What to Expect On Closing Day

key-exchangeThe big day! The day you finally get to call the house your own and become a homeowner! A general summary of what to expect on closing day follows:

Seller Side

What you’ll need:

  • Picture ID
  • All of the keys/garage openers/FOBs to hand over
  • Utilities on through the end of the day
  • If you’re due money, a voided check or routing number for where you want the proceeds to go
  • If you owe money, a check made payable to the Title company for the specified amount.

The seller side of closing is usually very quick. Maybe 20-30 minutes depending on if you want to leave as soon as your portion of the paperwork is completed. You’ll sign all of the paperwork, hand over the keys, and that’ll be that! In Virginia, you usually get your money the next day. In Maryland and DC, you’ll walk out of the closing with a check.

Buyer Side

What you’ll need:

  • Picture ID
  • Cashiers Check or Wire Transfer of your down payment/cash
  • Utilities switched on as of the next day

The buyer side of closing is the lengthy party, if you’re getting a mortgage. If you’re paying cash, you’ll be in and out in 20 minutes. If you have 1 mortgage, it should take about 45 minutes; if you have 2 mortgages, it’ll likely take about an hour. Once the seller has completed their documentation, the attorney will get started on yours. Some of the paperwork is signed by both the buyers and the sellers, but the lengthy part of your side is your mortgage paperwork which generally, the seller has nothing to do with which is why they get to leave early. Once you’ve signed everything, you hand over your check or confirm your wire transfer was complete, and you’ll receive the keys to the kingdom! You are officially a homeowner!

July Real Estate in Arlington Was Hotter Than Ever

The good news: prices are the best they’ve been since the market burst in 2009. July real estate in Arlington was hotter than ever! A total of 323 properties sold last month, with the median sale price up nearly 11%, number of units sold was up 17% over last year, days on the market fell to an average of 38 and sellers were averaging 97.9% of list price.

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $950,044 in 21 days
Range: $490,000 – $2,070,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $678,641 in 22 days
Range: $356,200 – $1,200,000

Townhomes
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $862,642 in 35 days
Range: $565,000 – $1,290,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $552,038 in 51 days
Range: $410,500 – $757,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $346,639 in 33 days
Range: $175,000 – $602,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $254,937 in 37 days
Range: $115,000 – $371,000

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $669,883 in 25 days
Range: $412,000 – $920,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $419,354 in 42 days
Range: $198,000 – $625,000

Search Arlington Homes For Sale or Find Out What Your Arlington Home Is Worth

Buyers Remorse When Buying A House

Buyers-Remorse-In-Real-EstateThis is a sticky one. Buyers remorse. Returning a pair of shoes? Easy. Buyers remorse when buying a house? Not so easy. Why does it happen and what do you do next?

There are several reasons one might come down with buyers remorse.

  • Reality of the new financial burden
  • Unexpected commute time
  • Neighbors
  • Renovation ideas or unexpected costly repairs
  • General unhappiness

Ok, the last one is the really tricky part because it’s emotional. The top 4 there are certainly ways of preventing (which I’ll get into), but the last one is the big one I want to address.

What do you do if you’re generally unhappy once you’re in the house? Aside from seeking counselling (not the legal kind), your options are really limited by your financial situation. A good rule of thumb is to expect to keep a home for at least 3 years or the closing costs and commission alone will cost you any equity you may have gained.

  1. Rent it. Hate it so much you can’t live there? Rent it out and go find somewhere else to live, even if that means renting yourself.
  2. Sell it. Potentially take a loss and have to explain to people why you’re selling so soon (keep in mind, something you hate may not be a big deal to another person).
  3. Learn to live with it. Keep it, live in it, make it home. Try to love it. If you can do that, you may a) grow to genuinely like it, or b) learn exactly what you want when you’re able to sell it and move again.

Moving is stressful. If you’re married, if you’re divorcing, if you’re single, if you’re a family with kids, if you’re downsizing, upsizing, moving down the block or across the country – moving is STRESSFUL. A simple Google search will tell you that. Try to minimize the stress. Hire reliable, reputable movers. Set up utilities well in advance. Start packing well in advance. Try not to begin this new adventure on a sour note.

Now for the other 4 factors:

  • Reality of the new financial burden – make a spreadsheet of ALL of your financial responsibilities monthly and annually, add in daycare if you’re pregnant, take away income if you’re retiring, factor in college tuition if your kids are going to college, etc. Now add in your new monthly payment and condo/HOA fees. Know what you’re signing up for.
  • Unexpected commute time – do a trial run. Try a morning commute while you’re under contract with real times. Leave at your expected time and go there from your mock commute home.
  • Neighbors  – Knock on doors, ask people walking by, talk talk talk. Find out if there’s a smoker or loud dog in your new condo building, find out if the neighbors like to throw loud parties every night, or if there are no kids on the block. Ask. Due diligence.
  • Renovation ideas or unexpected costly repairs – Hire a qualified home inspector. Thinking of renovating the deck, the bathroom, the kitchen, etc. Bring in a contractor for an estimate while you’re there for a home inspection. Don’t just guess based on the internet. This goes back to budgeting. Find out the reality so you know exactly what you’re getting.

