A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer. Today I’d like to ask you a question, are you truly applying yourself? Are you giving it 100% every day? I’m guessing you’re not, so today I challenge YOU! Find out my thoughts on the importance of this in my latest motivation minute message.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

December 2019 Market Update

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Wow, did November fly by or what?  It seems like I just sent my November newsletter and here we are in December already – crazy to me for sure. November brought a few substantial changes in our industry. First is the way we must now market our listings. The ability to pre-market homes as we know it has gone by the wayside. Previously, we could use signs, online marketing on social media sites, real estate websites, networking events and/or email campaigns to get the word out about future listings either days, weeks or months in advance. Now, we must put the home in MLS within one business day as active or in “Coming Soon” status once the property is marketed to the public in the aforementioned ways. It is more consumer-friendly as it opens up all houses to the buyers and it also gives sellers maximum exposure to all buyers by sharing the properties with all agents. Before this new rule, there were agents who would privately market homes to the detriment of the seller and potential buyers. This change will also provide accurate data in MLS for sales information, so we all know what sales prices and concessions are and inform us if the sale was an arm’s length transactions or not.  This is helpful for pricing houses for both buyers and sellers as well as appraisers. To learn how this can affect you when deciding to sell your house, give me a call, I’m happy to share more details.

The second area is financing houses and loan amounts. Here is a brief history of what FHFA has done since 2016 with conventional loans: back in 2016, the FHFA increased the conforming loan limits from $417,000 to $424,100. Then, the next year, the FHFA raised the loan limits from $424,100 to $453,100 for 2018. And in 2018, the FHFA increased the loan limit from $453,100 to $484,350 for 2019. Lastly, just last week, the new loan limits will be $510,000 for 2020. Jumbo loans will now go up to $765,600 in our area. Jumbo loans typically have higher interest rates. Please call to learn more about how this can help you when buying or selling a house.

Also, VA loans no longer have a limit, but they do have liability issues which can affect the amount of your loan going forward. If you are a veteran, your eligibility will drive your maximum loan amount. In addition, the funding fee for zero-down loans will be 2.3% of the loan amount in 2020, up from 2.15% for regular military in 2019. The fee for subsequent use loans will be 3.6% of the loan amount, up from the current 3.3%. You can pay the fee upfront or roll the cost into the loan. These go into effect for any loan that closes after January 1, 2020. Again, if you have any questions at all, please call me.

I hope you have a safe, fun and festive holiday season with all of your family and friends!

A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer. In today’s Peak Performer Series message I wanted to talk about something that will really hold you back – excuses! Are you making excuses or are you really out there doing the tasks that need to be done to grow your business? Take a few minutes to watch this quick video to understand why you should stop making excuses.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer. In today’s Peak Performer Series message I wanted to talk about your top 3 priories in all areas of your life. What can you do to propel yourself into a successful 2020? Take a few minutes to watch this quick video to understand the importance of reflecting on your life and preparing for next year.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

November 2019 Market Update

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Happy Fall!

The change in the weather has not changed the real estate market here in Northern Virginia. We still have a limited supply of houses for sale with lots of demand. Houses are selling quickly when priced right, are in the right condition and in a desirable location.  In all of Northern Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fauquier Counties plus all of the cities in between – Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, etc.) the median days on market are just 14. As you can see, properties are selling quickly! The important thing to note however is prices are not drastically increasing with this supply and demand issue and when prices do get “pushed” we are having appraisal issues. It is important to price your house properly so if you are considering selling, please call me to discuss the right pricing strategy for you as each market is different.

During this time of year, people always ask, is now a good time to sell? My answer is – yes – if you need to sell. If there is a situation in your life that dictates the need to sell, list your house now. As I mentioned, we have a strong demand for houses. There is only a 1.5 month’s supply of housing right now. Also, we know that inventory levels are very low, only 3,855 resale houses are for sale today, so we know what the competition is for you. Who knows who will be selling in the spring and how this will affect pricing? We also know that rates, although they increased slightly this week, they are still great.  At this time, a buyer can get a 30-year fixed-rate at under 4% which is phenomenal.

