Last week came a piece of advice that’s directly applicable to Herndon real estate matters. To a greater or lesser degree, it also impinges on every one of your online accounts that attempt to safeguard your privacy.
The news is about web passwords and security. For more than a decade we have been offered a choice:
This advice originated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a pamphlet written by a mid-level manager named Bill Burr. Last week, Mr. Burr—who is now 72—admitted that much of the old advice was misguided. The recommended complexity had actually had a negative effect. “Much of what I did,” he said, “I now regret.”
So what ARE the new rules for creating your passwords? The new, rewritten guidelines suggest long, easy-to-remember phrases. The Wall Street Journal reported that “correct horse battery staple” (written as one long word) would take 550 years to crack, as opposed to the three days it would take to break “TrOub4dor&3.”
And better yet: forget about changing those passwords all the time. Change them only if there is an indication they’ve been stolen. It’s not every day that life gets easier—but this looks like it could be one of them.
Another way to make life easier when Herndon real estate matters are at hand: check in with me. When you call me at the office, you won’t even need a password!
When you have a firm timeline that governs when you’ll be selling your Herndon house, it’s one decision that’s made for you. Of course, it’s not always that easy. If a move from one home to another, or from Herndon to another area isn’t dictated by outside events, you have to make the decision anew every week or month.
On the one hand, the adventure and energizing prospect of a new home tugs in the direction of
getting the project going...while on the other hand, the mountain of details and effort pulls in the
direction of putting it off a bit longer. Here are five prime reasons why now—at the tail-end of this
summer, right before autumn sets in—is an increasingly good time to be selling your Herndon house:
The prime reason for knowing you are going to be selling your Herndon house, but not acting on it, is the hassle factor (the many details that have to be attended to). I can be a major help with all those parts—and since I enjoy every part of what I do, it’s a feeling that’s easily spread to my clients!
Making the decision that now is the time is actually simpler than stewing over it any longer. Just
give me a call!
Herndon mortgage rates have been so low for such a long time that it would be surprising if area buyers didn’t begin to take them for granted. It’s only human nature. Addressing would-be home buyers who, though qualified, remain on the sidelines, government-sponsored Freddie Mac headlined the question, “If Housing Is So Affordable, Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?”
The article appeared in Freddie Mac’s Insight publication which noted that right now housing isn’t just affordable—it’s “near record” affordable! HUD’s Housing Affordability Index has been rising for over 35 years, interrupted only briefly by the housing crisis of the mid-2000s. It hasn’t quite sustained the all-time affordability peak but is holding steady well within hailing distance of that 2012 record.
Herndon mortgage rates have cooperated nicely, continuing to go with the national herd. For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, U.S. rates averaged 3.90%—down even further from the previous week’s 3.93%. Of course, the 15-year and adjustable rate offerings were even lower.
With that kind of good news, why do the media report “affordability issues” (Mortgage Daily News) and even an “affordability crisis” (PBS)? The answers dwell in both perception and in some underlying realities.
There’s definitely reality in the widespread phenomenon of a shortage of housing supply. Herndon listings may show a number of properties being offered, but the national number of homes up for sale remains “very tight.” The echoes from 2009, when new housing starts hit rock bottom, are still having an effect. In that year, housing starts barely equaled a third of the previous averages. Even though current construction levels are nearly back to normal, they’ve yet to make up for that shortfall.
Less real is the public perception of how much cash is needed for a down payment. Herndon mortgage rates may be tantalizingly low, but when potential local applicants “mistakenly believe they must have a 20% down payment to obtain a mortgage,” the result is a number of otherwise-qualified buyers who don’t know that more than half of today’s borrowers make smaller down payments.
Not mentioned in the Insight article is another psychological factor that could explain two things at once. In The New York Times’ “Politics” section, a commentary sought to explain why the Federal Reserve wasn’t acting to boost interest rates. According to the author, the cause lay with inflation rates, which remain low—“and that’s a problem” for Fed rate-makers. The reason higher inflation would be a good thing (despite common sense) is that it makes consumers feel good when their paychecks go up. “A little inflation can brighten the economic mood...people enjoy the illusion.”
The upshot here may be that even though today’s extraordinarily low Herndon mortgage rates create actual affordability, some well-qualified customers may feel safer staying on the sidelines until the economy starts generating go-go economy headlines. It’s an ironic reality that by the time those headlines materialize, actual affordability might have already begun to slip away.
If you’ve been mulling the wisdom of your own Herndon home acquisition, let me show you some
great properties...and some great numbers!
Figuring out the perfect pricing for any Herndon home for sale would be easier if there were a way to confirm past instances that hit that mark precisely. But that can’t be done. It’s the nature of the beast: it’s simply not possible. Even if a comparable Herndon home’s asking price resulted in being sold immediately at that exact amount, it only could have been priced perfectly. We can’t know that it wasn’t priced too low.
