Blog :: 2020

Welcome to Our Real Estate Blog!

Read our latest insights into the Greater Washington real estate market, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our team of expert real estate professionals at RE/MAX Realty Group/100 have a finger on the pulse of the local market. Stay tuned for news and analysis on all the most important topics pertaining to real estate and home ownership in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

 

 

 

How to Make Your Home Look Luxe on a Budget

If you’re craving a higher-end look in your home, but your budget says otherwise, don’t abandon your vision of a more luxurious design. With some creative additions and adjustments you can create an upscale feel in no time. Try one or two of the following:

Update your lighting. If you can’t swing a full interior design update, focus just on your lighting. You can instantly add a high-end feel by investing in new light fixtures, such as contemporary hanging pendants, a dramatic floor lamp, or an abstract chandelier. Recessed lights are another option for adding a luxury look. No matter what you choose, remember that lighting draws a lot of attention and affects the entire atmosphere of a room.

Create an optical illusion. This trick won’t cost you anything at all: raise your curtain rods above your windows so that your curtains hang from ceiling to floor. This instantly makes your ceilings seem higher, not to mention the luxurious feel of full-length drapes. If your current window treatments aren’t up to par for this look, invest in a new set made from a luxe fabric, such as velvet or satin.

Molding. Make any room more sophisticated by installing molding on blank walls. Use chair rail in the dining room, crown molding in the living room, or create a box pattern to add depth and interest to an entry area or hallway. Paint it a contrasting or complementary color for a creative design flair. 

Go neutral. While you may have experimented with a variety of colors in your home, consider using a neutral palette instead. While bold hues and pastels can be fun, neutrals will give your home a more elegant look. Crisp, white linens in the bedroom and white, fluffy towels in the bathrooms will continue this sophisticated look throughout your home. 

Think big. Want to instantly up the luxe factor in any room? Hang a large piece of artwork. The painting itself doesn’t need to be expensive (just tasteful!) because the sheer scale of the art will create a dramatic, upscale look. 

You can get more inspiration by flipping through luxury lifestyle magazines or perusing Pinterest boards. Notice that it’s often the details that make a design feel high-end—details that can often be recreated without breaking the bank. 

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    Home Values Projected to Keep Rising

     

    Home Values Projected to Keep Rising

    Home Values Projected to Keep Rising | MyKCM

    As we enter the final months of 2020 and continue to work through the challenges this year has brought, some of us wonder what impact continued economic uncertainty could have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, the rules of supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what is to come.

    Due to the undersupply of homes on the market today, there’s upward pressure on prices. Consider simple economics: when there is high demand for an item and a low supply of it, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. That’s what’s happening in today’s real estate market. The housing supply shortage is also resulting in bidding wars, which will also drive price points higher in the home sale process.

    There’s no evidence that buyer demand will wane. As a result, experts project price appreciation will continue over the next twelve months. Here’s a graph of the major forecasts released in the last 60 days:Home Values Projected to Keep Rising | MyKCM

    I hear many foreclosures might be coming to the market soon. Won’t that drive prices down?

    Some are concerned that homeowners who entered a mortgage forbearance plan might face foreclosure once their plan ends. However, when you analyze the data on those in forbearance, it’s clear the actual level of risk is quite low.

    Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman & Associates and a highly-regarded expert in housing and housing-related industries, was very firm in a podcast last week:

    “The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

    With demand high, supply low, and little risk of a foreclosure crisis, home prices will continue to appreciate.

    Bottom Line

    Originally, many thought home prices would depreciate in 2020 due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Instead, prices appreciated substantially. Over the next year, we will likely see home values rise even higher given the continued lack of inventory of homes for sale.

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      DIY PUMPKIN CARVING AND DECORATING

      Fall comes with many traditions: football, apple cider, pies, festivals – and, of course, venturing to a pumpkin patch! If you are looking to carve or decorate a pumpkin this fall, here are some ideas to get you started.

       

      1. Use a cookie cutter to create a pattern. Place the cookie cutter on the pumpkin, then use a hammer to pound it halfway in. Remove the cookie cutter, carve out the shape and repeat.

       

      2. To add some extra flair to your pumpkin, tie or hot glue colored or sparkly ribbons on it. Find some ideas here.

       

      3. Painting is another great way to decorate pumpkins. Maybe add a fall-themed quote, or paint the pumpkin to look like your favorite cartoon character. Be sure to use acrylic paint and a sealant spray after you've painted your pumpkin to ensure lasting results.

