Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales
Mike Cooper
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Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Update – May 2017

June 11th, 2017 by Mike Cooper

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Update – May 2017

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market continued to strengthen in May 2017. Sales are up, prices are up, distressed properties and days on the market are down. Those are all great details for sellers in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market.

The current inventory of available homes in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market is steady at 531. The local market thrives in the 500-600 available homes range and this market is thriving. The number of pending sales is at 283.

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market by the Numbers

There were 182 home sales in May 2017. That compares to 178 in 2016, 153 in 2015, and Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Update - May 2017154 in 2014. The trend is up and so is the average sales price. The average sales price for May 2017 was $282,698, compared to $274,080 in 2016, but if you go back to 2015, the number increases. The May 2015 sales price average was $242,980. The nearly $40,000 improvement in the May 2017 sales price is good news for current sellers.

Days on the market has stayed steady for the past three years. Currently, the average days on the market is 62. Compared to 2014, that is a 38 day shorter time on the market. Another exciting piece of news for the current real estate Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Update - May 2017market is the number distressed sales in May 2017. There were only 6 distressed sales in May 2017. That is 3.3% of the total sales. That is extremely good news. The market has recovered from the worst days of the recession, and buyers are flooding back into the market. Sellers can list their homes in the current Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market knowing that the trend is on their side.

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market – Strongest Areas

Three areas in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market made up 73% of total sales for May 2017. Winchester City (22601), Frederick County (22602) and Stephens City (22655). The 22602 area code made up 54 of total May sales, followed by 22601 at 44 and 22655 at 39. Stephens City made up 22% overall sales for the month of May. Stephens City has become the fastest growing area of the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market for the past year.

There is a great deal of new construction in the Stephens City market. Businesses are moving into that segment of the market, as well. Stephens City, as a part of the Frederick County real estate market, is giving home buyers and sellers a glimpse into the market. It continues to drive sales, building and remodeling for the community. It’s quick access to a variety of major highways make it a great place commuters, and yet it offers a small town feel with a growing access to the amenities of a larger city.

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market is healthy and prospering. When you’re ready to sell your home, be sure to call Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., for a free home value analysis. We would be happy to offer one to you, and when you’re ready to buy, we’ve got you covered there too. We are your local real estate sales pros.

This post was originally posted at www.winchestervarealestate.com: Winchester-Frederick County, VA Real Estate Market Update – May 2017. #mikecoopersellshomes, #cornerstonehomesales, #winchesterhomesales, #yourlocalrealestatesalespros.

Winchester / Frederick County, VA 22602 Video Real Estate Market Update January 2015

February 26th, 2015 by Mike Cooper

Saving on your electric bill, Part 1.

December 4th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

Everybody loves to save money. One of the easy areas to cut your monthly expenses is on your electric bill. There are multiple products on the market today that can cut your electric bill and still deliver the same quality service you’re accustomed to.

When my sons were young, they had a propensity to enter a room, turn on a light and leave with the light still on. Initially, it was irritating, but over time, rather than get frustrated with them I did something to make sure that it was no longer an issue. I installed a motion sensing light switch in the area where the lights were the most likely to be left on by unconscious boys (and adults).

The motion sensing switches are reasonably inexpensive too (approximately $20). The way they work is that when you enter a room the swtich senses your presence and the lights come on. When you leave the room, the lights will stay on at a predetermined time (mine is set for 5 minutes), and then they automatically cut off. There is no flipping switches. You just walk in, and you walk out. The motion sensing switch does all the work for you. No more lights left on.

The second cost cutting device I incorporated into my home was a digitial timer switch. In my case, this switch is used for exterior lights. The switch will only allow the lights to be on during predetermined times. I use this one on a rental property that I rent out for weekend retreats. Those who use the property have been notorious for leaving a high intensity fixture on for days (and weeks) on end. So, I installed a timed switch. This switch allows me to have it come on automatically at a specific time (typically dusk), and then it turns itself off at a specific time.

