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.
Looks like there's something wrong with Frank's site. Very little is coming up when I run a search. Thought maybe because of the national open house last weekend that they all went under contract, but when I removed the word "active" still nothing much was coming up.
yeah, it's been funky for me this morning as well. It will pull up any individual listing if you already know the url or MLS number.Perhaps one of us should write him...
Regarding yesterday's thread about contractors and the lack of trust etc...:I will say that nothing is more satisfying or gratifying than doing the job yourself correctly to your own personal standards.If the housing bubble showed us nothing, at least through HGTV and other channels, we were shown the polar opposites of what talented creative people can do on their own vs. people who should never be allowed to own a paintbrush or a hammer. For some folks, just because you can go to Home Depot and buy a hammer and saw does not necessarily mean that you should be allowed to.Contractors can lie to anyone anywhere at anytime, and most do. But if you're your own contractor, it's pretty hard to get away with the lie when you look in the mirror or are confronted by your SO.My favorite soapbox is how little the majority of folks seem to pay attention to contractor qualifications and focus instead on price. You get what you pay for. Cheap, Fast, & Good.You're allowed to pick two of the above.In my experience, the vast majority of remodels are always the first two choices.FWIW.
TN,Yeah, my mom's got a knack for finding the cheap and good but not fast (often 3-6 months to get around to a job that takes 15 minutes, but once it's done it's done). Wish I had that knack.My talents are limited to paint, wallpaper (as useless as that is, we wallpapered the whole kitchen, and two bathrooms when I was a teenager, it just takes patience, following directions and a lot of measuring) and assembling furniture. Oh and packing a truck or trunk or van, and packing in general. My husband's additional talent is knowing how to install new outlets or switches, although now that I've helped him do 5, I'm sure I could do that to, and his painting skills are rapidly improving. (I have a really hard time teaching anyone to do something that's become second nature to me... so the first room was like, "oh I didn't show you that trick?" 4-8 times before I ran out of tricks, by which point he was ready to kill me, but he knows them all now so it's okay).But other than that it's pretty much all new. We now can caulk. It's a fine-motor control thing, so that's me again. But he has been and will be doing the lion's share of the yardwork, so I'd say he still has the short end of the stick, compared to my infrequently needed fine-motor-control specialties.But plumbing, major electrical, trees, gutters. These things I'm not adventurous enough to do ourselves. Anything for which a contractor would have to have insurance for, and which you might need an inspection on, or there are codes on... yeah, that's beyond my skill level.
Frankly's back up again.he says you can follow the twitter feed if you want to know about outages:www.twitter.com/franklymls
NoVa inventories chartedRobert was right there is a vertical jump. It's just the weekly sawtooth pattern of listing on Thursday/Friday, contracts Monday-Wednesday starting back up again. But, it was enough to put Alexandria City over 2009's inventory and put Arlington County really close.Active inventory is definitely up in my neighborhood, and that has finally pushed up the time on the market from the less than a week that it was all winter (for good properties) to more typically over 20 days. But things are still selling.
Cara,Pretty much agree on everything.It just drives me nuts when I see folks who are movers and shakers in their own areas of expertise turn into complete Fidiots when they decide to hire a contractor. Present company excluded...:)Like I said, a favorite soapbox issue. I installed a programmable thermostat this weekend after a routine service call by E.F. Burr (rhymes with a well known local company) tried to upsell me on one. Hey, that's nice! A programmable thermostat to save *me* money! How much?$450.00.! ! ! ! ! !! ! ! ! ! ! !!!*gack*!Two hours later and $55.00 from Home Depot I had my programmable Thermostat. Works pretty well. I seemed to have saved $395.00.:-)
TN,Wow that beats (for insanity) the prices we got quoted in our free electrical inspection (i.e. they go through and give you a quote for everything they can think of). They were only going to charge $250 for the programmable thermostat. The worst we got was the $85plus $35/outlet on putting in three prong grounded outlets where there are two-prong now. $1 a piece for a 10 pack at Home Depot, $10 in new grounding wire (they were pretty short) $8 for a cutter/stripper, and 20 minutes each on the annoying ones, including figuring out which circuit to switch off. Plus 50 cents a cover everytime my husband screws it down too tight, but I'm hoping he cures himself of that one soon.
cara,i hope you have a nice chopping block ready if he does not stop overtightening the screws.
