Maryland Real Estate News

June 15, 2020

June Market Update

We’ve lived in an uncertain world for more than two months, as the coronavirus pandemic has affected the economy and real estate industry. As the country works to reopen over the coming weeks, we’ll be watching closely to see where the market’s headed and what that means for you, whether you’re actively buying, selling or just looking. 

 

In the meantime, here are a couple trends our team at Long & Foster expect to see going forward. 

 

Renewed interest in the suburbs. After consumers have spent weeks in their homes social distancing, many may be thinking about getting a place with more space. Instead of moving to a downtown condo, buyers might look toward suburbia, where they can get larger properties with yards. Already, we’ve seen a rise in sales of single-family homes, according to data from Bright MLS.   

 

A balanced market. Supply and demand drive the real estate market, and we’ll see the two better balanced as we move into the recovery. While inventory remains low, demand for these properties has leveled out. For more serious and qualified buyers, this gives you more space to get the product you want, all with continued low interest rates.

 

We have an integrated network of services to assist you if needed. We’re here for you and available to meet (virtually if needed) and answer any questions you might have about buying or selling in today’s market. Even if you just want a complimentary competitive market analysis for your home, need a referral for a plumber, electrician or handyman, we are happy to assist you. As always, we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. 

 

The Fitzpatrick Group has been serving its clients since 1986 and is here to help with all your buying and selling needs.

May 8, 2020

Market Update

April is normally the height of the spring real estate market. Buyers are out shopping for new homes in preparation for summertime moves. Numerous properties are coming on the market daily, and well-priced and well-maintained homes are quickly sold.

This past April brought a much different market, as the coronavirus pandemic continued through the month. We saw a much slower market than usual, as a result of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and economic fluctuations. A number of consumers started to pause on their real estate transactions toward the end of March and that continued into April. 

As we moved through the month—and more recently in this past week—real estate activity has been trending in more a positive direction. Active, coming soon and temporarily off-market listings are slightly above where they were last year. New listings are down, but those properties on the market have been selling quicker and for higher prices. 

While the percentage of properties sold in April was down by double-digits, the impact has not proved to be as great as several industry experts predicted. Many still needed to move and were able to do so while minimizing risk when working with professionals such as our realtor team, movers, title companies, banks, home inspectors, stagers and other partners.

Now, more than ever, our integrated network of services makes a difference. We’re here for you and available to meet (virtually if needed) and answer any questions you might have about buying or selling in today’s market.  Even if you just want a complimentary competitive market analysis for your home, we stand ready to assist you.  In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.  

All our best,

The Fitzpatrick Group

April 9, 2020

Homeowners insurance and coronavirus: what you need to know

The coronavirus pandemic won’t affect your homeowners insurance too much, but given the temporary lifestyle change, there are a few coverage considerations you should be made aware of. The claims process may also be a little different.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

·       The coronavirus won’t directly affect your homeowners insurance coverage or servicing of your policy

·       With kids home from school and parents working from home, your liability coverage and business property coverage may come in handy

·       Expect a more “remote” insurance claim process

Homeowners insurance is a type of financial protection that covers your home, personal belongings, and additional living expenses in the event the house is damaged or burglarized. It also covers legal expenses and medical payments if you’re held liable for an accident. 

If you’re reading this, you may be wondering how — if at all — the coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic impacts that coverage. The deadly virus has penetrated nearly every corner of the globe and impacted just about every industry — namely certain kinds of financial protections like travel, life, auto, and disability insurance. But is your homeowners insurance affected?

The answer is, sort of. The changing circumstances definitely highlight the need for existing components in your policy like liability coverage; in addition to coverage enhancements like a home business coverage endorsement if you moved your business to your house. From a claims standpoint, insurance companies may no longer send an adjuster to your home, so you may see a greater reliance on photo and video claim evidence — at least in the near future.

