The Most Expensive Homes Sold in the New River Valley in 2016

cash moneyPeople often ask about the most expensive homes for sale in the New River Valley, and it’s interesting to see what’s sold. In years past, the spread between the homes has been close, but in 2016, the most expensive home was double the fifth most expensive home! Take a look below at the five most expensive residences sold in the NRV in 2016.

#5 – $775,000 339 Airport Road, Blacksburg – listed by Nest Realty, this one-of-a-kind home was prized both for the features inside, but also the nearly 1-acre flat lot in Town, which as you know can be a rarity. With an amazing kitchen and double-sided fireplace, coffered ceilings, and a two-story screened porch, the custom design screamed elegance, and buyers responded – it was only on the market for 26 days.

#4 – $780,000 1491 Falcon Ridge Rd, Blacksburg – this monster, listed by Porch and Picket Real Estate, had been remodeled top-to-bottom by the owner over the course of a year and a half. Every surface of the home had been touched, and the home boasted one of the largest kitchens we’ve ever seen. This home is now back on the market again, with Coldwell Banker Townside – let us know if you’d like to have a look.

#3 – $875,000 570 Wood Haven Ct, Blacksburg – what do you get the most discriminating buyer? This home, listed by Coldwell Banker Townside, this was one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. A manicured setting amongst towering trees, this home with view of Ellett Valley was simply spectacular in every way. It was comfortable, yet elegant, which can be a rare combination.

#2 – $885,000 1401 Pebble Beach Rd, Blacksburg – located in the Country Club, this home on the backside of the Country Club backed right to the golf course. A pocket listing by Long & Foster-Blacksburg, the listing agent had a buyer lined up and ready to go, so it was never exposed to the market. We’re certain, though, it was nice. I mean, it was the second most expensive home sold in 2016.

And finally – the most expensive home sold in the New River Valley in 2016!

$1,500,000 1655 Plank Dr, Blacksburg – another pocket listing at the Blacksburg Country Club, this home listed by Coldwell Banker Townside takes the #1 spot for most expensive in 2016. Maxing out at a whopping 7716 square feet, the custom-designed Craftsman surely had all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find in a home of this caliber, and more than 4 acres of land surrounding it. This house sold in February, setting the bar high early in the year, and no one was going to come close to it for the rest of 2016.

So there you have it – the most expensive sales in the NRV in 2016. Any surprises? I’ll tell you what, for me it’s nice to see more and more agents using professional photography – we’ve been preaching it for years, and agents are finally coming around to the idea.

Looking for your next Nest? It doesn’t have to be expensive – find it here.

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How Montgomery County Public Schools Determine A Snow Day

Snow Days In Montgomery County

 

We had our first significant snow of the winter yesterday, and Montgomery County Public Schools put out a really helpful infographic detailing how they make the determination of whether or not to open schools. I imagine this will come into play later in the school year, so file this one away. Don’t forget to sign up for severe weather calls, at www.mcps.org/snow, as well.

 

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Thank You.

Today’s my anniversary. My real estate anniversary.

Virginia DPOR licenseActually, I thought that yesterday was the start of my 13th year in real estate, but DPOR says it’s today, so happy anniversary to me. What does one get themselves for their anniversary? I’m thinking Chipotle.

In 2003 when I decided I really wanted to do something different, I had no idea where this career would take me. But what a ride it’s been – from my first closing (to first-time buyers Adam and Michelle who, thanks to Marshall Frank found out at the closing table that it was my first closing) to now owning Nest Realty here in the New River Valley, working with some of the best folks in the business … what a great place to be.

Thanks to all of you who’ve committed to working with me over the years! You have made me a very, very happy Realtor.

#LiveWhereYouLove.

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Why Are Condos So Hard To Finance?

The good news is that they’re not as difficult as they were several years ago. As Carl Spackler would say …bill_murray_caddyshack

A customer wrote in this morning about an investment property they’re looking to buy in Blacksburg. As many parents of students at Virginia Tech and Radford do, they want to buy a place for their kids to live in while they’re here at school, and the relative stability of the New River Valley market has meant that – for the most part – these have been solid investments. It wasn’t always the case, however. A quick back story …

In the early 2000’s, these types of investment properties were all the rage. Investors were snatching up condos and townhomes like crazy – the cost of borrowing money was low, rents were stable and rising, and there was a steady group of renters year in, and year out. You can see a visual of that in the chart below, showing sales of condos and townhomes in Blacksburg and Radford going back to 2003, I suggest to check out some coal harbour condos for sale which are at really great price. After the real estate crash in 2008 (which really hit us in 2010), interest in these types of properties fell dramatically, and that was due in part to much-needed lending restrictions. Lenders were requiring larger down payments, in the neighborhood of 25% or more, and often denying loans due to inflated investor numbers in complexes – in other words, too many investors and not enough owner-occupants. Sometimes it´s hard to find the right person the rent out your condo and to keep up with the rent, so here are some tenant screening tips you may use to make sure you are letting the right person into your property. Ammons Pittman Property Management were highly recommended to help anybody with Real Estate problems so let them know if you have any.

