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.
Hear from Realtor® and Director of Operations Robert Garcia on a few real estate market updates, including inventory levels and new standards for refinancing! This is usually a time when Washingtonians take some time off and rest, including within the real estate market. But this year is different. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have decided to implement a new policy affecting new borrowers and refinanciers: starting September 1, if you are refinancing a house you will see an increase of 50 basis points. This means that lenders are going to start charging an additional fee. My understanding is that this is going to be a standard fee. I highly encourage you to look for different lenders and different opportunities that will cover these additional fees. We have a very tight inventory for homes not just in the DMV area but in the whole nation. The real estate market has not seen a typical ‘V’ recovery; they’re now saying it looks like a ‘K’ recovery. Be aware that if you’re looking to buy or sell a piece of real estate or become an investor, give us a call so we can help you with these market changes. Call us at 1-800-900-9104!
If you’ve been able to keep track of the days, you know we’re going into the seventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic. While different states are in different phases of reopening, there’s plenty of places gradually opening back up while adhering to CDC guidelines. We’ve found some great parks, museums, restaurants, and other places to visit in the DMV if you feel safe and comfortable returning to these activities. Before planning your visit to any of these places, make sure you know what the current rules and restrictions are still in place for that area. DC is currently in Phase Two, while Maryland and Virginia are in Phase Three. Visit Victura Park at the REACH. This outdoor pop-up wine garden and cafe is the perfect way to spend your Labor Day Weekend! You can enjoy wine, beer, and family-friendly snacks while maintaining a safe social distance. Grab food from Union Market. This DC favorite is open again for pick-up and delivery, as well as some outdoor seating. You can order online for a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and grocery stores. Check out their website to see which businesses are back open! Visit the National Zoo. The ever-popular National Zoo is open once again for visitors. They are maintaining the highest standards for safety, including limited capacity, one-way traffic, enhanced cleaning, and social distancing. Make sure you pass by the Cheetah Conservation Station to see the 4.5 month-old cheetah cubs! And if you aren’t quite ready to visit such a popular public space, you can keep up with the zoo’s newborn panda cub on their Giant Panda Cam! Go for a hike at Rock Creek Park. There are over 32 miles of hiking trails open at Rock Creek Park, a beautiful oasis within DC. While there are still some closed areas within the park, all hiking trails, playgrounds, and some exercise facilities are open for your enjoyment! See art and nature come together at the Glenstone Museum. You can enjoy the beautiful blend of art, architecture, and nature at this museum in Potomac. The Glenstone Museum has several guidelines in place–including limited capacity, group sizes of five, and staggered arrival times–so you can experience art and landscape with peace of mind. Stroll through Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. This center is excited to welcome back visitors to its Sculpture Path, Murray Arts Building, and Fairy Lolly Creative Play Space. Guests can feel safe while enjoying the art and nature while socially distancing.
Our Market Ready Guide provides strategic advice and useful tips to get top dollar for your house when the time comes to sell.
Check out this brief recap of Eric Stewart's radio show that aired on August 16th on 105.9 FM WMAL! Eric discussed when it is appropriate for an agent to participate with their own commission to get a deal finished, and he speaks to Helen Flynn, Realtor® and SRES®, about the difference between staging and decluttering. The Eric Stewart Show: Radio Recap Segment 2 On this segment, Eric answers the question: when should a real estate agent participate with their own commission in getting a contract finished? Although it is an uncommon situation, Eric describes a time he found it appropriate to use his commission to assist with a seller's contract. In this example, there were some things that had to happen during the inspection phase in order for Eric's client to move to their new home. "Sometimes people’s lives are more important than money," Eric says. He recognized his clients could go no further in this situation, and he deemed it appropriate to step in and make his clients' lives a little easier. Eric also describes an inappropriate time for an agent to participate with their own commission: when someone asks for a favor as a friend. Eric goes on to speak with Helen Flynn, a Realtor® and SRES®, about staging and decluttering. Helen suggests making decluttering a routine activity in order to make the process a little easier. We often don't realize how easily we've accumulated items over the years! We have a fantastic stager and our group provides that to you as our client. Don’t forget about our upcoming webinars, which you can find here! Eric will go more in-depth on staging, decluttering, and much more within these webinars.
