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2010 Real Estate Predictions for Arlington, VA January 5, 2010

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Keller Williams Realty, Washington D.C..
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First off – Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but i’m SO happy to see a new year AND a new decade! As such, i’m doing a 2010 Real Estate Market Prediction for the upcoming year…these are MY opinions of what will happen, they’re based on what i’ve seen, heard, experienced, and can foresee happening. So here goes!

1. Inventory Will Increase. We’ve had exceptionally low levels of inventory from August 2009 to now. I know December active listings were about 2/3 of the level in 2008. I think many people were scared out of the market last year with prices hitting bottom and the floods of foreclosures. Now that prices are starting to rebound (this will be prediction #2) I think we’ll see more properties on the market for sale.

2. Prices Will Continue to Increase. In hindsight, I think the market in Arlington hit bottom in the beginning of 2009 (Jan-Feb). We’re not quite back to where we were, some pockets are better than others, but overall we’re stabilizing. Right now the lack of inventory is driving prices back up – good news for sellers who have been waiting to put their houses on the market. *It is STILL a buyers market; prices are still far lower in some areas than they were at the peak.

3. Tax Credit Extension Will Drive a Busy Spring Market. Real estate has “seasons.” The market tends to get busy in the Spring (April-early June) and in the Fall (September – October). With the First-Time Home Buyer and “Move-Up” Buyer tax credits extended to April 30, 2010, I think it’ll help stimulate more movement in sales.

4. Interest Rates Will Continue To Rise. For many lucky buyers in 2009, they locked in at an interest rate below 5% – phenomenal! We’ve already seen interest rates begin to rise since December, and I think they will continue to do so throughout 2010. I suspect the Government will make efforts to keep the rates under 6% for the duration of the year, but I don’t think they’ll stay around 5% for very long. Many local economists expect to be around 7%+ by 2011.

5. Foreclosures in Arlington, VA to Decrease. From the numbers i’ve been running, about 20% of the sales each month were either short sales or foreclosures. I think there will be shadow inventory of more properties in distress in neighboring counties – Prince William, Loudoun, parts of Washington, D.C., some parts of Fairfax – but I think Arlington will see that 20% begin to decline.

These are my top 5 predictions for the year. As the year plays out, we’ll see how I did :) As always,i’m here for any questions!

Happy Holidays From Me To You! December 24, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Keller Williams Realty.
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As we get closer to the official welcome to 2010, this will be my last post for 2009, and I wanted to take this opportunity to say Happy Holidays to all of my wonderful readers, clients, friends, and family.

Wishing you health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year. I’d like to thank you for your business and referrals this past year. Your confidence in me is truly appreciated. I look forward to providing help to you and your friends with your real estate needs in 2010.

If you need anything at all, please contact me.

All the best to you & your family,

Laura J. Rubinchuk

Virginia State-Wide Smoking Ban December 9, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Events, Keller Williams Realty.
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I’m 9 days late in this post, BUT as of December 1st of this month, ALL of the Virginia restaurants and bars are now smoke free! The ban does permit smoking in private clubs and in places that have separately ventilated enclosed smoking rooms. Smoking may also be permitted in outside seating options in restaurants, provided they are not enclosed in any way.

I can tell you that I already have noticed a difference in the past week from the smoking ban. There are a few places in Arlington that are notorious for being “smokey,” and I know many people dread going there as a result. It’ll be interesting to see how the venues who hadn’t previously enacted their own smoking ban is effected.

If you want to check out a new restaurant or happy hour now that everywhere is smoke-free, the Washingtonian has a great Happy Hour search feature.

I Want To Sell Your House. Here’s Why You Should Let Me. November 22, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Keller Williams Realty, Northern Virginia.
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Realtors(R) get a really bad reputation. Most of the time I think people assume we get into real estate because frankly, we couldn’t do anything else (or do it well, anyway).Honestly…isn’t almost every industry out there like that? How hard is it to find a GOOD CPA? How about a doctor who is good and you really like?

Whenever I meet with new clients, the inevitable question comes up: How did you get into real estate?

i promise

Here’s my answer: “I believe people deserve a higher standard of service for their experience when you’re buying or selling a home. There are too many people out there who really don’t know what they’re doing. I thought to myself: I could do this better.” A side note: the biggest challenge in our industry – is other agents.

But don’t get me wrong: I have met some PHENOMENAL agents all over of the U.S. since I got into real estate. These are highly educated, highly motivated, great people – both in real estate and all around.

I have an undergraduate degree in Statics and Economics, and a Master’s Degree from John Hopkins in Applied Economics. I didn’t get into real estate because I couldn’t do anything else. I chose to do real estate because I was bored and unchallenged by everything else I did.

