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Real Estate

Buying and selling in the temporary normal



With all of this extended time spent homebound recently, many of us have discovered a new truism: if you have to be quarantined, you might as well do it in your dream home.

No matter what — the season, the economy, even a virus — people will continue to buy and sell houses. It’s only the process that changes. And buyers and sellers who can adapt and pivot are the ones who come out ahead.

Fortunately, real estate professionals are already adept at strategies that could prove especially helpful this year, as COVID-19 dominates the news.

Think: technology. Virtual tours will likely increase in popularity. Buyers were already screening houses online before seeing them in person, and a thorough virtual tour could dramatically increase the number of eyes on your property.

A 2018 report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that 46 percent of buyers found a virtual tour very useful, while 74 percent used the internet to search for homes. Among millennials, that figure leaped to 92 percent.

Some other accommodations this year could include:

* Sellers may request more hand-washing. Another NAR survey, this one in March, found that more sellers were requesting that visitors wash their hands or use sanitizer. (Some may also request the use of booties, a commonplace request already.)

* Open houses may limit the number of people inside a home at one time – which probably makes for a more pleasant walk-through anyway.

* Technology can also aid in brokering a deal. Already, contracts are regularly sent via email, and signatures can be gathered online. Expect more of this.

* Those who attend open houses in the coming months are more serious buyers, as the tire-kickers have opted to stay at home.

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Real Estate

Why your agent won’t make offers for you



Real estate agents provide homebuyers with insider information, advice about the local market, and much more. However, they won’t tell you how much to offer for a specific property. Though they may suggest a range, making the bid is your responsibility. Here’s why.

1. The offer may be too low
A lowball offer can dissuade a seller. If an agent encourages a buyer to make a bid that’s judged to be too low, the realtor is likely to be blamed for any consequences.

2. The offer may be too high

If an agent tells their client to make an offer for a specific amount and the bid is accepted immediately, the client may feel like they offered too much. This can lead them to wonder whether the agent really had their best interest at heart.

3. The agent isn’t buying the house
It’s important to keep in mind that while realtors can provide valuable advice about the local market, they can’t tell you how to plan your finances for years to come. You’re buying the home and you’ll be paying the mortgage on it. This is why only you can decide how much to offer for a house.

The bottom line is that real estate agents have a mandate to act in your best interest. Telling you how much to offer for a home could actively work against this duty, and realtors have faced legal action in the past for doing so. For these reasons, bidding on a home is solely the buyer’s responsibility.

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Real Estate

How sellers can add a contingency clause to a purchase agreement



If the sale of your home is contingent on you finding a new place to live, buyers may be dissuaded from making a bid. However, this clause doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Here’s how to best include this type of contingency in a purchase agreement.

Make it clear
Ensure that the contingency clause is as clear as possible. One of the main concerns buyers have with regard to these clauses is that they’re vague. Understanding the specific circumstances in which a seller may back out is likely to reassure buyers, as they’ll know what they’re signing up for.

Specify time frames

Provide a clear time frame within which you’ll find your new home. Then, determine how this contingency relates to other contingencies in the contract, such as those buyers generally include for things like home inspections.

Typically, the contingency of the seller finding a new home will take precedence on the buyer’s contingencies. In particular, if the buyer has asked for an appraisal or inspection and has specified a time frame within which to complete these, the countdown on finishing them won’t begin until after the seller has found a new property.

Finally, be clear about the seller’s right to extend the closing date should they fail to find a new home within the time originally specified.

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Real Estate

How to quickly sell your home



If you want to sell your home in a hurry, here are a few tips to help you get it off the market in record time.

Hire a realtor
Choose a real estate agent who knows your region well and works for an agency you trust. Consider meeting with more than one realtor before you make a decision. A professional agent will be able to provide clear answers to any questions you have. Throughout the selling process, you should feel comfortable making inquiries about how the sale is proceeding.

Set a fair price

If the price of your home is too high, it could dissuade potential buyers and delay the sale of your home. On the other hand, a suspiciously low price may give people the impression that the house has issues. It’s crucial to draw on your realtor’s knowledge of the market to help you set a fair and competitive price. Additionally, a home inspection will help you determine your property’s value and bring it to light if repairs are needed.

