real estate advice

The Eric Stewart Group Blog

Trusted resource for local and national real estate news and trending topics, and everything you need to know about the buying and selling process.

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DMV | Realtor | homebuying | homebuyer

5 Day Trips Within a Three-Hour Drive of DC

By: Rachel Harclerode
April 6th, 2021

If you live in the DMV, you live within a few hours of so many great places. We're going to share 5 towns you can travel to for a fun day trip within three hours or less! We also included sample itineraries that show just a few examples of places you can eat and things you can do in each town. Let us know if you try out one of these itineraries and let us know how your trip goes!

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DMV | Realtor | homebuying | homebuyer

8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Home

By: Rachel Harclerode
March 23rd, 2021

Whether you’re buying your first home or your third home, there are many mistakes you can make throughout the process. Buying a home involves many steps and lots of decision-making, so it’s easy (and common!) to take a misstep along the way.

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Our Market Ready Guide provides strategic advice and useful tips to get top dollar for your house when the time comes to sell.

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DMV | Realtor | first-time homebuyer

The Ultimate Home Item Checklist for First-Time Homeowners

By: Rachel Harclerode
March 16th, 2021

If you’re in the process of buying your first house, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about all of the things you need to buy. From furniture to kitchen utensils to tools to cleaning supplies, there’s a lot to get. Keeping track of it all is hard!

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contingency | Realtor | home inspection

VIDEO: Do You Need a Home Inspection Contingency?

By: Rachel Harclerode
March 2nd, 2021

If you’re buying a home, you may have wondered if a home inspection contingency is really necessary. With the current market conditions favoring sellers, it may be tempting to waive this contingency to compete better against other buyers. Our advice, however, is to not do this!   Home inspections allow you the opportunity to find any issues–big or small–that you may want to take care of before you move in. You may even decide to terminate the deal and find another house if the inspection comes back with undesirable results. One of our recent clients, for example, waived their home inspection contingency against our guidance. They ended up facing a $12,000 repair after moving in!   We don’t want this to happen to you, so don’t waive this contingency! Check out this video from Realtor® Robert Garcia for more insight on the significance of home inspections.      

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Realtor | homebuying | home selling

VIDEO: What Will the 2021 Housing Market Look Like?

By: Rachel Harclerode
March 2nd, 2021

What will the 2021 housing market look like? Will there be a home sale crash? Are we going to see the market fall apart? Eric Stewart touches on these questions in his new video below.    This January saw 400,000 homes on the market compared to 750,000 homes in January of 2020. This low inventory paired with a large supply of potential buyers has led to a strong, competitive market and multiple offer scenarios. A lot of people wonder if these conditions will continue in 2021.    Eric Stewart thinks that they will remain for the foreseeable future. He predicts we’re likely to see continued limited supply for the next seven or eight years as housing stock is not being created fast enough for buyer demand.   What does this mean for those hoping to buy or sell this year? For those looking to sell, you’re going to be in a great position to get top dollar throughout the rest of this year. For those looking to buy, you should find an agent who will look out for your best interests and know how to beat out other buyers. In any case, head to our home page for more information.      

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DMV | Realtor | home selling | homeseller

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

By: Rachel Harclerode
February 23rd, 2021

When it comes to selling your home, there are plenty of mistakes you could potentially make. Selling a home is a complex process, so you should be aware of some of the more common mistakes people make so you can avoid them. Here are 7 common mistakes you can avoid:

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DMV | Realtor | interviewing a realtor

Questions to Ask Your Potential Realtor®

By: Rachel Harclerode
February 16th, 2021

One important part of the homebuying and -selling process is finding the right Realtor®. Who you work with matters, and you deserve to find an agent that’s a good fit for you!

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CoronaVirus | DMV | valentine's day

How You Can Celebrate Valentine's Day in 2021!

By: Rachel Harclerode
February 9th, 2021

We are facing yet another holiday that looks a little different this time around, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate! We've put together this list of ideas for you and your significant other, so you can still enjoy Valentine's Day while remaining socially distant and following healthy precautions. 

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Real Estate | Realtor | Spring Market | homebuying

When Does the Spring Market Kick Off?

