How Babies Help The Real Estate Market

At my open house yesterday at Clarendon 1021, we had about 35 groups come through. This is a 2 bedroom plus den unit, so you can imagine there was a vast spectrum of people looking at the unit. However, one conversation I kept having over and over again was from couples thinking about having a baby or newly pregnant or newly engaged and thinking about kids down the line.

Having gone through the child rearing process now twice, I have some interesting perspective on when, where and how to move with a kid (or more than 1).

My husband and I were in a 2 bedroom condo when my older son was born. Quickly, I lost my home office to the nursery and we lost our dining room to my office. Baby toys, swings, chairs, blankets, strollers, etc. quickly took over our entire unit (as a side note: baby stuff, no matter how big your house is, somehow makes it everywhere. It just takes over everything.) Once he was mobile (crawling, not walking yet), the place shrunk even more! I had to get out!! We moved out of the condo when he was 10 months old. We had to rent a storage unit to “de-baby” the condo to put it on the market. Dealing with nap time, cleaning up after everyone, specific showings hours, etc. can get to be a lot of stress. Luckily, the transition for him was easy because he was too young to really understand what was going on (and we were crazy enough to paint his new room the same color as it was in the condo). I think the toddler years may be a harder time to move a kid to a new house (I am not a therapist, just a mom who has read too many books.)

So that said…what would I have done differently?

I probably would have moved when I was pregnant, but we weren’t ready to give up Clarendon yet. Nor did I know as a first-time mom how small my condo was going to feel when you work from home and are bound to a baby!

We all do the best we can with the finances we have, so if you’re not able to move or unwilling to move, there’s no rush. Babies don’t know the difference until they want to run around outside for hours (and you want them to too!).

It’s interesting to be an outside and watch as life events help the real estate market. Engagements/weddings, babies, divorce, empty nesters, promotions, and more. Those big life events somehow tend to include moving and new real estate. Some of them are to be celebrated, others mourned, but either way buying and selling can be stressful times, even without a baby! Hire someone to help you through the process who has been there, or who understands what you’re going through!

Contact Laura

For Sale at Clarendon 1021: Open House Sunday

Web_Exterior-Rooftop Terrace_1

Imagine the 4th of July Fireworks party you could have on this PRIVATE patio! 
Now for sale at Clarendon 1021:

1021 N Garfield St, Unit 907, Arlington, VA 22201
$795,000
2 Bedrooms Plus Den (or small 3rd bedroom), 2 Bathrooms
1,244 sq ft
2 Full Size Parking Spaces
Storage (located on the same floor as the condo)
2 blocks to Clarendon Metro
Building features: Gym, Rooftop Pool and Hot Tub, 24-hour Front Desk, On Site Manager, Meeting Room, and Underground Parking

For a full virtual tour, click here.

Open House Sunday 1/25 from 1-4pm

Arlington County Real Estate 2014 Wrap Up

The Arlington County real estate 2014 wrap up, end of year numbers are in! Overall, it was a really great year for the market. Sales were generally fast when priced correctly, some properties made sizeable gains for prices, and new home sales picked up. Here’s how the numbers compared to 2013:

  • Average Sale Price UP 2.92%
  • Days on the Market UP by 2 to an average of 40 days
    • However, 43% of the sales in 2014 sold within the first 10 days on the market
  • Average Sale Price Compared to Original List Price was 97.7% (this was down a bit from last year)
  • Single Family Homes with 4 or more bedrooms saw an average 5.7% increase in price
  • Townhomes with 3 bedrooms saw on average 3.98% increase in price
  • Condos saw a small drop of 1.34% in price

Cherrydale Condos For Sale: 38 Place

About 4 years ago, Ed Peete built a condo building turned apartment building in Cherrydale at 3800 Lee Highway, then known as the 3800 Lofts. Well, 4 years later, they’re now rebranding the “new” condo building as 38 Place. Built in 2011, the building features 22 units, all 1 or 2 bedroom loft style condos. They have exposed duct work, hardwood floors, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances. It’s a 4-level building with retail on the first floor and underground parking.

