Thursday, January 26, 2012

Market Update

From an increase in signed contracts to the lowest inventory levels in six years, December highlighted a variety of real estate news for the Metro D.C. area. Here are some of the key trends from last month:

December contracts consistent with seasonal patterns. There were 3,250 contracts signed in December, 14% less than the previous month, but right on pace with the 10-year December average of 3,254. The 10-year average decline in new contracts from November to December is 15.8%. New pending sales were 1.7% higher than December 2010.

Lowest active inventory since August 2005, foreclosures down sharply. The D.C. Metro Area market ended 2011 with the lowest inventory level since August 2005 with only 10,684 active listings. This represents a 22.5% decline from December 2010 levels. Only 1 in 20 (5.6%) active listings are under foreclosure, a significant decrease from the 11.2% foreclosed market share in December 2010. Short sales, on the other hand, make up 22.9% of the market at the end of 2011, effectively unchanged from the 22.8% market share for short sales in December 2010. The 327 new foreclosure listings entering the market in December was 58.5% lower than the same period last year.

Stability in pricing to close 2011. The $325,000 median sales price in December 2011 represents a nominal 3% decrease month-over-month and a decline of 3.7% from  December 2010. For further perspective the December 2011 level is 1.6% higher than the $320,000 median sales price of December 2009. With a relative shortage in inventory compared to demand - the market has 3.2 months’ supply of inventory to end the year -  it is expected that upward pressure on prices will continue in 2012.

Increase in closed sales consistent with seasonal patterns; spike in closed short sales. There were 3,169 closed sales in December 2011, an 8.3% increase from the November 2011 level, consistent with seasonal patterns (the 10-year average month-over-month increase for December is 8.9%). The 401 foreclosed sales in December 2011 represented a month-over-month increase of 15.2%, but a decline of 42.4% from the 696 level of December 2010. The 461 closed short sales, on the other hand, represented a 22.0% increase over the 378 closings in December 2010.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mortgage Interest Rates

So there is plenty of news about the low mortgage interest rates and with that news comes plenty of speculation as to whether how long they will stay low and if they will go lower. While the answers to those questions are educated guesses one fact is that if they go up - it affects your purchasing power and your monthly payment.
To explain this further Rob Rudd from McLean Mortgage recorded a video which you can view by clicking below.

For more information on the subject Rob’s contact info is included on the top left of the page.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Inventory Update

For those looking to sell - especially in Northern Virginia - now would be a good time to look at your options as inventory remains low as compared to previous years. The Washington Times released a story this week - linked below - that outlines the affect that low inventory has on prices especially as we head into Spring which is one of the most active seasons in real estate.

To highlight this below is graph that outlines the NVAR region (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax City, Fairfax County and Falls Church City) and the inventory available at the end December

If you are interested in finding out more about what your home is worth and what the selling process is like please don’t hesitate to call or email one of us or sign up for our sellers and buyers brunch on Feb. 11 at Restaurant 3 in Clarendon. During this time you’ll have the chance to meet with all of us and have a delicious free lunch! RSVP at and include “Brunch RSVP” in the subject line.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Prepping Your Home For Winter in 7 Steps

Colder temperatures have arrived and we want to help you protect your investment. Here are seven tips to get your home ready for the winter:

1. Leaves...leaves and more leaves: The temperature change brought beautiful fall landscapes but now that they are on the ground it time to get them bagged and off your lawn. Beyond the overall appearance and the fact they become a walking hazard; these piles of leaves can harbor critters and destroy your precious lawn if not attended too. One of the easiest methods is to adjust your lawn mower to a mulch setting and tackle them during your regular mowing. If you don’t have a mulch setting, you can also purchase refuse/leaf bags at the grocery store, tackle the lawn with a rake and check with your local jurisdiction to see if or when they do leaf pickup.

2. Guard your gutters: Clogged gutters can be a huge nuisance and cause a wide range of problems in the winter months. One of the biggest culprits is the pesky, aforementioned leaves. If you are ok with regular cleanings and you're not afraid of the ladder this can be accomplished on your own, with some gloves and a hose but if you are dealing with high roof lines it might be best to call in a professional. To help eliminate the regular cleanings that are needed, a good investment would be gutter guards which block debris and save the time and hassle of cleaning. There are number of different brands and styles and it is best to contact roofing or siding company to see what is ideal for your home.

3. How’s the roof?: While you’re up cleaning the gutters or swiping back and forth on the lawn mulching leaves, take a look at your roof. For a closer look view through binoculars and check is there are there shingles that are lifted or broke? Check the rows around the roof line and the area around the chimney. If you see something out of the ordinary give a roofing company a call and have it inspected as the winter months can be cruel to roofs with freezing temperatures and heavy snow.

4. Close the hose: When temperature start to dip below freezing it is best to turn off the outdoor hoses and clear the lines of excess water. Locate the interior shut off valve for your exterior faucet (if applicable) and turn off the water to the line. Once you do complete this, go outside and turn the faucet on and clear all of the water from the line. This is one of the best ways to keep that line from freezing and bursting.

5. Check for breezes: As your parents have always said, they aren’t paying to heat the outdoors so check for air leaks in your windows and doors. First step is to clean the lining around the door and window and remove all of the dirt, dust and debris - this will allow for a clean, tight seal when closed. Next, close all of the windows and doors, turn on a fan and place an incense stick near the window and doors. Watch where the smoke goes and if it escapes replace the seal, which can be found out any major hardware store.

6. Out with old - in with the new filter: One of the easiest ways to help improve your HVAC system is by replacing your filter. Set a schedule based on the type of filter used and this will keep your system clean and should improve its efficiency.

7: Chim, Chim, Chimney: Not really a DIY job, but if you have a chimney, have it inspected by a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified contractor. They will check for cracks or any build-up of creosote within the structure and make sure it is functioning properly. To find a CSIA certified contractor see

As always never hesitate to give us a call or email if you have any questions about your home and please visit for a complete list of contractors and companies that we have worked with over the years. If you do use of any of the people on our list please be sure to let us know how they did as we are big on accountability and want to make sure we are sending the best to you in in all situations!