The home you’ve cared for and loved might seem incomparable to you, but when you sell (or get a home equity loan), someone is going to have to find a comparison.
In the language of real estate and mortgage that is called comps.
Comps help answer the biggest question on your mind and a lender’s mind when you look to sell your house:
What’s my home worth?
The answer? It depends.
It’s important to note that home values boil down to educated — and sometimes uneducated — guesses. They are merely opinions, with the one that truly matters being the bank’s. Toward the end of the process, the buyer’s bank needs to approve of the purchase price in order for the loan to be approved.
Before then, however, you have a few ways of gathering information. The best is to consult with a real estate professional who can provide you with a figure based on “comps” — comparative sales. The agent will conduct a comparative market analysis, or CMA, and give you their professional opinion on your home’s potential sales value. This is generally a far better option than relying on your neighbor’s or your uncle’s opinion, as the agent is trained and experienced at comps.
What goes into a CMA? The agent will find recent sales of similar properties in your location; the best comps are within 90 days or less, though if you live in an area that’s less populated, you’ll likely use comps from six months back and sometimes longer.
If your home is ranch style, it should be compared to sales of other ranch homes. A cape or a contemporary is different. Comps also take into consideration the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the acreage, whether there’s a garage and a basement, and things like central air and the type of heating.
The key is to work with someone who understands your specific market and who has a track record of accurately providing figures. Top-selling agents (not necessarily top listing agents) are generally the ones who do best at this.
As a seller’s agent, they know how to price your home to move while also getting you a fair price; as a buyer’s agent, they typically understand how to negotiate well.
Buy first vs. sell first: what homeowners should know
If you’re ready to move into a bigger home, you may be wondering whether you should sell or buy first. While there’s no one right answer, here’s what you should know about each option.
The main advantage to buying first is that you’ll have plenty of time to peruse the market for your new abode. Without a closing date on your current home pressuring you, you’ll be free to hunt for the perfect property. You’ll also be less concerned if you face setbacks.
However, buying first has one potential downfall: if you can’t sell your previous home right away, you might end up owning two properties at once. This will put you on the hook for double the number of mortgage, insurance and utility payments.
Though you can protect yourself from this scenario by making your offer conditional to the sale of your house, it might make your bid less attractive to sellers. In a competitive market, you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage.
The main benefit of selling first is that you’ll know exactly how much money you’ll have to buy your new house. The downside, however, is that as soon as your home is sold, you’re on the clock. And if you can’t find something suitable before the closing date, you may end up having to invest in some type of temporary accommodation.
The best approach
Understanding the market conditions where you will buy and sell the involved properties is key. The best thing to do is consult a registered real estate agent who’s familiar with the associated areas. They’ll give you advice about how proceed and help you meet your goals.
Making your dream home: advice for the would-be builder
Are you thinking about building your own home? While there are many advantages of designing a space that works for your family in every way, here are some things you should consider before breaking ground.
Do you want to live in the city or suburbs? If so, it may be hard to find an unoccupied plot. In this case, you may need to look further away from your desired location in order to find land where you can build.
If you build the house in a subdivision, you may be able to use pre-made builder’s plans. However, for a more customized home, you’ll need to hire an architect instead.
When making design choices, it’s important to think about how you plan to use the house both now and in the future. For example, a steep set of stairs may not seem like a big deal right now, but they may prove difficult if you choose to raise a family or grow old in your home.
If you do decide to build, remember that the home will eventually need to be sold. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make design choices that aren’t so luxurious that you’ll be priced out of the area or that are so quirky that other people won’t want it.
Beth Medved Waller receives 2019 VA/West VA Keller Williams Regional “Superstar” Award
Beth Waller, a Warren County top producing Realtor and founder of the nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, was recognized by Keller Williams Realty Virginia/West Virginia Region as a 2019 “Caught-in-Culture” Superstar. Out of the nearly five thousand agents that make up the large multi-state region, Waller was one of three agents receiving the annual honor for their real estate and impact contributions during 2019.
In her acceptance presentation, Waller was asked to share some background around her 501(c)(3) nonprofit, her origins of volunteerism, highlights of her real estate career and motivational tips for the audience. “This was my first experience speaking on stage about my passion projects, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my story and some ideas with fellow Realtors. I was moved by the line of people afterwards wanting to chat with me as well as the letters and messages I received after the event from people who were inspired. It’s another of the many opportunities I’ll always be thankful for as a KW agent,” said Beth of the honor.