Search 38 Place Condos For Sale

38 place

FHA To Lower Mortgage Insurance Premiums in January 2015

Effective January 26th, all new FHA loans will have a lower mortgage insurance premium. The reduction will save you $104/mo on a $250,000 loan amount.

In Arlington County for 2014, only 3.1% of ALL properties sold last year were purchased using an FHA loan. Last year, FHA raised premiums to an amount that made it cost prohibitive to use one for a purchase. The most appealing thing about the loan is that it only required a 3.5% down payment (and still does), but when you compare that to a Conventional loan under $425,000 you could do as little as 5% down. For most people, it made no sense to pay the high premiums of an FHA loan where mortgage insurance NEVER goes away (Conventional Financing you can prepay the mortgage insurance as part of your closing costs or pay them monthly until your loan is 80% of the current value of the property and then the mortgage insurance is goes away).

With the reduction in premiums, FHA now is a better option for people with little cash to put down or those with poor credit scores.

For a more detailed history on the FHA loan and their rates, read the Mortgage Reports.

New Year, New Sales Contract to Purchase Real Estate in Virginia

We are starting 2015 with a new sales contract to purchase real estate in Virginia. Our local association of Realtors(R) just released the new copy of the contract as of January 1, 2015. Make sure your agent knows there’s a new contract to be used. You’d be surprised how many still use old and obsolete renditions of paperwork!

Noteworthy Changes:

  • There is no more Regional Sales Contract and Virginia Jurisdictional. They’ve now been combined into 1 16-page document known as the Virginia Residential Sales Contract.
  • Some language has been changed in the Property Owner Association and Condo Association paragraphs, but the purchaser still only has 3 days from receipt to void.
  • Some basic administrative changes were made that agents were already writing into the contract anyway (for example, now you have the option of a % or $ for a down payment, before it was just a $ amount).

Happy House Hunting Buyers!!

To find out how I can help you buy and/or sell a property, please contact me.

2015 Predictions for the Arlington County Real Estate Market

Here are my 2015 Predictions for the Arlington County Real Estate Market. To review my 2014 predictions, click here.

Many of these will be similar to the ones from 2014 because I think the market will continue to improve.

 1. Interest rates WILL increase, probably to 4.5-5%. Many expected that to already happen in 2014, so I believe we will see a slight increase this year.

2. More new construction, mostly single family homes, will hit the market. I also think we’ll see fewer lots go up for sale on the general market as many people are calling builders directly to try to sell their lots. Many people think of Arlington as a place with a lot of money, but what they don’t realize, is the “cheapest” homes for people who just want to live in the County is going to increase. It’s hard to even find a house in N. Arlington under $600k that won’t be snatched up by a builder to be torn down.

3. Prices will increase. I expect to see a bigger increase in sale price in 2015 as the market continues to see higher dollar sales.

4. Inventory will increase, but stabilize. I don’t expect to see a shortage of inventory nor do I think we’ll have a surplus of homes. I think we’ll enter into a balanced market (versus a sellers or buyers market).

5. Percentage of first-time home buyers will increase. I have no way of tracking the County sales by first-time buyer or not, but I can tell you 40% of my 2014 sales were first time buyers.

So that’s that. We’ll see in a year if any or all of these were true!

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year!!

2014 Arlington Real Estate Predictions Reviewed

Each year I do a prediction of the coming year and what will happen in the Arlington Real Estate Market. Here are my 2014 Arlington real estate predictions reviewed:

1. Interest Rates Will Increase, Affordability Will Fall. Rates were down to 3%, then 4%, now we hover around 4.5%. I suspect we’ll end the year around 5%. Each increase in the interest rate means more out of pocket each month for a home buyer, making things less affordable. I was happily WRONG about this one. We spent most of the year with Conventional interest rates somewhere between 4-4.25%. A few days were closer to 4%, while a few days were closer to 4.5%, but overall, we spent the majority of the year in the lower 4% range.

