Category Archives: Market Conditions

Rising Trends, Improving Conditions in Real Estate

If you don’t think things are changing in the real estate housing market, well think again! It’s easy to get caught up in media reports the most recent real estate market statistics that point to improving sales conditions in the Richmond Metropolitan area and believe home sales are getting better. After all, it’s just more of the cautious optimism that’s been keeping us going for the last three or four years, right? On the other hand, recent activity indicates genuine change has arrived. Of course some areas will lag behind others as the market picks up, but Realtors can sense the new mood wafting across the plains.

Market activity has been on the increase since at least November 2011. Our individual numbers as well as every stat tracking real property transfers confirms it. Nevertheless, real estate professionals have been cautiously monitoring trends to see if conditions were actually improving, or if perhaps this was simply another market teaser. It is one thing to watch the numbers reportedly go up, but quite another to see actual behavioral change.

Just last weekend we called to schedule an appointment to visit a home in the west end of Richmond. There were so many appointments we could not be accommodated. It didn’t matter that we were willing to wait another day to see it because the seller received so many contracts on the first day they discontinued showings and agreed to work with one of the offers submitted the first day. WOW! You might say this is just one story, but it’s not. We are hearing about other interactions similar to this where multiple offers have been generated. But of course the good ones will always sell fast!

This may not be the norm, but it most assuredly points to distinctive change in the attitudes of people ready, willing and able to buy a home. With dwindling inventory, improved market conditions, historically affordable interest rates, I would not be surprised to see more interesting stories like this one that point to a changing real estate market for 2012.

 Ann & John VanderSyde, Associate Brokers – Virginia Properties, A long & Foster Company “2009, 2010 & 2011 Sales Team of the Year” (804) 287-4660  “HOME is a Lifestyle Choice!”

What is “Agency” Disclosure?

  The disclosure of “Agency” in real estate is currently a hot topic. The National Association of Realtors maintains guidelines regarding Broker Agency, but the oversight and enforcement of it is on a state-by-state basis. The Commonwealth is preparing to introduce revised legislation in 2012 that will outline and purportedly mandate specific guidelines as to how and when agency relationship must be disclosed. Not all of the details of this new legislation have been presented to Brokers and industry professionals, but I’m certain the entire process regarding agency disclosure in Virginia will either become crystal clear or expressly more confusing.


  The concept of who a licensee represents in Virginia is currently not all that difficult to follow. For instance, did you know it is required that “Broker Agency” be disclosed to you as a real estate customer/client at the first substantive conversation you have with a REALTOR® about a particular property? Yet, according to the National Association of Realtors, only 31% of those surveyed in 2010-11 reported having this up-front conversation with an agent. 23% said it didn’t come up until they sat down to write a contract, and it seems the remaining folks were statistically uncertain about the subject of Agency.


  In reality, the current disclosure of brokerage relationship in the Commonwealth is quite clear when expressly followed by those of us working in real estate. The problem arises when disclosure doesn’t take place at all. Many agents feel such a conversation early in a relationship will turn people off, sending them running the other way. However, if done properly with education and understanding, it is a great way to engage folks into learning more about the process of real estate sales and service. I have found these situations usually result in opportunities for those involved. The goal after all is to better assist and protect the real estate consumer and to remain the consummate professional they rely on when purchasing or selling a home.


Contact your most trusted real estate provider to learn more about this topic. Ann & John VanderSyde are Associate Brokers with Virginia Properties, A Long & Foster Company. They can be reached at (804) 282-7300 or at

What about Real Estate Stats

Have you seen any home statistics lately?  Do you find this information to be invigorating or exhausting? Do these numbers excite you enough to think about buying or selling a home, or do they entice you to plug your ears and block out the market banter? There is an excess of information out there, so what should you believe, who should you listen to, and what should you do?

