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Montgomery County Active Listings Up, Cash is King

Montgomery County continues to enjoy a stronger real estate market than other jurisdictions in the state.  The number of homes sold is even up slightly compared to last year (0.8% higher, with 1,260 sales last month compared to 1,250 a year ago).  Prices remain flat, however, and this month are 3.49% lower than this time last year, with a median sale price of $415,000.

Montgomery County Stats – June 2014
Montgomery County Maryland Market Stats June 2014

What’s really remarkable is the number of cash buyers in Montgomery County.  There were 206 cash purchases in the county last month, far exceeding FHA and VA financing, and representing over 16% of sales in the county.

We continue to see leading indicators that give us pause.

  1. Average days on market, while still low for the region, are trending up.  Last month the average days on market in Montgomery County rose to 38 from 33, a 15.2% increase.
  2. Active listings are up over 40%, to 3,127 homes for sale county-wide.  Increased supply tends to dampen price increases, and sustained excess inventory can even put a downward pressure on prices.
  3. The list to sale price ratio, or the amount sellers received compared to what they are asking, dipped over half a percent, from 97.9% to 97.3%.  While not a huge decrease, this means buyers are seeing more negotiating power in the current market.
  4. Foreclosure starts are up 28% in Maryland.  While Montgomery County has traditionally seen fewer foreclosures than neighboring counties, when these homes hit the market, they tend to sell on the lower end of an area’s price range.

Even as we see weaker leading indicators, we are blessed to have a very low 4.5% unemployment rate in Montgomery County, second best in the state.  Strong local employers, including the federal government, have historically insulated us from major housing price shocks.

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours.   Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood.  We’re happy to help!

Laura Kittleman is a partner at The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, working primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

Tom Yeatts is a partner and Associate Broker with The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors.  He can be reached at 443.364.8867 or tom@kittlemangroup.com.

 

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4 Things to Note about Howard County Real Estate Right Now

If you read our latest blog post on Howard County home sales, you know we have a few warning signs in the numbers.  Inventory is up, pending sales down, and days on market are climbing.  Is this the end of our recovery?  Here are 4 pieces of advice to consider.

1. Don’t Panic!  Real estate is seasonal.

Homes tend to come on the market this time of year.  What we’re seeing is a bit of a lag in homes listed for sale, probably due to a harsh winter and school days being extended well into mid-June.

Sellers:  Expect competition.  That said, the best homes always move fast, so talk to your real estate agent and make sure you’re at the head of the pack!

2.  Most price ranges remain strong.

We’re seeing bidding wars continue for the best looking, best priced homes in price ranges up to $600-$700k.  Above $700k, the market becomes slower, mainly due to a much smaller pool of qualified buyers.

Sellers:  Market to your strengths!  Be sure your real estate agent knows why YOU bought the house, what you’ve done to make it even better, and ask them how they will position the home for maximum exposure.

3.  Buyers are coming out now

The same factors that slowed sellers down also hindered buyers.  Now that school is out, buyers have returned to the market.  We’ve seen a definite increase in open house traffic in just the last week or two.   And buyers will want to find their new home and get moved in before the new school year begins, so this should help remove inventory and keep prices stable.

Sellers:  Right now, buyers have many home choices, and they will be choosy as to which ones they see.  Savvy buyers shop online, and only the cream of the crop make it to the showings list.  So make sure your home sizzles online,  with at least 30 professional photos, and you’ll be fine.

4.  Thinking of trying to overprice the market to test it?  Think again.

Sometimes sellers can price above the market and pull it off.  Last year was a good example.  But now it’s a much riskier strategy.  Why?  We have more inventory, and we also have interest rates nudging up, putting pressure on home affordability.  In a market with fewer qualified buyers, you want to make sure your house shines next to your competition, and if you over price, you’re just helping the sellers in that upper price range look better compared to your home.  Make sense?  Don’t be that house.

Sellers: Remember that after 30 to 60 days, the patina wears off your listing.  You then must reduce price, sometimes substantially, to re-ignite interest.  Why not price it right up front, and try to get buyers into a bidding war?  That can be a more lucrative strategy, and it puts you in the driver’s seat.

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours.   Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood.  We’re happy to help!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, and her team works primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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Homes for Sale in Ten Oaks Neighborhood Glenelg, MD

Glenelg, MD - Go Gladiators!

Glenelg, MD – Go Gladiators!

Why Do People Live Here?

Ten Oaks is a shopping area, as well as a road connecting West Friendship, Glenelg, and Clarksville, MD, just 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore.  Situated in Howard County, one of the top rated school districts in the nation, the Ten Oaks area offers a friendly ambiance, far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city that you’ll feel right at home.

 

Looking for a Home near Ten Oaks?

Interested in finding homes for sale in the Ten Oaks Neighborhood Glenelg, MD?  Click that link to find all the currently available homes in the Glenelg area.

 

What’s the Neighborhood Like?

