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NEW Clean Energy Tax Credits for YOU!

NEW Clean Energy Tax Credits for YOU!

When it comes to clean energy and taking care of your largest asset, it just makes sense to make energy efficient upgrades! Now the Federal Government is making that even easier for you as a homeowner. There are 2 big credits that you need to know about; The Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit, and the Residential Clean Energy Property Credit. A simple way to know if you are eligible for a tax credit is to see if you have done any of the qualifying upgrades in that tax year.

The EEHI credit is for doors, windows, insulation, HVAC, water heaters, heat pumps, electrical panels to name a few and is limited to $1200/ year. The IRS has a great breakdown of what qualifies for a tax credit. 

The other credit is the Residential Clean Energy Property Credit, and that is an unlimited credit for up to 30% of the cost of solar panels, solar water heaters and geothermal heat pumps. There is no overall cap on this credit and you can take advantage of it over several years. For example you add solar panels and a battery backup to your home and spend 50,000 but you get a 15k tax credit. The next year you can add a solar water heater for 10,000 and get $3k in credit. It’s a great incentive to go green! 

Another cool option if you just have no idea where to begin is to have a Home Energy Audit where a Certified Energy Auditor identifies the places in your home where you could save more with an energy upgrade and you can claim a $150 tax credit for doing it too. Your local power or gas company should have information to find an auditor in your area. 

In my opinion, solar power will continue to be the smartest residential upgrade with the best return on investment. Once the equipment is paid off you will never have a utility bill again, and you can sell power back to the power company, charge your EV or bank your power for an emergency. 

If you are curious about the best investments that are green, clean and have a great ROI, get intouch with me. I can help you get an energy audit, pick vendors to help you go green or refer you to a tax planner who knows all about these clean energy tax credits! 

What is the process for buying a home

What is the process for buying a home

BLOG_ What is the process for buying a home? There are probably some commonalities among agents when it comes to opening doors but the special skills come when you get inside a home and they especially matter when you are negotiating a home for a buyer client. 

Getting to know a new buyer is just like starting a new job. You come in with a certain set of skills that appeal to the buyer or perhaps the buyer was referred by someone they know & trust.You still have to listen to what the buyer is asking for especially taking notes of their pain points. Many buyers are concerned about their total monthly expense right now- affordability is a major topic of conversation. Also the cost of repairs or upgrades are high on a buyers list of concerns. 

My clients have access to BrightMLS & Homesnap to see inventory live on the market. They choose homes they like & I do my best to use my knowledge of the areas to sort through their choices & pick homes that best match my clients list of wants & needs. Typically these days buyers caravan, but sometimes I still drive buyers in my car. I like it when buyers are in my car so we can talk about notable things in the area that we are passing along the route of homes we have chosen to see. I will have the listing details and all the showing instructions at my fingertips to make the logistics of opening homes go smoothly. 

If no-one has even mentioned buyer etiquette when touring another person’s home, let me be the first to lay out some basic rules of the road;

If possible remove your shoes at the door or put on shoe covers

Do do not sit on people’s beds

Do not go #2 ( and avoid #1 if you can)

Look but don’t touch

If we turn on lights we turn them off & if the lights were on we leave them on

It’s important to look at the most expensive systems in the house too when you are previewing a home. Appliances, roof, HVAC, water heater and general structure including siding/windows/doors. Next we look at whether or not upgrades have been done to the kitchen, baths, floors, lighting, paint or if there are any value added upgrades like screened in porches, additions, patios, decks, pools, spas, or additional structures. If the condition is inline with the price, and the location the house should be a winner.

Next, we discuss the value and I bring in my knowledge of area sales and trends so that I can accurately determine if the list price is in line with the market value. If it is not, but a buyer still wants to write an offer, I lay out ways to bring the home more into balance; offer below asking, ask for repair credits or asking for closing cost assistance are some ways to negotiate a home’s worth. 

If a seller is motivated to make a deal work you will get a counter offer. If a seller does not like the terms of your offer they may outright reject your offer. That may mean a seller has unrealistic expectations, or our idea of the home’s value could be off base but it is not always the end of the road. If a seller doesn’t sell for their desired price, in a quick amount of time they will most likely reduce the price coming into a range that you could work with or the sellers may call you back to try and work something out. Although buyers are getting many more concessions than they have in 5 years it is still a sellers market due to low inventory. However, buyers are winning in so many ways if you know how to maneuver in the market. 

If you or someone you know is looking to buy in 2023. Get in touch with me. I would love to help. 

Real Estate Predictions 2023

Real Estate Predictions 2023

 

I get asked fairly frequently how the real estate market is and thankfully my business is flowing and I am actively working in all sectors of the market right now. I think it is so important to not make “arm chair” judgements about the market based on the media but rather talk about how things are going locally in the region from an insider perspective. 

