Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jaime's State of the Real Estate Market in 10 Thoughts

Before I include what my friend and real estate agent has written I must write.
This is after all, my blog, right?

Well, you remember how I made the resolution to buy a house, right? Well, it has not proven to be an easy task to do. You are taking the needs of in my case a family with 3 kids, each person with their different needs that need to be met. There are many great houses. Some which are not affordable for us, especially for the Washington D.C. area.

Jaime became our friend through being our real estate agent. She has been AWESOME. I don't say that just because bought girl scout cookies from my daughter- but it does help. Just kidding Jaime, but seriously, thank you for supporting my awesomely crazy troop of 46 girls!

She has been amazing and patient with our needs. At first, I was super scared, even writing that first offer. For some reason, that commitment to a house scared me! I am so over that and can't wait to the new adventure that awaits to owning my own home!

We need to be able to have a house that can suit many needs at the same time. She has showed us houses that need a lot of work (and we, well I don't mind getting my hands dirty) and houses ready to go. The problem with DC is that finding a house that is not in a crime ridden part of the city, that is big enough, suits our needs, has a back yard and accessible to things (while not being in the thick of it) for the right price is not easy to find.

When I saw she posted this on her Facebook page, I asked her if I could do a blog post with her advise on housing because it is practical and helpful. It is not meant to promote her per say because that is not my intention. It is meant to help inform you! Hope it helps! Here goes...

Jaime's State of the Real Estate Market in 10 thoughts, real estate, compass, washington d.c, jaime willis

This is long, and the advice is mine, and likely local to the DC area. But it's been a while since I brought this up, so I thought I'd share "Jaime's State of the Real Estate Market in 10 thoughts."

Right now, we are seeing the cheapest (lowest interest rates) mortgages of our lifetimes. Clients this week have qualified for 3.65-4% interest rates. The average rate of inflation from 1986 to 2016 is 3.85%. So, in some cases, my clients are getting 30 year fixed loans at a rate LESS than historical inflation, which is like borrowing money at cost.

If you are renting right now, you are spending money every month anyway. Why not turn your rent into a savings account? With very little cash needed to close (sometimes as little as $3,000, but you'll get better rates with $10-15k to close), you can amass a ton of savings in just a few years in DC. A person who bought a one-bedroom condo in Petworth netted $90,000 when selling it 4 years later -- that's AFTER paying realtors, mortgages, and taxes. Are you able to save $22,000 of your salary each year?

In addition to getting an amazing savings plan built in, you are getting more money in your pocket each year. You'll get a tax deduction on your mortgage interest every year, and if you make under $125k, you'll also get a deduction on any mortgage insurance you pay. Money now, money later - win-win.

I had lunch with an economist at Fannie Mae a few weeks ago, and he told me something I've been saying anecdotally for a while, but with the data to back it up. smile emoticon DC housing values dropped 10% in 2008 when the bubble burst, but in 2016 are up 20% from the pre-burst values! DC recovered really quickly from the housing market crisis, and homeowners in pretty much every single neighborhood in the city are seeing their home values at a minimum hold steady, and most often, increase. (This is NOT true for MD and VA, whose home values haven't fully recovered from 2008 across those states, although the DC suburbs have fared better than other parts of those states). Buying in DC is a good economic bet.

DC is a great rental market. If you buy now, and decide to move away from the city, you don't necessarily have to sell. You can hold onto the property by renting it out. Most Condo buildings and even some Co-op buildings have made it easy for folks to rent their units. Hold onto the unit, let your tenants pay the mortgage until you want to cash in your investment.

If you are thinking about starting a family, and want them to go to school in the suburbs, by in DC today. Even if you do move when your child(ren) reach school age, you'll have the equity in your home in DC to buy in exactly the school district you want. (One person I know bought a home in DC several years ago, and cashed out $250k 4 years later -- they bought a bigger house in a great neighborhood, and are making the exact same mortgage payments as before, because they were able to use their first home as the force multiplier for their "forever" home).
Really small (and not costly) changes to your home can make a massive difference in sales price. I helped a client last year spend $25,000 on a mini-reno and we got $250k more than the home was originally valued at when we sold it. (This is the picture included in this post). Massive return on investment, if you are smart about it!

The next three bits are about me as a realtor, not about the market.

I've had three previous careers -- as a lawyer, as an educator, and as a professional life coach, and I think all three inform how I do my job as a realtor. The lawyer in me allows me to represent you to the best of my ability by knowing the contract inside and out and negotiating the best deal for you. The educator in me loves helping people understand the process of real estate and all the quirks of buying a home in our nation's capitol. The coach in me wants to make sure that this process doesn't just cover the mechanics of buying a home, but honors the emotions and values that help us make one of the biggest purchases of our lives.

One thing I really hate doing is hard sales, so if you want to chat about real estate, I'm happy to give you information with no expectation that you become a client. I'm not going to follow up with you a million times or put you on a email newsletter list (I honestly don't have one of those, because I'm constantly weeding myself off of email lists, so I'd hate to be part of the problem!). I think a more informed (potential) buyer or seller is a good thing for our industry.

My brokerage, Compass, is a new national firm that is ranked #2 in sales and #3 in volume in the DC area. I've won deals for my buyers because of our brokerage's reputation in the marketplace as being some of the best agents in our industry with a track record of closing deals quickly, easily, and without drama.

I'd love for you to share this information far and wide, and be in touch if I can be of service. If you know someone who has just been talking about moving or buying, please let them know I'm happy to help. Jaime@compass.com, 202.494.1325.

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