One note – the volatility of the Radford line below is related to the relatively low number of sales in the area during the time period.

As you can see from the above chart, interest in these types of properties really didn’t start to pick up again until 2014, which corresponds with the relaxation of lender guidelines. There has been a lot of help from HOA Software | HOA Management Software | Condo Manager for the sales, because they been using this new transcription software to do their business. Starting in 2013/2014, as we started to see improvements in the overall economy throughout the country, lenders started loosening their requirements on financing for investment properties. But that doesn’t answer the question of WHY condos and town homes can be difficult to finance, why is there always a need to get financial help from a company like the one from https://kapitalkassen.no/forbrukslan. As I wrote to a customer this morning, in a nutshell:

For conventional, secondary market loans, banks don’t like to see high investor penetrations in condo complexes. The line of thinking is that people are more likely to default on their investment property(ies) before their primary residence, so guidelines for things like condos are a good bit tighter. It’s important to know that often, traditional banks like will run these complexes through their algorithms and deny the loan due to too many investors in a complex and not enough owners. If they don’t deny it, the other condition they typically add is a higher downpayment, of 25-30% or more. This is why I continue to suggest local lenders – in college markets with high investor numbers, they look at the market as a whole and not as a formula. 

If you’re considering buying or selling a condo or townhome here in South California, you can visit us at https://southerncaliforniahomebuyers.com/sell-your-house-fast/ for more info. The opportunities to make what has typically been a solid investment are there, but it’s not without risk. Let’s talk about those, as well as the rewards, and see if it makes sense for you.

 

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When Do Houses Come On The Market?

Seems like, for years now, people continue to ask “when do more houses come on the market in the New River Valley?” It’s true that, as I write this a few days before Christmas 2016, inventory is down, as it is every year. For instance, if you were looking for a single-family home between $250,000 and $300,000 in Christiansburg right now, you’d have twenty six homes to choose from. In Blacksburg, that number would drop to eleven. This makes sense, of course, as in the last six weeks of the year there are three major holidays, and lots of traveling, but for a buyer who’s ready to buy NOW, it can be frustrating. A good start would be with the Ammons Pittman company, visit company website here to see what property management you may need.

With that in mind, our real estate market follows most in the country – a typical bell curve, with more listings coming on the market in the spring, peaking in the summer, and falling off in the fall. It’s a pattern that’s been repeated for years now, and one we can reasonably expect to continue.

So – looking to buy in 2017? Don’t be disheartened by lack of inventory at this moment in time. Consider the chart below, which shows activity levels for the New River Valley real estate market going back to 2003. You can clearly see a sharp peak, year after year, as more and more properties came on the market. And for home sellers, fear not – the same pattern applies to you, as well.

So if 2017 is the year that you’re looking to buy, or sell, know that your options – and competition – may be limited right now, but that will likely change as we head into the New Year. As always, if you have any questions, any of our Nest brokers are happy to discuss further.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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The Fed Raises Rates – So Now What?

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Federal Reserve

As expected, the Federal Reserve raised short-term rates today. This is the first such increase they’ve made in a year, and the second in a decade. So what’s it mean for real estate mortgages?

The Federal Reserve is the bank of the United States – they regulate monetary policy, and they provide stability within the central banking system. And while an increase in short-term rates might seem to be a bad thing, it’s actually an indication that the Fed sees the US economy in positive terms, and is bringing interest rates up to better mirror inflation. While it’s true that mortgage rates will now rise – local lender Robert Mitchell of Movement Mortgage is already reporting that they’ve seen rates rise to 4.25% – the truth is that this is really a sign of an improving economy. With quoted rates effective today of 4.25% on a 30-year fixed loan, let’s run some numbers to see what the difference in today’s advertised mortgage rates look like:

$200,000 loan at yesterday’s closing rate of 4.125% – Principal & Interest payment of $969.30
$200,000 loan at today’s current rate* of 4.25% – Principal & Interest payment of $983.88
* rate pulled from www.Movement.com

For home buyers, today’s news is going to mean a slight increase in the overall cost of a loan. Again, based on the calculations above, that cost is going to be minimal, but each hike in the Fed’s rate will mean a slight increase in the monthly cost of a home loan. And for sellers, it puts a small amount of downward pressure on you, as well – rising rates are going to keep a small number of buyers out of the market initially, but we’re predicting that’ll reset a bit as we head into the spring market. And remember – rates are still incredibly low, historically. The chart below, from HSH.com, shows 30-year conventional rates over the last 16 years.

30-year mortgage rates since 2000

30-year conventional rates since 2000

 

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When’s A Good Time TO Sell A Home?

“Hey Jeremy, when’s a good time to sell my home?”

I get this question all the time – twice today, in fact. A few times this week. There are thousands of other Realtors that are going to tell you “now’s a great time to sell a home!”, but you might have noticed that earlier they said “now’s a great time to buy a home!”, too. So which is it? Click Here to check out this property management company that is highly recommended now a days, they will tell you the right thing to do.

