Category Archive

When Going Under Contract is Not Immediate

When Going Under Contract is Not Immediate

Not every home goes under contract immediately. It is still a seller’s market out there. I have recently negotiated deals from Bristow to Woodstock and last night, Middletown. What is happening in the market is a shift in buyer behavior. They are no longer prone to acting in a frenzy. Their actions have become far more deliberate as rising mortgage interest rates, coupled with the steady increase in home values, have pinched affordability. Buyers just entering the market are looking for smaller homes than they were a year ago, or homes further out.

The home pictured above at 6717 Middle Road took forty-two days to go under contract. (pause for reader gasp) Hold on there. That’s not all that unusual. Looking back to my listings to January 1, 2021, I found one that had higher days on market at fifty-two. The next highest below Middle Road was a home at thirty-one days. Mind you, my average days on market in that time frame is nine days. Median days on market is four. What takes some houses longer to go under contract than others?

PRICE

Price is usually the first, sometimes the only culprit to remedy when a property is not going under contract. If a seller does everything you tell them to do and the home is showing in immaculate condition, the price is the problem. Newer agents, licensed during the seller’s market boom since the pandemic, may not even realize that price can be a problem. They may give you feedback that the home doesn’t have a finished basement or the high level finishes expected. When their buyers pick higher priced houses with those traits and don’t pick yours, that means the price needs to come down. Let’s face it, there is zero sense in finishing a basement vs. lowering price to compensate for not having one.

TIMING

Sometimes, selling a home too soon after a purchase gives buyers two feelings. The first one is, “What’s wrong with the house?” Two of the sellers I have helped with the highest days on market owned their houses less than eighteen months when they listed them with me. In both cases, life circumstances precluded holding onto the homes. One was meant as a second home, but the owner wasn’t able to utilize it as much as she had hoped due to life circumstances. The other was a job transfer right after it was purchased.

The other feeling buyers had about these homes was about time owned in conjunction with list prices. “They are asking too much. They only bought it eighteen months ago.” Despite HUGE value increases during those times, buyers felt they were the judge and jury of how much these sellers should make for their short time of ownership. This feeling is pure jealousy and has nothing to do with market value. They will often feel value has solely to do with what an owner has done to improve the home. In the crazy market we have experience since 2020, demand alone was enough to justify high value increases.

CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL

Sometimes there can be a combination of factors contributing to high marketing time, not the least of which are circumstances beyond the seller’s control. Maybe you list a property in winter and you get snow storm after snow storm. Maybe you have a vacant home with, unbeknownst to you, poor drainage, live out of the area and experience torrential rain storms twice a week that leave puddles in your basement. You only find out because of agent feedback. Yikes! Middle Road had a timing issue (lots of judgement over how much the seller was asking having only owned the home eighteen months) and then water in the basement in puddles. Despite the latter being disclosed, then corrected to not be a problem, buyers were hesitant. To buyers who had been squeezed out of areas with newer homes not prone to such issues having different foundation structures, there was a bit of panic. What did the seller do? First she lowered the price. Then she hired a home inspector to do an entire property inspection and posted the very run of the mill, ordinary results for buyers and their agents to read. Now, they had a resource above either of our heads, to discuss the findings. Guess what? That’s when it went under contract. And without an inspection contingency because she had done the inspection for them.

Some homes just take longer to sell. Understanding the dynamics at play and being able to bring considerable experience and skill to the table to help my sellers work around whatever the market throws at them is where I shine brightest. Not every home sale is going to be prep it, photograph it, market it and review offers. There is often more skill and nuance in marketing it.

No matter what the process entails, I’m here to lead the way and make it as stress free as possible. Not all paths to going under contract are short or well worn, but having an experienced and skilled agent on your side that can help you work with the market, not against it, is critical to success.

