Exclusive listings are popular, but they may not be in the sellers’ best interest

Posted On August 28th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg


By David Howell, Vice President & CIO at McEnearney Associates


 

You may have seen a sign in front of a home that says “Coming Soon” or you may have heard the terms “pocket” or “whisper” listings.  Well, those are not the same things, but they all represent areas of possible concern when it comes to doing the right thing for sellers.

Let’s start with some basics.

First, we firmly believe that sellers will get the most for their property in the shortest amount of time when it is exposed to the broadest possible market.  And doesn’t that make sense?  After all, you never know where that buyer is coming from.  No real estate company and no real estate agent have all the buyers, so why hide a listing?

Second, a property gets the most traffic and the most exposure in the first few weeks of that broad exposure to the market.  We know that to be the case in good markets and bad — and everything in between.  So “testing” or teasing the market in a limited way may not be the best idea.

Third, a home shows best when it is fully ready for the market, when all improvements or repairs have been made.  You don’t see a new car showroom with a model on the sales floor that needs a paint job.

Fourth — and this is the most important one — the sellers of any home should give their informed consent to have their home marketed prematurely or to a limited audience.

So, with all that being said, and with inventory being tight in so many parts of the Washington metropolitan area, we see a fair number of homes with a Coming Soon sign in the yard.  There can be some very legitimate reasons for that — a home may be a couple of weeks away from being ready to go on the market and the sellers want to be sure that buyers looking in their area are aware that they will have another option in the near future, and they don’t want to run the risk they’ll lose that buyer to a home already on the market.

But remember that the people who are aware of that sign may be limited to the people who drive by.  One of them may approach the sellers to see the house before it’s fully ready to be shown — or even make an offer so they get the jump on other buyers. On the surface, that may seem like a good thing: The sellers get interest and maybe even an offer before the house is fully exposed to the market, and are spared the hassle of having to make the beds every day.  But sellers don’t know what they’re missing; they don’t know how many potential buyers there are who might have been interested in their home if they had known it was on the market.

But sometimes that Coming Soon sign is up so that the listing agent increases his chances of selling the house himself.  And that’s even more true of a “pocket” or whisper” listing — when the agent only tells a handful of people that a house is available.  And who is best served by that?  It’s hard to see how a seller benefits, and lots of would-be purchasers are deprived of the chance to buy.

The point is simply this: Sellers should know the pluses and minuses of marketing their home to a limited audience, and it should be their decision whether to cut off part of the pool of potential purchasers.

 

Share Your Morning Coffee with an Antelope

Posted On August 26th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

deb

 


By Michele Lerner


If your favorite TV shows run on Animal Planet and your favorite recent movie was “We Bought a Zoo,” the home at 1315 Dasher Lane in Reston may be your perfect retreat.

The house backs to the Reston Zoo where you can see antelope, buffalo and other animals as they graze in the grass fields. In addition, the National Wildlife Federation has certified the home’s back yard as a national wildlife habitat.

Just in case you want something besides animals near your residence, the home is within walking distance of Lake Fairfax, a 10-minute drive to the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and 2.5 miles to the new Wiehle-Reston East Silver Line Metro station.

The six-bedroom, 4.5-bath home has nearly 5,000 square feet of living space, including a lower level bedroom with a full bath, kitchenette, media room and walk-out to a patio. The home is priced at $948,900.

For more information, visit http://1315dasher.mcenearney.com or contact real estate agent Debbie Miller of McEnearney Associates at 703-241-0223.

 

McEnearney Associates’ Delaine Campbell Receives GRI Designation

Posted On August 25th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Delaine Campbell Logo


By Catherine Probst


McEnearney Associates, Inc., is proud to recognize Delaine Campbell, REALTOR® in the Alexandria, Virginia Old Town office for earning her GRI designation and in completing the additional education to become an Associate Broker in Virginia and Maryland.

The nationally recognized GRI® designation requires real estate practitioners to demonstrate an ever-increasing level of professionalism, experience, and knowledge in the industry; thus equipping him/her to further assist buyers and sellers with today’s more complex real estate transactions. GRI candidates are required to complete a minimum of 60 hours of coursework in a variety of areas including sales contracts, negotiations, legal and regulatory, technology and professional standards.

Campbell becomes one of only 12 percent of REALTORS® in Virginia and 21 percent of REALTORS® nationwide to hold the GRI designation. In addition to achieving the GRI designation, she also completed the requirements for a real estate broker license in Virginia and Maryland. This requires the completion of 180 classroom hours of approved real estate broker courses specific to each state.

