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.
Any of you homeowners have an opinion on whether getting a security system is a good idea or a waste of money (both mine and potentially the taxpayers)?I'm having trouble deciding if it's a nice piece of mind, or a pain in the neck. Does having the security signs really deter burglary, or does it signal that there's good stuff inside that house. (which any burglar would be sorely dissapointed if they falsely reached that conclusion at our house).Does $35/month sound reasonable? How about the 3-year contract period?
I'm not a homeowner Cara but I have had some experience installing them years ago. I can't advise you on the pricing - though I note that the national average for alarm monitoring runs about $10 - 15.In my experience, the alarms will discourage very amateur burglars but not the experienced professionals. Professionals rarely target modest homes though. If you are paying money for alarm monitoring, do due diligence into actual response times and level of response. Is there a siren? What is the false positive rate? My most practical advice is to follow the steps in http://www.ehow.com/how_4910_choose-home-alarm.html. Also, check out the alarm system threads on the NoVa City-Data forum for advice from other local homeowners.IMHO it makes you feel better, get it. You should also check into what you can about landscaping around your home - such as cutting back shrubbery under windows and beside doors that burglars can hide in while working on breaking and entering. Very nasty sticker bushes are ok though, there are some pretty ones such as pyracantha. Also consider motion-sensing lights around the door as long as you can position them not to be set off by passing cars, sidewalk pedestrians, etc.Best of luck.
get a dog
Cara, what is the burglary rate in the area in which your home is located? Do other homeowners have security systems?I had 3 break-ins in 4 years in a "nice" neighborhood in the midwest (though it was on the edge of a rough part of downtown) and that was WITH a security system. (But I was glad I had it because the criminals left without taking anything on 2 of the 3). I have lived in the present house since 2000 and have had not one break-in - and no security system. But some others in the neighborhood do have these systems, and there have been break-ins from time to time - of houses that were on the market, interestingly. It also helps here that neighbors know each other and if there is a problem, a shout will bring people running and calling 911. So you may want to wait to see how friendly your neighbors are and whether they are willing to keep an eye on things if you are.
we're late to put a bid in for this home and didn't get to see the inside, but were hoping to get it for $570K. looks like i'm still $40K away from market reality...
Cara,Consider only getting the alarms w/o the service contract.
Most of my neighbors have a system. I'd guess the majority don't even "arm" their system. I'd like to have a sign or two, but maybe not the system.The motion lights are the best idea and some big dog dishes/beware of dog sign (whether you have a dog or not).I heard that you can buy the signs on ebay. Not really on the up and up...
c,good things to consider. The FFX cnty Police site had good information too. The overall false alarm rate is 95-98%.software,I'm not sure a pug is going to cut it. I'm a small-to-medium but non-yippy dog person. But my cat did okay with our friend's pug last weekend.Ace,I don't know what a normal crime rate is. However, there is a neighborhood watch program, and an aquaintance who lives in the next neighborhood over said that the neighborhood watch organizer makes sure that each new neighbor is introduced to everyone in their "quarter". She was like, "oh you're moving to _blank_, you're going to love it, Bill makes sure everyone knows everyone there."There were one third as many crimes in a half mile radius than there were around our current rental... We definitely will want a motion-sensor light outside, but that's just so we can see...
Cara-I agree with most of the peoples comments. I doubt the pros will be targeting your house/ neighborhood. They are more likely to find the 10K+ jewelry in some of the neighborhoods 10 miles away. Also for the amateurs a couple of signs are usually good enough. No reason to try and deal with security systems when the neighbors don't have one. I don't think it signals you have valuables. Normally it signals you a parent that just wants to protect your kids.
MM,At least reality has come to well within 10% of where you'd like it to be. I'm guessing if you go for one without an updated kitchen you'll have less competition, and might get a better price, so long as you can live with the existing kitchen for 3-5 years, and then spend more money on yourself down the road. I know, the problem is, there isn't that much non-updated stuff on the market. And it's not necessarily discounted sufficiently. But, with fewer competing offers they might be more likely to take your bid.Hopefully spring and the return of confidence will bring more sellers out of the woodwork in 2010. Wishful thinking, I know.Just curious, how many bids have you had to make so far?
Cara, that sounds promising. If you have laptops and other cool and lightweight electronics, though, that's a target for burglars these days. Be sure to backup your stuff frequently and keep the backup drive hidden somewhere away from the laptops, if you have them. I figure burglars aren't going to go to the trouble to look for a $200 backup hard drive, and while I'd hate to lose my computer, at least I wouldn't lose much data.
MM, very nice house. Sorry it didn't work out for you.
I've owned two places with burglar alarms. I've never bothered to turn them on.
Ace,oddly, we don't have many electronics (I doubt a 4 year old DVD player that only cost $100 to start with is a big target), which is part of why I said any burglar coming to our house would be sorely dissappointed. Now that we don't have to save for a DP, we could concievably start buying them though. Seems unlikely. Our kids are going to hate us.
