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 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.
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.
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.
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 HVACReplace 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 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.
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!