Additionally, houses that are decorated for the holiday season often show better and, in some cases, give the buyer ideas on how they can enjoy the holidays in the house as well. A nice staging technique that can go a long way.  So, again, if you are thinking about selling and want to know if you should wait or list today, please call me.

I hope you have a festive Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer. In today’s Peak Performer Series message I’d like to talk to you about earning it. You earn your reputation every day? What are you doing to earn it? Do you have the right attitude on a daily basis? Learn more about the importance of your reputation in my latest motivational minute video.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

October 2019 Market Update

It is hard to believe we are entering the 4th Quarter of 2019 already.

It will be interesting to see what the vision of the real estate market will be in 2020. Right now, the real estate market is very dynamic and very hyperlocal. We see inventory levels remaining low relative to previous years. We currently have a total of 4,122 houses for sale in Northern Virginia – 33% fewer homes for sale through September this year versus last year. Homes priced below $350,000 represent only 719 houses with only 45 of these are located in Arlington. The Amazon Effect in full force in Arlington. Homes priced between $350,000 and $700,000 make up 1,822 homes of the total inventory numbers, only 46 of these are located in Arlington. Lastly, houses priced above $700,000 make up 1,582 of the houses for sale in the marketplace and there are only 118 in this price range located in Arlington.

As you can see, the market is different in each location, I just picked Arlington as an example.  That does not tell the whole story – prices are up year over year in all of Northern Virginia by 3.6% while in Arlington, they are up 12.4%. Additionally, the median days on market in all of Northern Virginia is 15 days on the market and in Arlington…you guessed it, lower at only 8 days on the market. The market is definitely hot for sellers “if” you price it right and do the right upgrades. Buyers will pay for ready to go houses and will pass on the ones that need work or updating.

This being said, housing prices are up year over year throughout our area – just not substantially. The 3.8% is healthy and sustainable. The issue we are having is sellers are trying to attain 5% per month and therefore the houses are not selling. In today’s market, buyers are being very discerning on prices and are not making offers including low offers. Sellers who overprice their houses or price in “negotiating room” find themselves sitting.

If you are looking to buy or sell in today’s dynamic market, call me today to set up a no-obligation consultation to learn more.

Enjoy the cooler temperatures heading our way! Happy Halloween!

A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer. In today’s Peak Performer Series message I’d like to talk to you about adding value. How much value are you adding to your clients and customers? Are you giving your clients the right advice when they are buying or selling with you? Learn more about the importance of adding value in my latest motivational message video.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

 

September Market Update

My whole career I have been asked, “So, how’s the market?” Well, this year and more specifically, in the last few months, I have been asked this even more. It is a loaded question because it depends on whether you are a buyer, a seller, or if you are looking to rent and most importantly where you are looking to do any of these types of transactions.  After we clarify what they want to know, I find it is a lot of curiosity because people love to talk about real estate. It also is of interest to them because in our discussions I hear things like, “I don’t see any for sale signs in my neighborhood”, “when houses go up for sale in my area, they sell right away”, “my friend is looking for a house and they are losing out on multiple contracts” and many other similar comments so there is a genuine interest in “How’s the market”.

Overall, in Northern Virginia, the inventory on active resale homes is down over 31% from last year and units sold are virtually the same which means it is extremely competitive to be a buyer and if you price your house correctly, you can be a very happy seller. As always it is a hyper-local market so let’s take a deeper dive into the counties.

