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Monika Edwards Harrison, Realtor

monikaharrison@gmail.com
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Monika Edwards Harrison, Realtor
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monikaharrison@
gmail.com
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YOUR REAL ESTATE PRIORITIES ARE MY BUSINESS!



           

 

In each month of 2018, the number of contracts in the DC metro area has exceeded the number of contracts in the corresponding month for 2017.  However, with low inventory, buyers are still having a hard time finding properties in all neighborhoods and we have often seen multiple offer situations in some neighborhoods and at some price points. The number of days necessary to receive contracts is also slightly down in many jurisdictions as buyers move quickly to write offers on homes that come to market. 

Each January, real estate pundits analyze the past year to validate indicators for the upcoming annual 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.  Significant for 2018 was the newly passed tax reform bill. The cap on local and state and real estate tax deductions is one provision which will surely have differing impacts depending on where the mortgage holder lives.  The same is true of the cap on mortgage interest because of the huge variations in the median costs of homes across cities and states. Because the DC metro area is an area with many expensive homes buyers were more significantly impacted by these changes than buyers in less expensive jurisdictions and states.  

Chief among other factors impacting the real estate market in any year is mortgage interest rates. These have risen in 2018 and, according to projections by the Federal Reserve, may rise further before the end of 2018.   In both 2016 an 2017,  buyers and sellers benefitted from ongoing historically 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.  This, coupled with low inventory at many price points,   created a competitive real estate market in the Washington, DC Metro area.  Although 2017 interest rates rose slightly from the lows of 2016, continuing low inventory and motivated buyers created a highly competitive market for properties which  were priced right and presented well.  Many properties went under contract within the first days of listing and some properties received contracts at over their asking price.   This has held true in the first three quarters of 2018. However, as with any large metropolitan area, there were variations across jurisdictions, among price points, within neighborhoods and, course, the circumstances of individual sales. 

While many areas are operating in what some label a Sellers' Market, because of low inventory in some price points, buyers continue to have a significant effect in this market, as they will not make offers on home that are over priced for their location or condition.  In the DC metro area, buyers are well educated and strong in their demands for well maintained, upgraded and well presented homes.  Sellers may receive good, and sometimes multiple, offers quickly, but only if their home price and condition meets those demands. Although inventory is lower than in previous years, buyers remain very discriminating in their choices.  A home that is not well presented will sit on the market, as well as a home that may be even slightly overpriced for its size, location and condition.  

So, what should a buyer or a seller planning to buy or sell  before the end of  2018 do to achieve their real estate goals? Work with an expert to develop a realistic action plan and move forward deliberately!  Inventory remains lower than in 2017 and the Fall market can remain challenging for buyers now being impacted by higher interest rates and therefore with less buying power than at the beginning of 2018.    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 at any time, 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 tell you about a large seller subsidy which made the deal work for the buyers. 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 your home through the eyes of any 10 anonymous prospective buyers who will walk through the home and put aside your emotional connection to those purple walls and 20-year old tile kitchen counters.  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. In addition to de-cluttering (which most of us have to do!), many sellers benefit from some touch-up painting, modernization of lighting, spiffing up of the yard, and general delayed repairs which they have been meaning to do for years.  Thinking in terms of what a home inspector will find is also a useful exercise as it's often easier to schedule those necessary fixes before the house goes on the market than when the clock is ticking toward a closing date.  

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. 


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 often 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!

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Monika Edwards Harrison, Realtor 
Contact Info:
Direct Office: 703-472-8014
Email: monikaharrison@gmail.com
 
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