Bristow Home in Amenity Rich Neighborhood for $675,000

12607 Cessford Drive in Bristow Listed for $675,000 on July 19, 2022

Bristow Home in Amenity Rich Neighborhood for $675,000

When my husband and I were house hunting in Bristow, one of the homes that I personally loved was the Yardley model. It has all the right rooms in a configuration that makes it a little different that a typical Northern Virginia colonial. This listing at 12607 Cessford is a great example of a bumped out, four bedroom Yardley. And it’s on a great lot!

With no other home fronting to Cessford Drive on the west side, this home has no direct next door neighbors. A gas line easement up the hill and north of the home gives protected open space. To the south side, there just wasn’t enough room to put another home. That gives 12607 Cessford much appreciated elbow room. The back yard is not flat, but the slight rise in the yard itself is a built-in privacy buffer from the neighbor in the back. Enjoy rest and relaxation on the wood deck.

Inside, the floor plan is sure to please buyers. It’s not the most popular mid-sized home in Braemar for nothing. Check out the large family room and kitchen with breakfast nook.

The owner’s suite is another winner. Loads of space and double walk-in closets and bathroom with soaking tub, stall shower and double sinks.

Perhaps the best part of a four bedroom upper level Yardley is the size of the fourth bedroom. It rivals the owner’s suite in sheer size.

This particular Yardley has a partially finished basement to include a landing zone in LVP, large carpeted recreation space and laundry area. It’s a perfect setting for a home theater as there are no daylight windows. There is unfinished space you can finish to include a den and full bathroom, or you can leave it the way it is and enjoy an abundance of storage.

This home is located in Braemar, an amenity rich community in Bristow. Enjoy access to two swimming pools, multiple playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts. There are even walking trails that take you through the community. Patriot High School is located just a few blocks away, but Cedar Point Elementary and Marsteller Middle are located within the confines of the neighborhood itself.

Want to schedule your tour? Get in touch with me.

Staging a Home Makes a Difference

Staging a Home Makes a Difference

Getting a property ready for the market is not a task to be taken lightly. In order to generate buyer enthusiasm, a home needs to feel inviting. In the case of an occupied home, personal items need to be minimized. Walking into a home that feels like the owner is still very much there, is not helpful. Whether they realize it or not, buyers are trying to imagine themselves in the space. If they see your family photos, recognition plaques, diplomas or degrees, they are seeing you. They need to see a blank slate.

This topic is top of mind for me again today because I am about to step out and help a seller warm up her home with what I call fluff. The seller has cleaned and de-cluttered, but needs a tad of flair in the now bare surfaces. Of course, none of the flair ever conveys, but it sure does make a difference in how a buyer sees the space they are touring. Staged homes get chosen faster and make more money.

For my occupied listings, I take listing preparation very seriously. It is never a waste of my time to make sure a home is properly primped. And if there is a need to fill with some fluff (plants, paintings and the like) I am happy to provide whatever I have to make a more welcoming statement. Sometimes, a family room mantel just needs a pop of color. Or maybe bookcases need straightening up and items of interest. The more generic, the better.

In the case of a vacant home, it is very hard to visualize how big a room is, or feel any warmth in a bare setting with just four walls. Light staging is a complementary service I offer my vacant listings. A dining area would receive a table and chairs and some place settings and a centerpiece. Bathrooms are fluffed with towels and kitchens are warmed up with cookbooks and the like.

Making the best impression on buyers in the market is essential whether there is limited inventory or you are competing with twenty homes. How enthusiastic buyers are about your home will determine how high your offers go in a seller’s market or how quickly you are chosen in a buyer’s market.

When you are ready to sell, it is never too early to engage my listing services for the absolute best advice on the preparation that will make a difference in the market. The staging is the icing on the cake.

Buying a Home From a Video Tour

Buying a Home From a Video Tour

When the market is full of buyers and very little inventory to choose from, what are out of state buyers to do when they have only one weekend to house hunt and everything they physically toured goes under contract? They rely heavily on their agent. One thing that I do with all buyers relocating to Northern Virginia is to get a glimpse of what they are coming from. Setting expectations is key. Before we ever went on a house hunting tour, I had already done a virtual tour of their existing home. Going in I knew that the homes Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket and Manassas had to offer were going to hit the spot.