By: Jim Beckley
January 19th, 2021

One question that is often presented to our team is, "When does the spring market begin?"    To answer that question, we should first explain why people are curious about the spring market vs. the summer or fall. Typically, the spring market produces the highest sales prices of the year and the greatest level of buyer activity compared to summer and fall.   As warm weather approaches, the local inventory of homes is coming off its annual lows from December and January. Many sellers prefer to not have their homes on the market over the holidays and while winter weather can be less cooperative. At the same time, the coming warmer months bring the buyer community out in full force. Buyers are eager to secure their new home before they have to compete with the mass of other hungry buyers. Making an offer on a home in early spring allows for many families to close towards the end of the school year and spend the summer getting settled before the following school year begins.   This makes the perfect scenario for sellers: low inventory, which means less competition and high demand for homes. Selling a home is no different than selling something else; when demand is high and supply is low, prices rise.  

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Real Estate | first time home buyer | Realtor | homebuying

Q&A Between a First-Time Homebuyer and a Buyers' Agent

By: Rachel Harclerode
January 12th, 2021

As a first-time homebuyer, I've had many questions. And by "many," I mean A LOT of questions. The homebuying process involves a lot of steps and a lot of terms that you might not be aware of, so questions are inevitable.   I interviewed one of our experienced buyers' agents and our Director of Operations, Robert Garcia, to get his input on several of the questions I've had throughout my own homebuying process. Check out all of Robert's advice below!   FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: How early should I get pre-approved? ROBERT GARCIA, REALTOR®: A pre-approval letter should be obtained prior to starting to look for a home. We normally suggest that you obtain your pre-approval the moment you have decided to purchase a house so in this way you’ll know how much you qualify for, how much money you’re going to need to put down and put towards closing costs, and what your monthly payment is going to be.   FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: Where do I find a lender? And how do I choose which one is best for me? ROBERT GARCIA, REALTOR®: There are many ways to find a lender. We suggest you start a casual search online but definitely always get referrals from friends, family members, or the Realtor you choose to work with. Be aware that there are some lenders online that will probably want to charge you several points upfront and this can make the cost of the house more expensive.   FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: I was pre-approved for a certain amount. Should that be my budget? Or should my budget come in under that? ROBERT GARCIA, REALTOR®: Most lenders will give you a pre-approval to the highest point you can afford every month. This does not mean that you have to buy a house with a monthly payment that makes you feel uncomfortable. Depending on the type of market we are in sometimes you may have to increase your pre-approval so that you can be more competitive, and in other cases you can stay under your budget. We always tell our purchasers that the most important thing is your comfort level.   FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: What questions should I ask while touring a house? ROBERT GARCIA, REALTOR®: Definitely this is one of the most asked questions from a lot of our purchasers. In our opinion, here are the top three you should always ask no matter what. You need to find out how old the big mechanical items and the roof are. Another good question is are there any other additional fees that you need to be responsible for on top of the mortgage payment. And the last question is if the price of this particular property supports what other homes have sold in the neighborhood for in the last three months.   FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: When I’m ready to put an offer in, how do I decide on an offer price? In a competitive market, should I automatically put in a competitive offer? ROBERT GARCIA, REALTOR®: Assuming that you already are working with a real estate professional, your Realtor should be able to guide you on this step. Your Realtor should produce something that is called a comparative market analysis. This is research that has been done in a neighborhood for the last six months and compares properties that have sold, are under contract, and are active (if any) so that you can either match the current price or you come under or above the current price. This can be a very tricky step because if you are working with a real estate professional who is not familiar with the area or does not have the experience necessary to identify comparables in the neighborhood, than you most likely will not get the ideal price. In a very competitive market you have two options. The first option is to offer the asking price or even go higher immediately so you can be seen as a competitive offer. The second option is to use an instrument called an escalation clause form. This is an instrument that allows you to compete with other offers in a given amount of increments and to also establish a maximum price, also called a cap. You need to check with your Realtor if this escalation clause form is allowed in the area in which you are buying the property or if the seller will consider offers with this document. There are some sellers that would only work with the highest and best offers up front so the first step will work in this case.  

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