Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

Our friends at Keeping Current Matters have provided us with some research indicating low appraisals could continue to be a problem in 2016. Here’s what they say:

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

“First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.”

We concur. Our Northern VA market may not be seeing huge price increases, but there are still pockets where homes are selling with multiple offers and above sales price. In this situation, there are a number of strategies your Realtor may employ to protect you. For example, sometimes you can strike the appraisal and financing contingencies, or look for contracts where the buyer is making a large down payment. This is why who you select to represent you when selling your home is SO important. There are a million ways a sale can fall through. This is is just one. Make sure your Realtor knows how to bulletproof a transaction. Ask your agent LOTS of questions before you hire them!

Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges at (703) 242-3975 for more info about selling your home.

616 Plum St SW Vienna VA 22180 – Listed by The Belt Team & Open February 7

616 Plum Street SW Vienna VA 22180 has just been listed by The Belt Team and will be open SUNDAY, February 7th from 1-4PM! Call Terry Belt at (703) 242-3975 for more info!

Proudly built by The Orion Group LLC

A new standard of quality, design and living set apart from the typical “cookie cutter” new craftsman style home found in Town.  This home is a stunner and will give you a place to make endless memories. It is truly a work of art and has many unique features. You won’t find anything like this in Vienna.New Homes For Sale Vienna VA

Well located in the heart of the Town of Vienna, this 5 bedroom, 4 ½ bath home is approximately 5,000 square feet of quality and distinct contemporary flare, exuding luxury and comfort. Situated on an oversized beautiful lot, 616 Plum Street personifies modern luxury living. No expense was spared in designing and building a home that will provide you with an amazing living, leisure and entertaining space.

More info, price & floorplans of 1913 Plum St SW Vienna VA 22181

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation. The Belt Team is Vienna’s Top Real Estate Team and has sold more homes in Vienna than any other Realtor or team since 1973.

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA

7535 Burnside Ct Falls Church VA 22043 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open House February 7

7535 Burnside Ct Falls Church VA 22043 is listed by The Belt Team and will be OPEN ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7th from Noon to 3PM.

Here’s a sneak peek:

More info, price & additional photos of 7535 Burnside Ct Falls Church VA 22043

Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

Beverly Hills Quality! Pimmit Hills Value! Proudly Built by Taurus Enterprises, LLC

Top notch finishes & features including 9′ ceilings, finished in place 4 1/4″ red oak hardwoods, upgraded ceramic tile, custom hand crafted Pennsylvania kitchen cabinetry & cherry closet built-ins, extra wide moldings & trim, master bedroom with boxed ceiling, abundant recessed lighting, gourmet kitchen with granite, stainless steel appliances, island, large deck off family room. Super lot, craftsmanship, location & schools!

New Homes Falls Church New Homes Falls Church New Homes Falls Church

For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation.

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

Here’s the latest national update from our friends at “Keeping Current Matters”:

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed this week, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Should I Sell Now Or Wait Until Spring

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now. 

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market. 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last three years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study byHarris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.4% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

You deserve the best. Call Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for more info or to schedule a FREE, personalized consultation about selling your home.

Vienna Real Estate Market – January 2016 Sales & Stats

Vienna Real Estate Update

Wondering what’s happening in the greater Vienna real estate market? We have just finished our first month of home sales, so let’s take a look at how January 2016 compared to January 2015.

Sales up in Vienna VASales this January were up 13% over last year. (Note: Homes that “sold” in January actually went under contract in November or December. So to get a real handle on what’s happening, we need to look at new listings and contracts – not just what “sold”.)

Contracts Down Vienna VAAverage days on market for those homes sold dropped from 95 days to 63 days. So we are now seeing about a two month average time on market and homes that sold in January 2016 sold a whole month faster than the year before.

January 2016’s market moved slower than in 2015. Contracts Down Vienna VAWe saw a 24% decrease in the number of homes that went under contract this January versus last January. We also saw a decrease of 15% in new listings in January 2016 vs January 2015.