When we met in person for the first day of their in person home tour, the buyers were not yet under contract with their home in Oklahoma. Without that all important contract on their existing home in hand, house hunting in Prince William County may have felt pointless to many agents. Not to me. We toured nineteen homes in two days. There was plenty of variety in location, lots, age of homes and in updates. Their preferences became clear. Somewhat updated was okay. Neighborhood locations with amenities were ideal with just enough yard to enjoy and not be a burden on their weekend family time. There were also two school districts they preferred.

By the time their home was under contract, they had narrowed down the area that fit the best based on what we had seen. When the house pictured above came on the market in the neighborhood of Braemar in Bristow, they were quick to make themselves available for a virtual tour. An offer followed the same day. They were under contract within twenty-four hours which was a huge relief having expected it may take some time to have success given the high level of buyer demand.

What played key roles in getting their VA loan offer accepted was working with a local, highly reputable lender and working with a full-time professional agent who is well known and well respected in Western Prince William County. Their relocation contact had set them up with a call center lender. I referred them to Jason Andrzejewski of Prosperity Home Mortgage. Turned out, the sellers had refinanced recently with Jason and his pre-approval letter was as good as gold to them. As for me, I was a known quantity to the listing agent who had done deals with me in the past and had worked in the same brokerage as me for years. Reputation of your real estate professionals matter.

The nerve racking moment for me came the first time the buyers walked into the home with their kids, which was about a week before closing. It was so wonderful to see the kids smile and say they loved the home. It was a personal pleasure to show them around the neighborhood amenities.

Navigating a seller’s market is stressful, but having the right professionals on your side with local market credibility and recognition makes all the difference. If you are looking for a home in Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas or areas surrounding those cities, give me a call. It is my pleasure to make my buyers home purchasing experience as stress free as possible.

Buyers: Let’s Talk About Escalation Clauses

Buyers: Let’s Talk About Escalation Clauses

Having been a full-time real estate agent in Northern Virginia since 2005, I have experienced more than the intense seller’s market of 2020-2022. Seller market conditions had been present in 2019, but the market was not as difficult to navigate as it became in 2020 and 2021 for buyers. Escalation clauses became very commonplace in the last two years and right now, they are still present in the market. Unfortunately, the market conditions, while still favoring sellers, is chilling out a bit. Competition is still present, but more limited and buyer actions more deliberate. What concerns me is the buyer and buyer agent perception of how escalation clauses actually work.

When you write an offer with an escalation clause, you are writing an offer that can speak in your absence. I have written about the appropriate use of escalation clauses before which focuses on situations that would call for them. This post is not to rehash that, but to talk about how shifting market conditions are chaning how sellers react to escalation clauses.

The risk to a buyer in writing an escalation clause is that they are showing the seller exactly how much they are willing to pay for a property. In the absence of other offers in hand, a seller is well within their rights to remove that escalation addendum and counter at a higher price, possibly to the max of the escalation addendum. Buyers and their agents tend to think that is not fair, but I am here to tell you that fair has nothing to do with it. When you have shown your upper limit, you need to be prepared for the consequences.

Just in the past month I have represented two sellers who had escalation clauses in offers. Neither had anything above list price when the offer with the escalation addendum arrived. One had multiple list price offers, the other no offers, but lots of traffic. Both buyers were stunned when the seller countered removing the escalation addendum and countering their offer. Cries of, “You can’t do that,” and “That’s not fair,” were made. Well, the seller can and who said life was fair. Mind you, in the ultimate act of fair negotiations, both sellers went midway between the max escalation and list price with their counters. Yet, the buyers were left feeling taken advantage of.

These buyers didn’t seem to understand, that in a market with not enough inventory, sellers still have the advantage. What sense does it make to say you would pay twenty thousand over list, but only if someone else was willing to pay a little less? Do you want the house? Do you want to lock down the deal before a better offer comes in? Especially on properties that you know will get other offers, it is a dangerous game to say no to a counter at a price you would pay otherwise. And if a buyer in this situation has not waived appraisal, there is no way they are going to be forced to pay above appraised value. From even a buyer’s agent perspective, it is hard to see rejecting a counter offer at a price a buyer would be willing to pay.