The truth is, I really don’t know. Your situation, and your motivation, is going to be different from someone else’s. One person today was looking to sell in order to pay off student loans, so he and his family are looking to downsize for a while so that they can put themselves in a better financial position. The mortgage payment is comfortable, but they want to do more. Another has a house that reminds him of painful times, and he wants the house sold yesterday in order to put the hurt behind him. Think the motivations are different?

Don’t be fooled by those who seem to be saying “NOW” when trying to answer the question of whether it’s a good time to sell. A home will sell in any market – it might sell better in one market than another, but a home will still sell. So weigh your options, review the data, and talk to your Nest agent – we’ll help you work through your options and decide what’s best for you.

 

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Find A Christmas Tree In The New River Valley

Thanksgiving is gone, and Christmas is upon us. While we moaned about seeing Christmas displays in August – TOO SOON – the reality is that Christmas is right around the corner. And before you finish the Christmas shopping, it’s time for the Christmas tree to go up.

If you’re one of those who likes to be Clark Griswold and chop down your own tree (and really, is there any other way?), here’s a list of Christmas tree farms throughout the New River Valley.

  • Idyllwood Farms, Blacksburg – technically not a cut-your-own, but still a recognizable location that’s been serving the New River Valley since 1984. Pre-cut, along with wreaths for sale.
  • Joes Trees, Newport – my personal favorite, Joe’s Trees is a great place to go and spend a couple of hours, wandering the many acres and getting lost among the trees. You can cut your own tree, or choose one of their pre-cut selections. They also have hayrides, and a full retail shop.
  • Rifton Farm Nursery, Pilot – Recently featured in The Roanoke Times, they have 40+ acres of trees, ready to help you cut and load.
  • Roll Out Farm, Pilot – Also located in Pilot, this farm has choose and cut options, pre-cut trees, and a full retail shop.
  • Spruce Ridge Tree Farm, Newport – if you’ve ever been down Spruce Run Road in Newport, you’ve almost certainly noticed the seemingly miles and miles of trees available at Spruce Ridge Tree Farm.
  • Sweet Providence Farm, Floyd – choose and cut at this farm in Floyd, and enjoy some of their delicious treats in their retail store. They also have a satellite location at Tanglewood Mall, in Roanoke.

There are plenty of other places throughout the New River Valley to get your Christmas tree this year – what are some of your favorites? Mention them in the comments and I’ll add them to this list!

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How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

buddyWinter is here in the New River Valley! Well, almost, but it’s never too soon to start prepping your home for winter.

While we’re hunkered down through the winter months, remember that your home is exposed to the elements all that time, keeping you safe and warm. And there are certain things you should do now to ensure that all continues to be safe and comfortable.

Looking for your next home this winter? Start your custom search here.

I wrote about preparing your home for winter several years ago, which you can see here, and then our friends up north in Canada – if ANYONE knows how to handle winter it’s Canadiens – posted this 10 Tips To Winterize Your Home. Everyone loves top ten lists, right? The whole post is linked here.

  1. Clean the gutters
  2. Reseal the windows
  3. Clean out the garage
  4. Install storm windows
  5. Prep the fireplace
  6. Drain the hose pipes
  7. Pack up the patio furniture with items from the furniture store los angeles
  8. Prep the furnace
  9. Automate the thermostat
  10. Block drafts

When you want window decals, you canget printed decals here.

Winter in the New River Valley is a spectacular time. Take some time now, while temperatures are still mild, to prepare your home for winter, and keep the comfort rolling throughout the year!

When you are having trouble opening or closing garage doors be sure to call these garage door repairmen to have the best job ever, consider hiring garage door repair in Riverside County if you´re not in the AZ area.

 

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Lawrence Yun’s Opinion on a Trump Presidency and Real Estate

As a follow-up to last week’s post about what a Trump presidency will mean for mortgage rates, I wanted to come back to this with a post by Lawrence Yun on Forbes.com. Lawrence is the Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, and a man infinitely more qualified than I to pontificate about all of this. But it’s my blog, and I can use the word pontificate here.

Read Lawrence’s opinion here. It’s long, but good. If you want the bullet points:

  1. There will be a short-term stimulus.
  2. The trade deficit will rise.
  3. The stock market will gyrate. (now I just envision a dancing stock market)
  4. Dodd-Frank will be revised, opening up loan options for local development. This could be a huge boon for the New River Valley real estate market, which is slated for significant growth in the next two decades.
  5. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be finished.

There are more, but those were my big takeaways.

Here’s the long and short of it all. No one knows. Part of what creates all of this uncertainty is that President-elect Trump has not provided much of anything in the way of a coherent policy, so much of what we’re seeing now is a best-guess shot in the dark. Expect to continue to see things settle as the Trump team prepares for the transition, and I suspect as we get closer to Inauguration Day, we’ll have a clearer idea of things to come.

Isn’t this fun?

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