The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – March 2020

March 2020
Wow – what a few weeks it’s been! I know the world seems upside down right now, and the real estate market is no exception. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have slowed down all that much—yet. Generally we’ve been seeing some people pull back because of the fear of recession and stock market drops, but there are still plenty of buyers out there who see this as a window of opportunity for negotiation. Sellers still want to sell, and are generally moving forward with listing unless they are in a high risk group for Covid-19. Agents are adjusting their business practices, however, and the Wethman Group is no exception. Here are some of the changes we’ve made to deal with the current situation, and changes we’re seeing in the marketplace:
–         We’re generally advising against open houses, as most serious buyers will make appointments with their agent, and are looking to avoid crowds themselves. As a result, we’re listing properties earlier in the week (Monday/Tuesday) and not necessarily waiting until the weekend for offers. We’re seeing drops in foot traffic across the board, but a big increase in online views. It’s more important than ever to stage and have excellent photographs when listing.
–         Given that more people are working remotely from home, we are looking to capitalize on that trend by providing online 3D tours and/or video tours as well as floorplans to capture more views, and make sure that buyers who make appointments already have a pretty good idea of whether the house will work for them.
–         On the occasion that we do host an open house, we will be providing a hand washing station and/or sanitizer, booties and gloves, and eliminating sign in methods that use shared pens. We’re also considering Facebook Live open houses, and open houses ‘by appointment’ to limit the number of people in a home at one time.
–         We’re moving nearly all of our buyer consultations and listing appointments to online as a first step in the process, rather than in person meetings. We’ve been using GoToMeeting for years now, so this is simply an expansion of our current option to meet online. We will also be leveraging Skype, Zoom, Facetime and similar tools for listing appointments that may require us to “look” around the house as well.
–         The economic situation has indeed given some buyers pause, especially if they were significantly invested in the market. But buyers who are confident in their job security are pressing ahead, and see this as a short term external shock to the economy, which will (eventually) rebound when the crises has passed. Don’t be surprised if we see a higher than usual number of ‘under contract’ properties fall out of contract status and go back on the market as the situation evolves.
–         Rates, while extremely volatile day to day, continue to be near historic lows. It’s important to note that the Fed Funds Rate, recently slashed to near zero, is not directly correlated to mortgage rates, however. Look to the 10 year Treasury as an indicator. It’s still a great time to refinance (depending on the day).
The market situation is evolving daily, and we’re here to help answer any questions about where we see the real estate market headed, and what works best for your current situation. It’s going to be a wild ride, but at some point things will settle down. Please reach out if we can help!
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We’re starting a new feature: Tips and tricks for all things related to home buying, selling, and owning! Need some advice on something specific? Just contact us!
Homeowners: With warm weather on the horizon, it’s a great time to do outside maintenance and schedule any outdoor repairs. Small business owners like handyman services, painters, power washers, etc are all eager for work–support your local small business in this time of need if you can!
Home Sellers: Don’t think that the market has stopped simply due to the current situation. We’re seeing big jumps in online traffic, so it’s more important than ever to have properties staged, with excellent photos, floorplans, and 3D tours/video walk-throughs available. To make buyers (and yourself) more comfortable, set up a hand washing station, along with gloves and booties.
Home Buyers: If you were planning to use retirement funds or portfolio investments as your down payment, you need to check on your valuation–as painful as that may be right now. It may be worthwhile to take out a larger loan (e.g., 95% LTV instead of 80% or 90%) so that you don’t have to ‘lock in’ the current losses.
UPCOMING HOME BUYER ‘GETTING STARTED’ WEBINAR
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Not sure if you still want to buy in 2020? Wondering what Covid 19 means in terms of inventory and pricing?
Join our next home buying webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 pm. Contact us for login details!
As always, if we can ever help with your
real estate needs,
please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Wethman Group Perks: Power Washers
We may not be able to host ‘parties’, but we can still enjoy the outdoors — wash away winter grime by using one of our power washers, and enjoy the sunshine to come. Available to all clients to borrow FREE! Contact us: wgperks@wethmangroup.com for more info.
We’re happy to help with all your residential and commercial real estate needs throughout the DC metro area. Remember to Like us on Facebook for market updates and real estate tips!
We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – November 2019