There is risk to a seller in removing an escalation addendum. Once a buyer’s offer is countered, the first offer that buyer made is no longer valid. It has been altered. This is very important for buyers to understand because their offer with a escalation, once countered by a seller, is not automatically going to best another within a certain range.

Understanding that bold statement above, let’s say Buyer A made an offer at list price, escalating above other offers in increments of two-thousand dollars to a max of twenty-thousand above list. Seller counters Buyer A removing escalation addendum with a sales price of ten-thousand above list price. What is wise for Buyer A to do? If Buyer A was worried that other offers may get higher than that since their original escalation was twenty-thousand above, they would be wise to take the counter. However, if Buyer A wants to counter the seller one escalation above list from their original offer at two-thousand above list, meanwhile Buyer B enters the scene at five thousand above list, Buyer B is now the highest offer. If the seller takes Buyer B, Buyer A will be kicking themselves that while they wasted time trying to get a few thousand lower, they could have locked in a deal still well below their max escalation.

When representing buyers I always make sure they understand the worst that could happen when including an escalation clause in their offer is that they get countered to their max escalation. And common sense says that if they were willing to pay that to begin with had other buyers been present with offers on the table, why wouldn’t they want it in a counter offer?

As far as I can tell from the listing side, buyers seem to think escalation addendums are a way of playing a real estate version of The Price is Right Showcase Showdown. They can best another buyer and be minimally out of pocket. Sellers are under no obligation to take the highest offer. In fact, sellers often times will take the buyer that appeared the most serious from the beginning, even if it costs them one-thousand dollars. An example would be Buyer A bringing in an offer at twenty-thousand above list with no escalation and Buyer B bringing in offer at list, escalating five-hundred above another to a max of twenty-thousand five-hundred above list. Buyer A swung for the fences with their offer. They didn’t need to know another buyer wanted it for just as much. That speaks volumes to a seller.

If you are serious about a home and you are worried enough about other buyers wanting it to include an escalation, try reframing a possible counter from a seller as a positive thing. You may just lose the house you wanted because your perception is that there are no other buyers interested. Better yet, write the max offer you are willing to make without an escalation and get sellers to act vs. waiting a day or two for an offer to escalate you. Buyers are still facing markets with not enough homes to go around.

Just Sold in Bristow’s Active Adult Community of Dunbarton

13248 Ormond Drive in Bristow Sold on April 28, 2022

Just Sold in Bristow’s Active Adult Community of Dunbarton

It was my pleasure to introduce 13248 Ormond Drive to the market on April 1st. The seller and I had looked carefully over the market comps and decided that the appropriate list price for the home was $599,000. We also discussed preparing the home for market. Not a fun chore for any seller, even if it just amounts to writing checks to painters and cleaners. There is a great deal of emotional weight in getting your home ready for the market.

After our listing appointment, the seller understood what was needed to get the house ready for market. It didn’t take long for the home to be painted, cleaned and for the seller to be completely out. Sometimes having a home vacant during marketing is preferrable. When that happens, I jump to action with light staging to warm the home up.

Setting up a staging bed and lighting brings a bedroom to life.

With the home staged, it was time for professional photography and then marketing to include more than filling in fields in the MLS. In addition to a gorgeous virtual tour, the property was featured in an online brochure and my blog. After only two days on the market and one very strong offer, the home was under contract. It didn’t take multiple offers to get above the high water mark the seller and I had anticipated.

The seller was able to get an offer with no contingencies at all. No home inspection. No financing contingency. No appraisal contingency. It was smooth sailing to the finish line. Today, it sold for $641,000. That’s $42,000 above list price with one offer.

When the time comes to list your home, get in touch for a confidential market analysis. No matter the market conditions, you will receive the proper listing preparation advice and professional marketing that will take you to the top of the market.