“It is a true accomplishment to have completed the Graduate REALTOR Institute, which is a testament to the level of commitment I hold for the industry and for each and every one of my clients,” said Campbell. “I am happy to be able to offer my skills, experience and education to my clients to help them with their needs in this ever changing real estate market.”

Before joining McEnearney Associates in 2011, Campbell worked in the Northern Virginia offices of another local real estate company. In addition to her work as a real estate agent, Campbell uses her background and experience as a successful interior designer and renovator to help her clients not only buy or sell a home, but also to help with their sales preparation – staging, fixing and improving – or with post-settlement updates – new kitchens, bathroom, flooring, painting, decks, landscaping and more.

Throughout her career, Campbell has been a Top Producer in the NVAR Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club; she was named by The Realty Alliance in the Top 5% of real estate agents nationwide; was named to the Top Achievers Club; and continues to be a Top Producer at McEnearney.

“I continue to use out-of-the-box thinking to help my clients achieve their goals, so by helping them, I’ve been successful at my job,” said Campbell. “I love my clients and many of them become good friends. And I always appreciate their repeat business and referrals. It says to me that I’ve done a good job.”

More information about Delaine Campbell, visit her website: http://delainesells.com/

 

Home Entertaining: Are You Ready For Some Football?

Posted On August 19th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Rain gutter full of autumn leaves with a football


by Thomas Hallex


The beginning of the official football season is here.  Whether you are a die-hard football fan or just enjoy the social aspects combined with great food, football gives you a great excuse to gather with friends and entertain at your home.

Here are some play-by-play tips for a hosting a great football party at your house this Fall:

Pre-Game Line Up – The football schedules are out, both college and professional, so begin by picking a game date and inviting family and friends.

The Kick-off – Start the party with backyard grilling.

Big Screen Play – Next, move everyone indoors for game time   Have you recently updated your family or recreation room?  If so, be sure to set up the party in your new space to show it off to family and friends.

End Zone Movie Party – Keep the non-sports fan at the party entertained by setting up an “End Zone” Movie Party in another room.  Renting a movie like “The Blind Side” (inspirational), “The Waterboy” (funny) or “The Game Plan” (for kids) is an easy thematic option that provides an enjoyable activity for everyone.

Touchdown – It doesn’t matter what the final score is – though having your team win is always great – it’s the memories you will create entertaining at home that will leave you and your guests cheering!

 

 

What Does Zillow’s Acquisition of Trulia Mean?

Posted On August 18th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Zulia graphic

 


by David Howell, McEnearney CIO & Vice President


When Wall Street darling Zillow announced their upcoming acquisition of Trulia, many considered it a seismic event in real estate.  After all, the national real estate website with the most consumer traffic is gobbling up the industry’s #2 site, so something’s got to give, right?

And what exactly does this mean for the consumer?

The combined resources of these two firms promise to introduce more innovative technology and even more data.  If that turns out to be true, that’s great. We may even be able to expect increased traffic on what are already the most-trafficked real estate websites in the nation. At McEnearney, our goal is to get our homes maximum exposure so they will sell.  That’s our obligation to our clients, pure and simple.  So if having listings on “Zulia” helps increase our odds of that happening, then that’s where we’ll be.  That is something we will continue to monitor, and we will honor the wishes of our clients who may or may not choose to have their homes listed on these sometimes inaccurate sites.

But we all know that websites don’t sell houses, people do. Our company will continue to serve our community with expert agents who are knowledgeable about the local landscape and what’s behind those four walls. People want to know what’s trending in the neighborhood, what are the real comparables, and what kind of a lifestyle a home and area offer – all must-have details that no super computer can ever decipher.

Just remember: While people may squabbble over whether bigger is better – all we care about, and so should you, is that selling a home is more than a transaction. Websites don’t sell houses, people do.

 

Building an Environment for Success

Posted On August 15th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments
leesburg

Candice Bower, far right, managing broker for McEnearney Associates in Leesburg, leads some of her team members, clockwise from left, Mary Roberge, Cecilia Mahon, Jim Pumphrey and Rachael Remuzzi, during a weekly meeting to discuss market updates.


by April Grant, Leesburg Today


The team at McEnearney Associates in Leesburg is a small but dynamic group of highly trained real estate agents and one very dedicated broker.

