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Your Dream Home is Not on the Market! 5 Uncomfortable Truths About Buying a Home in DC in 2021

2021 is turning out to be the year that a lot of people make moves in real estate. It’s not hard to understand why, either — interest rates are still at historic lows, and the housing market offers the chance to create financial stability after a year that was, in a word, unstable. However, it would be foolhardy to jump into the market feet-first, without knowing the uncomfortable truths about buying a home in 2021

 


At the Keri Shull Team, we believe that it is our duty to educate people on how and why to buy a home. That’s why we put together this list of the 5 truths that you need to know and consider before you buy a home or relocate to the DC Metro area right now. 

 

Truth #1: Prices Are Still Going Up

You probably know that the market is very hot in DC at the moment. You might also know that buying a home in a hot seller’s market can be quite stressful. 

 

Well, you might think, the market can’t stay like this forever, right? I’ll just wait to buy a home until the market cools off a bit.

 

Unfortunately, you might be waiting around for longer than you think. The market is still trending upwards in the DC area:

  • The average sale price in DC and the surrounding counties was $688,764 in 2020, a staggering 16.5% increase over the 2019 rate of $590,757
  • The Sold Price/List Price Ratio (which is a good indicator of bidding wars and escalations was also higher in 2020 — 100.6% vs 100.1% in 2019

 

This market growth was in spite of commonly held misconceptions about coronavirus and real estate. Even though real estate was declared to be an essential business, some people feared that the real estate market would fail due to COVID-19. Even despite this, we saw massive growth in the DC housing market in 2020 — and we are already tracking similar rates in 2021. 

 

While this is amazing news for people selling a home in Washington DC, selling a home in Arlington VA, or selling a home elsewhere in the DC area, it could be a little disheartening to hear as a home searcher. 

 

However, there is a way to ensure that you get a good price for your new home: work with a real estate team that is experienced in great negotiation. At the Keri Shull Team, we give our agents extensive negotiation training, so they can be the perfect advocate to represent you at the closing table. 

 

Truth #2: Your Dream Home is Not on the Market

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, right? The market being hot means that there are a lot of homes available, and you have a better chance of finding the right home…

 

Right?

 

As you can probably guess by the title of this article, that’s just not the case right now. A lot of properties (especially luxury homes for sale in the DC area) never even hit the market. Instead, more and more DMV home owners are selling their homes off-market. 

 

Luckily, this isn’t really a problem for home buyers. You see, buying an off-market home is usually a great deal for the buyer. By finding a home off-market, you can often avoid the fierce competition that we are seeing right now. This means:

  • Lower chances of getting into a costly bidding war
  • Higher odds that the seller accepts your offer
  • More flexibility when it comes to writing an offer
  • No pressure in your home search

 

It sounds great, right? You might be wondering to yourself — How can I find and buy an Off-Market home?  

 

If you are trying to buy a house without an agent, you’re basically out of luck. Several years ago, you would have been able to find pre-market properties on many home browsing sites — but as of Fall 2019, even the best home search tools cannot show you off-market homes in the DC area! 

 

So, how are you supposed to find your dream home if you cannot search for it online?

 

 

Access to off-market homes is one of the most important benefits that a good real estate team can bring you. Most agents are lucky to have just 2-3 off-market listings each year…

 

But at the Keri Shull Team, we have over 200 off-market homes for sale at any given time!

 

If you are interested in getting Priority Access to these off-market homes, just fill out the form below:

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Truth #3: You Don’t Know What You Can Afford

You might not be surprised to hear that one of the common stress points when buying a home is paying for the house. Property is expensive (see Truth #1) and many people are daunted by listing prices when they start looking around. 

 

But the thing is, you can almost certainly afford more home than you think!

 

When you just see a lump sum, your brain tells you that these properties are far outside of what you could possibly afford. That’s why it’s important to sit down with your real estate agent and a local mortgage expert and examine what your monthly payments would be for the home. Not only will this help you better understand your own financial possibilities, but it will also help you create a realistic budget based on your other expenses. 

 

Another good idea is to use a mortgage calculator tool. While this will not be a “perfect” representation of your home buying power, it will at least help you get an idea of how much home you can afford. 

 

After that, the next step is to meet with your agent and lender to discuss how to get a mortgage and which lending option is right for you!

 

Truth #4: Writing an Offer is Complicated

Let’s say you find the right home and decide that you want to buy it. All you have to do is contact the seller and let them know that you would like to exchange money for goods and services — in this case, their property. How hard could it be…right?

 

Truthfully, there is a lot that goes into writing an offer on a home in 2021. This is true in any locale, but especially so in competitive markets like DC’s hottest neighborhoods. If you want to stand any chance of the seller picking your offer from the crowd of contracts coming their way, you need to know how to sweeten the deal. 

 

This is one of the most important roles that a real estate agent plays. Not only will a high-quality real estate agent go out and find a home for you, but they will also walk you through the complexities of writing a winning offer

 

So if you want to avoid the stresses of the offer process, make sure you have the best real estate team in the DC area on your side!

 

Truth #5: You Might be Outgrowing Your Home

Everyone wants to find their dream home — but sometimes, your dreams don’t go the way that you expect. 

 

When you’re deep in REM sleep, you might suddenly find yourself salsa dancing with the 1969 New York Mets or engaging a polar bear in a spirited debate about tectonic shift. 

And when you are living in your dream house, you might wake up one day to realize that you have simply outgrown your home. When this happens, it is time to move up to a more valuable property — one that is better suited for your needs and those of your family. This situation (which is called being a move-up buyer) can be very stressful, as you will be buying and selling a home at the same time

 

However, there are ways to make the process easier, both logistically and emotionally. Far and away the most important asset to have on your side is a real estate agent who cares for you. A good real estate agent will treat your move-up opportunity as the unique situation that it is. Instead of relying on cookie-cutter home selling and buying strategies, they will create a custom plan for you and your needs. 

 

No matter where you are in your home search (or sale), it is important to have help on your side. That’s why we would like to offer you a free, no-pressure Real Estate Needs Consultation with our experts. All you need to do is contact the Keri Shull Team or fill out the form below to schedule an appointment with our experts!

 

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