Under Contract in Dunbarton

13248 Ormond Drive in Bristow, VA Listed on April 1, 2022 for $599,000

Under Contract in Dunbarton

Looking back on my recent posts here on ChrisAnnCleland.com , I was searching for the post that mentioned this expansive, single family detached home at 13248 Ormond Drive as either Coming Soon or Just Listed. Seems that things have been hectic enough that is was shared only through a link of the virtual tour via my Facebook page.

Ask a seller who hears the tales of way above list price sales in low single digit days about how difficult a listing agent’s job is in a seller’s market and they are likely to default to thinking it isn’t difficult at all. The mistake many sellers make is thinking that a listing agent’s job is measure solely on days on the market or whether a home sold above list price. There is so much more to this job when it comes to properly representing the interests of a seller. And a seller’s market doesn’t make it easier. On the contrary, sometimes it makes the job more difficult.

While in Coming Soon status, this active adult home in Dunbarton had plenty of interest just gearing up for the home to hit the market. In fact, the day before it went Active and was available for showings, a buyer’s agent called and asked if they could submit a sight unseen offer. There are a multitude of reasons why a sight unseen offer may not be the best answer, not the least of which is likely a buyer’s agent arguing that their buyer-clients lose in multiple offer situations. To me, that sounds like hitting the open market is a case for making more money.

Family Room/Breakfast Nook as Viewed from Loft

What I didn’t see coming was the two other homes that became available in Dunbarton that quelled activity on 13248 Ormond. One was larger, with a finished basement, listed $50,000 less. That’s a problem. However, in speaking with the listing agent there, it seemed all the buyer enthusiasm was behind hers with a finished basement vs. having a loft and backyard. That agent was rolling in offers, which also told her she had under priced the home. What does that mean to buyers who haven’t talked to that competing listing agent, professional to professional? It means buyers would think my gorgeous listing would seem over priced. Understanding market perception is critical when listing in any type of market condition. Sellers can over price in a seller’s market. Mine didn’t, but if buyers thought she did, well, the offers would be lower.

Meanwhile, the elbow grease that went in to prepping this home for market was no different than any other market. Even when I thought I would be the only listing in the neighborhood, I was doing light staging and ordering professional photos. Why? It increases the seller’s bottom line, even in a seller’s market. That all important buyer enthusiasm matters.

Light staging in a kitchen is always a way to increase buyer enthusiasm

Making sure that pre-wired speakers and TV mounts were not eye sores, I was busy fluffing. I even neatened up what was already in place from wiping down a shower, replacing light bulbs, coiling an exterior hose or placing patio chairs. The home showed absolutely perfect. Even the agent that hosted an open house was impressed.

Bearing in mind the scrum going on at the under priced basement home on an extended offer deadline, when my seller got an offer that was higher than what my highest hope for her home had been, she was quick to act and accept the one fantastic offer she had. If not, she would be facing the lost buyers that felt they were competing for more home at a lower price elsewhere. Those buyers don’t swing very hard. This Dunbarton beauty was under contract in two days.

Stay tuned for the final sold price. It will be impressive. In the meantime, if you have been considering the sale of your home, in Dunbarton or elsewhere, get in touch for your own confidential consultation. I am well versed in the market forces and perception that will be at work when you list. A seller’s market is not a guarantee of a sky high offer, or even multiple offers. The highest rewards go to those who prepare and create buyer enthusiasm. That is the name of the game no matter the market.

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

As limited housing supply continues to meet unfettered buyer demand, more and more sellers have been overly confident in their place in the market. Believe it or not, not all homes sell in a seller’s market. They will if they are priced right and/or in good condition. Market forces are always at work, which means buyers still compare what is offered to what they have recently seen and what they expect to see in the near future.

It is not uncommon for a buyer to walk away from a perfectly pleasing, over priced home in a seller’s market because they fear it will get bid up above that list price. Preparing market reports regularly for the neighborhoods of Braemar, Dominion Valley and Regency I see sellers getting below list price and selling in weeks, not days. Some even have to give seller subsidy. Why? It’s a seller’s market, right?

