You’re excited to be searching for a home in Herndon. Your parents are probably excited about your house hunt, too. They want the best for you—what parent wouldn’t want to offer their best wisdom and counsel during the house hunt?
Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible for that very same best advice to cause a good home choice in Herndon to slip away. Being aware of some common familial pitfalls can keep that from happening:
A common denominator is to listen to everyone, but do your own research—and include what your own hand-picked REALTOR brings you. If you and I are proactive about the issues the house hunt turns up, your parents’ feelings won’t be hurt. There will be peace in your family, and a much more successful transaction...all of which can start when you give me a call!
It’s that time of year again when those of us who write about Herndon homes for sale and related matters have a hard choice to make: do I run the risk of boring everyone to death by writing the same ol’ spring cleaning blog, or can we (please!) just skip it this year?
This time, despite my inclination to do without it for once, I’m once again making the same decision. Yes, here is yet another spring maintenance reminder list. (Here’s the list first, ending with why I always make this same decision):
This isn’t an exhaustive list, so as you’re taking the leisurely stroll you’ll probably notice one or two details that can use attention: some caulking here, a screen that could use replacement there.
And here are the reasons why I always wind up deciding to repeat the same old points:
That last one could be the most important. Your Herndon home will only come up for sale one time, but you can enjoy it year after year when you feel good about how it’s cared for. But from my point of view, when the day comes that your Herndon home really is on the market, not having to scramble to correct maintenance lapses makes the whole process that much easier. Then all you have to do is give me a call!
It usually takes at least some digging to come up with relevant news for Herndon real estate watchers. Last week provided an exception.
The boldest headlines, cable TV info crawls, and email announcements dealt with the unexpected move in mortgage interest rates. The welcome news for Herndon home sellers and prospective buyers came with Freddie Mac’s midweek announcement that the benchmark 30-year mortgage rate had fallen to 3.97% “for the first time since November.”
Beneath the “Mortgage Rates Tumble Below 4 Percent” headline, the quasi-government site elaborated on the importance of the move. The drop had pierced “the psychologically important 4 percent level.” Freddie doesn’t usually delve into psychology, but in this case, it was well warranted. Locally, Herndon mortgage interest rates had been expected to trace a slow but steady rise, paralleling the Federal Reserve’s announced intention to nudge bank borrowing rates upward. Last month, after the Fed did exactly that, Herndon mortgage interest rates behaved as expected, tiptoeing upward.
Of course, since higher lending rates mean buyers experience higher monthly payments, that could presage less real estate activity. But since the Fed was expected to continue with two or three more Fed funds rate hikes in 2017, the opposite had been expected. More likely, prospective homebuyers would appreciate that the 4+% rates were still lower than average—and want to take advantage of them before they moved higher.
And in fact, by Friday the NAR’s REALTOR® website could confirm that U.S. “Existing-Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March.” The spring selling season was off to a robust start, chalking up the strongest month of sales in a decade. That was all well and fine, but how to explain the drop in mortgage interest rates?
Some informed opinion had it that world financial markets were queasy about an election in France, so capital was seeking safety (real estate lending fits the bill). When lenders have lots of investors sending cash into their coffers, rates get competitive. Others saw signs that the Fed might once again fail to follow through on future rate hike promises.
As for the most important takeaway—namely, what should local buyers and sellers expect for the immediate future of mortgage interest rates in Herndon, prognosticators were saying things like, “it’s important not to over-interpret” the latest news. Translation: “It’s anyone’s guess.”
One thing that is certain: we’re again seeing absolutely terrific Herndon mortgage interest rates! For potential buyers and sellers who choose to take advantage of that window, the way to get started is as easy as giving me a call!
Herndon real estate—like all real estate—is a supremely local activity. Area homeowners who like to keep an eye on Virginia and national trends do so because some of them may surface in future buyer preferences. For Herndon homeowners in a remodeling frame of mind, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of “what’s hot.”
When it comes to nailing down the latest home design trends, there’s no shortage of commercial firms whose publicity departments are determined to make convincing arguments that their products are in the vanguard. Since the National Association of REALTORS® isn’t selling anything, that’s one good reason to give special attention when Realtor Magazine puts out its annual “Home Design Trends” roundup.
This year, though, much of what they reported had more to do with American community and social environments than with the kind of details Herndon homeowners will find very useful. Those wider trends included a continuation of consumer preferences for “walkability”—in suburbs as well as in urban areas. Homes “far from everything” lose out in the “walk scoring” calculation. In a similar vein, as more and more people spend more and more time on social media and in front of computer screens at work, there is growing awareness that typical Americans crave more actual live human interaction: hence, proximity to social gathering places (clubs and clubhouses; community centers) is being newly emphasized in real estate sales materials.
But some more traditional kinds of home design trends were mentioned, as well, such as the finding that “taupe is the new gray” and a movement toward “naturally renewable, warmer surfaces.” Taupe’s slightly rosier tone conveys a friendlier feel than plain gray, which fits in with the turn away from colder black, white, and metallic palettes. Natural cork is one low-maintenance material offered as an example: it adds aesthetic appeal to walls and flooring. (Besides, it bounces back when dented)!
