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Expert Tips for Home Buyers & Sellers

Our mission at The Gresh Group is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

When Do the Experts Think the Best Time to Sell Is?


The best time of year to sell your home might not be what you think it is. Here’s what we mean.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

There's a bit of a controversy brewing among real estate experts. The topic is the best time of year to sell a home. On one hand, real estate agents across the country agree: Spring is the best time to sell your home.  


However, do the facts actually support this view? The folks at real estate web platform HomeLight wanted to find out, so they crunched the numbers on actual home sales in different markets to see when the best time to sell a home actually was. 

In general, spring did come out on top in many situations. However, there were also many exceptions. 

For example, in Greenville, SC, the best month was July, beating out the average sales price by 150%. In Breckenridge, CO, February was the winner, with a 106% increase over the average. In Tomball, TX, homes sold in October for 133% more than the average for the year.  

It’s not as simple as saying that spring is the best time to sell your home.

What does this all mean for you? If you want a broad recommendation for when to sell your home, then simply listing your home now at the very start of spring is a recommendation that can't be beat. 

There are plenty of other details that go into the optimal decision. Weather is a big one. Recent real estate trends in the area would be another. The specifics of your own home and the kinds of homebuyers it is likely to attract is a third and crucial aspect. There are fewer homebuyers in the fall and winter, but they tend to be more serious and eager to find a home before the holidays. In the summertime, there might be added pressure to buy a home before the school season starts. 

In short, it's not as simple as saying spring is the best time to sell your home. If you have any questions for me, give me a call at 703-328-3434 or send me an email at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com and we can discuss all the unique attributes your home, put them in the context of recent trends in the Northern Virginia real estate market, and come up with a winning strategy of when you should list to get the best price. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Key Steps of a Mortgage Pre-Approval


If you’re buying a home with a mortgage, you absolutely need to get a pre-approval first. Here’s why.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

There's no doubt about it. It's a very competitive market today if you are looking to buy a home.

Inventory is near record lows, and more and more homebuyers are entering the market. This means you need every advantage to grab that perfect home when you do find it.

One no-brainer is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval informs you of how much you can borrow and it's something you will need to do at a later point anyway.

A pre-approval can mean the difference between having your offer accepted or having to watch your dream home go to somebody else in a crazy market like this.

In spite of all these good reasons, less than 10% of buyers who got a mortgage get pre-approved by the lender who originated the loan. In other words, you can definitely get a leg up on the competition by starting your home search at the loan office rather than at the open house. 

A pre-approval definitely gives you a leg up on the competition.

Here are a few things that you will need:

1. Proof of income. At a minimum, lenders will want to see pay stubs from the past 30 days showing your year-to-date income, two years of federal tax returns, and two years of W2 forms from your employer.

2. Proof of assets. You will need to present statements from your checking, savings, or investment accounts to prove that you have funds for the down payment and closing costs.

3. Good credit. Most lenders reserve the best rates for homebuyers with a credit score of 740 or above. You can still qualify for a mortgage with a lower credit score, but a good lender will also recommend ways that you can improve your credit and qualify for a better loan. 

These are the biggest and most common things you will need to get pre-approved, though your lender might want to see some other documents as well. 

Once you are pre-approved, the buying process will be faster, more convenient, and less stressful. Most importantly, it will make it more likely that your offer for that perfect home gets accepted. 

That's why if you've been thinking of selling your home, now might be a good moment to start the process. If you have any questions, whether you are buying or selling, you can always call me at 703-328-3434 or shoot me an email at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I can give you more specific recommendations based on your unique situation. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

How Will Tax Reform Affect the Real Estate Market?


I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about tax reform lately. Here’s a few ways The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect the real estate market.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

There's a lot of uncertainty about The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and its effect on real estate. Let’s first take a look at the four key tax changes impacting the housing market at this moment:

1. Deductions for property taxes. Prior to the new tax bill, if you itemized your deductions, you could deduct all of your property tax. Going forward, this amount will be capped at $10,000.

2. Deductions for mortgage interest. The final bill reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/2017. Other loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered in. 

3. Home sales exclusion for capital gains. If you sell your home and turn a profit, then up to $500,000 of that profit is exempt from capital gains tax. Although earlier versions of the bill required you to live in the home for five out of the last eight years, the final bill made no changes to the capital gains exclusion. In order to qualify for this exclusion, you must have lived in your home for two of the past five years to claim this exemption—just like before.  

4. Deductions for moving expenses. The final bill repealed the moving expense deduction, except for those who are members of the Armed Forces. 

These reforms may drive home prices down in the midterm.

The first two changes increase taxes on current homeowners and make homeownership less attractive. This is a part of why the National Association of Realtors claims that home prices could drop by more than 10% due to the new tax plan.

On the other hand, the last change makes it more expensive to sell your home. As a consequence, they could keep some homes off the market.

We'll have to see how the different changes play out in reality, and how they interact with other real estate conditions. However, there does seem to be a consensus among experts that current reforms might drive home prices down somewhat in the midterm.

On the bright side, home sellers do still get to take advantage of the home sales exclusion for capital gains. That is a major victory for real estate. 

That's why if you've been thinking of selling your home, now might be a good moment to start the process. If you have any questions, whether you are buying or selling, you can always call me at 703-328-3434 or shoot me an email at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I can give you more specific recommendations based on your unique situation. I look forward to hearing from you soon.