Check out this brief recap of Eric Stewart's radio show that aired on August 16th on 105.9 FM WMAL! Eric discussed what the market looks like for buyers right now, including the limited inventory and competition among buyers. He also speaks to Helen Flynn, Realtor® and SRES®, about what has factored into the current market and discusses an app called FairSplit. The Eric Stewart Show: Radio Recap Segment 1 Next month, Eric is celebrating the 16th anniversary of his radio show! He began the show in September of 2004. The first topic of the show answers the question: how do you handle a buyer looking to buy in a market where there’s very little inventory? In the current market, buyers are going up against other buyers in a very competitive market. With the competitive market, there’s a lot of subpar properties that are selling really well right now. People are being much more forgiving about the conditions of homes. This proves that timing trumps condition. We’ve been in a 5-year cyclical contraction and supply, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. More listings are coming to the market but it’s still tight. Eric predicts that the market will continue to be very strong all the way into the fall. There has been more inventory in Rockville but competition is pretty fierce all-around. The overall demand cycle is very hot for many reasons; buyers and sellers need an agent now more than ever. In the world of technology, there’s an app called FairSplit that allows you to list assets that are to be divided among multiple people. It can be used in the cases of downsizing, divorces, or estates. You walk through the house, take pictures and put them into a folder, assign values to the items, and then share with the people you are going to be dividing these items among. The app also offers services to help you with appraisals, determining emotional value of an item, and mediating between family members.
Realtor® Robert Garcia recently discussed a popular question he's been seeing from buyers during the global pandemic: do I need a bigger home? Check out the video and description below to hear what Robert's advice is for those considering moving to a bigger home! Robert Garcia Exploring the Question: Do I Need a Bigger Home? Hi everybody, Robert Garcia here, Director of Sales and Operations of the Eric Stewart Group of Long & Foster. It has been about 90-120 days since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic worldwide. And we have learned new things with the pandemic speaking from the real estate perspective. So working with buyers and sellers, we get all kinds of questions. But this one comes from buyers that we work with every day, and the question is: now that we have a new normal, should we upgrade to a bigger house? Well, chances are that you have the privilege to work from home, and need the space for a formal home office, as well as if you have kids you may need the space for homeschooling, or a hybrid format that will start in the fall. So if you don’t have the space that you need for the new normal of working from home, the changes are that you should probably think about upgrading to a house that’s maybe a three-level house with a fully finished basement or a partially finished basement where you can put your office. Or maybe if you have a lot of rooms upstairs that you don’t need, then you can consider making one of the spare bedrooms your office moving forward. So you can have conferences, calls, Zoom video meetings, and so on. That should be something that you should make a priority. Now if you have a house that fits the space that you need for now and you don’t need to upgrade, maybe think of improvements, refinancing your property, and looking ahead for the future in terms of what kind of upgrade you should be doing.
Realtor® and Associate Broker Eric Stewart recently discussed updates in the real estate market on 105.9FM WMAL. Check out the videos and descriptions below to hear what Eric says about surprise changes to the market! Eric Stewart Discussing the Jump of Home Sales from April to May A rebound in the home sales market is underway with pending home sales jumping 44% from April to May. Realtor Eric Stewart, host of the Eric Stewart Show here on WMAL, says the numbers are good news. “We had a drop in the month of April, so May’s spike was in comparison to April’s drop, and therefore it really was more in line with a typical month of May. We would typically see the kind of sales in the month of May that we saw this May which was a wonderful surprise," Eric says.
With COVID-19 constantly dominating the news, it’s hard to come by good, light-hearted stories. But happy stories are out there! We put together this list of some happy and fun stories around the DMV that we hope brighten your day. It’s important to remember that there’s still life to enjoy amid the coronavirus, and these stories provide that exact reminder. Stevensville Woman Offers Passersby Free Flowers In Stevensville, MD, a woman named Rona Werner has set up a table of flowers at the end of the driveway and offers them to passersby for free. She said, “I thought in this time of the pandemic, there’s so much sadness, it would be nice for people to feel joy.” A small act of kindness goes a long way, and we love the simplicity of this act of generosity! Kids Read to Therapy Dogs The DC nonprofit People Love Animals has had to add over 120 new reading slots to their now virtual program because so many kids are signing up to read to therapy dogs! Unique Way to Encourage Social Distancing Fish Tales, a bayside restaurant in Ocean City, MD, is rolling out bumper tables to ensure social distancing as they open back up for dine-in business. The tables, made by a company in Baltimore, are a fun and creative way to keep people six feet apart! Montgomery County Almost Ready to Open Here’s some great news for Montgomery County residents! The county has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations over the past two weeks and will most likely reopen gradually over the coming weeks.