This 7 part series is accompanied by BETHvids featuring tips regarding buying, selling and the real estate industry in general.
Top 5 real estate tips for those planning to sell soon:
- Make believe you’re a buyer. Step outside and analyze your house as if you pulled into your driveway for the very first time. Look at your home from the inside out with a critical eye and make a list of noticeable flaws. Focus first on curb appeal improvements (starting in the front of the house and moving through the main living areas), prioritizing enhancements you can start to make that would have the most impact on improving showing appeal. As you walk through your home, visualize how two buyers and a Realtor would fit through your living spaces and plan to clear large furniture or unnecessary items that crowd your rooms. I personally never have felt that it’s necessary to remove personal photos, but do encourage sellers to hide expensive items or medicines that could easily be pilfered.
- Make a list of every feature that your home offers, especially the ones that aren’t as obvious. Do you have energy star appliances, existing warranties, high efficiency toilets, recent upgrades, unique features, efficient utility bills? I always encourage sellers to share with me any detail that could potentially earn then an extra dollar at the closing table. Make a list of your top ten favorite reasons you love your home. Make it a family affair and ask kids to contribute too, or provide artwork for your family list. Help your Realtor tell the full story of your home that will speak to the hearts of buyers who read about it online (and inspire them to take a tour).
- Start looking online and review listings and price tiers of homes similar to yours. Start getting a feel for what your house is worth and what your competition looks like. More important than what houses like yours are actively listed for is the price homes fetched at the closing table and how long it took them to get under contract). Notice what is appealing in photos and online marketing of other listings. Take notes about how you think your home can shine in comparison.
- Start contacting and researching Realtors to interview. Ask for sales statistics and references from past and current clients. Review a sample of their marketing brochure template and scrutinize their online property advertising. Pay special attention to the quality of their photos and writing skills. I suggest interviewing three agents, and letting each one know that you are doing so. Remember that discount brokerages can also mean discounted services, so know upfront what your Realtor promises to deliver before you sign a listing agreement. I never encourage listing agreements longer than 3 months. You can always extend if your property isn’t sold within that time frame.
- Review my other BETHvids and corresponding articles made for general homeowners and people who have their homes currently listed for ten other suggestions you can also implement.
Stay tuned for more BETHvids and corresponding articles made for buyers, sellers and Realtors for additional tips to implement while stuck indoors. Follow her real estate and WHAT MATTERS postings on Royal Examiner under the Features tab, “What Matters Warren.”
Beth Waller, Associate Broker at KW Solutions – Keller Williams Realty
Local Office: 27 Cloud Street Front Royal, VA 22630
Northern Virginia Office: 8100 Ashton Ave #103 Manassas VA 20109
Licensed in VA
To learn more about my real estate sales or nonprofit (WHAT MATTERS), to book a time to utilize my free community meeting space (“Open House” in the Middle of Main building on Main Street), to schedule a no-cost social media video to promote your business/group or cause, or to discuss my listing your property (which makes all of my charity efforts possible), visit my website at www.whatmattersw2.com or give me a call at 540-671-6145!
How to spot a bike-friendly neighborhood
Are you buying a new home? If your main mode of transportation is a bicycle, it’s a good idea to determine how bike-friendly a neighborhood is before you decide to live there. Here are five factors to consider.
1. Designated bike lanes
It’s safer to ride in designated bike lanes than on the road. The ideal neighborhood for cycling has bike lanes separated from roads with a barrier. Conversely, the most unsafe routes for cyclists are those where riders are sandwiched between moving traffic and parked cars.
2. Road conditions
3. Traffic volume
It can be unpleasant to bike in heavy traffic. In addition to being less safe, busy roads are noisy and more polluted.
4. Speed limits
Residential streets with low vehicle speed limits are ideal for cyclists, especially if they must share the road with drivers.
5. Flat terrain
If you use your bike for long commutes, a hilly neighborhood could be a problem, as it can make your daily ride excessively grueling.
Lastly, if you love to bike in nature, choose a neighborhood with bike paths that pass through parks, waterfronts, and other scenic areas.
5 DIY painting projects to refresh your home
It’s amazing what a little paint can do. Here are five fun and easy projects that can have a major impact on the look and feel of your home.
1. Garage. Elevate your home’s curb appeal by giving the garage doors a facelift. Choose a color that matches the trim and shutters and complements the house’s other exterior features.
2. Dresser. If you have a dingy old set of drawers or want to give a boring room a boost, consider refurbishing your wooden dresser. Use a punchy color if you want to create interest, but opt for a neutral if you prefer the piece to blend in.
3. Front door. First impressions matter. Make a great one by choosing a bright, welcoming color for your front door.
4. Cabinets. In a kitchen, painting the cabinets can completely redefine the look and feel of the space. When choosing a color, consider the hues in your backsplash, countertop, floor, and walls.
5. Shelves. If you have built-in shelves, consider painting them a bold color to draw attention to your collections, photographs, and books.