       

      4. Make a glitter pumpkin! Paint the pumpkin with glue (basic craft glue will work fine), sprinkle glitter onto it, and repeat. After the pumpkin dries, shake off the extra glitter. Use a sealing spray to avoid any more of a mess.

       

      5. And of course, there's always carving. Are you working with a RE/MAX agent to sell your home? This pattern is a great way to grab the attention of potential buyers.

       

       

      Click here to download template

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        A Homeowner's Net Worth Is 40x Greater Than a Renter's

        A Homeowners Net Worth Is 40x Greater Than a Renters | MyKCM

        One of the best ways to build your family’s financial future is through homeownership. Recent data from the Federal Reserve indicates the net worth of a homeowner is actually over 40 times greater than that of a renter. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about buying a home, especially when they’re so affordable in today’s market.

        Every three years the Survey of Consumer Finances shows the breakdown of how owning a home helps build financial security. In the graph below, we see that the average net worth of homeowners continues to grow, while the net worth of renters tends to hold fairly steady and be significantly lower than that of homeowners. The gap between owning and renting just keeps getting wider over time, making homeownership more and more desirable for those who are ready.A Homeowners Net Worth Is 40x Greater Than a Renters | MyKCM

        Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.

        For many families, homeownership serves as a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you’re contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity you have in your home (See chart below):A Homeowners Net Worth Is 40x Greater Than a Renters | MyKCM

        The impact of home equity is part of why Gallup reports that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the seventh year in a row. According to this year’s survey, 35% of Americans chose real estate over stocks, savings accounts, gold, and bonds.

        Today, there are great opportunities available for those planning to buy a home. The housing market has made a full recovery, and all-time low interest rates are giving homebuyers a big boost in purchasing power. If you’re ready, buying a home this fall can set you up to increase your net worth and create a safety net for your family’s future.

        Bottom Line

        To learn how you can use your monthly housing cost to build your family’s net worth, let’s connect so you have a trusted professional to guide you through the homebuying process.

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          Why Selling this Fall May Be Your Best Move

          If you’re thinking about moving, selling your house this fall might be the way to go. Here are four highlights in the housing market that may make your decision to sell this fall an easy one.

          1. Buyers Are Actively in the Market

          ShowingTime, a leading real estate showing software and market stat service provider, just reported that buyer traffic jumped 60.7% compared to this time last year. That’s a huge increase.

          It’s clear that buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase – and they’re in the market right now. In many regions of the country, multiple buyers are entering bidding wars to compete for the home they want. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market so you can sell your house in the most favorable terms.

          2. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale

          In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that there were only 1.49 million units available for sale. That number was down 18.6% from one year ago. This means in the majority of the country, there aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

          Due to the health crisis, many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes earlier this year. That will change as the economy continues to recover. The choices buyers have will increase going into the new year. Don’t wait until additional sellers come to market before you decide to make a move.

          3. The Process Is Going Quickly

          Today’s ultra-competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to the latest Origination Insights Report from Ellie Mae, the time needed to close a loan is just 49 days.

          4. There May Never Be a More Important Time to Move

          You’ve likely spent much of the last six months in your current home. Perhaps you now realize how small it is, and you need more space. If you’re working from home, your children are doing virtual school, or you just need more space, your current floor plan may not work for your family’s changing needs.

          Homebuilders are beginning to build houses again, so you can choose the exact floor plan to match what your family needs, and you can make sure the outdoor space is what you want too.

          Bottom Line

          The housing market is prime for sellers right now, so let’s connect to get the process started this fall. If the timing is right for you and your family, the market is calling your name.

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            Should You Make Repairs That a Buyer Requested, Offer a Repair Credit or Lower Your Asking Price?

            Before purchasing a house, a buyer will typically request a home inspection. The inspector may uncover a long list of problems, some minor and some major. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to make repairs or you may be able to compensate for problems in another way.

            Which Things Do You Have to Fix?
            A lender won’t release funds for a buyer to purchase a house with serious problems. If the home inspector finds major structural deficiencies, safety hazards or building code violations, the buyer’s lender will most likely require you to repair those issues before it will approve a mortgage. 

            Sellers are not required to fix cosmetic issues or to repair problems that were caused by regular wear and tear. Other issues that fall in between are negotiable. Your state’s laws may affect your liability for issues that are discovered in an inspection.

            How Should You Handle Problems?
            If you aren’t required to make certain repairs, you and the buyer can work together to figure out how to address them. You may choose to make some repairs but not others, offer the buyer a credit on the purchase price to cover the cost of repairs or lower the asking price. 

