Readers who check in here regularly know that every once in a while I’m moved to relate Herndon real estate matters to various hot issues that are claiming the popular imagination. Such topics used to be called “water cooler talk” (but that was before we all started carrying water bottles around all day). So despite the fact that we may not gather around water coolers anymore, the odds are that the leading topic of conversation won’t be the State of the Union or Herndon High School basketball. I’m guessing that (especially as the weekend nears) that other topic will rule.
So, it’s all but inevitable—here are the Top 7 Things that Herndon real estate and the Super Bowl have in common:
But by the time we’ve all been deluged by the onslaught of pregame hoopla, interviews, commentaries, predictions, mini-documentaries, player/coach profiles, etc., thinking about anything else may come as a welcome break. If that’s true for you, call me anytime to talk about your real estate plans! (Okay—maybe not during halftime).
If you find yourself in a quandary over whether to jump into buying a home now or waiting for a clearer signal that the time is right, there is one method you can use to inject some hard numbers into your decision. It’s called the CTW.
CTW stands for “Cost to Wait.” It attempts to approximate the money saved or lost if buying a home today is postponed until a later date. The most reliable CTW calculations are based on what have proved to be the most accurate projections. For this example, we rely on quasi-governmental mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac for interest rates and CoreLogic for home pricing data projections.
Since projections are most accurate in the nearest term, the best example will be a simple one-year CTW. This one seeks to calculate the difference between buying a home in Herndon right now versus the same time next year.
Freddie Mac projects that from December’s annualized average PMMS (Primary Mortgage Market Survey) rate of 3.99%, a year later that rate is projected to rise to 4.5%. As for typical U.S. home prices, CoreLogic’s most recent projection is a 4.7% annual increase—similar to the past few years.
Let’s take for our Herndon example the Census Bureau’s U.S. new home sale price—December’s median was $335,400. At that price, assuming a 10% down payment, its 30-year mortgage at December’s rate resulted in a monthly payment of $1,439. If the assumptions prove true, by next January, the cash required for the 10% down payment will have increased by over $14,000—and the monthly mortgage payment would now equal $1,601(a monthly Cost To Wait of $162 per month).
Although that CTW may seem manageable, standing back to take the long view is a different story. For instance, by the time the mortgage has been fully paid, the entire CTW comes to more than $72,000—and that’s just for holding off for 12 months. Imagine what the CTW would be for waiting several years…or for a decade!
Although nobody can say for certain what the future will bring, it’s also true that over the long haul it’s likely that residential real estate will continue to do what it’s tended to do since time immemorial: grow more valuable. Especially given today’s still-historically low mortgage interest rates, the upshot is that buying the Herndon home of your dreams could very well be at its most economical right now.
I hope you’ll give me a call to see all the great buys currently available in Herndon. As the CTW measure illustrates so well—why wait until spring?
If you are planning on selling your Herndon home—perhaps as early as this spring—you’ve already begun to give thought to getting it in shape for photography and showings. Some of the most obvious projects will be the most important (cleaning and de-cluttering are among those). You might tackle some of the areas that will require deep cleaning early on, but for the most part, those activities can be scheduled closer to launch: the day when your agent posts your Herndon listing.
On the other hand, there are some projects you can think about tackling right away. Depending on your own DIY enthusiasm, time availability, and the degree of rehabilitation each area needs, your first decision will be whether to call upon one of Herndon’s professionals or to handle the task yourself. That’s a decision that shouldn’t be overly influenced by your own personal pride of ownership. It’s only natural to want to take pride in the property you are about to show off to the world—but resist the temptation to start making major renovations right before selling your home.
Since selling your home is first and foremost a business transaction, make a cool assessment on that score. The business equation is satisfied when you refrain from making improvements that won’t return all—or at least a significant portion—of their expense.
Although every home is unique, some of the areas where meaningful but cost-effective improvements can often be made are:
For the areas which can be comfortably handled yourself, one piece of advice that’s easy to agree with is about scheduling. Plan on spacing the projects out over the time available rather than waiting until the last minute to tackle them all at once. That not only prevents a maddening log jam in your schedule—it also accommodates the reality that superior results for some projects can only be achieved in stages.
When you tap me to help with selling your Herndon home, that becomes my major focus, every step of the way, from planning to closing. I hope you’ll give me a call for a no-obligation consultation on how we can achieve the results you’re hoping for!
Since buying a house in Herndon is rarely a spur-of-the-moment decision, the shrewdest way to use any lead time is to fortify your side of the coming transaction. After all, there will be two sides striking that bargain.
