HarrisonburgHousingToday.com :: Market Updates, Analysis and Commentary on Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Real Estatehttp://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/index.phpGiven Current Low Inventory Levels, You May Want To Search More Broadly For Your Next HomeLooking Everywhere!

Wouldn't it be grand if every would be buyer in the current market had (10) great homes to choose from on any given day?

But we just aren't seeing that right now.

If you'd like to buy a townhouse or duplex in the City of Harrisonburg for less than $275K, you have... one option.

If you'd like to buy a detached home in the City of Harrisonburg for less than $300K, you have... five options.

If you want to buy a detached home in the Turner Ashby school district for less than $400K, you have... three options.

So, if you're are starting your home search right now (or continuing it) you might have to search a bit more broadly for homes than you had first imagined.

Look a bit above and below your target price range.

Look at homes with one fewer bedrooms than you would prefer.

Look at homes in a nearby but different school district than where you hope to buy.

Expanding your home search in this way will expose you to more options, one of which might be a great house for you, and it will help you further understand current market dynamics related to pricing.

I hope we can find the perfect house for you, right away, amidst lots of other super options, but given lower inventory levels, we might have to look a bit more broadly to find some options.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/given-current-low-inventory-levels-you-may-want-to-search-more-broadly-for-your-next-home_1708601645/index.php?f=1Thu, 22 Feb 2024 11:34:05 +0000Scott Rogers
58 Townhomes, 34 Apartments Likely Coming Soon On Mt Clinton Pike Near Intersection With North Main StreetWilson Ave Development

The 5.23 acre parcel shown above was rezoned back in December 2022 to allow for this new residential development and now the Planning Commission and City Council are reviewing and potentially approving the site plan to allow the development to move forward.

The 5.23 acre property will include:
  • 58 townhomes
  • 34 apartments situated in  three apartment buildings
  • some green space and a basketball court

Here's the layout, zoomed in a bit...

Wilson Ave Development

Download the full Planning Commission packet (from their meeting last week) here.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/-townhomes--apartments-likely-coming-soon-on-mt-clinton-pike-near-intersection-with-north-main-street_1708513890/index.php?f=1Wed, 21 Feb 2024 11:11:30 +0000Scott Rogers
Especially After Recent Increases In Property Values, Home Sellers Will Be Considering More Than Just The Offer PriceComparing Offer Terms

Imagine you are a home seller...

...you purchased your home 10 years ago for $250K...

...you are ready to sell and hope it might sell for $340K...

...you list it for sale for $350K.

After a few days on the market, you have three offers to consider...

[1]  Offer of $350K contingent on the buyer financing 80% of the purchase price.

[2]  Offer of $355K contingent on the buyer financing 95% of the purchase price.

[3]  Offer of $365K contingent on the buyer financing 97% of the purchase price and requesting a $5K closing cost credit.

The first offer would get you $350K, the second $355K and the third $360K.

Ignoring any other differences in the offer terms, which of these offers would you accept? 

Many buyers might think (or hope) that the highest offer price will win... but especially when home values have increased as much as they have over the past five years, home sellers might not always pick the highest sales price.

Fictional Seller described above was hoping to sell for $340K, so all three of the offer are great –– they all results in higher prices than the goal of $340K.

To pick on the third offer first, it provides for the highest sales price but the buyer has the least amount of funds to put into the transaction and is even asking the seller to pay for part of their closing costs.  The artificially inflated sales price (to incorporate the closing cost credit) will mean that the property must appraise for $5K higher than it would otherwise.  Furthermore, if there is an inspection contingency, this buyer seems likely to be the most concerned about any small or medium sized issues, as they do not appear to have a lot of funds to put towards the home purchase.

The second offer ($355K with 95% financing) is certainly stronger than the first ($350K with 80% financing) but again, the smaller down payment can be an indication that something could go awry within the transaction to cause it not to make it to closing, such as discovering needed home repairs during the home inspection process.

Thus, many sellers in this situation would end up choosing the lowest (!!) offer –– selling for $350K instead of $355K or $360K –– because of the greater certainty of the buyer successfully making it to closing given their seemingly more secure and stable financing situation.

This is just one example of how home sellers these days will be comparing more than just the proposed purchase price when reviewing multiple offers –– especially if they bought their home 5+ years ago and have seen a sizable increase in their property value.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/especially-after-recent-increases-in-property-values-home-sellers-will-be-considering-more-than-just-the-offer-price_1708430531/index.php?f=1Tue, 20 Feb 2024 12:02:11 +0000Scott Rogers
How Much Are Home Buyers Paying For Houses?How Much Are Buyers Paying For Houses?