Stage it
Thoroughly clean your home and remove all clutter. This will make each room look larger and more inviting. If you need to refresh the walls, choose neutral paint shades. You should also hide family portraits and other items that personalize the space. This will make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your house. Consider hiring a home staging consultant who can help you showcase your home.

Get the word out
To increase the chance that it’ll sell quickly, show your home to as many people as possible. Once your realtor puts it on the market, there are several steps you can take to increase its visibility. Consider promoting the sale on real estate websites, in local newspapers, and on social media. Additionally, make sure the for sale sign is clearly visible on your property and will catch the eye of potential buyers who drive through the area.

Meet with potential buyers
Be upfront and answer visitor questions honestly. Make note of both positive and negative feedback you get about your house. If the buyers you meet have reservations about the property, try to determine the reason. This information can be used to justify a price adjustment or better market your house to the next visitors.

The housing market can be unpredictable, but following these recommendations will greatly improve your chances of selling your home quickly.

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Real Estate

Warren County Market Report – June 2020



Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for June 2020. The charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are DOWN -9.9%.
  2. New Pending UP 16.9%.
  3. Closed sales are DOWN -4.2%. JUNE 2019 = 72 vs JUNE 2020 = 69
  4. Average Median Sold $255,000
  5. Average Days on Market 38

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to

Resource: 2020 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated JULY 2020

Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”

BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400

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Real Estate

Negotiating tips for buyers and sellers



Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you can find something good about the current real estate market.

Interest rates are low, making for more appealing mortgages (and an abundance of available loans). And inventory is a little tight, making for less competition.

So if you’re a buyer, you can find a ready loan at a good rate. If you’re selling, you’ll probably have less competition.

All of this begs the question: How do you negotiate in this climate? Or do you even try to negotiate?

That might depend on where you live. Always consult a real estate agent before making an offer.

As a buyer, remember the number of houses for sale is low nationwide. Even in the coronavirus crisis, median home prices have increased. It’s probably not true that most sellers are desperate because of job losses or financial hits. Buyers really should not expect to get a lot for a little.

In fact, you can easily lose your dream house by bidding low, even in the crisis environment. If supply is low, make a robust offer. Sometimes it makes sense to bid for higher than asking price. Just be sure your price makes sense to you and the bank, as the property will need to be appraised prior to a mortgage gets approved.

Sometimes a personal letter will go a long way to forwarding your offer. Children selling the family home might be encouraged to know that the buyer will love it, for example.

You can also consider requesting repairs, credits, or adjustable deadlines if you offer full price.

As a seller, even if you are in a hurry to sell, resist the urge to lower your price. Home prices are not declining, they are generally rising.

Remember that creativity can make or break a deal. Rather than reduce your price, seek other incentives that appeal to buyers like credits, improvements, furnishings, or more flexible closing deadlines.

A counteroffer doesn’t need to be in the middle. If a potential buyer offers $10,000 less than asking price, the temptation is to split the difference. Consider countering at the price you want, and offering incentives. Or hold firm.

Some real estate pros recommend asking for solid earnest money of up to 5 percent to ensure the buyer is serious.

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Real Estate

4 reasons an offer may be rejected



Making an offer on your dream home only to have it rejected can be heartbreaking. To help you prepare, here are four reasons sellers may have for turning down a bid.

1. It was too low
If your offer is too low, the seller may think you aren’t serious about purchasing the property. If the house hasn’t been on the market for long, they may also think it’s too early to consider offers below the listing price.

2. It was too high

Offering a lot more than the asking price is a bad idea unless you’re paying cash. This is because realtors are likely to warn their clients that the house won’t appraise for the amount bid. Once the lender realizes the loan is for much more than the actual value of the home, the transaction could fall apart.

3. It was written by your agent
Sometimes, listing agents engage in what’s known as dual agency. This means that if they represent both the seller and the buyer, they’ll charge a slightly smaller commission. The end result is that the seller will net less money if they accept an offer written by the buyer’s agent. This practice is regulated differently depending on where you are, so it may not always be a concern.

4. It doesn’t meet their needs
Every seller is unique, and it’s a good idea to find out what they need from the deal before you make a bid. They may have a specific closing date in mind, or perhaps they’ll only consider offers that come with proof of pre-approval. Your real estate agent can determine what the seller requires.

Finally, it’s rare for a seller to reject an offer without countering, so chances are you’ll be able to negotiate.

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