Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales
Mike Cooper

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Winchester, VA Mid-year Real Estate Market Update – 2016

July 3rd, 2016 by Mike Cooper

Winchester, VA Mid-year Real Estate Market Update – 2016

The Winchester, VA mid-year real estate market update for 2016 reveals that the localWinchester, VA mid-yer real estate market update - 2016 market has reached a level of equilibrium and good health. With few exceptions, the first six months of 2016 have mimicked the real estate market of 2015. June 2016 is the only month with considerably lower sales as compared to June 2015.

Distressed property sales have stayed consistent in the 9% range for most of the first six months. That’s a 4% decline from the 2015 first six month report. The volume of homes sold during the first six months was 791, a 4% drop from the same period in 2015.

Frederick County Continues to dominate the volume of sales

The Winchester, VA real estate market is made of Winchester City and Frederick County. Frederick County encircles the City of Winchester and has a high population and housing volume. It also has the highest volume of sales in the local real estate market. Stephens City, VA continues to dominate the highest volume of sales in a named Frederick County community. Stephens City has consistently increased sales throughout 2016. It has 202 of the 791 total local sales in this Winchester, VA mid-year real estate market update.

Averages and Days on the Market

The average sales price for the Winchester, VA mid-year real estate market was $254,986, and the average total days on the market was 82. Many things contribute to the total days on the market, such as, weather, volume of available homes, price, location of available homes, condition, along with a few other things.

Higher days on the market is not necessarily an indicator that a property is flawed in some way. High inventory can cause properties to sit longer than in previous months. A high volume of similar properties priced around the same price point can also keep properties on the market longer. When buyers have more choices, they may take longer to decide on a property to purchase.

What will the next six months hold for the Winchester, VA real estate market?arrow_graph_growth_1600_clr_11351

The past three years have followed similar patterns. In July 2014 and 2015, the overall sales volume dropped 34% from June. In a case like that, it is easy to see why the market would take such a dive in one month. Buyers are vacationing and busy with family activities. Parents are looking for housing in other communities for their college bound students.

Many things play into a drop like that, but both 2014 and 2015 were followed with solid sales in August and beyond. If this year follows a similar dip in July, it would be good to remember the past few years, and avoid the temptation to panic. Real estate is cyclical, and it appears that the Winchester, VA real estate market has reached equilibrium and good health.

   Winchester, VA Mid-year Real Estate Market Update – 2016


This post was originally posted on; Winchester, VA Mid-year Real Estate Market Update – 2016, #mikecoopersellshomes, #cornerstonehomesales, #winchesterhomesales.

A few lessons from “Frozen” for homebuyers

March 23rd, 2014 by Mike Cooper

I had the pleasure of watching “Frozen” this weekend, and like most animated Disney features, I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to check it out. The advent of pay per view cable and satellite TV has given those of us without small children the opportunity to see the films we would have taken our kids to in a different time, and you can do it without showing up in a theater feeling like the creepy adult in a room full of adolescents and toddlers.

One of things that happens in the film surrounds little sister, Anna. Prior to the beginning of a ball, she meets a handsome prince. Frozen - Let it goDuring the ball, they link up again and she is smitten. Before the ball is over, they decide to get married, and it’s that decision that sets the rest of the movie in motion. When Anna tells her sister about her wedding plans, Queen Elsa refuses to let her. The events following send Elsa off into the mountains to live as a recluse snow queen.

While on a search to find her sister, Anna runs into an ice salesman who guides her path to Elsa. In one of the early conversations they have, Anna confesses to the ruggedly handsome Kristoff that she is in love and to be married. She relates the story, and Kristoff is appalled that she is going to marry a man she just met. He brings it up over and over. This is where I leave the movie.
How many home buyers want to buy the first home they see? In my experience, it’s actually a small number. I would say it’s in the 10-20% range. The one thing they say over and over is, “Is it wrong to buy the first house you look at?” I would respond, “Not necessarily, but it really depends.”

Depends on what?

  • Does the house meet your needs?
  • Does the house meet your location choice?
  • Does the house correspond to your financial abilities?
  • Does the house offer a good deal overall?
  • Is the house in a condition that meets your approval?
  • Have you done your homework online to see what else it out there?
  • Have you listed the pros and cons of the house as compared to looking at others?
  • Are you sure you’re not making a snap decision because the market is too competitive and you’re afraid you won’t be able to buy any house?

What would be wrong with buying the first house you looked at if it turns out to be what you wanted?
I sold a property to a client a number of years ago who looked at 60 houses. He finally bought the first one he looked at. Thank goodness the market was moving slower then. He had the privilege of looping back a few weeks later, but in a hot market that isn’t always possible.