There are several great neighborhoods near Ten Oaks, including homes on large lots built in the 1970s, as well as new construction.  Several communities have been built recently, including The Reserve at Triadelphia Crossing (Toll Brothers), Meriwether Farm (K. Hovnanian Homes), and Cattail Overlook (Toll Brothers).  These amazing luxury homes typically range from $750k to upward of $2M.  More mature homes in the Roscommon, Sharp Rd, and Triadelphia area are available, as well.  All homes in this area feature large lots and are on well and septic systems.

Glenelg, Glenwood, and West Friendship are neighbors in central Howard County, and feature homes on larger lots (typically 1+ acres) and a more rural setting, yet still close to I-70 and Rt. 32 for easy commuting to Frederick, Baltimore, and Columbia.

 

What’s Going on Nearby the Ten Oaks Neighborhood?

The intersection of Ten Oaks and Triadelphia Rds, just off Rt. 32, offer several local stores, including the amazing Ten Oaks Tavern, Tri Pizza, Eyre Bus service, veterinarians, upscale shops, and everything short of a grocery store.

For groceries, we drive about 8 minutes to Turf Valley Towne Square and its Harris Teeter.

 

What Schools will the Kids Attend?

It depends on the neighborhood you select, but most kids in Glenelg will attend Triadelphia Mills Elementary, Folly Quarter Middle School, and Glenelg High School.  Check out the Howard County Information Site for information about school districts and much more!

 

Now You Really Want to Find a Home Here, Right?

If you want to find a home in the Ten Oaks Neighborhood Glenelg, MD area, please click the link.  This feed is updated from the local multiple listing system several times a day!

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3 Reasons to Keep an Eye on Howard County Real Estate

Howard County continues to see steady prices, with May’s median home sale price of $399k a 2.98% increase from this time last year.

There are now several areas of concern with Howard County’s real estate market, however.   Let’s look at three important indicators trending against us.

  1. The number of active listings is up 49.18% from last year at this time – WOW!  We have 1,189 actively listed homes on the market as of June 4 (the date of the report).
  2. Pending sales have slumped 15.88%, down to 747.
  3. The average days on market is up 6.25% to 51 days, meaning homes are taking longer to sell.

Howard County Stats – May 2014

Howard County Maryland Market Stats May 2014

Howard County Maryland Market Stats May 2014

The average seller is getting about 96.6% of their asking price, down 1.56% from this time last year, and in line with what we saw last month.

Fortunately, interest rates are moving within a very steady band, and continue to hover in the 4.3% range, making homes very affordable.

If we can absorb much of the inventory during the coming months, we should see prices remain steady.

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours.   Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood.  We’re happy to help!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, and her team works primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com

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Montgomery County Sales Volume Slows with Homes Selling Fast

Montgomery County continues to see steady prices, with May’s median home sale price of $431k a 2.62% increase from this time last year.

Montgomery County Stats – May 2014

Montgomery County Maryland Market Stats May 2014

Montgomery County Maryland Market Stats May 2014

The average seller is getting about 98.18% of their asking price, quite impressive and even a slight improvement from last month.  This is no small feat given the 34.6% increase in inventory over this time last year.

Pending sales have dropped off 9.71%, and the number of homes sold has also slowed by 4.7% from last year.

Fortunately, interest rates are moving within a very steady band, and continue to hover in the 4.3% range, making homes very affordable.

While inventory is up, neighboring Howard County has seen a much larger uptick in inventory.  And at 39 days on market, compared to Howard County’s 51, it’s still a very fast market in the region.

We’ll keep our eyes on inventory and interest rates throughout this traditionally hot home selling season!

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours.   Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood.  We’re happy to help!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, and her team works primarily in Montgomery County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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Homes for Sale in Turf Valley Neighborhood Ellicott City, MD

Turf Valley Neighborhood Ellicott City, MD Aerial Photo

Turf Valley Neighborhood Ellicott City, MD Aerial Photo

 Why Do People Live Here?

Turf Valley is a beautiful resort and golf course community located in Ellicott City, MD, just 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore.  Situated in Howard County, one of the top rated school districts in the nation, the Turf Valley area offers a friendly ambiance, far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city that you’ll feel right at home.

Looking for a Home near Turf Valley?

Interested in finding homes for sale in the Turf Valley Neighborhood Ellicott City, MD?  Click that link to find all the currently available homes in this area of Ellicott City.

 What’s the Neighborhood Like?

There are several great neighborhoods near Turf Valley, including homes built in the 1970s and new construction.  Valley Mede is one of the most mature, and closest, neighborhoods, with homes built from the 1970s, ‘80s, and some newer developments in the back.  Then there is Waverly Woods, a newer community with its own golf course, and featuring a village center surrounded by condos, townhomes, and detached houses.  Glenelg, Glenwood, and West Friendship are just to the west, and feature homes on larger lots (typically 1+ acres) and a more rural setting, yet still close to I-70 and Rt. 32 for easy commuting to Frederick, Baltimore, and Columbia.

