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Fairfax County Real Estate: How’s the market this spring?

Last year (2013), we had one the best years in the recent history of our real estate market.

Fairfax County Real Estate: Spring is here!

Fairfax County Real Estate: Spring is here!

In 2013, there were significantly more homes for sale than in previous years, as well as many more buyers pushing home prices up to the highest levels since the 2006 bubble.

The market followed the chilly weather

But it seems like the unseasonably cold weather of the 2013-2014 winter chilled the momentum slightly.  By December 2013, we saw the first time in the entire year where the “Pendings” (i.e. homes under contract) weren’t higher than the previous year in a month-to-month comparison. Continue Reading…

Why choose a Specialist Realtor®

Realtors® are similar to doctors; many of them are generalists.

Realtors® are like Doctors

When you have sophisticated needs, you need a specialist

Generalists are like a general practitioner, or family doctor: they help everybody, anytime.

But while a general practitioner further refers many patients to a specialist, generalist Realtors® usually don’t refer their clients to a specialist.

From a client’s perspective, it’s vitally important to clearly understand the roles of generalist Realtors® and specialist Realtors® Continue Reading…

How the Carters learned to trust in their research

Remember when we were kids and played hide-and-seek with our neighborhood friends?  Everybody knew what the best places to hide were. But see, the problem was that everybody knew of them – so one got found quickly.

The way to win the game was to find your own special spot.  For me, a small cupboard was a great place because I fit perfectly in it. The rest of my friends wouldn’t even think of it because they were much taller than me.

Child hiding in cupboard

Trust your instincts and find your own spot

Going through life making choices is just like choosing the perfect spot to hide for hide-and-seek. There might be great choices based on what others have found, but in the end, when you pay attention to your own personal needs and preferences, you may find the right choice – that may be the right choice just for you.

Some time ago, I met a family, the Carters, who had recently been relocated to the DC area due to Steven’s job at the Pentagon.

The Carters had a very important choice to make: choosing a new home

As usual, with every move to a new and exciting place, Ellie Carter dreaded the moving process. Continue Reading…

3 Tips for Competing in a Multiple Offer Situation

Spring is coming, and, like many homebuyers in the D.C. area, Dee and Henry are looking to purchase their first home.

This Townhome had multiple offers

Dee and Henry’s favorite Townhome had multiple offers

We’ve already been out looking for homes for a couple of weekends, and finally, they have found a cute town home that they really, really like, plus it’s in their ideal school boundary.

As we’re getting ready to make an offer, the listing agent informs us that there are a couple of other offers coming in as well, so it’s a multiple offer situation.

Dee and Henry really want to buy this home

The issue is that they are now in a competitive situation so they need to make their offer as strong as possible.

One way to make the offer better, of course, is to offer more money.  But that’s not always the best approach (although it never hurts…).

Sometimes, even when offering more money, another contract wins out because it represents less risk to the seller.

How to minimize risk to the seller (while making sure you’re protected) Continue Reading…

Why unappetizing home photos represent a great opportunity

For Thanksgiving, Patty made a delicious casserole dish and brought it to her in-laws. But during the car ride, there was a big bump and the casserole turned over on its side.

The only good looking piece of the delicious casserole

The only decent-looking piece of the Patty’s delicious casserole

When Patty opened it up, the casserole looked like a mess. It still tasted delicious, but now it looked very unappetizing.

Like the casserole, photos of homes for sale must look “appetizing” to entice buyers to schedule a visit.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), many pictures of homes for sale aren’t very good.

Here are some examples of unappetizing home photos

  • Exterior shots: Crooked, cut-off, or with a dark, grey, ominous sky
  • Dark, shady, and grainy interior
  • Pictures of wall corners in small rooms (where it’s impossible to see the room itself)
  • Photos of toilets (really?)

The good news is that these unappetizing home photos can be a very good thing for a smart buyer.

As a buyer, unappetizing photos represent an opportunity Continue Reading…

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