In this article:

·       How the coronavirus can affect your homeowners insurance coverage

·       How the coronavirus impacts your homeowners insurance claims

·       How are home insurance companies responding to the crisis?

How the coronavirus can affect your homeowners insurance coverage

Since your home and personal belongings can’t catch the coronavirus, the property coverages in your policy won’t be impacted. However, the current reality of working from home and kids staying home from school could necessitate more liability coverage or a home business endorsement for your policy.

Additionally, if you’re paying for additional home-sharing coverage for a room or rental property that you’re no longer able to rent out on a short-term rental app like Airbnb or VRBO due to the pandemic, considering pausing that coverage so you’re not paying for something you’re not using. Contact your insurer and ask them to put a pause on that coverage.

 

Personal liability coverage

Personal liability coverage is the part of your home insurance policy that reimburses you for legal expenses in the event that you or any members of your household cause an injury or damage to someone’s property. This coverage is particularly crucial for homeowners with kids or dogs, as any injury or property damage caused by dependents or pets is your responsibility.

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping so many kids home from school and potentially wandering about the neighborhood, it’s especially crucial to be mindful of attractive nuisances — like a pool or leashed dog on your property — in the event that a curious child makes their way onto your property.

If a guest or passerby is injured on your property, you may be covered by personal liability coverage, but only up to the limit in your policy. Be sure to have at least $300,000 in liability coverage to reimburse you for exorbitant legal expenses. Additionally, if you have a dog, check with your insurance company to see if its particular breed is covered.

 

Coverage for your home business equipment

A standard homeowners insurance covers business property but only up to a relatively low limit of liability. Typically business property is covered by anywhere from $1,000–2,000 in coverage, but for business owners and the self-employed who have been forced to move all of their business equipment to their home because of the coronavirus, that may not be enough coverage.

To make sure your livelihood is fully covered against perils like storm damage and theft, contact your insurance company and see if it offers a home business endorsement or higher coverage limits for business property.

 

If you have short-term rental properties, see if you can halt coverage

Companies like Airbnb and VRBO — as well as those who rely on those services for their income — have taken a real hit because of this coronavirus outbreak. Considering the quarantine-phase of this pandemic could last months, it will likely be a while before people go on vacation and have a need for a short-term rental again.

If you’re an Airbnb or VRBO host and you have special home-sharing protection on your home, reach out to your insurance company and see if it’s possible to pause or cancel this coverage since it’s costing you money but isn’t being put to use right now.

How the coronavirus impacts your homeowners insurance claims

Filing homeowners insurance claims online or through a mobile app was already on the upswing prior to the coronavirus outbreak. But the pandemic has now made virtual claims potentially the only option for homeowners who need to file a claim, given that insurance claims adjusters and appraisers could also be unable to travel or make in-person visits during this crisis.

The online or mobile app claims process doesn’t differ too much from the process of calling in your claim and having an adjuster coming over to your house to inspect the damage. You report what happened, what property was damaged or stolen, submit police reports or photo or video proof of the damage, file your claim, and get reimbursed.

Depending on the claim’s severity level and cost, it’s possible that your insurance company will send over an adjuster anyway to inspect the damage before they pay out the loss. But given the circumstances, it will most likely accept virtual proof on most smaller insurance claims.

How are home insurance companies responding to the crisis?

This is going to vary from company to company — not every insurance company will respond to a global pandemic the same way. But based on what’s been gathered from our some companies, like Travelers, AIG, SageSure, and Plymouth Rock, expect the following:

·       Certain companies are no longer canceling policies because if you're temporarily out of work and needs a premium payment extension

·       If your policy lapses and you're unable to make a payment because of the coronavirus implications, companies will work with you to reinstate the policy, create a payment plan and waive the reinstatement fee

·       Temporary pausing of exterior and interior home inspections

·       If a home requires repairs for the policy to remain active and the policyholder is having a difficult time meeting the inspection deadline because of the coronavirus fallout, your company may give you more time to make home improvements 

·       Much of the insurance company workforce (agents, claim reps, claim adjusters) may work remotely depending on location

·       Policyholders shouldn’t expect any disruption in policy service

·       Call centers — including guidance on existing and potential losses and claims — will remain fully operational

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Feb. 20, 2020

February Item of Value

There’s quite a bit going on in the world right now—impeachment hearings, Brexit, tensions with Iran, trade issues with China and, more recently, the coronavirus. 