To find paint and brushes, visit your local hardware and paint stores. For bigger painting projects in your home, consider hiring a professional.
Virginia’s housing market off to a strong start in 2021
According to the January 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, strong demand and low mortgage rates led to a strong start to Virginia’s housing market in 2021. While home sales typically slow in the winter months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional seasonality of the home buying market.
There were 8,806 home sales in Virginia in January, which is more than 2,000 more sales than January 2020, an increase of 31.1%. The median home sales price statewide was $315,000 in January, up 12.5% from a year ago. This is the 6th consecutive month of double-digit price increases, a trend that has occurred across most regions in Virginia.
The greatest challenge for buyers continues to be the shrinking levels of available inventory. While the inventory has been on a downward trajectory for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more would-be sellers to delay selling their homes. At the end of January, there were just 16,280 active listings across Virginia, which is 12,259 fewer active listings than there were at the end of January 2020, a 43% drop. Inventory declined by 7.2% between December and January alone.
Due to the dwindling inventory, homes are selling quickly, and multiple offers and bidding wars are increasingly common. “It’s a challenging market for buyers in Virginia right now,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Some would-be buyers have put their home buying on hold or have decided to remain renters. Sales activity could slow in the months ahead, not because of a softening of demand, but rather as a result of insufficient inventory.”
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full January 2021 Home Sales Report.
Home prices up on surging demand
The housing market is booming and experts predict further growth in 2021 and continued record home price increases.
According to Forbes, surging buyer demand, lagging supply, the ongoing economic recovery, and low mortgage interest rates will continue to push home prices higher. Danielle Hale, the chief economist for realtor.com, notes that price growth will likely slow during 2021 as mortgage rates and continued price increases make homes less affordable for prospective buyers.
Even in COVID-19 hot spots, housing markets are sizzling. According to the Alexandria Echo Press, a Minnesota publication, home sales, and home values increased substantially in the hard-hit upper Midwest. Regional experts credit historically low-interest rates for the increases.
Some Americans also seek more space as work styles continue to be redefined. Remote work is the new norm for many, and according to ABC News, the change leads more people to seek out homes with more office space, bigger kitchens, and room for recreational activities.
The shine is at least temporarily off city condos, according to Crain’s Business as COVID-19 restrictions close down restaurants, parks, and entertainment. Violence in the cities earlier in 2019 has left many urban shopping areas boarded up, if not closed. Craig Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, told ABC News these factors have prompted buyers to move from urban condos to suburban homes.
According to Bloomberg, the competitive market and lean supply pushed home prices up for their biggest gain since 2014. The October S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values, which measures home prices in 20 U.S. cities, showed property value increases of 7.95 percent from the same month the previous year. The same report showed that the cities that experienced the highest price gains were Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego.
Price increases aren’t limited to the existing housing stock. New home construction is also competitive, as land becomes more valuable and the home construction industry faces higher costs, longer delivery times, and labor shortages due to the pandemic, according to Forbes.
How to make your home wheelchair accessible
Renovating a home to accommodate the needs of someone in a wheelchair can be challenging. Undoubtedly, you’ll require the help of professional contractors. Here’s a brief look at the modifications you’ll need to make.
• Bathroom. You’ll need sufficient clearance space and a sink and toilet adjusted to the appropriate heights. A stand-alone shower or walk-in bathtub will also be required. In both cases, grab bars are a must.
• Doorways. Modifying your doorways by installing offset hinges or removing the door and trim may be sufficient. However, widening the doorways might be necessary. Handles may need to be replaced with ones that are easier to use.
• Kitchen. A true wheelchair-friendly kitchen will include modifications to the countertops, sinks, cabinets, appliances, and possibly the overall layout.
• Flooring. The ideal floor in a wheelchair accessible home is one that’s slip-resistant, easy to maintain, wears well, and provides good traction. Laminate, vinyl, ceramic, and low-pile or commercial carpeting are all good choices.
• Lighting. Glare is often an issue for people who use a wheelchair, but this can frequently be resolved by altering the position or angle of lights. Another consideration is the location of light switches, which should be placed at a height of 36 inches.
Keep in mind that other modifications may be needed. Depending on the configuration of your home, you may require a chairlift, elevator, ramps, and even structural changes to the house’s layout. For help remodeling your home, contact a local specialist in home adaptation projects.
Good to know
Most wheelchairs have a seat width of 18 to 22 inches, however, comfortable passage typically requires at least 36 inches of clearance. In addition, a turning radius of 60 inches is required in order for a person using a wheelchair to comfortably navigate a space.
Warren County Market Report – January 2021 with Jen Avery
Hoping for more inventory as spring approaches! It is a tough market for buyers right now. Prices are high and inventory is low; sellers market all the way!
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for January 2021. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- New Listings are DOWN -18.9%
- New Pending UP 10.4%.
- Closed sales are UP 15.9%
- Average Median Sold $275,000
- Average Days on Market 25
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to email@example.com.
Resource: December 2020 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated January 2021.
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