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.
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Katie Wethman’s Real Estate News – February 2019

February 2019

The Spring Market Has Arrived!

Despite limited inventory and frigid weather in the area, we’re helped 5 clients with their settlements in January 2019, and already a few in February too! We’re excited for a strong start to the year and we’re excited to help more with their Real Estate needs. Our goal is to reach 100 transactions this year, so if you know anyone thinking of buying or selling, please think of us!
As we typically see in January and February, multiple offers are commonplace because sellers are waiting for “Spring,” but buyers are out ready to write offers! We expect appropriately priced properties to move quickly throughout the rest of February and into March when inventory finally starts to slowly inch up. BUYERS: NOW is the time to get your pre-approval lined up and start exploring the market so you can hit the ground running when the inventory starts popping up — call us, and register for our free webinar via the link below.
We received a lot of questions about the previous government shutdown and its impact on the market, and Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York as its second HQ2 location. Fortunately, we did not see much of an impact with our clients and our current listings as a result of the shutdown–none of our settlements were delayed, and buyers were still excited to continue their home searches. We did see a slight increase in buyer activity in the Fall after the news was announced, but activity has returned to normal in anticipation of local hires and discussions of Metro and transit improvements as part of the Amazon deal. Amazon has confirmed that they are moving forward with the Arlington portion of their HQ2 build-out, and they are currently looking to “organically” grow the 25,000 jobs that were planned in NYC, rather than name a new location. Time will tell if our area ends up with more than our originally planned 25,000, but it makes sense that if things go well over the next few years, that we might see more job creation here than originally planned since Crystal City has the commercial space capacity, and our region can handle such a big influx of jobs. We’re not surprised that Amazon wouldn’t want to announce that in advance though, given the activist reaction in NYC.
Follow us on Instagram & our National Landing Facebook page for more details & updates!

Seller’s Corner

Have you been considering selling your home? There is a lack of inventory right now, and buyers are actively looking for a property in your neighborhood. While there is limited inventory, buyers are looking for certain items and will pay more for renovated homes with specific updates. Contact us today for a FREE Home Valuation, and to learn what buyers are looking for your home! Special incentives for those who book an appointment with us before the end of the month!

Taxes & Tax Law Changes

All of our clients that bought or sold a home in 2018 should have received a copy of their Closing Statement via email. If you are unable to find yours, please let us know! Don’t forget that new tax brackets and tax rates were passed late last year, and there are a host of changes, especially for homeowners. Consult your tax adviser for details.

Interest Rates

Rates have recently dropped this past week to the lowest in a year! Now that the Fed has backed down from their hints of rising rates throughout 2019, we should see steady state for awhile.
30-Year Fixed 4.37%
30-Year Fixed VA 4.125%
15-Year Fixed 3.625%

FREE Home Buyer Webinar

Are you interested in buying, but don’t have 10-20% for a down payment? We have options and advice to help you! There are programs available to buyers that require less than 5% down, you can finance PMI payments and help you achieve owning your own place. There are also lenders and programs for as little as 0-3%, and down payment assistance options that we can discuss too!
We’re hosting a free Home Buyer webinar on Wednesday, Feb 27 which will include an Amazon update, tax law update, and other factors to consider when buying a home. Click here to register.

Upcoming Events

Finally, keep an eye out for invitations to some of our client appreciation events!  We’re planning a Final Four Basketball party, and will also be hosting a Free Car Wash Day at a local car wash TBD, and our Spring Picnic at a Winery in May (weather dependent). We hope to see you throughout the Spring season!

LISTING SPECIAL!

Thinking about selling your home in 2019, or know someone who is? Meet with us by the end of February and you’ll receive Commission incentives, a FREE HOME VALUATION and a FREE HOME CLEANING (up to $350) when you list with us. Contact Katie to schedule your appointment!


HOME CARE CORNER
Winter is in full swing! With the snow we’ve been receiving make sure your gutters are clear prior to storms and melted snow/rain is able to drain away from your home. Also, take a quick visual inspection of your roof (and peek up into your attic if you have one) to help catch any early leaks and avoid larger repair costs. Here’s a tip if you see a water stain in your attic–take a sharpie or pencil and outline the spot…then check it again after another rain or snow to see if it has spread outside the outline to tell if it’s an active leak or an older stain.
LOANER PROGRAM ITEM OF THE MONTH: CHAFING DISHES
Hosting a party on a cold winter’s night? Or perhaps a Sunday brunch? Borrow one or more of our chafing dishes (both sterno and electric available) or warming trays to help make serving your guests a breeze! Large  coffee urn also together
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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Katie Wethman’s Real Estate News – Dec 2018

December 2018

 