When buyer demand is high and inventory is low we are indeed in a seller’s market. That does not mean that sellers can ignore listing preparation, hire low skill listing agents who know nothing of professional marketing and expect to get the top of the market. Consider a top athlete who is a free agent. They will get picked up, but how much money they make depends on the strength of their agent. Agency is all about advocacy. Sellers who hire listing agents are not unlike athletes or actors who have an advocate on their side advising them and helping them negotiate. Talent agents know how to best present their client’s gifts to increase demand to max out the money made.

Bringing it back to real estate and the intense buyer demand our seller’s market is facing, it is fair to say to any seller who asks if they need to complete listing preparation to sell, “No.” If the price is right for the projects left to buyers who are faced with having to pay their own closing costs, down payment and now take on projects in a home, there is no doubt the home will sell. The question is, how much is being left on the table by leaving the preparation undone? More than the cost of the preparation.

Same goes for sight unseen offers. Can a seller get a great offer before anyone has set foot in their home? Sure. If they let showings roll a few days, chances are the offers would get better and better. Why? The pressure to accept sight unseen offers is usually from buyers who know they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation. And if they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation, why on earth would a seller who only gets one chance at maximizing their profit not wait to see more than one offer? From my own comps, I recently watched as a seller left approximately $30,000 on the table by not being photographed or going active with their listing agent. Very few sellers I know are willing to walk away from that kind of profit.

Having a strong advocate who knows the current market conditions because they are active in them every day is so important. Let’s go back to our talent agent analogy. Do you think hiring a relative who just became a talent agent is what big name athletes and movie stars do? No. Their paychecks are dependent on outstanding representation. They sign with agents with proven track records of success and outstanding reputations. Why don’t sellers when it comes to listing? Part of the problem is that they conflate the cost of a listing agent with the bottom line they will net. They never consider that a more experienced agent will more than pay for themselves in the preparation advice, professional marketing and skilled negotiation. The other part of the problem is they think anyone with a license will do. This job has very minimal standards. Agents who are exceeding industry standards are the ones breaking records with list prices.

When it is time to list your home, even if it is in a seller’s market, pay attention to the marketing done on behalf of the other listings in this seller’s market. Are they offering staging advice and other preparation? Are they hiring a professional to take listing photos? Are they pushing sight unseen offers? There is never an easy button when it comes to getting the absolute max the market will bear. However, if a seller is okay with leaving tens of thousands on the table, any agent will do. If they want every dollar they can get, are willing to do the work and put up with a few days of showings, they will be over the moon with the results when they hire an experienced broker like me to help them through the process.

A seller’s market can be exceptionally profitable, but should not be treated as a lottery. Choosing the path with the best odds of getting top of the market will make a seller successful. That path starts with hiring the right advocate.

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Sitting across from a seller this morning who had started the process of packing, pausing only to sign our listing agreement, there was a lot of discussion over what is necessary to do prior to hitting the market. Very few homes that I walk into are neutral enough, de-cluttered enough and exuding enough mass appeal to be what I, as a real estate professional, would consider market ready, but it does happen.

As a Top Producing Agent in the Bristow/Gainesville area, the sellers I meet want the maximum amount of money they get out of their homes for the minimal amount of effort. Moving is hard enough. Prepping a home for a red hot market seems ridiculous to them. After all, the market is so hot that some sellers are accepting sight unseen offers. They want to know why I am advising them to paint, de-clutter, put in new carpet, etc when a buyer is likely to write a sight unseen offer. The answer is usually in the realm of, “Because you want the same or better that the seller down the street got, and their home was move-in ready.”

Market value is determined by being open to the market. Yes, buyers actually seeing the inside of your home in person. (I know. What a pain, right?) Time and again, sale after sale as sellers and I go over comps, I point out how much more this home made after a few days on the market, being presented move-in ready and professionally presented vs. that home that listed as Coming Soon and took a sight unseen offer from a buyer that didn’t even see photos of the home. A seller that popped up in our comps today sold their home sight unseen. I know the inside of the home because I have been in it. To say the seller left money on the table by taking a sight unseen offer is an understatement. Try thirty-thousand dollars or so is my guess.

