Buyers, the cold months are a great time to buy a home at a discount.

Buyers, the cold months are a great time to buy a home at a discount.

Often, home sellers are told to wait until Spring to list their homes, and there may be Buyers, the cold months are a great time to buy a home at a discount.some truth to that, but for buyers, the best time to get the best home purchase discount is in the colder months. Do people really buy in the cold months? Yes they do. Actually, the cold months are a great time to buy.

The cold months are a great time to buy.

In one neighborhood in the Stephens City, VA real estate market, the biggest sale months are February, April, January, March, June and October. Canter Estates saw the highest volume of sales in these months. Think about that for a minute. February, January, March and October are colder and darker months, and yet, they produced the most sales. Should you wait until Spring to list, you can, but you can also sell in the darker and colder months with confidence.

The cold months are a great time to get the best home purchase discount.

Sellers need to be wise during those colder months because the biggest discounts are found in January, February, March and April. A Realty Trac study found that February is the biggest discount month with a discount of up to 6.1% below the asking price. January had a 5.6% discount, March was 3.6% and April 1.8%. For buyers, that’s a great thing to know. The colder months, which are often ignored by many agents are really great buying opportunities for buyers.

In another Realty Trac study, researchers found that the best day of the week to get a discount is Monday followed by Friday. For buyers, there is a science to home-buying. The best day to buy a home varies by market, but every market has its sweet spot for buyers. The Realy Trac research does offer some insight into those ideal buying spots to help buyers get the best deal.

When you’re ready to buy or sell your Winchester to Northern Virginia home, give me a call at Cornerstone Home Sales. I am your neighborhood real estate sales pro.


Red Fox Run, Winchester, VA – 2018 Real Estate Market Review

Red Fox Run, Winchester, VA – 2018 Real Estate Market Review

Red Fox Run in Winchester, VA had a solid year in real estate for 2018. The Frederick County, VA real estate market saw an increase in homes sales by 1.8%. That seems low, but in comparison to the national average, it’s an improvement.

Nationwide, the number of home sales actually declined in 2018 -4.3%. Red Fox Run also saw a decline in the number of homes sold in 2018 from the previous year but in a micro-economics view, that can mean something, or it can mean nothing.

The fact that fewer homes sold in Red Fox Run may simply mean that fewer peopleRed Fox Run, Winchester, VA - 2018 Real Estate Market Review sold their homes on purpose. According to a Gallup survey, “one in four Americans move every 5 years.” That number equates to about 11 moves in a lifetime. That’s a huge number, but the US society has become much more mobile than a few decades ago. People move for jobs, to be close to family, to retire or start a new business, to attend college or for a host of reasons.

According to 2018 statistics, only 7 homeowners moved from Red Fox Run. It’s a highly desirable neighborhood in a great place. There are plenty of reasons to stay in the neighborhood. It’s on the south-eastern side of Winchester, VA. Mall shopping, grocery shopping, auto or just about anything else you need to shop for is less than 5 minutes away in multiple directions. Five major highways are just as close.

Red Fox Run, Winchester, VA: Property Sales Value Increase

Red Fox Run is like most neighborhoods in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. It saw challenges from foreclosures and short sales during the 2008-2013 recession, but it has continually improved in the years since. In the 2018, there wasn’t a single short sale or foreclosure reported.

Price appreciation is also showing good numbers. From the 2014 to 2018, home sale prices rose 15%. From 2017 to 2018, the market had an increase of 4.7% in home sale prices. Only one time since 2013 have values declined. In 2016, home sale prices dropped -2%, but the next year they increased 7.8%, and there has been a steady increase year to year for most of the past five years.

Another interesting statistic in Red Fox Run is the percentage of list price to sold price. Homes in Red Fox Run typically sell for near list price. The average home sold for 99.19 % of the list price in 2018. That may say a lot about how homes were priced at the time they were listed, but it may also say a lot about how much buyers are willing to pay to purchase in the neighborhood.