Konstantin,I don't get it.
Konstantin, was this what you were referring to ? Chopping Block
cara,N Arl inventory shoots up but so is listing price. pretty much a wash in my search.
cara,i just love the use of word cure with regard to one's behaviors. it always invites an association with Tendencies, Lobotomy, Corporal Punishment and as a matter of last resort --- Guillotine. just kidding.
konstantin,LOL. Now that you put it that way, it is funny. My "cure" is to stop letting him be the one to put the faceplates back on. Because he won't get mad if I break them, he'll only get mad at the plastic if he breaks them. And that whole fine motor control thing might help...
Did everyone see the big article (and poll) about how DC area people hate traffic? I thought this was an interesting question that has real estate market consequences:(Among commuters) Have you EVER moved to a home closer or more convenient to your or someone in your household's place of work primarily to improve the commute?Yes 28%No 71%That is a much smaller yes answer than I expected. I think perhaps we have all overestimated the premium people are willing to put on short commutes. On the other hand, if a similar poll in 2000 or 1990 would have found a Yes of only 10-15% then maybe there has been a shift toward caring more about commutes. And perhaps in 2015 or 2020 the Yeses will be 40%.
Re contrarian's tax commentary...I agree with housebuyer that it is almost certain they will end the Bush tax cuts for those with higher income. That's about all I think we can project. I do think one proposal that may come from the deficit commission (which came when Bush had a tax commission) is removing the mortgage interest deduction. This is skewed toward the wealthy. It also could be phased out over 10-15 years minimizing any huge disruption in the real estate market. That apparently is what Britain did (phase it out) and their real estate market had the same bubble we had even after it was gone. Canada functions without a mortgage interest deduction. There really is no strong argument for it, most Americans don't use it or only get a modest deduction from it, and it's a huge removal of potential funds.
Ace,Here's a letter to the editor where a senior citizen complains about how little he pays in Virginia state taxes. I found this interesting:The writer was chairman of the Arlington County board of tax appeals from 1994 to 2003, and runs the volunteer income-tax assistance program for graduate students at the University of Maryland.I presume he means the group that deals with real estate appeals. Perhaps you dealt with this man when you dealt with an incorrect assessment if your appeal came during that time period. I suspect given this letter he just viewed everyone contesting their assessment as trying to underpay taxes instead of people contesting a bad assessment.
Interesting, TBW. Actually, the chair was the ONE person who understood what the law required and that my data showed what I said they did. I'm not sure if it's the same person as this writer.If there were others on the group that viewed appellants that way, I might have more sympathy but for two facts: (a) people's motivation is basically irrelevant to the merits of the case they present, and only the latter is what the board is supposed to examine; and (b) just before me, there was a well-dressed elderly couple who protested what appeared to be a fair assessment of their multi-million dollar property overlooking the Potomac. They weren't arguing that the property was actually not worth what Arlington said. They just thought it was a big increase, and being retired and all, they shouldn't have to pay it, ad nauseum. Several on the board were quite sympathetic to them, arguing that people shouldn't have to move because they can't pay their RE taxes, etc. It was clear that for some members, it was a question of whether the appellant touched their heartstrings, not what the law required.
While I am thinking about it, I had posted this house here a few months back, saying it was going to be on RE Intervention.The house finally sold and went to closing on April Fools day. It was listed for $989K and sold for $851K.Here is the same house in a previous listing for $1.195 mil. This listing shows the house sold for $195K (net) in 1997.It still has not been broadcast yet on RE Intervention, but it should sometime in the near future. This is the comp (7 BR) RE Intervention picked in that neighborhood, listed @ $935K, to show why the first house (5 BR) was overpriced @ $989K. The comp is still on the market.