Earlier in the week, two of my Coming Soon listings were getting calls from buyer agents begging for a chance to submit an offer sight unseen and have my sellers decide right then and there. Why is that? They know their buyers won’t be competitive when the listing hit the open market. Why on earth would I advise my sellers to take a sight unseen offer that I know can be bested on the open market when they only get one chance to sell the most valuable asset they have? The situations are few and far between where that would make sense. Trying to sell before losing a home to foreclosure would be one of them. Losing out on a home they are under contract to buy because their home sale contingency is about to expire. Minimizing the exposure of a bedridden relative to an overwhelming amount of buyers would be another. Anything else that would may tempt someone to walk away from thirty-thousand dollars would be worthy of investigating opportunities they may not have considered. Boarding pets. Spending the weekend in a hotel. You only get to liquidate your home once.

The same argument goes for listing preparation. Buyer enthusiasm with those exuberant multiple offers doesn’t come from a home that hasn’t been de-cluttered, neutralized and spiffed up for buyers. Sure, an unprepared home may get multiple offers, but the offers will be substantially higher when a seller has put effort into making the home move-in ready. The market comps show it time and again. Is skipping the work worth the money that would be lost?

A little effort goes a long way in this market. Painting the home a neutral color is a great way to put a fresh clean face on the interior of a home. Sometimes the outside might need some fresh paint on the doors, shutters and trim. And maybe a power washing. First impressions are powerful. Tidying up and depersonalizing allow buyers to see themselves living there, which increases their enthusiasm for a home, which increases the price seen in offers.

So when a seller asks me if preparation is necessary, the answer is always, “No, but are you willing to walk away from five to ten percent more in final sold price?” The home sale we saw today that left thirty thousand on the table may have thought differently if her agent had said, “I think you can sell for thirty thousand more if we hit the market for a weekend. What do you think?” Put a price tag on the dreaded event and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.

If January Is Any Indication…

If January Is Any Indication…

Wow. Just wow. Rolling into January, the prediction I made for the Bristow/Gainesville real estate market was very measured. If the past week of real estate activity is any indication of how this year is going to go, I think we are looking at a rinse and repeat of 2021. Very fast paced first half of the year.

On January 21st, I listed 14530 Kylewood Drive for $315,000. Before we hit the market we received a very serious offer from a buyer who was desperate to be in the Gainesville area in an affordable home. Having come off of the second half of 2021, where things had not be crazed, but still favoring sellers, I wondered if it may be the best offer the sellers got. Heck, based on a look at the comps when signing the listing in late December, it was likely to be the only offer. My seller wanted to work something out with the buyer, who incidentally had a home sale contingency. However, when that buyer panicked about the amount over list he had written and didn’t sign my seller’s counter that only shortened time frames, I advised my seller to withdraw his counter offer. Thank goodness he heeded my advice.

Turns out that a condo with fees at just under $500/month, got a total of fifteen offers.

15

Were any of them just at list price? Not a single one. Every offer was above list price. And surprisingly, buyers willing to waive inspections, appraisals or offer a low appraisal guarantee were back in full force. What a difference a week makes.

If you are a buyer in the western suburbs of Northern Virginia, get yourself an agent that is actively engaged in the market. A full-time professional who notices quickly when the pace or conditions shift. Looking over the fifteen offers I saw submitted, I realized how poorly some of these buyers were being represented. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

In other news my buyer-clients, who wrote their first offer in a similar price point in Warrenton over the weekend, got their offer accepted. You don’t get winning advice from agents who are barely engaged in the market.

If you need a buyer’s agent, give me a call. If you want the best results and expert evaluation of multiple offers, get in touch with me. This is what I do every day. I make it my job to know the market so I can best represent YOU.

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