Why you SHOULD sell in 2019

Here’s a great article from US News and World Reports by Devon Thorsby. I was going to write something up similar, but this hit all the key points, so I thought I might as well just repost it.

Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

But relatively speaking, 2019 might be the best time for you to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America, recommends going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.

“I think it’ll be better than 2020 and 2021 – who knows what’s going to happen in those years,” Ron says.

Housing Market Expectations in 2019

Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you bought your house in the last year or two, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game. Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019.

New buyers are still entering the market. As interest rates rise, some buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a home or apply for a mortgage, so be ready to see occasional drops in buyer activity. And if your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than before. Ron notes the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices exceeding buyers’ budgets are what has caused the slowing of homebuyer activity in recent months.

But with available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. In a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned by real estate information company Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.

The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest rates are still low-ish. Mortgage interest rates are rising, reaching 4.87 percent in November for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, per data from Freddie Mac. While rates are at their highest level since February 2011, they remain much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.

It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.

[Read: How Moving to a New Home Affects Your Taxes.]

Just because the Fed raises rates at one meeting doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow that exact pattern. “Not every Fed increase is passing on (to) a mortgage rate,” says John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank.

A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though Pataky notes that you should be ready to see rates continue to climb. “We do expect over the next 12 months that mortgage rates will continue to drift higher,” he says.

If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

PauseUnmuteLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%Remaining Time -0:15Fullscreen

You have high equity. Homeowners who bought during the recession or shortly after benefitted from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode. If you fall into that category, your home equity has risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses on the block that sold for a higher price.

The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which can easily go toward the down payment on your next house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be, and the less likely you’ll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.

[Read: Is Your House Too Big for You?]

Selling in 2019 vs. 2020. If not selling your home in 2019 means putting your house on the market in 2020, the sooner option is the best one. In a survey of 100 U.S. real estate experts and economists by real estate information company Zillow, released in May, almost half expect the next recession to occur in 2020. Another 14 percent believe the recession will hold out until 2021, while 24 percent of panelists expect the recession earlier – sometime in 2019.

Whether you believe the recession is imminent or a long way off, current real estate patterns indicate a sudden upswing in activity or prices is unlikely in the near future. Real estate markets tend to operate on a cycle of their own, the length of which varies by market but can be between 10 and 16 years total and flow from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.

“It doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon that’s going to cause a big spike in home prices or increase demand dramatically,” Ron says.

Is Section 8 a Boon or is it Detriment?

I do an inordinate amount of Section 8/Voucher deals.  For the uninformed, these voucher programs are meant to be a step up for the holders of said vouchers.  The idea is simple, lower income clients apply for a housing voucher thru their county and eligible clients will receive some type of financial assistance based on need.  Depending on the county can be anywhere between $1800-$4000 in some cases.

Now $4000 sounds like a big number (and it is), indeed I know people with $5000 mortgage payment and yet the county is giving this money away for clients to RENT a home, yes RENT a home–gain no equity, and all that goes with it.  You’re probably thinking to yourself ‘why don’t these people just buy a home?’  If it were that simple I swear I would have them all do that.  Unfortunately many of these client just won’t qualify for a traditional mortgage.  Their income won’t suffice, their credit score is not sufficient, etc.

These people still have the right to have a nice home.  Wouldn’t you agree?  That’s where I come in.  Unlike many Realtors, I will work with these clients.  My rationale is everyone deserves to have a home, and it’s my job to help them find that home.

Here are the issues.  There is a stigma with vouchers, as I mentioned before most (99%) voucher client look at it as a ‘step up’ or ‘helping hand,’ they go to work, they raise their kids and pay their bills.   There is that 1% that has ruined it for everyone else who have done exactly what you’re not supposed todo–not pay their portion of the rent, trash the house, and just be a general terror to a landlord.  These clients are the ones who have ruined it for everyone else.

The voucher program is guaranteed money into the landlord’s bank account every month without fail.  The landlord doesn’t ever have to worry about a late rent payment.  The county does periodic inspections of the properties to insure they are habitable.  For the most part, ever so small details which we my overlook for ourselves aren’t things the county overlook.  On the opposite side, if the client isn’t taking care of the home they can also help to get the client back in line by giving then notice that upkeep has to be improved.

