Alexandria, VA Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

By the way, we proofread but occasionally we make mistakes.  If you find one, please let us know and we'll be sure to correct it!  

Sept. 21, 2018

House Hunt Like a Pro

How to Overcome Common Home Buying Challenges

Today’s homebuyers are facing increasing mortgage rates, rising sales prices and low inventory in many markets.  Not to mention, recent tax policy changes.  

How does a buyer tackle such obstacles? Take a page from our playbook below to better prepare and navigate your home buying experience.  

Get perspective

Relatively speaking, "The fours are not a terrible place to be," said Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow.  Average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages reached 4.45 percent, a record high since 2014, last month.  However, this number is still historically low.

What do nominal rate increases cost the homebuyer after all?  

The latest Long & Foster Real Estate data reported a median home sales price of $470,000 in August, 2018.  Home buyers securing a 30-year loan at the current rate of 4.5 percent, with no down payment, would pay $337,312 in interest over the life of the loan.  At 5 percent, interest costs rise to $438,302 - about a $100,000 difference in total, but only a $142 increase in your monthly payment.  

While those numbers seem hefty, pre-recession home buyers faced interest rates of 6.5 percent in the summer of 2007.

The golden rule

Don't buy more house than you can afford.  Think of your future purchase as a place you’ll call home, not an investment.  Put your affordability in bounds by reviewing your latest credit report and obtaining pre-approval from a lender. 

Work with a professional Realtor

This is no market for the faint of heart.  Homebuyers should prepare to face a tight inventory and competitive offers from other buyers.  Teaming up with an experienced real estate professional who has likely been to the negotiating table more times than you is a smart move.  Realtors assist buyers to craft better deals with tactics like offering a bigger down payment, more earnest money or a shorter closing time.  They’ll also walk you through an escalation clause.  In such a clause, a buyer agrees to pay x price for a home, but if the seller receives an offer higher than x, the buyer is willing to increase their offer to y.  

What about taxes? 

Tax laws are not as generous as they once were.  Previously capped at $1 million, homeowners can now deduct interest paid on only the first $750,000 of a loan for their first or second home purchase. 

The unlimited federal deduction for state and local income and sales tax has also been reduced.  Taxpayers may deduct up to $10,000 in combined property, state, and local income taxes, often affecting those in areas with heavy tax burdens the most.

Stay focused

Whether you buy now or later, stay the course for eventual homeownership. Vice President of Communications of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Bruce McClary, reminds buyers, "There is an investment value in homeownership but time is a big factor. It's slow and steady because there are peaks and valleys. It can be a roller coaster at times.”

Novice and veteran home buyers alike may find it tricky to navigate the current market.  The LizLuke Team provides clients with excellent guidance, backed by exceptional expertise, in order to make sound real estate decisions.  Call, text or email The LizLuke Team today - we’ll be by your side every step of the way.  

Sept. 6, 2018

Macro, micro and the real estate market

Alexandria, VA - A web of interdependent macro and micro economic factors influence the real estate industry and are key considerations in evaluating the nation’s financial health.  Microeconomics examines small scale consumer behaviors (e.g., supply and demand) collectively influencing more complex macroeconomic issues like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and interest rates.  

Ideally, macro and micro strike a balance.  Theory assumes certain factors will remain constant; therefore solving for ‘x’ is possible.  In reality, these factors are in constant flux and macroeconomic policy is particularly difficult to manage.  Policy complications aside, and stated obviously, an informed decision based on probability typically results in a better outcome than one made in haste.

The following economic metrics impact real estate and offer important insights for home buyers and sellers.  Couple this data with the support and resources of an experienced Realtor and gain the advantage in an increasingly competitive market.

Mortgage interest. Yes, rates are edging up and many industry experts predict additional increases, averaging around 5 percent, in the near future.  Home buyers shouldn’t agonize over nominal increases just yet - five percent is historically low and doesn’t result in much higher month-to-month mortgage payments.

