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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How We Use Power Washers to Save Money


Do not waste money by throwing away your outdoor furniture and buying brand new pieces. Do this instead.

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Today we just wanted to give you a quick outdoor home tip. Instead of replacing your dirty outdoor furniture cushions or trying to wash them in the washing machine, you should consider power washing them instead. Not only will it save you time and money, but it is also pretty fun to do. The cushions in the video above are a few years old and as you can see, they are pretty gross from wind, rain, pollen, etc. Instead of replacing them, I decided to use a power washer to make them look brand new. One thing you do not want to do is get too close to the cushion with the sprayer, because the power washer will rip it. If you maintain a little distance, however, you can get into every nook and cranny and your cushions will be looking like new by the end.

Consider power washing your concrete steps and your driveway as well.
Check out how easy this is in the video above. In just 30 seconds, I got the cushions looking brand new. A few more things you should consider power washing are concrete steps, your front door, and your driveway. Once you are done, make sure you get those cushions out to dry in the sun. That is just a quick, fun tip for you today. If you have any questions about the real estate market, or specifically about how to prepare your home to sell for top dollar, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email today. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Where Are Interest Rates Headed in 2018?


Interest rates have risen since the beginning of the year and are expected to increase again. Let’s discuss what this means for buyers and sellers in today’s market.

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Looking to sell in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area? Get a free Home Price Evaluation

A question many have been asking lately is, “What’s going on with interest rates?” The short answer is that they are going up. Rates have already risen this year and are expected to do so again in the future. Based on positive indicators in the US economy, the Fed is pushing rates back up and tempering years of policy that has been keeping them artificially low. Since the first of the year, rates have increased from around 3.99% to 4.5% as of May 2. It’s hard to say what the future holds, specifically, but I think it’s safe to anticipate a couple more increases by the end of the year. This could put us at, or even above, the 5% mark. However, even if rates do reach this level, they would still be low compared to historical averages. Freddie Mac has easily accessible data going back to the 1970s that supports this.

If you’ve been thinking of buying, now is absolutely a great time to take advantage of our market.
So if you’ve been thinking of buying, now is absolutely a great time to take advantage of our market. That said, it’s also a good time to sell. Rising rates will translate to decreased buying power, meaning the current market presents an opportunity for sellers to capture higher prices before this happens. Affordability has a major impact on how buyers make decisions. Even what seems like a small rate increase can have a significant effect on the dollar amount buyers pay for a home. If a buyer would have bought a home for $350,000 at the beginning of this year when interest rates were around 3.99%, their monthly mortgage payments would be $115 less expensive than if they bought a home at that same price today. By the end of the year, a buyer for that same home could see a $200 difference. If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What 4 Methods Can You Use to Determine Your Home’s Value?


There are four ways to determine your home’s value. Some of these ways, however, are more reliable than the others.

Looking to buy in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area? Perform a full home search 
Looking to sell in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area? Get a free Home Price Evaluation

What are four methods to determine your home’s value? The first and most basic way is to take a look at your tax assessment. If you got your assessment in the mail, you can look at that. In most counties, you can also visit the county assessor website and check there. In our area, the county assessed home values every two years, and they do so using basic information such as the size of the land and the size of the finished space. There are a couple issues you might have with this method. First, the information they use might be old. The other issue is it’s a very basic method that’s applied with a formula using only certain criteria. This is a decent method to compare your home’s value against your neighbors’ homes, but it’s not the most accurate or up-to-date valuation method. The second method is a free home evaluation website. One of the more popular free home evaluation websites is Zillow, which features their Zestimate tool. A Zestimate gathers information from the county records and combines that with recent sales of other homes in the area. It’s beneficial that Zillow takes into account recent sales of other homes, but what’s not beneficial is they don’t have anyone actually walk through your home. This means they can’t tell the difference between a home that’s been completely remodeled and a home across the street that’s in the same condition it was years ago. If you’re curious about what’s happening with home values in your area, this is a good way to get started.

Having an agent do a CMA is the most comprehensive method to finding your home’s value.
The third method is an appraisal. An appraisal happens when you either refinance a house, you buy a house using financing, or you sell a house and the buyer’s lender has ordered the appraisal. The downside to this method is an appraisal typically costs between $500 and $550, so if you’re just curious what your home is worth, it’s probably not a good investment because in two years that appraisal won’t be valid anyway. For the most part, appraisals only happen in a transaction when there’s a loan involved. The appraiser’s job is to make sure the lender is able to safely lend the purchase amount that’s been requested. Lastly, you can contact an agent and ask them to do a CMA, or comparative market analysis. There are a few benefits of a CMA. The first is most agents don’t charge for one. Second, they’re able to look at the market as a whole instead of recent home sales. We can then make some projections and give you an idea of not only what your home’s value is, but also what it may be going forward. Unlike automated websites, agents can actually come out to your home and make adjustments for its different features. If your home is similar to your neighbor’s home that sold a month ago but yours has an extra 300 square feet, that needs to be accounted for. If you have any questions or you’re thinking of selling your home in the future and you want to know what it’s worth, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.