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“But how will that affect the future resale value of my home?” is a common refrain from many clients when they are considering decorating and / or improving their home. This is an interesting question and my answer is usually not expected.

 

Typically, I encourage my clients to pursue their passion and improve their home for their enjoyment. We have all seen formulas for returns on certain improvements. To those formulas, I san “So what?”

 

You take vacations, attend theater, shop for unnecessary, but desirable things, go to the spa,  and  purchase a host of other “pleasure” related things without concern of  future return. All of a sudden, when it comes to changing a wall color or adding a distinctive fabric, the breaks screech to a halt and the fretting begins. So the question is, how long do you plan to stay in your home? This answer will help you determine the wisdom of painting a wall chartreuse or building the outdoor kitchen.

 

Over the last 30 years, trends have shifted. Perfectly operating appliances have been discarded and many people have spent thousands of dollars keeping up with their neighbors’ improvements. However, what really makes you happy? Is the color du jour really your taste? Will you cook more at home with stainless steel appliances over the ones you have, and will you bathe/shower  longer or better in  the huge tub and/or shower? Will you be happier if your bank account has an extra zero?

 

Celebrating my 30th anniversary since my career change to real estate, this year, I have become pragmatic about improving, enhancing, or diminishing home values. Over this period I have learned valuable lessons.  I share 5 of those lessons with you below:

 

1.      Happy homes sell.

2.      Well-decorated homes with personality (regardless of color scheme) sell.

3.      Clean, well maintained homes, and tidy landscaping sell.

4.      Location sells.

5.      The right price will sell any time.

 

It is easy to get caught up with TV trends and neighbors’ improvements. I always recommend careful examination of the motivation of a proposed “improvement.” Unless, you will wake up and be deliriously happy  to see and/or use the improvement, bank the cost. If, on the other hand, you will enjoy the improvement, without concern about future return, then treat it as if it were a vacation and get it done. 

 

Be happy in your home and pay attention to its maintenance – both indoor and out. The worst that can happen is you’ll eventually have to repaint a few walls or you have paid to enjoy a particular feature that was important to you.

 

Have some fun and enjoy your home.

No matter how much you want to move, parting with a home can be an emotionally difficult experience. Especially when buyers come in and start criticizing everything.

To a buyer, your living room is not the place where your baby took her first steps, it’s the room they can’t see through the carpet stains.

Every deal has give and take, but as a seller you get to set the starting point: Condition of the House. Think of your house as a car, how would you prepare your car to sell if you couldn’t just take it to a dealer and trade it in? Get your house clean and in at least reasonably good repair (unless, of course, it’s totaled).

If you want your house to sell quickly and for near (or above!) your asking price, then you might want to put a bit of extra work in before the house goes on the market.

DECLUTTER. DECLUTTER. DECLUTTER.

If we can’t see the house through the possessions, it’s going to take longer to sell or sell for a much lower price.

If you can’t bring yourself to actually get rid of things, just put them in storage. The main thing is to get them out of the house.

Stuffing everything in the closets or garage is only an okay solution, not a good one. People love closet space and big garages, those actually aren’t parts of your house that you want to hide behind a wall of boxes or junk.

Also, if you put your possessions in storage, you can feel easier about having people come look at your house. Obviously, we want to assume the best about people, but it’s still wise to be proactive about protecting your home and family.

REPAIR THINGS

If you are hoping that they won’t notice that thing over there, then they probably will. Especially if it’s water damage, mold, or something missing that really shouldn’t be missing. Faucets. Broken towel bars. Door knobs. Burners. Linoleum peeling off the floor. Screens.

UPDATES OPTIONAL

Everyone wants to know if they should upgrade their appliances, their floors, or their cabinets, in order to sell their house. Well, that depends. How old are your appliances? How nasty is the carpet? How chewed up is the hardwood? If these things are in terrible condition, you should probably consider that a repair. If they are in good condition…you might not need to make changes.

My question is: Why don’t you upgrade when you can enjoy the upgrades for a little while first?

This process can be very difficult, but your realtor should be able to help you prioritize and get your home ready for buyer’s critical eyes.

 

 

The Right Price
The Right Price Brings the Right Buyer

The Washington, DC Metro real estate market is very vibrant this year. With excellent weather and attractive interest rates, buyers are finding their dream homes. If you are thinking of selling your house this season, the key consideration is setting the right price.

Would you like to have multiple offers? Set the right price.

Even a small percentage over the “right price” will cost you both time and money. This principle remains unchanged in any market.