2. Inventory Will Increase. Prices have increased enough since our dip in 2009, that most people who bought in 2005-2006 can afford to sell (which will lead to #3), and that should help increase our inventory levels. This was true. Inventory levels for 2014 were up about 6.5% from 2013. Active listings were up about 35% and days on the market also increased as a result to an average of 39. 

3. Foreclosures/Short Sales Will Be A Tiny Part of Our Market. We ended up 2013 with about 3.2% of our annual sales resulting from short sales or foreclosures. I think that will be even less in 2014, maybe around 1-2%. This was true. Year to date, only 1.87% of our annual sales in 2014 were short sales or foreclosures.

4. New Construction, Mostly Single Family Homes, Will Continue to be Prevalent and Grow. There are builders snatching up land at every opportunity in Arlington, you will see that trend continue and more McMansions being built. This was also true. A total of 4.1% of all sales in 2014 were new construction, but even more telling is that 9.4% of single family homes were new builds. In 2013, the total new construction sales were 7.8% of single family homes.

5. More Conventional Loans Will Be Used, Fewer Government Issued Loans. With the recent FHA mortgage premium hike and the fact that PMI never goes away, I suspect anyone who CAN afford to go with a conventional mortgage will as FHA as made themselves financially undesirable. This was true. Only 10.1% of all sales were purchased through an FHA or VA loan in 2014. In 2013, that number was 12.05%.

6. Multiple Offers Will Continue, Especially In the Market Under $900k. With affordability on the verge of decreasing and our inventory just starting to increase, the “affordable” market in Arlington is really anything about $900k and under. I would expect multiple offers to continue into 2014 in that market, especially for single family homes. There are pockets that will also experience craziness like Clarendon Condos and Townhomes, where availability is always slim, that will so be hit with multiple offers. In the lower prices ranges, expect to battle with builders for buildable land. This was true. In North Arlington, single family homes under $900k were only on the market for an average of 18 days. In South Arlington, they averaged 29 days. There were some lots that got as many as 16+ offers!

*7. Prices Will Increase. I almost forgot to add the obvious – Prices will increase! Most importantly, this one was true. Due to the increase in inventory, prices only increased slightly about 1% from the year to date average in 2013. 

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my predictions. I was wrong about the interest rate, but I’m SO happy I was! It means money was cheap to borrow this year and hopefully will continue to be for the foreseable future. Stay tuned for my 2015 predictions this week.

Hope you enjoyed the Holidays with your friends and family!

November Real Estate Statistics for Arlington County VA

November real estate statistics for Arlington County VA show 182 properties sold. Average sale price increased almost 13%, days on the market increased to 56, and inventory was also up 35% from last year.

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $935,159 in 47 days
Range: $510,000 – $1,825,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $653,582 in 28 days
Range: $424,900 – $925,000

Townhomes
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $892,485 in 30 days
Range: $490,000 – $1,255,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $406,544 in 28 days
Range: $360,000 – $450,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $392,820 in 37 days
Range: $190,000 – $667,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $230,738 in 43 days
Range: $135,000 – $346,000

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $578,111 in 45 days
Range: $415,000 – $862,500
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $412,887 in 30 days
Range: $315,000 – $513,000

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

October Real Estate Statistics for Arlington County VA

A total of 226 properties sold during October. That’s a decrease in total sales by about 14%, however, inventory levels were up over 40%! Average sales price was up 2.2% and days on the market increased to 43.

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $938,685 in 30 days
Range: $457,500 – $2,860,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $752,925 in 39 days
Range: $425,000 – $1,248,395

Townhomes
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $706,440 in 21 days
Range: $479,900 – $975,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $510,750 in 25 days
Range: $359,000 – $795,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $322,506 in 33 days
Range: $165,000 – $450,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $255,425 in 43 days
Range: $135,000 – $346,000

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $641,453 in 38 days
Range: $305,000 – $1,389,900
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $400,887 in 28 days
Range: $295,000 – $550,000

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

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