Each year in January, real estate pundits analyze the past year to validate indicators for the upcoming Spring real estate market. Unfortunately, like the weather, real estate markets can vary significantly from a previous year because of global, national and local events that either directly or indirectly affect both buyers and sellers.
Chief among these factors, is mortgage interest rates. In 2016, both buyers and sellers benefitted from ongoing low interest rates. With low interest rates, buyers could buy at a higher price point and sellers found a bigger pool of buyers qualified to buy their home. As had been the case throughout 2015, historically low interest rates remained high for the first 10 months of 2016. This, coupled with low inventory at many price points, created a competitive real estate market in the Washington, DC Metro area. My 2016 sellers called early in the year to talk about getting their home ready for sale and those who priced right and took advantage of low inventory achieved successful sales in short times and at good market prices. However, as with any large metropolitan area, there were variations across jurisdictions, among price points, within neighborhoods and, course, the circumstances of individual sales. This remains true year after year and 2016 was not different.
As interest rates began to rise in late 2016, some buyers decided that it was, indeed, important to buy before rates went up and December 2016 and early January 2017 have been good selling periods for realistically-priced homes. Because winter, and especially the holiday season, is historically a less busy selling period, it was not a sure bet that many sales would occur during these months. However, the rapid rise of interest rates resulting from a rising stock market and the Federal Reserve's Decision to raise the Fed rate, appear to have motivated buyers to buy ahead of bigger increases to come this year.
So, what should a buyer or a seller planning to buy or sell in 2017 do to achieve their real estate goals? Work with an expert to develop a realistic action plan and move forward deliberately! It pays to do research to plan a strategy for buying at the best price or selling at the highest price. These days most of us comparison shop online to see who sells our desired item or service at a price we are willing to pay. The same approach is a must do when buying or selling a home!
If you are planning to sell, it's important to know what your neighbor's home really sold for, not just what they told you or you heard through the grapevine. Maybe they didn't include a large seller subsidy which made the deal. It's also important to realistically assess how your home compares to that sold home to develop a realistic price for the sale of your home. It is very common for owners to emotionally love their home but that love is in part based on how they lived in the home and how it suited their particular needs and wants. As a seller, it is imperative to view our homes through the eyes of any 10 anonymous, prospective buyers who will walk through the home and put aside our emotional connection to those purple walls and 20-year old tile kitchen counter. Buyers remain fixed on their needs and wants and even a relatively good price will not always overcome dated, highly personalized and offbeat choices in paint, flooring, lighting and fixtures.
While you can get raw data online, interpreting that data should be left to a professional agent who can advise you on a strategy to get your home's best price in the shortest amount of time. Wasting time with an overpriced home sitting for months never benefits a seller!
Remember that not every home meets every buyer's needs. What every buyer is looking for however, is a home that is priced to reflect its condition, location, and comparable market value. Simply wanting more for your home than recent homes have sold for is not a good prospect for success and even if prices go up, a home that has been on the market for a long period does not benefit from increasing prices. Unlike boats, a rising tide/price does not lift all homes!
For a quick snapshot of what is happening metro-wide, read our Market in a Minute and call me to relate your home to our current market. To get a copy of my monthly newsletter, just email me at and ask!
It's always a good time to get informed about local market conditions and, more specifically, what is happening with sales in your preferred neighborhood. As a buyer, it is important to be pre-qualified to buy a home by working with a lender and Realtor who can act quickly if you find the home you want to buy. Don't spend your time looking at properties you cannot afford; spend your time focused on the neighborhoods and price points that represent a realistic opportunity for you to own.
If you live in the DC metro area, you know that our housing market is unique and frequently outperforms much of the Nation. If you are thinking of moving to the area, you will find a mobile and highly-educated population, excellent schools, diverse cultures, well-paying jobs, beautiful parks and recreation opportunities. This is a great place to live and whatever your housing needs, you will find a wide array of housing choices, including condos, town homes and single family homes of all styles, sizes and price. Interested in a particular community? Check out our Community Details and learn lots.
Actively searching for a home? Visit my site often to find the most comprehensive display of listings in the DC metro area. And be sure to check Monika's Blog on this site to read about emerging issues and solutions for buyers, sellers, investors and prospective homeowners.
When you decide to buy or sell, I have the market knowledge and experience to help make a complicated real estate transaction as stress free as possible. To learn what I offer my clients, click on About Me and then call or email me now!