Selling Your Home During The Holidays – Good Idea or Bad?

Northern VA Home sales As Thanksgiving approaches, we often get the question, “Should I wait to go on the market until after the holidays?” or “My home is on the market now, should I take it off during the holidays?”. Well, the answer is “It depends“! Here are some things you might want to consider if you’re thinking of selling your home during the holidays (and you can start here with a FREE online estimate of what your home is worth.)

  • If your home is already on the market, it may be a good idea to stay on the market. Buyers who are looking at homes during the holidays are usually “Real Buyers” and not just “lookie-loos”. Beth Dadisman, Buyer Specialist for The Belt Team, says “I have multiple buyers who are VERY motivated to buy during this timeframe.” And Gail Belt, Founding Partner of The Belt Team says, “My experience is that Buyers who are out looking at property during the holidays tend to be serious buyers. There may not be as many people looking at your house, but the ones who come NEED to buy or they wouldn’’t be out looking at this time of year.” Beth added, “My husband and I have moved 3 times in January. So we were some of those serious buyers looking in December!”
  • During the holidays, many Sellers take their homes off the market. This means we often see inventory drop and therefore if you’re on the market, you may have less competition. Kevin Kleifges, Belt Team Listing Partner, says: “It depends on your situation. I’m advising most of my sellers to stay on the market. We can work with you to restrict showings on special days like Thanksgiving. But selling now before Spring competition picks up might be in your best interests.” Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team adds, “If you do go off the market now, consider coming back on immediately in the new year. In many areas, homes sell for more money in January-February than they do in the typical “Spring Market”  of March-April.
  • What is your true motivation? Do you truly want/need to sell? If you’re just “testing the market” (IE – if you are not realistically pricing your home to what TODAY’S Buyers are willing to pay), then now is NOT the time to go on the market. Your home will likely not sell, and then when Spring arrives – your home will be “stale on the market”. Tom Hanton, Realtor Partner with The Belt Team says “Prospective Buyers will wonder what’s wrong with your home and why it’s been on the market so long.” (This is true at any time of year. Overpricing stigmatizes your home and hurts your eventual bottom line significantly.)
  • Set your expectations properly.” says Kevin. “Plan accordingly and prepare yourself & your family to be ready to juggle preparation & showings with other seasonal activities. (And if you have little ones, maybe Santa’s upcoming visit will encourage them to keep their rooms clean!)”
  • Some Sellers really should wait until Spring. While most homes look better in the Spring when the trees fill out & flowers are in bloom, this is not usually a reason to wait for Spring. (That’s what everyone does and that just means more competition.) However, some homes are an exception to this rule. For example, Terry Belt shares, “We had a listing that backed to a cemetery. And while some people like that idea (quiet neighbors!), most people don’t like the reminder when they look out the window of their home. This is an item that can severely impact salability and price. In this case, we advised our Sellers to wait a few extra months and put their home on the market when trees were fully blossomed and the cemetery was not visible. You cannot get rid of extraneous factors like a cemetery, but you can mitigate their impact.”
  • If you do go on the market, don’t forget that Buyers looking at your home are trying to picture themselves & their families in your home. This is hard to do if your home is over-decorated with holiday knick knacks. “You may want to be a little more restrained than you normally would be when putting up your decorations” says Tom, “Too many decorations can also make your rooms look smaller than they really are. In addition, Winter is a dark time of year, so make sure you keep your home as light-filled as possible. Open the drapes, raise the blinds and turn on all your lights. The few extra pennies will be worth it!

If you need help working through what is the best time to put your home on the market, contact The Belt Team – or give Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges or Tom Hanton a call at (703) 242-3975. Every situation is different and we would be happy to help you figure out what is best for YOU!

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Vienna Real Estate Stats – October 2017 Update

Let’s see what’s happening in the Vienna real estate market – September 2017 home sale stats are in!

  • 61 homes went under contract in Vienna. This is flat as compared to the same time period in 2016.
  • Homes are selling faster than a year ago! 38% of the homes that sold in September 2017, sold in 10 days or less. This is up from 24% in September 2016 (%).
  • Average sold price was up 2% over September 2016.
  • 107 homes came on the market. That’s down 16% from September 2016.
  • Homes that sold (closed) averaged 47 days on market, 6 days faster than September 2016.
  • We currently have a 3.3 month supply of homes in Vienna – and 212 Vienna homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single family).