Other specifics include a shift from traditional log-burning hearths to natural gas and even alcohol-burning fireplaces. Herndon homeowners who have done without fireplaces entirely may take note: since they don’t require vents, alcohol burning hearths can be installed just about anywhere with minimal construction expense.
One home design trend that is definitely applicable in Herndon is a consequence of the ever-
diminishing size of today’s electronic technology tools. For those whose careers make working from home at least part of their professional work week, it means that the necessity for a full-room home office is gradually waning. Now almost any corner of the home can suffice. When designers speak of “dual-purpose areas” with “dual-purpose furnishings,” they probably have this trend in mind. A further step into the future is the “movable wall concept.” That’s not here yet: it’s projected for the futuristic Home of 2050. (I, for one, am willing to wait).
One trend that’s unlikely to change is the advantage to both buyers and sellers of being able to count on the services of an experienced Herndon REALTOR. I’m always just a phone call away!
You’ve probably heard the wry old saying: “Nothing clears the mind like the prospect of being hanged at dawn.” For some homeowners, you could add an equally wry modern Herndon real estate version: “Nothing clears the mind like having a real estate appraiser drop by for a look-
I’d like to counter that notion—there’s really not much to worry over when the Herndon real estate appraiser is scheduled to make an appearance. The stress level can be lowered by keeping a few simple ideas in mind:
There is another “nothing clears the mind” quote, too: Nothing clears the mind like buying property. That saying isn’t wry at all: it’s absolutely true! If you are setting out on your own Herndon house hunt, I hope you’ll give me a call to help focus your search. And if you’re readying to sell your own Herndon property (which puts you in the soon-to-be-visited-by-the-appraiser category) the same applies. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call!
This Tuesday’s tax filing deadline doesn’t pass without standing as the annual reminder to all of Herndon’s taxpayers that time seems to pass ever more quickly—as do the comings and goings of our earnings. The best estimate is that this year 70% of Americans will have overpaid by close to $3,000—making their tax refund checks the only smile-producing part of the annual ritual.
The Motley Fool financial site offered its insight into how most people plan to spend their refunds—but at least one real estate mogul counseled for a definite ultimate destination for those dollars. Herndon real estate could play an important role.
According to the Fool, 38% of respondents will use their refunds to pay off existing debts. Only 11% will direct the cash toward vacations; 5% will splurge on some kind of purchase; an equal number will put the cash toward a major purchase. The largest percentage— 41%— will sock their refund dollars into savings accounts. That’s where the real estate mogul agrees.
The gentleman in question is Sean Conlon, himself a multi-millionaire and host of his own TV show. This time of year, with income tax refund dollars rolling into more than 100 million households, he makes it a point to recall his own point of departure from day work as a janitor into being the owner of his own real estate mortgage company.
He saved. Stuffed every spare dollar into a shoebox until he’d scraped together enough to buy his first house. CNBC quoted Conlon’s dictum last week: “I’m a true believer that you should save every penny...until you buy your first house.” Herndon tax refund checks would more than qualify as major stepping stones toward what Conlon assesses as being “still the fastest path to wealth in this country.”
Another pointed tax refund observation came from a website called Financial Samurai. “Sam” points out that with tax refunds nearing the $3,000 mark, that amounts to nearly 6-7% of typical after-tax income: “a pretty meaningful number.” Since saving (that is, not spending!) $250 a month in that income bracket is difficult for most, the tax refund checks provide a one-shot opportunity to make saving a done deal. The same applies to those in higher brackets. In short, since out of sight is out of mind, Samurai recommends the best course of action for any tax refund check is “to make it disappear.” Into a savings account. Then there’s at least one other relevant tax consideration—one that fattens many a refund check: that whopping mortgage interest tax deduction!
The mogul and the Samurai both have valid points—and Herndon real estate opportunities (there are plenty on hand at the moment) certainly fit into that picture. Good reason to give me a call today!
Ah, springtime! As the daylight hours grow longer and buds and blossoms dot Herndon’s trees and gardens, even when a rainy day is in the forecast, the feeling of new life in the air can’t be denied!
Also undeniable is the all-too-apparent fact that Herndon’s bright April sunlight is now illuminating months’ worth of dirt on the windows. And now we can see more areas of the carpet that show the winter’s accumulation of ... what is that?
For residents from one end of Virginia to the other, the balmy weather definitely triggers a popular urge to put households in shape. But since there is a simultaneous contradictory urge to get outdoors to enjoy Herndon’s good weather, it seems like an apt moment to try to retrieve some of the many time-saving tips that are out there on the web.
In other words, it’s time for Google. To aid in in Herndon’s Googling efforts, here are some valuable spring cleaning search keywords. Enter any of these in combination with “spring cleaning” and Google will bombard you with scads of valuable insights and shortcuts:
For some Herndon homeowners, this spring will find them putting their homes up for sale. If that’s the case, give me a call for a professional REALTOR’s ® take on which spring cleaning efforts are likely to reap the greatest rewards!
