This week’s Q&A column is written by Rebecca McCullough of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Rebecca at 571-384-0941 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.
Question: How hot is the summer real estate market?
Answer: Like the weather, it’s really HOT!
The last time I wrote an article about the market, it was March, and we were at the beginning of closures due to COVID-19. We were all very nervous about what lay ahead for our health, wealth and employment. For some, it has been a very challenging and heartbreaking time; for others, it has been okay.
Here we are, four incredibly unusual and stressful months later. So what happened in the real estate market? And what does it look like now?
The Northern Virginia real estate market saw a very quick slowdown at the end of March. The bottom of the market for contract activity over the same week the year before occurred during the week of April 5 to April 12 in the D.C. Metro area with a drop of 44%. The following week, NOVA contracts bottomed out with a 40% drop over the same time last year. Surprisingly, only three weeks after the shut down, the market started to show signs of rebounding. This made sense, as the beginning of 2020 started strongly.
Since the beginning of July, we have seen an incredibly active and extremely competitive market. The biggest part of the story is the lack of inventory. Active listings are down 35% from this time last year and a whopping 52% down from same time in 2018. With spring level demand and exceedingly low summer inventory, we have ourselves a very strong seller’s market. In some pockets, we are seeing 15 or more offers on a property. Contingencies are being thrown out the window. It’s very challenging for buyers.
So what to do? Sellers thinking about listing, PLEASE do! We know there are still some sellers nervous about their health safety and therefore are holding off putting their homes on the market. Our industry has done a fabulous job of trying to make seeing properties as easy and as safe as possible through such avenues as online showings, virtual showings, 3D floor plans, FaceTime Live and more. If you search through previous McEnearney posts on ALXnow or visit our company website, you will see all the wonderful things we are doing as a community to keep you safe.
Buyers, buckle up! It’s going to be rough. Here are a few things you can do in order to put yourself in the best position to make an offer.
First, and this is true in any market, get pre-approved! Know what you can afford. Don’t just look at properties at the top of your price range either. If the homes are good, you should expect the price to escalate. If you’re making a cash offer, that’s wonderful, but make sure you have proof of funds to submit along with your offer.
Understand what an offer looks like. What are the various contingencies? What impact can they have on an offer? One contingency that is critical in a competitive market is the appraisal contingency. In some offer situations, you may be up against buyers who can waive appraisals. Meaning that, if the appraiser doesn’t value the home at the sales price, you will have to make up the difference of the shortfall. Maybe you can’t do that; if not, don’t waive the appraisal.
Be prepared to invest a few hundred dollars for a pre-offer home inspection. In a competitive situation, offers waiving a home inspection will be stronger than those that still have an inspection contingency. If you’ve done the walk through with the inspector, you’ll know if the home is in suitable condition before you to make an offer.
As always, the best way to arm yourself in this market is with a knowledgeable agent who has a good reputation for being easy and professional to work with, and listing agents pay attention to that. The thought of winging it without an agent may sound appealing, but will hurt you in a tough negotiation. A good agent is one who knows the market well, has extensive experience negotiating offers and can protect you from unexpected contract mishaps. Those agents will almost always out negotiate an unrepresented buyer trying to save a few dollars.
Also, agents know when homes are coming soon to the market. Marketing websites like Realtor.com and Zillow can’t post those. By the time you may see these listings on Zillow, represented buyers will have been mulling over the properties for days and be fully prepared to do a pre-market inspection when the property is active. Sometimes, there are deadlines for offers giving buyers some time, but not always. The early, prepared bird may definitely get the house in this case!
Finally, more good news. There is no sign that activity is slowing down. Stagers are busy! This is a good sign that there are lots more listings to come. And just when we don’t think interest rates can go any lower, they do. It’s really a great time to buy and sell! NOVA’s appeal may be even stronger down the road as people work more from home, and the freedom to roam and play in suburbs becomes more desirable.
Happy house hunting!
Rebecca McCullough has built a successful real estate business in Alexandria and Northern Virginia by providing excellent service to her clients. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today’s complex market, contact Rebecca today at 571-384-0941 or visit her website RebeccaMcCullough.com.
If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.
McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria
The biggest news throughout the region was the smoke from the Canadian wildfires that descended on Wednesday and stayed through yesterday. Air quality reached dire levels and the City of…
The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration visited Southern Towers in the West End this week, signalling to housing advocates that years of protests against rent hikes and evictions…
(Updated 1:15 p.m.) The Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge was closed to traffic due to police activity, though as of 1:15 p.m. is has reopened. A foot pursuit across the Mount Vernon…
A 4 BD/3 BA updated home with hardwood floors, covered porch and remodeled lower level is featured in Just Listed.
Are you seeking a confidential space where you can explore your emotions, overcome challenges, and find inner peace? Look no further than our dedicated psychotherapy service! We understand that life can be overwhelming at times, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
At Peaceful Mind Solutions, our passion lies in helping individuals like you navigate life’s complexities and find the strength to thrive. Our skilled and compassionate therapist is committed to creating a warm, non-judgmental environment where you can express your thoughts and feelings openly. With our personalized approach, we tailor each session to address your unique needs and empower you to overcome obstacles.
Through evidence-based techniques and a deep understanding of the human mind, our therapist will guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or simply seeking personal growth, we’re here to provide guidance and practical tools for lasting change.
Time flies when you’re having fun! The T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 will hold its 50th reunion July 21-23, 2023 in Alexandria. All graduates and their adult nears and dears are welcome. Events include a Friday evening icebreaker, Saturday dinner dance, and a Sunday brunch. For more information: tcwilliams73.com, 770.789.3534.