Fredericksburg Market Update October 1, 2020

Phew! This market is still moving FAST! Days on market has gone down again. Buyers are definitely bringing their “A” game as list to sold prices hover right at 101%. The highest I saw in September was 111% of asking.  That means that a seller was offered 11% more than the list price. WOW!

If you’re thinking about selling I would say now is the time. Don’t know where to start? I can help! Contacting me before you’re ready will help you prepare for the sale, streamline the process, and set you up for maximum success. Talk soon!

~Amber

 

The four minute rule

The four minute rule

Mama, Realtor, assistant, student, business owner, wife, board member, homeschool mom. These are all roles that I’ve held, most of them simultaneously. So how do I manage to keep everything straight? How do I ever get anything done? 

  1. I (almost) never sleep 💤
  2. time blocking
  3. the four minute rule ⏲️

First, I wake up just after the witching hour, otherwise known as 4:30am, every day. Even when I don’t want to, which is most days. I start my day by feeding the cats (I have too many and they swarm me as soon as my feet hit the floor), starting my coffee, and throwing a load of laundry in the washer. 

Having a few hours in the morning to keep up with the laundry, empty the dishwasher, answer emails, prepare for the kids school day and do my own homework is essential. Once my family wakes up it’s very difficult to stay on track.

Next, I plan out my week every Sunday afternoon. I block off specific times to get tasks done. If it’s not on my schedule, it doesn’t happen. I block off time to work, spend with the kids, family time, grocery shop, have coffee dates with friends, even balance the checkbook, you get the idea. I have two planners, one for real estate, and one for everything else. It’s the only way. 

Finally, I follow the four minute rule. I have to start this by saying that when I first starting doing this, I thought I was a genius. That is until I read about some guy and his tomato who figured it out way before I did. If you haven’t heard of Francesco Cirillo or the Pomodoro technique, forget the last sentence and trust me, I’m a genius 😉.  

The basic idea is that every task should take no more than four minutes. I literally set a timer for 4 minutes and only focus on a task that amount of time (Pomodoro gives you 25 followed by a 5 minute break). This scheduling method stems from the idea that tasks will expand to the time you allow for them. Have all day to write that report? It will take you all day. Have four minutes? You will focus and get it done in four minutes. I carry this through just about everything I do. Of course some things take more than that. Those I usually break into smaller tasks or focus on beginning, middle, and end. For instance washing, rinsing, and drying dishes are three separate activities that get 4 minutes each. Wondering why 4 minutes? That’s how long it takes to brew French-press coffee ☕. 

Things that take 4 minutes or less: emptying the dishwasher, making your bed, answering two emails, calling a client, balancing the checkbook (if done every day), paying bills, showering, folding a load of laundry, watering the plants, making scrambled eggs and toast. 

It turns out I’m in good company, Elon Musk also uses this technique, he gives himself 5 minutes per task. 

How do you manage your time? Is it effective? What tips do you have to be more productive? 

What has Covid-19 done to home values?

What has Covid-19 done to home values?

If you were thinking about buying or selling a house this year you’ve probably been wondering if this is really a good time. As a seller you’re probably more concerned with home values. Buyers might be wondering about the stability of the economy. No matter which side you’re on, there is good news in housing.

The spring real estate market sprung early this year (we were looking at a record year) and then got sideswiped by the pandemic. I say sideswiped and not stopped because the market didn’t stop. It kept going with just a little bit of a dent in the side. Not as pretty, but still functional.

The number one problem the market is having right now has nothing to do with a stymied economy, unease in the job market, or the ability to borrow money, the number one problem we have is low inventory. There simply aren’t enough houses for the number of serious buyers out there.

For every well maintained, appropriately priced house that goes on the market there are about a dozen buyers lined up and waiting. I have been seeing multiple offers on almost every listing and my buyers are competing on every contract I write. The competition is fierce!

What that means for sellers:
When the time comes to list you should make sure that all the small repairs are taken care of and your house is staged well. I’ve seen some offers come over “sight unseen” which means that the buyers decided to purchase a house solely based on the online photographs, video, and/or virtual tour. Fantastic, professional photos are a MUST.

It also means that you’ll have some flexibility in the contract terms and buyers are coming with their financing prepared. As far as pricing, home values are up about 8% over last year here in the Fredericksburg and surrounding areas. This is in part because of the low interest rates available for home loans.  It’s also because the pandemic has forced some sellers to either pull their listing off the market, or wait to list until the dust settles making the low inventory problem, well, a bigger problem.