Buying a house should be about meeting your needs. First, fifth, tenth house, there is no set number of views that make one a better decision than another one. Overall, it’s all about meeting your needs. In Anna’s case, the first husband candidate didn’t work out. Fortunately, she found out before she said, “I do.” In her case, the second choice was a better choice.

It’s not the number of houses you look at. It’s the ones that meet your criteria. If you’re just looking at houses with no criteria, you may just as likely become “Frozen” without any sense of right and wrong. Decide what you want, weigh the options and buy based upon an intelligent choice.

Is the Winchester, VA real estate market healthy?

February 10th, 2014 by Mike Cooper

Real estate is an ever shifting business. National, state and local events can affect a real estate market overnight and change dramatically. The economic collapse in the real estate and construction industries put many localities in deep turmoil in 2008. There has been a slow grinding climb back to some semblance of normalcy, but we’re not back to the pre-collapse days by any stretch.

There were high hopes for 2013, and on the surface, it looks as though some of those hopes were met, but there was a darker trend bubbling under the surface. In the early part of August, I started to receive an increase in BPO (broker price opinion) requests from multiple companies.

Before the 2008 collapse, I started receiving the same wave of request. In early 2008, the requests started in the 15-25 a month, but by the time the market finally collapsed, the requests were 85-150 a month. That meant that a large number of homeowners were behind on their mortgages and the lenders were looking to foreclose.

BPO requests don’t always signal a wave of coming foreclosures. They can be individuals refinancing, or maybe an insurance company or lender is asking for a condition report or an owner is requesting permission to do a short sale on the property. There are multiple reasons, but a primary reason is a pending foreclosure.

The numbers of BPO requests continued to climb from August 2013 until the end of the year. Again, they went from 15-25 a month to 50-75 a month. That’s better than before the 2008 collapse, but it is an alarming trend.

The January 2014 sales consisted of 93 total sales. There were only 4 short sales, but there were 24 foreclosures. That means that 31% of all sales were distressed property sales, and 26% of all closed properties in January were foreclosures.

The numbers have changed a little since the same period in 2013. Distressed sales in January 2013 were 40% of the total closings. Of that number 29% were foreclosures. There is a 3% decline year to year, but that low rumbling of BPO requests has me keeping a closer eye on the local market.

It may be an anomaly, but it may be something more ominous. It will be worth monitoring more closely than when we were in a confirmed healthy market.

Is the Winchester, VA real estate market healthy? 



Winchester, VA Foreclosures for sale December 2013

December 12th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

The Winchester, VA real estate market has seen substantial improvements this year, but there are still a few foreclosures or REOs (real estate owned) properties available. If you see something you like, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call today.

Winchester, VA Foreclosures for sale December 2013

Black Friday and Multiple Real Estate Offers

November 29th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

I’m off on a long weekend relaxing and enjoying the ocean. During a moment of temporary insanity, I decided to drop by a few of my favorite stores. In the midst of my adventure, it dawned on me that it’s Black Friday. I’m sure that should be changed to Black and Blue Friday.

It was entertaining to watch all of the bargain crazed shoppers. Each one trying to get that one item that was 50% off from 10:00 am to 10:15 am. Pushing, shoving, shouting, elbowing, tripping, griping, grumbling, stumbling, fumbling, well, you get the idea. I know it has to be stressful for all involved. I was mostly window shopping, so I didn’t really care what the ninja shoppers were up to.

It made me think of the stress buyers go through when they are buying in a hot market where multiple offers are the norm. These Black Friday shoppers could do a number of things to avoid the stress, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. What can buyers in a hot market do when they are confronted with buying challenges? Buyers:

  • When you find a house you are really enamored of, remember, “Don’t fall in love with anything that can’t love you back.” A house is just a house. If you miss this one, there is a great chance that a better one is just around the corner.
  • Always know the market. Ask your Realtor to keep you up to date on properties in your market criteria, and make sure you have good comps to make sure you’re not getting carried away with the multiple offer madness. It’s easy to over offer on a house because of the bidding war. The problem you may run into is that the house will not appraise for the offer amount, and you will have to ask the seller to drop the price to meet your appraisal or you’ll have to bring more money to closing, or worst case scenario, you’ll give up the offer.
  • Keep looking during the process. You don’t need to make offers on other properties, but if you find one that better suits your desires, pull out of the bidding war and buy the property that isn’t being fought over.
  • Make a buying plan and stick to it. You may increase your purchase price a little if it’s within reason, but increasing 20-40% is not a rational purchase. (See the first point) My younger son put an offer on a house this past summer. The house sold for 40% over list. His offer was 20% over list. That was a limit of what was sane for that particular house. The buyer bought beyond value of the house by $20000. Why? Multiple offer hysteria.
  • Put your best foot forward first. You may end up in a multiple offer situation, but there may be no second chances to make a highest and best offer.
  • Be willing to walk away. There is no logical reason to pay too much for a home when there are homes you can afford that meet your needs, wants and desires.