OVERALL: Vienna has entered a Balanced Market for the first time in many years!

However, in any given price range, the numbers may skew very differently – making some price ranges a Seller’s Market, some Balanced and some a Buyer’s Market. A Balanced Market has 3-6 months of inventory. As an example – we have a 9 month supply of homes over $1.7 Million and in the under $800,000 price range – we have a 1.8 month supply. This means Buyers over $1.7 Million are looking at a Buyer’s Market, and Buyers in the lower ranges are competing and facing a Seller’s Market.


BUYERS & SELLERS

Make sure your agent is providing you with the data you need to make good decisions. Buying and selling often becomes about emotion. Buyers fall in love with homes or want to “get a deal” to feel good about buying. Sellers are invested in how much THEY love their home or have a number in mind based on what they “need” to get out of it.

WHat Is My Home Worth

The reality is that Buyers & Sellers who are successful in today’s market look at the data and act accordingly. The data above about the variances in different price ranges is a perfect example of why. Right here in Vienna we have two totally different markets. If you’re looking to buy, and you “make an offer” below list price – you might be VERY successful in the upper ranges because we have such an abundant supply of homes. Taking that same action in the lower price range will likely mean you don’t get the house of your dreams. Someone else will.

BUYERS:

With more than a third of homes selling in less than 10 days – you need all the advantages you can get. And this doesn’t even count the ones that are sold BEFORE they hit the MLS. In fact, this year The Belt Team has sold multiple Vienna homes NOT in the MLS to Buyer we’ve been working with since last year. Boy are they happy! Did you know that Belt Team Buyers are eligible for our FREE Priority Notification List for new listings not yet in the MLS?! Call 703-242-3975 for details.

SELLERS:

NOW is the time. Call Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Beth Dadisman or Tom Hanton NOW at 703-242-3975 for our FREE Report “42 Questions To Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Sell”. And find out how our listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than the average agent’s listings.

 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 than another other Realtor or team since 1973.
top-realtor-vienna-oakton-va

Vienna Real Estate Stats – September 2017 Update

Let’s see what’s happening in the Vienna real estate market – August 2017 home sale stats are in!

  • 73 homes went under contract in Vienna. This is down 14% from the same time period in 2016.
  • 33% of the homes that sold in August 2017, sold in 10 days or less. This is up over August 2016 (26%).
  • Average sold price was just barely down over August 2016 by 1%
  • 99 homes came on the market. That’s down 15% from August 2016.
  • Homes that sold (closed) averaged 45 days on market, 21 days faster than August 2016.
  • We currently have a 2.7 month supply of homes in Vienna – and 207 Vienna homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single family).

OVERALL: Vienna is teetering between a Seller’s Market and a Balanced Market

However, in any given price range, the numbers may skew very differently – making some price ranges a Seller’s Market, some Balanced and some a Buyer’s Market. A Balanced Market has 3-6 months of inventory. As an example – we have a 17 month supply of homes over $1.6 Million and in the under $800,000 price range – we have a 1.3 month supply. This means Buyers over $1.6 Million are looking at a serious Buyer’s Market, and Buyers in the lower ranges are competing and facing a Seller’s Market.


BUYERS & SELLERS

Make sure your agent is providing you with the data you need to make good decisions. Buying and selling often becomes about emotion. Buyers fall in love with homes or want to “get a deal” to feel good about buying. Sellers are invested in how much THEY love their home or have a number in mind based on what they “need” to get out of it.

WHat Is My Home Worth

The reality is that Buyers & Sellers who are successful in today’s market look at the data and act accordingly. The data above about the variances in different price ranges is a perfect example of why. Right here in Vienna we have two totally different markets. If you’re looking to buy, and you “make an offer” below list price – you might be VERY successful in the upper ranges because we have such an abundant supply of homes. Taking that same action in the lower price range will likely mean you don’t get the house of your dreams. Someone else will.

BUYERS:

With a third of homes selling in less than 10 days – you need all the advantages you can get. And this doesn’t even count the ones that are sold BEFORE they hit the MLS. In fact, this year The Belt Team has sold multiple Vienna homes NOT in the MLS to Buyer we’ve been working with since last year. Boy are they happy! Did you know that Belt Team Buyers are eligible for our FREE Priority Notification List for new listings not yet in the MLS?! Call 703-242-3975 for details.