  • Arlington County – the Amazon Effect is keeping inventory low, median days on the market extremely low but interestingly enough, prices are not as high as you would think considering the supply and demand in that area. Closed sales are down as inventory is down and prices are up just 4%. Houses sell quickly – median days on market are just 9!
Statistic Jul YoY MoM
Total Sold Dollar Volume 182,179,254 down5.9% down7.5%
Closed Sales 266 down9.5% -0.4%
Median Sold Price $616,000 up1.3% +9%
Average Sold Price $684,884 up4% -7.2%
Median Days on Market 9 days down75.7% 0%
Average Days on Market 30 days down40% -16.7%
  • Fairfax County – Prices are up Year over Year but down Month over Month which indicates sellers are starting off too high and then making adjustments to get them sold. Days on market for Median Days and average days indicate a strong market but remember, price is critical to getting houses sold today. Closed sales are up Year over Year but are down Month over Month.
Statistic Jul YoY MoM
Total Sold Dollar Volume 1,027,443,963 up7.9% down5.9%
Closed Sales 1,680 up6.5% -4.8%
Median Sold Price $539,900 up2.3% -4.4%
Average Sold Price $612,668 up1.5% -1.1%
Median Days on Market 17 days down56.4% +6.3%
Average Days on Market 33 days down31.3% +6.5%
  • Loudoun County – the market in Loudoun is slowing a little as they are experiencing what other regions are – Year over Year gains but Month over Month declines. Median Days on Market jumped MoM but prices are maintaining in the area.  There is lots of pent up demand in Loudoun – stay tuned on their progress.
Statistic Jul YoY MoM
Total Sold Dollar Volume 408,811,460 up8.4% down2.8%
Closed Sales 747 up1.8% -1.2%
Median Sold Price $512,250 up8.5% -0.5%
Average Sold Price $549,478 up6.9% -1.4%
Median Days on Market 23 days down39.5% +43.8%
Average Days on Market 38 days down34.5% +22.6%
  • Prince William County – consistent with the other counties showing price reductions but an overall strong market as sales are strong and Days on Market are low. Prince William offers the lowest prices so more value!
Statistic Jul YoY MoM
Total Sold Dollar Volume 318,271,988 up5.4% down1.5%
Closed Sales 778 down0.4% 0%
Median Sold Price $385,000 up6.9% -2.5%
Average Sold Price $409,616 up5.9% -1.8%
Median Days on Market 24 days down41.5% +14.3%
Average Days on Market 38 days down19.2% +5.6%

Remember, within the counties, there is also a deeper dive that needs to be taken into consideration in neighborhoods and price points. Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of what is happening in our real estate market in Northern Virginia.  If you have any questions or concerns or if you are looking to make a move, please feel free to call me.

July Market Update

Mid Year Update

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It is hard to believe we are already halfway through 2019. The two questions that I have are; where does the time go and where is the housing inventory? The number of houses in Northern Virginia remains extremely low – 20% below last year and nearly 33% from two years ago. The inventory with the lowest levels is in the first-time home buyer price range which is basically houses and condos priced below $350,000. At the time of this newsletter, there are only 717 properties for sale in all of Northern Virginia at this price point. These homes are flying off the market with an absorption rate resulting in a .75 month’s supply of housing. As such, we are seeing multiple offers as there just not enough supply for the number of buyers in this market. To climb the pricing ladder, we will see the month’s supply and inventory rise. As a comparison, houses priced between $350,000 and $500,000 have a .83 month’s supply with only 872 houses for sale. The $500,000 and $750,000 priced houses have a 1.2 month’s supply with 1,252 currently on the market. Both of these numbers are low, historically speaking, so don’t be alarmed if you are thinking of selling your house. Where we see the market slowing is in the $750,000 and above price point. In this price point, we have over a 3 month’s supply of inventory with 1,683 houses for sale. This is obviously a larger price range but shows the higher you go, the longer it takes to sell. I have mentioned many times if a house isn’t compelling – it isn’t selling and the best way to make it compelling is price. If you are considering selling in any of these price points, please call me to learn how to best position your house to sell for the most money in the least amount of time.

So, what does it mean for buyers? There are opportunities in the market to own but you need to be strategic in doing so in every price point. It is important to utilize the services of a professional to negotiate for you to get you into the home you desire. If you are considering becoming a homeowner for the first time or if you are moving up or down, give me a call to learn how this can be done for you.

Have a very Happy 4th of July and please be safe!