Candice Bower is the managing broker for both the Leesburg and Middleburg offices. She said before the company that owns eight offices throughout the Washington, DC, area, expanded to Leesburg in 2009, “I did not see the same caliber of a family-owned business here.”

The company specializes in residential sales and leasing, commercial real estate, individual and corporate relocation services, rental property management and other real estate opportunities.

What sets McEnearney apart, Bower said, is the “commitment and philosophy” of founder John McEnearney, who opened the first office in Alexandria in 1980. McEnearney set a high standard of service for its clients by carefully selecting and nurturing agents.

According to Maureen McEnearney Dunn, McEnearney’s daughter who stepped in as company president in 2007—McEnearney is acting chairman—all agents undergo a rigorous training process before they work with clients.

“[McEnearney] was one of the first owners to set up a totally professional environment for agents to work in,” she said. “We take agents that want to build their business, give them a lot of attention with training and a lot of education.”

Dunn said Bowers is the perfect example of the company’s close-knit relationships. She started as an agent and, after moving up the ladder to manager, convinced Dunn to open an office in Leesburg. Bowers was soon tasked to head up the new team. “Candace was somebody I thought I could put our trust in and manage the office the way we wanted it managed,” Dunn said.

At McEnearney, full-time managing brokers do not sell. Their sole job is to focus on building their agents’ careers to ensure knowledgeable and quality service for clients. That’s rare in the market, Dunn said.

With the growth of the Internet and social media, the face of real estate that traditionally relied on personal relationships, has changed. The company has had to revamp and focus predominantly on building a new website that would give agents the tools to work closely with clients from a distance, Bower said.

Dunn said she was proud that even through the height of the recession when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, the company did not have to let go any of its employees. Instead it reduced spending on marketing, which is virtually unheard of in the real estate business. It wasn’t until 2013 that the market really began to stabilize, she said.

First-time homebuyers who own pets can take advantage of the company’s Pawsitive Experience program that offers information on pet care, dog parks and other pet services in the DC metro region.

A member of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, the company has sponsored fundraisers for area charities and events such as the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter and the town’s annual holiday parade. It recently sponsored a fundraiser during First Friday to raise money for the long-awaited Town Hall mural project. McEnearney Associates is devoted to the community, Bower said.

In 2013, the company beat out 76 finalists in the area to be named “Best Place to Work” by the Washington Business Journal.

McEnearney also has offices in Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, Washington, DC, and Kensington, MD.

 

10 Clever Tips to Help You Move

Posted On July 28th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

thumbs-up-box-on-head
The summer months herald the busiest moving season of the year. This is

especially true in August when families with children are getting ready to

move before they start the new school year. We did the research and found

these 10 clever tips to help with your move.

1. Ignore the “I might need it someday” syndrome. Have a garage sale.

Organize, advertise and manage it. You’ll be amazed by how profitable your

belongings are. At the end, donate things that don’t sell or arrange for a

charity to come pick up the items a week or two before the move. It will

save you the trouble of having to take it there yourself.

2. Use what you already have! There is no need to go out and buy all new

packing supplies when many of the items in your house can serve the same

purpose. Towels, blankets, curtains and pillows can be used to protect

fragile items. Baskets, laundry bins, suitcases, buckets, and more can be

used as improvised boxes.

3. Get to know stretch wrap. Use it to wrap and protect the legs of tables,

chairs, and stools; simply wrap and cover your organizer bins; use it to

keep dresser drawers shut; group together brooms and shovels; wrap

your silverware trays to keep all your flatware together; the list goes on!

Humans and pets aside, there is nothing that this plastic film can’t wrap.

4. Visit your local winery. Yes, it’s true. Visit your local bar, restaurant,

or winery, and you’re bound to come home with several empty wine box

cases! The inserts in these boxes are perfect for protecting glass cups, wine

glasses, and vases.

5. Stock up on foam plates and paper lunch bags. Foam plates work great

to protect your delicate glass and ceramic plates. Place one in-between

each plate to prevent them from chipping or breaking. Use paper bags to

protect your glassware and bowls.
6. Use color duct tape. Create a Moving Key and assign different color

duct tape to each room so the boxes are easy to identify. Pick a color code

for each room and then label the door of each room at your new home

accordingly so that movers know where to place the boxes.

7. Take a photo! Need to remember how you organized that cool wall of

photos? Or maybe how your electronics are connected? Take a photo so

you can recreate where and how the easy-to-forget items are arranged.