For their side, the sellers will have to spruce up the property, prepare a marketing plan, post their Herndon listing, and then open their home to the public and to you—and later, to your inspector. For your side, you need do nothing more than to work with your agent to craft an acceptable offer—and to provide convincing proof that your offer is genuine.
That’s where you can use this advance time to fortify your position. If you will be a cash buyer, you already go to the front of the line. Otherwise, it’s up to you to put the credit rating system to work in your favor.
The good news is that with little effort you can use this advance time to bolster your rating. Since most competing buyers won’t take similar action until they are ready to start house hunting, it’s how you can get a jump on the competition. Here are three moves that can strengthen your buying power:
“Bitcoin Fever Hits US Real Estate Market” screamed last week’s headline—but like most of the other news stories about bitcoin, the details were less than convincing. Certainly, Herndon real estate has yet to be diagnosed with a serious case of bitcoin fever.
Yet, if you are a local homeowner who has begun to wonder if one day you might see “bitcoin accepted” messages in Herndon listings, you may have been tempted to check into what the hubbub is all about. Is bitcoin some get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme cloaked in technological mumbo-jumbo? Or is it destined to be the dominant exchange medium for all future electronic transactions?
One problem is that the bits and pieces of information that keep dribbling out through the media are often contradictory. If a single bitcoin is worth $11,000 (or $18,000, depending on the wildly fluctuating market), how could it possibly be used for buying a six-pack of Coke? Typical is the guidance offered by the CEO of the U.S.’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase:
For more of the latest in the Herndon real estate market, give me a call!
In Herndon real estate, it’s the steak—not the sizzle—that draws serious offers.
Even so, every year about this time it can be useful (and great fun!) to watch what comes out of Las Vegas’ CES gathering. This year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show—the annual trade extravaganza that grabs headlines for its bounty of new electronic product unveilings—unveiled a number of smart home tech debuts. Some were, as commentators noted, “weird and wonderful”—while others were potentially important incremental steps toward what will eventually become everyday household necessities. Among those that caught my eye:
For the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be sticking with less creepy, in-person showings. For those or any other of your own Herndon real estate initiatives, please give me a call!
If a National Association of Realtors® expert is to be taken literally, there is one unlikely factor that could lessen the stress level associated with selling your Herndon house.
Just have some kids around.
That may not sound logical—but weirdly enough, it really could make sense. The expert whose thoughts spawn this deduction is the home improvement specialist writing for the NAR’s magazine. Last week, Stephanie Booth observed that sometimes “raising kids actually makes your house cleaner” (Ms. Booth’s italics). I have to agree.
If you have small kids, you’re already thoroughly familiar with the accompanying housekeeping side effects. Ms. Booth recalls her own memories—like the sound of “the slow wheezing death of a vacuum cleaner” after ingesting one too many lego blocks, or the omnipresence of the crumbs, smears, and smudges that need corralling at regular intervals. But those facts of parental life give truth to some other logical consequences:
Since one of the requirements for the speedy selling of your Herndon house involves presenting house hunters with a spick-and-span interior, having dealt with kids’ messes on a daily (or hourly, depending on their ages) basis can put you at the head of the pack. Since “staying organized becomes a survival skill,” as the author points out, you are forced to “become a pro at speed-cleaning.” And that’s a skill that owners who don’t have kids at home (or who have forgotten what it was like) would have trouble matching.
All kidding aside, when you enlist me to help with selling your own Herndon house, we’ll sit down to agree on an advance warning timetable—one that ensures that even if you don’t have the “advantage” of having small kids to keep you at the top of your speed-cleaning game, you’ll have ample time to prepare for showings with a minimum of stress. Experience confirms that after we have created a smoothly running system for managing showings, good results are bound to follow.
To discuss other ways to get ahead of the curve for selling your Herndon house, give me a call!
We’ve all witnessed the remarkable rebound in real estate values—and last week, the scale of that recovery was the subject of a CNBC commentary. “A growing number of homeowners are in the money,” it found; then, “Homeowners are sitting on trillions in tappable home equity.”
Trillions? That’s a number that sounds quite impressive—but also hard to grasp.
To get a handle on the scale of the nation’s real estate recovery in terms that are more meaningful to Herndon readers, it calls for some imagination. Here’s a try:
If you think of a $345,000 home (today’s U.S. average)—and then of a neighborhood with 30 of those homes per block—a billion dollars’ worth of home equity would consist of 100 blocks of such homes. For Herndon, that’s would be a pretty large neighborhood, all right; but if you close your eyes and picture such an imaginary hundred-block neighborhood, you’ll have an approximation of what a billion dollars’ worth of real estate looks like.
