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.
On the extremely off chance that anyone missed this:Washington Post Bernanke re-confirmed 70 to 30 The Senate voted 70 to 30 to give Bernanke four more years as the nation's most powerful economic policymaker, after a sometimes-heated debate in which members of both parties -- including some who eventually voted in his favor -- assailed the Fed's actions under his leadership. While Bernanke won a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, he received more "no" votes than any Fed chairman before, topping Paul A. Volcker, who was confirmed 84 to 16 in 1983.
Cara-Thanks for the update. I wouldn't really read too much into him getting a record number of no votes. Clearly anyone related to the fed, treasury or wall street is very unpopular right now, and a lot of house and senate members are playing to this populist movement with their votes. I bet you that a higher percentage of the Senators who will be up for election voted against him then than those who don't have to worry about reelection for a while
Also the 4Q GDP number came out at 5.7% growth. Even if you exclude inventory restocking GDP grew at 2.2%. This is not healthy economy growth, but it is pretty close. GDP
housebuyer,Yeah, I think they're just trying to make a story out of it.That's a higher GDP than was expected, and I'll take more than 2% annually in the non-restocking portion. Not all coming up roses, but not bad either.
OK, like most Realtors I've talked to, I'm now convinced Zillow's # for my individual house has been calculated by an untrained gerbil. Zillow says it's more than 20% below peak in 05 and still falling. Meanwhile Arlington says about 8% drop during that time. There is a house very nearby that is modestly larger and partially updated about 15 years ago that is now under contract for asking price at almost 18% above mine. A house smaller, with one more bath, but otherwise nearly identical to mine (and not on the market) and assessed by Arlington as being about the same in value for years, is shown on Zillow now to be worth $60K more than mine is. Does mine have a vulture circling above it or something? Just makes no sense.
Ace-Yeah that is strange I think the Zillow person is just out to get you :-p Although it saying you are 20% of peak and the county saying you are 8% off peak could both be right, because it updates your price in real time rather than once a year (doesn't Arlington use the last couple years worth of sales?) So I don't find that as strange as the comparative value between your house and the comps.
Ace - I have noticed Zillow doesnt seem to work well in certain areas. For a while it was telling me my place in Old Town Alex was down 50% off peak, and it was using some houses in across the Potomac hard hit Oxon Hill MD as rationale for the same.Recently it has been showing my house, worth about 20% more than peak and using other sales in old town. So basically zillow thinks my house dropped a few hundred K in value and gained it all back plus more in a little over a year. In reality, both propositions were nuts.
Ace,Don't feel bad. I lost over 20K last month and 30% since peak according to Mr. Zillow.
Has anyone had to have a dryer vent (including duct work) replaced or used on of those duct cleaning companies?
this was sold on courthouse steps this morning for $470K to a 'pro.'
MM,Not much of a discount from the 499K. How many people were out at the Courthouse? How many went after this place? Do you think it was a good buy?
I got an alert this morning on an reo in S. Reston. I thought it looked like a good flip. Just pulled it back up and it's contingent. Jeez!!!btw, agents are already touting future metro in their remarks.
Va_Investor,there're 10 but one left shortly after the ETS lady announced the cancelled sales. 3 teams were actively bidding.it's only a 2/1 so i'm not a potential buyer, but after a face-lift it could rent for $2K. if it cash flows i guess it's a good buy. actually it appears there's currently a poor renter in the house, maybe the investor will let her stay.btw the opening bid was $463K and change. the original loan amount published on the notice was $406K. do you know how the bank came up with that opening bid?the funny/scary thing is, the 2-guy pro team next to me was actually bidding it without any knowledge of the house. they said they hadn't done any research (they're there for another property), and were asking me for information.more funnier/scarier is after it's announced 'sold' the winning 2-lady team said they didn't want it, half-jokingly...
MM,Don't believe anything that is said to you out there. They will try to throw you off if they think you may be competition. It's very easy to spot and scare away the newbies.They arrive at the bank bid by adding in late fee's, attorney fee's, trustee commission, etc. I do have confirmed instances of banks bidding in under the loan balance.There are people who bid completely sight unseen and take the "win some, lose some" attitude, but don't believe anyone out there.
Graffiti Suspects FoundJust so no one accuses me of not highlighting bad behavior by rich kids at schools I've said nice things about. [This kid lives in a house assessed at $916k.]
VA Investor,Have you received any feedback on the duct work question? I'm curious too as to reputable duct cleaning companies and what is involved.Thanks,My $0.02
Va_Investor,tks, makes sense. but before it started i announced to the group that i wasn't bidding, maybe they didn't believe me...one more question: can the bank cancel the sale at this point? the ETS lady implied so (can i at least believe her?)
