Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review – 2017

Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review – 2017

The Loudoun County, VA real estate market ended 2017 with a consistent pattern of positive results. Loudoun County, VA is the third most populated area in Virginia. The current population has grown to over 385,000. The average income in Loudoun County is approaching $120,000+. The population and income levels are reflected in the real estate statistics for 2017.

Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review: Positive Numbers

The Loudoun County, VA real state market saw 5000+ sales in 2017. Compared to some of the County’s neighbors, that is an incredible number. The Winchester-Frederick County, VA total sales for 2017 was 1745. Loudoun County’s immediate western neighbor, Clarke County, VA saw 210 says in 2017. The volume of sales is just one of the many positive numbers for the county.

Sales Prices are Increasing

The average sales price in 2017 was $508,571. That is a 6.7% increase from 2016. Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review - 2017Realtor.com predicted a 3.9% nationwide increase year to year in 2017. Loudoun County, VA with its proximity to the metro-D.C. area has a certain level of insulation from market drawbacks and price slowdowns. The area price appreciation over the past five years has increased 12.3%. Homes in the state of Virginia have appreciated 4.76% statewide for the past year. Again, that puts Loudoun County, VA ahead of the average both nationwide and statewide.

Another market predicting number is days on the market. The Loudoun County, VA real estate market is very steady in this category. From 2013 to the present, the market has not deviated a single percent. The 2013 DOMP was 38 days, and the 2017 DOMP is 38. Only 2015 (58), and 2016 (51), saw any minimal change in that number, and both years were marginal and not strong predictors of the market health.

Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review: Distressed Properties and Market Health

Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review - 2017The number of distressed property sales in 2017 were 245. Lower distressed property sales are also a good indicator of market health. In 2013, distressed properties sold were 598, 2014 were 264, 2015 were 337, 2016 were 322 and 2017 at 245. That is a number that is heading in the right direction with 2015 being the only anomaly over the past five years.

Distressed properties are made up of short sales and foreclosures. When a neighborhood has a number of these properties, property values drop at no fault of the other homeowners. As those numbers decline, property values stabilize and homeowners can demand a more market based value for their homes. Anytime distressed properties are included in the equation, market values will be skewed lower and true property values are masked by their presence.

Loudoun County, VA Real Estate Year in Review: Inventory

Market inventory has become the 800 lb gorilla in the room for much of the nation. The Loudoun County market has 545 available homes as of January 1, 2018. Low inventory has a circular effect on local markets. Sellers don’t list because there is no where to move to, and buyers can’t buy because there is nothing to buy. As long as the market stays healthy, and buyers and sellers move about with freedom, the 2018 Loudoun County market looks poised to have another banner year.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in Loudoun County, VA, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.


Low housing inventory. What changes it?

Low housing inventory. What changes it?

Low housing inventory. What changes it? The simple answer is to add more houses to the inventory, but the real answer might be more complicated. The housing market is cyclical. The market shifts from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market and once in a while a market will be in balance, but that is rare.

Low housing inventory. What changes it? – Seller’s Market

When more buyers are in the market than sellers, the housing market is a seller’s Low housing inventory. What changes it?market. Seller’s have more opportunity to generate higher sales prices. Good to great homes that hit the market are quickly gobbled up and they often receive multiple offers. Many times, those offers can exceed the list price.

Buyers will forgo some contingencies to improve their chances of obtaining the property. It may be as simple as not doing a home inspection or not asking for closing cost help. The cleaner the contract, the more likely a buyer will gain an advantage over other would-be buyers. Of course, cash is often king, but not always. Shortening the time of closing is another way frantic buyers may win a multi-bid real estate purchase.

Low housing inventory. What changes it? – Buyer’s Market

Supply and demand influence both seller’s markets and buyer’s markets. When there are more sellers than buyers, buyers have an advantage. In this case, buyers may be able to get a discount on a property. They may be able to ask for closing cost help, and home inspection repairs. During a previous buyer’s market, I asked for the seller’s motorcycle, which he agreed to give me if I bought his house. That’s just how crazy it can get in a buyer’s market.

Some home inspection repairs may be expensive, but in a buyer’s market, they may be the only way to make things happen. In a sale I did a few years ago, my Seller offered $20,000 for a roof replacement. We were in the throes of the recession and buyers for high-end properties were few and far between. The only way to close the deal, was to offer that repair. It was a buyer’s market and buyers could ask for just about anything and get it.

