Rumors That the 2021 Summer NoVa Real Estate Market is Slowing Down
There has been talk among agents that the real estate market in Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties is starting to slow down. Oh how I wish those rumors had some basis in reality. The extreme buyer demand that has sellers cashing out at unbelievable prices, has left buyers waiving just about every conceivable contingency and reaching deep into their savings or retirement plans just to have a chance at purchasing. Still, this past Memorial Day weekend I had buyers offer $30,000 above a fairly optimistic list price on a home that had plenty of outdated decor, and waived all contingencies only to lose along with ten other buyers.
The week or so that the gas shortage was causing anxiety in Northern Virginia, presented a great opportunity for buyers to get out and see homes while others were afraid to burn the gas in their tank to see property. That window allowed one of my buyer-clients, a first-time buyer, an opportunity to get under contract without having to waive home inspection. He was even able to negotiate some closing cost help. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Maybe that was the weekend the rumors of the slowing market started.
Alas, it was only an abbreviated window of opportunity which was created entirely out of panic, not actual shortage of gas. To me, it was like having a snow storm in winter during a seller’s market. Others may sit out the conditions and wait for the snow to melt, but not me. Striking while other buyers are sitting it out is the only way to give some buyers the leg up.
What we may be starting to see in the Northern Virginia marketplace is the typical slow down as we welcome summer and vacations are top of mind. For the first time since I became an agent in 2005, last year (2020) there was no slow down in July and August. Pandemic lock downs made vacations impossible. That makes summer vacations in 2021 even more of a priority for many who missed them last year. I believe the term I heard in some news media was “revenge travel.”
No matter what may ease up the buyer demand, even temporarily, rest assured that if you are a seller in Prince William, Fairfax or Loudoun County, your home will still sell and for a top price if you take time to prepare it and hire a listing agent that will professionally market it. We can shed some buyer demand and still be in a seller’s market.
Snow Removal is a Must When Your Home is on the Market
When your home is listed during the winter months, snow and ice are definite possibilities in Northern Virginia. Shoveling snow and getting rid of ice are absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of those visiting your home. If someone falls on your property because you did not have the snow or ice removed, it may end up being your liability and a claim under your home owner’s insurance.
Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons that the snow can not be removed quickly. In that case, removing your home from the market temporarily may be the best option to avoid risk.
Selling your home during the winter may add a few more things to consider, but it is a season when there is less competition. And as for winter 2020-2021 , there are so many buyers looking for homes, there is really no need to wait for spring. Just be more prepared with a snow shovel, sand or de-icing material instead of spring flowers and mulch.
On Halloween I was pleased to bring 10646 Maple Street to the market as an active listing. It had been listed as coming soon on October 28th and to my surprise, not one single inquiry was made about the property in those three days. So when it went active on October 31st priced at $375,000, I was not surprised when it didn’t have immediate showings.
As it played out, our first showing was November 1st, after one full day on the market. It was followed by seventeen more showings. The first offer came on November 2nd and by November 3rd, the seller had four offers to review.
Of the four offers, two were very competitive. It came down to which the seller preferred. A large down payment or a little bit more in sales price. The seller went with more in sales price and picked the highest offer. At the time, that buyer had written in her offer a December 4th closing date. This was something that concerned me. With the insanely low interest rates many lenders are overwhelmed not just with purchases, but also with refinances. Nonetheless, the lender assured us he could make a December 4th closing. Still, I braced my seller for a delay because my experience in this market is that less than thirty days from contract to close is cutting it close.
The only thing troubling about the inevitable lender delays that happened was they were announced on three occasions at the last minute. Open communication is the key to trust between the parties in a real estate transaction. By the time the third delay came, there was also a request for pre-settlement occupancy. Before that could happen, there needed to be one more conversation about worst case scenario with the lender and the buyer had to remove their financing contingency.
Well, the worst case date of December 15th was realized when this duplex finally closed for $392,150. While the lender was a great guy and knew his stuff, he was only as good as his underwriting and closing departments which had no clue how to prioritize files they were working on. A great listing agent keeps track of the lenders who know their stuff, but also have great back end support.
