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Some Crofton residents eligible for services at new Wellness Center

New Wellness Center Opens at Fort Meade

Fort Meade GateCrofton is home to many active duty and retired military and DOD civilians who may be eligible for services at the new Wellness Center at Fort Meade.

It’s located in the former Medal of Honor Memorial Library, serving as the hub for a variety of services that promote healthy living. It’s all part of Operation Live Well, which focuses on the prevention of health care issues rather than the treatment of them.

Service members, their families, retirees, and DOD civilians are eligible for health assessment reviews, physical fitness assessments and stress management techniques, as well as nutritional assessments and tobacco addiction assistance at the new facility – one of thirteen nationwide.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, by appointment.  Call 301-677-2006. The Wellness Center is located in Building 4418 on Llewellyn Avenue.

Fort Meade is located less than a half hour from Crofton, which is home to many active duty and retired military and DOD civilians.

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Crofton Real Estate Update – September 2013

Crofton Real Estate Sales UP (and down) in September 2013

Roller CoasterCrofton real estate news in September was good, when compared to September 2012 – at least in some categories we track monthly.  Month to month statistics were not quite so positive, however, in the face of rising interest rates in July and August when contracts were written for most of the sales that closed in September.

Crofton home prices reflected the declining consumer confidence in September.  Fortunately, prices remained fairly stagnant and didn’t show a huge decline.  In fact, the average sold price was up 8% to $351,241 over September 2012, while dropping nearly 5% from August 2013. The median sold price of $322,75o was down, but less than 2% from last year and less than 3% from August 2013.

21113 - 10.12As you can see from this chart, the market was still better last month than 3 of the past 5 years.  Let’s hope for better news next month because I’d hate to see this become a trend.  It was kinda fun to see things get back to “normal” for Crofton real estate.

Home Sellers:  Given last month’s sales statistics, it’s a good idea for you to be conservative in pricing if you want to move and get settled into your new home before Thanksiving.  If consumer confidence continues to decline and interest rates keep going up, your odds may not be favorable for getting today’s pricein another month or two.

Home Buyers:  It’s your lucky day because the housing inventory is up, thanks to increasing listings and decreasing sales.  Interest rates have stalled, so that’s more good news if you’ve been thinking of firing your landlord.

About Focus on Crofton:

FocusonCrofton.com is my way of attracting relocating homebuyers to the greater Crofton area while keeping current residents updated about local real estate, news, and events. Please click on Contact Margaret Woda if you would like to see information about your community organization or local event posted on FocusonCrofton.com or our Facebook page.

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How does the government shutdown impact real estate?

The buck stops here!

The buck stops here!

If your home is currently on the market or you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably wondering about the government shutdown and how it will impact your plans. I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but I can repeat what industry insiders are telling me.

The National Association of REALTORS published a white paper yesterday titled What a Goverment Shutdown Means for REALTORS, and I’m relying on that for the information that follows.  A link to the PDF file for this can be found at the bottom of this post, if you would like to download it and read the entire document.

Home Buyers: If you have a VA or FHA loan in process, you can expect some delays if the shutdown. I recommend contacting your agent and lender for their advice on substituting alternate financing or extending your contract closing date.  Hopefully all will be resolved quickly but that will require both sides to give and take in the ongoing political debate.

If you have a Conventional loan in process, you’re in luck because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to operate normally.  This is because they don’t rely on appropriated funds.  Buyers using the Making Home Affordable program, including HAMP and HAFA, will not be affected, since those programs are funded through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and this spending is mandatory, not discretionary. HOWEVER, any delays in obtaining verifications from the IRS regarding your tax record or the HR Department of a government branch where you are employed could have a trickle down effect.

If you haven’t yet found a home, don’t stop looking.  Chances are that some people will do just that and you will have less competition for the best houses on the market.

Home Sellers: If your buyer has a VA or FHA loan in process, you can expect some delays.  If you’re buying another home, contingent on the closing for your current home, I recommend you contact your agent on the new home to make sure he or she is aware of this situation with your current home.  It may be appropriate for your buyer’s agent to notify the listing agent of the home you’re buying.

If the buyer for your home is using a Conventional, HAMP, or HAFA loan, cross your fingers… it looks like you’ll be okay.

However, if your home is not currently under contract, expect less buyer activity until this matter is resolved because VA and FHA buyers may wait until this matter is resolved to look at homes.  Even Conventional buyers may become disheartened, simply because no one likes uncertainty AND so many local and relocating buyers are government employees whose regular paycheck may be at risk. In fact, anyone working for a government contractor may also be facing some uncertainty about their next paycheck.

The bottom line:  September may be a tough month for anyone buying or selling a home and for anyone in the industry such as agents, lenders, contractors, home inspectors, and the like.  Let’s hope this matter is resolved quickly.

