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REALTOR® RE/MAX 100 Springfield, VA Licensed in VA www.traister.com

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What The Latest Federal Reserve News Means for Buyers

The Federal Reserve announced after its May meeting that they believe recent lower-than-expected economic numbers are an irregularity and not a sign that the economy is slowing.

So what does this mean for buyers?

Well, it means that for now interest rates are not going up on home loans. The key words in that sentence are "for now," because when the Federal Reserve meets again in June there is a good chance -- 67% according to experts -- they will raise interest rates if current trends continue.

If you are starting to look for a home right now you may be feeling anxious. Rates are rising and home inventories are low, which means there's less to choose from and more competition for what is out there. It's a seller's market, and making the right offer can be the difference between locking in your rate now or having

That's where I come into the picture. If you are looking contact me and I'll walk you through every step of the process, from getting pre-approved for a loan to making a strong offer that sellers will take seriously.

Give me a call today and let's talk. No pressure, no hassle, just straightforward real estate advice.

Rob Traister
RE/MAX 100
Licensed in VA
(703) 935-6891

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Why is a Dip in Existing Home Sales Good News for Sellers?

A report published recently in The Washington Post noted that interest rates are rising and that pending home sales have dipped recently. Sounds like bad news, right?

If you're thinking about selling, this is actually really good news.

The reason home sales have been down recently is because there just isn't enough inventory to meet demand. In the areas where I work, if a home comes on the market and is priced competitively, it's under contract in a matter of days -- and often at a price higher than the listing price.

Think of it this way: there's a hot new toy, like the Fidget Spinner. Everyone wants it, but most stores sold out last week and don't expect more until next month. If you look at sales reports for Fidget Spinners for this month, you'll see a dip in the number of sales. If you happen to have a Fidget Spinner to sell, you'll probably be able to sell it for a price that's higher than the retail price.

With interest rates on the rise, buyers want to lock in NOW before they go any higher. And when inventories are low, it's not uncommon to receive multiple offers on a competitively-priced home and even see bidding wars.

According to the WaPo article, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has increased its estimate for home sales growth in 2017 from 2.5% to 3.5%, and home prices are expected to rise 5% -- another increase from the 3.5% projected by NAR at the end of last year.

If you're thinking about selling, contact me today. I'll do a comparative market analysis to show you what comparable homes in your area have sold for over the past six months, prices for currently-listed homes, and what your home could sell for in the current market.  

Rob Traister
RE/MAX 100
Licensed in VA
(703) 935-6891

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Don't Always Believe Prices You See Online

Last year I met with a potential client who was thinking about making a move from a home in a very desirable neighborhood in Alexandria. I showed him comps for his home -- nearby homes that are comparable in size, amenities, and style, and are active or have sold recently -- and told him the price he could expect in the current market.

He mentioned that a website (rhymes with "Pillow") showed the estimated price of his home as being higher than the one I recommended. I explained that the estimated prices shown on that site tend to be off by 5% or more in our market.

He said when he was ready to make a move he would let me know.

A few months later I saw that home was on the market for $30,0000 more than the market will support in that neighborhood. After two months on the market, the price has been reduced $80,000 -- $50,000 below the market value -- and still has no buyers.

Pricing your home correctly can be the difference between selling and not selling, or having to sell at a price that is below market value. It's that important.

If the home is priced too high, buyers who are looking at homes in that price range will dismiss it, and buyers looking below that price range won't even see it. And if you do manage get an contract at a price that is above market value, most contracts have a clause that allows the buyer to back out if the home doesn't appraise for the contract price.

The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it is to sell. In this market, many homes are under contract in a matter of days or weeks; if a home has been on the market for months it raises red flags and potential buyers pass it over in favor of newer listings.

By not pricing the home correctly from the outset, the seller I mentioned earlier will ultimately leave tens of thousands -- perhaps even $100,000 -- on the table that could have been in his pocket. Had he priced the home correctly, he would have had more showings and might have even seen multiple offers, resulting in a higher sales price.

When I price your home, I give you all the market data at my disposal to help you make the best decision so you can sell quickly, and at the best possible price.

If you have any questions about the real estate market in Northern Virginia, give me a call or send an email. I'd love to hear from you. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Carbon Monoxide Dectors a MUST for Your Home

Recently a friend posted on social media that 2:00 a.m. is not a great time to figure out if the beeping from a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm means low battery or impending death.

It was a funny comment, but having a working CO alarm in your home can literally be the difference between life and death.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. It is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned and is, according to the CDC, the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. CO results in more than 430 deaths and 50,000 emergency room visits each year in the U.S. alone. See the CDC FAQs about CO.

Improper use or malfunction of a fuel-burning appliance such as a furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, stove, oven, or generator can produce dangerous levels of CO indoors. Other potential sources of CO in the home include poorly vented fireplaces or vehicles left running in an attached garage. When CO gas builds up inside a home, it can quickly lead to illness or even death. Because CO has no taste or smell to alert people to its presence, the only safe way to detect it is with a properly working, properly placed CO alarm.

According the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, usually about 5 feet from the floor, in a central location outside each sleeping area on every level of the home. They should also be installed in other locations as required by applicable laws, codes, or standards. NFPA also recommends that homeowners interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home so when one sounds, they all sound.

It is recommended that you change the batteries in your CO alarms every six months, just as you do with your smoke alarms. Doing this when you change the clocks for daylight saving time is a great way to remember.

Carbon monoxide alarms also have a limited lifespan, typically 5-7 years. In the case of my friend who posted about his alarm chirping at 2:00 a.m., his CO alarm was letting him know that it was at the end of its useful life and needed to be replaced. Older models may not have this feature. If in doubt, replace your detectors and then follow the manufacturer's schedule for future replacement

For more information on CO in the home, click the image below to download the NFPA fact sheet on CO Safety.