Staging Your Northern Virginia Home

Real estate agents know better than anyone that presentation and pricing is everything. Other than pricing your home competitively, how can you sell your home quickly? Staging your home and making it presentable can significantly impact how long your home will stay on the market. So if you're hoping to sell your property quickly and seamlessly, try these fool-proof tricks and tips and let your real estate agent worry about the rest.

Say Goodbye to Clutter

Don't be offended if your real estate agent suggests removing your family photos, children's artwork or your collectable knick-knacks. Potential buyers want to imagine their pictures and items in your home, and a cluttered room can make doing this difficult. A crowded home can also be off-putting, so become a temporary minimalist, depersonalize rooms, and put your personal items away.

Brighten It Up

If you're having an open house or professional photos taken, you'll want to make the home as bright as possible. Open the blinds, replace the lightbulbs and turn the lights on. A bright and luminous home is appealing and buyers will feel welcome. Additionally, it will be easier for viewers to see the positive selling features your home has to offer.

Paint by Numbers

An inexpensive way to groom your home is to slab a fresh coat of paint on your walls. Stay away from bright, harsh and dark colors. Opt instead for neutrals such as beige, honey, light gray and white, especially in large rooms. If you insist on having a touch of color, consider painting a bathroom or adding in accent colors through pillows, lamps, etc. Your real estate agent will know that homes with neutral colors are more likely to sell and receive offers.

Spruce It Up

Staging Your HomeWhen you're selling your home, try to imagine what you'd like to see. Fresh flowers are a great way to add a pop of color and cheer to a room. In the Spring, consider peonies and blush tones. In the Fall, you might want to try orange and red flowers. Adding fresh flowers is one of the most inexpensive ways to liven your home and if you want, you can simply raid your own yard.

Bedrooms are Important, Too

While kitchens and bathrooms are one of the more weighted rooms homebuyers look at, bedrooms are important, as well. Make sure the bedroom is tidy, bed is made and closets are clean. Try to use neutral patterned bedding and an elegant bedframe. This will make the room feel appealing and welcoming.

Sell From the Outside In

Curb appeal is also so important when it comes to selling your home. The outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers see, and even though judging a home by the outside is discouraged, it's a natural part of the process. Do some light landscaping, add mulch to dirt areas, pressure-clean your driveway and clear your lawn of toys and debris. Spending a few hours tidying your yard can make all the difference.

Sellers should really consider what it was that made them buy their house and what they're searching for in their next house. If there are certain factors that are appealing to you when you're buying a home, you should try to appeal these same qualities to other buyers. Chances are, a buyer will have the same preferences and your home will sell before you know it.

Do you have any other home-staging tricks? Let us know your tips by commenting below. Or contact the Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group to learn more about selling your home in Northern Virginia.


    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    How To Prepare Your Alexandria Home For Sale on a Budget

    How To Prepare Your Alexandria Home For Sale on a Budget
    Preparing your Alexandria home for sale might feel like an overwhelming task but, it's important to take into consideration because homes that are properly prepared to go on the market typically sell for a higher price. Don’t let a small budget dissuade you from properly preparing your home for sale. There are a lot of ways you can make your home shine without breaking the bank. Watch this short video for tips to prepare your home for sale on a budget.


      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

      Condo Sales in Alexandria, VA Market Update November 2017


      Condo Sales in Alexandria, VA Market Update November 2017

      The condo segment of the Alexandria real estate market continues to be strong - see the latest stats in our November 2017 market update. 

      November 2017 Condo Sales in Alexandria

      •Number of Sales: 164 (increase from 159 in October)

      •Highest Priced Sale: $999,900

      •Lowest Priced Sale: $94,500

      •Median Sales Price: $279,000 (increase from $277,000 in October)

      •Median Days on Market: 24 (increase from 17 in October)

      •Median Sale to List Price Ratio: 97.03% (increase from 97.62% in October)


      How Does November 2016 Compare to November 2017?
      There were 32 more condos sold this November. The median sale price was higher this year by $9,000 and days on the market saw no change. The median sale to list price ratio also remained just about the same 2016 – 97.00% vs. 2017 – 97.03%.

      Current Condo Inventory in Alexandria
      There are 230 condos for sale in Alexandria, a decrease of 159 the same time frame last month. The pattern of low inventory continues to be a trend in Alexandria. This fall and now winter have shown strong sales but, still not a plentiful amount of inventory when in turn makes for a more competitive market.

      Is it a Buyers or a Seller’s Market?
      You can probably guess … condos in Alexandria remain a seller’s market. The good news for buyers is during the winter there aren’t as many other buyers searching for a new home. The low inventory factor is a challenge but, the upside to touring homes in the cold is there are less bidding wars this time of year. Spring will inevitably lead to more buyers being in the market.