The 2018 days on the market were down to 42 from 82 the year before. The Winchester, VA real estate market shifted toward buyers in 2018, allowing homes to sit on the market a little longer because sellers weren’t ready to negotiate away their former market dominance. But, at the end of the year sellers still controlled the market in Red Fox Run.

Overall, Red Fox Run has a healthy year-end report. It offers, spacious homes, a variety of home styles on comfortable lots and lower traffic. It is not a pass-through to another area. For families with children, there are two elementary and one middle school within a mile. A new high school is planned to be built-in the area as Admiral Byrd Middle School and Evendale Elementary School. That means a child can start and finish school within walking distance of the neighborhood.

Red Fox Run, Winchester, VA is a highly desirable neighborhood with a lot of benefits. When you’re ready to buy, or ready to sell in the neighborhood, give me a call at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., I am your neighborhood real estate sales pro.

This post was originally posted at Red Fox Run, Winchester, VA – 2018 Real Estate Market Review


Overpricing your home can cost you more than a few dollars.

Overpricing your home can cost you more than a few dollars.

Anytime a home is listed, the seller and the listing agent have a decision to make. What is the listing price? What does the market tell you about where it should list? There is an unfortunate tendency to look at the home you’ve lived in with rose-colored glasses. That’s often where overpricing a home starts. The list price of a home has to be an unemotional decision. It is a market driven number, and no amount of memories will change that.

The perils of overpricing your home: Wishful Thinking vs Wise Thinking

Overpricing your home normally starts out with a conversation that goes something like this:

Agent: So, what is the price you have in mind for listing your home? Here are the comps that show where it should be listed. The market is saying it should be right at $385,000 for a reasonably quick sale.

Seller: Oh, that’s not enough. After all, we’ve painted everything, we’ve had landscaping done and besides that, it’s just worth more than most homes in this neighborhood. My kids grew up here.

Agent: How much more?

Seller: I was thinking around $400,000. That will give us room to negotiate. We can always come down if we need to.

That’s based on the premise that all buyers want to negotiate, have no clue what a home is worth and are willing to throw money at a home because of the sentimental value it has to the seller. All three of those assumptions are wrong.

Not all buyers want to negotiate, or are even willing to negotiate. Also, buyers are more advanced today. They have access to all kinds of online data that makes them well-informed about a property long before they even consider it, and beyond that, nobody wants to pay more money for a house than it’s worth. Your sentimental values don’t equate to more value in a piece of real estate. The real value of your home is not personal for others, it’s practical. What does the market say?

The perils of overpricing your home: Lost Income

If the list price of $400,000 is as little as 4% over the market comps, then a few things are likely to happen. Based on historical data, a smart buyer’s agent will know before going to the house that it is overpriced by up to $16,000. Granted, the agent may assume that the buyer has a little wiggle room and may be planning to use that gap for negotiations.

That brings up a dilemma for the buyer. Is it worth the time to look at something that is overpriced, or should he/she move on to similar houses in the correct price range? Will it be a waste of time making an offer that is $16 K over the value of the property?

Of course, there is also the appraisal issue. A lender will only loan on the offer price or the appraised value, whichever is lower. If the appraisal comes back at $384,000, will the seller drop the price to meet that number, or will the seller expect the buyer to come to the table with more money than the house is worth?

In my 2018 market, the average home sold for 2% below the asking price. In our scenario, the appraised value was $384,000. If a seller wants to sell to a buyer who is not willing to overpay for a home, the price will need to come down $16,000. At the $400,000 list price, if market norms come into play, the house should sell for $392,000 if the list price is correct. But, it will not, because the appraisal came in lower.

The perils of overpricing your home: Costs that are not factored in.

If the property lingers on the market because of the inflated price, the seller may have a series of expenses that keep coming throughout the process. For instance, there are mortgage payments, electric, water and tax bills. The seller needs to keep the electricity and water on for inspection and appraisal reasons. Those expenses will not stop throughout the listing.

The longer a home sits, the more likely that it will sell for less. In my market, the first 14 days are the typically the best days for a good offer. The longer a home sits, the more likely it will become stigmatized and fewer people will want to look at it. In this case, the buyer will likely lose $16,000 off of list because of the appraised value. Factor in a few home inspection repairs, mortgage payments, electric, water and taxes and the loss of income could easily exceed $20,000 plus.