During her presentation, Beth was asked to share about her initiatives that range from a $24,000+ per year Main Street meeting space she funds for her Front Royal/Warren County community, the $12,000+ she’s given through the years in scholarships to local seniors, the nonprofit center in which she provides free office space in Front Royal, her interest-free loans to help those in need and her community video interviews. She also discussed her international mission work which includes well over $25,000 in personal contributions to a brand new primary school in a remote village in Uganda (named the Front Royal Light up Academy) in addition to the funding of a music studio and financially supporting vulnerable children in the ghettos of Uganda’s capital city of
Lee Beaver, Regional Co-Owner and OP shared as she presented the award, “You’re just incredible, as an agent, as a person, and you’ve not only impacted your community but not impacted people overseas, it’s just amazing. We appreciate what you’re doing and we are blessed to have you in our company.” Waller received many other agent sales awards for monthly sales production units for the Manassas Market Center office throughout 2019. “I remain so blessed by all who have supported my real estate career including my family, friends, clients and especially my KW Transaction Coordinator Bridget Rosensteel. I’m glad to have found a home with the thriving KW Manassas office and still have the ability to have my office in downtown Front Royal,” she added.
Waller was also honored to be selected among America’s Top 100 Real Estate Agents® for Virginia – Greater Virginia in 2019.
10 real estate euphemisms
Never forget that a real estate listing is a sales pitch. Here’s a list of 10 common euphemisms and what they might really mean.
1. Charming, unique or quaint. From an unusual layout to downright bizarre architecture, this property is likely to strain the meaning of “unique.”
2. Cozy. This probably means the space is small, which could be a selling point for some buyers.
3. Access to everywhere. This often indicates close proximity to a freeway, with the associated noise included.
4. Efficient kitchen. This may be code for a kitchen so small you’ll only need to twist to reach the other end of the counter.
5. Needs TLC. This typically means that the house is a fixer-upper.
6. Bright or light. Some houses described this way have a lot of natural light. Alternatively, everything from the walls to the plumbing fixtures, cupboards, floors and window treatments may simply be painted white.
7. Retro. More often than not, a home described this way is dated. Picture avocado green appliances and shag carpets.
8. Original. This abode isn’t old enough to be called a period home, but it’s also not new enough to come with a reasonably priced utility bill, at least not without a few upgrades.
9. Up-and-coming neighborhood. This catchphrase means that the area is transitioning into a hot spot but isn’t quite there yet. The property likely has potential to appreciate over time.
10. Designer colors. This often means that the previous owners made bold painting decisions and that you’ll likely want to give the place a new coat.
The best way to navigate the real estate market is to rely on a good realtor, so don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have.
Warren County Market Report – December 2019
Start preparing NOW for the spring market. These numbers are incredible!
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for December 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary – UP UP UP:
- New Listings are UP 34.1% in December 2019.
- New Pending UP 36.1%. We list them and they are going under contract fast. 157 Active Listings.
- Closed sales are UP 42.9%.
- Average Median Sold $239,500 dipped compared to this time last year. However, after a closer look, the sold price only leveled back out to our July/August 2019 numbers. I predict they will climb back up in January.
- Average Days on Market 56. In my opinion, anything under 60 days is great!
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to email@example.com.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated January 2020
Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
firstname.lastname@example.org | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
6 creative ways to use your attic
Are you thinking about converting your attic into usable living space? If so, here are six things you may want to do with it.
1. A master suite
The sloped ceiling is perfect for creating a comfy bedroom you’ll love to curl up in.
2. An office
If you work from home, the attic is likely isolated enough from the rest of the house to provide you with a distraction-free work space.
3. A playroom
If you don’t have a basement, let the kids use the attic as their space to hang out, study and play.
4. A luxurious bathroom
Do you need another bathroom in your busy household? If so, converting your attic may be the solution.
5. A yoga or meditation space
If you yearn for a quiet space to call your own, use the attic to create a relaxing at-home studio.
6. A guest suite
Give your guests a quiet space to relax when they come to visit. If you have the room for it, you could even install an adjoining bathroom.
In short, with a little imagination, your attic can be used to create almost any type of room. Just make certain to adequately insulate the walls and to install a staircase. This ensures that the space will be comfortable and accessible for the entire family.