      Thinking of selling your Alexandria condo? Don’t fall for the myth that winter isn’t a good time to sell. The market continues to be swayed in your favor. Low inventory equates to less competition from other sellers. Days on the market crept up a bit in November but, at 24 is still extremely low. Proper preparation and correct pricing for the market remain key. Make your condo stand out from other listings, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

      Whether you’re buying or selling a condo in Alexandria we are happy to answer your questions. Contact us today. We look forward to helping you!

      To receive a free estimate on what your condo is worth in the current market visit our free home value tool.

      Browse Alexandria Homes For Sale


        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

        What Does The New Tax Bill Mean For Homeowners, Buyers, and Sellers?

        What Does The New Tax Bill Mean For Homeowners, Buyers, and Sellers?

        Many homeowners, buyers, and sellers are wondering how the tax reform legislation that passed in December is going to impact them. As with most things in real estate – it depends. There are several items in the bill that affect the housing market. Below is an overview of what it means for homeowners, buyers, and sellers.

        Mortgage Interest Deduction – through the end of 2025 new home buyers will only be able to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of a mortgage. This is a decrease from $1 million. The deduction cap will revert to $1 million in loan value in 2026. This has no impact on EXISTING mortgages – only new home buyers. It’s important to remember that these are loan amounts and not sale prices.

        Home Equity Loan Interest Deduction – the new bill suspends the interest deduction on home equity loans until 2026. This is a change from deductions being allowed for loans up to $100,000. That said, there is a caveat – interest on a home equity loan can be deducted if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the home.

        State and Local Property Taxes with the new legislation the property tax deduction is limited to $10,000. There was previously no cap. ATTOM Data Solutions estimates that approximately 90,000 households will be impacted by this change in the DMV area.

        Capital Gains – no change, the deduction for up to $500,000 for joint filers or $250,000 for single filers from selling a primary home remains. The requirement that the home was the filer(s) primary residence for at least two of the last five years also remains.

        Moving Expenses the new legislation eliminates the deduction with the exception of members of the Military.

        Estate Tax – the estate tax exemption is doubled to $11.2 million under the new law.

        What Does This Mean For The Housing Market? 
        We think that there could be a temporary slow down simply because everyone is digesting the changes and processing them. We do not anticipate the new legislation to have a significant affect on the housing market. If you are considering buying or selling and have questions about what the changes mean to you personally reach out to us. We've been watching this bill intently and are always happy to help. If you have tax questions in general, we know a great CPA!





          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

          Are Home Inspectors Ever Wrong?

          Are Home Inspectors Ever Wrong?

          Most of the time when we’re talking home inspectors it revolves around buyers hiring one to inspect the home they’re purchasing. That’s not always the case though. Homeowners and seller’s hire home inspectors too. Home inspectors can identify repairs that are needed or going to be needed in the future and that can avoid costly deferred maintenance for homeowners or give sellers a chance to correct a problem prior to going on the market.

          I always like to compare a home inspection to going to the doctor to get a physical. It’s not a pass or fail activity. Home inspectors are looking for items that need repair or even replacement, safety items, and do a visual overview of the home. They’re not there to take drywall down, to look behind walls, or do anything invasive to the home. After they complete their inspection they’ll compose a report often with pictures that includes their findings.

          This poses the question – are home inspectors ever wrong? Let’s start by pointing out they’re human and no one is perfect so based off that alone yes, there are times inspectors are wrong. We’re all wrong at some point in our lives. Aside from being human and capable of error they’re also not able to see behind walls, under concrete, under floors etc. No two home inspectors are the same. Odds are if you have a home inspection done by two different inspectors they’ll have items that are the same in their reports but, other items that one found and the other didn’t or vice versa. A professional and reputable home inspector will recommend further evaluation if he’s unsure of something or feels there’s more that needs to be looked into.

          Fortunately it’s rare but, I have had a few situations where an inspector listed a full write up on something he or she thought was wrong and needed repair or replacement but, after hiring a tradesmen that specialized in X area it was shown that the inspector wasn’t correct. Occasionally buyers will take the inspectors report as the final word and withdraw from a contract. That’s worst case scenario and it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion before making any decisions.

          As with every other profession not all inspectors are created equal. Do your research before you make a decision on who you want to inspect your home or if you’re a buyer your future home. Ask your agent for recommendations and check inspectors qualifications. If something comes up that’s questionable, get a second opinion so that you know where you stand. 




            1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

            How To Start Preparing Your Home For Sale in the Spring

            How To Start Preparing Your Home For Sale in the Spring
            Preparing your home for sale takes time and a well thought out plan. It’s not an overnight process and while winter continues to grace us with its presence now is the perfect time to start working on items that need attention inside your home. Even if you aren’t planning on selling this spring, think of taking care of items inside as New Year’s Resolution for your home.


