February Market Update

So Far This Year…

Nothing can stop the real estate market here in Northern Virginia; not the rising interest rates, not the pull back of the FHA mortgage insurance premium reduction, not lack of inventory, and especially not this cold weather we are experiencing.

Sales are strong and we appear to be headed for a robust spring housing market.  In addition to the group of buyers we are currently working with, we are getting lots of online leads from additional buyers asking about houses; both new builds andrrg-logo_small resale. Typically, this group will become home buyers in three to nine months – stay tuned for more details as we get down the road with these leads.

Today’s buyers are looking in all price ranges and in all locations throughout Northern Virginia. As you would imagine, the lower price points are in very high demand, but so are higher priced properties in areas like McLean and North Arlington.  We have some soft spots (lowering of prices and accumulation of days on the market) in the Great Falls area, but typically, if houses are priced right, in good condition and have been staged, they are selling quickly!  Thus, inventory is at a four year low with just over 3,900 existing homes currently for sale. We expect properties to come on the market in February, but with the demand we are experiencing now, they too should sell quickly.

So, what are the lessons we have learned so far in 2017?  If you are a buyer, act quickly! If you find a home meets your criteria and suits your lifestyle, make an offer, don’t wait.  Many properties are receiving numerous offers; therefore they are selling quickly.

If you are a seller, get your house “right” and get it on the market sooner rather than later – there is a strong appetite for housing today.  Buyers are out there and ready to make a move.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, please feel free to call me today.  I would enjoy meeting with you to determine which is the best option for you to pursue.

Stay warm!

Scott can be reached at 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net.

How to be successful this year in real estate.

It’s the beginning of the year and agents are asking what they need to do to be successful this year in real estate.  As I thought this through, I came up with a few areas that I believe agents need to “pay attention to” sooner rather than later to be successful in real estate.  Here is the list of urgent and important items, urgent items, important items and lastly, to do items that I came up with for success this year and beyond.


Urgent and important

  • Get you database together – sort and qualify them.  Assemble their name, address, email address and phone number.
  • Call them, stop by and see them with a “leave behind item of value”, communicate with them regularly to strengthen your relationships with them and to develop your base of business.
  • Add people to your database daily – grow who you know and also, those who know you
  • Develop a daily game plan of who you are going to reach out to and why.  Do this the evening before or the morning before you start your day.
  • Create a daily schedule with strategic blocks (1-2 hours), buffer blocks (3-5 hours) and break out blocks (1-2 hours) built in and stick to it for success.


  • Have a business plan complete with goals, objectives to meet these goals, and action plans to carry you over the goal line.
  • Hire a coach/mentor to keep you on track – meet with them weekly to review your goals/business plan.  Your broker or manager is always a good start as they are invested in your success.
  • Get an accountability partner to hold your feet to the fire complete with rewards as well as consequences for your actions.


  • Learn the business – read publications, attend industry events at your office, Real Estate Exchanges, Quarterly meetings, association and at the franchise level.
  • Learn the inventory – see 5 houses every day including new homes.  Attend Broker Opens.
  • Meet with others in the industry – lenders, title, builders to gain insight into their areas of the business and what is happening with them.
  • Start a blog and write consistently.
  • Do videos and post to your blog, website, and social media channels to gain exposure and recognition as an expert.
  • Plan to host at least one client event this year.
  • Have a daily to-do list.  Work on hardest things first as they are typically the most critical.
  • Develop a routine and stick with it.  Always start with prospecting as it is the key to success.
  • Maintain a calendar with events and goals for the day and week.
  • Work on your negotiation skills through role playing.
  • Be present – stay off cell phone during your “block” times, focus on the other person, be an active listener.

To do’s

  • Utilize systems and process to ensure your success for marketing yourself, working with buyers and sellers.
  • Set up a networking group to grow your business.
  • Create and develop your brand – who you are, what you deliver and what you stand for in the business.
  • Read inspirational and motivational articles, books, etc. each morning to get you in the right frame of mind daily.
  • Continuously educate yourself personally and professionally.  Set a goal to read a book a month or even a book a week or to attain a designation.
  • Eat healthy and exercise regularly.
  • Invest wisely in yourself and in your business – check with your coach, mentor or trusted advisor before any major expenditures.
  • Celebrate your successes, including the small ones as they all count!
  • Consistently work on communication skills.
  • Create a vision board of your goals, dreams and desires.
  • Have a good balance between work and life.


As you progress in your career or if you are looking to jump start your career be sure to add these items to guide you to success.  Obviously there are other areas which you need to develop but these will most definitely help you.  If you are interested in more information or would like to schedule a time to meet, please feel free to call me.

Now, go sell something!

Notes from Scott’s Desk

There are houses selling…2 contracts per listing of late – and
in different price points, $250,000 and $850,000.  The contracts came in close to list price even
though they were in competition.