These switches can be installed by a homeowner. They have good instructions, but if you feel uncomfortable dealing with electricity, by all means call us to have them installed. If you do decide to install them yourself, please turn the power off on the circuits associated with the switches, read the instructions well and install the device. Reinstall the device into the box, turn the power back on and test. If everything is done correctly, you will be on the path to saving money.

 

Buying a Winchester, VA home

September 20th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

 

Buying a Winchester, Virginia home can be exhilarating and Buying your Winchester VA homehorrifying at the same time.  It’s the single largest expense most people will accept in their lifetime.  That alone could make you want to run the other way, but STOP!  I can help you buy your first home, and we’ll have fun doing it.

There are a few things you can do to get prepared for that first home purchase.  These simple guidelines will make the process simple and less stressful.

  • Decide what kind of house you “need” or “want” before you start looking.  How many bedrooms do you want?  How many bathrooms will you need?  Do you need a basement, fenced yard, garage or a family room?  Have this information ready before the search.
  • Drive around your area and see what neighborhoods look like a place you would like to live.  Which ones can you scratch off your list?
  • Do a few web-searches on Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com, FranklyMLS.com.  That will give you a little sense of what to look for when reviewing listings.
  • Call Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. You will need an experience Realtor to help you gain access to the homes that you ultimately want to look at, and your Realtor can help you see things you may not have enough experience to see.
  • Ask your CBG Inc. agent for recommendations on Lenders and make an appointment.
  • Have the lender do a summary of your financial situation and qualify you for a purchase of $XXXXXX.  That will help you know what price range you should be looking in.
  • Link up with your CBG Inc. agent and start the search in the local MLS, pick your favorites and go take a look.
  • Have your CBG Inc.agent explain the process from contract through loan to closing.  You will have a time-line to work details out.  Your CBG Inc. agent can get your ready to take that journey.
  • Move in and recommend CBG Inc. to all your friends. 

Buying a Winchester, Virginia home can be a great experience if you follow a few simple guidelines.  Let’s get together and make it happen today!

 

Enjoy the beauty of the downtown walking mall in Winchester, VA

September 9th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

Come to Winchester, VA and enjoy the beauty of the downtown walking mall.  It offers something for everyone.  Enjoy the promo video.

Downtown Winchester Video

When you’re ready to buy a home in Winchester, VA, give us a call at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., 888-722-6029.

A few things you should know about your heating/cooling system

August 23rd, 2013 by Mike Cooper

A few things you should know about your heating/cooling system

I have no problem having a “hot” wife, but when that means the air conditioner is not working correctly it can be a problem. I just spent my Thursday servicing our heating / cooling system and there are a few things the average homeowner should know about his/her HVAC system. Every repair is not a replacement.

