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.
Share

Estate Sales

Did you just inherited a property, or are you helping a family member of friend with an estate sale

Photo: Canterbury Estates Llc

 

Whether you are looking for step by step guidance, or just an overview of the current market conditions, we can help you! Without the proper professional guidance, residential estate sales can require some tricky maneuvering. Our DC, VA, and MD licensed team is ready to help make this process as easy as possible for you and your loved ones. Below are some basic steps to take to help you through the process:

Step 1: Hire a Real Estate team with experience in estate sales. Our team has helped a number of sellers with estate sales, and can help guide you through the process. You may also need to hire a qualified Trusts and Estates Attorney. Together your team will help you to sort through any legal documents, determine all pre-sale requisites, and help you to maximize the home’s sale price through proper marketing avenues.
Step 2: Determine who is the authorized party to sell the residential property. The authorized party (or executor) could be a family member, group of family members, friends, or pre-determined advisor. Before selling the property, the entire authorized party must be in agreement with the proposed selling plans.
Step 3: Determine if the property is a probate or non-probate asset. Probate assets are defined as assets that are solely in the decedent’s name and are required to be collected by court appointed fiduciary, who will then distribute the assets in accordance with the terms of the will. Non-probate assets are items that are not collected or sold by a court appointed fiduciary. In these cases, the surviving joint tenant has the power to collect or sell the property as the new owner.
Step 4: Be sure to have the proper legal documents in order, before starting the residential estate sale process. Some of the documents that your Real Estate agent and legal team may need you to gather include:
Original death certificate – proof that the original owner has passed away, thus allowing the executor to claim ownership of the property.
Copy of Will – proof of the executor(s) and their right to sell the property.
Copy of Codicil – proof of any exceptions or amendments to the will.

Photo: Geeks Buy Houses

 

Conducting a residential estate sale in DC, VA, or MD can be a much easier process when you hire a knowledgeable team that follows the above steps. To learn more about our Real Estate services and our specialty in estate sales, please contact us today! Besides providing a wealth of Real Estate knowledge, our team also offers home staging services and access to the best contractors for any property renovations and repairs that need to be completed before the sale. We look forward to answering any of your questions and helping you throughout the estate sale process.

Share

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.

moneyhouse

 

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

Share

Real Estate Tax Breaks Survive Fiscal Cliff Deal

Homeowners and real estate professionals anxiously waited to see if real estate tax breaks would survive the fiscal cliff deal. In the end, the breaks for homeowners survived, at least for the time being.

The mortgage interest deduction remained intact, and the deal extended mortgage debt forgiveness for one year. Prior to 2007, if lenders forgave debt on short sales, loan modifications and foreclosures, the amount forgiven was taxable. Then in 2007, Congress passed a law making that “income” non-taxable, and that break was set to expire at the end of 2012. But when crafting the fiscal cliff deal, they extended mortgage debt forgiveness for one more year.

Also part of the package was a provision allowing homeowners to deduct the amount they pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). More homeowners are required to carry PMI by lenders because of tighter lending standards, so this is good news for those homeowners.

In the end, these three provisions will help the real estate market, at least in the time being. The measures should help lower the amount of “shadow inventory”—that is, properties that have delinquent mortgages, are in the process of foreclosure, or are already owned by banks but have not yet been put on the market. Experts expect investors to snap up this inventory and help the recovery, something that might not have happened if the real estate tax breaks failed to survive the fiscal cliff deal.

Click here for more on what’s included in the deal.

 

Share