Why it matters: Increased borrowing costs, combined with current low inventory and rising home prices, forfeit buyers’ purchasing power.  Finding the right home can be taxing and buyers often face competition when submitting an offer. 

Builder confidence. “Builders continue to report strong demand for new housing, fueled by steady job and income growth along with rising household formations,”  said Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.  NAHB conducts a monthly survey to derive the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index from a number of data points.  Builder confidence was last reported at 67 percent (50 percent is the lower limit for growth).

Why it matters: Current demand is encouraging home builders to negate a percentage of low inventory with a supply of new construction homes.   However, the construction industry is facing rising costs that will inevitably reach the consumer and potentially affect housing affordability.  

GDP. The U.S. is realizing its strongest GDP growth in years and expected to close out 2018 at 3 percent.  

Why it matters: A combination of record low unemployment, increasing incomes and strong consumer spending behavior is fueling expansion.

Consumer confidence. Sentiment rose slightly in July, showing fairly strong optimism.

Why it matters: Confident consumers, experiencing job security and increasing incomes, are more likely to make real estate investments.  Although the National Association of Realtors’ affordability index has declined to 134.8 since January, the average family income can afford an average-priced home – for now.  Low-supply, high-demand environments may cause buyers in more expensive areas to be priced out if current trends continue.

Novice and veteran home buyers and sellers alike may find it tricky to navigate the current economic waters. The LizLuke Team will work with you to better understand these hefty topics - providing clients with excellent guidance, backed by exceptional expertise, in order to make sound real estate decisions.  Call, text or email The LizLuke Team today - we’ll be by your side every step of the way.  

Aug. 17, 2018

Mmmhhmmm is for Mia's Italian Kitchen

An Old Town must - Mia's Italian Kitchen

A block from the waterfront on King St, Mia’s Italian Kitchen offers casual dining, attentive service and delicious eats - all for a bill that won't break the bank.

Start simple and keep your diet inshape with Mia’s baby arugula salad - shaved fennel and orange slices,lightly dressed with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, and topped with parmesan. Dining with friends?  Choose a charcuterie or cheese board to share.

Hearty main options include heaping portions of house made al dente pasta and specialties like porchetta - a roasted stuffed pork belly with fennel, creamy polenta and garlic escarole - mmmmhhhhmmm.  Personally sized brick oven pizza and sandwiches are perfect lunch choices. 

Save room to indulge in dessert.  The tiramisu is to die for - light lady finger layers with creamy mascarpone.  Yes, please!  

Mia’s is debuting in its first Alexandria Summer Restaurant Week, beginning today until Aug August 26.  Over 60 local eateries feature prix-fixe dinner menus for $35.  About half of those restaurants will also offer lunch options, and a quarter will offer brunch.  Browse participating restaurants and menus here. 

 

 

 

Posted in Community
Aug. 13, 2018

Experienced Realtors are an invaluable asset to real estate success

 

In Real Estate, Odds Are Best When There's An Expert in Your Corner

Expert Realtors are an invaluable asset to real estate success.

Real estate transactions can be hefty emotional and financial decisions.  Novice and veteran buyers and sellers alike will immeasurably benefit from the advice and resources of an experienced Realtor.  

Partner up with a pro that you trust is the key to choosing the right Realtor.  Begin by asking close friends and family for recommendations.  The foundation of real estate and related industries is built on relationships.  Successful real estate agents have clients that return year after year.  Die hard fans like this aren’t a dime a dozen - they’re cultivated by exceptional Realtors who build confidence with clients by listening closely to their needs and supporting the achievement of their goals - both immediate and long-term.  

Realtors often come as a package deal and are part of a team including buyer and seller agents and administrative and marketing staff.  Clients benefit from this additional manpower, receiving seamless transaction management from the initial meeting and continuing until long after settlement.  Also players on a Realtor’s team are an extended network of business associates (lending firms, attorneys, etc.) and supplementary services (home inspectors, handymen, etc.) that assist in the smooth navigation of transactions. 