Cara,What does $35/month buy you in property insurance? I suppose you can argue that a security system also protects the person, but seriously, do you live in a high violent crime area? I tend to view security systems similar to extended warranties on electronics - you never come out on top and largely pay for the 1:1000 failure that the other guy has. As another poster already indicated, you can get 90% the way there by trimming your landscaping, adding lights around your property and putting proper locks on doors and windows. There are a list of other things you can do to limit the number of visual clues that identify your property as an easy target. Remember that it isn't so much whether your house is burglar proof, but whether it appears more burglar proof than your neighbor. Sort of like that old joke about the two guys who were hiking through the jungle when they spotted a tiger who looked both hungry and fast. One of the guys reached into his pack and pulled out a pair of tennis shoes.His friend looked at him “Do you really think those shoes are going to make you run faster than that tiger?”I don’t have to run faster than that tiger, his friend replied. “I just have to run faster than you”.Jaime
Cara,um..., 0. three're on our list - that one I posted went UC few days after our agent had to cancel the showing; one pulled from MLS few days after the showing; one's an REO fixer upper which I'm not desperate enough yet to pull the trigger because the risks involved.Ace,the incurable of that house is that it backs up directly to some strip mall shops. and also no outside entrance to the basement. but yeah, i'd be happy as a clam had we bought it.
Jaime,That's true, for well under $35/month we could reduce our deductible quite a bit, if we chose to go that route. Heck, $35/month is 80% of our monthly insurance premium. (we've been customers since I was 16...).Maybe we need to get two cars just to make it more obvious that more than one person lives there.... Okay that may be the stupidest reason to get a car anyone has ever written.But a good argument against those family stickers for people without garages.
Jaime, just as a counter-example, I did all the stuff you and others advised in the last house, and had signs for the alarm system, but still had 3 break-ins. The armed burglar alarm was the one thing that, when it sounded, scared off the thieves 2 of the 3 times. The third time, the burglars had a universal remote for garage doors and stole and old and a brand new lawn mower. As I understand it, the newer garage door systems fend this off by changing signals constantly. I also lived less than 2 blocks from a police station (staffed by Deputy Fife but not Sheriff Taylor, apparently). That's what makes me believe that, while it is good to do all the other stuff, the most important factors are the proximity to high crime areas and neighbor concern. Without these, the security system can be a good, though imperfect, investment, and you do get a small discount on your insurance (maybe 10%?). It also made me feel more safe when I am there alone, which was worth something. Pat can probably relate to the neighborhood issue but maybe many of the rest of you are accustomed to a very safe suburban location, where a system may be a waste of money because the risk is so much lower (though not zero).And by the way, I have had three hard drive crashes and replacements, two under extended warranty, and the third (for a different laptop) just outside of it, so I think they are well worth the $! Not so much so for TVs, etc.
MM,It was indeed a very nice house house. There will be others. Here's hoping that when you find ones to bid on, that you get a better deal.
Cara,My concern wouldn't be the material stuff. I wouldn't want someone coming in when we (or I) was home. Insurance will cover your stuff. If you have expensive or sentimental jewelry, etc., get a wall safe or floor safe. I'd go with motion lights and fake dog stuff, etc. And don't hide stuff in your underwear drawer - they know about that!
Va_investor,My feelings exactly. At city-data someone was pointing out that you could get an alarm system and then just have it go off internally. I.e. give out a siren when it's tripped. That seems like a better plan, if what you're concerned about is personal safety.
Cara,I've had one for the last ten years. When i'm out late (sometimes working, sometimes not), it's nice to know the system is on when my wife is home alone with the kids. If it goes off, a text message is sent to my cell phone and i receive an automated call. Also, it'll give you a heads-up at 3am if someone breaks in while you're sleeping...extra time to reach for your gun/bat/golf club/etc.I use Alarm.com. It's a great system. All wireless (no phone line required for monitoring). You can arm/disarm it from a cell phone or any computer and control lights remotely (with x10 modules). You can also add video monitoring. I pay $25/month for self-monitoring, no contract. I think the central station monitoring is $35/month. The multi-year monitoring contracts are just like cell phone contracts. You agree to use the service for x years and they give you the equipment at a discount.The odds of a break-in didn't factor into my decision to get a security system. I also didn't calculate the odds of a fire in my house, but i have smoke detectors. It's just another insurance policy. If a security system will make you sleep better at night, get one.Anyway, it's nice to have if you don't mind the small additional cost.
Novahog,Ooo. I like that one. I think my take-away is to move in first, see how we feel about the nieghborhood and security once we've lived there, and then research alarm systems later if we decide we want one.
Sounds like a good plan, Cara -- also, if your house is not on the outermost edge of your neighborhood or on a main drag (i.e., is it the most accessible, the first place a burglar might encounter?), that may make a difference as well. In my previous neighborhood (which a website today shows scores a 9 on a 10--with 10 being bad--point property crime scale), we first owned a cheaper house squarely in the middle of the neighborhood, without an alarm, and never had a problem. It was only after moving closer to the edge that the alarm was necessary. Another downside of the system was that it was also very annoying that it was frequently tripped by mistake, such as when the cleaning crew forgot to turn it off after coming in.Novahog's system does look interesting. Some of the alarm systems that are wired can easily be disarmed with a pair of wire cutters.