Anyone else seeing new listing for spring starting to trickle on? Two new ones this week for my neighborhood, both overpriced for their locations IMO (on the main drag through the neighborhood), but interiors that are in good shape. Both are 2004 buyers trying to semi-break even. (list price minus realtor fees would have them losing a bit but not much). If they both put money down, they shouldn't be shorts... we'll see.
Cara-During a 6 year period they also probably paid down 10+% of the mortgage depending what their interest rate was so even if they didn't put any money done they would be ok if they got close to their 2004 price
Va_Investor saidbtw, agents are already touting future metro in their remarks.I rarely agree with you but I'm actually getting pretty bullish about Reston as well. I think the Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills corridors will be completely different in 10 years. Much, much more built out. And I've noticed Reston is becoming a place that many singles, empty nesters, older divorcees like akin to DC and Arlington (not as vibrant as those two but getting there). So I think more and more buyers in South Reston will like the convenience to the Metro, jobs, RTC, etc and be less concerned with issues (fair or unfair) some associate with South Reston that families care about.
mytwocents,No feedback so far. I used a company recommended by my appliance dealer a month or so ago. I do understand that ducts are a major cause of dryer problems. The appliance company told me that if the dryer heats up, then it is a clogged duct.There was quite a long run of duct and it cost me about $350 to have it cleaned. Now I have a place where this same company tells me that the "flex" duct has to be replaced with a "hard" duct to the tune of $800. The duct is stuffed with lint and they won't just clean it (code reasons they say).I cleaned my own at my house but the duct was entirely exposed and went directly out the wall behind the dryer.I was just wondering if I'm being ripped off.
So what area do the families that want to move somewhere for a long time live? Like nice neighborhood to go trick-or-treating, friends with neighbors, etc?
housebuyer,Depends quite a bit on the rate. 6% interest takes between 6 and 7 years to get another 10% equity, but in any case, they're likely to have enough to cover 6% realtor fees, if not another 1-2% to chip in for closing costs. (which is pretty standard for this price point/market judging by neighborhood sales).But by 2004.... there were starting to be more interest only loans, so I don't think it's necessarily safe to assume they have additional equity... They may, they may not. Given the comps they may be fully capable of paying the amoritizing loan, but unable to take advantage of fixing their rate due to low appraisals and saying to heck with it and selling after a year or two of paying the full amount and still not being cut any slack on the refi.No way to know for any individual seller.
MM,thanks for sharing btw. totally fascinating, I just don't have any comment...
MM,Sales are often cancelled post auction. Perhaps 25% are cancelled for various reasons (last minute bankruptcy, loan work-out not communicated to trustee, legal advertising issue, etc.). I've had many cancelled. Some come back on the block a few months later. A lawsuit I filed was the cause of some additional/change of language in the memorandum of sale.
Va_investor, $800 for a hard duct?? They're like $20 at home depot (or something like that) I'm guessing the access is the issue? Keep us posted.
sehwunderbar,Check out SFH neighborhoods built in the 60s. Look for neighborhood watch signs. 40% or more neighbors have to agree to do it for it to exist. Why the 60's? Old enough to be established, cheap enough to be accessible to young families, architecturally disliked enough to be mostly unscathed by the bubble.You missed the opportunity to scout neighborhoods for X-mas decorations... Did I mention I love my new neighborhood in Springfield/Burke? Saw an 8-year old kid pushing her dad on their tree swing the other day right before a thundershower.
Cara,Yes, access issues. About 13 feet is in the ceiling. The guy says it will be a 2 man 4 or 5 hr job. They will have to cut 3 holes in the ceiling (which I will have to have my contractor fix). I do believe this lint thing is real. It just seems these guys charge too much.
Ok,I'm thinking I have my guy put a hard duck at the elbow and blast the heck out of the duct work with his shop vac. Remove the outside plate and let er rip.Probably cost me $200.Any other ideas?
Cara, Thanks for the insight. I hadn't necessarily thought about the Christmas decorations, but that's a great idea! We are looking to get out of debt first, so realistically will be buying beginning of next year, unless awesome deal comes along, lol. So we will have another Christmas to check things out :)I have heard that the Springfield area is nice and priced better without a huge commute. Of course, we had to pick a church withing Arlington and $1M+ homes, erg.. We want to be less than 20 minutes from the church max (wishfully ten minutes max).
Va-Investor, we used Brian Higgins at Innovative Air Solutions..703-350-8739. Nice kid..everybody is a kid to me..we had a short run and he only charged us $90.00. As far as venting, its pure BS to replace because of code. Even when code is changed a homeowner doesn't have to bring whatever is out of code to code until it has to be replaced.A few days back you asked about PWC assessments, they don't come out till March.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention..make sure your lint tray is cleaned with soap and water every 30 uses or so. Bounce sheets clogs those little holes and the dryer will over heat. I actually "lost" 2 dryers before someone clued me in.