How many buyers in the past year have been able to purchase a property for less than $200K?

104 buyers... or 9% of the buyers who bought in the past year.

How many buyers paid more than half a million dollars for their homes?

151 buyers... or 12% of the buyers who bought in the past year.

In what price range are the largest number of buyers buying?

Just over 40% of home buyers paid $300K – $400K over the past year.

As you prepare to sell your home you should take time to understand the size of the pool of buyers who will be potentially interested in buying your home.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/how-much-are-home-buyers-paying-for-houses_1708351044/index.php?f=1Mon, 19 Feb 2024 13:57:24 +0000Scott Rogers
Almost Half Of Homes For Sale Are New HomesInventory Level by Property Type

There are SOOOO many homes for sale... 185 of them right now, compared to only 109 a year ago.  But... maybe there aren't as many homes for sale as you might think!?!

As shown above, almost half of the homes currently listed for sale are new homes!

New Homes For Sale = 88

Resale Homes For Sale = 97

So, even before we get to any price or location limitations, if you aren't looking to buy in a new home community you will only actually have 97 homes from which to choose, not 185 homes.

These new homes for sale are mostly in these neighborhoods...

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/almost-half-of-homes-for-sale-are-new-homes_1708097703/index.php?f=1Fri, 16 Feb 2024 15:35:03 +0000Scott Rogers
Despite An Increase In Home Sales In January, Contract Activity Is Down, Inventory Levels Are Up, Days On Market Is UpMonthly Market Report

❤️  Happy Valentine's Day!  ❤️

For those of you that just *love* reading my market reports each month... consider today's report my valentine to you.  😉  That said, the real estate indicators this month aren't all hearts and candy and hugs and kisses... so TBD if you'll still consider this to be a loving Valentine's Day message by the end. 

But first, as a peace (love?) offering... each month I provide a giveaway, of sorts, for readers of my monthly market report.  This month I'm highlighting a delightful cafe / coffee shop just outside Dayton called Harvest Table.  They offer great coffee beverages, a delicious array of baked goods, and a solid (all–day) breakfast and lunch menu as well!  If you haven't checked out Harvest Table –– you should –– and click here to enter your name for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate use on your next visit!

Now, on to the real estate data, starting with how many home sales we saw in the first month of 2024.

Monthly Market Report

If we start with how many homes are selling right now (see above) we'll be starting with some rather positive news.  After over a year of steady declines in the number of homes selling in our area, we did see a bit of a turnaround in January 2024.  A few things I am noticing above...

[1]  After only 76 home sales in January 2023 we saw 94 in January 2024.  I wasn't expecting that we would see this 24% increase in the first month of 2024.  I don't necessarily think that means we'll see a 24% increase in the number of homes selling throughout 2024 –– as this is just one month of data –– but it was a pleasant surprise to see more buyers able to buy homes this January than last January.

[2]  The third highlighted line (above) shows that over the past year we have seen a 21% decline in the number of homes that are selling in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  This certainly stands in contrast to the 24% increase in January 2024... but if we want to broaden our view a touch we see (in the second highlighted line) that home sales have only declined by 3% when looking at the most recent three months (Nov–Jan) compared to the same three months a year prior.

So... based on several bits of data... maybe (just maybe) we won't see another 20–ish percent decrease in the number of homes selling this year in our market... maybe we could actually see some stability in this metric, or a slight increase in the number of homes that are selling in 2024?  Wait and see... only 11 more months to go.

And how about those home prices...

Monthly Market Report

Just as we can't necessarily believe that the 24% increase in home sales in January 2024 will be a lasting trend, we also shouldn't necessarily believe that the 2% increase in the median sales price in January 2024 will be a lasting trend.

As shown above, when looking at three, six or twelve months of data, the median sales price in our area has been rising by 9% – 10%.  When looking at just one month of data (January 2024 vs. January 2023) we only see a 2% increase in that median sales price, but I don't think we'll see that low of an increase once we get a few more months into the year.

And how about how quickly homes are selling...

Monthly Market Report

There are enough changes on this table (between 2023 and 2024) to give me confidence in saying that the market will almost certainly move at least a bit more slowly in 2024 than it did in 2023 (and 2022).  The median "days on market" was 14 days in January 2024, which means that of the homes that sold in January, half of them took more than two weeks to go under contract.  This is quite a bit slower than the median of six days last January.

Also, if we zoom out a bit to look at the three month, six month and twelve month metrics, we also see higher median days on market in those timeframes as well.  We started to see days on market creep up a bit in 2023 but I think we will see an even more significant increase in this "speed of sale" metric in 2024. Many homes will likely still sell very quickly in 2024, but not all homes. 