November 2019
November marks 1 year since the Amazon HQ2 announcement, so we thought this would be a good time to explore the residual effects to come from this important decision.
In securing the deal, Amazon promised between 25,000 to 37,850 jobs coming over 15 years as a result of the new headquarters. As a point of reference, the DC Metro area brings in 34,000 jobs on average annually. Since the announcement, the corporation has worked to fulfill its promise to hire 400 employees in 2019, and has thus far filled about 200 of those spaces. According to the Washington Business Journal, Amazon should reach its target with the number of workers already hired with a start date before the final day of 2019. Amazon is expected to break ground on phase one of its new headquarters in 2020, which includes two 22-story office buildings in Pentagon City with about 67,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 2.1 million square feet of office space in National Landing.
There was an enormous amount of hype surrounding the announcement for the first 6 months that has quieted in the latter part of 2019. Investors came to area immediately after looking to find a great deal for a cash-flow positive investment property and many were disappointed to find it difficult with high housing prices in the area. That said, with more buyers scouting in the area and already low inventory, competition has only increased throughout 2019. In the long term, we still believe housing impacts from Amazon HQ2 will be dispersed throughout the area and evolve as Amazon employees fill positions over the next decade or more. National Landing’s status as a new ‘it’ location has affected some pockets of relative affordability in South Arlington and inventory in and around Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard rarely sits on the market for long and is a competitive bid.
Local universities, including Virginia Tech (VT), George Mason University (GMU), the University of Maryland (UMD), and more, have already started work on expanding campuses, building new facilities near the Amazon HQ2 headquarters, and adding focuses of study and courses to provide a tech pipeline of students who can fill much of the future job demand from Amazon HQ2. GMU recently announced plans to expand their Arlington Campus with the Institute for Digital Innovation facility to focus on tech studies, and UMD is expected to open a research and event space in Crystal City called the Discovery Center. VT plans to build a Tech Innovation Campus near the new headquarters to accommodate 750 new computer science master’s students and hundreds more postdoctoral fellows.
We have seen housing prices increase this year, but still believe the major driver behind this is a lack of inventory that has gotten worse year-over-year. In addition, many homeowners held out on selling in the early part of 2019 in hopes to see even greater equity increases, further compounding the inventory shortage. A heavy sellers’ market has been the norm for a while now in the greater DC Metro area, making a competitive and difficult environment for buyers. According to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, total home sales are up from last year and our team’s buyers have still found good options so don’t let this influence your decision to purchase a home in the coming year.
If you are considering buying or selling contact us to discuss your strategy.

Client Appreciation Event: Thanksgiving Pie!

Reminder: Our annual Thanksgiving Pie Giveaway is underway for clients! Clients: if you didn’t receive your postcard or email link, please contact us! As always, we are so grateful for your support of our team with your business and your referrals. We look forward to seeing all our clients at our event!
p.s. Breakfast at the Movies with Santa invites are also out, so keep an eye out for your RSVP link or contact us!
Picking up new furniture? Need a truck for a charitable event? Use our truck locally (free of charge) if you are a past or current client. Contact us: wgperks@wethmangroup.com for more info.
We’re happy to help with all your residential and commercial real estate needs throughout the DC metro area. Remember to Like us on Facebook for market updates and real estate tips!
We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – September 2019

September 2019
The kids are back to school, and we’re back to the hot real estate market!
August stats were roughly in line with prior years’, and activity picked up after Labor Day, as expected. See chart at right for Northern Virginia stats (take Fairfax City and Falls Church with a grain of salt…very small sample sizes! But WOW Arlington–no doubt people are buying into the HQ2 hype.) Typically in September we see a pop in inventory as sellers try to get a deal done before the holidays and year end, and this year is no exception.
We’ll be announcing soon a date for the return of our FREE first time home buyer classes! Stay tuned for a date in late October or early November. Contact us if you want us to ping you when registration opens!
Thinking of buying? It’s better to start sooner than later, even if your target move date is months away…with a lot of buyers ‘waiting until next Spring’, it’s a great time to find a great home with less competition from other buyers!