What’s Going on Nearby the Turf Valley Neighborhood?

Turf Valley has recently added the Turf Valley Towne Square, a superb shopping center that includes a Harris Teeter, several upscale shops, and fabulous restaurants.

What Schools will the Kids Attend?

It depends on the neighborhood you select, but there are two main high schools, Glenelg High School and Marriotts Ridge High School.  Check out the Howard County Information Site for information about school districts and much more!

Now You Really Want to Find a Home Here, Right?

If you want to find a home in the Turf Valley Neighborhood Ellicott City, MD area, please click the link.  This feed is updated from the local multiple listing system several times a day!

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Howard County Prices Holding Even with Burgeoning Inventory

Howard County is holding onto last month’s price gains, with April’s median home sale price of approximately $382k representing a 9.14% increase from last year, even though the median price slipped 4.5% from last month.

What makes this number more impressive is that inventory is up a whopping 30.35% from last year to 1,005 homes actively listed versus 771 last year at this time.

Howard County Stats – April 2014
Howard County Maryland Market Stats April 2014

Average days on market has declined, too, to 63 days, down over 7% year over year.

Pressure from the buyer side continues to keep prices steady, with the average seller getting about 96.3% of their asking price, even in light of the substantial increase in competition. We will continue to monitor both prices and inventory, for they, along with interest rates, are the most important factors affecting affordability. And affordability is what keeps the buyer demand high.

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours. Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood. We’re happy to help!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, and her team works primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland. She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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Montgomery County Trends Continue – Fewer Sales, Prices Steady, Homes Flying off the Shelves

Montgomery County prices are holding very steady, with the median sale price remaining right at $400,000 last month. The number of sales continues to lag last year, with 871 sales representing an 11.5% decrease from last year.

Interestingly enough, the average days on market has decreased, proving that the best homes still go quickly – really quickly – in Montgomery County.

And with a sale price averaging 97.8% of asking price, it’s clear that the MoCo market remains strong.

The number of homes on the market remains above last year, with an increase of 23.5%. We’re keeping our eye on that statistic, as well as interest rates, moving into high season.

Montgomery County Stats – April 2014

Montgomery County Maryland Market Stats April 2014

As always, the numbers that matter most are yours. Drop us a line for a complimentary market analysis of your home or neighborhood. We’re here to help!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors, and her team works primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland. She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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The 7 Deadly Sins of Home Selling #7 – Losing a Sale Over Something Minor

Accept the challenge

Accept the challenge

Sometimes we see the home sale nearing the finish line, only to have minor details derail the entire thing.  Don’t get caught in the trap.

Yes, as a seller, you suffer a series of indignities prior to settlement.  First, you might not have gotten your asking price.  You may have agreed to help the buyer with closing costs.  Then you get the home inspection items, get notified that you have a radon problem, and termites!  The items just keep piling up!

But if you stop and think about it, these expenses were yours already.  The termites would need treatment if you stayed.  The radon probably should have been remediated, and probably would have, if you’d only known about it.  And that list of home inspection items may have already been on your to-do list.   I know these things add up, but they were your expenses already.  The buyer just doesn’t want to inherit them, and if you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, you wouldn’t want to be paying a small fortune for a house that you need to fix, right?

Your agent can really help you put things into perspective, and to let you know what’s reasonable and what’s not.  They can also tell you which items will become “material facts” that you’ll have to disclose to the next buyer anyway.

If you try to see things from the buyer’s point of view, and keep the big picture in mind, you will get there.  Just picture that SOLD rider on the sign in your front yard.  YES!

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Select Realtors.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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The 7 Deadly Sins of Home Selling #6 – Taking that Lowball Offer Personally

Not so fast, please!

Not so fast, please!

You just got an offer nowhere near your asking price. What an insult! Or is it?

If you stop and think for a moment, they did make you an offer. And in Maryland, you know how much time and paperwork that requires! So this is actually a compliment, for the buyers took the time to select your house and fill out the forms. This isn’t an insult, it’s an opportunity to do some healthy negotiation!

Sometimes buyers just want to test the market to see what your response will be. If you reject them outright, they might take that rejection personally, or see you as inflexible. The best thing to do is to take a breath, talk with your agent, and figure out a counter offer that gets you what you want, while also giving the buyers something.

It’s not always price. The terms of the contract can be just as important – amount of earnest money deposit, settlement date, ability to rent the home back, closing cost help – it’s all negotiable.

So make them a counter offer. The buyer’s response to that counter will usually tell you what they realistically are willing to pay.

Please remember – you can’t negotiate with someone who never made an offer, right?

Laura Kittleman is the owner of The Kittleman Group of Keller Williams Capital Properties, and her team works primarily in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  She can be reached at 301-785-5889 or laurak@kittlemangroup.com.

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