This next graph is a bit hard to read with only one data point for 2024, but see if you can find it... hiding on the left side, and highlighted...

Monthly Market Report

That highlighted "94" is showing the number of homes that sold in January 2024... which was well above the 76 home sales we saw last January (in blue) and only barely above the four year average of 2020 through 2023.

Looking and thinking ahead towards the next few months the question that remains is whether home sales in 2024 will remain stronger than in 2023, or whether the monthly sales count will drift back down towards 2023 levels.  I'll hit on contract activity and pending sales a bit later to allow us to think more about what the coming months might look like.

And now, a look at the overall big picture trends as it relates to how many homes are selling and the prices at which they are selling...

Monthly Market Report

At this point you might be wondering why I warned you in the beginning of the report about some of the metrics not being entirely positive this month.  Well, keep reading, but this graph (above) is still in the positive category.

The blue line above tracks the number of annual home sales taking place in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (per the HRAR MLS) when measured on a monthly basis.  After 17 months of a declining pace of annual home sales, we saw the first increase in January 2024... from 1,204 home sales to 1,222 home sales.  This change in direction in this trend is a result of strong January 2024 home sales compared to January 2023 home sales.  If that continues in February 2024, we'll see this line continue to rise again.

The top (green) line shows the median sales price over a year's time, measured each month.  Clearly, the median sales price has been increasing for many (!!) months (years) now.  This metric has flattened out a bit over the past two months, so stay tuned to see if the median sales price continues to increase in 2024 as quickly as it did in 2022 and 2023.

Here's another look at that possible change in how quickly prices are rising...

Monthly Market Report

At first glance, it would seem that the rapid increases in the median sales price that we saw in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 might finally be coming to an end in 2024.  And, that might be true.  We could see a much smaller increase in the median sales price this year.  But... keep in mind that the graph above is comparing 12 months of data in 2023 to only one month in 2024.  Once we have a few more months of data to consider in 2024 –– a larger data set than the 94 January home sales –– we'll be able to have a better sense of whether we will see similar or smaller increases in the median sales price in 2024.

Next up, contract activity, one of the indicators of what we should expect next...

Monthly Market Report

I suppose I shouldn't focus too much on contract activity being slower in January 2024 than in January 2023 because it wasn't that large of a difference... a decline from 116 contracts last January to 108 contracts this January.

But, after seeing a big uptick in closed sales in January 2024, I was expecting to see more contracts in January as well –– which would allow us to more confidently expect to see overall home sales activity to increase in 2024.

So, with more sales in January, but fewer contracts, what will February (and March) look like in 2024?  Well, here's another potential indicator... pending sales...

Monthly Market Report

Pending sales is a measure (a count) of how many properties are under contract (pending) at any given moment in time.  A year ago there were 234 pending sales at this time, which was in line with the four year (2020–2023) average of having 233 pending sales at this time of year. 

But then, January 2024.  At the end of January (beginning of February) we are now seeing 270 pending sales –– much more than any time recently.  So, despite fewer homes going under contract in January, the total number of homes waiting to make it to closing is much higher than we might have otherwise expected.

All of this points to the possibility that we will actually see an increase in the number of homes selling in 2024 as compared to 2023.  Give it a few more months to see if the data keeps reinforcing that hypothesis, but I am starting to think we'll see an increase in home sales this year as compared to last year.

And perhaps more homes are selling because more are available for sale?

Monthly Market Report

Not only are there many more (15% more) pending sales right now as compared to a year ago, there are also many more (67% more) homes for sale right now as compared to a year ago.

That's actually a pretty significant (67%) increase in inventory levels in a year's time.  One year ago a buyer would have been able to choose from 109 homes to give to their special someone on Valentine's Day.  This year, they can choose from 182 homes for sale.  If you've been hoping your loved one will give you a new home for Valentine's Day... you might be in luck, there are sooo many more options this year.  If you don't get that new home along with some roses and a box of chocolates, don't let them blame it on the low housing inventory levels...

Now, back to that median "days on market" metric...

Monthly Market Report

Way back in mid–2021 the median days on market dropped all the way down to four days... and then stayed at five days for more than a year after that.

We started to see the median days on market bounce around a bit more in 2023 as we went from a market where absolutely every home seemed to sell very (very) quickly to a market where many homes still sold very quickly, but not all of them did.

As we look at the increase from a median of five days on the market back in August to a median of eight days on the market today, we may just be seeing a seasonal increase that we will start to see every year... or we may be seeing the beginning of a slight slowing in the market.

But... keep in mind... if the median days on market increases from five to eight days, that is not a drastically different market.  It's an increase, but it's not an increase to 10 or 20 or 30 days on the market.  Thus, it will be important to continue to monitor this metric over the coming months to see if 2024 is and will be a more slowly moving market than last year.

