Active Listings Remain Down in Northern Virginia; Highlights the Importance of Partnering with a Professional Agent!

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Active Listings Remain Down – Advantage Sellers
What is an active listing?  An active listing is a home offered for sale by the seller.  It has been entered into the online Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a real estate broker is under contract with the seller to market the home and solicit offers from buyers.  Active listings in Northern Virginia have trended down, especially in the last year making it more challenging for buyers.  I touched on this topic in the August Issue of Tim’s R/Eview – Low Housing Inventory, Why?
Measuring the flow of active listings in specific Northern Virginia neighborhoods for my clients is important – just like economists who measure money supply in the general economy.  The velocity of money in our economy is also important.  In real estate, velocity is measured by the number of days on the market before an active listing goes under contract.  The concepts also closely tie to advantage, leverage and who has it – buyer or seller.  Professional agents thoroughly understand these concepts, current statistical relationships and much more.  Why?  Because a higher degree of knowledge means a higher quality of counsel that I can provide to my clients.  In my view, I can be nothing less than a knowledge expert when I’m counseling a seller on how to position their home for market, or when I’m advising a buyer on the precise aspects that go into structuring a winning offer for the home they want to purchase.
Active Listings in Northern Virginia Down 14% from 2017-18
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) carefully track these statistics.  I prepared the graph below to simply illustrate the important visual.  Listings are down and they remain down.  The NVAR region is represented by Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the cities of Fairfax, Alexandria and Falls Church.  This region booked 40,878 total listings during the trailing twelve months, down 14% from 47,585 listings the year before.  Not surprisingly, the velocity to a ratified contract has accelerated for sellers to the current 36 average days on market, down from 42 days the previous year.  The Average Sold Price-to-Original List Price ratio has also slightly improved for sellers from 98.1% to 98.5%.  Very similar experience and seller advantaged statistics can be said for Loudoun and Prince William counties as well, which represented nearly 16,000 total listings by comparison the last year.
Listings Down 2
Attention Sellers – Don’t Squander Your Leverage – Partner with a Professional
Sellers are strongly positioned in today’s market when selling a home in Northern Virginia.  Seller position is best protected, and even enhanced by partnering with a professional agent.  Sellers can squander their strong position by selecting the wrong agent.  A sub-par agent can provide poor advice on a listing price, inadequate counsel preparing the home for sale, poor marketing or salesmanship, or simply insufficient closing execution.  Inadequate performance in just one single area can produce harmful results for a seller – lower selling price, lower net proceeds, higher days on the market, or contract mistakes that could place a client in legal jeopardy just to name a few.  The best agents treat the home selling process like an asset manager or trustee who operates with a fiduciary responsibility to protect their client’s best interests and maximize the value of their investment.
Attention Buyers – The Wrong Agent Can Put You At Serious Risk
In this low inventory environment in Northern Virginia, home buyers are competing over fewer homes.  Combine this with a land where not all agents are created equal in work-plan and expertise and what’s the result?  A buyer could unknowingly be at serious risk of not reaching their desired outcome.  I recall one of Warren Buffet’s quotes that is timely in our market – “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.”  My point is almost any agent can help a buyer in a market with a high tide of inventory and a buying process that is ordinary and without challenges.  This is similar to Buffet’s point that anyone can make money in an up stock market.  In today’s market climate where the tide of inventory has receded and the buying process is shaped with more challenges, it becomes imperative to partner with someone better equipped to deliver your desired outcome.  As Scott Avery, President of AveryHess, said, “In this current climate, a well-intentioned relative, friend, or casual acquaintance with a business card might not be enough.”  My advice to home buyers is they should be equally discerning when selecting an agent as they are when selecting a home or investment property.  I often see that decision-making not in symmetry.  This point resonates with home buyers when I remind them that there’s only ONE winning offer per home, and a professional agent greatly increases the probability of seller acceptance.
Executive R/Eview
Listings are down 14% in the Northern Virginia housing market during the last year.  The leverage pendulum presently rests with sellers and should materially remain that way for the foreseeable future.  It’s even more important now that both home sellers and buyers partner with a professional agent.  Home sellers risk squandering a present market advantaged position, thousands of dollars in net proceeds, and almost ensure a poor experience if represented by a sub-par agent.  Equally for home buyers, in this very competitive landscape where they outnumber available home product, they face the simple risk of not reaching their desired outcome over and over again.  Both types of clients face serious challenges and risks.  It takes a different, second-level thinking professional agent to meet these challenges and risks head on and break through ceilings. You have only one opportunity to get it right when selecting an agent – interview and select carefully.

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is entirely based on their habits and mind-set. Amateurs wait to feel inspired – Professionals stick to a scheduled work-plan. Amateurs focus on goals – Professionals focus on habits. Amateurs strive to achieve – Professionals strive to improve. Amateurs stall after failure – Professionals grow after failure. Amateurs play for fun – Professionals play for keeps.” – Steven Pressfield

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