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I can’t help thinking that compromise is something we do every day in real estate.  We find something both parties agree on and go from there, no matter how tiny or insignificant, and then both parties compromise on their differences.  In the end, no one is 100% happy, but everybody gets enough of what they want to feel satisfied with the outcome.  We need to communicate to our elected officials that we expect them to do this.  After all, Congress and the President work for ALL the people, even those with whom they may disagree.  Just sayin’.

What a Goverment Shutdown Means for REALTORS

 

 

 

 

 

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Odenton Real Estate Update – August 2013

ODENTON REAL ESTATE UPDATE – AUGUST 2013

Sales statistics are the closest thing we have to a crystal ball in real estate because we can usually detect a trend that, should it continue, indicates what we might expect in the next month or so.

Girl on swing2Pending home sales in Odenton were up more than 31% last month from August 2012, but don’t open the champagne just yet because sales slowed 6.67% last month from July. These mixed results were not unexpected, as mortgage interest rates crept up over the summer, putting a damper on the real estate market recovery.

Average and median home prices were down in Odenton during August, whether you compare them with the previous month or previous year. The same factors were at work here, plus we’ve seen conservative appraisals force sale prices lower than the original sale price agreed to between home buyers and sellers.

The average Days on Market in Odenton were up slightly to 95 days, in spite of some pockets that did better – 3-level garage townhomes in the 21113 zip code, for example, averaged 74 days from listing to closing in August.

There are other factors at work, of course, besides interest rates: Most notably, the housing inventory in Odenton was up nearly 10% over a year ago, which reflect a 40% increase in new listings during the month compared to new pending contracts just 5.88% higher. Overall, however, we saw a balanced market in Odenton with 116 active listings in August and 115 pending sales.  When I see anything close to balance between listings and sales, it always makes me smile!

The bottom line:

ODENTON HOME SELLERS: The improving real estate market which was trending toward sellers’ favor may be in a “pause” mode, for now. I’m cautiously optiimistic that August sales statistics don’t favor buyers – it’s more of a draw.  One thing is certain – it’s better to list and sell now than wait because the real estate market could go either way in the coming months.

ODENTON HOME BUYERS: It’s not a buyer’s market any more, because the huge inventory which drove down prices for about five year is no longer a factor. In fact, another factor is trending against buyers right now, and that’s the mortgage interest rates at about 1% higher than a year ago.

If you compare the monthly Principal and Interest payment on the median home price in the above chart ($283,000), that’s a difference of $163 per month in your payment. I wouldn’t postpone buying because it’s likely rates will hit 5% in the near future.

Odenton Homes for Sale

Detached homes in Odenton span a wide price range – from less than $200,000 to over $600,000 – as do townhouses – from under $200,000 to nearly $500,000. Click on Odenton Homes for Sale to view them all or click on “New Search” at the top of the page to modify the search criteria to match your own wants and needs. These listings are automatically updated so the list will be current, whether you click on it today or six months from now.

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Replace the Carpet or Give Buyers an Allowance?

Should we Replace the Carpet or Give Buyers an Allowance?

Digital Image by Sean LockeDigital Planet Designwww.digitalplanetdesign.comReplacing the carpet is always the best option for home sellers in the greater Crofton area, unless your carpet is in GREAT condition. Chances are that investment will more than pay for itself in the sale price, and it will likely shorten the time your home is on the market. For many home sellers, a quick sale is a high priority because of looming deadlines for a job transfer or settlement on another home. For others, the inconvenience of keeping the home tidy to show is a significant inconvenience – especially if there are children and pets in the house.

That makes 2 good reasons for replacing your old and worn carpet: higher sale price and fewer days on market.

In my experience, most home buyers don’t want to deal with deferred maintenance issues before or after their move to a new home. Unpacking and getting settled in is daunting enough, and they prefer a home that’s in move-in condition. Yes, it’s true that they may change the carpet or replace it with hardwoods, but that’s not your problem – at least they’ll buy the house! If all things are equal between your home and a competing property down the street, buyers will likely choose the one with new carpet – even if it’s not their choice of color and quality.

If replacing the carpet isn’t something you’re willing or able to do, listing your Crofton area home at a lower price will be more effective than offering a carpet allowance because it will attract more eyes to your home listing.  As they say on one of the HGTV series, “Price trumps everything!”

I’m always happy to answer real estate questions for Crofton home buyers and sellers, even if you’re not yet ready to make a move.

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Margaret Woda

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Local information posted to Focus on Crofton is my way of attracting new buyers to our community while keeping my neighbors informed. Please feel free to comment below or contact me directly if you would like to see a post about an event sponsored by your community organization or a specific real estate topic.

 

 

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