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!


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!

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.
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.

Tax Assessment vs Market Value

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the tax assessed value of a property, versus the fair market value? And how these two values compare to the appraisal value? You aren’t alone. Many sellers and buyers are confused about these values and how these values are determined and intertwinedimage

First, lets look at the definitions for all three:
Tax Assessment: The amount that your county assigns to your home based on the value of the land, and the building itself. The value is calculated using an algorithm of sales in your neighborhood, and county based on the size of your lot, size of your home, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and any other major upgrades (additions/decks/garages, etc). This calculated value determines the property taxes you will pay each year.  The assessed value will changed based on how strong or weak the past year’s sales were, so typically it is a lagging indicator of the market, meaning it represents past values.

Market Value: The value at which a buyer is willing to purchase and the seller is willing to sell a home. This value is more subjective, and often linked to supply and demand in the specific area. Condition and upgrades will play a factor in the value, but ultimately the market value is the amount that both parties agreed to in a contract. A buyer may be willing to pay more for a home, if its in a desirable area with limited inventory. Similarly, if there is a surplus of inventory, or the home is located on a major road or has other challenging features, it may be sold at a lower value.

Appraised Value: This value is determined by an appraiser (usually 3rd party) to confirm or validate the market value for home buyer and/or a lender. The appraised value is generally calculated by using like kind properties, within a mile or so radius, looking specifically at sales for the previous three to four months. Adjustments are usually made up/down for more square feet, additional bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces and other upgrades. The appraiser may take supply and demand in account, but generally they are looking primarily at the condition/amenities of the home and how it compares to other sales in the immediate neighborhood.

So, while many buyers may not want to pay more than the “assessed value” of a property, the market value is usually higher. Additionally, a seller may order an appraisal before going on the market and refuse to sell for less than the appraised value, even if that may not be the correct market value. Tax assessment values and market values may vary depending on your neighborhood, county and state. While, tax assessments may be lower than market value by $50-$100K in some areas, the assessment and market values may be the same or higher in other areas.



If you have questions about assessed values, vs market or appraisal values, please contact us for more information!

Photo Credit: Newsday.com and epcrossing.org


Northern Virginia Real Estate Tax Rates for FY 2012-2013

Ever wondered how you fare compared to other home owners in Northern Virginia when it comes to property taxes? Owners in the towns of Herndon and Vienna dig the deepest into their pockets for the tax man, while those in Alexandria and Arlington make out the best in terms of tax rates. Check out the chart below to see where your jurisdiction ranks.

FY 2012-2013 Residential Real Estate Tax Rates

All rates are per $100 of assessed value and effective July 1, 2012

City of Alexandria $0.998
Arlington County $0.971
Town of Clifton $1.075
City of Fairfax $1.01
Fairfax County $1.075
City of Falls Church $1.27
Town of Herndon $1.34 ($0.265 + Fairfax County Tax)
Loudoun County $1.235
Prince William County $1.209
Town of Vienna $1.3171 ($0.2421 + Fairfax County Tax)

Source: Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.


DC $5000 First Time Home Buyer Credit Retroactively Approved for 2010 Purchases

Buried in Friday’s signed, sealed, and delivered Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 was a provision retroactively approving the $5,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers in DC for 2010, and extending it through 2011 as well. Home buyers will remember that the credit, last approved as part of the 2008 stimulus bill, is usually approved late in the year and applied retroactively, leaving home buyers anxious about whether they’ll be entitled to the large credit.

This is a dollar-for-dollar credit against your federal income taxes owed (as opposed to a deduction, which would be worth less.) “First Time” buyers, for purposes of this law, are defined as those who purchased a home during the tax year and did not OWN IN DC in the twelve months prior to purchase. So if you owned in Virginia or another state and then bought in DC, you still qualify!

The maximum credit is for $5,000, or $2,500 if married filing separately. The credit begins to phase out when the modified AGI above $70,000 ($110,000 for married filing jointly) and phases out completely at $90,000 ($130,000 married filing jointly).

If you want to take advantage of the $5000 credit by buying a home in 2011, contact us to start your search!

Search the entire multiple listing service here.


Property Tax Rates

Recently, I was approached by someone who will soon be moving to the metro Washington, DC, area. Their first question: What are the property tax rates for the various jurisdictions?  Having been unable to find a single source for such information, I set off in search of the tax rates for our area. So, faithful readers, here they are…the 2010 tax rates for the greater Washington, DC, metro area.

Jurisdiction 2010 Tax Rate
Arlington County, VA $0.865/$100 value
Alexandria City, VA $0.978/$100 value
Fairfax County, VA $1.09/$100 value
Fairfax City, VA $0.955/$100 value
Falls Church City, VA $1.24/$100 value
Loudoun County, VA $1.245/$100 value
Prince William County, VA $1.212/$100 value
Stafford County, VA $1.10/$100 value
Montgomery County, MD $0.683/$100 value
Prince George’s County, MD $0.96/$100 value
Washington, DC $0.85/$100 value
This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.