            If the buyer threatens to walk away unless you make specific repairs, it may be in your best interest to do as requested. If the deal falls apart, you will have to look for another buyer and have to disclose problems that you became aware of from the inspection report. If major problems were found, you will have to repair them anyway before you will be able to sell the house.

            Reducing your home’s price can help you avoid the hassle of making repairs yourself and can prevent a delay in the closing. Before you lower the price, get a few quotes from local contractors. Many buyers overestimate the cost of repairs and ask for a price reduction that is much larger than what it will actually cost to fix problems.

            You can offer a credit that will reduce the buyer’s closing costs to offset the cost of repairs. That may be a win-win because it can allow the buyer to choose a contractor and have the repairs done to his or her standards and let you avoid the hassle of having repairs done yourself, finding that the buyer is dissatisfied with the results, having to figure out whether to make more repairs or not go through with the sale at all.

            Work Together 
            Review the inspection report and discuss it with your real estate agent. Ask which repairs you are required to make, which are negotiable, and how to handle the buyer’s requests. Be willing to negotiate with the buyer when appropriate, but stand firm if the buyer demands that you pay for cosmetic repairs.

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              How Low Inventory May Impact the Housing Market This Fall

              How Low Inventory May Impact the Housing Market This Fall

              How Low Inventory May Impact the Housing Market This Fall | MyKCM
               

              Real estate continues to be called the ‘bright spot’ in the current economy, but there’s one thing that may hold the housing market back from achieving its full potential this year: the lack of homes for sale.

              Buyers are actively searching for and purchasing homes, looking to capitalize on today’s historically low interest rates, but there just aren’t enough houses for sale to meet that growing need. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

              Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to a late summer slowdown in the economic recovery…These low rates have ignited robust purchase demand activity…However, heading into the fall it will be difficult to sustain the growth momentum in purchases because the lack of supply is already exhibiting a constraint on sales activity.”

              According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), right now, unsold inventory sits at a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace. To have a balanced market where there are enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand, the market needs inventory for 6 months. Today, we’re nowhere near where that number needs to be. If the trend continues, it will get even harder to find homes to purchase this fall, and that may slow down potential buyers. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comnotes:

              “The overall lack of sustained new listings growth could put a dent in fall home sales despite high interest from home shoppers, because new listings are key to home sales.”

              The realtor.com Weekly Recovery Report keeps an eye on the number of listings coming into the market (houses available for sale) and the total number of listings staying in the market compared to the previous year (See graph below):

              How Low Inventory May Impact the Housing Market This Fall | MyKCM

              Buyers are clearly scooping up homes faster than they’re being put up for sale. The number of total listings (the orange line) continues to decline even as new listings (the blue line) are coming to the market. Why? Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.comnotes:

              “The post-pandemic period has brought a record number of homebuyers back into the market, but it’s also failed to bring a consistent number of sellers back. Homes are selling faster, and sales are still on an upward trend, but rapidly disappearing inventory also means more home shoppers are being priced out. If we don’t see material improvement to supply in the next few weeks, we could see the number of transactions begin to dwindle again even as the lineup of buyers continues to grow.”

              Does this mean it’s a good time to sell?

              Yes. If you’re thinking about selling your house, this fall is a great time to make it happen. There are plenty of buyers looking for homes to purchase because they want to take advantage of low interest rates. Realtors are also reporting an average of 3 offers per house and an increase in bidding wars, meaning the demand is there and the opportunity to sell for the most favorable terms is in your favor as a seller.

              Bottom Line

              If you’re considering selling your house, this is the perfect time to connect so we can talk about how you can benefit from the market trends in our local area.

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                Essential Maintenance to Conduct on Newly Purchased Homes

                You've worked hard to become a homeowner. However, your work is not done. After you move into your new house, there are several essential maintenance tasks that you'll need to attend to. Here are a few things you need to do in order to maintain your new home:

                Gutter Maintenance

                Your gutters are an important part of your home. They're designed to prevent water from damaging the foundation of your home by redirecting the flow away from the base. They'll also prevent ice dams from forming on your roof by creating a path for the water to flow off of your roof. You should inspect your gutters and clean them if necessary, as gutters can become easily clogged with leaves and branches - and even sustain damage over time if not taken care of. This is an easy fix that many neglect after purchasing a home, resulting in more costly repairs down the road.

                Air Conditioner Maintenance

                Unless the air conditioner is brand new, you should ensure that it gets maintenance. You'll need to have the filter changed, since it's responsible for removing dirt, dust and allergens from the air. A dirty filter will cause your HVAC system to work harder, as well as produce poor air quality.