As for TODAY’s Market – here’s what we see:

  • 172 active listings in Vienna (13 Townhouses, 137 Detached Homes, 22 Condos)
  • 3.6 Month supply of homes (This translates to a “Balanced Market” as opposed to a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market)
  • 25% of the homes that sold in January sold in 10 days or less (So – although it is a Balanced Market, Buyers still need to be prepared to move quickly when they see their dream home)
  • 28% of the homes that sold in January sold between 110 days and 440 days (that’s more than a year!). (Seller Note: Almost all of these homes had to reduce their price at least once, some multiple times before they sold. And they probably sold for less than if they had priced to the market at the begininning.)

(Note: Our Vienna update includes zip codes 22180, 22181 & 22182. If you’d like a personalized analysis – email Terry Belt & The Belt Team.)

Click here to see the Vienna homes that have been on the market for less than a week!

Here’s a quick update by the numbers for January 2016 Home Sales: 
 Buyers Market or Sellers Market in Vienna VA








Note: Avg sold price was down significantly from January 2015. This is because there were a handful of very high end new home sales from 2014 that went to closing in January 2015 that skewed the statistics.

For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation. The Belt Team is Vienna’s Top Real Estate Team and has sold more homes in Vienna (by a boatload!) than anyr other Realtor or team since 1973.

#Snow-M-G What’s Open in Vienna VA?

As small business owners ourselves, we are very cognizant of the fact that when #snowmageddon happens – our local businesses take a big hit. We are committed to supporting these businesses and will be posting updates here as they reopen after the storm.

Whats Open in Vienna VA








SUNDAY January 24

SATURDAY January 23

(Note: Call before you go in case weather has caused a change. Updates can be sent to Info@TheBeltTeam.com)

If you’re going crazy pent up in your house, take a moment and browse for homes on our state-of-the-art home search site and/or get a FREE, instant online estimate of your home’s value!

#thebeltteam #changinglivesforthebetter #supportlocalbusinesses

PS – If you lived here at our listing on Troy Ct SE in Vienna – many of these places would be an easy walk! (List Price: $785,000)

Homes For Sale in Madison HS Pyramid


The 6 Best Sledding Hills In Vienna, VA

Real estate is all about location, and so is SLEDDING; so in honor of this weekend’s blizzard, we present you with the 6 Best Sledding Hills in Vienna, VA!

(And PS – If you start going stir crazy – this is a GREAT time to search for a new home on our state-of-the-art web site or get a FREE online INSTANT estimate of your home’s value.)

Sledding in Vienna VA

Whenever anyone talks about snow, don’t you find your mind wandering back to your childhood and remembering all the adventures you had in the snow? We sure do. Some of us on The Belt Team started out life in Southern California. We didn’t have much experience with snow in our early days. In fact, we hardly even ever saw rain! I remember traveling to Denver for a wedding once and in order to play in the snow, we had to wrap plastic baggies around our hands & feet because we didn’t own gloves or boots (who needed gloves & boots at the beach?!).

44 years ago, we moved from California to Vienna. And not long after we arrived, IT SNOWED! Dad bought us our first sled and we immediately set out to enjoy this new world of speed & excitement. We had an old-fashioned Flexible Flyer sled and soon gained a reputation for the fastest sled in Waverly. We’d sled for hours and hours, with brief intermissions for hot chocolate and sustenance, only to head out for more. Night-time sledding was the best. Those were the days.

Since we’re finally having a “real” snowstorm we thought we’d share what we think are the . . .


6. Clarks Crossing Park

5. Cunningham Park Elementary School

4. Glyndon Park

3. Abbotsford Drive in Waverly

2. The “Bowl” at Wolf Trap National Park For The Perfoming Arts

1. The BIG HILL AT WOLF TRAP – This is the “Daddy of em all”!

So what are your favorite snow memories? And your top spots for sledding? (It all depends on where you live in Vienna, doesn’t it?!)

PS – If you start going stir-crazy and need to get out, there’s one place in Vienna we have always found open during a snow storm (at least since 1977 when it opened) and that’s The Amphora. Even back in the 90’s when we had three double-digit snow storms in a several week period, The Amphora stayed open. We will be posting a list of what’s open after the snow begins to fall so STAY TUNED!

And now . . .