Monday, September 29, 2008

North Arlington Condo Market Update - September 2008

Zip Codes 22201 and 22203 (includes Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon)

1 BR Units

2BR Units


Average List Price



Number of Active Listings



Average Property DOM(P) – Actives




Average Sold Price for Previous Month (does not include seller subsidies)



Number of Sold Listings in Previous Month



Average Property DOM(P) - Solds



Absorption Rate

6 = Balanced Market

>6 = Buyer’s Market

<6 = Seller's Market

1 Bedroom Condos = 1.6

2 Bedroom Condos = 1.8

* Statistics exclude retirement communities

Click here to see the previous North Arlington Condo Market Update

Source: MRIS data as of 09/29/2008. All data deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First Time Home Buyer Class Now Scheduled in Montgomery County

Note> For the most recent schedule of dates for 2008 and 2009, please visit the First Time Home Buyer class page at my website. Classes will be held in Montgomery County, DC, Arlington, and elsewhere in Northern Virginia.

I am scheduled to teach another “First Time Home Buyer” seminar in Montgomery County on October 23. Please invite your friends and colleagues who currently rent to join me for this session where we will cover a recap of the market, current trends and market stats including days on market, average sales prices, and inventory levels. We'll also discuss the impact of the banking system collapse and bailout, the home purchase process and common pitfalls, financing basics (including interest rates, points, fees, and closing costs), and a how to get started checklist. Details are as follows:

registration required

7:30 – 8:45 pm
Location: 930 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910
Metro: Red Line/Silver Spring

Cost: There is no obligation, and the session is FREE, but registration is required by emailing me at or leaving me a voicemail at (703) 847-3336. Seating is limited.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Does the Fannie & Freddie Bailout Mean To Home Buyers?

Big news over the weekend and today is that the Federal government is 'bailing out' Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who lacked enough access to capital to keep the secondary mortgage market going. While buyers and sellers might initially think that this is bad news, it's actually good, as evidenced by the 300 point market rally at the opening bell today. The markets are glad that what was an 'implied' guarantee is now an explicit one and the markets like transparency.

This is critical to the mortgage industry: Freddie and Fannie buy mortgages that are originated by banks, then package those loans up, slaps a guarantee on them, and sell them to investors. This helps transform what would normally be a very illiquid and long-term investment (30 year mortgages) into a very liquid asset: mortgage-backed securities. This keeps access to capital for borrows high, and interest rates low. Both Fannie and Freddie were chartered by Congress for specifically this purpose.

Before you start slamming this as another taxpayer funded bailout, remember that Congress has control of both their charters and heavily regulates what they can buy and sell. Both companies, though publicly traded, have many restrictions on how they operate their businesses. (The government, for example, sets the conforming loan limit of $417,000, now $729,750 in our area, but due to drop back down to $625,000 at year end). If the governments wants the right to legislate how a publicly traded company--presumably accountable to shareholders--is going to operate, then it's only fair that when things get mucked up the government needs to help out.

In terms of rates, we should expect to see conforming/jumbo-conforming rates drop in the coming weeks by as much as a percentage point.

If you're on the fence about buying, this means the (possibly temporary) return of rates in the 5.5% range! For those of you who recently purchased, keep a close eye on rates -- if rates drop to a full percentage point below what you have, it may actually be worth it for you to refinance. Discuss this with your lender.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Flooded basement?

It appears the worst of Hanna has passed, and no doubt many homes in our area are now facing a flooded basement. Unfortunately the vacant homes will likely sit for days that way before someone checks on the property, and the damage will be extensive by then.

But if you find your home has water in it, what can you do? Here are some tips from and a Disaster Preparedness list:
  • If you just have a small amount of water, use a mop or old towels.
  • Be careful of shock hazards! Turn off electricity before entering.
  • Borrow or buy a portable sump pump, wet vac, or wet shop vac. (These are also available to rent.)
  • Ensure all the drains are clear - especially outside of doors.
  • Once it stops raining, open the windows to allow moisture in the air to escape.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and speed up the drying process.
  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Check with your insurance company as soon as possible (consider snapping some photos or video to document the situation)
Luckily tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day, which should help with the drying out process.

Ready to waterproof your basement to avoid this in the future? There are any number of good companies you can contact for estimates and consultations. Your real estate agent should have an arsenal of qualified contractors in their rolodex. Ask them for a recommendation.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sunny End Unit 4 Level Brick TH in N. Arlington - Open Sunday 1-4

Rarely available spacious and bright corner unit 4br brick townhouse in quiet enclave of homes. Located right on bike path and close enough to walk to Rosslyn metro or Georgetown!

Beautiful sunny kitchen with breakfast area and sliding doors to deck. High ceilings, tons of windows for great light! Main level features gleaming hardwoods, crown molding, chair rails and two bay windows.

Huge master suite with vaulted ceiling, sitting area, two large closets. Luxurious master bath has dual sinks, whirlpool tub & separate shower. Two car garage.

See tons of pictures and more info at

Listed at $892,500. Open Sun 9/7 1:00 - 4:00.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Renovated 3BR/2BA Condo in Cardinal Forest $224,500 - Open Sunday

Huge, renovated 3br/2ba unit with private patio backing to trees and parkland. Tons of updates include new carpet, paint, lighting, granite counters, frig, stove, bath vanity. Washer/dryer in unit!

Community is pet friendly, pool, tennis, tot lot, convenient to commuting routes, VRE, bus lines. FHA Approved! Home warranty. Condo fee incl heat & water, tons of amenities. Move in ready & quick settlement possible!

Open House Sunday, September 7, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm. Learn more about this property and see all the pictures at and view the MLS listing here.

Thinking of selling your condo? Contact me to learn more about my marketing plans, including open houses, professional photographers, dedicated websites, agent-provided home warranties, and free staging consultations!

Client Testimonial

I got the nicest letter today from a first time buyer client couple. It really made my day and I wanted to share it:


We wanted to thank for your guidance and tremendous service during our condo buying process. Given the issues with FHA and our lender situation, this process had a lot more twists and turns than we ever imagined. But at the same time, we were reassured that your innovative solutions and attention to detail would get us through and it did!

Honestly, as we told you, before attending your home buying seminar and leveraging your expertise during our condo purchase, our opinion of realtors was not the highest. However, after working with you, that has changed. We really appreciated your vast array of knowledge as well as your super prompt response to what at times were our incessant questions. Plus, the little extras like the website of preferred vendors, use of the pick up truck, and letting us borrow your dolly helped us to move in.

Finally, thank you for the card. It now graces our new stainless steel fridge and we have already put those gift cards to good use.

We had no idea how stressful this process could be and honestly, we could not have done this without you.

Thanks Katie!

If you're a first time buyer, please contact me. I'd love to help you find a home, too!