Paperwork involved in the purchase or sale of a home is plenty; auxiliary staff ensure deadlines and contract requirements are met.  Team agents have access to regular continuing education courses in order to stay current with industry regulations, making certain clients are in compliance with the latest requirements.  Regular training also means these Realtors are likely to have timely and reliable market insight.  This data puts buyers on the ‘first to know’ list of active properties and supports accurate pricing strategies for sellers. 

Expert Realtors are tough negotiators, too.  They will go to bat for a client’s best interests, deter potential red flags, whittle down sales prices when possible and insist that the parties on the other side of a transaction are up to par.  

Wherever you are on your real estate journey, an experienced Realtor is an invaluable asset to the victories you hope to achieve.  Not sure where or how to begin?  Call, text or email The LizLuke Team today - we’ll be by your side every step of the way.  

July 31, 2018

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Is home ownership right for you right now?

Signing the dotted line of your first home loan is a big deal - likely one of the most intense financial decisions you make in life.  

While mild apprehension about the mortgage process is common and expected, an overly cautious attitude can prevent qualified home buyers from capitalizing on a tried and true investment - real estate.  

Present economic factors complicate purchase decisions for would-be buyers.  Record high incomes are filling the bank accounts of many Americans - especially the latter fifth of millennials approaching Generation X birth years, and the former fifth of Gen Xers born before 1978.  Lurking around the corner, however, are nominal interest rate and home sale price increases. 

Recent developments, including the ingenuity of lenders to adapt loan criteria in order to combat common mortgagee challenges, may encourage your decision.  Read more about these industry changes here.  It’s critical to consider the intent of your investment and your time horizon.  Determine an action plan by asking yourself a simple strategic question.  Are you willing to stay put in a home in order to realize long-term capital appreciation?  

On average, experts agree real estate gains are realized in five to seven years.  Investment tycoon Warren Buffett advises, “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”  Sahil Gupta, co-founder of Patch Homes, a home equity finance company in San Francisco, told U.S. News & World Report, “ ‘In general, if you're buying for the long term, then market cycles matter less.’ ”

Many millennials (and the outlying Gen Xers) are making the leap. Recent data from the National Association of Realtors report over a third of home buyers are 36 and younger – comprising the largest share of all home buyers.

The bottom line?  Don’t let mortgage misconceptions hold you back from homeownership or real estate investing. Take heed to the caution of self-made millionaire David Bach, “ ‘the single biggest mistake millennials are making’ ” is not making home ownership a priority.  Bach insists buying a home is “ ‘an escalator to wealth.’ ”

Ready to develop your real estate strategy? Call us today.  We are an experienced team, connected to professional industry resources, who will guide you every step of the way.  

July 24, 2018

Beverley Hills Colonial on large, tucked away lot

605 Beverly Dr | $794,000 

3 BR | 2 BATH 

Experience the best of Beverley Hills at this Colonial home on a large, tucked away lot; only a short stroll away from Monticello Park. Updated, spacious, eat-in kitchen with porcelain tile flooring and gourmet appliances. Relax on either of two private decks or the patio, all overlooking the tranquil backyard garden. Storage and workshop space on the lower level. Recently painted with many new and upgraded systems.

 

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Posted in Local Real Estate
July 12, 2018

Expanded classic home situated on large, landscaped corner lot

2813 Davis Ave | Alexandria, VA 

This expanded classic home is situated on a large, landscaped corner lot with lush greenery and mature oak trees.  Built for both modern living and ease of entertaining, the adjoined family and dining rooms open to a remodeled gourmet kitchen offering cherry cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite counters and a charming breakfast bar.  A powder room, formal dining room and the living room with a wood-burning fireplace complete the main level.  Retreat to the expansive upper level master suite with dual vanities, double walk-in closets and a sitting area that also makes for the perfect office space.  Enjoy serene summer evenings on the three season screened-in porch or flagstone patio in the private backyard. 