This past year, I had a wonderful couple ask me to sell their home. I did the market analysis and found what they should sell for. At the same time, I had a second couple ask me to sell their house. Again, I did all the market analysis and found a good list price.

A tale of two couples

I asked the first couple, “Do you want to sell fast, or can the property linger on the market for a while?” They wanted to sell fast. With that in mind, we listed at my suggested price based on neighborhood comps and the home sold in the first 60 minutes it was on the market, for full price.

The second seller, wanted to take advice from a few non-real estate professionals, and the house sat on the market for 103 days before an offer came in. He paid the mortgage payments, water, electric, taxes, HOA and a number of maintenance issues that came up while the house sat. He finally accepted an offer that was -6.5% lower than the non-professional suggested list price. If he had listened to the pros, he would have sold for -1.7% below list. The local average sale is -2% below list.

It’s important to hire professionals who know the market and can guide sellers to the best course of action. If sellers ignore their seasoned advice, they have no one to blame but themselves when a property doesn’t sell, or when it sells for less than they wanted.

When you’re ready to sell, and when you’re ready to hire smart professionals, give me and Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your neighborhood real estate sales pros, and we know our market. You’ll receive expert advice and guidance throughout the process.


Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA – Real Estate Year in Review – 2018

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA – Real Estate Year in Review – 2018

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA had a very good real estate year in 2018. The highly Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA - Real Estate Year in Review - 2018desirable community of homes had a 6.6% sales rate for the 2018 market year. The number of 2018 sales were a 16% increase over 2017. Ironically, 2018 was a -15% over 2016.

As the local markets began to heal from the 2008 recession, the percentage of change was all over the map. The 2018 market sales were 93% higher than 2015, but they were even higher over 2014. The percentage change over 2014 was 107%. That’s a pretty good sign of where the market was, and where it is today.

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA: 2018 Sales by the Month.

I’m asked every year, “When is the best time to list my home.” My answer is basically, when you’re ready. Buyers buy all year-long. Let me show you what I mean. In Canter Estates, home sales have been consistent throughout the year.

As a matter of fact, home sale have done better in most cooler to cold months than in Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA - Real Estate Year in Review - 2018the warmer to hot months. Of the 29 sales, January, February, March and October made up 13 sales. That means 45% of total sales took place in the cooler to cold months. That blows a hole in the “list in the Spring because that is the best time to sell” theory. To be fair, April was also a very good month with 4 sales. If you add April to our list, those five months made up 59% of total sales. The warm months made up 38% of total sales for 2018.

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA: Distressed Sales

Distressed sales still managed to show up in Canter Estates in 2018, but they were minor in comparison to the dog days of the recession. They did manage to be 6.9% of total sales. That number sounds huge until you learn that it was 2 out of 29 sales. That number does not show a trend or offer any form of caution about the future in Canter Estates.

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA: Average Sales Price

The average home sale price in Canter Estates was $353,921. That was for a four bedroom – 3 bath (2.5 in most cases) home. For those considering a sale in the near to immediate future, that equates to $139.25 per square foot of value in your home. That number can help you learn what your home may sell for.

The average days on the market for a Canter Estates home was 60 days. Days on the market is an outlier number for most market updates. It can mean something, and it can mean absolutely nothing. There are so many factors that cause days on the market to be high or low that it is hard to use it as a precursor to a sale price.

A home can be priced to high, and it lingers on the market. A house can be in a less desirable place, and the days can add. A neighbor may have a barking dog that keeps a home in the market. A section of a street may have a high volume of teenagers who shoot basketball at all hours of the day and night. There are so many things that can influence days on the market that it is hard to use it when making an offer on a home.

The best advice for listing a home is to price it right, make sure it’s in great condition, keep it ready to show all the time, and trust the agent you hired to sell it. When you’re ready to sell your Canter Estates home, call me at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., and I’ll put my decades of experience, my technological skills and my market understanding to work for you. Let’s have a great 2019 in Canter Estates.