The statics are still indicating a slower start to the year. We don't have as many sales but contracts are on the rise. The lack of inventory is still likely the main contributor to the median sales price being higher and the median days on the market being lower than last year.
If you are considering selling your home, it is a good time! If you want to buy a home, lets discuss strategies for finding a home in a competitive market.
Staging is a great way of getting your house more traffic and sold faster.
Top 10 reasons to stage your home, according to Real Estate Staging Association:
1. Look better than others on the market
2. Sell faster
3. Typically sell for more money
4. Look better in print and internet ads
5. Receive more foot traffic
6. End up on a buyer's "must see" list
7. Are viewed by buyers as "well maintained
8. Are viewed as "well maintained" by Appraisers
9. Are often appraised at a higher values
10. Are "move in ready"
Staged homes spent 83% less time on the market than non-staged homes. If you would like to hear more about what staging your house would look like, call or email Mattias!
The city council of Harrisonburg has recently changed the laws surrounding short term rental properties, or “Airbnbs.” Unless previously approved by the city as a bed and breakfast, short term rentals have been deemed illegal if the owners are found to not possess the necessary permits and approvals. Enforcement of the ordinance will start on August 1st of 2019. At that time, individuals found operating a STR without the proper approvals will receive a violation notice and a 100 dollar fine for the first offense, and a 500 dollar fine for any subsequent offenses. If you are currently operating a STR it is suggested that you cease operations immediately and decide if you would like to continue in the future. If you wish to continue, you must apply for and receive a special use permit from the city council. Individuals that are interested in legally operating a STR by August 1st must submit their special use permit application to the Department of Planning and Community Development no later than May 3rd, 2019. If you miss this deadline, still submit an application, just know that applications are received on a rolling basis. In addition to the special use permit, operators of short term rentals must also obtain Short Term Rental Operator Registration, business license, and register for transient occupancy and state sales tax. In order to fully comply with the Harrisonburg regulations, look at frequently asked questions, or better understand the submission process, contact Mattias or visit https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/short-term-rentals.
If you are interested in a the general short term rental market as an investment, Mattias has just presented some analysis on an investment currently for sale. This investment is projected to bring a 33% return on your money. If you would like more information on this opportunity, email Mattias.
Info obtained from https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/short-term-rentals
One of the best options for obtaining fresh, healthy food, in the city of Harrisonburg is the local Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is located at 228 S. Liberty St. right across from Rocktown Kitchen and behind City Hall. The mission statement of the market as described on their website is “to provide the public with easy access to fresh, nutritious, locally produced agricultural goods and crafts of the highest quality, to assist local and regional farmers and other producers to directly market their products to the local customer base, and to support environmental stewardship and community well-being.” The farmers market hours differ by season. The summer market is april through thanksgiving, and it is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. The winter market is from December through March and it is open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays only. Credit, debit, and EBT cards are accepted. Due to food sanitation guidelines only service dogs are allowed at the farmers market. If you are interested in the vendors, history, and the market government please contact Mattias or visit https://www.harrisonburgfarmersmarket.com/
Last month, we discussed the market having slowed slightly. Has the trend continued into February? As always, the answer isn't black and white.
If you look at the number of sales in February 2019 and February 2018, it may be easy to conclude that the market is not doing as well. However, the number sales in February are a result of the prior months activity which we have already concluded to be lack luster.
The median sales price is significantly higher than February of last year. This is likely still mostly due to the lack of inventory. The days on the market has gone up a little and the number of homes for sale continues to be low.
However, we had more contracts in February of 2019 than February of 2018. This is a good sign that things are starting to pick up again. We will have to see how March does in comparison to 2018.
Advertising your home by posting pictures online is one of the first and most important marketing steps you will take when selling your home. More and more people begin their search for a new home online and their first impression of your home will be shaped by the quality of your pictures. What many people don’t understand is the prep that the homeowner will need to complete before the photographer begins shooting the property. Below is a detailed checklist of the most common preparations one should do in order to be fully prepared for the professional photographer.