Cara,Thanks. I'm probably going to have to overpay if my landlord drops the 60-day bomb on us in the next few months. I just don't see deals happening in the spring market. Summer (post-8K/5.5% interests rate/stock market cools off) is my only hope, even that is more wishful thinking than anything.
MM,There are always better deals than others. The only way you can find the ones that are going to be good deals is to somehow know the deaths and divorces, or to just bid consistently under comps until you luck out.Not every seller this spring will have the same level of confidence in the market, or the same reasons for selling, or the same goals with selling. Some will be moving to a retirement home. Some will be anticipating another leg down in the market, some will be needing to move for a new job.Even flippers often price just under market to keep their carrying costs down. And they don't always get bid up.Anyway, no reason to get discouraged before you've even started bidding. You never know, if spider's right you could be one of the comps that helps make this winter/spring lower than last year. One would think only the interest rate matters in your market segment, the $8k is chump change compared to those prices and the number of first time buyers in that category has to be small enough that it's already been depleted. Most have to sell first to be your competition, so January/February could be really good as a buyer (before move-uppers have managed to sell).
Cara said...Not every seller this spring will have the same level of confidence in the market, or the same reasons for selling, or the same goals with selling. Some will be moving to a retirement home. Some will be anticipating another leg down in the market, some will be needing to move for a new job.Even flippers often price just under market to keep their carrying costs down. And they don't always get bid up.(1) Supply side: Some will be anticipating another leg down.Demand: Some will see this as an great opportunity to get out in front of government expansion.(2) Supply side: Some will be moving for a new job.Demand: Many more will be relocating here looking for housing.(3) Supply: Flipper price just under market to keep their carrying costs down.Demand: NOVA will draw in investor dollars because of the strong fundamental outlook.Beer Chugger from the other day:Gives me something to think about, because I have seen enormous growth in nearly every sector the government contracts out to, from IT - Health. If that keeps up I can easily see this becoming a mega job center extending all the way out to West Virginia, with homes near the major job areas being valued like they are in and around Manhattan island in NY...
Robert,My point was that "fair market value" does not eliminate the spread in prices amongst comparable homes.I really really didn't want to brag. But fine, if you force me to, a house down the street from the one we're closing on next week, just came up as sold. For $27k more than ours. And which one is nicer? Is totally a matter of taste. There's has higher end lipstick, but ours is in better line with the architecture and our tastes and wants (like a screened in porch). Purely objectively, it makes sense that that one sold for higher, but not by that much.My point is, $27k is a lot of variance for two houses of the same model, built one year apart, less than 1/4 mile apart, closing within weeks of one another.
CR put up a reader poll for the 2010 economic outlook. Unsurprisingly the answers so far are pretty bearish. Go vote!http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/
Cara-I don't think the peoples unemployment and GDP go together. If we have a double dip we will almost surely have 11% unemployment. We might have that even if we have 2-4% gdp growth.
Cara,I think it's natural to check solds where you have bought. I think anyone who bought/buys at rental parity has little reason to lose sleep. And, as I've stated ad nauseum, above a certain price point rentals have never pencilled-out.I came up with a way to be first in line on certain reo's. I'd share, but I don't want to destroy Leroy's portrait of me as a know nothing, shill, 2006 pumper whose only success is due to luck!
Robert said on 11/23/2009...Cara, I know you don't necessarily want any confirmation from me because I play the uber-bull on this blog, but it will only take until April for you to get that first 10% under your belt.That didn't take long.
I'd expect another 5%+ by April and that these gains will hold (at least on a nominal basis). The interest rate is a bonus!
Cara said...CR put up a reader poll for the 2010 economic outlook. Unsurprisingly the answers so far are pretty bearish. Go vote!Economy Poised for Surge as Most Accurate Economist Sees U.S.The CR poll results where more than 50% believe we go back into recession shows who their readership is. I've heard that blog hailed as balanced. BS. It caters to the same gloom and doom crowd that contrarian belongs to. They will continue to post negative articles else their readership will decline along with their revenues. Yes, it's all about the benjamins.
housebuyer,Are "we" really that affected by Nationwide unemployment?
Robert-I think they have a negative bias, but it could be a lot worse. When positive news comes out they also post it.
