Annandale Real Estate:  The New Norm

By:  Pat Sawhney, ReMax 100

Annandale HomeIn today’s COVID world, the Real Estate Market is indeed complex.  For the last 90 days, the Annandale market (zip 22003) records 122 sold detached homes with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths from the low of $460K list to the high of $1,499,000.  The average range is $750K.

The $460K listing sold for $501K, Cash, as is which most likely will become a teardown for a new build.  It had been on the market for only 7 days displaying online only exterior photos.  For the highest list price of $1,499,000, the transaction closed at $1,485.000 in 29 days.  Interesting to note that the lot on which it sat sold for $531K in April 2018.

One of my recent listings was “turnkey” with a bit of advice from my team.   (Photo above)    We suggested fresh paint in desirable colors, staging using the seller’s furniture but eliminating certain pieces that were moved in advance to their new home.  You don’t want to overwhelm the rooms with too much furniture but you do want to show spaces that are livable. 

As you might imagine due to Covid-19, showings have become a bit different.  First, we turned on all the lights in the morning and off in the evening so that Realtors could go through touchless; shoe covers were provided with one basket for new shoe covers and a 2nd box for used ones.  Hand sanitizer was available at the entrance.  Viewing required wearing of masks as well as the shoe covers, by appointment through the on line showing system, with only one party at a time.  The landscaping was immaculate and easy to maintain; all systems, siding, windows, HVAC were newer.  We received 2 offers within two days, selected one, leaving the other very disappointed. 

Except during the March lockdown and stay-at-home order, the market has continued its robust adventures and the surprise of Covid-19 did not slow it down.  There continues to be pent up demand for homes in most price ranges.  What is driving this?  Quite simply it is low inventory.  We now have only a 1.3 month available inventory.  Secondly, the interest rates on home mortgages are at an historic low with many fine programs to help first time buyers. Contributing to the shortage are so many residents either wishing to age in place, often with the help of a home care giver from one of the fine elder care companies such as Home Instead Senior Care or because of the dramatic lack of senior housing properties.  Hand Sanitizer and Shoe Covers are the new norm in home showings.

Contracts are being written with even more attractive terms for the seller such as the buyer waiving the appraisal, agreeing  to no home or radon inspections, and offering free rent backs to the Seller until a convenient move out can be arranged.   Real Estate agents and their clients have to be very creative in structuring offers in order to stand out over the competition.  Experienced agents are key along with quality marketing!   It is during the contract negotiations that your real estate agent fairly earns their commission.  Most sales that are lost occur during this process.  It is a time for experience, inside knowledge of the local agencies & market, and letting the adage, “penny wise and dollar foolish” ring out.

Buyers have not been as fussy as in the past.  Many have already lost their first attempt or two to purchase.  Some houses are in pristine, move in condition with the need for a minimum of work.  Cash buyers are plentiful, both investors and those buying to occupy and renovate.  Houses needing major renovation, for which financing would not be available, are selling for Cash.

Why pay rent when you can own--we have been working with many first-time buyers.  A recent sale was to two young sisters buying for their family.  The VHDA loan, Virginia Housing and Development Authority, included a 2% buyer credit at Closing.  The fortunate buyer agreed to a Seller’s counteroffer and beat out over 24 other buyers.  With twenty-three disappointed but more motivated buyers in the marketplace, the business of real estate just keeps rolling on!

Pat Sawhney
ReMax 100 Realty

5501 Bradlick Rd.
Springfield, VA  22151
703-395-9214
patsawhney42@gmail.com

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