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home this year, you may be wondering what effect, if any, these domestic and global events can have on real estate.  Here are a couple to consider:

Mortgage rates. Global instability often causes foreign investors to see U.S. Treasury Bonds as a safe place to park their money.  As money flows into treasuries, the yield on those bonds decreases which, in turn, helps keep mortgage interest rates down. Right now, rates are expected to remain at or below 4%, but if worldwide economic conditions change, those rates could rise. As we don’t expect significant stability to return globally, buyers should have more purchasing power throughout 2020

Consumer confidence. Consumer confidence is an economic indicator that measures consumer optimism about the economy and their personal financial outlook. Turmoil in the world economy sometimes spooks investors here in the States.  When that happens, we see what looks like instability on Wall Street and that ​can negatively ​affect consumer confidence.

Historically, we also see a dip in consumer confidence in the fall of every presidential election year.  While that measure has always increased post-election in November, the dip normally changes the timing of the real estate market in that we see Spring markets start earlier, Summer markets last longer and a lull in the Fall.

While those are just a few ways that broader events affect the market, conditions are always changing. As professional Realtors and part of the Long & Foster family, the Fitzpatrick Group stays updated on what’s happening, so we can best support our clients and prospective buyers and sellers—just like you. 

If you’re ready to make a move this year and want to know how to get started, let us know. We're here to help.

Dec. 23, 2019

December Item of Value

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home next year, you’re likely wondering what’s expected to happen in the housing market. Here are a few trends that our team at Long & Foster Real Estate expects to impact the market in 2020.

 

Resolution of uncertainty in the world economy could affect interest rates. Interest rates have been at historic lows the past few years largely due to investors flocking to US treasuries and rates are likely to remain low next year. However, should more stability in the world economy evolve via resolutions of the trade disputes and/or Brexit, mortgage rates may rise in response as money is moved out of the bond market.

 

Consumer confidence will remain strong. Consumer confidence is one of the most important leading indicators for the housing market since it requires optimism to make a long-term commitment to a house.

 

Inventory issues will continue to affect buyers looking for low- to mid-priced homes. The lack of listings has been severe for mid- and lower-priced homes, where demand outpaces supply, while the luxury market has plenty of inventory to meet demand.

New construction, especially of starter homes, may slow. While demand remains for new homes, the cost of land and materials, the shortage of skilled labor and overall regulatory environment are making it expensive to build.

 

Price appreciation will remain healthy. A modest rise of about 2% to 6% is expected in 2020, which is a solid gain—but not an indication of a bubble.

 

Home sales will be brisk, particularly for low- to mid-priced homes. The number of home sales should continue strong in 2020. It’ll remain a seller’s market for mid- to low-priced homes, while buyers will have more options in the mid- to upper-price ranges.

 

If you have questions about your current home value or how these trends may affect you, let us know. The Fitzpatrick Group has been serving its clients since 1986 and is here to help you with all your buying and selling needs.

 

 

Nov. 29, 2019

Small Business Saturday 2019 Recap

Thanksgiving is done and Christmas will be here before we know it, so let the holiday shopping commence!  Take a break from the shopping madness on Black Friday and save your energy for Small Business Saturday because there are plenty of small businesses to choose from in the Washington, DC area.  In fact, we have featured several of these establishments that we think you might enjoy visiting.  These businesses are the perfect places to find unique gifts for your friends, family, coworkers, kids’ teachers, etc., while supporting your local community.  