VA-No Nova is pretty immune to nationwide unemployment rates. When I said we I meant the country. The poll was saying the country was going to go back into a recession, but unemployment was not going to get worse. I was just saying that even if the economy grows some the national unemployment will likely get worse. It takes several quarters of growth before companies feel safe in hiring new people. My statement was not meant as a DC specific comment. I should have been more careful with my choice of the word "we"
Cara, Here is my two cents on Home Security & Electronic Security Systems, as always, the opinions are free and worth what you paid for them:1. The $35/month @ 3 years is to pay for the hardware and a small profit built in from the sale of the system amortized over the three years. You get what you pay for for that $~1260.00. i.e. the typical ADT or Brinks home system is better than nothing. See the other notes about the install and how to maximize your system for optimum performance. The $35/month is usually for a starter system and does not have individual glass break alarms and other useful items like dual motion detectors.2. There are much better web based monitoring systems that allow you to customize your response and notifications via the web. On homes with pre-installed security systems, there are ample web resources that tell you how to reprogram those systems to use the web based monitoring services which are much less expensive, and again, very customizable. You have to know how to reprogram the pad to use web monitoring, but in this tech savvy age, I am certain you have the skills.3. If you do get a commercial system such as ADT/Broadview or similar please note:A. Have them put the arm/disarm pad inside a closet inside a common area such as the living room. Change the inside closet lock to a keyed alike lock keyed the same as your home front door. Why? You need to restrict access to the panel and the alarm box. Most new systems come with remotes anyway, and this is free system hardening. Never put the pad by the front door or rear entry door. Worst place. Be very careful where you put the AC/DC power converter. You want that hidden somewhere that isn't easy to find. I hid mine in the garage attached to the side of the garage door mechanism. You couldn't tell it was the alarm power system unless you knew what to look for.B. Upgrade the cheap alarm "siren" to a commercial alarm horn. Get a better one online and change it to at least a 100 db alarm inside the attic pointed outside. Your want your neighbors to call the cops also, not just you.C. Check to see if your landline, if you have a landline attached to the system, is armored all the way into the ground. This means the telephone cable and outside box cannot easily be disabled. The easiest way to armor the line is to run the cable inside simple electrical conduit. Put the junction box inside a metal box, you can get these at Home Depot or Lowes. You will probably have to pay to get someone to install the box if you don't know someone with the skills.D. If you have an outside breaker box, you need to put a padlock on it. SOP for crooks to disable your brand new alarm system is to walk up to the house, pop open the breaker box, flip off all the breakers, and then cut the phone line. Voila. System disabled. Make it harder for them. Five people reading this post will think "Crap, I need to put a lock on the breaker box". It was the first thing I did after my 1st home burglary.Home alarm notifications to the PD can run as long as an hour, sometimes longer, rarely faster. It isn't like in the commercials. The commercials you see on Tv portray a worst case scenario combined with an unreal best case alarm system & response. That isn't reality. Reality is what you see on page 7 or 8 of the WaPo.Responding to home alarms is pretty low on the code scale for most Law Enforcement Agencies unlike a live 911 call by a human.I don't have a home alarm system. I have two SPCA rescue mutts with a doggie door. Two in-stud quick access steel safes inside the home between the outside doors and one inside the MBR with the appropriate tools to defend my family and home. The dogs are the alarm system, I am the responder. I trained my wife to use the same tools when I am away.FWIW.
5% growth by April? That's nuts.
I would agree with some of the points raised by TexasNative. However, DON'T make your keypad too hard/time-consuming to get to, or you will not be able to disarm it before it goes into alarm. Figure on entering with an armload of groceries in the dark and take it from there.The alarm system will not protect you against a quick smashngrab, nor against a professional thief. Do, however, try to guard against a simple power disconnect (having a good battery backup should protect you for 2-3 hours provided the power supply and battery are not in an obvious place). Protect your remote monitoring phone line too.The simple measures that I mentioned earlier (shrubbery, motion sensing floodlights) would be effective supplemental reinforcements. The truly paranoid can supplement that with CCTV transmitting to a digital video recorder in a hidden location (with motion sensor activation to reduce recording time).Got a big yard? Get some geese. Very effective burglar alarm (the ancient Romans used them). Plus they kill snakes, lay eggs, and make an excellent Christmas dinner. Big negatives are the trails of slimy green poop everywhere, plus the coyote and dog packs they attract. (I am a former goose owner.)Oh, you can take this topic in all kinds of directions... :)
"Robert said...The CR poll results where more than 50% believe we go back into recession shows who their readership is. I've heard that blog hailed as balanced. BS. It caters to the same gloom and doom crowd that contrarian belongs to."Robert -- the CS posters (not the same as the CS readership) is a pure doom and gloom crowd. I agree they cannot be trusted in the least.However, that has nothing to do with the headline site (aka the posts from Bill McBride) which I do find quite balanced. There is nothing I love more than to see him post something bullish -- causing his readership to attack him viciously -- only to see his bullish forecast verify 6 months later. Great comedy!As an aside, regarding our resident doom and gloomer Contrarian -- I have a sneaking suspicion he has capitulated in a big big way. I will post more about this tomorrow but it looks like he has given up completely -- talk about a "contrarian" indicator. If he has done what I think he has, its the clearest sign of the bottom I have ever seen:)
Last comment...A retired Chief of Police once told me the single most effective thing you can do to secure your home is to lock yourself out of the house (no cheating) as an exercise to identify weak points for free.You will instantly identify the weakest point on your home as you try to break in. Which is what we all do when it happens for real when we accidentally lock ourselves out of the house. We all know which window is the one we forgot to lock or suddenly remember its unlocked.Systematically eliminate those weak points with multiple drills like the one described will be a very effective deterrent. For free.