Finally, how about those mortgage interest rates...

Monthly Market Report

One of the main causes for the decline in the number of home sales in 2023 was rising mortgage interest rates.  In 2022 mortgage interest rates rose from 3.11% to 6.42%.  Then as 2023 went on, they rose even further, up to a peak of 7.79%.  Can you blame buyers for not wanting to buy with a mortgage interest rate above 7%... or for sellers not wanting to sell and then have to buy with an interest rate above 7%?

Over the past few months we have started to see mortgage interest rates decline, back to around 6.7% by the end of January.  If we continue to see declines in mortgage interest rates in 2024 that will likely encourage further buying activity, though I don't expect that they will get all the way down 6% by the end of the year.

And there we have it, very much a mixed bag of market metrics this month.  More home sales, fewer contracts but more pending sales, higher inventory levels, higher days on market.  All of that likely adds up to 2024 being yet another interesting and not entirely predictable year in our local housing market. 

If you plan to buy this year – talk to a lender soon and then frequently over time to understand how changing mortgage interest rates affect your budget and monthly payment.

If you plan to sell this year – prepare your home well, price it in line with recent similar home sales, and know that your home might be on the market for more than a few days.

If you own a home and do not plan to sell it – this will likely be another good year for you with your home increasing in value and another year of paying down a mortgage that likely has a very low interest rate.

And to each of you –– if I can be of any help to you with real estate or otherwise, don't hesitate to reach out.  You can contact me most easily at 540–578–0102 (call/text) or by email here.

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day! 



Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/despite-an-increase-in-home-sales-in-january-contract-activity-is-down-inventory-levels-are-up-days-on-market-is-up_1707915369/index.php?f=1Wed, 14 Feb 2024 12:56:09 +0000Scott Rogers
Evergreene Homes Proposed New Residential Development On Port Republic Road, Weston Park, To Potentially Include 74 Townhomes, 28 Duplexes And 26 Detached Homes

The developer of Preston Lake, Evergreene Homes, is proposing a rezoning in the City of Harrisonburg to allow for the development of a new neighborhood across Port Republic Road from Westmoreland Drive...

Weston Park

This development would include 128 homes currently shown as:
  • 74 townhomes
  • 28 duplexes
  • 26 detached homes
The City of Harrisonburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing about this rezoning request on February 14, 2024.

City staff recommends that this rezoning request be denied, for two reasons...

[1]  The Comprehensive Plan shows this area as Low Density Mixed Residential which is intended to include large and small lot single family detached dwellings, sometimes with duplexes – but not with townhouses.  The majority of the dwelling units in the proposal for Weston Park are townhouses.

[2]  Only 6.3% of the approved dwelling units between January 2021 and February 2024 have been single family homes and 1.6% have been duplexes.  During that timeframe, 23.2% of the approved dwelling units have been for townhomes (589 of them) and 68.9% of the approved dwelling units have been for multi–family properties (1,747 of them). 

As the staff report summarizes...

"Given the lower number of single–family detached and duplex dwellings that have been given use–approval compared to townhomes, and that the Comprehensive Plan recommends single–family detached and duplexes for the subject property, at this time, staff does not believe the subject property needs to be rezoned to allow for more townhome development."

Download the staff report here and the application and supporting documents here.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/evergreene-homes-proposed-new-residential-development-on-port-republic-road-weston-park-to-potentially-include--townhomes--duplexes-and--detached-homes_1707847018/index.php?f=1Tue, 13 Feb 2024 17:56:58 +0000Scott Rogers
To Everyone Not Selling Their Home This YearNot Selling?

Plenty of you won't sell your home this year.

You might not sell because...

[1]  You love your home.

[2]  You don't want to trade your mortgage's 3–point–something interest rate for a 6–point–something interest rate.

[3]  Even though you would sell your home for more than you might have imagined last year, you don't want to then have to buy a new home for more than you would have imagined last year.

Whatever the reason... plenty of you won't sell your home this year.

If you fall into that category (not a seller) I encourage you to think about what small or medium sized (or large!?) improvements you can make to your home.  Here's why...

[1]  You'll love your home even more.

[2]  You'll make your home more appealing to buyers when you do eventually sell.

[3]  You'll be removing one item from your list of possible improvements years down the road when you sell.

Homes that have not had any improvements or updates for 10, 15 or 20 years can be challenging for sellers to sell and challenging for buyers to get excited about buying.