That all being said, I believe that Section 8, Voucher programs in general are a good thing. What do you think?

US Housing Market Forecast for 2018

The US housing forecast for 2018 reveals US markets are entering a very positive period of housing sales growth and if there’s one thing most early forecasters agree on, it’s that home prices will continue to rise. According to Freddie Mac’s Outlook report, new homes are expected to be a “primary driver of sales” in 2018 as 1.33 million housing starts are predicted in 2018, up from 1.22 million in 2017. Total home sales are expected to increase about 2 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the report. “The economic environment remains favorable for housing and mortgage markets. For several years, we have had moderate economic growth of about two percent a year, solid job gains, and low mortgage interest rates. We forecast those conditions to persist into next year.” says Freddie Mac’s chief economist Sean Becketti.
CoreLogic, the largest real estate data and analytics company in the U.S providing financial, property and consumer information also indicates that home prices will increase by 5 percent from July of this year through July of 2018. Mortgage rates are expected to increase as well. 
Should You Buy or Sell in 2018?
Most real estate sales and real estate investment experts are predicting a strong year ahead for the US housing market in 2018 and for the next 5 years. They are predicting existing home sales of 6 to 6.5 million units in 2017 and then above 1.3 million new homes being built per month from 2018 to 2024. Economists also predict that the uptick in housing starts, coupled with a moderate increase in mortgage rates, will help slow the run-up in home prices next year. Still, homeowners likely will continue building equity next year.
Reports says these are some of the reasons why people are still eager to invest in Real Estate:
  • Home prices are appreciating
  • Millennials continue to buy a home to raise their families
  • High rental rate for rental properties
  • The economy is steady or improving 
  • International investors eager to own US property
Are you ready to take the next step towards purchasing your new home? For all your real estate needs, contact me today at (703) 228-9788. Whether you are buying or selling, I will be here to help you every step of the way.


5 Top Home Buying and Selling Pitfalls

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important and most challenging highest-value transaction we will make and being mindful of some considerations can help the buying and selling process go a lot smoother.
Here are some things to avoid to help buyers and sellers do well before they purchase and list their property. It could save a great deal of money, and could even make the purchasing and sale of the property easy down the line.
1. Allowing emotions to overtake common sense
It’s true that when you fall in love with a property, it can be hard to walk away but it’s important to know your budget. Don’t buy something you know you cannot afford. If you’re selling, don’t overprice your property. Don’t hire the first real estate agent you meet. Meet with a few different agent before settling on one, and make sure you feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process.
2. Not making your expectations clear with your real estate professional
It’s important that you and your representative have a mutual understanding about what you’re looking and selling for, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you talk to your broker or salesperson about the services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.
3. Failing to read and understand forms and contracts
It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven’t read and totally understand but don’t assume everything is included. Taking the time to understand what you’re signing can avoid a lot of problems in the future. Either buying or selling, make sure all the details are well explained to you before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.
4. Not doing proper research and making verbal agreements
If you’re buying a home, a simple internet search for the address can go a long way and having an idea on how the selling process works if you’re selling a home is also significant. On the other hand, verbal agreements aren’t a problem until they’re a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.
5. Underestimating closing costs and other expenses
From land transfer taxes to title insurance to a home inspection, the costs of a real estate transaction can add up quickly. Take the time to include estimates and other expenses in the full cost of buying or selling a property. Remember as well that owning can cost much more than renting with expenses like rates, insurance and maintenance. While all of these tips are essential, the most important advice is to work with a registered real estate professional. 
Are you ready to sell or purchase a home? For all of your real estate needs, contact me today at (703) 228-9788. Whether you are buying or selling, I will be here to help you every step of the way.

