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Negotiating tips for buyers and sellers

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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

A guide to virtual tours

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The need to implement social distancing measures has driven many businesses to find new ways to serve their clients. Realtors are no different. Here’s what you should know about virtual property tours.

Different types of tours
The term “virtual tour” can refer to either a tour of a property done via video chat or one conducted using 3D-modeling software. In a best-case scenario, these two techniques will be used in tandem to provide homebuyers with the most complete experience possible.

Tips for buyers

Virtual tours are more flexible than in-person visits, especially because they’re easier to plan and less intrusive for homeowners. The most important thing to remember is that, in some ways, virtual tours offer more than traditional visits. Make the most of them by trying out various layouts and color schemes.

Tips for sellers
Sellers should get their property mapped out in 3D if possible. The popularity of virtual tours is sure to keep climbing, even after the pandemic.

Video chat visits are fairly similar to in-person ones, with the important caveat that any staging will need to take the technology into account. Kick up the lighting a notch and make an extra effort to declutter. Image quality can vary between visits, and any busy or messy areas will look worse on camera.

In addition to virtual tours, some realtors are offering virtual closing as well, adding another level of safety and convenience.

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Always ask these things before hiring a real estate agent

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To find the right realtor, you need to look into your options. Before you make a decision, interview a few different agents and be sure to ask the following questions.

How many homes did you sell last year?
While they may simply lack experience, realtors with few sales should be avoided. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your property staying on the market for a long time. If they work for a brokerage, make sure they report their own sales and not those of the entire company.

How long does it typically take you to sell a home?

Perhaps more important than how many homes a realtor sells is how long it takes to sell them. Check with the agent for an average so you can get an idea of how fast your house will likely sell.

How will you market my home?
Good realtors know that marketing is key. Your agent should have a solid strategy in place to sell your home, one that takes into account the local market conditions and any trends in your area. If their plan seems too generic or unclear, you may want to look elsewhere.

How easily will I be able to reach you?
You’ll undoubtedly have questions about how the sale is going, and it’s reasonable to expect your realtor to provide you with answers. In addition to what they tell you about staying in touch, verify whether they have an administrative assistant. If they have someone helping them manage their priorities, it’s likely they can focus more on your needs.

Lastly, make sure to investigate the realtor’s credentials. Always look up the agent you’re thinking about hiring and get at least three recent references from them.

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Tips for planning a major renovation

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Do you want to remodel your home so it better suits the needs of your growing family? Or maybe you hope that a major upgrade will appeal to potential buyers? Regardless of your goals, here are a few things you should do to ensure your large-scale renovation is a success.

• Determine your needs and establish a list of priorities such as creating an open-concept living space or adding a second floor

• Settle on a maximum budget and reserve a portion of the amount for unexpected expenses

• Do some research to find out whether you qualify for any home renovation rebate programs

• Obtain all the necessary permits from your municipality before you begin any work

• Consult with and hire all needed professionals such as an architect, interior designer, general contractor, and electrician

• Set a realistic timeframe in which to complete the work

• If needed, make arrangements for your family to live elsewhere during the renovations

Remember, when properly planned and completed by experienced professionals, most major home renovations offer a great return on investment.

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Virginia REALTORS celebrates 100-Year Anniversary

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Virginia REALTORS® is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this month. One of the largest trade associations in the Commonwealth, Virginia REALTORS® currently represents 35,000 members engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. Virginia REALTORS® is comprised of 28 local REALTOR® associations, representing all regions of the Commonwealth.

Founded at a meeting in Richmond on October 22, 1920, Virginia REALTORS®—then the Virginia Real Estate Association—was established to standardize the real estate business, cultivate and enforce fair dealing, and encourage the business of owning, buying, selling, renting, and managing real estate in the Commonwealth. At that initial meeting, Paul T. Collins of Norfolk was elected to be the first President.

Over the past century, Virginia REALTORS® has provided industry advocacy, training, and professional resources to real estate agents, brokers, and property managers. The association aims to protect the private property rights of Virginians, advocating for the rights of real estate professionals as well as homebuyers, sellers, and renters. An ardent advocate of Fair Housing legislation, Virginia REALTORS® strives to create housing opportunities for all Virginians.

