the most of your current space by upgrading fixtures, flooring and lighting. Or add a bathroom and automatically increase the value of your home.

For more information on adding value to your home, visit, or in Canada,

Topic of the Day: Mold


This week we had Roland Jarrett in from Nexters Restoration in to speak about the process of testing and remediating mold from residential properties.

To have Nexters Restoration analyze and determine if something is potentially mold, there is no charge.  Estimates to remediate mold are also free.  However, if a swab test is required, there is a $150 lab fee.  If levels are rare – no treatment is required.  Low levels in basement require remediation but not always on upper levels.  Medium and higher levels always require remediation no matter where these levels are recorded.

If mold is present, the first objective is to remove the source of moisture as that is what attracts mold and encourages its’ growth.  If the source of the moisture isn’t removed – the mold will come back.

The typical process is to remove drywall, insulation, wipe down walls to sterilize them – in some cases blasting is required, apply kilz or drylock paint to walls and replace everything that was removed.  Using dehumidifiers to reduce relative humidity levels below 40% is also recommended.

Unconventional approaches include replacing sump pumps, water proofing walls from the exterior, and adding French drain systems.

Depending upon the type and quantity of mold, air duct cleaning, and complete cleaning of HVAC is required to mitigate mold levels.

Home Values

As a leader in real estate, I am repeatedly asked specific questions about today's market – especially in today's economy. In an effort to provide more information to my community, I am posting this Top 5 Real Estate Social Networking Systemsm "e-Article," in which to provide useful real estate information. 


Don't Wait – Increase Your Home's Value Now


In today's climate of dwindling home values, I am often asked, "How do I make my home worth more without spending a lot?"


To elevate the value of your home, a detailed and specific assessment of your home, and the homes against which it will compete in the market, is necessary. A professional home inspection-especially for those who are not planning to sell their home soon-can go a long way towards increasing the value and creating demand for your home, and can help you plan for expenses if there is work to be done.


As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate NetworkR, I am committed to maximizing the potential of my clients' homes. Having your home professionally inspected well before putting it on the market-or when you're not even planning to put it on the market-has a number of



1. For a relatively minor investment, you will have the opportunity to review an objectively prepared assessment of the condition of your home'

s structure, systems and amenities.


2. Everything else being equal, your inspection report should be consistent with the report prepared by your buyer's inspector, virtually eliminating stressful surprises when your home is on the market one day.

3. You will have the opportunity to decide whether to do the work yourself or to have the work contracted while time is on your side.


4. The greatest value of proactive inspection is that the decision to repair vs. replace will be yours alone. A buyer may use the replacement of the air conditioner or the roof as a negotiating gambit when a proactive, high quality repair would have been completely satisfactory.

Armed with the facts, you have the alternative of making a completely professional and perfectly functional repair of the roof rather than deducting the expense of replacement from the price. This places you in a much stronger negotiating position.


5. Finally, you will be able to enjoy the new roof, live worry free with the new water heater or use your new air conditioner and enjoy its higher energy efficiency. When you and your family are ready to move up, relocate, downsize or retire, you can put your home on the market with peace of mind, and concentrate on moving forward rather than looking back upon the costly repairs that you should have made.


Not only will buyers associate a specific value based on your home's "move-in" condition, but by addressing major repair/replacement issues, you will diminish competition from newer and better maintained homes on the market. Also, you will not have to worry about inspection issues arising at the last minute that could stop your transaction cold.

especially when this stress could have been avoided. For more information about home inspection, visit, the website of the American Society of Home Inspectors, or, in Canada,, the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors.