Archive for October 2015

Real Estate vs Stocks

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real estate vs stocks

Where should you invest your money? Real estate or the stock market. The prevailing wisdom from cocktail parties would suggest real estate. But is it right?

The answer is yes – since 2010 Montgomery County real estate sale prices have continued to moderately increase from a low of $398,680 in Feb 2010. Average sold price for September 2015 is $504,686 according to RBIntel statistics. During the same period, the S&P 500 index went from 15.06% in December 2010 to 13.69% in December 2014. This year’s numbers are not available.

Long term, over 25 years we’ll say, the S&P 500 will do better. Pitting home sales against the S&P is an imperfect and less than sophisticated comparison. This is where you need the assistance of a Certified Investor Specialist Agent (CIAS) to help you decide if real estate investing is right for you. I have this certification and can help you to determine if you are ready to invest.

Housing inventory has been decreasing in Montgomery County since its high of 5,968 active listings in June 2008. Montgomery County now sits at 3,518 active listings across single-family, condos and town homes.

While mortgage rates are staying low, this decrease in inventory will drive home prices upward. Buy now before the prices get outside your investment budget.

For more help on real estate investing, check out my “Invest with Confidence” page.

Emcee Arah – “the REALTOR with Architectural Dimension” – is both a Certified Distress Property Expert (CDPE) and a Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS). He is uniquely equipped to assist you in navigating today’s residential real estate market.  Contact us online or by phone at (301) 452-5252. And don’t forget to leave your comments on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you!

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Should I Hire a Professional Stager to Help Sell My Home?

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staging your homeIf you’re getting ready to sell your Silver Spring area home, you may be wondering whether or not you need to hire a professional to stage your home. You may not even know what a Stager does. Below we’ll give you some useful information about staging.

Simply put, staging is the process of preparing your home for sale. The goal is to make the house as attractive as possible to the greatest number of potential buyers, which could help to sell the property more swiftly. Staging used to be as simple as mowing the lawn and keeping dirty clothes out of view; today, the process has become somewhat more complicated.

When you’re considering a professional Stager, remember: A Stager is NOT a Realtor®. Their job is to make your house look great, so don’t ask them about real estate. If you decide to use a Stager, we can recommend some professionals; you can also check in with your friends to see who has used home Stagers in the past.

staging your homeBe sure to determine exactly what will be expected from you. You want to know everything that is included in the price, how to pay for their services and what will be expected from you to keep the house in its staged condition (both indoors and out) after their work is completed.

Here are some staging stats highlights from Realtor.org.

  • Among Realtors® who typically represent the buyer, 49 percent report most buyers are effected by home staging and 47 percent report some buyers are effected by home staging.
  • Among sellers’ agents 34 percent stage all homes, 13 percent stage difficult homes to sell, and 4 percent stage only high price bracket homes.
  • Thirty-two percent of buyers’ agents believe staged homes increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by 1 percent to 5 percent.
  • The median dollar value to stage a home is $675 for each home.

Emcee Arah – “the REALTOR with Architectural Dimension” – is both a Certified Distress Property Expert (CDPE) and a Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS). He is uniquely equipped to assist you in navigating the residential real estate market in DC and the Maryland suburbs. Contact us online or by phone at (301) 452-5252. And don’t forget to leave your comments below, or on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you!

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Are you ready to sell?

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home for sale

Here are some really good thoughts, especially for those selling when nobody is buying.

Get real about price. Don’t obsess over what you could have gotten had you sold earlier. Consider inventory in your price range by using our Market Snapshot tool. If there are a lot of properties like yours, you might want to undercut the competition or offer an incentive to make your property look more enticing.

Vet your agent. Selling amidst a quick turning market is tough work. When you hire a Realtor®, make sure they have a good track record. Check out our Success Stories to see how we have serviced our past clients. Ideally, you want someone who knows how to weather any market.

Pimp your house — consider hiring a home stager. Staging a home is all the rage these days. As a RE/MAX agent I have access to the “Are you Fit to Sell?” program. We have several videos on the subjects of Staging, Pre-packing and Preparing Your Home for the Right Buyer. If you don’t know how to properly stage your home, it might be worth bringing in a pro who will help rearrange furniture, move extraneous items to storage, etc. Remember, regardless of the time of year, you want your curb appeal to be as high as possible.

Cash will make your home look even better. Instead of offering some sort of gimmick such as a car or cruise to the lucky buyer of your home, consider throwing in some cash. Offer to pay part of the buyer’s closing costs.

Underwater? Learn to swim. If you bought during a high market, your mortgage may be larger than what you can get for your home. If you have no choice but to move (say for a new job) you still have some options. For one, you might be able to get your employer to cover the difference. Alternatively, if the rental market is holding up, you could rent out your house while you wait for the market to increase. Finally, you can always sell for as much as you can and then make up the difference out of your savings.

Here is a quick chart from Trulia showing the median sold price for Silver Spring MD over the last year in zipcode 20901. This chart covers all residential property types (single-family home, condo and townhome).

Silver Spring median sales prices

Emcee Arah – “the REALTOR with Architectural Dimension” – is both a Certified Distress Property Expert (CDPE) and a Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS). He is uniquely equipped to assist you in navigating the residential real estate market in DC and the Maryland suburbs. Contact us online or by phone at (301) 452-5252. And don’t forget to leave your comments below, or on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you!

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