So when I see listings with blatant disregard to very important things (and minor details too), I get angry, really angry. In fact, it makes me livid. I’ve worked with a lot of buyers this past year, and I have seen some things that really hit my hot buttons. I wrote a blog post about the “Top Mistakes Agents Make,” but the list continues to grow everyday.

I may not be able to single-handedly change your opinion of an entire industry,
but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

What Happens If My Appraisal Is Low In Virginia? November 19, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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Contract time!  Whenever I have someone considering buying a place, I always offer to meet them for coffee to go over the process from start to finish, and the details necessary to the process of buying and/or selling real estate.

A very important part of the buying process right now is the appraisal. An appraisal is an independent 3rd party opinion of the market value of a property (regardless of the type of property – condo, townhouse, detached single family home, etc.) If you’re getting a loan, you’re getting an appraisal. Your lender will “hire” a licensed appraiser to do an analysis of value based on recent sales, active listings, type of property, condition, location, etc. This is your reassurance that the price you’re paying for a place is in line with current market values.

Now, if the appraisal comes in equal to or above your contract sales price – you’re good to go! (Remember, if you’re getting cash back from the seller for closing costs, the appraised value must be on the GROSS price of the contract.) If it comes in above the price you’ve agreed to pay – congrats! instant equity!

However, IF the appraisal comes back low, you really have 2/3 options:

1. Approach the seller, provide them a copy of the appraisal, and try to negotiate the contract price to match the value of the appraisal.

1a. If the seller is unwilling to come down in price, and you’re not able to fund the difference, you can void the contract.

2. If you still want to buy the place, even with the low appraisal, you have the option of coming up with the extra cash to fund the difference. Banks will only loan as high as the appraised value.

2a. If you’re unable to gather the funds to make up the difference and the seller is unwilling to come down in price, you can void the contract.

3. If both parties come to some acceptable terms that is a combination of the above – either the seller comes down a little and the buyer comes up with the difference – then you can also proceed.

3a. If this is not a feasible option, you can then void the contract.
Feel free to take me up on my coffee offer, anytime. We go over the process in detail, and I promise, it won’t be scary or overwhelming.

Arlington VA Real Estate Market Update – October 2009 November 16, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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Time to bring out my statistician side again! Here’s the breakdown for Arlington County real estate sales in October 2009, for both North (22201,22203,22205,22207,22209,22213)  and South Arlington (22202,22204,22206).

Total Arlington Sales: 221
North Arlington Sales: 140
South Arlington Sales: 81

Studio Condo

North Arlington
Average Sales Price: $243,248
Range: $191,090 – $262,000
Average Days on the Market: 16
Median Days on the Market: 6

1 Bedroom Condos

North Arlington                                               South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $299,144                      Average Sales Price: $260,081
Range: $169,000 – $437,000                      Range: $123,500 – $337,638
Average Days on the Market: 33                  Average DOM: 40
Median Days on the Market: 15                    Median DOM: 14

2 Bedroom Condos

North Arlington                                             South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $487,708                     Average Sales Price: $325,294
Range: $208,000 – $730,000                      Range: $136,000 – $670,000
Average Days on the Market: 44                   Average DOM: 40
Median Days on the Market:  35                    Median DOM: 10

Townhouse

North Arlington                                              South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $702,524                    Average Sales Price: $380,269
Range: $427,000 – $1,130,000                Range: $130,000 – $670,000
Average Days on the Market: 36                  Average DOM: 29
Median Days on the Market:  15                   Median DOM: 9

Detached – Single Family Homes

North Arlington                                           South Arlington
A
verage Sales Price: $787,559                  Average Sales Price: $472,311
Range: $350,000 – $1,866,107                 Range: $175,000 – $900,000
Average Days on the Market: 66                    Average DOM: 58
Median Days on the Market:  27                    Median DOM: 33

graph_upAs a whole, Arlington had 9 short sales and 14 foreclosures (bank owned properties) that sold in October of the 221 units. Also, 43 of the sales sold at or above list price – thats almost 20%.

Volume and the number of units sold are both up in 2009, compared to this time last year. Average sales price is down by about 7% and the days on the market is down about 30% (selling faster!).

$8,000 First-Time Home Buyer and $6,500 Move-Up Buyer Tax Credit 2009-2010 November 15, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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MoneyEnacted on November 7, 2009 – the $8,000 tax credit has been extended and expanded, and has added an additional $6,500 tax-credit for “move-up buyers.” Below is a synopsis of the new regulations:

First-Time Buyers

  • $8,000 Tax Credit
  • Must not have owned a principal residence for any part of the past 3 years
  • Income Restrictions:
    • Single: $125,000
    • Married: $225,000
    • For those who have incomes exceeding these, there will be a phase out or partial tax credit up to $20,000 above these limits
  • Maximum Sales Price: $800,000
  • Must have a ratified contract as of April 30, 2010, and close on or before June 30, 2010

Move-Up Buyers

  • $6,500 Tax Credit
  • Must have lived in the home sold or used it as primary residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years
  • Income Restrictions
    • Single: $125,000
    • Married: $225,000
    • For those who have incomes exceeding these, there will be a phase out or partial tax credit up to $20,000 above these limits
  • Maximum Sales Price: $800,000
  • Must have a ratified contract as of April 30, 2010, and close on or before June 30, 2010

I think, personally, this may cause a stir in some parts of the country, but I fear some “move-up buyers” may price themselves out of qualifying in the DC Metro area. I wish I had a crystal ball, but we’ll have to see what the market tells us to measure how much activity this causes.