We have put together a list of some of our favorite small, local businesses in the Washington, DC area that we hope you’ll like too.  We have also included some of the businesses we have highlighted over the past several years in an effort to promote small businesses and stimulate the local economy.  We encourage you to keep some of these companies in mind during your holiday shopping, as well as throughout the rest of the year.  The relationships you’ll create with your neighborhood business owners are priceless and now is the time to start those connections. Happy holidays and have fun shopping!

 

2019 Featured Small Businesses

Old Towne Man Cave

Hidden Julles Cafe

Farm Station Café

The Farm Brewery

8000 Barber Shop

Rocklands Farm Winery

K9 Aquatic Center

Fresh Baguette

 

2017 Featured Small Businesses

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard

The Big Board

The Codmother

Dangerously Delicious Pies

El Rey

Denizens Brewing Company

I. Gorman Jewelers

New Columbia Distillery

Howl to the Chief

Ivy and Coney

Labyrinth Games and Puzzles

Love & Carrots

Qualia Coffee

 

2016 Featured Small Businesses

Bits of Thread Sewing Studio

Event Farm

Finger Foods Culinary

Flying Dog Brewery

Founding Farmers MoCo

Gregario’s Trattoria

Hunter’s Bar and Grill

Normandie Farm

The North Potomac Times

Potomac Paddlesports

Stella’s PopKern

Vie de France

 

2015 Featured Small Businesses

Appliance Builders Wholesalers

Bagel Towne Deli

Bombay Bistro

Bradley Food & Beverage

Butler’s Orchard

Carmen’s

HomeVisit

Osman & Joe’s Steak’n Egg Kitchen

Pizza Palace

Protec Inspections

The Market at River Falls

Town & Country Movers

Yoyogi Sushi

Yummy in My Tummy

 

2014 Featured Small Businesses

Art & Frame Depot

Bella Bethesda

Cava Mezza

Continental Pizza

Gaver Farm

Guru Groceries & Chaat House

Inner Reaches Yoga & Health

Kicks Karate

Potomac Pizza

Renato’s Restaurant

Studio Ten83

Tastee Diner

 

2013 Featured Small Businesses

Allentuck Landscaping

Diana Nails

Elite Image, Inc

Glenvilah Vet Clinic

Milestone Cleaners

Pigtails and Crewcuts

Quench

Tami’s Table

The Original Pancake House

Nov. 29, 2019

8000 Barber Shop

This family friendly barber shop, located on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland, is a favorite among the locals, kids and adults alike. The customer service at 8000 Barber Shop is outstanding with welcoming and professional staff who know how to make their clientele happy.  Their friendly barbers are patient and will offer suggestions if you’re unsure of what you want.  Walk-ins are welcome at this clean and comfortable establishment, but keep in mind that they only accept cash.  However, with their affordable prices, this usually isn’t an issue.  

 

Some services offered at 8000 Barber Shop include men’s, women’s, and children’s haircuts, in addition to shaves.  They even offer a hot towel clean off, which is a nice touch many customers enjoy.  While you may not need a haircut or a nice, clean shave on Small Business Saturday, keep 8000 Barber Shop in mind next time you do.  Just be sure to leave some time to find parking if you visit on a weekday and bring cash!

 

Location:

 

8000 Wisconsin Ave

Bethesda, MD 20814

 

Phone:

301-986-1906

Website: 

 

https://m.facebook.com/8kbarbershop/

 

Hours:

 

Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Saturday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Nov. 28, 2019

Farm Station Cafe

The culinary team at this eatery, located in Vint Hill, Virginia, prides themselves on their deep love and passion for their work, which is built on bringing its customers responsibly sourced, bright-flavored food. The goal at Farm Station Café is to connect people to the food they eat, and they do this by using high quality ingredients that create nutritious food which also tastes delicious.  They want you to feel like you are at home in their establishment and enjoy the comfortable setting and company while you dine in their welcoming atmosphere.