8. Hire a sitter. The last thing you need to worry about is losing track of

your kids and pets on this stressful day.

9. Pack your closet to-go. Group together a small section of 20-30 items on

hangers, open up a garbage bag and slide it over the clothes. Simply put a

hole in the bottom of the bag and pull the hangers through. Then tie a knot

on the bottom. Keeps your clothes protected and on hangers for easy and

fast unpacking!

10. Uncork the champagne. Phew! You did it. When all is said and done,

it’s time to celebrate. Grab a bottle of bubbly (even if you serve it in plastic

cups) and revel in the glory of having accomplished this major change in

your life.

 

The risks of ‘whisper listings’

Posted On July 28th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Blade_Mag


by David Howell | Executive VP and CIO at Mcenearney Associates


man_motioning_to_be_quiet_whisper_campaign_listings_insert_by_Bigstock

It’s hard to see how a seller benefits by so-called ‘whisper listings.’

 

You may have seen a sign in front of a home that says “Coming Soon,” or you may have heard the terms “pocket” or “whisper” listings. Well, those are not the same things, but they all represent areas of possible concern when it comes to doing the right thing for a seller.

Let’s start with some basics.

First, we firmly believe that a seller will get the most for their property in the shortest amount of time when it is exposed to the broadest possible market. And doesn’t that make sense?  After all, you never know where that buyer is coming from. No real estate company and no real estate agent have all the buyers, so why hide a listing?

Second, a property gets the most traffic and the most exposure in the first few weeks of that broad exposure to the market. We know that to be the case in good markets and bad, and everything in between. So “testing” or teasing the market in a limited way may not be the best idea.

Third, a home shows best when it is fully ready for the market, when all improvements or repairs have been made.  You don’t see a new car showroom with a model on the sales floor that needs a paint job.

Fourth — and this is the most important one — the seller of any home should give their informed consent to have their home marketed prematurely or to a limited audience.

So, with all that being said, and with inventory being tight in so many parts of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, we see a fair number of homes with a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard. There can be some very legitimate reasons for that – a home may be a couple of weeks away from being ready to go on the market and the seller wants to be sure that buyers looking in their area are aware that they will have another option in the near future, and they don’t want to run the risk they’ll lose that buyer to a home already on the market.

But remember that the people who are aware of that sign may be limited to the people who drive by. One of them may approach the seller to see the house before it’s fully ready to be shown — or even make an offer so they get the jump on other buyers. On the surface, that may seem like a good thing: the seller gets interest and maybe even an offer before the house is fully exposed to the market, and are spared the hassle of having to make the beds every day. But that seller doesn’t know what they’re missing; they don’t know how many potential buyers there are who might have been interested in their home if they had known it was on the market.

But sometimes that “coming soon” sign is up so that the listing agent increases their chances of selling the house themselves. And that’s even more true of a “pocket” or whisper” listing — when the agent only tells a handful of people that a house is available. And who is best served by that? It’s hard to see how a seller benefits, and lots of would-be purchasers are deprived of the chance to buy.

The point is simply this: a seller should know the pluses and minuses of marketing their home to a limited audience, and it should be their decision whether to cut off part of the pool of potential purchasers.


 

Congratulations to The Goodhart Group

Posted On July 22nd, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Path

The Goodhart Group Named One of America’s Top Real Estate Professionals

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by Catherine Probst


McEnearney Associates, Inc., is proud to announce that The Goodhart Group, one of the D.C., area’s most successful real estate teams, was ranked among the top 250 Agent Teams in the 2014 The Thousand report, an annual nationwide awards ranking published by REAL Trends in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.

The Thousand designees are recognized as the top one half of one percent of more than 963,000 Realtors nationwide. The report ranks residential real estate agents and teams into four categories: Top 250 Individual Agents by Sales Volume, Top 250 Individual Agents by Transaction Sides, Top 250 Agent Teams by Sales Volume and Top 250 Agent Teams by Transaction Sides.

For the second year in a row, The Goodhart Group ranked among the Top 250 Agent Teams by Sales Volume with a volume of $86 million in 2013.

“The Goodhart Group has been able to achieve success year after year because they always have their clients’ best interest at heart,” says Dave Hawkins, executive vice president and managing broker in the Alexandria office at McEnearney Associates. “Much of their business comes from repeat business or referrals from clients, proving that the secret to their success really is service.”

