Welcome! This blog tracks the real estate market in the Central Shenandoah Valley, featuring market data and analysis, an exploration of common buying and selling questions, and candid commentary on all things real estate.
If you are interested in discussing any of the topics on this blog, or the details of your specific real estate situation, call or e-mail me!
It seems (see above) that there are many more $300K-$400K home buyers in the market during the summer months than any other time of year.
And before you say this is just the normal seasonal trend for home sales, compare it to the overall market (below).
Perhaps the high buyer count in the summer for $300K-$400K range is related to incoming JMU professors?
What will it take to sell your house in today's real estate market? The age-old adage of "Location, Location, Location" still rings true – but since it is not cost effective to move your house, it may be helpful to focus on three areas that are under your control. These three areas are all essential to successfully selling your home.
Price: Find Your Place In The Market. Before listing your home for sale it is essential to understand the dynamics of the current housing market – but don't stop there. Not only do you need to understand the general trends (sales pace, sales price, inventory, etc.) you also must dig deep to explore the specifics of the market that pertain to your particular home. How many houses have sold in your neighborhood in the past six months, and at what prices? What other neighborhoods will buyers be exploring? Are there 10 other houses on the market just like your house, or just two? For a thorough understanding of the local housing market, please refer to HarrisonburgHousingMarket.com.
Condition: There's Old, Then There's Dilapidated. Even if your house is priced well compared to recently sold properties and currently available properties, we still need to position it to sell by optimizing its condition. Sometimes this is de-cluttering or simplifying. Sometimes a staging consultation will be helpful. Quite frequently, some minor repairs or cosmetic updates will help your property to sell. As we work to prepare your house to go on the market we will be focusing on improving the overall impression that buyers have of your house (old and dilapidated versus old but meticulously maintained) as well as eliminating potential objections that buyers might have that can easily be remedied before listing your home.
Marketing: Put The Storyline On Display For Buyers. A well-priced home in excellent condition must be marketed well to attract potential buyers to come and view the property. These days, real estate marketing should start with excellent photography, preferably with a wide-angle lens and external flash – a few photos from a smartphone aren't going to cut it. Beyond photography, it is important to focus on the storyline of the home – what are the selling points and the most attractive features? With photos and storyline in hand, we must then focus on widely exposing your home both online and in the real world. This likely means a brochure box next to your yard sign with color brochures, as well as an individual property web site, and broad syndication to a variety of online real estate web sites.
Our local housing market is slowly recovering, but there are still more sellers than buyers – which means that a property must be priced well, be in excellent condition, and be thoroughly marketed if it is to sell for the optimal price.
New assessed values have been calculated for the City of Harrisonburg. These new assessed values will determine the property taxes that each property owner will pay in 2013 --- and the values are based on sales data from the previous year.
Harrisonburg has 12,531 taxable parcels, and roughly 9,000 of those parcels will see a change in their assessed values (and thus property taxes) for 2013.
How does this 1% overall decline in City property values compare to what we've seen in the Harrisonburg Rockingham Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (HRAR MLS)?
This 1% decline in assessed values may or may not be accompanied by a change in Harrisonburg's property tax rate. That rate increased from $0.59 (per $100) to $0.63 (per $100) effective July 1, 2012. City Council will discuss the property tax rate when the City develops the 2013/2014 budget.
Check out this amazing local holiday shopping guide from OldSouthHigh.com --- and get to shopping!
Tour Old Town Homes and visit downtown lofts and work spaces decorated for the holidays.
Dec. 2 from 1-5 p.m.
A SELECTION OF OLD TOWN HOMES
Read more about the Downtown Holiday Tour in this Nov 24 article in the Daily News Record.
Buy your tickets today for Night at the Museum 2012.
Enjoy amazing food from the Joshua Wilton House, Local Chop & Grill House, Jack Brown's, Artful Dodger, Kline's Dairy Bar, Dave's Downtown Taverna, Clementine, Beyond and Virginia Eagle.
Enjoy a night out with friends, and support the Explore More Discover Museum.
Buy your tickets today!
As shown above, my new web site provides the ability to search for rental properties that are currently available through our local MLS.
As a recap, here are some other sites to view as you are searching for rentals....
Not only are inventory levels down 19% in the past year, they are also quite low as compared to the past few years.
Sign up for a Property Alerts account on my new web site and you can set up as many saved searches as you'd like, and receive beautiful e-mail updates (as shown above) when there are new listings or price reductions that match your search criteria. Consider saved searches such as:
Another new record low -- average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates are now hovering at 3.34%, a level never seen before!