"I came up with a way to be first in line on certain reo's. I'd share, but I don't want to destroy Leroy's portrait of me as a know nothing, shill, 2006 pumper whose only success is due to luck!"Now now, I see I have hurt your feelings.I never said your "only success is due to luck" only that you had a lot of luck in entering the market when you did and nothing you have described so far indicates an unusual level of talent. Besides, you WERE a shill/pumper back in 2006. There isn't really any need to debate that. You and lance were the captains of the "it is always a good time to buy real estate" boat and you were trying to get all the "bitter renters" on board. Why pretend you weren't?
I am not sure what the CS site is but Calculated Risk has an interesting article on finding the housing bottom. They argue that we are probably at a national bottom for now (though certain areas are still overpriced). "But the real key is to focus on supply and demand, and on the general fundamentals of price-to-income and price-to-rent (not perfect measures). House prices are not currently "cheap"."The original article may be found here http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/12/are-homes-now-cheap.html
housebuyer,"If we have a double dip we will almost surely have 11% unemployment. We might have that even if we have 2-4% gdp growth. "Quite true. But I like to be optimisitic, and the manufacturing and business data is starting to come back positive now. (via CR's own reports) So I think unemployment will peak sometime April-August and be heading back down under 10 by December.The Anonymous/RobertCR's readership is bearish, CR's cult following is totally bearish, and CR's actual commentators (other than Sebastian) are uber-uber bears. But Bill himself is as balanced as they come. Just reports the facts with lots of graphs and interpretations generated through a life-time of experience. What I suspect is the initial poll results will be the most bearish, but as more casual readers wiegh in the poll will move a little more centered, but still to the bearish side of CR himself.Texas Native,Wow what a lot of good pointers. I've pretty much decided against a traditional ADT/Brink like system. Woah was it alot of fun to call and cancel last night. Holy moley did I ever get the hard sell then. If it was the system we wanted we could have gotten the first year free. Keep that in mind folks, order it, then change your mind, get a year's service free... Let's see it took "this is not up for discussion", "I am not going to call back again, I am cancelling now". (his lines included, "there have been 3200 break-ins in your neighborhood since 2007" Really? where my neighborhood is what, the entire Springfield area of Fairfax?)I'm probably going to have to call the local number now, just to make sure they know it's canceled and don't freaking show up, and then charge the installation fee.... I hate salesmen, have I ever mentioned how much I hate salesmen?
Cara I think Springfield has more appreciation coming. We have been renting out some houses family members owned in Kings Park and North Springfield while waiting for the market to improve. If the market continues to improve, we will do some renovations and sell them in the summer. Prices are pretty solidly in the mid to high $300,000s right now and I can see them going well into the $400K range by the summer. I think you will get at least your 10% appreciation in Springfield. It has been undervalued for the last 5 years.Does anyone have predictions for the next undervalued area where we can invest the proceeds from the sales of these 4 houses? We are looking closely at Annandale and some of the neighborhoods off Columbia Pike in FAlls Church because they have good proximity to the Army headquarters campus at Mark Center in Alexandria.
reecon,Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know I love the area. Perhaps more people will discover it for the inexpensive gem hidden in plain sight that it is.I'd check out neighborhoods convenient to Fort Belvoir, F/S metro, and learn more about Herndon if I were you.
"Contrarian said...you have to wonder why CRT fell off the radar. I don't buy the story about his getting a new job. He would still be free during off hours and weekends, but he virtually disappeared."Contrarian, this has very little to do with my new job. In case you missed it, I announced my "retirement" a few months ago. I was very interested in this site when I saw (what appeared to me) clear signs of potential doom. I was also interested in the "its moving in" debate back when that was raging.However, now that "its moving in" has proven to be a farce, and now that those potential signs of doom I saw have dissipated, I simply dont find the site that interesting anymore. Median prices are (generally) up YOY, Case Shiller will likely soon follow, inventory is at multi year lows. Quite simply, I have moved on. I probably wont ever go completely away. If those signs of doom do reappear (huge overhangs of inventory, huge months of MOI, deflation, etc) I will get more involved again. However, until they do, I will likely miss an occasional jab directed my way from time to time (so feel free to blast away).As an aside, as much as I try to stay above the fray these days, I have to admit, I have gotten tremendous amount of satisfaction in seeing this graph (which you originally provided). http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Annual_Inflation/annual_inflation_chart.htmSo despite your assurances the elliott wave teachings that a massive deflationary wave "simply cannot be stopped", no matter how much $$$ is injected, we are now showing inflation at a rate of what 1.7, 1.8%???
CRT,cool graph!!We're almost back to the long term linear regression line. Wow, when did that happen? While we all stopped looking.
One of the problems with looking at the long-term inflation rates is that the BLS keeps jiggering the formulas. My understanding is that energy and food are eliminated from the reported core inflation statistics and that the underlying data points are no longer calculated using fixed points but are manipulated by hedonic adjustments. If calculated by the methods used in the 1970's, our current inflation rate would be around 9%.
c-I am pretty sure that CRT is showing the BLS total inflation not just the Core.