Interest Rate Update
Rates continue to be very low, and it’s a great time to refinance (especially if you’re in an adjustable rate mortgage!) This is also a great time to see if you can get PMI removed if you were close to the equity threshold–we have all of the high Spring sales as comps. Contact any member of the The Wethman Group if you want to discuss whether it makes sense, and for a recommendation to an awesome lender!
30-Year Fixed Conventional 3.75%
5/1 ARM 3.96%
30-Year Jumbo 4.05%
Rates per Bankrate.com as of 9/25/19. https://www.bankrate.com/mortgage.aspx Graph Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US
WETHMAN GROUP LISTINGS
Coming Soon:
1201 N. Garfield St #803 Arlington, VA $750K/TBD
5844 Aspen Wood Ct Arlington, VA $1.5M
Under Contract:
405 N. Highland St Arlington, VA $1.65M
12154 Captiva Ct Reston, VA – $325K

HOME CARE CORNER:
Winterizing Hose Bibs
The weather hasn’t quite turned yet, but this is a good time to go ahead and winterize those outside hose bibs if you don’t expect to be watering any plants the rest of the year. To winterize a hose bib, cut the inside shutoff valve OFF, then turn the outdoor hose bib ON to drain the line.
CLIENT PERKS: LEAF BLOWER/SHREDDER
Fall leaves will be dropping soon! Clients can use our leaf blower and shredder for FREE. Just contact us to arrange a loan!
Have something you’d like to see us add to our collection of client items available to borrow? Just email us!
We’re happy to help with all your residential and commercial real estate needs throughout the DC metro area. Remember to Like us on Facebook for market updates and real estate tips!
We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – July 2019

July 2019
Hard to believe 2019 is more than half over, but we’re in the dog days of summer already! Read on for our take on the summer real estate market, but first…we need your help!
Please help us keep our streak going, and vote for us in Northern Virginia Magazine’s “Best Agent” Poll now through August 5!
The temperatures are up, but we’re seeing some *pockets* of reasonableness now in the housing market. Even a *tiny* bit of breathing room for buyers has come as a relief as “months of supply” held steady in June (see chart.) That means we’re seeing sales continue into July and August, which is usually a very slow time in the market. Buyers who were outbid over and over in the Spring are still out looking, buoyed by continued low interest rates (which are expected to stay low and even fall further in the second half of 2019, according to Fannie Mae.) If you’re thinking of buying, reach out to us!
Amazon’s getting press again, including this article in the NYT about the pressure our market is feeling. We stand by our initial assessment published last year though–our area already had an inventory ‘crises’ and correlation does not equal causation. (Contact us for a copy of our earlier analysis.)
Be wary of alarmist articles like this one in the Washington Post with crazy stats and learn to dig deeper (we can help!) For example, in the article, which touts 121% year-over-year appreciation in 22202, their sample of 31 homes is just not big enough to be meaningful, and looking just at that small zipcode is also misleading. They’re also looking at sales closed in November (when Amazon announced), but that represents homes that were under contract in October pre-announcement. Increases in prices are due to ongoing low inventory and low cost of borrowing, not the Amazon announcement per se. And sometimes a monthly average price will go up because of inventory bought by builders buying off market tear downs (not reflected in MLS stats) and then listing $1.5M homes. November is a terrible time to do a year over year comparison because of the low inventory; June to June is better–several months before the announcement vs this year well past the announcement, and you need to look at trends anyway, not a single month. We can find you months where year-over-year there were *declines* in prices in this zipcode in general and/or for certain property types. There’s lies, damn lies, and statistics. The answer is to work with an agent who knows the inventory, and has the tools to run the analysis you need on the type of home you want, in the location you’re looking (THAT’S US!)
We’re still advising both buyers and sellers in the Amazon HQ2 corridor to make their decisions on the fundamentals, not the news cycle. One idea to lessen the housing crises in our area is to consider zoning changes, similar to what Minneapolis has recently done. Arlington is already getting creative with their recent relaxation of Accessory Dwelling Unit rules. Look for more changes like this in the future for our area.
As always, thanks for your business and referrals — we’re never too busy for your referrals!
Wethman Group Client Appreciation Event:
Nats Game – A Home Run!
Thanks to all our clients and friends who joined us for our annual Nats outing! We look forward to hosting this annual event with help from our sponsors Southern Trust Mortgage, Ekko Title, and Atlantic Insurance.
Interest Rate Update
30-Year Fixed Conventional 3.86%
5/1 ARM 4.01%
30-Year Jumbo 4.16%
Rates per Bankrate.com as of 7/15/19. Graph Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US
WETHMAN GROUP LISTINGS
For Sale:
Coming Soon:
12154 Captiva Ct Reston, VA 20191
$325K/TBD
Under Contract
1219 N Taylor St Arlington, VA
3813 36th Rd N Arlington, VA
SOLD
12811 Caldwell St Rockville, MD $280K
4422 Hunt Place NE, Washington, DC – $435K
HOME CARE CORNER:
Check for Storm Damage
Of course we were inundated with an epic storm and flash floods just a few weeks ago. Now’s the time to prepare for upcoming storms (don’t forget it’s almost hurricane season) by doing the following:
1) Check roof for any damaged shingles (also check from inside the attic for any signs of water penetration.) Also check caulking around windows.
2) Clean gutters and extend downspouts away from the foundation.
3) Check that grading didn’t wash away in the last storm!
4) Test your sump pump if you have one, and consider adding a battery back up in case of power outage.
You may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier, box fan, and shop vac if you have previously had water infiltration–these items are a must anytime there’s water in the basement!
Check our Maintenance Checklist for other items to inspect. Routine maintenance throughout the year helps avoid large expensive repairs or replacements down the road!
CLIENT PERKS: PROJECTOR & SCREEN
Clients, you can host a backyard movie night! We have a retractable screen (or just use a plain bedsheet or side of your house) and a projector for backyard fun! Just contact us to borrow.
Have something you’d like to see us add to our collection of client items available to borrow? Just email us!
We’re happy to help with all your residential and commercial real estate needs throughout the DC metro area. Remember to Like us on Facebook for market updates and real estate tips!
We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – June 2019