Market Update

As expected, the announcement from Amazon caused a a bounce in sales, particularly in 22202 “National Landing.” Typically activity and sales in November is slower, as we ease into the holiday season. This past month, 22 properties in the National Landing area went under contract compared to 3 homes in 2017. This is a substantial increase, driven by buyers trying to purchase so that are not priced out of the area once Amazon arrives. But don’t panic…see our own analysis in November’s Amazon Update and take a look at the George Mason University Conference on HQ2 Imapct Video Here. Despite the hype, have identified some cash flow positive investment opportunities, so contact us if you’re looking to invest!
Other areas outside of “National Landing” saw a increase in activity and sales in November, but not as dramatic of a change. Read more details here.
The country’s real estate market is predicted to enter a downtown in the coming 2-3 years, and Amazon may help buoy this area in an otherwise turbulent economic time. Follow our ongoing analysis and updates on ourInstagram and our National Landing Real Estate page. 
In other market news, home sale appraisal rules are changing. Some FNMA and Freddie Mac rules are already in place that eliminate the need for appraisals on certain home types with a sufficient down payment, and the administration has proposed eliminating appraisals on any home valued at under $400,000; instead it would be subject to a ‘evaluation’ by non-appraisers with limited regulation. This is a mixed bag for home buyers and sellers, as many home buyers see the appraisal as a safety net against overpaying for a property. Given that appraisals typically take 1-3 weeks, the elimination of this requirement would likely speed up settlements, and this change will save borrowers about $400-500 in fees. Check out more details here.
New Loan Limits & Interest Rates
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced its new loan limits for 2019. The new (regular) conforming loan amount impacts nearly every part of the US, and was raised to $484,350 in 2019! A 6.8% increase compared to $453,500 in 2018. In higher cost cities, which includes the DC Metro area, the new limit is $726,525.
Current Interest rates (Source: Freddie Mac)
30 Year Fixed: 4.63%
5/1 Arm: 4.04%

Thinking of Selling? Our team is looking to get a jump on the Spring market and is currently setting up consultation appointments for January and February with sellers. We’re offering special financial and staging incentives for sellers who meet and sign with us before the end of February for a Spring 2019 listing—if you or someone you know is thinking of selling next year, please contact us to book an appointment!
As always, if we can ever help with your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Wishing you all very merry holidays and a happy new year!


HOME CARE CORNER
Winter is officially here! If you haven’t turned off your hose bibs, now is the time!
Click here for details: Hose Bib Shutoff Instructions.


CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS
THANK YOU to all of our clients that attended Pie Day and Breakfast with Santa! We loved seeing you! thank you for supporting our business all year long with your referrals of friends and family.
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The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News – October 2018

October 2018

Market Update
The October real estate market is holding firm, and not letting up! In the DC Metro area the average sales price is $508K, a 3.3% increase compared to 2017. The average days on market has declined 7% which likely has to do with limited inventory. Popular neighborhoods in Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax County and Washington DC are all averaging 35 days on market or less. Inventory remains tight and there is roughly 9.3% less inventory compared to the same period in 2017. Despite lower inventory, buyers are still looking for nicely updated homes that are move in ready! Contact us today to find out market specifics in your neighborhood.
Interest Rates
Many people are focused on interest rates and for good reasons. In September, The US Federal Reserve raised short term interest rates for the third time this year. We are on track for one more increase in 2018. While rates are historically low, compared to 6-8% mortgage rates in the early 2000’s, an increase to 4.9% for a 30 year fixed mortgage feels like a pinch to many current buyers. While the hype of low rates from internet lenders may seem attractive, working with a reputable lender is still key to ensuring your contract makes it to settlement.
What are buyers looking for?
Real feedback from our listings and clients:
-Buyers are looking for move in ready homes with updated kitchen and bathrooms.
-Most buyers prefer hardwood floors or light colored carpet.
-When touring a home, if there is sign of wear or lack of maintenance, buyers question the condition of the major systems and appliances.
-While big ticket items are important, most buyers are interested in the cosmetic updates in a property.
-If a home is not updated, buyers are looking for a discounted price.
-Many buyers would rather pay for the upgrades through the sales price/mortgage than handle renovations after closing.
-Even with limited inventory in the fall, buyers are not rushing to purchase right now.
If you need assistance prepping your house for sale, call us!
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!

       ENTER OUR COLORING CONTEST!         

This month, we’re trying something a little different — a coloring contest! We’ll have 4 age groups, and the winner of each group will win a $25 Target gift card.

Age groups are 5 years and under, 6-10, 11-15, and 16+. Click here for a downloadable PDF of the picture to submit, and be sure to sign the picture and add the participant’s name and age.

 

 

This month, we’re trying something a little different — a coloring contest! We’ll have 4 age groups, and the winner of each group will win a $25 Target gift card.

Age groups are 5 years and under, 6-10, 11-15, and 16+. Click here for a downloadable PDF of the picture to submit, and be sure to sign the picture and add the participant’s name and age.

 

Just post your entry on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag theWethman Group or your agent. You can also email submissions or drop off at our office. Register by October 25th for your chance to win!


HOME CARE CORNER

Fall is here! That means plenty of leaves and limbs are falling too. Make sure to check out your gutters and clear any leaves or debris to ensure your gutters drain properly!

 

 


CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENTS

Save the Date: Pie Day – Tuesday, November 20th
Our annual pie day open house will take place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Katie and Kenny’s house. Clients, save the date on your calendar to stop by for a bite and a drink and bring home an apple or pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving celebration. It’s one of our favorite events each year, and we look forward to sharing it with you! Clients, check your email or our postcard for the link to reserve your pie!

Also, Save the Date for:

Breakfast at the Movies with Santa – Saturday, December 1st

As always, if you or someone you know has a real estate need, please reach out. We are here to help!
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