Charlottesville Area Real Estate Blog

"I'll keep my low rate, thanks" Pt 2

Previously, in Part 1, I mentioned the idea of hanging onto your current low rate and using it to your benefit by turning your home into a rental. You can read that article HERE

As I was working on getting the thoughts out of my head, I came across an article on Fortune.com talking about this same concept.

Let’s dig in. Rent is always going up, but has increased considerably over the past few years. At the time when you locked in your low interest rate, most rents were a decent amount higher than a mortgage would have been. I’m willing to bet todays rents would cover your mortgage plus quite a bit extra…giving you a nice chunk of cash every month.

Don’t want to be a landlord? Hire a manager...

April 2023 Market Report for Charlottesville & Albemarle

The housing market remains strong and the scales are still tipped in the sellers favor. Homes are typically receiving multiple offers for the most popular locations and typically above asking price. Those that do not have the traditional living layout and amenties as expected today, are not priced accurately, or the value is not easily estimated, are the ones sitting longer on the market or requiring a price adjustment. 

Some buyers are still strippin contingencies (home inspection, etc.) from their offers in an effort to be competitive. 

Buyers
Whether or not it's necessary on the particular home/s that interest you, you still need to let the asking price be a guide, not an anchor, and be prepared to offer over asking price. There seem to be a good amount of options coming onto the market, so understand the most important...

"I'll keep my low rate, thanks" Pt 1

I’ve had countless conversations with homeowners that would love to move, but can’t stomach leaving behind their low interest rate of 3% and below. Mostly those who are doing so, need to because of a relocation, or have another life event/situation that requires it, or their financial situation allows for a higher price tag and the motivation is there to make it happen.

I would encourage home owners in this situation to rent the current home as a way to continue taking advantage of that low rate. This will most likely allow you to earn a nice flow of cash every month after all debt and expenses are paid. It could even offset the additional cost of the higher rate. I’ll get into this more in Pt 2. 

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March 2023 Market Report

New listings really shot up this month compared to last. 125 of these were new builds, or proposed to be built this year compared to 51 last month.

70% of the homes listed are now under contract/sold, which paints a clear picture that the market is still very strong. Especially seeing that sales prices are $5000 above list price.

Looking at the bar chart of sales prices it could appear that home values in 2023 are declining below 2022 levels. The data, however, only represents what homes are being listed on the market. It does not take into account the level of finishes, the size, location, etc….all of which strongly influence the price. Working with buyers that have been looking since 2022, I can tell you (& they would agree), prices/values do not feel lower at all.

Buyers
Be prepared to compete...

5 Easy Improvements To Add Value Before Selling

When selling a home, the goal is to make it look ready to move into. A place that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living their day to day lives. This is the real key, painting a pretty picture for the buyer of what their life could be like if they were in the home. 

Although there is no specific calculation that can spit out the answer, dressing things up, presenting the best version of a home, and getting people to fall-in-love will create competition and drive up the price. Here's some tips and advice on preparing a home for sale to maximize return and get the highest possible price.

Paint

If a home hasn't been painted in a while, or otherwise looks dull and beat up, paint will make it shine better than most other things you can do. It's like washing a car before you sell it. You could only do this one thing and instantly...

January Market Report

There were a lot of homes listed this month compared to Dec (77% increase). The majority of that increase is actually condos and townhomes. Homes overall are sitting longer on the market, theres fewer sales, and fewer buyers. The market has absolutely slowed down. This time last year we had 157 homes active on the market. Today we have 260. Of those 260 though, only 133 are detached homes. This is only an increase of 3 homes compared to January 2022. The condo and townhome inventory jumped from 14 to 77!

Unfortunately, buyers still feel like they can’t find the home they want. Partially because there’s more new construction homes making up the added inventory, and those neighborhoods are just not for everyone…partially just their location. Another part is there just simply aren’t a lot of nice homes available...

Timing the Market as a Buyer

There's always the thought that timing the market to when it's at its lowest point, or at least at a discounted value, is the right time to jump in and buy. Even if you could get it right, is it actually worth it? The trouble with this strategy, is that there are just too many factors to consider.

How much drop are you expecting? Will that drop be recognizable? At 1-3%, there's so many variables when comparing houses, you likely won't even notice. Is a higher drop even likely to happen?

What if you wait for the drop, but in turn, prices go up? Specific to right now, in the Charlottesville area, prices are mostly still going up despite what the news is telling us.

How will you know when you've found the bottom? Suppose you did find the bottom, or at least are satisfied with the current declined...

Buy a Rental to Pay for College

College is insanely expensive and there's no signs it will get any better. And it's not just the tuition, it's also the living expenses. I believe the best thing you can do for your child, which helps you as well, is to buy them a rental property. It will cost you less than taking out a loan, or even putting the money into an investment fund.
Use the cash flow today for your own benefit, or sock it away into a fund for your child later. When college comes around, let them use the cash flow for their living expenses. After college, hand it over to them and they can continue using the cash flow to make loan payments, or refinance/sell and use the cash to payoff the loan.  They have options. 
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Is now a good time to buy?

When asking "Is now a bad/good time to buy a home?", I always urge you to follow that sentence with, "given my situation?"

Compared to....Renting? Absolutely; Downsizing? Given the interest rates and if you're locked into a low rate, probably only if you intend to buy the downsized home with all cash, or a lot of it; Relocating? Back to the comparison on renting...Yes. Unless you want to live in an area for a while before buying. I get that. Upgrading? If your dream home comes along, then why not. I'm assuming with an upgrade you intend to be there a long time, in which case you don't need to be concerned about the short-term market fluctuations. Similar to the stock market. Staying for less than 3 years? You should likely wait until we understand...