Ample closets and a detached garage provide plenty of storage space.  Premium Pella windows and hardwood floors throughout the home.  Click here to download the entire list of home features and improvements.

2813 Davis Ave is offered for $960,000 and will be open Sunday, July 15, 2-4PM.  Please find additional listing details and a floorpan tour at lizluke.com.  Contact Elizabeth Lucchesi of The LizLuke Team at elizabeth@lizluke.com or 703.868.5676 to schedule a tour of this property. 

 

 

June 29, 2018

Let the Independence Day Celebrations Begin!

Let the Independence Day celebrations begin!  Check out this rundown of Alexandria and D.C. event offerings.  

Independence Fireworks

June 29 | 6 - 9:45PM

Get your tickets NOW!  Saturday's event has been SOLD OUT!  

Mount Vernon Fireworks

 

An American Celebration

July 4 | 8AM - 5PM 

Salute the first commander in chief during Mount Vernon's annual Independence Day event! Watch dazzling made-for-daytime fireworks shoot off over the Potomac River and listen to the roar of cannon fire while viewing special military re-enactments throughout the day.

An American Celebration

 

National Independence Day Parade

July 4 | 11:45AM - 2PM

America’s National Independence Day Parade takes place annually on July 4th at 11:45 am in Washington, D.C., on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street before a street audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators. The Parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. 

 

A Capitol Fourth

July 4 | 8 - 9:30PM

America’s favorite Independence Day celebration, A Capitol Fourth puts viewers front and center for the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation. A Capitol Fourth is broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, and our troops watching around the world on the American Forces Network.

Fireworks at the Nation's Capitol

 

USA + Alexandria Birthday Celebration

July 7 | 6 - 10PM

On Saturday, July 7, 2018, from 6 to 10 p.m., celebrate America's 242nd birthday and Alexandria's 269th birthday along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic and enjoy live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, patriotic birthday cake, food vendors and a dazzling fireworks display. As George Washington's hometown, Alexandria is a patriotic hotspot, filled with tours by bike, boat and foot, historic sites and art galleries, plus restaurants and boutiques to explore before heading to the waterfront for the grand celebration. Admission is free. For more information call the Special Events Hotline at 703-746-5592.

Alexandria Birthday Celebration

Posted in Community
June 27, 2018

Charming Braddock Heights brick rambler

2701 Valley Dr 

Overlook the neighborhood from the quaint front porch of this charming Braddock Heights brick rambler.  A cozy wood-burning fireplace, highlighted by custom built-in shelving, welcomes you to the living room with hardwood floors, crown molding and plantation shutters.  Walk through the dining area to the large, level backyard with mature landscaping, a small patio, and privacy fence.  

A full bath, distinguished by it’s space saving pocket door and ornate sink basin, sits between two spacious bedrooms on the main level.  The finished basement is carpeted and has an additional full bath.

 Among recent home improvements are a new roof and HVAC, chimney repointing, painting of the entire home interior, and refinishing of the exterior porch railings and columns.   

Click here to download the entire list of home features and improvements. 

2701 Valley Dr is offered for $705,000 and will be open Sunday, July 1, 2-4PM.  Please find additional listing details and a floorpan tour at lizluke.com.  Contact Elizabeth Lucchesi of The LizLuke Team at elizabeth@lizluke.com or 703.868.5676 to schedule a tour of this property. 

 

June 20, 2018

Colonial home on cul de sac in picturesque Alexandria neighborhood

1703 Hollinwood Dr | Alexandria, VA 22307

Offered for $800,000

1703 Hollinwood Dr

The perfect chance to renovate & customize this to be the home of your dreams! 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths on upper level, 1 bedroom with full bath on lower level. New HVAC, water heater & electrical panel w/in the last year. Attached 2 car garage, private backyard. Great opportunity for investment/renovation project, sold in as-is condition.

 

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