  • Most problems with your HVAC system are electrical, not refrigerant based. Periodically, refrigerant will seep out of your system, but that means you have a leak. Most problems are related to things like sequencers, switches, transformers, capacitors, etc.
  • If you change your filters regularly, you will lengthen the life of your air handler. I would encourage you to avoid the Hepa filters that are designed to keep allergens down. They starve your air handler of the vital air it needs to thrive. I had to replace my office rooftop unit a few years ago because I installed two of the most restrictive Hepa filters I could find. My secretary had allergies. So, I changed them to assist her. It cost me $10,000 in replacement costs. Now, I change the filters every month or two, and I have no problem. A $1 filter will last 30-60 days. You can buy them in bulk and change them regularly. Air is the lifeblood of your system. Cut if off, and you’re setting yourself up for big bills.
  • If your AC suddenly seems to not work, place your hand over a vent and see what the air flow feels like. If the air is barely coming out, you may have an A coil plugged. If you checked your filters and they were clean, look to the A coil for a blockage. If you have a dog that sheds, he might be the culprit. Hair that passes the filter will pack on the bottom side of the A coil (inside your air handler). AC works when the refrigerant coil (A coil) cools and then air passes by it to bring cool air to your rooms. If dog hair passes your filter, it will pack on the bottom of the A coil. When enough packs in that area, it will restrict air flow. Before a technician replaces your blower motor (which will not solve the problem), have him check the A coil for blockage.
  • If you see water on the floor around your air handler, you likely have a condensate blockage. On many systems, there is a condensate line which collects the water the unit is pulling out of the air. The water is sent to a drain, directly outside, or it is sent to a condensate pump which will pump it outside or into a drain. There is a tendency for mold to form in the opening of the line where it meets the air handler (most likely a white PVC line). If that line is installed correctly, it is likely to have a cap on top that can be removed for cleaning. You can pull that cap off and use a small tip to vacuum out any mold build up (a typical pipe cleaner will work too). If you can drop a small piece of a chlorine tablet in that line (don’t block the water flow, keep it small) it will keep the mold from forming.
  • Check the visible coils to your exterior heat pump or air conditioner. If you see a build up of dirt, leaves or other substance on the coils, you can purchase a can of an aerosol coil cleaner at most big box home improvement stores. Turn the system off, spray the coils, let it foam and then rinse it off with a garden hose. You don’t want to have the spray on full force. Let the cleaner just rinse it off. Let it dry, and turn the system back on.
  • Don’t put a cover directly above your outside unit. It needs room to let air escape through the top.
  • Don’t pack boxes and other storage items around our interior air handler. This is especially important if it is a gas unit. The unit needs to breathe. If you rob it of air you stand the chance of releasing carbon monoxide into your home. Don’t ever block the unit. I’m installing a door in a rental we manage because whoever finished the basement put a wall 10″ in front of the unit. It’s nearly impossible to change the gas igniter.
  • In the cold months, if you have a gas furnace and you notice that you suddenly have no heat, it is most likely a gas igniter. They tend to crack during the summer cooling period. If you pull the door off the front of your unit, you will see multiple ports where long tubes run from front to back. They are the gas tubes. In one of those ports is a little gray/black porcelain igniter. If it has formed a crack, it will have a faint white line across it. It’s a $20 repair if you do it yourself. It’s $150+ if you have it done.
  • If the system is not working at all, check the breaker. They do go bad. We inspected a client’s system last summer. The HVAC tech that he called wanted to replace it at $3000. He asked us to give him a second opinion (we don’t service HVAC equipment typically, but this was a old client). The breaker running the system had gone bad. It was a $75 repair.
  • If you hear a banging outside when your outdoor unit is running, your fan motor or fan blades have likely gone bad. It will normally be obvious.
  • Pay the bucks to have your system serviced once a year by a good tech if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.

If you are handy with tools, many of the items listed above are simple enough that the average homeowner can do them. If you’re uncomfortable doing your own repairs, keep the info above so you can ask the tech questions. They will be surprised that you know anything about your system, and they will less likely to take advantage of you.

Reduce your mortgage by pre-paying principal and eliminate interest.

August 12th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

Reduce your mortgage by pre-paying principal and eliminate interest.

Homeowners know that a mortgage is a great way to buy a house.  But, too many don’t realize just how much a mortgage can run the price of house up over the course of a loan.

If I told you that I would sell you a $200,000 house for $364,813.42 you would never do it, but a 30 year mortgage can run the purchase price of a house up $164,813.42 in interest at 4.5% over a 30 year mortgage.

There are ways to reduce that number that are simple and within reach.  Anytime you take out a mortgage, make sure you have the privilege of pre-paying principal without penalties.  Let me show you how this works.

Let’s start with a $200,000 mortgage with the first payment beginning January 1st.  Interest is loaded on the front of your mortgage, so your early payments are predominately interest.  Let me give you an example.  Payment one is $1013.37.  Of that fee, only $263.37 is paid on the principal.  The remaining $750.00 is interest.  On month 2, your second payment is $1013.37 of which $264.36 is principal and $749.01 is interest.