So, if you are not selling your home this year, give some thought to what changes or improvements you might make to your home in 2024.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/to-everyone-not-selling-their-home-this-year_1707738404/index.php?f=1Mon, 12 Feb 2024 11:46:44 +0000Scott Rogers
An Interesting Side Effect Of Buyers Being Slightly Pickier Given Higher Mortgage Interest RatesI like it but I don't love it

OK, see if you can follow me on this one...

When mortgage interest rates were low (below 4% for a while) buyers could afford most houses they wanted to pursue, competition amongst buyers was fierce, and buyers were willing to compromise on some of the ways in which any given house wasn't quite the perfect house.  If it was good enough, they would very likely make an offer.

With mortgage interest rates now being quite a big higher (above 6%) buyers can't afford as many houses, and they are often (reasonably) being a bit pickier about how well a particular house fits their needs and desires.  If they're going to spend *that much* on a house payment, they want it to be a pretty darn good fit for what they want in a house.

Here's an interesting side effect of this shift...

Before... most or all houses would rapidly have offers, and often have multiple offers.

Now... some houses aren't getting many offers at all, and some are getting a TON of offers.

The houses that are the most widely appealing to buyers are feeling "just right" to so may buyers that they are generating lots of offers.

The houses that are mostly appealing to buyers but have some "flaws" or some "not quite right" features in the eyes of some or many buyers are seeing fewer offers, or slower offers, or no offers.

I understand a buyer's logic in this type of a situation... monthly mortgage payments are high right now given higher home prices and higher mortgage interest rates... so you want to love the house you intend to buy.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/an-interesting-side-effect-of-buyers-being-slightly-pickier-given-higher-mortgage-interest-rates_1707400819/index.php?f=1Thu, 08 Feb 2024 14:00:19 +0000Scott Rogers
I Will Never Sell My House, He ExclaimedNever, Ever, Nope

I think more of us might be in this category than anyone realizes.

About 80% of homeowners have a mortgage rate below 5%.

About 60% of homeowners have a mortgage rate below 4%.

With current mortgage interest rates in the 6–point–something range, why would any of those homeowners want to sell their home!?

I think we will continue to see depressed (lower) numbers of resale listings in 2024 as plenty of homeowners decide to keep making their current home work, given their very low mortgage interest rate.

Or, as the guy said earlier this week who has an interest rate below 3%... "I Will Never Sell My House!"

If you're in the market to buy a home right now, we are likely to see more resale listings coming on the market in the spring, but there will likely be fewer such listings than there are buyers who want to buy them, so competition will likely remain fierce especially in some price ranges and locations.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/i-will-never-sell-my-house-he-exclaimed_1707320361/index.php?f=1Wed, 07 Feb 2024 15:39:21 +0000Scott Rogers
Some Houses Are Still Selling Super Fast With Many OffersNeighborhood

Plenty of houses are taking a while to sell these days... sometimes weeks and even months. But... some are selling VERY fast, with LOTS of offers.

Case in point – a house that shall not be named – with 12 offers within three days of being listed.

Some would–be sellers thus wonder ––– will my house be a three month sale or a three day sale. 

Oversimplifying a bit... it's all about supply and demand.

If a house is listed for sale in a neighborhood where there are already two houses for sale and there are very few buyers looking for the combination of features that the house offers –– it might take a bit for the house to sell.

If a house is listed for sale in a neighborhood where homes have rarely been listed for sale over the past two years and there are a ton of buyers who would love to live in that neighborhood –– it might take just a few days for the house to sell.

We ought to analyze and evaluate the type of market your house might fit into (of the two general types above) before we list your home for sale –– but we won't really know with certainty how the market will respond until we list your home for sale.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/some-houses-are-still-selling-super-fast-with-many-offers_1707130247/index.php?f=1Mon, 05 Feb 2024 10:50:47 +0000Scott Rogers
Starbucks, Chipotle, Hotels, Storage And More Planned For Urban Development AreaUrban Development Area

Above is a recently updated map of the Urban Development Area.

Some updates to be aware of...

[1]  Site work has begun for Wentworth Apartments.

[2]  An extended stay hotel is being built on Stone Port Blvd.

[3]  A new Chipotle might be built on Stone Spring Road next to the new 7–11  gas station that is almost complete, which is next to Taco Bell.

[4]  A new Starbucks may be built on Stone Spring Road.

[5]  A Hyatt Hotel may be built behind Walmart.

[6]  CubeSmart Storage was recently completed and Stone Spring Storage is being constructed.

Download the full sized map here.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/02/starbucks-chipotle-hotels-storage-and-more-planned-for-urban-development-area_1706879504/index.php?f=1Fri, 02 Feb 2024 13:11:44 +0000Scott Rogers
Lenders Will Likely Want To Compete For Your Mortgage Business Right NowMortgage Lenders Want Your Business

Mortgage interest rates have been dropping for the past three months –– BUT –– they are still much higher now than where they have been for most of the past 10+years.