“Over the past one-hundred years, the REALTORS® of Virginia have become one of the greatest contributors to the state economy while also striving to help ensure that the American dream of homeownership and housing opportunities are available to all Virginians,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2020 President Kemper Funkhouser of Harrisonburg. “The fact that wars, depressions, recessions, and now even a global pandemic have not stopped the progress of our association is a testament to the strong foundation we have established.”

Three Past Presidents of Virginia REALTORS® have gone on to serve as President of the National Association of REALTORS®, including Dorcas Helfant-Browning who, in 1992, became the national association’s first female President.

For the health and safety of its members and staff, Virginia REALTORS® has postponed its centennial convention until the fall of 2021, when the membership will gather in Richmond, the site of the association’s founding.


About Virginia REALTORS®

For more information, visit www.virginiarealtors.org or follow Virginia REALTORS® on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

NOTE: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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3 things to do before listing

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If you’ve recently decided to sell your home, here are three things you should do before putting it on the market.

1. Clean up
Start by removing clutter from your home. Give away things you don’t need and find out if there are recycling companies nearby that can take bulky items.

Then, clean the house from top to bottom. Areas to pay special attention to include the kitchen, bathrooms, and places that tend to show dirt, such as the windows and both very light and dark surfaces.

Finally, organize your closets and cabinets, as potential buyers will want to know how much storage space is available.

2. Make repairs
Taking care of small, inexpensive repairs will help you make the right impression. This includes replacing burnt out light bulbs, fixing leaky faucets, and repainting dingy or outdated rooms neutral colors. Refreshing your windows is also a good idea, particularly replacing cracked glass, reapplying grout and caulking, and mending damaged screens. Making these repairs will help you emphasize your home’s best features.

3. Increase curb appeal
Freshen up your landscaping by trimming bushes, repairing cracks in concrete features, and spreading new mulch or gravel. Repaint as needed, fix broken gutters and remove stains from the driveway. However, you should avoid installing elaborate new features. Prospective buyers want to see the potential of the property, and injecting too much of your own taste could make the house less inviting.

Keep in mind that virtual visits are increasingly popular, so you’ll want to make sure your home looks as great on video as it does in real life.

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Warren County Market Report – September 2020

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

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are DOWN -8.4.%.
  2. New Pending UP 19.7%.
  3. Closed sales are UP 10.3%
  4. Average Median Sold $279,250
  5. Average Days on Market  29

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com.

Resource: September 2020 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated October 2020

Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”

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

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Upcoming Events

Oct
19
Mon
all-day WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Oct 19 – Nov 12 all-day
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Please show your support by purchasing fresh fruit for you, your family and friends to enjoy over the holidays! To place your order online, simply click here. Navel, Grapefruit, Juice Oranges — Whole Box $40, Half[...]
Oct
23
Fri
9:00 am Veteran benefits application ass... @ Able Forces Foundation
Veteran benefits application ass... @ Able Forces Foundation
Oct 23 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veteran benefits application assistance @ Able Forces Foundation
Military and Veteran families are welcome to come by the Able Forces Foundation office if you have issues with VA benefits, or need assistance or guidance on issues. Andre Miller of the Department of Veterans[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct 23 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct
24
Sat
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and take a tour of Mount Bleak House[...]
5:00 pm Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Oct 24 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free Community Food Distribution @ Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall Parking Lot
Dinner Together and the Warren County Liason will host a free food distribution for the Front Royal/Warren County community on Saturday, October 24th, from 5-6 PM, at 1st Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall Parking Lot (14[...]
Oct
25
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and take a tour of Mount Bleak House[...]
Oct
26
Mon
10:00 am Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Oct 26 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Ask a Master Gardener @ Warren County Extension Office
Answers to your gardening questions and problems! E-mail questions and pictures to greenhelpline.warrenco@gmail.com Mondays from 10:00am -1:00pm, April-October (except holidays) Come in or call 540-635-4549  *in-person and phone help available after coronavirus emergency*
Oct
29
Thu
1:00 pm Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Vi... @ Online Event
Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Vi... @ Online Event
Oct 29 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Virtual Hiring Event: Helping Virginia get back to work @ Online Event
Dear Job Seeker, We are delighted that you are participating in our Virtual Hiring Event sponsored by the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Career Works Centers. I am mindful that many of the citizens[...]
Oct
30
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Oct 30 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.