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does any of you frequent franklymls users know what the f next to the price of a listing indicate? i'm guessing it means foreclosure as i know at least one with the f is, but some others just don't look like REOs to me. for example, this knife-catcher's home. (the price movements is really interesting.)
MM,I think that's what it's supposed to mean. He hasn't announced it yet, but he did mention that he was planning such a tag. It may still be buggy right now.That's a cute cute house. I can see why someone fell for it. Quite the rapid price movements. With the detached two car garage it may be close to market value by now... Hard to say. (since I'm just extrapolating from your other postings). Also hard to say how low they can afford to go.
MM, I thought it meant "foreclosure" also but I agree with you that if that's the case, the f appears to be an error for that house. That house looks to me to be a steal at the current asking price. Which leads me to my second point...Unlike CRT, I find this site even more helpful than ever because I can't figure out whether it IS "coming in" or not, at least in the price ranges and neighborhoods I'm following. The trend lines in the zipcode maps on Frankly are jumpy but generally heading down; Zillow is heading WAY down quickly; I see listings like the one MM posted and can't figure out why they are unsold. All this suggests that Arlington and similar places are coming down, not precipitously like some of the other suburbs and exurbs, but still substantially, gradually over time, particularly given the low interest rates.Then I will see houses selling for tens of thousands over what I would have predicted (based on comps., not just on my opinion). The picture is muddied by the fact that there are relatively few sales, making it harder to see a general trend (vs. the idiosyncrasies of the houses that do sell and/or the people who buy them.) And obviously the info I have is imperfect, e.g., I haven't visited all the houses, I'm not a Realtor, inspector, investor, or structural engineer, etc.So I really can't figure out what the trend is and where it is heading. I need all the help I can get.
sorry - should have said "it's moving in" rather than "it's coming in", meaning bubble bursting or price declines to the closer-in suburbs.
I don't know, Ace, many of the areas that I am looking at show the price trending jumping sharply while most other local areas are falling.22304 for example, which has plenty of houses in my price range (under 400K)as opposed to the 600 and 700 properties frequently discussed on this blog.
c, yes, I think that's one of the reasons why it is hard to figure out what is going on (even aside from seasonality, the recently expanded buyer bribe, etc.).
I would draw the conclusion that it's not just the area but the price range. Of course, my target areas tend to have lower end pricing for NoVa. The trending is still headed down in that price range in DC. Ditto for Maryland, which as a former Maryland resident, I will not consider. A shame, as there are some lovely properties going cheap in the Ft. Washington area. Trending for 20744 is on a sharp downward trend, has been for a long time.
Cara, Ace,That house's way beyond my price range so I'm not interested and can't say why it hasn't gotten a contract yet. It could just be that no one is really buying right now. It's certainly the case in my market segment; I think there're three UCs in the last 2-3 weeks, with one came back active.BTW, please don't bid against me, but I've found a steal. 5 days left to put a bid in... Good bye, N Arl!
c,Ooo this one's cute:http://franklymls.com/AX7207575(I'm a sucker for stone-work)That median graph is insane! I think median's don't work so well on a zip code level. Too much leeway for small number statistics to make the magnify changes in the mix. The median shooting through the roof like that practically has to mean that the $700+ homes are now selling again, whereas they weren't a year ago. Which could even mean prices on the high end have dropped to where buyers can meet them. (there's no way on earth any individual house went from 550 last December to over 800 today, that's just not what happened).I think the higher end homes are what are usually discussed here, simply because I'm the only regular commentator left who's price range was under $400k. Everyone else came and went as they bought.Oh, wait, Kevin wants to pay under 400k. So there's at least two of us, soon to be one.
Cara,count me in as one. (please let it be WELL under $400K! I'm so excited!)
Hey, Kevin, TBW, and others, did you see this article from Oct. 09?Single living"Single living is wave of the presentCensus data show surge across area; Alexandria and District stand out...Every jurisdiction in the region showed a leap in single households. In most places, they now make up 20 to 30 percent of all households. In the District and Alexandria, almost half of all households have just one person."
Wow, MM, that house is a steal! Good luck!I won't be bidding against you, because we are buying a house in N. Arlington. ;-)Frankly, I don't care if prices continue to go down, flatten, or whatever. We love our new place, and we intend to be here for at least 10 years.
Yes, Cara, that is one of the properties I've been looking at. I'm glad to see that there are a couple of others in my circumstances (even if you all are competing with me on searches) as I hate to see everything reasonable sucked up by flippers determined to boot properties up 50K by adding 6K worth of work over two months.Reasonable is as reasonable does I guess, but not everybody has deep flush pockets.
MM, looks to be a very nice house but that neighborhood is a bit questionable - be sure to check it out at multiple times each day and check out neighborhood statistics. Like much of the rest of Arlington, you can have a very nice street or two right next to a really messy one. I hope it works out!