 

The menu at Farm Station Café is focused on clean eating with fresh, healthy meals made from scratch.  They try to minimize their footprint in order to help sustain the environment, using local farmers, buying in season, and growing their own herbs and flowers.  There is a particular focus on the bee because they believe it is their responsibility as chefs to support higher biodiversity and better bee health.  Most (80%) of Farm Station Café’s ingredients are local, pasture-raised, organic, and are free of GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides, and chemicals.  Their menu consists of breakfast sandwiches, snacks, soups, salads, grill items, and more, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and paleo dishes as well. With their plethora of options, you’re sure to find something to help get you going on Small Business Saturday or any time of year, so make sure you pay them a visit when you can!

 

Location:

 

7150 Farm Station Road,

Vint Hill, VA 20187

 

Phone:

540-680-FARM (3276)

Website: 

 

https://www.farmstationcafe.com/

 

E-mail: 

 

info@farmstationcafe.com

 

Hours:

 

Monday - Wednesday: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Thursday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Friday - Saturday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm

Sunday: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

 

Nov. 27, 2019

Hidden Julles Cafe

If you’re looking for a local, organic, and natural restaurant to start off your day, Hidden Julles Cafe may be just the spot for you.  It is a family-owned and operated cafe that was named after the owners’ mom, who had a major influence on so many lives and on the cafe itself, as well as the products they use.  In fact, their mom loved avocado oil and Himalayan pink salt so much, her four sons have committed to using these products in the dishes they create at Hidden Julles Cafe.

The menu at Hidden Julles Cafe includes pre-order items, as well as everyday dishes.  The pre-order menu is robust with bakery items, such as bagels, muffins, many different varieties of bread, pies, brownies, cupcakes, and more.  If you’re inclined to stay and eat, you can choose from coffee, kombucha, juice, or a wide-range of beverage options.

Food wise, they offer classic breakfast items like omelets and eggs benedict, as well as burritos, avocado toast, and a monte cristo sandwich. If you’re more in the mood for lunch, they feature sandwiches, wraps, and bowls, in meat lovers as well as vegan varieties.  There is something for everyone at Hidden Julles Cafe, so whether you visit on Small Business Saturday or not, it’s worth visiting next time you’re in the area!

 

Location:

14950 Washington Street
Haymarket, Virginia 20169

 

Phone:

(571)-248-2647

 

Website: 

https://www.hiddenjullescafe.com/

 

Hours:

Monday - Friday: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Saturday - Sunday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Nov. 26, 2019

K9 Aquatic Center

If you’re looking for a wellness center for dogs and you live in the Maryland, Washington, DC, or Northern Virginia area, K9 Aquatic Center is ready to serve you.  Their swim coaches welcome dogs of all ages and are there to help your dog have fun, get some exercise, or perhaps rehabilitate after surgery.  Post-surgery swimming is great for elbow or knee surgery, luxating patella surgery, hip replacement, back surgery, and more. They also provide exercise for dogs with mobility issues, to improve fitness and conditioning, and to release stress for working dogs such as K9 police and assistance dogs.

Additionally, K9 Aquatic Center now offers doggy daycare.  The daily schedule includes multiple walks, treadmill time, opportunities to swim, play time with other campers, use of interactive toys, tummy rubs, and treats are offered too.  Also, for those who are interested, they offer Reiki.  If you’re not familiar with this self-improvement method, it’s a Japanese stress reduction technique that promotes relaxation and healing.  Your pet will feel like they’re on vacation every time they visit!  Please visit their website or set up an appointment if you think your pooch could benefit from K9 Aquatic Center!

 

Location:

12948 Travilah Rd

Potomac, MD  20854

 

Phone:

240-683-1100

Website: 

http://k9aquaticcenter.com/

 

Hours (by appointment only):

Pools:

Monday – Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sunday: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm 

Daycare:

Monday – Friday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Saturday - Sunday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm