Getting Your Home Ready to Sell!

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getting your home ready to sell!

We recently received a question on our Facebook page that we think many more of our followers may be asking themselves. The Question:

question

This one question sparked a conversation between our CEO, Terry Belt & Partner Agent, Tom Hanton about not only painting, but staging & re-purposing as well. Be sure to check out the video here.

green wall

Green is fresh, green is fun, green is not everyone’s favorite color. Bold, unique, and funky colors are super cool, but they do not typically work for everyone. When you are listing your home you want someone to walk in and be able to picture themselves living there. You want them to imagine their furniture in your living room, their pictures hung on your walls, and they cannot do that if the wall colors clash with their plans. The best option in this scenario is to re-paint to a much more neutral color (taupe, light grey, beige, tan, etc.). Think model home. You want your home to be a blank slate for a buyers imagination to run wild!

taupe-living-room-sofa-collection

Welcome home! This house is bright, fresh (without being green), and clean. This is a prime example of a home that is ready to sell. If your walls are a neutral color like in the above photo you are in a good place. Our only tip here would be to pay attention to your base boards and moldings. Make sure they are a bright white. This small tweak will make the room appear much brighter and welcoming to potential buyers.

Painting is a very simple to-do when getting your home ready to sell, and it goes hand in hand with staging. The Belt Team has been in the industry for over 50 years and have formed relationships with some of the best stagers in the industry. We often coordinate consultations for our clients with our favorite stagers when we are trying to get their home ready for the market. Having a professional come in takes a lot of the stress off of you during an already stressful time. If your budget doesn’t allow for full staging, there is also the option of re-purposing. This is a simple fix when you’ve got the pieces, but they are not being used in the most optimal way. A professional stager can come in and re-purpose your furniture, decorations, etc. and create a scene that a buyer will be blown away by.

Below is an example of re-purposing a room! This was one of our past listings. When the room being setup as a bedroom was not working, our stager came in and suggested turning it into a recreation room instead. We got much better feedback with this setup from potential buyers.

Overall the decision to paint, stage, and re-purpose is 100% up to the seller. Your agent’s job is to help you make those decisions and suggest the best game plan for the quickest sale of your home. Like most things in real estate there is never a simple answer to most questions. We hope these few tips can help you consider the best options to get your home market ready!

If you have any other questions or topics you want us to cover please do not hesitate to reach out!

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Should I list my home during the Holidays?

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Should I list my home during the Holidays? This is a questions the agents on The Belt Team get a lot! Terry Belt, our CEO, & Tom Hanton have 11 reasons you SHOULD in fact list your home during the Holidays!

  1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers!
  2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you!
  3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home! Less demand means less money & longer time on the market for you!
  4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays! #curbappeal
  5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price!
  6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a working week.
  7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons!
  8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until spring to buy, you must be on the market now to capture that market!
  9. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days during the Holidays!
  10. You can sell now for more money and we will provide for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year!
  11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! Sell high and buy low!

Terry & Tom elaborate on this list in the video above. Be sure to check it out!

*List credit to Mike Ferry, North America’s Leading Real Estate Coaching & Training Company*

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Thinking of Selling? Now Is the Time to Act

Here’s what our colleagues at Keeping Current Matters have to say about whether now is the time to sell.

(Note: In the Northern VA area, selling now is often the best choice as many of our markets have experienced low inventory for multiple years. However, the answer of whether to sell now or later is NOT the same for everyone. For a FREE personal consultation, call Terry Belt, Kevin Kleifges, Tom Hanton, or Beth Dadisman at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you make the best move for YOU.)

WHat Is My Home Worth

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Thinking of Selling? Now Is the Time to Act | MyKCM

If you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, revealed in a recent article that:

“The biggest challenge to buyers this spring will be simply finding a home to buy and getting it successfully under contract. That’s because the supply of homes for sale is at an all-time low, and yet demand is strong and getting stronger.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“We started the year with the lowest inventory of homes available for sale that we’ve ever seen on realtor.com. While we did see inventory grow 2% in February, total inventory was down 11% over last year.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

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The Belt Team is one of Virginia’s Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents (out of 30,000+ agents) and we take great pride in putting our clients’ interests first. We sometimes tell people NOT to sell or NOT to buy – because we use a consultative approach instead of a sales approach. If you’d like to schedule a personal consultation to educate yourself to make the decision that’s right for YOU, call us at (703) 242-3975. Don’t you deserve the BEST Realtor Team in Northern VA?