The reason why I am trying to figure out prices is obviously because I haven't found a place yet (actually have found one I like very much but it is way out of my price range - and has been sitting a long time. Will it come down? if so, by how much? will someone else snap it up if it comes down a little?). And, if I get lucky and find a place, we'll need to sell this one. I would want to sell quickly once the new place is found, so setting the price correctly is critical.
MM,man that's a tough one to get comps for...the best four in Nauck Green are:http://franklymls.com/AR6813765http://franklymls.com/AR6698033http://franklymls.com/AR6993801http://franklymls.com/AR7130122And you'll see those are all over the place and I couldn't even get more than one in the last 6 months that was of similar size to the home in question.Try working from the whole zip but with similar price and similar number of bedrooms: 22204 detached (4bdr,5bdr,6bdr) 200 to 650ktry limiting that to "bank" also and you get down to 23 to look through and price against.some for perspective:http://franklymls.com/AR7083416 http://franklymls.com/AR7083218http://franklymls.com/AR7027302http://franklymls.com/AR6980929http://franklymls.com/AR6906306http://franklymls.com/AR6949831Draw your own conclusions on how each of these rate relative to the home in question, house-wise and location-wise. And how meaningful they are time-wise, or how to correct for the timing of their purchase.But it looks to me as if this REO is priced to attract multiple bids. Run the CRA as well (clicking on the LA's solds and actives).
congrats, paka!Wow, the whole blog is buying. Me, Novawatcher, paKa, hopefully MM soon. Impressive.
Cara, I agree; the pricing and bid deadline method strongly suggest the agent is hoping for a major bidding war.
MM,On second look, based on the ones that are in the most similar condition, that list price looks pretty close. Man, I don't envy you trying to figure out how much is too much to pay, and then how far under that you can bid and still stand a good chance of "winning". Comps are too thin and too dissimilar, and too widely variable in price depending on condition... Just don't overpay, because you'll have a lot of work ahead of you. And do what Ace said too...
Ace said..."The reason why I am trying to figure out prices is obviously because I haven't found a place yet (actually have found one I like very much but it is way out of my price range - and has been sitting a long time. Will it come down? if so, by how much?"Be careful with waiting for the home to come down. I watched a house for several months that was overpriced waiting for the large price reduction that never came. When it showed up as sold the final price was over 100k off the initial list even though they'd only dropped about 25k from the initial price in the listing. If you want a place it can't hurt to low ball them now. Worst case they say no, and if it sits longer and they lower the price you can try again later.
Cara,I'm still not!
xpovos,I stand corrected. Please excuse my hyperbole. I do tend to that...:)
The Anon Said""As an aside, regarding our resident doom and gloomer Contrarian -- I have a sneaking suspicion he has capitulated in a big big way. I will post more about this tomorrow but it looks like he has given up completely -- talk about a "contrarian" indicator. If he has done what I think he has, its the clearest sign of the bottom I have ever seen:)" That's totally backward.When the Last Bear Capitulates it's a peak, when the last Bull Gives it up it's a bottom.if Contrarian has given it up and is buying a house, it's definitely a peak.
Cara,I've been absent/quiet for a bit, so it's OK to have forgotten about me too. :-PAnyway, I'll offer my congratulations to the horde of purchasers as well. I'm bearish, but not to the extent that I think any of you is making a poor decision. You're here and getting educated. That means you'll be making an informed decision. And most of the time that's the best we can hope for.
Cara said..."Wow, the whole blog is buying."Why would anyone be here if they weren't interested in buying a home? I think it's more impressive how many people are still here and haven't bought yet, knowing that this blog is specifically for people interested in a home purchase.
Jeremy,You think there's a lot of pent up demand still? I don't think that's necessarily wrong, but I think it's the same pent up demand that's been pent up here for 15 years or so. People who aren't DINKs, lawyers, or other big salary earners who want a slice of a reasonable American dream. Those folk aren't buying now, and as long as salaries aren't increasing and prices aren't coming down (both of which seem reasonable for the forseeable), I think they'll remain pent up.
Jeremy,1) We constantly talk about how we are more conservative and savings oriented than the "normal" person, so we should be buying slower than the market as a whole.2) It's my impression that more people have bought or are now buying, than there are people who haven't yet. True, as the Anonymous says there will always be a fresh crop to replace those that have bought, but we're talking about a lot of long-timers here.
Xpovos, no I wasn't trying to say anything about pent up demand. There have been a few random comments this week about how "everyone" is buying, some implying that we must be at the bottom. I was just giving my take on why it might seem like so many people are buying. A blog like this should have turnover - and the existence of any "longtimers" other than investors (or Contrarian) to me says a lot more about the market still not being at the bottom than the normal turnover of posters finally finding homes.