 

I am going to outline some of the predictions that have been made nationally and then compare them to Northern Virginia. You will see that we just don’t get hit as hard as other parts of the country, not to mention we have an active relocation business in our area, & will have a turnover in the senate plus  we are heading the 2024 election season which will result in more turnover in our housing market. 

 

Here is a summary of some of the predictions by the experts on how the year is going to unfold for buyers and sellers across the country

 

Northern Virginia on the other hand will see

 

If you are thinking of making a move in 2023. Get in touch with me and let’s grab a coffee. I would love to help you make your next move. 

My Home Stinks? How to sell when you smell.

My Home Stinks? How to sell when you smell.

Don’t let your equity go up in smoke if your home smells like cigarettes! I was out showing houses today and I showed a house that had been smoked in. The first signs of previously smoked in homes are plug in air fresheners. I do not know what it is about these wafty devils but I always get suspicious when I smell one in a home or see multiple units plugged in throughout a property. Sometimes it’s a smell that you just can’t place, but as you poke around a home you can definitely locate hot spots in a previously smoked-in home. This kind of smoke contamination is called Thirdhand Smoke and can cause health problems for non smokers if not removed from a home before you sell. 

How can you avoid toxifying your home? Not smoking inside to begin with will leave you less issues to deal with when you go to sell your home. It’s preferable to smoke in the garage if you have to smoke inside at all but even then make sure the space is thoroughly ventilated. 

If your house already smells like smoke, here are some solutions you can try to freshen up the air inside your home. 

Wash your walls

Paint your washed walls with Kilz brand paint 

Remove or clean carpets

Clean your HVAC Replace lightbulbs and light fixtures that have yellowed

Hire a company to Ozone Blast your home

Bleach hard tile surfaces

Place bags of activated charcoal throughout the home

When you smoke inside the sticky nicotine residue permeates almost every surface so it’s important to strip down any exposed surfaces, clean any areas that can’t be replaced and utilize air fresheners like charcoal, apple cider vinegar or baking soda to absorb any remaining funkiness. No one recommends plug-ins or aerosol air fresheners since they will just mask any bad smells and don’t deal with the root of the problem. 

When it comes to selling a home that has evidence of thirdhand smoke the chances are your home value will be reduced by 30%. To retain value in your home, it is recommended to follow a rigorous approach to cleaning the home and chances are you will spend a fraction of the money you would have lost by doing nothing and selling your dank digs as-is. 

If you need help figuring out what to do with your home, get in touch with me. I have decades of experience and have tried and true methods to help you protect one of your biggest assets. 

NOW is the best time to buy

NOW is the best time to buy

NOW is the best time to buy! Yep today, December 12th, 2022. No, I am not crazy! Maybe you are thinking that rates are too crazy, the real estate market is dropping and will continue to drop or you will just wait this one out and see what happens. Well I disagree with you. Here’s why…

Sellers know that buyers are having an affordability issue and are being told to expect offers asking for closing costs. In many cases the buyer can not only get their closing costs paid for by the seller but they can also get their rate bought down. What is a rate buy down? It’s when you use money ( ideally the sellers)  to buy down a rate. It equates to about 10k per 1%. So if the market rate is 6% and you buy down 2% you actually have a mortgage rate at 4% and that’s amazing! Plus, minimizing or removing a buyer’s closing costs means they have more money for a down payment. 

Mortgage rates are going to fluctuate and will continue to do so until the Federal Reserve can curb inflation. Rates may not start to drop again for another 12 months, but right now rates just dropped! So if you were to find a house you wanted to buy in the next 30 days, chances are you would be able to lock in a lower rate than we’ve seen in 6 months and you can always do a rate buy down on top of that so it’s still a good time to buy

If you wait to see what happens, chances are prices are not going to drop as dramatically as you think. A matter of fact Northern Virginia is still at a 4.5% increase in value in 2021 despite the softening in the market. The real estate market is not crashing. I was looking at pending sales in Leesburg this morning and across the board homes were still selling at 95%-101% of the asking price. You may be seeing home prices dropping but ultimately homes are going under contract close to list price and in some areas above list price, especially if they are priced low and aggressively to begin with.

In addition to all the things I mentioned above, buyers are negotiating in a myriad of home inspections, appraisal contingencies and generally getting everything they want in a contract especially if their financing is solid and their demands are reasonable. 

As the market continues to shift and change, my goal is to stay on top of what is happening in our local market on a day to day basis, to successfully guide my buyers through “today’s” home buying process. We can safely say the crazy pandemic market is over and is no longer influencing the real estate market. I see normal seasonal trends happening and I am looking into 2023 with optimism! 

If you ever have any questions about buying or selling get in touch with me and let’s go have some coffee– my treat!