We as real estate professionals are in the business of evaluating real property every day. The overall message we receive is positive, and it is part of our job to relay this good information to you the consumer. I can point to dozens of stats and market analysis that should easily convince most people of the improving market conditions, as well as the unarguable fact that interest rates remain so low that this may be the best opportunity to own a home EVER. But listen to the national media and it doesn’t mean a thing if consumer confidence in the market is down.

Fortunately, Richmond Virginia fairs better than the national housing market. In general, we enjoy a good housing industry. While there are many homes that sit on the market, there are many more that sell immediately – and yes, some with multiple offers.  We know these are challenging times for buyers and sellers because there is so much uncertainty about what is the best decision for each of us.

We can tell you that the housing market will continue to improve and that interest rates will go up; we wish we could be specific about exactly when to expect this to happen. In the mean time, we will advise you to listen to your personal needs, contact your trusted housing advisor, and have them discuss with you the current market trends as it relates to your specific situation. Well informed consumers are empowered to make smart decisions, and real estate is no exception.

Follow-up Post, What’s the Wait . . .

As a follow up to my blog post yesterday 9/8/2010 regarding “What is the wait in Richmond Real Estate” – regarding “low interest rates”, the Long & Foster Marketing Minute provides the following example:

“Let’s talk about the “missed opportunity” on the tax incentives. Let’s say first-time home buyer couple is looking at taking a 30-year loan on a $340,000 home, which was the average Long & Foster sale price in July. If they had purchased in early April, in time for the $8,000 credit, the interest rate probably would have been around 5.25 percent.

If that same couple bought today and locked in a rate around 4.5 percent, they would save more than $130 per month on the mortgage payment compared to the early-April purchase.

Even if they only live in the house for 10 years, they would save more than $16,000 in interest. These record-low interest rates mean buyers “match” the $8,000 they would have gotten in tax incentives if they live in the house just five years.”

Consider spreading the word and sharing the secret that the media seems to conveniently overlook. There is good news in the real estate market, and as professionals it is our responsibility to send the message in order to combat the lingering negativity in our marketplace.

Facts & figures courtesy of Jeff Detwiler, president and COO of Long & Foster Real Estate

What is the Wait in our Richmond Real Estate Market?

The Richmond, Virginia metropolitan region of Long & Foster Real Estate met today for a Town-hall gathering. Several hundred local real estate agents, brokers and sponsors attended this special event which spent much of the morning commenting on the state of the company and the realities of real estate in our market sphere. The most important message I took away from all this is, of course, that with the amazingly low interest rates available to consumers today, and the apparent stabilization of real property in our area, it is perhaps the most affordable time in our history to purchase a home. So what is everyone waiting for?

Well, first, this premise presupposes that one has a relatively stable/secure job, ensuring enough confidence and providing proper financial wherewithal to make the next step into home ownership – or to make a move-up purchase. This is without a doubt a HUGE obstacle for anyone to see beyond, and if you’re risk adverse, it may not be manageable. But is the risk any greater today than four years ago when lenders were literally giving away mortgage loans while home prices continued to skyrocket through the heavens? Honestly, I just don’t get it!

Secondly, the media seems to have cornered all futures in real estate. I think it is too easy to pull the media card whenever our woes exceed rational justification, but you have to admit there are no headlines out there promoting the long-term benefits of the current interest rate. As a fellow realtor mentioned this morning, we should be shouting about the best kept secret in the real estate market – low interest rates are far better than any tax credit the government can offer. Just do the math! But hush; don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret. Maybe then the public, and possibly the media, will take note and make a step toward home ownership and a sound life’s-investment.

I can’t say what it will take to help people feel better about real estate, but my business tells me that the housing market continues to improve. Someone must be feeling better about things, because the difference between what is going on today over just a year ago is astounding, and our numbers/statistics reflect this notion.  The caveat to this observation is that we need to continue looking forward and forget about what’s in the rearview mirror. The years of 2005-2007 are thankfully gone. There is a new reality out there now for all of us to observe, just ask your REALTOR®. The honest truth is always plain to see!