If you are doing preliminary research and want to see how you can further prepare your home for sale, it doesn't hurt to prepare your home for a home inspection. Check out the blog linked below.
Info obtained from:
One of the biggest benefits to living in Harrisonburg is the outdoor activities that the surrounding area offers. One of the most popular activities is hiking within the area. Below is a list of 10 of the best hikes within an hour and a half of Harrisonburg. This list is limited to hikes that are free so the plethora of hikes offered in Shenandoah National Park are not included. Distance is calculated from Harrisonburg City Hall. Hikes are listed in order of distance not quality.
White Oak Canyon Trail
A great, one-of-a-kind new service has just hit Harrisonburg, and they want your compost. Soil Cycles, a nonprofit started in June by two Harrisonburg locals, are looking to fill the void that was left from the shutdown of Harrisonburg’s recycling services by collecting the compostable waste themselves. The venture has already started to gain momentum with collection from both residences and local businesses, and it is all accomplished via bicycles.
We caught up with the founders Nidhi Vinod and Amelia Morrison about their vision for the town. They are aiming at offsetting the waste going into the landfill and instead transforming their collected scraps into usable soil. This soil can be used for lawns, gardens, or area farms, with as little of this as possible going out to the dump. The organic waste that is sent to the landfill produces methane and becomes unusable for the local people, “and that’s a real shame”, says Nidhi.
The price for their service is $25 per month, and the team will stop by every week to collect the compostable waste and take it to one of their compost hubs. From there, the bins at each hub are transported to Black Bear Composting where, over time, the scraps are broken down into usable compost. Soil Cycles offers reward cards for all their members each month for discounts at local businesses. Nidhi states that there is “a huge opportunity to expand our service, and we are looking at lowering the cost once there are more subscribers on board with us”.
They can be found at www.soilcycleshva.org, as well as Soil Cycles on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/soilcycleshva/
If you receive my monthly email, this may be a bit redundant but I encourage you to keep reading as there is an update. I am so excited about this program that I thought it made sense to write a blog post.
If you have already read my email, feel free to skip ahead. Also, check out the Kiva Program Tab above for more information including all the current loans.
"Mattias started making micro-loans to Kiva in 2019. He donated money for each past client into what he is calling the Kiva Program. Since then, Mattias has been making donations to the Kiva Program for each person that has worked with him to buy or sell a house.
If you are not familiar with Kiva, it is a micro-lending organization that specializes in loans that make a difference in people’s lives throughout the world. Some of these loans collect interest but that never comes back to the Kiva Program. Rather, the interest pays administrative costs in the host countries. As the principal is paid back to the Kiva Program, it will be redistributed to empower other people across the world such as these farmers. To better understand this impact, Kiva explains:
"Farmers face many challenges, including unpredictable weather and market prices, and are often forced to choose between investing in their crops and fulfilling basic needs for their families. Kiva works to provide farmers with loans that match their unique needs, and your support keeps their crops growing and their livelihoods stable."
This program seeks to support entrepreneurship in order to help local economies grow in a self-reliant and sustainable manner. As this fund grows, we will be able to help more people more substantially."
So what's new? The Kiva Program is all about empowering people in their home area. Through the loans like ours, we are able to assist people in their local business. Sometimes, their local business is making beautiful handcrafted merchandise. Well, you can help support these people further by purchasing some of these items in the Kiva Store!
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about this program and feel free to sign up to be part of the Kiva Mailing list to see who the Kiva program is impacting each month.
Thinking of buying a plot of land to build your dream home on? Be sure that you are fully informed on the parcel of land. Don’t purchase the land until you have completed a buyer’s checklist. Below is a checklist that is an excellent start for any interested buyer. While this checklist is not all inclusive it covers most of the large obstacles one may encounter when purchasing land.
Download your checklist below.