Black Friday is only one day a year, but multiple offer scenarios can pop up at any time. Be ready with a plan to engage when you find a property that catches your eye, but also be ready to move on. Don’t get caught up with the craziness. It will blind you to other opportunities.

Black Friday and Multiple Real Estate Offers


When you’re ready to compete in a competitive real estate market, you need a team that knows how to win.

July 20th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

I entered the real estate field in 1992 as an investor. I was pretty aggressive when buying property, and I never failed to get one that I really wanted. I bought most with no money, and made sure that the negotiations were always win-win when it was a homeowner, but when it was an REO, all bets were off.

Most of my properties were in the Virginia Beach / Chesapeake / Richmond, VA areas. Very few were in my area. The interesting part of that is that when I entered the local real estate market as an agent, the local real estate investor sharks didn’t know me. That was to my advantage. All they knew was that I was a local real estate broker working with buyers. So, they paid no attention whatsoever, and that’s the way it is today.

I love it that way.  In the past four weeks, I’ve had multiple situations where my buyers were bidding against some pretty aggressive buyers.  In each case, my buyers asked what I would do. I explained to them that the bottom line is that it’s always their deal, but I have told each one what I would do if I was buying as an investor who was dealing with aggressive investors. In each case, they decided to go with my ideas, knowing there were no promises. We’ve gotten 100% of the 6 deals. Yesterday, I set up the 7th offer, but I won’t know on that one until next week.

This was why I got into the selling side of real estate. The average home-buyer doesn’t have a chance against a seasoned investor, but if they have a seasoned investor as their coach, they level the playing field. That’s one of the great advantages of using Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., as your buying agent. We know what we’re doing when the deals get tough, and our track record is a 20 year run of success. When you’re ready to compete in a competitive market, you need a team that knows how to win.

The Winchester, VA real estate market is getting stronger every month.

July 3rd, 2013 by Mike Cooper

The Winchester, VA real estate market is getting stronger every month.

The Winchester, VA real estate market is getting stronger every month.  At the end of the first six months of 2013, there is solid evidence that the market has made substantial gains in recovery.  The number of closed sales for the first six months is up 9% from 654 in 2012 to 720 in 2013.

That’s great news, but there is better news in the numbers.  The first six months of 2012 Winchester VA Market Chart 7.3.2013saw 90 short sales and 161 foreclosure sales.  The 2013 numbers are where the really good news shines.  Of the 720 closed sales in the first six months, only 66 were short sales and 118 were foreclosure sales.  Short sales are down 26% from the same period last year, and foreclosures are down 27% in 2013.  That’s significant.

The market seemed tenuous in the early days of 2013, but as the year has progressed, it appears to be strengthening.  What’s behind the improvement?  There are number of things that have sparked buyer involvement.  The Federal Reserve’s comments about the end of quantitative easing caused a sudden increase in interest rates.  That news, along with the slow but steady climb in real estate prices has caused a lot of fence sitters to get in the game.

The local real estate market started to transition from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market late in 2012.  By all appearances, sellers are in charge today.  Prices are more stable.  Sellers are less likely to give concessions at the level they would have two years ago.  Foreclosures and short sales are selling closer to list than just 3 months ago.  It is becoming a solid sellers market.

The good news for buyers is that the inventory is coming up.  After a low inventory first quarter, inventory is climbing.  Sellers are finally realizing that market has turned to their favor.  That means more properties on the market which increases competition and potential  price savings for buyers.  No matter how you look at it, the Winchester, VA real estate market is getting stronger.


Buyers, don’t miss out. The Winchester, VA real estate market is heating up.

June 24th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

You’ve heard the term, “burning the candle on both ends,” I’m sure.  I starting to really understand that all of a sudden.  Our local real estate market has been a bit tenuous this year, but in the last two to three weeks it has taken off like a rocket for many of us.  That’s a good thing for the bottom line, but the reality is buyers are getting run over, and it’s running me ragged.

It is no longer a buyer’s market, and buyers who want to act like it is are getting left behind. A good home coming on the market at a good price will be gone in 48 hours or less.  It is more than likely to have two to three offers on it, and bidding wars are getting fierce.  I’ve been telling my clients, “If you see something you like, don’t hesitate.  It won’t be here tomorrow.”  That has played out over and over in the past few weeks.