SELLERS:

NOW is the time. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges Or Tom Hanton NOW at 703-242-3975 for our FREE Report “42 Questions To Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Sell”. And find out how our listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than the average agent’s listings.

 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 than another other Realtor or team since 1973.
top-realtor-vienna-oakton-va

Vienna Real Estate Stats – August 2017 Update

Let’s see what’s happening in the Vienna real estate market – here are the stats for July 2017 home sales:

  • 73 homes went under contract in Vienna. This is down 14% from the same time period in 2016.
  • 38% of the homes that sold in July 2017, sold in 10 days or less. This is way up over July 2016 market of 28%.
  • Average sold price was $836,779 (up 7% from 2016 when it was $783,914)
  • 99 homes came on the market. That’s down 15% from July 2016!
  • Homes that sold (closed) averaged 71 days on market, 10 days slower than July 2016.
  • We currently have a 2.6 month supply of homes in Vienna – and 236 Vienna homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single family).

OVERALL: Vienna is still just barely in a Seller’s Market

However, in any given price range, the numbers may skew very differently – making some price ranges a Seller’s Market, some Balanced and some a Buyer’s Market. A Balanced Market has 3-6 months of inventory. As an example – we have a 17 month supply of homes over $1.6 Million and in the under $800,000 price range – we have a 1.3 month supply. This means Buyers over $1.6 Million are looking at a serious Buyer’s Market, and Buyers in the lower ranges are competing and facing a Seller’s Market.


BUYERS & SELLERS

Make sure your agent is providing you with the data you need to make good decisions. Buying and selling often becomes about emotion. Buyers fall in love with homes or want to “get a deal” to feel good about buying. Sellers are invested in how much THEY love their home or have a number in mind based on what they “need” to get out of it.

WHat Is My Home Worth

The reality is that Buyers & Sellers who are successful in today’s market look at the data and act accordingly. The data above about the variances in different price ranges is a perfect example of why. Right here in Vienna we have two totally different markets. If you’re looking to buy, and you “make an offer” below list price – you might be VERY successful in the upper ranges because we have such an abundant supply of homes. Taking that same action in the lower price range will likely mean you don’t get the house of your dreams. Someone else will.

BUYERS:

With more than a third of homes selling in less than 10 days – you need all the advantages you can get. And this doesn’t even count the ones that are sold BEFORE they hit the MLS. In fact, this year The Belt Team has sold multiple Vienna homes NOT in the MLS to Buyer we’ve been working with since last year. Boy are they happy! Did you know that Belt Team Buyers are eligible for our FREE Priority Notification List for new listings not yet in the MLS?! Call 703-242-3975 for details.

SELLERS:

NOW is the time. Call Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges Or Tom Hanton NOW at 703-242-3975 for our FREE Report “42 Questions To Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Sell”. And find out how our listings sell FASTER and for MORE MONEY than the average agent’s listings.

 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 than another other Realtor or team since 1973.
top-realtor-vienna-oakton-va

Terry Belt & The Belt Team Named To Washingtonian’s Top Real Estate Agent List

The Belt Team is honored to announce that we have once again been named to Washingtonian Magazines “Top Real Estate Agent List” in the 2017 “Best of Washington” issue. Only about 100 agents in the entire Northern VA, Washington D.C. & Maryland area (out of tens of thousands) were listed (and a large number of those were in our own Keller Williams McLean office!). Thanks to all of our clients and friends for allowing us to serve you and for your referrals!

In case you’re wondering how they came up with the list, here’s what the magazine said previously: ” We sent surveys to nearly 16,000 recent Washington homebuyers asking them to rank their agents on a series of criteria, including integrity, market knowledge, and negotiation skills. We called mortgage brokers and settlement attorneys to ask whom they most enjoy doing business with and whose clients always seem happiest. And of course, we asked dozens of agents to dish about their peers. Based on these layers of reporting, we came up with the names.

The Belt Team includes Terry Belt (CEO), Gail Belt (Founding Partner), Kevin Kleifges (Listing Specialist), Beth Dadisman (Realtor), Tom Hanton (Realtor), Christy Grossman (Chief Operating Officer), Jerry Belt (Special Services) & Patty Schuebel (Client Care Manager).