Some agents like Equator, the new Bank of America short sale
portal – because of their quick responses and live chat, but some still have
repeated problems with acceptance of forms in particular formats.  Once in the final stage of approval, it takes
about 6 weeks to close, and they take precautions to stave off foreclosure.

Ask for 90 day short sale contingency approval – don’t pull
contract in final stages of negotiation, swap out contracts with same terms to
keep the ball rolling – you don’t want to have to go back to the beginning.

Short sale listings are finding agents – agents aren’t
pursuing them as much, they are just coming in.

Go back to database – reach out and talk to your people to
grow your business.  We are in a
relationship business – build those relationships deeper and your success will

What will happen at the end of April when the tax credit is
gone?  No, what will happen at the end of
March when the Fed stops buying MBS?  The
market will slow…buyers will be back on the fence…financing is tough enough –
hopefully the restrictions on obtaining financing won’t get any worse…rates
will increase – buyers will drop out of market – will prices drop?  Message to send out: look at the positive
side of things…rates are great, inventory is available, prices remain low, we
know what loan programs are available…we need to list out true picture of the
market, it’s our job.

How do properties not listed as short sales end up in hands
of investors prior to courthouse steps?  Are
these investors negotiating directly with the seller or going to the trustee at
the steps or are they going directly to the bank?  This is a question our group would like to
know the answer too.

Appraisers are asking to have snow removed from the roofs of
properties…appraisals are coming in low…fewer sales make appraisals a problem
this time of year…appraisers aren’t going into the house in some cases…on FHA
loans, the lender has the option of using the first appraisal or ordering a
second one, if you are caught in a low appraisal situation with FHA loans on
your listings, switch lenders…

Housing starts rise in January 2.8% – RISMEDIA, February 22,
2010—Nationwide housing production hit its strongest pace in the last six
months this January, posting a 2.8% gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 591,000 units, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Commerce

According to the latest indexes (Zillow and the Feds “flow
of funds report) negative owner equity has dropped as prices have begun to
increase and between the 1st and 3rd quarters last year,
home equity rose by $1 trillion as a combination of increased home values and
principal pay down.  Although this news
was good for a lot of the country, the sand states (FL, AZ, NM & CA)
continue to be viewed as a high risk factor.

Josh Burruss of Potomac Mortgage Group mentioned the
upcoming FHA financing changes and dates to keep in mind to create buyer

The following are some images from our monthly Real Estate Exchange in Gainesville. 



IMG_7869     IMG_7872 

IMG_7877     IMG_7878


Here We Go Again

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Platinum Club October

Asset managers are checking up on their listers to make sure
properties are being marketed properly. 
If you are listing foreclosure properties – tighten up if you want to
keep your listings!

2nd quarter is when the next “wave” of foreclosures
is to be released – here we go again!

3 month moratorium on foreclosures is more here say yet
properties are going to foreclosure in November.  Apparently, the banks are going to do away
“stages” of appraisals.

Ekko works well with short sales, S5 is OK –nothing above
the others, and Advanced Title gets them done.

Banks have stacks of short sales to work through – Bryan had
4 approved in the last week – 1 in 70 days, 2 in 3 to 4 months and 1 in 6
months.  It seems as if the Asset Manager
makes all of the difference not necessarily the bank. 

Take short sale listings to generate buyer s leads and close
them because chances are your listing
won’t close.  Short sales make the agents look incompetent.

Buyers are indecisive and becoming unrealistic – coming up
with excessive home inspection lists.

Upper bracket prices continue to fall and those buyers are
more cautious.  People are backing out of
remodeling contracts as well – the economy is their excuse of why they aren’t
moving forward.  National news and lack
of details about our market is making them uncomfortable in both scenarios.

Are there more listings coming on the market?  The answer is yes – inventory is low put it
on now.

Builder activity is on the rise.  One builder, Van Metre is up 40% and is
raising their prices – NVR posted a 50%
increase over last year’s sales.

We all believe Tax Credit for first time buyers will be
extended.  As previously discussed each
real estate transaction “touches” 29 different industries and generates $62,000
in capital to the economy.

We also believe that the loan limit will go back to $625,500
and remain there as prices are lower – we all have had fewer sales above the
$700,000 price range.  Also, the
government may want to diminish their exposure and not raise it back up.

Condo associations need to be proactive to get their
properties approved FHA after November 2, 2009 – no one has heard of any
associations taking the lead.  Be sure to
make sure the project is in process of approval prior to finalizing
contacts.  No more spot approvals with
FHA after this date.  Here
are the outlines of the program
– lots of questions are still
unanswered.  Will this kill the condo

What does all of this mean? 
Professional Realtors are more valuable and more needed today more than
ever.  Get it?  Got it? 

Now, go sell something!

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