As a result, we are seeing lower levels of home buying activity, which means fewer mortgages –– and there are definitely far fewer refinances happening right now.

All of this means that lenders will very likely want to compete for your business.  If you are buying a home, have good credit and maybe even a downpayment –– there will likely be many lenders who would love to finance your home purchase for you.

Some general recommendations are...

[1]  Start by talking to one lender to get a pre–approval letter prior to making an offer.

[2]  Once you are under contract to buy a home, knowing the specific property and specific price, go back to that first lender as well as several others to compare rates and terms.

[3]  Try to get each lender to simplify things down as much as possible related to closing costs and monthly payments so you can compare apples to apples. 

[4]  Don't hesitate to take one lender's quote to the other to ask them if they can match or beat it.

[5]  If two lenders are pretty close in the terms they can offer you, give some preference to a local lender (who you can meet with in person if things go awry) and to a lender that is prompt, professional and detail oriented in their communication.

Happy mortgage shopping!

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/lenders-will-likely-want-to-compete-for-your-mortgage-business-right-now_1706712620/index.php?f=1Wed, 31 Jan 2024 14:50:20 +0000Scott Rogers
Most Buyers Include A Study Period In A Contract For A Building Lot Or LandBuilding Lot For Sale

Getting ready to build your dream home?  Exciting!!!

Did you find the perfect building lot in a neighborhood?  Or an ideal 2.5 acre lot in the County where you plan to build?  Fantastic!!!

You have two options at this point...

[1]  Continue to do lots of research and planning, and then if it all pans out, make an offer and try to negotiate a deal with the seller.

[2]  Make an offer with a study period.

Most buyers seem to be more comfortable with the second option –– going ahead and making an offer, with a study period.

This strategy allows you to make sure you can negotiate a deal with the seller that works for you from a price (and other terms) perspective –– before then spending a good bit of time, and possibly money, on confirming that the lot or land is suitable for your building plans.

During your study period (often 30, 60, 90 days or longer – depending on the property type) you will likely...

[1]  Walk the building lot with your builder.

[2]  Research details of utility locations and/or availability.

[3]  Confirm any easements that would affect where you could build.

[4]  Research how much rock may exist and whether that will affect your building plans.

[5]  Get pricing from your builder for building your dream home now that you have a proposed site/location for it.

These are just a few of the items we might research during the study period in your contract –– all pointing us to a greater understanding of whether your plans for building on the lot will work well for you.

If you're ready to explore some land or building lots, be in touch! 

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/most-buyers-include-a-study-period-in-a-contract-for-a-building-lot-or-land_1706614602/index.php?f=1Tue, 30 Jan 2024 11:36:42 +0000Scott Rogers
Depending On How Long You Plan To Be In Your Home, A Rate Buy Down May Make Lots Of Sense!Mortgage Interest Rate Decisions

One option you will have when finalizing your loan terms with your lender will be buying down your mortgage interest rate. 

Current mortgage interest rates are right around 6.7% –– but you very likely will have the option to pay some extra closing costs to buy down that mortgage interest rate.  The more you pay, the lower that rate will go – and the that lower rate will last for the life of your loan.

Of note, if you think you might be selling your home within two to three years, it might not make sense to pay thousands of dollars up front to secure a lower than market interest rate –– but your lender can help you determine the length of time you would need to be in your home to make the cost of the rate buy down make sense.

If you know (or believe) you will be in your home for many (many!) years to come, you may very well want to go ahead and buy down that interest rate.

There are lots of options to consider when securing a mortgage, and if you have questions about the many different options, feel free to run them by me.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/depending-on-how-long-you-plan-to-be-in-your-home-a-rate-buy-down-may-make-lots-of-sense_1706528662/index.php?f=1Mon, 29 Jan 2024 11:44:22 +0000Scott Rogers
The Snow Has Melted, Bring On The Power Washing, Mulching And Exterior Painting In Preparation For Listing Your Home Soon Or This SpringPressure Washing!

For anyone preparing to sell a home shortly–ish after the first of the year, they may have had a temporary setback in the way of SNOW –– that didn't melt in the short 48 hours that snow usually sticks around in the Valley.

A decent bit of snow, plus some cold (COLD) temperatures kept the snow around longer than many had anticipated.  But, it's mostly gone now –– and I'm not seeing any snow in the forecast over the next two weeks.

So, if you're hoping to list your home soon, now is the time do that final outdoor prep...

[1]  Maybe some pressure washing?