Showings—whether here in Herndon or anywhere else—can succeed or fail as a result of quite minor details. Appreciating that fact isn’t hard to do when you relate showings to their theatrical first cousins: stage presentations. In important ways, they are quite similar.
Think of what happens when you attend a live play. The audience finds their seats, settle in, and wait for the action to begin. The house lights dim, the stage lights brighten, and the action begins. If all goes without a hitch, the play captures your attention—and it has every chance of successfully casting the spell the author and director intended.
But if one element is jarringly out of place, the whole effort will go kablooey! If a stagehand accidentally wanders onstage, the illusion is wrecked. Likewise, if a drama’s agonizing death scene is perfectly portrayed—up until the moment when the dying actor’s mustache begins to slip—the audience will be hard pressed to stifle giggles.
In a different way, the success of Herndon showings is subject to similar kinds of missteps. The illusion we are after isn’t that of a home that has desirable features and is in great condition—that’s no illusion: it’s real! The illusion part comes when we create the impression that the current owners are not much in residence; that the home—although it may be furnished—presents itself in a neutral kind of way that seems to be awaiting the new owners’ belongings and personal touches.
Showings tend to be most successful if prospective buyers have no trouble envisioning themselves as the comfortable new owners. They may or may not find that the spaces and features will accommodate their family’s needs—that’s not subject to illusion. But showings have the best chance for success if the “stage” is clear of distracting elements. That’s why evidence of pets should be avoided. Strong odors of any kind, likewise (fresh popcorn or newly-baked chocolate chip cookies are prized because they supersede other aromas). Family photos should be removed if at all possible; personal mementos of all kinds stored out of sight, and so forth.
When you appreciate the reasoning behind a showing’s attempted illusion, you can see why most REALTORS® advise against decor schemes featuring strong colors. It is also why it’s a good idea for owners to safely vacate the premises with a few minutes to spare. It’s not because the owner is objectionable—it’s that the presence of the owner counteracts the illusion.
The funny thing is that the “illusion” is actually an authentic projection: it’s a mock-up of the reality that will come to pass if the prospect does decide to become the home’s owner.
Showings are key parts of a coordinated residential sales effort that begins with the first consultation and continues through closing day. I hope you will remember to call me when you decide it’s time to put your own Herndon property on the market!
Herndon readers who frequently check in here may recall the inquiry into whether there really is a single best time to buy a house—and if so, when that might be.
The answer was October 8.
At least that was what the researchers at RealtyTrac deduced after reviewing millions of home and condo sales (from across the nation, not just Herndon). The definition of “best” they settled on was the date which recorded the greatest markdown between original listing and actual sale prices. On closer examination, though, 10/8 did seem to be an answer that was going to differ from year to year. But there was definitely evidence for fall being a good season for buyers.
Now there appears to be an answer to the equally beguiling question Herndon sellers may be curious about: What’s the best time to sell a house? Having an answer might be reassuring to Herndon homeowners in a quandary over whether to jump into the busy Herndon spring selling season—or to wait for a less crowded time of year.
This answer, which recently appeared on CNBC’s news feed, is less specific than RealtyTrac’s single date—and for my money, more convincing because of it. And the answer is (drumroll, please):
The first half of May, to narrow it down a bit. The reason is that a home listed between the start of May and mid-month sells nine days more quickly than does the average. To be absolutely accurate, though, the “average” is the average of home sales everywhere in the country—North, South, East, West, and everywhere in between. Warmer or colder climates can send the answer off kilter, as can market conditions present when the calculations were made.
The basis for CNBC’s finding was a Zillow study, but it was not clear exactly when the data was collected, so there is a possibility that in today’s seller-friendly climate, the best time to sell a house in Herndon might slip a week or two in either direction.
Further scrutiny yielded a two-track answer to the question of what is the best day of the week to list, with Saturdays vying with Thursdays for the honor. The reasoning was that Saturday is when most house hunters are apt to go online to check out the market; but Thursday is the likeliest day because people are gathering info for weekend open houses.
In my opinion, trying to zero in on the absolute best day to list is not nearly as useful as taking the time to identify who will be the best Herndon agent to help you sell your house. Along those lines: do give me a call!
The Rorschach (or inkblot) test is the one where a psychologist shows you a series of pictures that seem to be random black-and-white splatters. The shrink asks you what you think they look like. What you “see” in the inkblots tells something about who you are—how you look at things.
If someone were to create a pack of inkblots to test for who would be best suited for the tasks facing Herndon homebuyers, they’d be designed to pinpoint character traits that come in handy during a typical homebuyer’s quest. I don’t know how Dr. Rorschach came up with the shapes he chose (what was he thinking?)—but at least four characteristics to look for would be:
For Herndon homebuyers of all stripes, another kind of “inkblot test” occurs when you walk through the front door of what ultimately becomes “the one.” That’s an experience it doesn’t take a shrink to interpret: it’s the feeling that you’ve found your home!
When the time is right to start looking, I hope you’ll give me a call.
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.