Best of WashingtonianThe Belt Team serves all of Northern Virginia and Washington DC. We have sold more homes in the Vienna Oakton area than any other Realtor or team since 1973, and we also sell more homes outside of Vienna / Oakton than we do in! The Belt Team Team is ranked in the Top 3000 Teams for the largest real estate company by agent count in the world – Keller Williams Realty, with over 140,000 agents. And we are most proud of the Five Star reviews given to us by our past clients on independent real estate site Zillow.com because the reviews reflect that we are achieving our mission: “Changing Lives For The Better“!

If it’s time to change YOUR life, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975!

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Is August A Good Time To Sell My Home? Or Should I Wait Til September

Sell My Home Now or Wait

“Should I put my home on the market now or wait until September?

This is a question we have recently been asked a lot. And this year’s answer is not the same as it used to be. Conventional thought was that August was a slow real estate month, families were on vacation and if you were thinking of selling, it might be better to wait until September when kids are back in school and more buyers have time to look at homes.

This year, however, we are advising that our Sellers are better served by not waiting to enter the market. Interest rates are rising. And serious buyers are looking now. We’ve had a number of open houses. At each one, there was a larger number of buyers than average. And, the key factor we noticed (very different than in many years past) –  is almost every buyer was represented by a Realtor.

Why is this important? Because the majority of “serious” buyers (buyers who actually buy and are not just “lookie-loos”) have Realtors working on their behalf – especially in a market like today’s where inventory is low and buyers are competing for the same homes.

This puts potential sellers in a great position. Should you wait until September? We say “Carpe Diem!” The time to sell is NOW!

(Buyers – our advice is the same to you as well. Prices are rising and so are interest rates. Each month you wait is costing you money!)

(NOTE: Every situation is not the same. If you’d like a PERSONAL consultation on when we recommend you sell, and what items need doing before that, call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and provide you with 42 Questions You MUST Ask Your Realtor Before Selling A House)

WHat Is My Home Worth

“Love It” Or “List It” – Is That On YOUR Mind?

Have you seen the show on HGTV called “Love It Or List It“?

If you haven’t seen it, the story each week is of a family who is debating whether to renovate their home or whether to move. Sometimes their existing home is really out of date. Sometimes the family has grown & they need more space. So they invite in a designer and a Realtor to discuss their options.

Home Renovation

They discuss their budget, and analyze their needs & wants. The designer makes & executes a design plan to renovate the home. And the Realtor takes the owners out to look at what their budget would allow them to buy. Once the renovation is complete (and there are ALWAYS problems with the renovation on the show), the owners decide whether to stay in their renovated home (“LOVE IT”) or whether to sell & buy a new home (“LIST IT”).

The show itself is of course very dramatic and there are problems after problems. The husband & wife always disagree. The designer always runs into road blocks. And their budget never seems to go as far as they want. And yet, there is ALWAYS a Cinderella ending where the family is uber happy.

Despite some of the “only on TV exaggerations”, this scenario is one that many of our clients deal with. They wonder whether they should “right size” their home. Should they renovate & stay, or sell and move into a larger home? Should they adapt their home as they age and stay in it? Or should they sell and down size into something with less maintenance?

And The Belt Team can help with that. Not only do we know the market well and can advise you on which changes are saleable, which add value and which changes may negatively impact resale value of your home; we also are in touch with designers, builders, contractors and more who can meet with you to discuss the options.

One of the members of our team went through this scenario. We thought you might enjoy a sample before & after picture. She lived in her home in Vienna since the 80’s when it was brand new. After 26 years of family living, it was time to make a change. So – it was time to decide – “love it” or “list it”. She chose to renovate and ended up loving it. A before & after picture of the kitchen is below. Stay tuned for more pictures and an upcoming post with her “Top 10 Tips To Survive A Renovation”!

Kitchen renovated by Dominion Associates Inc in Vienna VA

Kitchen renovated by Dominion Associates Inc

Kitchen Before: Vinyl flooring, laminate countertops, flourescent lighting, maple cabinets, rose wallpaper, cream appliances, only one oven

Kitchen After: Hardwood floors, granite countertops, additional counterspace/breakfast bar, tile backsplash, white cabinets including some glass front, recessed & pendant lighting, stainless steel appliances, two ovens

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We can help you decide whether to “love it” or “list it”!