Northern Virginia Housing Market Overview for Q3 2017

Fall is finally upon us and the third quarter of 2017 has come and gone. It was reported that home sales prices continue to skyrocket in Northern Virginia. Home price appreciation is widespread across the nation, but particularly pervasive in NOVA. A wide variation exist in home sale price by location and housing type within the region.
An Overview of the DC Metro Area Housing Market 
According to MRIS Report, the Washington D.C. Metro median sales price of $405,000 was up 1.3% or $5,100 compared to last year but was down 5.8% or $25,000 compared to last month. This is the highest September price of the decade. New listings of 6,972 were up 2.8% as compared to last year and were up 18.3% from last month and sales volume across the DC Metro area was nearly $2 billion, down 2.2% from last year.
Single- family home sale prices have grown the fastest as price growth in the single-family home sector has driven the overall rise in regional median home sale values, while condo prices remain relatively stable. Single-family detached and attached homes have each appreciated in price nearly 30 percent, at 2.8 percent annually, since their low in 2009. This is compared to the condo sector which grew 18 percent, at 1.8 percent annually in median sale price over the same period.
Condo values have stalled significantly in the past four years. 
An Overview of the Baltimore Metro Area Housing Market 
As cited in MRIS Report, the Baltimore Metro area median sales price of $253,000 was down 0.3% or $670 from last year, down 4.5% or $12,000 compared to last month. The sales volume across the area was over $917 million, up 0.2% from last year but the closed sales of 3,127 were down 2.4% compared to last year, and down 17.8% from last month. The average percentage of original list price received at sale in September was 95.5%, up from last year’s 94.9%.
There was an increase in the number of units sold in Q3 of 2017, with 3,189 sold in the Baltimore County real estate market. There were 3,869 homes newly listed for sale, which is less than new homes listed in Q3 of 2016.
Do Housing Prices Continue to Rise?
Reports says to expect local home prices to continue rising throughout the rest of 2017 and likely into 2018. The tight supply of existing homes on the market continues to constrain sales, while low mortgage rates and job growth help fuel demand. This pushes up prices while relief from new home construction is lagging and is only at half of its pre-recession peak. At the same time, home prices are rising faster than income and wage growth. 
This Housing Market Update provides few unique insights into the state of the current housing market by measuring the number of new pending sales, trends by home characteristics, and key indicators through the most recent months compiled from different reports.
If you are ready to take the next step towards purchasing your new home and for all of your other real estate needs, contact me today at (703) 228-9788. Whether you are buying or selling, I will be here to help you every step of the way.

I’m a little different…

I’ve never had the ‘Brady Bunch’ type of upbringing; nor have I been a Seaver, Huckstable, Keaton, or you name the family. I don’t remember any family traditions, my mother was religious, not a whacko (well maybe I thought she was). I do remember at certain times of the year we would have to do ceremonies.

One such ceremony I remember is Petar Pak (sp). It was usually around the beginning of the school year in September. The long and short of it was that the dead are ‘locked up’ and it is this time of year that we would go out in the morning and we would throw water (by hand) on a designated plant. While doing so we would call the names of the dead. We tell them to come and drink water, I believe this went on fora week and it would usually culminate in a ceremony at the house where A LOT of Indian food would be cooked, we’d go out and call them to drink and then there were plates of food left–which the neighbors cats would eat BUT aid you’re Hindu those are your relatives in their form coming to eat. right?

My mother has been gone 6 years now. I think about her everyday!  When I’m driving I talk to her which is ironic since we never really talked when she was alive. I mean we talked but never anything deep.  I feel like I have no traditions with her. When I talk to her I’m a little upset that she doesn’t talk back to me, a la ‘burning bush’ or some non-sense like that.

I heard her tell a story about when my father was killed in the 70’s, one day she heard his voice and he said ‘you better be careful,’ which as I’m writing this he never speaks to  me also  I am very literal, I can’t see something thru the trees and know it was them speaking  I need them to say it plain and simply to me.  I always get mad that she never really came back and said something to me.

As Mother’s Day comes and goes next Sunday I will miss her more yet again.  I will miss giving her slippers and taking her to dinner.  I know she is there somewhere looking over me–or I at least hope is.

I miss you so very much Ma…

Costly lessons learned while buying a home. Thanks Julie Ryan Evans. 