[2]  Touch up paint on any wood trim areas that need some attention.

[3]  Add some fresh mulch and clean up the edges of your lawn and landscaping beds.

If you need help with any of these sorts of jobs, let me know, and I can point you towards some resources to help you get the job done.

And then... assuming you've been working on prepping your home's interior as well... it will be time for photos, some conversations about pricing, and we'll be ready to get your house on the market.

For home buyers that haven't been seeing many options of homes for sale over the past two months, I hope there will be some good options for you over the next two months.  Just listen for those pressure washers starting up... the home sellers are getting ready for you!

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/the-snow-has-melted-bring-on-the-power-washing-mulching-and-exterior-painting-in-preparation-for-listing-your-home-soon-or-this-spring_1706270294/index.php?f=1Fri, 26 Jan 2024 11:58:14 +0000Scott Rogers
Some Townhomes Owned By Investors Are Being Offered For Sale. Will They Be Purchased By Owner Occupants Or Other Investors?Townhouses!

Lots and lots of townhouses in and near Harrisonburg are owned by investors.  I know, that's a very exact and precise figure.  ;–)

Anecdotally, I've seen some of those townhouses hitting the market for sale over the past two months.  Not an overwhelming number... more than five but fewer than ten.

My curiosity is in whether these investor owned townhouses will remain investor owned –– if another investor will buy them –– or if an owner occupant will purchase them.

I work with plenty of investor clients, and so in some sense I'm rooting for them, if any of them want to buy another investment property.

But... I think I'm rooting for the would–be owner occupants just a smidge more than the investors.  Buying a home, moving in, investing in that home and in a neighborhood, having a sense of stability and permanence are all things that help build the Harrisonburg community that we know and love.  If or as folks decide that they would like Harrisonburg to be their home for the long term, I'd be delighted for them to be able to *buy* a home and not just have to *rent* a home –– IF their financial situation points to that being a wise and sustainable decision.

Anyhoo... only time will tell whether these (few) recent investor owned townhouses will be purchased by other investors or by owner occupants... but I'm a big fan of homeownership, so here's hoping that at least some of them will be purchased by those who plan to live in them and make Harrisonburg their home for years to come.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/some-townhomes-owned-by-investors-are-being-offered-for-sale-will-they-be-purchased-by-owner-occupants-or-other-investors_1706200687/index.php?f=1Thu, 25 Jan 2024 16:38:07 +0000Scott Rogers
Will We See A Fast Moving Real Estate Market In Spring 2024 In Harrisonburg And Rockingham County?Fast Moving Market?

Many or most resale homes have been going under contract very quickly when they have been listed for sale over the past four years in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County –– largely because demand for these homes has exceeded supply.

I don't expect that we will see supply exceeding demand this coming spring, but I also don't know that most sellers should expect to have their homes under contract within just a few days as has often been the case for the past few years.

Looking at resale homes that have closed in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County over the past 60 days...
  • Only 37 homes were under contract in less than a week, while 74 took longer than a week to go under contract.
  • 67 homes were under contract in less than a month, while 44 took more than a month to go under contract.
  • 88 homes were under contract in less than two months, while 23 took more than two months to go under contract.
  • 99 homes were under contract in less than three months, while 12 took more than three months to go under contract.
Will we see a fast moving real estate market in Spring 2024 in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County?  

Likely so.  

Will most home sellers be able to count on their homes being under contract within a few days?  

Maybe not.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/will-we-see-a-fast-moving-real-estate-market-in-spring--in-harrisonburg-and-rockingham-county_1706098006/index.php?f=1Wed, 24 Jan 2024 12:06:46 +0000Scott Rogers
Would Be Home Buyers Are Finally Finding (Some) Relief In The Way Of Mortgage Rates

For over 10 years (Feb 2011 – Apr 2022) mortgage interest rates were below 5%. 

For about 3 years (May 2019 – Mar 2022) mortgage interest rate were below 4%.

But since that time, they shot past 6%, past 7% and nearly hit 8%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many buyers have found themselves priced out of the homes they want to buy over the past year. 

Not only were these buyers facing ever higher mortgage rates –– home prices were also continuing to climb, with the median sales price increasing 10% over the past year.

But finally, some buyers are finding some relief in the way of lower mortgage interest rates. 

After peaking at 7.79% in October 2023 we have seen the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage drop steadily to it's current level at 6.60%.

We're still not back down to 4% or 5% –– but a mortgage payment at 6.6% certainly makes many houses more affordable than they were at 7.79%.