What Makes A House “High-End”?

There are so many overused terms used in real estate marketing, such as: “cozy, hurry, opportunity knocks, cheery, cute!” the list really is endless. But I’ve begun noticing “high end” being thrown around for properties that might LOOK “high end” but really aren’t. So I want to take the shiny sticker off and go behind what really makes a house “high end.”

The Exterior

  • Hardie plank siding, energy efficient/double hung windows, elegant stone work, concrete or paver driveways instead of asphalt, trex/composite material decking

Plumbing Fixtures

  • Kohler, Moen, Rohl, Hansgrohe, Brizio – some more brands you’ve never heard of – those are considered quality, high end (read: expensive) finishes.

Appliances

  • Wolf, Viking, Thermador, Sub Zero, KitchenAid Pro, Jenn Air, GE Monogram

Lighting Fixtures

  • There’s builder grade, cheap lighting fixtures, and then there are LED lights, specialty lighting stores who make some very beautiful lights

Finishes

  • Carpet, hardwood, built-ins, wainscotting, coffered ceiling, tray ceiling, recessed lighting, etc. etc. Something that makes it feel like a little more than just drywall thrown together.
  • We all think of Granite counters as “high end” but they’re actually quite cheap compared to some of the new types of stone: Quartz, Silestone, Caeserstone, Marble, etc. Some of these offer advantages over granite like no sealing, higher temperature tolerance and more.

Just because it looks shiny and brand new, doesn’t make it high end, nor should you be paying a premium for it.

What Does Zero Days on the Market Really Mean?

Since the beginning of the year, almost 100 properties have sold with a big goose egg for days on the market. That’s a big accomplishment if you’re looking at it as a legitimate sale: 0 days on the market? How can that be?

What does that really mean?dom 0

Usually, it means it was sold prior to going on the market and the agent(s) put in to MRIS as a comparable sale for the credit and for other agents to use for other sales.

How does that happen?

Well, it should be no surprise that of the 97 year to date, 23 were sales where 1 agent represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.
A handful more were likely for sale by owner and the buyer agent put it in to keep under their recorded sales.
The majority of the other ones were either:

  • Coming Soon that were sold prior to actively being listed
  • Agents sharing with other agents upcoming listings and getting lucky
  • A drive by calling on a for sale sign
  • Sellers advertising to friends that they would be listing soon (this happens actively on groups like North Arlington Parents or Mothers of North Arlington)

For some sellers, this is the perfect scenario. Read my old blog on why a seller would take an offer before going on the market. 

Busy June Real Estate Market in Arlington

june 2015A slow May gave way to a very busy June real estate market in Arlington. A total of 354 properties sold last month! Prices increased 2% over last year, while condo prices increased 9.8%!! Sellers averaged 97.9% of asking and were on the market for 42 days. Here’s the breakdown by location and property type:

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $1,008,594 in 34 days
Range: $530,000 – $2,875,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $721,737 in 34 days
Range: $385,000 – $1,300,000

Townhomes
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $848,150 in 23 days
Range: $520,000 – $1,990,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $531,811 in 15 days
Range: $411,000 – $775,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $380,944 in 22 days
Range: $194,000 – $635,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $271,186 in 36 days
Range: $162,500 – $335,000

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $611,687 in 23 days
Range: $295,000 – $903,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $445,063 in 25 days
Range: $312,500 – $552,500

Search Arlington Homes For Sale or Find Out What Your Arlington Home Is Worth

Slow May For Arlington Real Estate

It was a slow month of May for Arlington real estate. The market seemed to take a huge pause in activity, showings, and contracts. The statistics for the month certainly support that: average prices fell 1.47% from last year, units sold were 289 compared to 310 last year, days on the market increased to 44 (up from 33 last year), and sellers averaged 98.4% of asking, which is about 1% less than we’ve been trending. Here are the stats broken out by location and type of property:

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $1,033,509 in 26 days
Range: $404,250 – $2,482,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $689,584 in 21 days
Range: $450,000 – $1,175,000

Townhomes
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $838,181 in 16 days
Range: $635,000 – $1,202,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $575,535 in 18 days
Range: $350,000 – $755,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $370,681 in 19 days
Range: $207,000 – $620,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $258,206 in 65 days
Range: $118,000 – $372,900

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $599,400 in 32 days
Range: $400,000 – $888,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $428,341 in 24 days
Range: $284,000 – $576,000

Search Arlington Homes For Sale or Find Out What Your Arlington Home Is Worth