June 2019

 

Glimmer of Hope for Buyers?

Inventory came up ever-so-slightly in both Northern Virginia and DC in late May and now into June, giving just a touch of breathing room to buyers who have been frustrated with bidding wars and waived contingencies.

We’re still seeing hot properties in entry level price ranges escalate well above list, though, and motivated buyers are doing pre-offer inspections and finding other ways to mitigate the risk that comes with waiving contingencies.

We’re seeing the market cool a bit in the upper ranges of $1.2M+, where inventory is higher, and buyers with children finalize their moving plans for this summer to be settled well before the school year.
Our team is busier than usual this June as a result of buyers still on the hunt, having been competing for the past few months. If you’re a buyer who’s been sitting on the sidelines this Spring, this may be a good time to dip your toe in the water.
In other team news, a video interview with Katie was recently featured in ARLNow’s Boring Title column. She spoke briefly about bidding wars and the risks that come with them. Check out the video here, and contact us for more info!
In market news, rates continue to fall so this is a great time to refinance! There are costs to refinancing, but a good rule of thumb is that it’s usually worthwhile if today’s rates are 1% or more lower than your existing rate. Contact us if you want to talk to one of our excellent lender partners!
As always, thanks for your business and referrals — we’re never too busy for your referrals!
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        Wethman Group Client Appreciation Event:   Nats Game July 7th

Clients, you should have received your invite with link (or check our Facebook Perks page!) to RSVP for our annual Nats game July 7th. Seating is limited, so please RSVPsoon!

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Interest Rate Update

 

Rates have lowered in the past week and buyers are hoping they stay low through the summer.
30-Year Fixed Conventional 3.93%
5/1 ARM 3.87%
30-Year Jumbo 4.16%

Rates per Bankrate.com. Graph Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US, May 9, 2019.

 

WETHMAN GROUP LISTINGS

For Sale:
Coming Soon:
$799K/TBD

12154 Captiva Ct Reston, VA 20191
$325K/TBD
12811 Caldwell St Rockville, MD $280K
Under Contract/Sold:

545 E Braddock Rd APT 406 Alexandria, VA 22314 $425K

2707 Adams Mill Rd NW #408 Washington, DC $289K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME CARE CORNER:

Clean Those Gutters!
Keeping water away
from the house is one of the most important things you can do, and
clogged gutters are a common culprit when it comes to water in basements. Next time it rains, take a walk around your property and see where the water is flowing. Make sure it’s coming out of the downspouts easily, and use downspout extenders (<$10 on Amazon or Home Depot) to divert the water at least several feet away from the foundation.
Ask us for a copy of our Maintenance Checklist for other items to inspect. Routine maintenance throughout the year helps avoid large expensive repairs or replacements down the road
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CLIENT PERKS: CORN HOLE GAME!

Hosting a backyard BBQ? Borrow our regulation size cornhole game for free! Just email us to reserve.
Have something you’d like to see us add to our collection of client items available to borrow? Just email us!
We’re happy to help with all your residential and commercial real estate needs throughout the DC metro area. Remember to Like us on Facebook for market updates and real estate tips!
We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.
Share