Here’s a great article written by Julie Ryan Evans @julieryanevans

4 Costly Real-Life Lessons Learned While Buying a Home
By: Julie Ryan Evans |

Buying a home is exciting for sure, but on the flip side, a whole lot can go wrong during the process—scary events that can quickly turn this American dream into an American horror story. As proof, check out these home-buying nightmares from people who want to share their anguish with the hopes that they can spare future purchasers the same fate.
Home staging … or hiding?

“We ended up buying what we knew was a nicely staged fixer-upper, but we had no idea really what we were getting into,” says April Daniels Hussar of Verona, NJ. “When we finally got the keys and moved in, we literally cried. There was a throw rug melded to the kitchen floor. And the entire house smelled like cat pee—something we somehow had never noticed until then. The sellers made very good use of candles and who knows what else! We had to redo all the wood floors.”

Lesson learned: Staging is supposed to enhance a home’s features, but it may also cover up its defects, says Colby Sambrotto, president and CEO of USRealty.com. He suggests going through a house several times before buying it.

“Accompany the home inspector when he reviews the house to see for yourself what may be lacking. Open windows, turn on every light, trace electrical and plumbing systems to their connections to the outside lines, and ask for receipts and proof of any claimed improvements.”

The house was great, but…
“We moved from an expensive housing market in Chicago to Knoxville, where we could afford a bigger house,” says Ali Wenzke of Chicago. “But just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it. We rationalized that this would be our forever home, so it was worth it. The problem? Our neighbors were all much older and didn’t have small kids like we did. We lived there for only a year and a half before loneliness forced us to move.”
Find homes for sale on

Lesson learned: When house hunting, it’s essential to look beyond the house alone.
“It’s about your access to all the amenities that make life enjoyable in your new neighborhood,” says Sambrotto. “Think about easy and convenient access to parks, recreational amenities like running trails, daily shopping, and your commute.”
That power line will go where?

After searching for a home for nearly seven months, Kiki Roten of Canton, OH, and her fiancé finally found a little ranch house they loved. Then just four days away from closing, everything came crumbling down.

“We got the worst email you can imagine from our mortgage company saying our house suddenly sits in a ‘fall radius’ of an electrical power line, and we can’t buy it—even though we’d already invested over $1,000 into this house for home inspection and other fees,” she says. “By that point, everything we owned was packed up in boxes, and my bridal shower was two days away. I can’t make this garbage up. In one week, we went from on top of the world to crying in our bedroom, which was piled to the ceiling with boxes.”
Lesson learned: “Unforeseen circumstances do occasionally emerge to derail deals,” says Sombrotto. “Kiki’s situation underscores the importance of a land survey. For an existing home, you’d think that might be redundant: What could possibly have changed about a house that has been in the same spot for years? But even if property lines haven’t shifted, adjacent encroachments, like power lines, might affect the effective use of the property. A survey can also re-establish correct property lines if a neighbor has built a fence.”
Another way to head off last-minute surprises is with gap insurance as part of the title insurance coverage.
“This won’t go into effect until you’ve bought the house, but if any challenges to the title emerge in the few weeks that the deal is in process, gap insurance covers the fallout,” Sambrotto says. You’ll need a permit for that.
“I had an itch to find a little cozy cottage near the water,” says Melissa Shelby in Alexandria, VA. “Thinking I could handle things without a real estate agent, I examined homes and lots on my own, and found a cottage I had grand plans to renovate. Nevertheless, thousands of dollars and six months later, I still failed to obtain the right permits. And because of all these unforeseen costs, I resigned myself to doing much smaller interior renovations rather than turn this into the cottage of my dreams.”
Lesson learned: Shelby’s advice based on her own experience? “Find a trusted local real estate agent who is an expert in the area, as well as hire a permit runner or specialist who can give you very specific and accurate guidance on what to do to avoid permitting holdups that may decrease your budget for improvements,” she says. “Local zoning red tape can be unforeseen, costly, and, frankly, zap the joy right out of buying a home.”
Curious what can go wrong when you sell a home? Tune in tomorrow for home-selling horror stories that could happen to you, too!

Julie Ryan Evans is an editor and writer who has covered everything from politics to pop culture and beyond. She loves running, reading, cold wine, and hot weather. Follow @julieryanevans