Most of my clients get their properties, but those who think it’s still a “low-ball offers, ask for the moon and expect the sellers to come begging for an offer market” are getting left out in the cold.  With the increase in interest rates, many will be blocked out of the market.  Don’t misunderstand, there are bargains out there, but they rarely last a couple days.  So, if you’re in the market to buy, be wise and deliberate, have all of your documents ready to make an offer and don’t assume the seller is desperate.  He’s not.

Let’s get together and take focused action.  You can win at this game, but you’ve got to play with determination.  You don’t want to miss out chasing properties, and we can avoid some of that with a solid plan.  Trust me, you don’t want to get worn out like Walter below.

What to look for when buying a foreclosure in Winchester, VA

May 15th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

What to look for when buying a foreclosure in Winchester, VA

While the real estate market continues to show some signs of life, there are still pockets of high volumes of foreclosures and short sales throughout the country.  In the Winchester / Frederick County, VA area the current inventory of REOs has fallen to 44.  That may sound like a lot, but it is below previous numbers.

These REOs (Real Estate Owned,or Bank Owned) properties range in price from $79900-$379900.  They offer bedroom and bath numbers from 1/1 to 5/3.  With interest rates at record lows, it’s a great time to hop off the fence and take a second look at one of these foreclosed properties.  When you do, there are some things you will want to look for, such as:

  • The overall condition of the property.  Are there broken windows, damaged door frames, soiled and smelly carpet or other unwelcome short-comings?  Remember, some defects will not pass FHA / VA loan requirements.  If the property is damaged, you may want to keep looking.
  • Look in unconventional places for signs of problems.  People notoriously paint a room and ignore the closets.  Always look in every closet to see if there are any wet spots on the ceiling.  Look under every vanity for water signs.  Look in sink base cabinets to see if there are water stains from a leaky sink, food disposal or dishwasher drain line.
  • If there are more baths or bedrooms than the tax record reports, check with the local inspections office to see if a permit was ever pulled.  If it was, was it ever closed?  Many contractors will put their rough-in and final inspection stickers on the electrical panel door.  Always check with your locality about inspections.  Electrical inspections are very important due to the obvious danger they present to unsuspecting users of power outlets.
  • Look around the exterior of the house for settling and drainage issues.  If the soil is lower against the house than it is a couple feet away you have a potential drain issue that can create major problems at some point.  Those types of problems are typically easy to repair with grading and landscaping.
  • Look in the attic for moisture stains on the underside of the roof.  While you’re up there, check on the insulation depth.  Different parts of the country have different R-values based upon the needs in that specific area.  That information can be easily found online or at a local big box construction material supplier.
  • Sniff, sniff, sniff.  Do you smell anything unusual.  Of course some REOs reek from the way angry owners left it, but in some cases, mold may be growing behind drywall or under carpets.  If you smell something that is unrecognizable, leave the house and ask that it be inspected by a home inspector.
  • Rub the walls with your hand.  If it comes back black, there is likely a ventilation issue with the fireplace or wood stove chimney.  Ask that it be inspected.
  • Step back in the yard and look at the roof.  Do you see ripples or missing shingles?  Ask about the age of the roof.  This may be hard to find on an REO, but a home inspector can give you a good idea.
  • Ask for an inspection on the well and septic system.  A drain field must be a specific distance from a well head.  You will want to know if it is outside those limits before you place a contract on it.  It’s very expensive to move either one.

Remember, most lenders will only do the bare minimum to get a property ready for resale.  Some lenders will not do anything.  Most will not guarantee the property.  It is your responsibility to make sure you know what you’re buying.  Once you close the deal, it’s yours.  As-is means as-is.  So, do a thorough inspection of an REO before putting a contract on it.

What to look for when buying a foreclosure in Winchester, VA

Are short sales declining in the Winchester, VA real estate market?

May 9th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

Are short sales declining in the Winchester, VA real estate market?

Are short sales declining in the Winchester, VA real estate market? I guess that depends figure_house_shopping_1600_clr_2083on how you look at the market. If you look at the current pending sales you would see 325 properties under contract. Within that number are 85 short sales. Short sales make up 26% of the current pending sales. That may seem like a high number, but let’s take a look at a few numbers from a different angle.

If you were to look at the current available listings you would see that there 491 overall properties available on the Winchester / Frederick County real estate market. Within that number are 26 short sales. Short sales only make up 6.5% of the total number of currently available properties.

There has been a steady drift away from distressed properties in the local market. Can I see the end of foreclosures and short sales? Not at all. Until the overall economy improves, the presence of foreclosures and short sales is almost a given. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a steady decline. The limited presence of short sales in the Winchester / Frederick County market still offer bargain shoppers an opportunity to buy a great house at a discount, but don’t wait too much longer. They may be gone. Call your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. agent today.

Are short sales declining in the Winchester, VA real estate market?