So, in two months, you have paid $527.73 in principal and $1499.01 in interest.  Now, if you add the principal of the second month with your first payment you can skip the interest on payment two.  So, on January 1 you would pay $1277.73.  That eliminates $749.01 in interest from your loan.  

In February, you would pay payment 3Payment 2 has been paid with the January payment – minus the interest which you won’t ever pay.  In February, if you paid the principal of month 4, $266.34, you can skip the interest of $747.03.  In two payments, you have reduced your overall mortgage costs by $1496.04 in interest.  If you repeat that every month throughout your mortgage, you can radically reduce the overall interest costs of your mortgage.  There is another way to pay your mortgage off early and reduce the overall interest.  I’ll show that in the next blog.

Pay attention. Your life is making appointments for you.

June 23rd, 2013 by Mike Cooper

I’m a firm believer that life is full of providential moments.  Unfortunately, we miss many of them because we’re so busy making a living that those providential moments slip right by.  I’m definitely guilty of that one at times.  Today, I was off to Harrisonburg, VA to teach about the importance of working with a Realtor at the VHDA seminar for first-time home-buyers.  My good friend and local lender, Mark Lynch, went with me to teach the lender and closing portions.

While Mark was sharing his portion, I received the following email from a recent buyer:

                          Hi Mike,

 I have a friend who is looking for a rental that would overlook a pond or lake.  Any ideas?

 

I put it in the back of mind for later when I was home and on my computer.  On the trip back, Mark and I talked about a lot of things, but one thing that popped up was a rental that Mark owns that needs to have some repairs done in order to get it back on the market.

 

Ironically, one of the most immediate repairs needed is electrical.  That’s right up my ally since I own an electrical contracting company.  So, we stopped by the property on the way home.  I looked over the needs, we made a basic plan of action and I snapped a picture with my phone and emailed it to my previous buyer with the message, “Like this?”  The property overlooks a large lake.  I held my phone up to so Mark could read the email.  It was providence.  Pay attention, life is making appointments for you if you’re paying attention.  

Pick a local Realtor when selling your home. It will make all the difference.

May 25th, 2013 by Mike Cooper

Pick a local Realtor when selling your home. It will make all the difference.

Home sellers, choose your real estate agent wisely.  It may make the difference between a sale, or a listing.  I’ve noticed a pattern in the Winchester, VA real estate market.  For some reason, numerous Winchester, VA home sellers are listing their properties with out of the area agents.  What is the value of that choice?  Here’s what I can tell you is the effect of listing with out of the area agents.

  • Out of the area agents don’t know the local market.  Without a thorough understanding of the local market, an out of the area agent is likely to attempt to sell your property at a price that will attract little if any buyers.
  • Out of the area agents are very often difficult to make contact with.  In the past three weeks, I’ve tried to sell two properties for out of the area agents.  One didn’t respond to my full price offer for 5 days.  Then she declined it.  The offer was full price, no contingencies with a closing in 45 days.  I noticed the closing date on her contract closes in 5 months.
  • Out of the area agents don’t always have your property on their priority list.  You’re out of sight, out of mind.  I am waiting for an out of the area agent to respond to my email, phone call and text message now.  It has been three days.  If I can’t show your property, I can’t sell it.
  • Out of the area agents more than likely don’t know your house or your neighborhood.  They won’t be able to market your home like a local agent.
  • Out of the area agents took the same classes to receive their licenses, receive the same continuing education and follow the same state regulations as your local agent.  They have no advantage in those areas.
  • Out of the agents will not be available to run over to your house to check on it, meet a client, replace the key when an agent accidentally takes it with him.

There is little to no advantage to hiring an agent out of your area.  A local agent will have his finger on the pulse of the local market.  He can respond to inquiries and clients wishing to see the property on the spur of the moment, and he is more likely to know where your property is most likely to sell.  When your ready to sell your Winchester, VA home, call Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., for your local market experts.

Pick a local Realtor when selling your home. It will make all the difference.