Hot & Sticky… The Northern Virginia Real Estate Market

The real estate market continues to be hot – just like the weather.independence day  Inventory levels remain below 7,800 active properties for sale in Northern Virginia.  Last year at this time we had over 9,550 – quite a difference.  There is pent up demand but we are lacking “really good” inventory.  We have buyers that would move up if they found something suitable in a higher price points but nothing seems to be coming on to help with this situation.  So here are a few quick stats on the overall market:

  • Sales of existing homes reached the highest annual pace in over 9 years at 5.29 million.
  • Inventory remains below the 6-month norm and prices are still on the rise, however, this is very hyper-local so ask me for details.
  • Interest rates are at a historic low of 3.48%.

Now, just like the weather, things can be a little sticky…if properties get priced too high, they are sitting on the market.  They are getting lookers, just no offers which at times has led to frustration for our sellers.  It is important to keep in mind proper pricing today is still critical.  To learn more about how we can help you with selling your home, feel free to call me.

The big news recently has been Brexit and how it will affect us in the United States.  Well, virtually immediately, interest rates on mortgages dropped to three year lows.  The good news is they are expected to stay this way for a while.  There is speculation that International investors may sell off their holdings in the UK and invest in the US which could be good news for cities like Washington, DC, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – let’s keep an eye out for this movement.  The overall sentiment is we may not see its full impact for years but in the short term it will be good for the US housing market.

As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have regarding the Northern Virginia real estate market and have a safe, fun and enjoyable July 4th celebration.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Scott’s Market Minute – Robust Spring Housing Market Expected

Scott MacDonald’s Northern Virginia real estate housing market trends, local statistics and how this can impact your buying or selling a home  click to play video

Contact Scott MacDonald 702-652-5777 Broker for RE/MAX Gateway for more information and a personal assessment to meet your goals.

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

 

Unlike the weather out there…the Northern Virginia Real Estate Market is HOT!

Very Low Inventory + Lots of Buyers = Good News for Sellers!  click to play

Thinking about selling your home?  Contact Scott MacDonald 702-652-5777 for more information and a personal assessment to meet your real estate goals.

Scotts Market Minute 2016FEB12

Now is a great time to buy and sell a home in Northern Virginia!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

Buckle up and hold on tight! 2016 Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

Wow, 2015 flew by in a blink of an eye and I am sure 2016 will as well.  As Happy New Year 2016 from REMAX GatewayI mentioned in my previous market updates, we pretty much enjoyed a stable market for housing in 2015.  I expect things to pick up in 2016 because of all the recent activity.  Many of our agents have been working through the holidays with clients and I too have been meeting with both buyers and sellers looking to make moves in 2016 – more so than any other recent December.  So buckle up, the market will be moving forward in a positive direction.

A few areas in the mortgage arena for us to keep our eyes on are rising interest rates and loan products.  Now that the Fed has raised their rate, mortgage interest rates are now just above 4%.  Still great, don’t get me wrong, but they are just a tad higher than where they have been most of 2015.  The other interesting thing to watch with mortgages are the new programs coming into the market.  Fannie Mae now has a low down payment loan to compete with FHA loans.  These loans compete because the down payment can be a gift so buyers don’t need to have their own money saved for the down payment.  Additionally, I have read there are potentially no down payment loans coming back into the market soon.  These two loan products could help Millennial buyers enter the market sooner as they have not been able to save for their down payments due to high rents, student loan debt and lower paying jobs.  This is important because Millenials will be the largest home buying demographic once they can afford to buy.

Something else to watch is as sales continue to rise, prices too will follow – hopefully at a sustainable rate and not like the San Francisco market or our market from 2002-2006.  Home ownership is extremely important to wealth building and consistent growth in prices help this happen for many people.  We don’t need an escalating housing price market like we had in the past, as no one wins in the end.  I would expect a 3-5% increase in housing overall in Northern Virginia.  Some areas will see more, others less, so please ask me about your home’s value if you are interested.

As always, if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, I am here to help so please feel free to call me.  Here is to making 2016 one of your best years ever!  Happy New Year!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway
4090B Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151
Offices strategically located throughout Northern Virginia.

Real Estate Market Changes and Challenges November 2015

Leaves are falling and so is our inventory of homes for sale in Northern Virginia.  It is typical that homeowners who don’t need to sell or don’t have to sell take their homes off the market this time of year.Fall 2015 Real Estate Update  Along with the falling leaves and inventory, house sales are also falling – again, typical for this time of year.  Many potential homebuyers take a break over the holiday in anticipation of the spring market.

All this being said, there are sales happening in the marketplace.  Year over year sales are up in Northern Virginia as are sales prices making our housing market healthy.  If you have a situation which causes you to sell, now is a good time to do so.  With lower inventory levels and serious buyers in the market you can set your house apart from the competition to attract a sale.  Couple this with mortgage interest rates remaining low adds to the allure of home ownership right now.