            Where to start?
            Closets are a great starting point. Almost all of us have at least one closet that could use organizing. Take everything out and sort through what you do and don’t need. If its clothes, ask yourself when the last time was you wore an item. If the answer is more than 6 months ago chances are it should go into a donation pile. The same goes for shoes and accessories. If you’re working on a storage closet donate items that you don’t use and toss the junk. Don’t forget to do the same for your pantry. It all has a way of accumulating and if you’re selling you want to showcase your homes storage space in an organized fashion.


            While you have everything out of your closets look to see if they need painting. If they do and you are able to paint yourself it saves time to do it when you already have everything out of the closets. Painting is a great way to make your home shine prior to putting it on the market. If you’re handy (and patient) you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Starting in the winter gives you plenty of time to take it room by room and not be rushed. It’s a tedious process but, one that really pays off when it comes time to sell. If you’re not selling maybe you just want to give a room a different vibe. Changing the color on the walls is a sure way to transform a room.


            Check your bathrooms to see what condition the grout and caulk are in. The majority of bathrooms could use a good grout cleaning and sealing along with fresh caulk. They might be minor maintenance items but, are another area that will make your home shine when you’re ready to sell. Again, even if you aren’t planning to sell they’re important maintenance items to take care of. Fresh sealed tile and caulk avoids the chance of any water spreading into unwanted areas. These are all items you can do yourself or you can enlist your favorite handyman to take care of it for you. In general tradesmen are slower during the winter. Enlisting their expertise now will save you from the rush the springtime brings.


            Go through your home room by room and make a list of what needs to be done, this will give you a checklist to work from. While the cold continues you’ll be knocking out the items that need attention inside and be ready to work on the outside when we welcome spring and warmer temperatures.





              1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

              Real Estate Agents Giving Sellers False Hope On Market Value

              Real Estate Agents Giving Sellers False Hope On Market Value

              Inventory in many areas is low – extremely low, in some locations even historically low. Real Estate agents telling sellers that they can sell their home at an unrealistic price just to win the listing is nothing new but, it becomes more prevalent when low inventory is a current market trend. Low inventory is a positive factor for sellers, it all comes down to supply and demand, but, when inventory is low some agents take the path of telling a seller whatever they want to hear just to get the listing.


              In a seller’s market having more listings is something agents love. Why wouldn’t they? Homes in Alexandria that are priced correctly and located in sought after neighborhoods are seeing multiple offers. Competition for a listing from multiple buyers is a listing agents dream. The sellers are thrilled and the agent is too, contingencies waived, offers above list price … you get it. The dark side to this type of market is real estate agents not being honest about what a home’s current market value is. Market conditions change gradually and that includes rising prices. They don’t jump up by for example $50k overnight. Properly pricing a home comes from studying the comps, current market conditions, condition of the home, location of the home etc. It does not come from an agent’s opinion of what it will sell for just because there aren’t other homes to pick from. Pricing is one of the most important components of a successful sale and if you get it wrong from the start it’s not going to be pretty for the seller.



              I met with a seller a couple weeks ago and they were upfront that they were interviewing multiple agents. I expect pricing recommendations to vary and am never surprised if there’s a difference of $10k - $20k. Pricing isn’t based of a set formula and when that’s the case there will always be some type of variance. In this case however, I was blown away when the seller told me that there was a difference of $100,000 if they looked at the lowest price suggested and the highest. WHAT? I always try to put myself in the seller’s shoes and if you’re looking at your bottom line thinking you could have $100k more in your pocket I can understand why that would make you want to list with the agent that suggested that price. That’s a lot of money! However, the market prices your home and buyers resist overpriced homes, I don’t care how low inventory is. If there isn't data to back up the price you're headed down a costly path.



              Telling a seller what we think they want to hear just to win a listing is beyond unprofessional and against the code of ethics. That said, it happens regularly and unfortunately is more prevalent with the current market trends we’re in. For the ethical agents this is frustrating to say the least. We have a responsibility to be honest and provide a realistic market value for the home. It’s not an opportunity to toss an outrageous price against the wall just to win the listing.

              As a seller going with the agent who says they can sell your home for the highest price doesn’t mean you’re making the right decision on who is representing you. Your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. Review the numbers each agent provides and ask them to explain how they arrived at their suggested list price. Agents who are recommending a realistic price will be able to go over every detail to show how they arrived at the price. Think about the cost of your home sitting on the market. I always compare it to stale bread – no one pays top dollar for stale bread. The longer your home sits on the market the less you’re going to sell for. Dropping the price until buyers see the value is a sure way for a seller to leave money on the table.




                1. No comments. Be the first to comment.