The Belt Team Awarded Top 100 Real Estate Blog on The Planet

Northern VA Real Estate BlogsThe Belt Team was just notified that we have been named to the “Top 100 Real Estate Blogs on the Planet” list!

Our competition included not just other Realtors (of which there are more than 1.2 Million in the U.S.), but also entire brokerages (like Keller Williams Realty), listing portals (like Zillow) and news organizations (like Inman News). We are one of only 2 Realtors or teams in the entire state of Virginia to make the list. (The other was in Charlottesville). We are thrilled because that means the Sellers we represent have market exposure like no other Realtor can provide in Northern VA. And our buyers get the local “boots on the ground” info they need.

Real estate is local. It’s actually hyperlocal. What you read about in the paper, hear about on the news, see posted on Facebook, skim on Twitter or see delivered to your email – is NOT necessarily what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood. Even right here in Northern VA, what’s happening in Arlington may not match Alexandria. Great Falls and Falls Church may be on opposite ends of the spectrum. And even in the same town, things can be different. For example, the Vienna market is currently seeing both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market depending on price range.

THAT is why we started blogging TWENTY years ago. If you are thinking of buying or selling in Northern Virginia, THIS is where you want to be to find out local statistics and strategies for how to win in TODAY’S Northern VA real estate market. In addition to posting new listings, coming soon and TONS of local market stats, we also share real estate related strategies and info that benefit our clients.

Here are a few of our most popular blog posts over the years:

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll help you interpret the market in YOUR neighborhood or the neighborhood you’re moving to, so you can make the BEST move!

WHat Is My Home Worth

 

 

Fairfax County Real Estate Tax Assessments Versus Actual Market Value

If you live in Fairfax County, then you recently received your real estate tax assessment.

For many of you (45% to be exact), the assessment went up. And gosh darn it (that’s as strong as we can say it here on the blog!) – that will likely mean higher taxes this year. (The Board of Supervisors has not set the 2017 tax rate yet, but if the past predicts the future, what you pay will increase either because of an increased tax rate or because your assessment increased.)

The good news is (in terms of taxes, not values) – assessments are up on average only 0.68%. (That’s less than one percent.)

The bad news is, assessments did not rise as much as the previous year in part because values did not rise as much. While 2015 saw a 3.23% increase in median sold price in Fairfax County, 2016 was flat (0.03%)

(If you have not received your notice yet, you can check your Fairfax County assessment value online.)


Here’s what Fairfax County reports overall:

Of the 353,695 taxable parcels in Fairfax County:

  • 232,280 have an assessment change
  • 121,415 have no assessment change

Here’s the breakdown of average home property assessments (averages are not necessarily indicative of individual properties or neighborhoods):

  • Countywide average for all homes – $533,168
  • Single family-detached homes – $639,468, up 1.10 percent
  • Townhouse/duplex properties – $398,166, up 1.37 percent
  • Condominiums – $260,617, down 0.32 percent

Map of average percentages of real estate assessments countywide.


Now. Truth be told – the assessments in Fairfax County are oftentimes LOWER than actual “market value” (meaning what a “willing Seller” and “willing Buyer” agree a property is worth by ratifying a contract to sell/buy that property.)

If you are thinking of buying a home in Fairfax County, don’t be deceived into thinking you will be able to buy a home for about what the County has assessed as the value of the property. We are often asked how a Seller could justify an asking price above the Fairfax County tax assessment. Well – here’s an example of why.

We track the tax assessment versus actual sales price on all homes that we sell. (Note: Our statistical pool may not be quite scientific, but since we have sold more homes in Fairfax County than almost any Realtor in the area – we think the results are at least representative.) Here’s what we found over the past years:

  • We saw wide swings in variance between assessed value and actual sales price: from homes selling for $102,100 below assessed value to homes selling for $201,700 above assessed value.
  • Approximately 95% of the homes actually sold for more than the assessed value.
  • Many homes show inaccurate info in the tax records – for example, finished basements are not shown, number of bedrooms may be incorrect, square footage may be off. And all of these things may cause a lower assessed value.

