Pending Home Sales on an Upswing

Pending home sales increased again in March, affirming that a surge of home sales is unfolding for the spring home buying season, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

single family residence
Gambrel roof in Waynwood

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, rose 5.3 percent to 102.9 from 97.7 in February, and is 21.1 percent above March 2009 when it was 85.0; this follows an 8.3 percent increase in February. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said favorable affordability conditions have been working with the tax credit. “Clearly the home buyer tax credit has helped stabilize the market. In the months immediately following the expiration of the tax credit, we expect measurably lower sales,” he said. “Later in the second half of the year, and into 2011, home sales will likely become self-sustaining if the economy can add jobs at a respectable pace, and from a return of buyer demand as they see home values stabilizing.”

Regional Numbers

* The PHSI in the Northeast declined 3.3 percent to 75.1 in March, but remains 27.2 percent higher than March 2009.
* In the Midwest the index increased 1.2 percent to 98.9 and is 18.5 percent above a year ago.
* Pending home sales in the South jumped 12.7 percent to an index of 121.2, which is 28.3 percent higher than March 2009.
* In the West the index rose 1.9 percent to 99.9 and is 8.8 percent above a year ago.

“Another encouraging sign is the improvement in the availability for jumbo and second-home mortgages,” Yun said. “As bank balance sheets strengthen, it is just a matter of time before lending of non-government-backed mortgages steadily opens up.”

Source: NAR

Properties in Fort Hunt

Understanding the NVAR

What is the NVAR?

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) was  established in 1921.  This association was initially called the Alexandria-Arlington-Fairfax Real Estate Board and began with around forty charter members.

The NVAR today has more than 11,000 members, who are responsible for about $11 billion in housing sales.  This is a local association which is one of hundreds of local and state associations as part of the NAR (National Association of Realtors).  The NAR currently boasts more than a million seminary ridgemembers.

The NVAR makes available to its members services such as: educational opportunities, professional standards enforcement, reviews of legislation, multiple listing and services for lock boxes, to name a few.

Another fascinating fact about the NVAR is that it assists, by sharing knowledge about how the industry functions, leaders in real estate from several foreign countries.

Reasons Vacant Homes Are a Tough Sell

The argument for staging a house to get it ready for sale is largely based on what are perceived as the shortcomings of vacant, or unstaged, properties. For one, advocates of the staging process say a vacant home distracts would-be buyers from focusing on the actual real estate.

living room at River Towers
River Towers Living Room

Instead, they allow themselves to speculate on the possible reasons the house is on the market — divorce, financial straits, and other scenarios — as well as on any defects the property may have. Small flaws, like nail holes and worn carpeting, are much more noticeable when the rest of the space is empty. Additionally, a vacant home allows dust to settle and stale odors to linger and spread, cutting short showing times and generating fewer sale chances.

All of these factors lead prospective buyers to submit low-ball bids on vacant homes. Other times, they will not even make a bid at all because empty dwellings simply do not allow them to make an emotional connection to the property. They may not even be able to visualize how their own furnishings may fit in a room, causing them to lose interest, say staging professionals.

Which rooms do you find more appealing?

Moving With Pets

Moving to a new home can be stressful on your pets, but there are many things you can do to make the process as painless as possible. Experts at The Pet Realty Network in Naples, Fla., offer these helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping pets safe during the move.

Fritz the dog

1. Update your pet’s tag. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact information. The tag should include your destination location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move.
2. Ask for veterinary records. If you’re moving far enough away that you’ll need a new vet, you should ask for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations. You also can ask for your pet’s medical history to give to your new vet, although that can normally be faxed directly to the new medical-care provider upon request. Depending on your destination, your pet may need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. Have your current vet’s phone number handy in case of an emergency, or in case your new vet would like more information about your pet.

Portrait of a parrot
Moving your parrot

3. Keep medications and food on hand. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you in case of an emergency. Vets can’t write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medication right away. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. The same preparation should be taken with special therapeutic foods — purchase an extra supply in case you can’t find the food right away in your new area.

4. Seclude your pet from chaos. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as the bathroom, on moving day with a “Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!” sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates on the market if you choose to buy one. However, make sure your pet is familiar with the new crate before moving day by gradually introducing him or her to the crate before your trip. Be sure the crate is well-ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers; otherwise, a nervous pet could escape.

5. Prepare a first aid kit. First aid is not a substitute for emergency veterinary care, but being prepared and knowing basic first aid could save your pet’s life. A few recommended supplies: Your veterinarian’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). You can use a door, board, blanket or floor mat as an emergency stretcher and a soft cloth, rope, necktie, leash, or nylon stocking for an emergency muzzle.

6. Play it safe in the car. It’s best to travel with your dog in a crate; second-best is to use a restraining harness. When it cI love my ball...omes to cats, it’s always best for their safety and yours to use a well-ventilate

d carrier in the car. Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft. If you’ll be using overnight lodging, plan ahead by searching for pet-friendly hotels. Have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand, and keep your pet on its regular diet and eating schedule.

7. Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air,check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you’ve prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal’s size, but you’ll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.

Walking his way8. Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before you move, ask your vet to recommend a doctor in your new locale. Talk to other pet owners when visiting the new community, and call the state veterinary medical association (VMA) for veterinarians in your location. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, ask for an impromptu tour; kennels should be kept clean at all times, not just when a client’s expected. You may also want to schedule an appointment to meet the vets. Now ask yourself: Are the receptionists, doctors, technicians, and assistants friendly, professional and knowledgeable? Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services or boarding? If the hospital doesn’t meet your criteria, keep looking until you’re assured that your pet will receive the best possible care.
9. Prep your new home for pets. Pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. Upon your arrival at your new home, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, toys, etc. Pack these items in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away. Keep all external windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and be cautious of narrow gaps behind or between appliances where nervous pets may try to hide. If your old home is nearby, your pet may try to find a way back there. To be safe, give the new home owners or your former neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, and ask them to contact you if your pet is found nearby.

Yes I DO have wonderful lips [Explored 2007-09-25    #461]
Even guinea pigs need to move sometimes …
10. Learn more about your new area. Once you find a new veterinarian, ask if there are any local health concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease, or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities. Homeowner associations also may have restrictions — perhaps requiring that all dogs are kept on leashes. If you will be moving to a new country, carry an updated rabies vaccination and health certificate. It is very important to contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to which you’re traveling to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs to bring the animal into the country.
photo credit: cjnzja
photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar
photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar
photo credit: FlyNutAA

Source: The Pet Realty Network