Ok,I'm thinking I have my guy put a hard duck ....Any other ideas?I would certainly advise against installing a duck. It will probably poop inside the duct, and their poo is mostly liquid, which when mixed with the lint is only going to make the situation worse. It's also cruel to the duck.Ahem....:)You've correctly assumed that you are being overcharged. Cleaning a duc(t) inside the wall is not a big deal. If I had to do it, here is what I would do. I would attempt to blow with air pressure (at least 75 psi or better) a kite string down the duct until I could get the string out of both ends of the duct. Using the kite string as a guide line, I would carefully pull through heavier line, probably nylon cable pull line, which you can get inexpensively at home depot. Once you have the heavier line inside the ductwork, I would find a small round chimney sweep ball/brush (you can find these at Lowe's/Home Depot) and ensure that its less than 1/2 the size of the ductwork. Tie the brush in the center of the string and with one person on each end of the line carefully pull the ball brush into the duct work and then back out. Go into the duct about 3 feet and then pull all the way out and vacuum the link or attempt to blow out the dislodged lint from either end with compressed air. Eventually you want to work the ball brush all the way through the duct work end to end. By slowing working in, and then backing out, you won't build up a ball of lint in front of the ball that will obstruct the ball as you try to pull it through. This is essentially what the pro's will do when you call them. They will just have better equipment and experience. If you're careful, patient, and resourceful, you can clean the duct yourself. Also remember, if you duct tape closed one end, and then restrict the opening of the opposite end, and then blow compressed air inside the duct, you will create a pressurized environment inside the duct. If you carefully start with low air pressure (less than 25psi) and use the block/blow method, you can dislodge a good bit of the lint this way also. Both methods should get the duct almost professionally clean.
Hey thanks Arkey,I told the guy the code stuff was bs. We all know it only has to meet code when built. I can't tell you how many home inspector's come up with that type of stuff. Good to have the reference. He'll be getting my business.
Va-investor,In my attempt to help you and be funny at the same time I overlooked the fact that you inferred that you have a flexible duct line in lieu of a hard conduit style.Flex duct becomes brittle over time, the method I proposed runs the risk of tearing the now fragile lining of the flex duct which is probably why your contractor recommends replacement. Unfortunately, installing hard duct work will require cutting into your existing walls and some rather creative work to install. Given that and my experience, I think the quote is reasonable. I retract my comment of "I think you are being overcharged".It's tricky work, they may not be the cheapest, but they are certainly not the most expensive. My gut says they are quoting you a fair price given the scope and risk.FWIW.
I can't believe I wrote "duck". Senior moment?
Tex,If I were 10yrs younger....
Va, we used him more than once and we had flexible "duck"..heheh,,if its old and brittle and running thru your attic you will just get extra insulation blown in...I'm being silly..
VAI, Chandler's Plumbing did mine for much less. You might ask them for an estimate if they work in the area of your property.
I should say that myjob was much simpler than yours sounds.
Ace, CRT,On Zillow's valuations, and more generally on using comparables--Suppose I am able to get a significant discount when buying a home because neither side uses an agent. The same home that had a high zillow valuation suddenly shows the new sold price as its estimate. And buyers looking at neighboring homes consider the reduced price as comparable. But nobody seems to consider the fact that if the sale had been a regular one involving agents, the sold price would have been much higher. The same applies to any special circumstances during the sale that might reduce prices.I am not aware if agents looking at the comps tell their clients about this difference. But Zillow certainly doesn't care.
HB, re: Zillow, thanks, but that wouldn't account for why Zillow has such a different valuation between my house and the slightly smaller house, which Arlington has always valued at roughly the same. As CRT pointed out re: his house, there are also strange "comps" for my house shown on the Zillow site, though you'd think Zillow would use the same comps for the house nearby - but maybe they use entirely different comps because of the 3rd bath.Arlington's assessment was just released. The time lag isn't far off. It reflects valuations of July 1, 2008- June 30, 2009, with some updates for sales since that time up to the end of the year. The neighborhood been slowly dropping for several years - no precipitous drop-off in the past six months (other than per Zillow). And, the house on the market wouldn't be under contract at asking price (well above Arlington valuation even though it doesn't have recent updates) if the neighborhood had dropped precipitously.So there seems to be something odd with a model that suggests a third bathroom is worth $60K. If not, I'll give the plumber a call in the morning!
Tedk, yes, that's also a good point , but again it couldn't account for the $60K valuation difference for the nearly twin houses.
zillow is best used for trend data not absolute data.
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