Low housing inventory. What changes it? – The Circular Dilemma

Low housing inventory creates a circular dilemma. Sellers who want to sell may stay put because there is no place for them to move to. Buyers can’t buy houses that are not on the market, and sellers can’t sell if there is nowhere for them to go. It’s a vicious circle.

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA housing inventory has reached a historic low at 270 presently built homes. As I’ve talked to other colleagues, they have stated that their work load has slowed because there are no houses for their buyers to buy. With a market that thrives in the 500-600 available homes range, 270 is incredibly low. So, what changes low inventory.

Low housing inventory. What changes it? – What Changes Low Inventory

There are multiple things that help pull a market out of low inventory.

  1. Lower interest rates. When interest rates are low, people can afford to buy, but as interest rates rise, some buyers are priced out of the market. In a convoluted way, the Federal Reserve controls interest rates, and as long as there is low inflation and low employment, the rates will stay low. But, the rates can’t stay low forever. Low interest rates help home-buyers, but they hurt bond holders and pension funds. Sooner or later, the rates will have to move up, but the FED has held the line on increases, though there are rumblings of rate hikes.
  2. Consumer confidence is another step out of low inventory. When consumers are confident in the economy, they are more likely to buy or sell a home. Consumer confidence is now at a 17 year high. That bodes well for the real estate market. The seasonally low inventory may be bolstered in the new year by the growing consumer confidence. When consumers are feeling good about the economy, they spend money. The recent GOP tax cuts may fuel that even further in 2018, and that could lead to a housing boom.
  3. Low unemployment. The current unemployment numbers stand at 4.1%. That is the lowest unemployment rate in the United States since February 2001. The workforce is growing, and that fuels consumer confidence, the tax base and that puts more cash in the economy. As more people go back to work, their ability to buy a home increases.
  4. Increase in new construction. Buyers can’t wait forever to buy a home, and neither can sellers, but with new home construction at a new high, homes coming on the market may give sellers confidence to get out there and look for new home so they can place their current home on the market. New home construction took an unexpected jump in November. Sadly, housing starts tend to lag demand. That is now contributing to the housing shortage, but it is not a long-term issue. When construction begins to catch up with demand, the market may shift to the buyer’s favor.

The solution for low inventory is more complicated than simply adding more houses to the market. It’s a nationwide issue that takes time to reconcile, but with a little patience, it will correct itself, and in the coming year, the real estate market may hit a new boom. As long as the economy can sustain its current trajectory, 2018 may be the best year for real estate since 2007.

When you’re ready to list your home, or you’re ready to buy a new home, give the Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros, and we’ll put economic and construction experience to work for you to make your experience a dream come true.

What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electrical 1

What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electrical

If you’re selling your home, home inspections can be a challenge. It is important to know what to look for before a home inspection on your listed home. A little insight before a home inspection can save a lot of money in last-minute home inspection repairs. There are certain areas that are common home inspection problem areas that can be spotted before you have a ratified contract. For instance,

What to look for before a home inspection: Wrong Wiring

Check the wiring. Any home can have electrical issues, but there are a few electrical What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electricalissues that are common problems in home inspection repair requests. An inexpensive plug-in tester can give you all the information you need to make a simple check of the electrical wiring at the receptacles in your home.

Receptacles with reversed hot and ground, or reversed hot and neutral wires are simple fixes. It is common when replacing a wiring device to get the wires backward. When that happens, the tester will show an

What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electrical

 anomaly with lights lit differently than correct wiring. The photo above shows the correct wiring. If the lights are lit in another format, the wiring is incorrect and can damage sensitive electronics.


Make sure to turn the power off on receptacles that are incorrectly wired and reverse the wires. A simple rule is that black wires go on brass colored screws and white wires go on silver-colored screws. The bare copper wire goes on the green screw. Simple enough?

What to look for before a home inspection: Non-grounded Receptacles

What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: ElectricalAnother electrical issue, that I see often, is when non-grounded receptacles are replaced with receptacles designed to be grounded. In older knob and tube wiring or in wiring where the Romex wires only contain two conductors (early 1960s), a ground wire is not present. Changing the receptacles from a two slot device to a three slot device does not make it grounded. It can also create a situation where sensitive electronics can be damaged.