When you are ready to sell your Fairfax City duplex and want a listing agent that knows how to get you the maximum amount of money from preparation to negotiation, give me a call.
If a seller is seeing a buyer’s appraisal, there is a problem. The only time a seller gets to see their buyer’s appraisal is if the value is lower than the agreed upon sales price. At least, that’s how it works in the Northern Virginia area, which includes my most frequented stomping ground of Bristow and Gainesville.
I’ve represented three buyers in the last twenty-four months who made great offers on homes that were accepted. Come appraisal time, for whatever reason, the appraiser was generous and appraised the properties higher than list price. Did I say a word to the listing agent? Not a peep.
A seller who gets wind that their buyer’s appraisal came in higher is only going to become more stringent in contract negotiations, like repairs. The over sales price appraised value becomes my best kept secret when it happens.
On the flip side, less experienced buyer agents will through out the appraised value, as if to let you know that their buyer got one over on your sellers. It’s such a crappy, poorly thought out thing to do. Case in point, earlier this year I represented sellers who were being put through the proverbial ringer by the buyers on home inspection repair requests. When the buyer’s agent kept pushing and pushing, and my sellers felt they HAD to do more, I let them know that the buyer was getting the house below appraised value. Immediately, their cooperative nature became more icy. No way were they going to bend over backwards and do more for a buyer that was getting their house for less than appraised value.
Sellers who want to know their appraised value when there is no value problem, are really setting themselves up to be sore. The residential sales contract we use in Northern Virginia, does not allow for the sales price to be raised to appraised value. Nope. There is only a contractual option for a buyer to ask a seller to lower their price in the event that appraised value is less than the agreed upon sales price. That’s why you should only ever find out, as a seller what appraised value is, if it comes in low. If no one shared it with you, count your blessings and move on.
Earlier in the week, I was reviewing offers on a listing I have in Fairfax City. As is my business practice, I called each lender from the pre-approval letters accompanying offers. It’s important to know whether or not the lender can meet the settlement date and time frames in the contract. Assuming the agent writing the offer has consulted the lender before making an offer is never a good idea. It’s also important to make sure than income and assets have been verified.
Well, in my fifteen years of selling houses, today was the first time a lender emailed me and asked if their buyer’s offer was accepted. THE LENDER! There is a lender that cares. And behind the scenes, there is also a buyer’s agent that is not communicating with his buyer’s lender, since the buyer’s agent had been notified about the decision to go with another offer on Wednesday, which was the day we reviewed offers.
Good news there is that the buyer has a fantastic lender that is not going to drop the ball.
It was late afternoon on Halloween when this three bedroom, one and a half bathroom duplex became an active listing. Priced at $375,000, I was a little shocked that there had been no calls during the “coming soon” period of the listing. By November 1st, this home had an offer and many interested buyers. The sellers set an offer deadline of Tuesday evening and reviewed their four offers on November 4th.
It won’t be until early December that we can reveal the final sold price, but I can tell you that multiple offers often result in a bidding war and buyers dropping contingencies.
Stay tuned for the final details in early December. Until then, if you have a duplex in Fairfax City that you would like to sell while the market is hot, now is the time. There are plenty of buyers looking in Ardmore.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about politics. If you are as sick as I am of the non-stop yammering on 24 hour news channels about the election, breathe a sigh of relief. The decision looming on the horizon I am going to address is one involving home sellers tomorrow evaluating multiple offers.
Yep, that’s right. Even in November, a month fraught with anxiety every two to four years, home buyers are out looking for homes. As a Top Producing Listing Agent, I can tell you that the outlook for buyers is different from the outlook for sellers. Sellers are in the driver’s seat. They are getting multiple offers…if their homes are priced right for their condition. Contract terms will favor sellers.
