Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
If you ARE looking to buy - the holiday weekend is a good time to make an offer. I had a friend who got a really great deal on a DC condo that had just been listed before the July 4 weekend in 2002 - she made a list price offer either right before or after the 4th, and was accepted. (And this was in the early rounds of the multiple-bid era on property in DC). And, it was pretty reasonably-priced and in a great location.She truly made out like a bandit when whe sold it 3 years later - but, of course - promptly bought a larger place with her equity, and put herself on the hook for a much larger mortgage. She made so much on the first one that she'll be okay in the long-run (and she makes really good money) - but I can tell that the drop of the last couple years is wearing on her.I think the market is set to continue to stumble down, even in close-in areas, for at least another year. But - if you can't wait, the holiday weekend may not be a bad time to throw a low-ball out there.
Zero,Thanks. I also witnessed a spring holdout seller more than willing to make a deal by July last year.It sure is a quiet summer -- the new listings spigot seems to be barely trickling at this point. Trying to get interested in what's available is something like how it feels to pick through a clearance rack.
Like picking through a clearance rack where the original price still has not been marked down, or not marked down enough...:-)
New trend I have noticed in Arlington. New construction that isnt quite finished being sold cheap, as-is. By cheap I mean, 40% off peak price points. I guess some of the builders just want out. BTW, a guy I know in my neighborhood ( Bluemont ) put his home up for sale a couple weeks ago. At the advice of his realtor, he priced it mid 2004 pricing to generate interest. It sure did - he had 6 contracts on it in 2 days, and sold for about 10% over his asking price! He made out pretty good because he bought it in 1999.
Harriet - speaking of the clearance rack - I noticed an MLS listing for a new Stanley Martin townhome community in the small slice of Alexandria City west of 395 - on Tridelphia Way (just off Duke St.)What made me laugh was the MLS listing that said the property was "close to I-395, Van Dorn Metro, & Old Town." I guess 1 out of 3 ain't bad (at least a 20 minute walk to Van Dorn Metro along really busy streets - and as far as you can get from Old Town in Alexandria City).Also instructive is the fact that, according to the Stanley Martin website, it's a 41-unit townhome development - but it just counts as "one" in terms of MLS inventory. Of course, this is also the case in terms of condos all over the Alex/Arlington area.Priced from $569,000, according to listing - "a new low price."
regarding clearance rack - i have a observation in my price-range of what're selling and what're not: well-updated homes are selling, while those that need work are not selling, even if it's priced well. the reason? renovation becomes almost impossible now because everything costs more, from contracting labor to interests rates. in the booming days money was cheap and renovation guaranteed to be good investments at closing.
interesting, mm, but I think it depends on your definition of "priced well." "Priced well" to me on homes that need extensive and expensive renovation (e.g., it has a 70s kitchen) means priced far enough below the updated comps to fully cover the costs of needed renovations. What I see is a lot of fixers that are still priced above county assessed value or maybe $20K to $30K below it, when they need $100K or more of work, minimum. They may be $50K under a comp that has been updated, when it would take $150K to match the updates. So I don't consider either of those strategies pricing well. I consider them "delusional." People who are willing to buy a fixer know how costly and time consuming it has been and still is to get renovations made in this area. They're not going to overpay for them, especially not in this market. People who haven't done high quality renovations may not know just how costly every little thing is.
ps - and that is to say nothing of how lucky you have to be to find a good contractor who is honest, who is available and wants to do your job in the near future, who doesn't subcontract with a lot of incompetent or unreliable people, etc.
I don't think it's so much that renovations are more of a hassle now as much as it's simply that people can afford to be pickier without houses flying off with multiple bids over asking price - or at least moving quickly off the MLS rolls.If you found the house you liked in the neighborhood you liked in 2004 or 2005, you didn't sweat the 30 year-old kitchen as much as you would now, presumably with more options available in most neighborhoods and no fear that prices would be 5-10% higher in 6 months.Of course, I don't disagree with the premise that renovations are a hassle in most cases.
my main point was not on the 'hassle-ness' of home renovation, rather that it's more expensive to do and less 'profitable' nowadays.i wouldn't mind a 30-year kitchen in 04 mostly because sizable HELOC'd be there for cheap in 3 to 6 mo after ownership and guarantee profit at resale.people pay a 'premium' (possible value decline) to updated homes while staying away from the 'clearance rack' because no more fast and easy equity for big projects. (IOW, buyers choose to pay now instead of later because later is not happening anymore)
But mm, If you were right about current pricing and which houses are selling, then in your hypothetical scenario, you would buy just as likely to buy the fixer, because you would still get your money back on the kitchen - same as with the updated house. You're basically proving my point, which is that fixers that are not discounted enough to factor in the full cost of renovation are NOT well-priced, and that is why they are sitting on the market. I don't think that principle is any different from what it was in the bubble years.
correction: you would "be as likely to buy"
Article puts DC near the bottom of places to build wealth.According to the survey, the top five cities are home to some of the nation's largest companies and have recorded strong periods of growth. Following first-place Plano came Aurora, Colo., Omaha, Neb., Minneapolis and Albuquerque N.M.New York's diverse economy and highly-educated residents couldn't save it from sinking to the bottom due to its high cost of living and paychecks that just aren't "inflated" enough to make up the difference, the report stated.Following last-ranked New York were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco.
"Following last-ranked New York were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco."Why is it every one of these surveys lists places that are deemed desirable as very poor places to live. Its always the same usual suspects, New York, DC, etc. Problem is those places are so expensive because they are desirable. The article mentions, Plano Aurora, Colo., Omaha, Neb., Minneapolis and Albuquerque N.M. as good places to be. Well I cant speak for Aurora or Mpls, but if I had to live in either Plano, Omaha or Albuquerque I might as well kill myself now!!!
The anonymous-- the article wasn't ranking places on their desirability as places to live, but as places to build wealth. This probably doesn't matter much to the already wealthy, but for the middle class, which has been losing ground for some time, it is not so minor a consideration. Without either the stock market or the housing market supporting 'instant wealth' dreams people for whom things like sending their children to college is very important may return to out-of-fashion ways of doing things-- such as living in cheaper places and being able to save much more of an only slightly diminished salary.As for the places mentioned at the top of the list, the only one I wouldn't consider is Plano. The rest represent a range of decent to great places to live. On the other hand, at the 'bottom', the only one I'd choose to live full-time if I had the wealth to support it and no family connections to drive the decision is San Francisco. New York would be a great place to spend a few months of the year. I'd be satisfied with occasional visits to DC and Honolulu. As for LA-- 10 years is more than enough. I never wanted to live there to begin with, and though I found things to love about it, you'd have to lock me up and ship me back in chains to get me to spend any more of my life than I already have there.
I hear ya Sarah. I just wish there was really such a thing as affordable and perhaps charming too - however subjective that definition may be. For example, Birmingham Al, is a pretty cool southern city, Whitefish MT is a charming little place, yet they never seem to make these sorts of lists. I agree as to your ranking where to live if money was no object & you had no family ties. SF really is a world class city as far as I am concerned.
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