It’s much harder to get a grip on a trillion dollars’ worth of home equity.
One way is to start out by imagining a magnificent estate owned by a titan of industry. This place has 50 acres of magnificently manicured landscaping; several guest houses; a subterranean garage capable of housing 20 antique autos in an appropriately climate-controlled environment; and an infinity pool overlooking an acre-size manmade pond (there are probably a couple of swans in the pond). Its nine bedrooms (they are actually suites) are part of the 50-room main house. Since it’s in a fabulously exclusive neighborhood, the estate’s value is reasonably pegged at $50,000,000 (fifty million dollars).
So all you have to do is to close your eyes and picture a neighborhood with 20 of those per block—and then, a thousand of those blocks.
There’s your trillion dollars in home equity!
The reason this has anything to do with reality—or with home equity in Herndon—is that Herndon homeowners are part of CNBC’s original headline calculation from last week. Between 2012—the bottom of the financial crisis—and today, homeowners across the country are the recipients of a trillion dollars’ rise in home equity.
To be precise, the rebound in home equity actually comes to three trillion dollars! That’s “tappable equity”—dollar values potentially available via refinancing or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). With mortgage rates currently lower than they were a year ago, it’s not surprising that cash-out refinances have been growing in popularity.
Herndon may not have any 1,000-block neighborhoods full of 50-acre estates, but we do have a lot of homes whose equity has burgeoned since the low point of the financial crisis. I’m proud that I’ve been able to help many of my clients participate in a share of that good news story. For your next Herndon real estate venture, I hope you’ll give me a call!
Whenever you set about planning for a move to a new home, particularly if you are an experienced homeowner, you usually don’t need to create a whole new priority list of factors you’ll be looking for. But by the time you have capped off a full career—when retirement is definitely part of what your future holds—you’re well advised to give added weight to factors that weren’t key considerations in previous house hunts. One source of advice for Herndon residents intent on finding the best retirement property is the NAEBA—a real estate association for exclusive buyer agents. Admittedly, their list of seven “basic considerations for locating the best retirement property” includes some that are hardly limited to future retirees. Two of them (“affordability” and “security”) are prime considerations for Herndon house hunters of every stripe. But their list of factors that are especially important in retirement includes these four:
Maintenance—Realistically, even the most enthusiastic do-it-yourself putterers will eventually encounter physical limitations. Taking that into account can ultimately “be a literal lifesaver.”
Mobility—If Herndon homes featuring ground floor master bedroom suites are increasingly in demand, this is one good reason.
Convenience—Your best retirement property is likely to be one with amenities within easy walking distance. Close proximity to golf or tennis facilities, shopping, and dining will make keeping active a low-stress daily option.
Pets—Not often given a high enough priority, the emotional and physical benefits of life with the right choice of 4-footed or 2-winged friends is a factor worth considering. The best retirement property could well be one that easily accommodates them.
A youthful outlook is worth adopting throughout life—but realistic accommodation to advancing age is actually a shrewd way to maintain exactly that. If retirement will factor into the choice for your next Herndon home, give me a call. Working together, I will help you find and snag your best retirement property!
When a young Herndon home buyer first hears the term “earnest money deposit,” the words alone pretty much explain the general concept. But I make sure to clarify the details before we begin to put together our offer.
The purpose of the earnest money deposit is to assure the seller that this is a buyer who is serious about completing the sale. If the seller does accept the offer, the earnest money is held in trust until it can be applied to the ultimate sale.
Since this deposit is a considerable sum, I make sure my buyer client fully understands the terms that control how it is handled—including three major happenstances by which earnest money might be forfeited. Each is avoidable if proper care is observed.
It might seem hard-hearted for the seller to refuse to return that deposit, but that’s not really unreasonable. In addition to the hassle of canceling the moving day and re-entering the property in the Herndon listings, there can be a question raised in prospective buyers’ minds about why the first contract failed—a potential problem the seller didn’t deserve.
Before a bid is ever submitted, I do my best to see that my buyers are sure—thoughtfully so—that a property is the one they really want. From that point on, I keep on top of all the ensuing steps, from drawing up the offer all the way through the final closing. I hope you’ll call me whenever you’d like to discuss your own Herndon real estate plans!
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.