What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electrical

There is a way to fix this problem without re-wiring the house. A ground fault receptacle can be placed at the beginning of a line of receptacles and everything down-line receives an element of protection. The GFI must be the first device in the line. The What to look for before a home inspection on your listed home: Electricalwires still need to be on the correct sides of the GFI receptacle and the down-line receptacles need to be on the “LOAD” side of the GFI. That one change can make a huge improvement in an non-grounded circuit. It is radically less expensive than a full re-wire, and it gives an element of protection to an non-grounded circuit. The receptacle cover-places on that line should have a sticker that indicates that the device is non-grounded. The GFI provides protection, but it is not the same as a grounded receptacle.

It is important to know what to look for before a home inspection on your listed home. Being ready for the inspection will make you less stressed and more ready to move on to closing your home sale. When you’re ready to list your home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros, and we are Virginia state contractors. We can help point out areas that need attention before your home hits the market.




What changes can I make to get more money for my home at resale?

What changes can I make to get more money for my home at resale?

If there is one question I hear from home sellers over and over it is, “What changes can What changes can I make to get more money for my home at resale?I make to get more money for my home at resale?” I’ve had some say they were going to add a pool, do a major kitchen remodel, completely gut and remodel a bath, and I always say, “STOP!”

You definitely don’t want to add a pool. There is a narrow market of home-buyers who would want a pool. If you’re going to do a major kitchen remodel, do that while you live there so you can enjoy it, and why would you want to do a radical bath remodel? What is wrong with the current bath? Here again, if it needs a remodel, do it while you’re there and can enjoy it.

What changes can I make to get more money for my home? Minor remodeling gives more bang for the buck.

The kitchen

Minor remodeling of some of the key areas can give more bang for the buck much of the time. Paint, flooring and good lighting can make a major difference in a bath or kitchen. Painting kitchen cabinets can bring them new life, and that has become a thing today. Rather than a $50,000 cabinet replacement, a couple cans of paint and a little patience can go a long way.

Counter-tops are always a plus, but granite counters can run into the thousands quickly, and you may not recoup your costs. Also, granite is porous and can collect permanent stains. A less expensive alternative (not radically less) is quartz. Quartz will not hold on to stains like granite, but it will give the same appeal.

The bathrooms

The bathrooms are another buyer hot-spot. If the bath appliances are dated, you may want to have them replaced, re-glaized or have them repaired. There are companies that can place a cover over an outdated pink tub and make it look brand new. It’s a less expensive option and it accomplishes the same goal. You can also pick up new bath appliances at Habitat for Humanity Restores for a song.

Simple things like a new sink, toilet, toilet seat, towel racks, light fixtures and even a great shower curtain can make a bath look completely different. Paint and flooring are always a plus. Always make sure the caulk around the shower, sink and toilet are fresh and clean. Simple changes can give an 80%-100% return on your efforts.

What changes can I make to get more money for my home? Throughout the house

There are a few areas that improve your homes appeal with a small investment.

  • New lighting – Consider LED rings for recessed lights, and swap out other light bulbs with more efficient whiter light LED bulbs.
  • New flooring – replace worn and stained carpet.
  • Hardwoods – if you have worn hardwood floors, having them sanded can add a lot of appeal to buyers.
  • Keep everything clean and put away – it makes the house look larger when it is not wall to wall stuff.
  • Make sure the windows can let the light in. Light is your friend.
  • Paint the walls with a neutral color.
  • Better insulation (one of the highest returns)

What changes can I make to get more money for my home? Outside

Curb appeal is always a good thing to concentrate on when preparing your home for sale. Landscaping is an inexpensive plus. Make sure your mulch is fresh and spread What changes can I make to get more money for my home at resale?well. Add a pop of color throughout the flower beds and keep the flower beds weeded throughout the sale period.

Another often overlooked option is the front door. Bankrate.com rates a new entry door as a 90.7% return on the investment. That’s a pretty good return if it causes your home to sell, and it can make a great first impression to your entry.

What changes can I make to get more money for my home? What doesn’t return the most money?

  • A major kitchen remodel
  • A basement remodel
  • A family room remodel
  • A major bath remodel
  • An addition
  • New Windows – lower sale return, but a good investment if you’re going to live there.

These are all things that will make the home more enjoyable while you live there, but if you’re doing them to increase your home’s value for resale, you may be giving money away. For instance, a family room addition may not return more than 69% of your investment. A basement remodel is nearly the same at 70%.

Spend your money where you can get the most for the effort and you will be sure to walk way from the closing table happy. Sometimes, less really is more. Always make sure you do your homework before selling your home and find out  where the best return is for the sale. When you’re ready to sell your home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.