What it’s all about . . .

I saw a beautiful animated video a few years ago that really nails down what this time of year is about. With all if the hustle and bustle this time of year, it can be easy to lose sight of the important things. I hope you enjoy the video. Happy Holidays! Lily and the Snowman. 

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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.

 

 

 

You can’t buy the first house you look at, can you?

You can’t buy the first house you look at, can you?

You can’t buy the first house you look at, can you? I hear that question a couple of times a You can't buy the first house you look at, can you?year. As a matter of fact, my Friday closing was a first-time buying couple who bought the first house they looked at. OK, that’s not completely true. I forced them to look at one more on the same street, but they still bought the one the decided on before we met up for the first time.

I bring this up because there are no rules about which house you buy and when. If the first house you look at is the house that lights your fire, buy it. If you feel like you must look at a dozen to know the first one is the right one, that’s fine, but be aware that it may not be there when you go back. That also happened this week. 

Can you buy the first house you look at?

A super sweet couple wanted to look at a few houses. We could only get one on the schedule for that evening, and they fell in love with it. It was perfect for them and it was nearly perfect in every way. We stayed in the house for two hours. Thank goodness there were no showings after us. 

They were pretty convinced that they had found the right home, but that nagging question kept coming back to their minds, “You can’t buy the first house you look at, can you?” That spurred them to set up a few more showings of other homes a couple of days later, and guess what? The house they fell in love with was also a house that someone else fell in love with, but that buyer didn’t hesitate. He bought it. 

My advice is this, if the first house you look at meets all of your criteria: size, condition, location, amenities, price and style, then buy it. Don’t let some other buyer steal your dream home because of some mystical suspicion that you should have looked at more.

If the first house doesn’t meet your criteria, keep shopping, but don’t be afraid to make an offer on a house because it’s number 1 and not number 15. If it’s right, it’s right. You can’t buy the first house you look at, can you? Yes you can. I’ve had it happen three times this year alone and all three families are thrilled with their purchase. 

When you’re ready to buy that first house you looked at or the tenth one, be sure to give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market Update – July 2017

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market Update – July 2017

The Clarke County, VA real estate market is an anomaly in the northwestern region of the Shenandoah Valley. It is a market on an island. It’s not literally on an island, but figuratively it is very much isolated from many areas of the Virginia real estate market. You might say, it has its own course and it doesn’t follow its neighbors in their real estate markets.

The Clarke County, VA real estate market is a smaller market, but it still had 123 sales Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market Update - July 2017in July. That is the second highest sales volume during the month of July in the past five years. The 2016 July sales were 131, but that was considerably higher than the previous three years. Sales numbers for those three years were 87 in 2015, 100 in 2014 and 99 in 2013. The one obvious thing about the Clarke County, VA real estate sales is that they are all over the map.

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market – By the numbers

There are a critical numbers in every real estate market. Those numbers tend to tell the story of a market’s health, and Clarke County is no different. In that body of data, days on the market, ratio of distressed properties and volume of sales and sale values are important predictors of future growth or decline. Here again, Clarke County, VA doesn’t always follow the norms, but they do give a glimpse into the future.

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market Update - July 2017The ratio of distressed properties has dropped radically from 2013. There has been a 41% dropped in short sales and foreclosures over the past five years. That’s a very positive number that gives a little insight into the overall health of the market. The July 2017 distressed property sales were 9% of total sales, and that’s good when compared to most of the previous five years. It doesn’t look bad until you look at Clarke County’s next door neighbor, Frederick County. The Frederick County, VA real estate market saw 1.5% distressed property sales in July 2017. Here again, Clarke County is a different animal with different norms.

Over the past five July markets, distressed properties were 2017 – 9%, 2016 – 11%, 2015 – 6%, 2014 – 16% and 2013 – 22%. Only the 2015 had better numbers, but it also had a 30% lower sales volume. In realty, the trend from 2013 to 2017 was continuously moving down, and it is likely that 2015 would have been somewhere between 16% and 11% if the volume was higher.

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market – Days on the market

Days on the market can also be a predictor of a real estate market’s health. Long periods on the market can signal that there are too many homes on the market, homes are priced too high, home condition issues may exist or there are simply to few buyers for homes.

In reverse, short days on the market can be the result of low inventory, a high number of buyers, well priced homes in desirable locations and in great condition. That short list creates an environment of quick sales and higher volumes of sales.

The five-year average for days on the market in Clarke County is 120, but the July 2017 days on the market hit a low of 91. That is the best overall number for the past five years and it shows a relatively steady decline in days on the market.

Clarke County, VA Real Estate Market – Dollars and cents

The last area of improvement in the Clarke County, VA real estate market is the average price of sales for July. The average sales price was $380,365. That is not a noticeable shift from 2016 which was $377,528, but when you look back five years to 2013, the numbers look better. The 2013 average price for July was $327,939. That’s a 14% increase from 2013.

There has been a steady climb in average sales price since 2013 with 2015 being an exception, but the low sales volume of 2015 caused the average price to be $545,417. Lower volume sales and higher priced homes created that deviation from the current trend.

Overall, the Clarke County, VA real estate market appears to be healthy. It may need a while longer before it fully recovers from its recession hangover, but the data that gives the best view of the market is trending up. When you’re ready to sell or buy a Clarke County, VA home, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call. We are your real estate sales pros in the Shenandoah Valley.