                You'll also need to have your HVAC system inspected by a professional. They can perform a tune-up. Air conditioner maintenance will help you save money because the unit will use less energy and last a lot longer.

                Water Heater Maintenance

                Your water heater likely needs to be drained if it's been used before. Sediment has a tendency to build up in water heaters over time, and few sellers have this taken care of before they sell their home. If the sediment hardens, your water heater will become less efficient. Draining the water heater will help get rid of the sediment and ensure your heater works normally long after you move into your new home.

                Plumbing Maintenance

                Inspecting the pipes in a property you've just moved into is crucial. Look under your sinks to make sure the pipes aren't leaking. Also, if there are water stains on your ceiling, you may have a plumbing leak. Additionally, you'll need to check your faucets for drips. If you notice any problems, call a plumber who can ensure that your sinks, toilets and pipes are in good working condition. Plumbing maintenance can help you save a lot of time and money further down the road.

                You will need to perform basic maintenance when you move into a home. You'll need to clean your gutters in order to protect the foundation, as well as perform water heater maintenance and air conditioner maintenance. Additionally, it's important to make sure your plumbing system is in good shape.

                Your Best Strategy for Curb Appeal? Your Yard

                Obviously, when buyers are searching for a home, the house itself is top priority. But when it comes to choosing among similar houses, your yard can help make your home stand out over others. Here are some tips for creating a yard that boosts curb appeal and lets your home shine.

                Take your house into consideration. Create gardens based on the style and architecture of your home. Have a contemporary home? Go with a minimalist landscape or a Japanese garden design. Have a farmhouse? Choose a cottage garden with an informal design, and traditional and dense plantings. 

                Keep things in proportion. If your home is large, small, dainty flowers won’t showcase it properly. Instead, use plants in a repetitive fashion, such as rows of shrubs. Conversely, if you have a smaller home, make sure it’s not overwhelmed by large shrubs and overgrown plantings. Make sure your garden complements the shape and size of the house.

                Pay attention to hardscaping. While your lawn and plantings understandably take center stage in your landscape, your hardscaping can make all the difference. Take the time to clean or update walkways, front steps, gravel paths, slate patios, garden borders, etc. Then consider adding elements like a bird bath, garden bench or stone fire pit. Attention to detail when it comes to your yard’s hard surfaces can make or break your lawn, trees and garden beds. 

                Make your front door the star. Nothing says curb appeal better than a welcoming, attractive passage to your front door. Make the path natural and intuitive so guests easily know how to get to your front door. Accentuate the door or key points along the path with plantings and lighting.

                Don’t forget about the seasons. Your landscaping may look great in summer, but how does it fare in winter? Make sure your yard is adorned with trees, shrubs and evergreen selections that add structural interest and a healthy dose of green even on the dreariest winter day. 

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                  Researching Homes That Have Sold in Your Neighborhood Could Help You Sell Your House

                  Before you list your home, you must figure out your asking price. Real estate markets go up and down frequently, and many local factors and characteristics specific to individual properties can affect prices. A comparative market analysis can help you set a reasonable list price so your home will be more likely to attract a buyer. 

                  Why Is Setting the Right List Price So Important?
                  Overpricing your house could cause it to linger on the market for months with little or no interest from potential buyers. You could lower your asking price later, but by then, buyers may have already shifted their focus to other properties.

                  If you list your house for a price that reflects its fair market value, you will have a good chance of attracting a buyer. You may even receive multiple offers and sell your home for more than the asking price. 

                  What Is a Comparative Market Analysis?
                  A comparative market analysis can examine houses in your area that are similar to yours in terms of size, location, age, number of bedrooms and amenities. It can also take factors such as the school district and property taxes into account.

                  Your real estate agent can use software to perform a comparative market analysis. The agent can provide a report with information on comparable homes that are currently listed for sale, houses that are under contract but have not yet been sold and homes that have been sold recently. It will also include homes that did not sell because they were priced too high or that were taken off the market for some other reason.

                  A comparative market analysis can also provide information on the features that buyers are looking for in their next home. If your house lacks something that many people consider a must-have, such as an updated kitchen, you may be able to invest some money in home improvements before you list your house, giving your home a better shot at appealing to buyers.

                  Seek Your Agent’s Help So You Can Make an Informed Business Decision
                  When selling your home, it’s easy to let emotion influence your decisions, but you should do your best to keep that out of the equation. Set aside the fond memories you have made in your home and take a dispassionate look at how it compares to others in the area. Your real estate agent can perform a comparative market analysis, explain the details in the report and give you more information on your local housing market so you can set a list price that will help you sell your home as quickly as possible.

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