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.

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What’s a good home-buying timeline?

What’s a good home-buying timeline?

When you’re buying a home, there is a timeline of events that will happen. So, what’s a good home-buying timeline? On rare occasions, you may get the itch to buy a home, and start and close in 30 days. That is not the norm. From the time you have a need to buy a home until you close, you’re most likely looking at 45 days or more. What’s the time-line?

What’s a good home-buying timeline?

  • Financial – Pre-approval
  • Realtor Search
  • Home Search
  • Contract
  • Home Inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Contact Insurance Provider
  • Financing Approval
  • Title Search and Document Preparation
  • Closing Date Set
  • Closing Document Review
  • Contact Utilities
  • Confirm That Funds Are Wired to the Closer
  • Closing

What's a good home-buying timeline?

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Finance & Realtor Search

Get your pre-qualification or pre-approval letter first. It is always better to have a pre-approval letter, but a pre-qualification letter is better than nothing. This is the first step on your timeline. Getting your financial abilities clearly spelled out will let everyone involved know what to look for when you’re buying a home. Do this about 45-60 days before you hope to close on a home.

Call a Realtor. Actually, call a few Realtors. Interview agents until you find one that works well with your personality and goals. Don’t be shocked if they ask you to sign a buyer broker agreement. A BBA is the equal to a listing agreement when selling a home. In the state of Virginia (7.1.2012), it is required for all buyer-agent relationships. The length of the agreement is negotiable. If you are uncomfortable signing one, ask that the length of the agreement be short (30 day, 60 days, etc.). Find an agent who has your best interest at heart, sign your BBA and get ready to get started.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Home Search & Contract

Once you’ve been pre-approved and you’ve located a good Realtor, it’s time to settle on your home criteria and hit the streets. Eliminate as many possibilities in the Realtor’s office before setting appointments. Volume of showings is not the quickest path to the perfect home. Matching criteria with available properties is where you should start your search.

Once you’ve found your perfect home, negotiate an acceptable deal and write a contract. This is where you Realtor will be a priceless addition to your home search. Your Realtor can show you what has sold in your chosen neighborhood.

If you’re planning on offering 50% less than the list price, your Realtor can help you see if there is any possibility of your contract being accepted. The information in the multiple listing service will tell you if homes are selling at list, 1% below list or 50% below list. If they are selling at list or 1% below list, you’re 50% below will not have a chance and you’ve just wasted your time and your Realtor’s time.

This is especially critical in a competitive market. If inventory is low, you can’t afford to make useless offers if you really want the property. Make your best offer and let the seller negotiate if there are needed changes.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Home Inspection & Appraisal

Once you have a ratified (accepted) offer, you need to schedule a home inspection (10-14 days, $300-$450 paid out-of-pocket up front). Home inspections look at a home to see if the systems (plumbing, electrical and heating & cooling), roof, appliances and construction are in good working order. If they aren’t, you can walk away, negotiate repairs or accept the property as is. Home inspectors and home inspections are perfect, but they do give a glimpse into the home’s health.

Around the same time, your lender will call for an appraisal (14-21 days on average, and around $450-$650, often paid up front, and out-of-pocket). It’s good to have the home inspection and any negotiations done before the appraisal just in the event the deal falls apart at that point. There’s no sense in paying for an appraisal on a home you will not be buying.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Insurance & Financing Approval

Now that the home inspection repairs are agreed to, and possibly complete, you will want to contact your insurance provider to make them aware that you are buying a home and you will need insurance (14-21 days). You may want to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Prices can vary radically.

Around 21-28 days, you should have a loan approval from your lender. It may take longer, but that is something that should be inserted into the contract. Most lenders can give a loan approval in this amount of time or less, unless there are circumstances that need to be reconciled before that phase can be complete.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Title Search & Closing Date Set

Your closing attorney, or closing agent, will be searching your title during this time (14-28 days). The attorney, or agent will be looking for any anomalies in your title’s history. Most will searches will go back at least 60 years to see if the property has had a clear chain of title as it has passed from seller to buyer.

Once the closer has confirmed that the title is clean and can be transferred, a closing date is set. This date should coincide with a date set in the contract. Most contract language says, “On or before” a certain date. That means you may close early if everything is complete and everyone can close early. On occasion, you may close late because something wasn’t completed in time. In that case, you’ll need to have an agreed upon addendum signed by all parties extending the closing date. Those are not as common, and they are normally just a few days or weeks long.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Review Closing Docs & Contact Utility Companies to Have Services Set Up.

