The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

September 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Fall typically brings a burst of activity in the real estate market ahead of a winter slowdown, and this year is no exception. Buyers are out and looking for value this Fall after several months of declining sales in our area. Inventory has been up in the past few months (see graph here), with August reaching the highest level of active listings in 3 years (though still only 43% of its peak level, and well below the 6 month “balanced” inventory goal). Real Estate Business Intelligence (RBI) is predicting home prices to rise only 1-2% this Fall in this UrbanTurf article

There are still pockets of hyper-activity throughout the region, though, like our 3 bedroom rowhouse in Capitol Hill that received 5 offers in its first week on market. So, as always, real estate is all about location, location, location, and homes that are seen as a good value will sell quickly and still with escalation clauses. Pricing is critical in this late-year market.

I expect sellers who don’t see response by late October to start pulling their listings off the market as we approach the holidays. Sellers who have their homes on the market over the holidays are typically very motivated sellers, so buyers shouldn’t let the change in seasons stop their search–you’re much more likely to find a good value and not have to compete with other buyers.

As the weather changes, homeowners should think about getting their house ready for winter by draining hose bibs, cleaning gutters, and cleaning the chimney. And don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Click here for a handy checklist of fall maintenance items.

If you’re thinking of selling in 2015, winter is a great time to work on those inside projects and de-cluttering–contact us for our checklist of steps to prepare your home for sale. And buyers–now is a great time to get your ducks in a row with financing so that you can casually look over the winter (and you may even find a bargain or two). We’re offering just one more free first time home buyer class this year, and it’s scheduled for Monday October 6 at 7:00 pm at Arlington Central Library. To register, click here.

Warm regards,
The Wethman Group

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P.S. We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

September 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in August 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

August 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

<p>Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in July 2014, or if you have any questions, just <a href=”http://contact.wethmangroup.com” target=”_blank”>contact us</a>!</p>

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/cN9VITLcAis” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

July 2014: The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

July 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Wethman Group is having a banner spring, with 9 settlements in May, 7 more in June, and 8 on the books for July. But, overall in the DC area, the market slowed down versus expectations in May and June. Closed sales and new contracts decreased from May 2013 by 10.6% and 4.5%, respectively. Active listings increased 30.6%, which is the highest level in 2 years. But that increase, while welcome, is not translating into lower prices. Prices in May were the 28th month in a row of year-over-year increases. (Click here for the full market report)

Despite slightly higher inventory this spring, buyers continue to be frustrated with the selection available to them, leading to consumer pressure to create ‘coming soon’ forums. Zillow recently jumped into the arena by launching a Coming Soon category, creating a lot of concern and confusion in the industry about advertising ‘coming soon’ properties versus ‘pocket listings’ (defined as listings where agents don’t publicly advertise the listing, or advertise only to a select group of buyers, often to the detriment of their sellers.) Expect some articles in the press over the next few months as this plays out. Coming soon actually isn’t anything new…we here at the Wethman Group are part of several networking groups formed for the purpose of giving our buyers early access to upcoming listings. We’ve found that advanced marketing of properties, helps increase buyer awareness and exposure, especially in high demand neighborhoods.

Speaking of Zillow, they continue to make news with the accuracy/inaccuracy of their Zestimates. The Washington Post recently had an editorial here: discrediting the accuracy, and a counterpoint from Zillow, here: supporting its accuracy, about the usefulness of the automated valuation tool. Read our take on it at our recent blog post here: Accuracy of Zestimates

In technology news, our local multiple listing service just signed an agreement with HomeSnap, a free consumer app that allows buyers to look up homes (even homes that are not for sale!) simply by snapping a photo. It offers a lot of cool features including the ability to see lot lines, sales history, previous photos if the property was listed, and more. While some apps out there have some of these features, none are powered so extensively by MRIS, the company that owns our local multiple listing service, and therefore is more accurate than other apps. Special features are also available to consumers who get the app via their agent, so contact us if you want to be invited to use this free service!

We’re taking a break from our first time home buyer classes in July and August but will resume in September. In the meantime, if you know anyone considering buying or selling, we welcome your referrals.

Check out our new website: The Wethman Group and let us know what you think!

Warm regards,
The Wethman Group

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P.S. We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

July 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in June 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

June 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in May 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia MarketWatch

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in March 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

March 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in February 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

The Wethman Group’s Real Estate News

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As expected, the spring market has come early this year.  This is a tough time of year because sellers aren’t quite ready to go on the market but buyers (ever more concerned about the likelihood of interest rates rising) are anxious to get started! As a result, we’re already seeing multiple offers and escalations above list price fairly regularly, just like last year. With the lack of inventory, it’s more important than ever that agents be networking to find out about those ‘coming soon’ listings, and be available on short notice–one of the reasons we at the Wethman Group love working as part of a team. Homes are regularly selling before the open houses when priced right.

To serve our clients even better, we continue to grow our team and welcome licensed Realtor Bridget Hodge as our Client Care & Listings Manager. We’re thrilled to have such an experienced agent join our team dedicated to marketing our listings effectively. Bring on those seller referrals!

In market news, the industry seems to be divided as to whether we are pushing forward to new highs, or if the strongest part of the housing recover is over. “The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over.”  Gains may be slowing but they’re certainly not over; The unusually severe winter seems to be skewing the numbers for December and January (February and even March may be oddly low for the DC area given this latest storm so don’t be surprised if the final numbers don’t accurately reflect the hot market we’re in–take out 7 days for bad weather and the averages are highly skewed.)

Not surprisingly, neighborhoods in our area are appreciating unevenly, but you may be surprised by some of the DC areas with the greatest gains in 2013: Anacostia, 14th St, Deanwood, Fort Totten, Georgia Ave, and Kennedy St, among others.  Curious what your neighborhood did? Check out this list of median sales price, per square foot cost, days on market, and list price to sales price ratio for each zip code. Regardless of area, it’s clear that the 2013 was stronger than 2012 in every way, from sales to days on market, to sales price.

Another sign of the strengthening market is that developers are definitely back.  We can see new ground being broken on smaller projects in DC as well as large scale redevelopment elsewhere, including Pentagon City and Crystal City.

Virginia has recognized the challenge in coming up with down payments and is expected to pass the First Time Homebuyer Savings Plan.  Virginians will be able to put up to $50,000 in savings accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, and any other investments as “first-time home buyer savings plan accounts,” making the earnings on those accounts free of state taxes. The funds can be used for down payments and closing costs on first homes.  In reality, the savings to the taxpayer is likely small, but the fact that the vehicle now exists is likely to get people thinking about saving specifically for down payments.

Speaking of first time buyers, we have first time home buyer classes scheduled for Wednesday, March 26 andWednesday, April 16.  As always, the class is free but registration is requested athttp://www.newhomebuyerclass.com  Let your friends know!  If those dates don’t work, we’re happy to meet over coffee to walk through the materials.

NOW is the time to start getting your house ready if you’re thinking of selling this year.  It always takes longer than expected to de-clutter, arrange for repairs, and stage. Today’s savvy buyers expect homes to be well maintained and show beautifully if you want to get top dollar (thanks, HGTV).  If you know someone thinking of selling, please have them call us for a no obligation consultation and checklist of how to prepare for the Spring market.

Warm regards,

The Wethman Group

P.S. We have a nationwide network of quality agents–let us know if you or someone you know needs a referral to another city.

Northern Virginia Real Estate Market Update

February 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Watch the video below to find out what’s happening in the Northern Virginia real estate market. This video is about the housing market trends in Northern Virginia in January 2014, or if you have any questions, just contact us!

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