Even if the pricing on some Herndon home was quickly met and even exceeded—IOW, it resulted in a bidding —that might be evidence that it had been originally priced too low. Even that isn’t certain because the supposed underpricing resulted in a sale that was higher than expected, which is a perfect result. So perhaps that was the perfect pricing. You see the ambiguity.
So if you can’t ever determine what constitutes perfection in pricing—even after the books are closed on a given sale—then there is no way to guarantee a number will result in the maximum outcome. That’s why the whole issue of pricing any Herndon home is forever going to be an art (with as much science thrown in as possible). That being the case, getting the “science” part right is pretty important.
When it comes to pricing Herndon homes, it stands to reason that the mortgage lending industry would have put maximum effort into determining the most predictive residential real estate values: in other words, any Herndon home’s most realistic pricing. A week ago, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders offered their advice to homeowners. They acknowledged that while “we’re on an upward swing” in property values in general, it’s still important to get “a very accurate estimate of home value” to attract multiple buyers and avoid surprises during the sale process. Their three steps to discovering that:
If you are just about to commit to buying or selling a home in Herndon, the first important task before you comes with identifying the best REALTOR® to assist your effort. That comes first because although you might begin by combing through the current Herndon listings or driving through the neighborhood to spot what’s going on, there is always a possibility that acting without delay will be important. If that happens to be the case, zeroing in on the best Herndon agent takes first priority.
How you ultimately select that best real estate agent for you involves a selection process that’s a lot like any business person's procedure—except that it’s easier to identify the candidates. You won’t have to post “help wanted” ads since the candidates (myself included) are all actively looking for you! We are the prominent Herndon brokers and agents whose names you see on the web and on our “FOR SALE” signs. They’re all over the place.
The true lion’s share of the work of identifying your best “hire” will come in the conversations you have with the leading candidates. Whether you call them up or drop in on them at their office (or run into them at an open house), it’s important to bear in mind that these conversations, whether casual or not, are actually employment interviews. You’re the boss; the agents are applicants—and the hiring decision is a very important one. During these interactions, if you can determine that the agent you’re speaking with is strong in these five qualities, you’ve found your agent:
Herndon agent, I hope you’ll call me for a chat!
Trying to categorize prospective buyers’ motivations and levels of seriousness is something that’s hard to resist. Many a successful seller will tell you how they originally mistook the ultimate buyer for an unreliable looky-loo (or vice-versa). Still, judging from the articles written on the subject, apparently it’s worthwhile recognizing the different sorts of house hunters and the categories that describe them. Category names vary, but here are six cited most frequently:
One step I can guarantee will advance the process: call me!
It’s true that today’s Herndon asking prices fall into a wide range—occasionally even at temptingly reduced levels. But last week came news of one that I have to admit beat them all by a mile (at least regarding the asking price). This was found in Montclair, New Jersey. CBS interviewed the selling agent. Money Magazine wrote it up. The NAR highlighted it.
Photos made the offering all the more interesting since the asking price was so low—yet the pictures were not, as any well-schooled real estate watcher would have expected, fuzzy images of some run down dump. The shots all showed a pristine historical (1904) 4-bedroom, 2-bath beauty, seemingly presiding in stately repose over well-manicured grounds. It looked like, well—a mansion.
The asking price is $10.
For those budget-minded Herndon home shoppers who would never consider making a first offer at full asking price, in this instance, you might make an exception. Since the current asking price has already been reduced from $1,400,000, you have to expect that the owner will probably not be willing to come down much further. The $10 is probably a take-it-or-leave-it number.
But lest any Herndon house hunters think about packing their bags for the trip to Montclair for a tour of the property, it’s only fair to elaborate on what anyone would already be assuming: namely, that there must be a few problems.
Local house hunters will appreciate the first problem, which is location. The house not only isn’t in Herndon, but it’s also currently sited on land that has been sold to a developer. It has to be moved. Moving a three-story 3,912 sq. ft. structure of this size is an expensive undertaking. Although the current owner is offering to contribute $10,000 toward solving that problem, anyone who has ever overseen this kind of house-moving project knows that the details (digging up the foundation, wedging in all the I-beams, jacking up the structure, getting it up on the trailer beds, etc.) comprise a pricey, open-ended proposition.
Local house hunters would encounter another problem, which is that, as a historically significant local landmark, the powers-that-be in Montclair have made it clear that the mansion won’t be allowed to be moved beyond the city limits. So transplanting it to anywhere in Herndon isn’t a possibility. Another problem: having been designated an historical monument, the home will have to be treated tenderly by its new owner. “Handle like eggs” might be the watchword. That could prove as tricky as trucking it off to its new Montclair destination.
Fortunately, the current batch of area listings offers buyers Herndon asking prices that may be a bit steeper, but represent opportunities with significantly fewer complications. They may carry asking prices less head-turning than the $10 listing, but when you consider the big picture, they constitute significantly better bargains. Call for details!
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.