Meanwhile, buyers are scratching and scraping for a way to get to the top of the pile in multiple offer situations. Some bid higher than list, but does that matter if they can’t or won’t waive appraisal? It depends on the situation and frankly, the seller’s tolerance for risk. Some can close faster than others, but does the seller care? Others may offer fewer contingencies, or free rent back. There is so much that make an offer attractive, or unattractive, to a seller.
In my business, I also represent buyers and I can tell you that this year has been brutal. I’m selling a lot of homes, but that doesn’t mean that buyer demand is being met. Far from it. There are multiple offers on any home worth having. And this type of market may continue for longer than buyers would like to think.
At the helm of a multiple offer situation unfolding on a listing of mine, I do what I always do in these situations. I am reviewing each offer and prepping a net sheet and notes with pros and cons. The one thing that never ceases to surprise me is how buyer agents don’t follow the very simple directions I give to write offers. With those offers, if there is another offer that followed directions and included already buyer signed documentation I provided, something that simple could be the criteria that breaks a tie. More often, it’s things like type of loan, down payment or amount of earnest money deposit.
No matter which the sellers pick tomorrow, or on any other listing I will have in the future, my clients are going to know the ins and outs of every offer. Every question they have will be answered. They will know exactly WHY they are picking the offer they pick. And sometimes, it even surprises me which ones they do go with. Ultimately, I am not the decider. My sellers will be well advised and choose the offer that meets their criteria.
Many people are of the belief that if you aren’t listing during warmer months (spring and summer,) you have no chance of selling your home. Since I have been a licensed agent in 2005, holidays are among some of the most hectic times in our market. Serious buyers are out and about and want the same thing everyone else wants–to be home for the holidays.
The year end selling season has a lot of emotion in it. The year end holidays do make home the focal point of celebrations. The Hallmark Movie Channel has probably already started their Christmas movies. Watch one of those and you’ll see how important home is this time of year. And don’t forget the irreplaceable Karen Carpenter singing ♫♫Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays♫♫. Home is everything this time of year and folks that have never owned a home may find that putting down roots is exactly what they want to do.
Of course, the year end market is not just about the emotion of the holidays. It is a time of year when there are people moving into and out of the area for jobs. And while a lot of home sellers would never dream of putting their home on the market during the holiday months, it may behoove them to do exactly that. Let’s face it, at present, the Northern Virginia market is having a major inventory shortage. That’s only getting worse this time of year. And the buyers out now are serious. You don’t get tire kickers in November and December.
The year end selling season is my favorite. If you would like to investigate what a year end sale would mean for you, please get in touch with me. I’ve already got one seller in Fairfax with multiple offers and a listing coming in Centreville in a couple weeks that will be getting the same kind of traffic. You can capitalize on the year end selling season too.
Trick or Treat: My New Listing in Fairfax City Just Hit the Market
To hand out candy or not? That was my big dilemma today. I thought about it on the way to my listing in Fairfax to place the lockbox and on the way home to Bristow. Somehow, my SUV made its way to the grocery store where I picked up a bag of candy. Decision made. Unfortunately, there were less than ten kids that trick or treated at my home this year. Not a lot of demand for candy in my neighborhood tonight. Oh well. That’s certainly not going to be the case with the duplex listing in Fairfax City that I put on the market today, pictured above.
I grew up in Ardmore, two doors up the street from this well maintained home that I have the pleasure of presenting to you. I know all to well the way to the CUE bus stop, how long it takes to walk to George Mason University from here and where the shops are located. To get to my very first job after graduating from GMU I used to walk to the CUE bus stop and ride it to the Vienna Metro.
The big difference between then and now is that there is a lot more in Fairfax City than there used to be when I was living there. More shops, restaurants and grocery stores. That makes this location all the better.
With three bedrooms and one full bath, this is a perfect starter home, or down size for someone looking for that great location. And if you want some outdoor space to enjoy, the large deck and expansive, flat back yard will certainly be a treat for you.
Don’t let this one pass you by. In case you missed it, the link for the virtual tour is here. See it for yourself. And if you want to see it in person, contact me.