TBW said:"Did everyone see the big article (and poll) about how DC area people hate traffic? I thought this was an interesting question that has real estate market consequences:(Among commuters) Have you EVER moved to a home closer or more convenient to your or someone in your household's place of work primarily to improve the commute?Yes 28%No 71%That is a much smaller yes answer than I expected. I think perhaps we have all overestimated the premium people are willing to put on short commutes. On the other hand, if a similar poll in 2000 or 1990 would have found a Yes of only 10-15% then maybe there has been a shift toward caring more about commutes. And perhaps in 2015 or 2020 the Yeses will be 40%."Did you consider that the main reason only some 28% said "yes" is because most people can't afford to move closer in?
Contrarian- Wow that is impressive that the house went from under 200K to over ~800K in 13 years. The inside looks nice, but its not like they totally made the house over the top amazing.
Tom- You can almost always move closer and pay the same amount as long as you are willing to accept a worse house. So I think what this says is that most people probably start near there job in an apartment/small house and as they get older and have families they can't afford a big house in the close areas so they move further out and get a larger house. Not a huge surprise, I know my parents definitely could have lived closer in, but they wanted a larger home in a nice neighborhood so they accepted the commute that came with this decision
Housebuyer,You're making a huge assumption. I wouldn't opt to live in a ghetto to shorten my commute if that's the only option I had to keep prices the same. My $0.02
mytwocents- That is my point. Sure everyone would love to live in a great house in a great neighborhood right next to their job. Since they don't have infinite money they tend to give up on the close to work aspect and choose a good neighborhood and good house that are a little further from their work.
Ace- Thanks for the information about the tax link that contrarian had. I agree that the government will likely raise taxes and try and cut expenses some. I also think they are likely to continue printing money/ inflating their way out of their problems.
HB--you're welcome. There's a non-profit org. called OMB Watch that has more details if you're interested in looking at its site.Check out this truth-in-advertising:http://franklymls.com/AR7308159"The beautiful home shows true price of ownership!"
Thanks Ace. I love those occasional realtor Freudian slips.But seriously, this looks like a good price for that type of house and the location so perhaps that phrasing was intentional after all.
most people won't move because of a job because they are afraid the day they move they will be sacked, and,the IRS won't let you deduct it, if the job is less then 35 miles from your house.It's a real shitty deal, because 3 miles can be a 90 minute commute,but still be barely a county away.
Ace said(a) people's motivation is basically irrelevant to the merits of the case they present, and only the latter is what the board is supposed to examineAgree. That's why I'm guessing the letter writer was a bad judge.
Tom saidDid you consider that the main reason only some 28% said "yes" is because most people can't afford to move closer in?I'm going to ditto everything housebuyer said.I'd just add that Loudoun County has always in recent memory had about the same median HH income as Fairfax County (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, currently a little more). Thus, there are tons of people living out in Loudoun County who can afford the prices in Fairfax. I'm thankful they all do not want to live closer or else I'd really be screwed.Along that same vein the median HH income in Loudoun and Fairfax is higher than Arlington so they too could move further in.
TBW, I read the letter writer's main point differently. I thought his point was that, especially at a time when VA was facing a budget deficit and not meeting obligations (he didn't say this, but one example might be road maintenance/building), it isn't fair that retirees should pay 1/8 as much in VA INCOME tax as other citizens with the same income, but who aren't retired. I think he's raising a legitimate question. It's true that their age group is probably using fewer services (kids aren't in school now, few retirees are criminals requiring incarceration). It's also true that if they are short of income (or overtaxed) they will have a much more difficult time going out and getting a first, let alone a second job, than would younger people. But does this justify such a large differential in income tax bills? After all, you know as a single young man without dependents, you are also probably drawing far less in services than others making your income, and probably less than the letter writer is.
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