Founded by Sue Goodhart and her husband, Marty, more than 20 years ago, The Goodhart Group has received many awards over the years including #1 Realtor at McEnearney Associates, #1 Realtor in Alexandria and Top 20 Agents in Northern Virginia. Licensed in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, the team prides themselves on being community experts on real estate and lifestyle trends through the metropolitan region.

Sue Goodhart began her career in real estate in 1992 after an extensive career in sales and management including fourteen years as a business owner. She has been McEnearney Associates’ Top Producing agent since 2003, selling more than $40 million in real estate each year.  In 2006, the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors honored Sue with membership in the Top Twenty Residential Sales Agents’ Club.

She was recognized for her achievement in both sales volume and number of homes sold. Sue has also achieved lifetime status as a Top Producer with the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors. In 2008, The Goodhart Group was named the Small Business Philanthropist of the Year by Alexandria Volunteer Bureau.

“We are thrilled to be named to The Thousand and included among the top one half of one percent of nearly one million Realtors worldwide,” says Goodhart. “Even with the market’s challenges, it is gratifying to be able to help our clients find their perfect home, as well as sell their properties quickly for the highest price possible.”

More information about The Goodhart Group can be found on their website: http://www.thegoodhartgroup.com/

 

When House Hunting, How to Assess a Neighborhood

Posted On July 17th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

U.S._News_Logo
 
 

Considerations include schools, of course, but also walkability, upkeep and other factors.

Watch out for red flags, such as foreclosures or vacant homes, when deciding whether a neighborhood is right for you.


By Geoff Williams


 

When you buy a house, you aren’t just buying a house. In a way, you’re buying a neighborhood. After all, you’ll likely choose a home partly because it’s close to work, the schools are great or it’s walking distance to restaurants and stores – or maybe you love that it’s nowhere near retail establishments.

In fact, you could argue that picking the right neighborhood is more important than picking the right house. The last thing you want is to buy property in a place everyone is trying to leave. So if you’re looking for a home for your house, here are some things to consider.

What to look for. If you’ve been focused on your dream house and not your dream neighborhood, the most popular areas tend to be ones that offer “an instant sense of community to those relocating there,” says Fred Forgey, director of the real estate development program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If community is important to you, Forgey says you should think about these five factors:

  1. Aesthetics. An attractive neighborhood indicates the residents care about it.
  2. Affordability. Sure, you want a cheap house, but you also want to be able to afford the cost of living in the neighborhood.
  3. Safe environment. Nobody wants a mugger or sex offender as a neighbor.
  4. Easy access to goods and services. Can you make a quick run to the bank or grocery store, or will every day be a headache behind the wheel due to traffic congestion or construction?
  5. Walking distance to goods and services. Even better, ditch the car. If exercise and a sense of community are important to you, find a house near the establishments you’ll be frequenting.

Michelle Sagatov, a real estate agent at McEnearney Associates in Arlington, Virginia, strongly agrees with the last point.

“Walkability has become one of the biggest must-haves in Arlington. We are seeing neighborhoods that have a stronger walkability factor than others have lower days on market, and their average neighborhood price range has increased immensely,” she says.

But schools, Sagatov says, are still “the No. 1 thing families are looking at these days.”

Online research. You probably use websites like Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Trulia.com or Homes.com to search for a new house.

But there are neighborhood-related websites and apps as well. Here’s a sampling of what’s available:

  1. HomeFacts.com. This website contains mostly neighborhood statistics and information, but it also has data on more than 100 million U.S. homes (type in the street address of your prospective house to get the scoop on the whole area). Wondering how many foreclosures are in the area or if there are any environmental concerns? This is your site.
  2. NeighborhoodScout.com. Read up on crime, school and real estate reports for the neighborhood you’re considering.
  3. Greatschools.org. Here, you can find reviews written by parents and students of schools in the neighborhood you’re considering. You can also find test scores and other data that may help you decide if this is a school you want your kids to attend.
  4. CommuteInfo.org. This site offers a commuting calculator. Plug in information like miles driven and how many miles per gallon your car averages, and the calculator will give you an average cost of what your commute costs may look like in a month and in a year.

Red flags. As you’d expect, spotting a neighborhood on the decline isn’t rocket science.

“Red flags include things like a new highway being built [in close proximity to the house], an increased number of short sales, foreclosures and vacant properties, but even the number of rentals in an area can be cause for concern,” says Lisa Frushone, a real estate agent at Lisa James Otto Country Properties, a boutique real estate firm that serves the well-heeled communities of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Hunterdon County, New Jersey.