If you bought a $250K house in the first week of January with 80% financing with the interest rate at the time (3.91%) you would be paying $945/month in principal and interest.
Buying a $250K house today with 80% financing with the current interest rate (3.34%) will result in a payment of $880/month in principal and interest.
That means that since the first of the year, the cost to own a $250K house has decreased by $65/month --- which is an annual savings of $780. Wow!
It has been very rewarding to see many of my clients closing on home purchases this year and locking in their housing costs at such historically low levels. Will you be next?
Harrisonburg has an ordinance to take action when a property owner's neglect of their property affects public safety -- but they might go one step further with a new ordinance that they have asked City staff to draft.
The new anti-blight ordinance would potentially require a property owner to submit an improvement plan to the City, and would let the City perform the improvements if the owner did not do so themselves.
Read more from yesterday's DNR article.
My revamped web site, ScottPRogers.com is now live and ready for your web browsing enjoyment. Take a look when you have the chance and let me know of any questions or feedback that you might have.
I'll point out some new features of the site over time, but I'll be curious as to your first impressions. Feel free to comment below, or send me an e-mail at scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
I just published my monthly Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Real Estate Market Report. Download the full PDF here or read on for some highlights.
Our local housing market continues to slowly and steadily recover:
October 2012 was a fantastic month of home sales, with 74 home sales, compared to only 62 last October. This October, in fact, was the best October in at least 3 years. The remainder of the year (Nov, Dec) should continue to show strong sales figures based on many buyers contracting on homes in October. (download the full report for details)
Inventory levels continue to decline, helping to bring our local housing market close to being in balance. An over-supply of sellers and under-supply of buyers in recent years has caused many of the less-than-exciting market conditions of late. It is a positive sign to see inventory declining steadily over the past 12 and 24 months.
And, if you have questions about the local housing market, or if I can be of assistance to you with real estate that you own, or that you'd like to own, please be in touch. You can reach me most easily at 540-578-0102 or scott@HarrisonburgHousingToday.com.
Harrisonburg's Green Expo invites you to participate in a great day of workshops, exhibits, demonstrations, food and children's activities.
Beginners and experts alike can visit with local companies and non-profits to learn about growing a vibrant community with clean water, clean air, healthy living, renewable energy, and green building.
Mark your calendars and join us at Eastern Mennonite University's Commons TOMORROW (Saturday, Nov 10) from 9A-4P, presented by the Shenandoah Valley Builder's Association.
This year the Harrisonburg Green Expo has a little of everything....
In the Harrisonburg Rockingham Association of Realtors MLS, your house must be off the market for 120 days before the "days on market" will start counting at zero again.
If you are planning to take your house off the market for the winter, but you wait until December 15 to do so, your "days on market" will still be accumulating if you put the house back on the market in early March.
Thus, now is the time to act if you want to give your house a break from the market, fulfill the 120 day requirement, and then be ready to list again in early March.
If you are buying a home, you should consider (based on the age and condition of the house) buying a home warranty as well. The relatively low cost of the warranty can be a great insurance policy against the unexpected (and much higher) costs of breakdowns of appliances and mechanical systems of your home.
Click here to review details of the AHS Home Warranty.
The first of the Reservoir Street acquisitions started showing up in the Property Transfers this week.....
2320 Reservoir Street - purchased for $250,160 - assessed for $252,100.
2321 Reservoir Street - purchased for $172,500 - assessed for $142,900
2315 Reservoir Street - purchased for $192,400 - assessed for $192,400
2340 Reservoir Street - purchased for $158,000 - assessed for $162,500
To put those in context....
Beyond pulling out your compass, or checking the time of day and squinting at the sky, might you be curious about where the sun will be in relation to your new house?
LightTrac is a mobile app that I have been using for the last year or so that helps you to explore this very question. With LightTrac, you can type in any address and then see the angle at which the sun will rise (yellow line above) and set (blue line above) and you can check the angle of the sun at any time between sunrise and sunset (red line above).
Better yet, however, you can adjust the date --- so you can see where you will have sunlight during different seasons of the year.
If direct sunlight matters to you, consider downloading LightTrac to best understand the directionality of the sun as it relates to the home you might purchase.
Reservoir Street is being improved / expanded in the near future, between University Boulevard and the eastern City limits. The improved road will feature:
If you are buying a home near Reservoir Street (Stonewall Heights, Avalon Woods, etc) you should:
View the Reservoir Street Improvement website for a PDF map of the new road.
P.S. Did you know that 18 buildings along Reservoir Street will be demolished to make way for the improved road?
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