Since 1986 we have been listing and selling properties in your area. Call us today to schedule your pricing appointment.

 

 

 

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2008 – 2012 were financially stressful years in our real estate market. Short sales and foreclosures dominated our market in many areas. Many homeowners became tenants.

Don’t let your past experience rob you of homeownership opportunities today. If you experienced a derogatory credit event, you could now be eligible to finance the  purchase your own home once again. 

Contact us to see how you can get back into your own home. The link below is a useful summary.

 https://www.fanniemae.com/content/fact_sheet/derogatory-credit-event-fact-sheet.pdf

 

 

THE question we, as brokers and agents get asked most often . . .

 

For 2017, the best answer would be, “for what area?” Overall, the Metro Area fared consistently well. With shifts in demographics, employment, and a keen focus on location specific areas perform very differently. Old standards predicting better performance of single-family homes over townhomes and condos have been upended in many areas.

 

One of the many distinguishing aspects of Properties on the Potomac, Inc., is that we list and sell properties throughout the Washington Metro area including Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. Our agents and brokers are licensed in multiple jurisdictions. We carefully track areas’ performance to best be able to help our clients plan for, and accomplish their goals.

 

General observations indicate that the market enjoyed a sustainable increase. Affordability drove demand, thus prices.

 

The Table below summarizes the overall activity by county and Washington, D.C.

 

Real Estate Values By Jurisdiction*

 

Area 2017 2016 % Change
Washington, D.C. $949,795 $929,109 1.02

 

Arlington County, VA $879,723 $842,873 1.04
Fairfax County, VA (Incl incorp. cities) $765,968 $$728,421 1.05
Loudoun County, VA $564,927 $546,551 1.03
Montgomery County, MD $694,008 $679,177 1.02
Prince Georges County, MD $282,274 $259,915 1.08
Frederick County, MD $325,034 $308,453 1.05

* Data derived from MRIS

 

Would you like to learn specifically, how your area performed? Give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to share that information.  The number of units sold exceeded the prior year and the number of days on the market declined.

 

Did you know that you can search the active MLS through our website?

 

Visit  www.POTPHOMES.com

On December 22, 2017, the President signed the Tax Cuts and jobs Act. This new law has specific impact on real estate. It impacts that which you already have and any future real estate you will acquire.

 

Below is a table summarizing the changes:

 

Tax Item Deduction New Law Prior Law
Maximum Loan Interest $750,000 (For purchases after 12/14/17 $1,000,000
Equity lines of credit  None Up to $100,000
State and Local Taxes total $10,000 No maximum
Capital Gains Exclusion No change Must be owned 2 of last 5 years
Like Kind Exchanges (1031) Unchanged for real estate only  
Real Property Depreciation Unchanged  
Capital Gains Tax Rates Unchanged  

 

Much has been broadcast about the benefit of homeownership in relation to the new law. At Properties on the Potomac, Inc. we view homeownership as a form of supreme independence and wealth building for the following reasons:

 

  • Real Estate builds your wealth through

o   Appreciation of a large asset and the use of OPM (other people’s money)

o   Your mortgage payments pay down your principal, thus building your equity

  • Owning your own home gives you control over your living situation.
  • Tax savings remain a significant benefit of ownership.
  • Owning a home is a financially sound decision.
  • You can keep, rent out, sell, or will your real estate as you determine is best for you.

To read the entire Bill click here.

 

Record low temperatures have Virginians bundling up. But don’t leave your house “out in the cold.” Here are a few tips that will protect your home during the winter months.

house-in-winter

  1. Avoid putting salt on cement to prevent pitting. It may require figuring out a different path out of the house, but preserving the cement will prevent replacement costs later!.
  2. Keep your gutters clean. This is good advice throughout the year, but particularly in winter when trapped water will expand, contract and cause havoc.frozen-garden-hose-117709868-5798e2415f9b589aa99b0d5b
  3. Turn off and winterize hose bibs. Detach and empty any hoses. Turn off your supply line, THEN make sure you turn on your outdoor faucet to drain the existing water. You can also buy frost-proof hose bibbs.
  4. Know where your water shut offs are. If something bursts, you will be able to stop further damage fast.
  5. Beware of space heaters. They can overload the circuits and trip the breaker. If needed, use only thermostat-contolled, UL rated heaters. And don’t plug them into extension cords.
  6. Keep leaves around the base of plants to help them stay insulated.

Properties on the Potomac, Inc. knows that a house is not just an investment. It’s your treasured home, and a little extra care now will preserve your home for years to come. Stay warm!