On an interesting note, the SEC passed a ruling – Title III – which will allow retail investors to have access to invest in private businesses without that company having to register with the SEC.  This could have an impact on real estate as Equity Crowdfunding is a $2.5 Billion market.  These are groups that are forming to purchase properties and rent them out or fix and flip them.  This ruling goes into effect in 90 days and it won’t transform real estate overnight but it is something for us to keep an eye on moving forward.  To learn more about this, please feel free to call me 703-652-5777.

Oh, and we cannot forget, it is that time of year again, when the holiday season comes into full swing!  We have Thanksgiving right around the corner followed by Christmas and New Year’s Day – lots of time to spend with family and friends.  We wish you a happy time this season and hope you have a great holiday season.  And always remember, if you have any questions or concerns about real estate, we are here to help!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway

4090B Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151

Offices strategically located throughout Northern Virginia.

What You Need To Know To Prepare For A Home Appraisal

We had a great training session with John Chapman and Nathalie Palmer from Omni Appraisal Services about the current market and how to help get your properties to appraise for the contract sales price or at least get better results.

Here are a few key items to take into consideration when know who you are working with on your appraisal:

There are two types of appraisers – licensed and certified.  Licensed Appraisers can only do values up to $1,000,000.  Certified Appraisers can do any property value.  Additionally, Certified Appraisers must take a test and have a Bachelor’s degree.  Only Certified Appraisers can appraise FHA loans.

Did you know there are two types of appraisers?
– Licensed and Certified
Do you know the difference?

  • Larger banks are paying less to appraisers through Appraisal Management Companies.  Almost all of the banks own them so they can make more money.  This is not always a “good thing”.  Often times you will get an appraiser with less experience or one that will rush through the process because they have to make up their income by doing more volume.  Appraisal companies are in place to put a buffer between the lender, Realtor and appraiser to perpetuate a more “arm’s length” transaction.  What has resulted is that the banks are using this as a profit center and not always employing best in class appraisers.
  • Check with the appraiser’s competency and local knowledge.  Ask where they are located and if they are familiar with your property/area.  Additionally, ask how long have they been appraising homes?  Lastly, check and see if they work from home or office?   Many small owner operators work from home and as a result, don’t get exposures to other appraisers.  This lack of networking, idea sharing and updates on the market can hurt appraisals.
  • Education for appraisers is getting tougher.  There is an apprenticeship for 2 years now.
  • There are two types of appraisers – licensed and certified.  Licensed Appraisers can only do values up to $1,000,000.  Certified Appraisers can do any property value.  Additionally, Certified Appraisers must take a test and have a Bachelor’s degree.  Lastly, only Certified Appraisers can appraise FHA loans.

What you need to be prepared for your appraisal:

  • Always bring your own comparable sales – make sure they are good comps so you can build creditability.  Even bring low sales and let them know what the issues were that resulted in their low sale – pet odors, back to power lines, short sale, foreclosure, etc.
  • If at all possible, provide plat/floor plan – proper measuring is critical because if its 100 square feet off the true square footage you will have issues
  • Bulls eye approach – first look in subdivision, then do a radius search of 1 mile, 2 miles, etc. to find the right comparable properties.
  • Use a couple of higher sales, couple of smaller home, the radius approach to finding properties and a couple within the timeframe of settling within 3 months or less
  • You now need to have 5 to 6 comps
  • Provide 1-2 under contract comps as part of your presentation
  • Find FSBO too!  They can help your cause
  • Pass on any and all information you know about your property – list all recent improvements and their cost/value to help support your price.
  • Provide details on other offers if you had multiple offers
  • Provide additional pricing details like the Home Pricing Wizard, RBIntel statistics, and articles relating to escalating prices.

Steps to overcome low appraisal

  • Get a “good” conversation going, kill them with kindness
  • Provide new info that the appraiser might not be aware of when you met initially at the property
  • Be there when the appraiser wants to meet at the property
  • Use their language
    • Beneficial
    • Neutral
    • Adverse

Appraisers need to be concerned with the following items:

  • Safety –  the house needs to be safe, easy to explain
  • Soundness – the house needs to have structural integrity including but not limited to the roof and foundation
  • Security – the house needs to have locks on windows and doors

Integral issues for appraising

  • You have to know the condition and the subsequent ratings of the properties condition.  The rating scale goes from C1-C6.  One is the best and 6 is the worst.  Speak with the appraiser in terms of the condition to get more value for your clients
  • You also have to know the quality of the construction in order to help get more value.  Was the home custom built or was it a cookie-cutter built in the late 70’s with 7.5 foot ceilings?  These rankings range from Q1-Q6

As you see, it is extremely important for you to be a professional agent, do you job thoroughly for you clients and get the results that everyone is looking for from the appraisal process.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!

Scott MacDonald

RE/MAX Gateway, LLC

 

Prediction #1 Scott MacDonald TOP 10 Predictions 2013


Scott MacDonald counts down his 2013 Top 10 Predictions for Northern Virginia Real Estate PREDICTION #1 the Real Estate Market & exciting news for REMAX Gateway in 2013.

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!