What that means for buyers:
BE READY TO MOVE FAST!! I really can’t stress this enough. If you find the perfect (or almost perfect) house and you want to think about it for a day or two, the house will be under contract before you make your mind up.

Being ready to move fast means that: 1. You have your pre-qualification letter in hand. 2. You have your earnest money deposit ready (usually 1% of the sale price). 3. You’ve honed in on what the most important features are for you and what you can do without (for now). 4. You have an amazing agent who is an expert at negotiating. 5. You have clear expectations and know that you’re in a sellers’ market.  6. You understand that this is not the time for lowball offers. Houses are currently selling for an average of 99% of the asking price (some offers are going above asking to get a leg up on competition). Keep this in mind when making your offer.

Just a side note for buyers, interest rates are really, really, really low right now. It’s a great time to lock in a rate we probably won’t see again in our lifetimes.

Have more questions or want to know what your home is worth right now? I have a few appointments left for a 15 minute Zoom meeting to answer questions specific to your needs. You can schedule online here or reach out via text (910.554.2480) or email me at amber@househomelovefxbg.com. I look forward to chatting with you!

Everything you need to know about living in Fredericksburg

Everything you need to know about living in Fredericksburg

I’ve lived in a lot of different places over the course of my life. As an Air Force brat, an Airman myself, and later a Marine Corps wife, moving seemed to be part of my DNA. It was woven into my very fiber.

Here in Fredericksburg things are different. Maybe it’s something they put in Carl’s ice cream but the community reaches out and envelopes you in a way I haven’t seen anywhere else. If you talk to someone for more than a minute, you will be invited over for book club, beers on the front porch, or the latest neighborhood event. You will be motivated & encouraged to volunteer for things you never thought about before. The issues you care about in your own family & home are actually quiet crusades here in the ‘Burg and you will join in.

There is more to do every weekend than you can possibly even write on your calendar. Buy event tickets early because they will sell out. Love galas? There are plenty to go around. Charity events? Ditto. Something outside? Your cup will overflow. Something to do with the kids? Yep, that’s covered too.

Fredericksburg is where my family has started to put down roots. It’s where we know every neighbor by name and they know us. It’s where neighborhood block parties are the norm because everyone lives on the best street. Fredericksburg isn’t where I started out but it sure feels a lot like home.

You + Homeownership = Wealth

You + Homeownership = Wealth

Does home ownership build wealth? That depends. Everyone has a different idea of what “wealth” looks like. For some it looks like piles of money with a Scrooge McDuck style diving board and a room full of gold coins. For others it means the freedom to travel, a little farm full of baby goats in pajamas, or lounging on a beach with a drink made mostly of tiny umbrellas.

Whatever wealth looks like to you, home ownership is one way to build financial security and emotional stability. Is it right for everyone. No. Should I being saying that as a realtor? Absolutely. Knowing which situation is right for clients is critical in helping map out their goals. I almost always encourage people to at least think about buying over renting because in our area rentals are a hot commodity. So even if you don’t plan on staying in that starter home forever, it can be a great source of passive income in the future.

Here are some reasons to keep renting:

1. You’re investing your extra income.

2. You’re saving up for a down payment

3. You want your living arrangements to remain flexible.

4. You’re working on your credit.

5. You’ll be in the house for 3 years or less.

6. You don’t want to be bothered with repairs or maintenance.

7. You don’t mind paying a premium to offset the costs of maintaining a home.

8. You want a little buffer if the market goes south.

Here are some reasons to buy:

1. You want stability.

2. You’ll be in the area for 3 or more years.

3. You have money in the bank for repairs/maintenance.

4. You want the freedom to remodel or decorate at will.

5. You want the capability to rent the house out in the future.

6. You want the tax advantage home ownership offers.

7. You want to build equity.

8. You have a long term plan & goals.

Want a more in-depth look? Contact me to set up a time to chat about the home buying process.

111 Caroline Street

111 Caroline Street

The hard work has been done in this turn-key, light filled home. Circa 1919, this historic home has been updated for modern living. Whether you’re sitting on the built-in banquette sipping your morning coffee as you enjoy the stunning view of the Rappahannock River, sitting on the front porch chatting with the neighbors, or strolling downtown to the various shops, restaurants, train station, or simply taking in Fredericksburg’s Historic District, you won’t want to miss out on all this lovely home has to offer.