So, while there is often a correlation between assessed value and market value, the market value is almost always higher.

WHat Is My Home WorthAssessed value is just ONE factor to look at when buying or selling. A better place to start is with a FREE INSTANT online estimate. Then schedule an appointment with your Realtor for a custom estimate.

 

If you think your assessment is wrong, Fairfax County does have an appeal process. You can file an online appeal prior to April 3rd. More info here.

Also note that Seniors and People with Disabilities may be eligible for the county’s tax relief program. More info here.

If you have questions about your assessed value, the market value of your home or are thinking of buying or selling a home, give The Belt Team a call (703) 242-3975. We are happy to help you make the right move!

Reston Home Sale Statistics – How Long To Sell Your Home and Are Prices Rising?

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Reston VA in 2017, then you’re probably wondering things like:

  • “How long are homes on the market?”
  • “Will I have to pay over list price or can I get a deal?
  • “How long will it take to sell my house?”
  • “Will I have to negotiate my list price?”
  • “Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?”

FREE Online INSTANT Home Valuation Estimator

Let’s look at 2016 statistics as they are often an indicator of what you can expect:

  • Average Days on Market in Reston: 59 (exactly the same as in 2015)
  • Sold Price as % of Original List Price: 96.8% (almost exactly the same as 96.7% in 2015)
  • Percent of Homes Sold in 10 Days or Less: 31% (up from 27% in 2015)
  • Average Sold Price: $459,249 (slightly down from $464,857 in 2015)
  • Number of Home Sales: 1,249 (up from 1,161 in 2015)
  • More Reston Real Estate Market Stats

BUYERS:

Current housing supply in Reston is 2 months. This translates to a “Seller’s Market”. (Be aware that number is for the market as a whole. If you are buying, you’ll need to ask for an analysis of the price range you’re looking in as some price ranges may actually have much more inventory.) Either way – you need all the advantages you can get. 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: 

Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team commented, “Every year, we see competition for the best listings in the market. Often times, those who sell in January/February sell for more than those who wait for the traditional “Spring Market”. In 2017, we especially think this will bear out as we are already seeing interest rates rise, pricing some folks out of the market. Time will tell as to what 2017 has in store, but The Belt Team is already working with a large number of Buyers and Sellers around Northern VA and we expect the market to start out briskly.”

If you’re selling a home, your next question may be – “Is there a way to sell faster and for more than average?” And the good news is YES!

The best way to do that is to hire a real estate team with an amazing track record of success.  And THAT is The Belt Team.

If you’re wondering whether all Realtors are the same, they’re not. Different real estate teams not only provide different experiences, but vastly different results. Who you choose to represent you can mean the difference of whether you get the house you want to buy and how much money you make when you sell – things that affect YOUR family’s lives forever.

Did you know there are more than 10,000 Realtors in Northern VA? The average agent sold 4 homes last year. The Belt Team sold 82! Our agents each averaged FOUR TIMES as many sales. If you were having surgery on yoour broken arm, would you want the orthopedist who did 82 surgeries last year or 4?

You can read what 154 of our clients had to say about us on Zillow.

Call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell a home in Reston. Not only do we sell more homes than most agents, many of our team members have lived in Northern VA for years. Gail & Jerry Belt live in Reston. We also have team member sin Great Falls & Vienna. We know the schools, the parks, the commuter short cuts, the history, the shopping, the recreation options and all the things that make Reston a most special place to live. Not only do we sell homes in Reston, but with genuine enthusiasm & experience, we sell the entire community.

 Don’y you deserve the BEST Realtor in Reston?

Top Realtor Vienna VA

2 Tips to Ensure You Get the Most Money When Selling Your House

Here’s some wise advice from Keeping Current Matters about how to maximize the return on what is probably your greatest asset – your house!


Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Impact on Price of Visibility NAR

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.


What Is My Northern Va Home Worth

Northern VA Real Estate Values

 

 

Wondering what questions to ask your Realtor when selling your home?

Find out here! Then call one of the country’s top real estate teams – The Belt Team – at (703) 242-3975. We were named to Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Realtors list in 20115 & 2016, and are ranked in the Top 20 Realtors in the State of VA (among 30,000+ agents!). It would be our pleasure to help YOU make the RIGHT move!