The closing docs, or CD (for a loan funded sale) needs to be in your hands 3 days before closing. All parties (including lenders) will need to agree to the CD and sign off on the numbers. If there are mistakes on the CD, it will need to be corrected and the 3 day period restarts.

This is a good time to have your utilities set up with your new water, electric, gas, oil, Internet and cable providers. Make sure they are set to start the day of closing. This should be done a week or two before closing. That gives you plenty of time to run around making deposits and filling out applications. This is not something you want to put off to the day of closing. A lot of sellers will have their utilities set to expire on the day of closing. Make sure to put it on your calendar.

What’s a good home-buying timeline? – Confirm That the Funds From Your Lender Are Wired to Your Closing Agent on or Before the Day of Closing & Close.

Make sure the wiring instructions for sending money is handled by you and your closing attorney or agent. Do not send money based on an email received at the last-minute without talking directly to your funding lender. Do not click on a link in a last-minute email offering wiring instructions. A recent real estate scam has been for a thief to send an email with wiring instructions that go to a scam account. It can be devastating. Make sure you and your closing company are monitoring this phase closely, and always talk directly to the people you’ve been working with. This not a time for new names to be added to the contact list.

The last timeline issue is to close. You will meet your closer and sign a one inch pile of papers that are redundant and confusing, but hopefully you’ve picked a closer who will explain everything clearly and with a bit of humor. It can be really boring at this point, and the humor goes a long way. This is an area where having a great Realtor can be a huge plus. Your Realtor can give good recommendations of highly skilled home inspectors, lenders, closing companies and other services.

There is one final conclusion to your process. You get the keys. Congratulations on your home purchase. When you’re ready to start your own timeline, give Mike Cooper, or any of the agents at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. a call. We are your local real estate sales pros, and we’ll get you across the finish line (hopefully, with a smile).

 

 

 

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.

Should I list my home in the Winter months?

Should I list my home in the Winter months?

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Absolutely! There is a mistaken idea that homes sell better in warmer months, but there is plenty of evidence that homes sell at anytime, but Winter has some advantages that other months may not have.

Realtytrac’s longitudinal study of when is the best time to buy a home found that October is the best month followed by February, July, December and January. Four out of five of the top months are Fall or Winter months. The best day of the week to buy a home is Monday, and October 8th is the best day of the year. That one study blows a huge hole in the “Spring is the best time to list” theory.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Inventory is lower

For one, inventory tends to be lower in the cold months. That gives a seller more Should I list my home in the Winter months?visibility because competition is lower. The current Winchester-Frederick County, VA market only has 270 previously owned homes on the market. The market typically has 500-600. The current inventory makes great homes fly off the market.

Think about what low inventory means to a home seller. When the competition is lower, a home seller has more opportunity to make a greater profit on a home sale. Buyers will pay more for a home they fall in love with when there are fewer homes to compare it to. Low inventory, means higher sale prices and quicker sales.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Fewer showings

Buyers tend to look at fewer homes in the Winter months. It’s dark early. It can be cold outside (depending on your market). There are fewer homes in their criteria list. Our company has more buyers who buy the first home they see in the Winter months. Why? Because buyers have done their homework before looking at homes. When the inventory is up and the sun is up and the curiosity of buyers is up, they will shop and shop and shop.

In the Summer, a buyer may look at a dozen homes before settling on a home to make an offer on. In the Winter, the process is much faster and the buyer moves more quickly. Therefore, a seller will have fewer people passing through the listed home.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Curb appeal is curbed (a little)

If you have kept your yard and home in good shape throughout the year, the Winter months may give you a bit of a respite from all the exterior maintenance. You’re not mowing (again, depending on your market) as much, if any. You’re not trimming hedges as much. Once any leaves are off the lawn, you are pretty well set for the season.

Should I list my home in the Winter months? Why?: Holiday fare may be a plus (but not always)

There is something endearing about a beautifully decorated home during the Winter months. When a buyer comes into a home that is welcoming and cozy, there is a sense of ease and comfort that comes with that. A warm environment, accent lighting, tasteful decorations and a sense of comfort gives buyers the ability to see themselves living in the home.

Don’t be afraid of a Winter listing. The general school of thought is that Spring is the time to list because it’s warmer, it’s lighter longer and more homes are coming on the market. All of those things are true, but the competition is also greater, and with an increase in inventory, there will be a far more showings and more competitive bidding on home prices. Winter has advantages over these issues.

There are many more reasons to list your Virginia or West Virginia home in the cooler months, but you get the idea. Every season has some advantages, and Winter is no different. When you’re ready to sell your Virginia home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.