Jeremy,existance of any? (besides anielarke, Va_investor and contrarian?) Don't you think that's an oddly high standard?How exactly is it that you think bottoms get formed other than by people buying?We can't know whether this winter, last winter, next winter or the winter after that will be the bottom until all of them have passed. So, I guess your standard may turn out to be looser than a historical perspective on events...Whether you think the bottom is in or not, depends on which bottom you mean (monthly costs, nominal price, or real price) what market segment you care about, but more importantly what you think the economy is actually going to look like next winter. If you think this will be a long drawn out recession for our area, and will double dip next year sapping away all lingering confidence, then it's not the bottom in any rung above rental housing. If you think the local economy will continue to improve, and be back in steady growth and low unemployment by local standards by this time next year, then the bottom was either last winter or this winter. (except in the market segment that is disconnected from earned income).It's not just the $8k or the 5% interest rates, it's the lack of free-fall in the stock market, and the improving local jobs numbers that made the sales pace so high this fall despite a dearth of inventory. If the economy is looking like it's not just on stable footing but heading towards growth next year? There will be more buyers and especially more move-up buyers/sellers. If nothing else this will mean price discovery.
Every transaction is price discovery.
Jeremy, re: price drops, I totally agree and have seen a few houses do the same thing, but for a variety of reasons our agent doesn't think it's a good idea right now. Happy New Year everyone!
WaPo articleAlready, in Northern Virginia, median home prices were up 12 percent in November compared with a year earlier. In Prince William County, which had one of the region's highest foreclosure rates, median prices rose 23 percent.But other parts of the region may continue to struggle. Median prices in Prince George's County fell 17 percent in November. Prices fell 6 percent in the District and were flat in Montgomery County.So, what is Case-Shiller really telling us?First American CoreLogic is forecasting a 2.4 percent increase in home prices by October in the Washington region.Uh, that'll be -5% in MD+DC and +12% in NOVA = 2.4%, or something like that.Also, with the WDC economy growing at a 6.5% annual clip, is my estimate of NOVA growing at 9% too low?Here is the reason high-end home prices are falling...and may continue to fall:The fallout from the housing crisis has included banks tightening their lending standards. Many lenders now require that borrowers put up heftier down payments and have stronger credit scores. It has become more difficult -- and more expensive -- to secure financing for investment properties and second homes. Some home buyers applying for jumbo mortgages -- those of more than $729,750 in this area -- have been required to come up with 30 percent or more as a down payment.The bears will be excited by this:But in the meantime, tighter standards are in the works at the Federal Housing Administration, which is involved with about 30 percent of the country's home purchases. It has proposed increasing requirements for upfront cash paid by borrowers and raising minimum credit scores for borrowers who receive FHA-backed mortgages.I'll believe it when I see it, but is possible...if approved by Bernanke/Geithner/Obama/Frank/Pelosi/Clinton/BoA/Sierra Club/Mickey Mouse, etc.
Robert/Ace We can generalize in a broad sense. But as I said, I believe that price movements vary both as to location (as most have pointed out) and price bands. For myself, I suspect that housing in the local area will be rather bouyant as govt (and beltway bandit) employment increases under a predominantly Democratic administration and a stagflation scenario. However, if we hit another major deflationary spiral and a Republican congress and/or administration determined to downsize govt, watch out. But that is at least a couple of years off.
c, because you've implied a few times that I am lumping everything together (or maybe I am misreading you), let me clarify. If you'll look again at my 10:40AM post above (2nd pgh in particular) and my many prior posts on the topic, you'll see that I am talking about a specific range and neighborhood or comparable neighborhoods.In particular, I have been watching the move-up houses (preferably in Arlington, in the $900K-$1.1M range, more or less) for a long time. This range has long had a huge months-of-inventory (the same is true in Fairfax Co.). Robert and I agree, I think, that this range has many "sticky price" sellers and has not moved as much as have other ranges and that we expect some downward movement--though this depends a lot on many factors, such as employment, financing availability and rates, the stock market's performance (because some buyers are using invested funds for downpayments or gains/interest/dividends for some of their monthly payments).
You are misreading me Ace. I am very interested in your posts and I apologise if I gave you the wrong impression. I know it is hard to read between the lines in emails and easy to misinterpret intentions.I am interested in explanations of sticky prices and any analyses of local price movements. I follow a lot of financial sites (heavy on the contrarians) and am always looking for alternative viewpoints that may depthen my understanding.
Happy new year everyoneMay your results be as good as your intentions.
Ace I sympathize with you trying to find a house in Arlington in the $900,000 to $1.1 million price range. That is the range we were in and finally bought a house before it went on the market. Several of my friends are also in that price range and can't find anything. My agent told me about 2 houses in the $1.1 range coming on the market but both are on busy streets (Nellie Custis and Lorcom Lane). We thought that was a tough range when we were looking because it meant either a split foyer or rambler in a great area, okay older houses on busier streets, or badly built new houses in not so great areas. I hope you find the perfect house in 2010.
c, Leroy, and homeowner, thanks and may Leroy's wish come true.homeowner, congratulations on finding the right house for you and on having an aggressive agent who helped find and grab the opportunity when it was presented. Thanks also for validating the challenges of looking in this range--you have described the inventory perfectly. Something's gotta give!
homeowner, Ace,There are split-foyers and ramblers for a million dollars? Dude, I know it's the land, but I gotta see this. Can you post some?
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