The National Association of Realtors(R) has prepared this handy chart with the information above.

Laura Rubinchuk: Featured on “Ask A Realtor(R)” on Realtor.com November 2, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Keller Williams Realty.
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ask a realtorRealtor.com has an “Ask A Realtor” section of their website, where people can submit questions that are sent to a group of agents for response. They select one answer to publish on their website.

I had the fortunate opportunity to be featured on this question, from a prospective investor interested in purchasing a triplex (a 3-family home):

Q: “I am interested in a triplex. They’re asking 224,000. It’s in great shape. All three units are currently rented. What questions should I be asking the selling agent? I gross $1,875 a month and my mortgage will be $1,350 with taxes and insurance. What percentage does the REALTOR® make on the transaction? I would like to offer $198,000. Is that where I should start?” – Anthony (location is not disclosed)

Here’s my answer:

Whenever you look to invest in a property, you always want to estimate on the lower side, to make sure you won’t fall immediately into the red. I’d also ask about recent repairs: how’s the HVAC? The roof? Gutters? Driveway (if applicable)? You’ll have to consider your expenses for repairs and maintenance when you factor in your $525 estimated profit her month.

I’d ask for copies of each lease, and make sure their security deposits are credited to you at closing, since you’re inheriting the tenants and have to honor their leases (this may vary per state). I’d ask your agent to run rental comparisons to see if the current rents are below, at, or above market value. This may also affect your rental income.

The Realtor’s commission is based on his/her agreement with the current seller.

There are many options to consider when writing your purchase offer. If you feel $198,000 is a fair offer, go for it! I’d have an agent run recent sales comparisons for you to truly give you an idea of fair market value in that neighborhood to make sure you’re not overpaying.

See the full feature on Realtor.com’s Ask A Realtor.

Washington, D.C. Real Estate Market Update – September 2009 October 19, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Keller Williams Realty, Washington D.C..
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The numbers and statistics below are courtesy of the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. Interesting trends for the District of Columbia:

Condos and Coops

Average Sales Price Year-to-Date: $412,367
**Thus far, highest since 2005.

Inventory: Total at 1,229 listings
**2nd lowest since September 2008

Single Family Homes

Average Sales Price Year-to-Date: $557,725
**Lowest, by about $60k since 2005 (prices peaked in 2007)

Inventory: Total of 1,464 Listings
*2nd lowest in the last calendar year (August 2009 was the lowest)

Obviously the D.C. market is more complex than this overall picture paints. The 4 quadrants – SW, SE, NE, and NW – all have mini markets within themselves. But the bigger story is the LOW level of inventory throughout the District. While some areas have a HUGE supply, others have nothing. There’s also been recent additions of brand new construction in the District.

Please ask for more specific numbers.

Search Washington, D.C. Condos and Coops for Sale

Search Washington, D.C. Rowhouses for Sale

Search Washington, D.C. Homes For Sale

Search Washington, D.C Foreclosures For Sale

September 2009 Real Estate Market Update – McLean, VA 22101 and 22102 October 19, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Keller Williams Realty, McLean.
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McLean VA is home to many businesses and personal residential pieces of real estate. The zip of 22101 is heavily populated with Businesses, so I’ve broken out the August statistics by zip code:

22101

Detached Houses

Average Net Sale Price: $981,131 after 104 DOM
Range: $526,000 – $2,251,000

Townhouses

Average Net Sale Price; $627,700 after 84 DOM
Range: $535,000 – $820,000

The overall market in McLean in 22101 is BUSY. Sales has more than doubled this point last year, for both volume and the number of homes sold. Surprisingly, days on the market has also gone up by about 20 days. Prices are still lower than this time last year.

22102

Detached Houses

Average Net Sale Price: $1,307,625 after 106 DOM (median was 7 days)
Range: $728,000 – $2,525,000

1 Bedroom Condos

Average Net Sale Price: $188,923 after 40 DOM

2 Bedroom Condos

Average Net Sale Price: $399,561 after 71 DOM

The overall market in McLean in 22102 is similar to 22101 for September. Volume and the number of homes sold are both up, as well as days on the market. Similarly, prices are still a bit lower than this time last year.

Search the current Homes For Sale in McLean VA