If you plan to buy a home in 2024 and you last talked to your lender in October or November of this past year, connect with them again soon –– you will likely be pleasantly surprised at how your projected monthly payment has adjusted given declining rates.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/would-be-home-buyers-are-finally-finding-some-relief-in-the-way-of-mortgage-rates_1706011643/index.php?f=1Tue, 23 Jan 2024 12:07:23 +0000Scott Rogers
So Many Different Ways To Consider Buying A Home If You Also Need To Sell A HomeBuying and Selling

If you have own a home... but are ready to buy a new one... sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out how to buy the next home while selling the current one.

This list doesn't include all the possible ways to do it... but it includes quite a few options to consider and explore...

Buy First, Seller Later.  If you are qualified for a mortgage to purchase the next home before you sell your current home, this may be the way to go.  This will allow you to make an offer on a house you love without a home sale contingency, which often won't be be accepted by a seller.  Certainly, there are some risks to this approach –– you won't know how quickly your home will sell or for what price –– but it will be a lot easier logistically.  In addition to being able to make an offer without a home sale contingency, you will also be able to move into the new home before having to move out of your existing home.

List Your Home For Sale After Having A Contract To Buy The Next Home.  Shifting pretty far from the prior strategy – the concept here would be waiting to list your home until you have secured a contract to buy the home you want to buy.  But... this isn't necessarily a realistic strategy in the current market.  Most home sellers aren't going to be interested in your offer if it is contingent on you listing your home, getting it under contract, working through any contingencies and then getting to closing.  So... it's fine to make offers with this contingency but it is not necessarily realistic to think that a seller will go along with your proposed plan.

List Your Home For Sale After Seeing The Perfect House To Buy.  This one is a bit tricky from a timing perspective, but it's trying to end up somewhere between the two strategies noted above.  This game plan would involve waiting until a perfect house comes on the market for sale, and then listing your home for sale.  The hope would be that you could get your current house under contract quickly enough to then make an offer contingent on your (under contract) home making it to closing –– instead of contingent on your (not yet listed) home being listed, going under contract and making it to closing.  Most sellers will be more excited about your offer this time –– since your house is already under contract –– but your offer will still likely be seen as less favorable compared to an offer without a home sale contingency at all.

List Your Home For Sale, Contingent On You Finding A House To Buy.  If you have tried the above strategy (listing your home for sale as soon as a perfect house to buy comes on the market) a few times without success –– because another buyer jumped on that perfect house before your house was under contract –– then maybe this strategy is for you.  We can list your home for sale without knowing what you will buy.  When a buyer is ready to commit to buying your home, we can propose contract terms that make the sale of your home contingent on you securing a contract on a home you would like to purchase.  Some buyers might go along with this, but some won't like the uncertainty of whether they are really buying your house.  This strategy is asking the would–be buyer of your house to take on the risk of whether you will be able to find a house to buy and have your offer on that house accepted. 

List Your Home For Sale, Hope For The Best For A Next House.  If you have tried the above strategy (listing your home for sale, contingent on you securing a contract on a house to buy) and it didn't work –– because buyers don't like that uncertainty –– then maybe this strategy is for you.  We can list your home for sale, when a buyer comes along we can propose a slightly longer (60–75 day) closing timeframe, and then hope that a perfect house comes along in the next few weeks, allowing you to (hopefully) contract on the next house, with both closings to coincide.  Certainly, if the right house doesn't come along, or if that seller doesn't like your contingent (on home settlement) offer then you might not be able to secure a contract to buy a home –– and you would still need to sell your current house (and move out of it) per the terms of your contract with a buyer.  Eek.

List Your Home For Sale, Hoping For A Flexible Buyer.  We wouldn't want to bank on this being possible –– but if we list your home for sale, and a buyer comes along that is either an investor (planning to rent out your house) or is very flexible about when they would move in –– then you could contract with this flexible buyer knowing you wouldn't have to move out right away when the settlement date rolls along.  This might buy you a few extra months to find the right home to contract to buy –– either making an offer contingent on your home getting to settlement (if closing hasn't happened yet) or not contingent on a home sale at all if the closing has taken place.

Come To Terms With Moving Twice.  This is perhaps the least exciting logistically.  Nobody really likes moving.  Moving twice is just about twice as bad as moving once.  But... if the fact that you need to sell your home limits your ability to purchase the home (or homes) that you want to buy –– then you may need to sell your home, move into a rental, and then make offers without having a home sale contingency.

If you will be buying a home –– but you need to sell a home –– we'll talk through all of these options and more to figure out the best strategy for getting you to that next home.

Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2024/01/so-many-different-ways-to-consider-buying-a-home-if-you-also-need-to-sell-a-home_1705942403/index.php?f=1Mon, 22 Jan 2024 16:53:23 +0000Scott Rogers