Temperatures aren’t the only things rising quickly these days. “For sale” signs seem to be popping up quicker than daffodils, and some Kingstowne area real estate agents say that since the beginning of the year more of those signs are switching to “sold.”
“As long as their house is priced right and shows well, it’ll sell quickly,” said Cindy Schneider, of Tom & Cindy and Associates. Schneider and Tom Pietsch have been partners working and living in the area for more than 20 years.
Pietsch (pronounced peach) said prices are “where they were in the Spring 2004, eight years ago, so it all points up to a lot of people coming in for the Fort Belvoir base realignment. So, things are moving in real estate.”
Prudential PenFed Realty’s Michael Malferrari has worked the area for a decade. He said the rising number of military personnel has also increased interest in area rental property, but for some it’s still wise to buy.
“Prices are still low, but I’m getting the full asking price. Or very close to the asking price,” Malferrari said. “It’s safe to say we’re really past the bottom.”
All of the realtors said that even with things improving, they improve fastest for wise sellers and buyers.
“If you’re going to buy you have to act quickly,” Malferrari said. It “may seem like the prices are low, but there’s only a few choice properties out there. And whatever choice property’s out there gets snapped up,” he said. Malferrari added that buyers should also prepare for closer scrutiny of their employment, assets and credit.
Pietsch said, “Our market, while being flat for the last, say, year and half, is now trending upwards for nice properties. Properties that are in excellent condition and priced correctly are getting multiple offers.”
Pietsch also said buyers should “work with an agent who’s got the expertise and experience to be able to network with [other] agents so they may find out about homes before they go on the market.” An experienced agent, said Pietsch, can also help a buyer “truly know the value of [a desired] home so they can make an offer that’s intelligent, that doesn’t insult the owner … and yet still gets them the best deal possible in today’s market.”
Historically low interest rates and the idea of a “buyer’s market” are not the only reasons why area realtors say things are improving here. Their bottom line is the age-old real estate mantra: location, location, location.
“For me it’s a good mix of urban and suburban,” said Malferrari. “Here you still have the access to the urban, the culture, the vibe, the restaurants ... but you’re not totally in an urban setting where it feels so tight you’re living stuck up against one another.”
“This is just a really good area,” said Pietsch. “We have so much on the horizon with , with Springfield Mall being redone, with several more towers in the Kingstowne Towne Center. So we feel like this area is sort of on the cusp of really coming into its own.”
Schneider said she often tells people, “If you left today, and you came back five years later, you won’t know this place.”
Prudential PenFed Realty, 6444 Landsdowne Center Dr., Alexandria, VA 22315, 703-399-5774, http://michael.malferrari.pcragent.com/
Tom & Cindy And Associates/Long & Foster, 7027 A Manchester Blvd., Alexandria, VA 22310, 703-822-0207, http://hellovirginia.com/