The National Media Is ______ About Arlington’s Housing Market

Question: Are you seeing a sharp increase in the asking prices of homes in Arlington, as reported by Realtor.com, since Amazon announced HQ2?

 

Answer: You guessed it, the national media is wrong about Arlington’s housing market (sort of). I don’t mean to jump on the Fake News bandwagon, but a few weeks ago Realtor.com ran a misleading article, that got a ton of coverage here, stating that the median asking price of homes in Arlington were up $110,000 or 17.3% from November 2018 to April 2019.

 

I was suspicious of their report because I’m not seeing that type of increase in the asking prices of homes across Arlington, so I dug into the numbers a bit more to understand why the data looks that way. Technically, they weren’t wrong/lying but like most reports about local markets, they chose the version of the data with the biggest numbers to generate the most clicks and reposts without regard to whether it’s an accurate representation of our market.

 

The Truth Is In The Details

The reason the median price is up so much isn’t because owners are actually asking that much more for homes, it’s because the number of homes listed from Jan-May 2019 vs Jan-May 2018 for under $700k is down nearly 27% compared to a decrease of just over 9% for homes over $700k. This has shifted the middle/median up substantially, but doesn’t actually indicate owners are asking more for their homes rather that there’s just less availability of homes under $700k.

 

For reference, the average listing price is up just 5.6%, to $782,156, in the first five months of 2019, a more accurate representation of the actual increase to asking prices.

 

The main reason for the drop-off in housing supply below $700k is the decrease in 1-2BR condos, as detailed in the chart below:

 

To highlight how easy it is to manipulate housing data to show the opposite of what Realtor.com claims to be happening in our market, I looked at three sub-markets to compare how median price is changing within similar housing stock. Looking at cross-sections of a local market with similar housing stock allows us to draw a more accurate picture of what’s actually happening, but even the chart below is misleading because it suggests asking prices are dropping this year, which isn’t true.

 

 

So What’s Actually Happening?

Over the last few months I have started to see asking prices increase. Occasionally I’ll see an asking price 15-20%+ higher than where it would’ve been last year, but mostly it seems asking prices for similar types of homes are up by 3-5% which is why you’re still seeing so many homes sell for above ask because most market values have increased by more than that (I’ve teed this one up perfectly for famed ARLnow commenter $4 Million to Heirs Annually).

Next month I’ll be working closely with Jeannette Chapman of George Mason University’s Fuller Institute to provide a detailed look at the Arlington housing market through the first half of 2019. I’m looking forward to collaborating with Jeannette on multiple columns to bring you more advanced market studies and opinions.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local Real Estate, please send an email to Eli@EliResidential.com.

When Can I Negotiate?

Question: I’ve made a few offers on homes and am frustrated by the lack of negotiating I’m able to do. Are there things I can look for that are a sign that there’s room to negotiate price and terms? 

Answer: Most Buyers think that negotiating the terms of a home purchase is between them and the home owners, but in reality, most of the time you’re actually negotiating against other buyers. This is especially true when a home has been on the market for 30 days or less. You can make a perfect case for why a home is worth less than the owner is asking, but if there are other buyers willing to pay more and offer better supporting terms, you don’t even get a participation trophy. If you’re dead-set on negotiating the price and maintaining favorable contingencies, the best thing to look at is the number of days a home has been on the market.

Historical data supports the following:

  • If you want to purchase a home that has been on market for 10 days or less, you should be prepared to pay at or above the asking price

  • There is very little room to negotiate price in the first 30 days

  • Buyers gain negotiation leverage after a home has been listed for 30 days and it gets better each month after that

 

The last three months of closed sales in Arlington shows the following: 

  • Buyers who purchased a home within 10 days of it being listed for sale negotiated 1% or more off the asking price on just 7.9% of transactions

 

 

  • Buyers who purchased a home within 10 days of it being listed for sale paid 5% or more over the asking price on 18.7% of transactions

 

 

  

Use this data to make buying more strategic and less guesswork/frustration, but remember there is no hard rule that you can’t negotiate a price and terms from Day 1 or that a Seller is going to agree to discount their price after three months. Remember that each transaction is unique in that both parties have their own set of priorities/circumstances, each house comes with its own unique strengths and flaws, and all it takes is one or two Buyers being on vacation/busy for a deal to go from multiple escalating offers to one negotiable contract. Take some time to understand underlying market trends and probabilities and apply those to each individual transaction based on the information that is unique to it.

If you’d like to meet to discuss how data can be used to develop your purchase strategy, you can email me at Eli@EliResidential.com to schedule a time to meet.

Is Arlington Too Expensive?

Question: How do prices in the Arlington housing market compare to prices in neighboring communities?

Answer: I hope everybody had a great Memorial Day Weekend! You may have read ARLnow’s post last week that the median price of a home in Arlington is up by $100,000 or 17% this year and if you’re in the market to buy a home, this is alarming news. Arlington and Alexandria have quickly gotten too expensive for many buyers since Amazon announced plans to move its second headquarters to National Landing, so I thought I’d share how prices in other nearby communities compare to Arlington’s prices. The following data is based on sales going back to January 2018.

Annandale: I think Annandale is one of the best investments in Northern VA over the next 5-10 years and I encourage buyers who don’t need easy Metro access and who are looking for value, proximity to DC, and appreciation potential to strongly consider it.

Arlington: I don’t think we’ll see double-digit appreciation in Arlington after this year, but I do expect steady growth over the next 8-10 years, with the exception of any years slowed down by a market downturn.

Burke: Burke is popular for its combination of highly rated schools, VRE access, quiet residential neighborhoods, and much home lower prices. Despite its distance from Arlington, the Amazon-effect is being felt here too; I’ve run into multiple offers and escalating prices over the last couple of months on properties that normally would have sat on the market for weeks or months.

Mclean: Host to many of Northern Virginia’s most expensive homes as well as its top-rated public schools, the average price of a townhouse or single-family home in Mclean is higher than Arlington, but with a lower $/sqft your dollar usually goes further. Lot sizes also increase significantly over the average Arlington lot.

Vienna: Vienna is more Metro accessible than Mclean, Burke, and Annandale, most of the schools have above-average ratings, and there’s a great downtown area along Maple Ave. The downside for many commuters is the traffic along 66. Like Arlington, Vienna has a diverse housing inventory so there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for at a significant discount from Arlington and Mclean.

If you’re in the market for a home and struggling with the recent double-digit increase in prices in Arlington and Alexandria, I’d be happy to help you find other communities in Northern VA, DC, or MD that will fit your budget. Send me an email to Eli@EliResidential.com to schedule time to meet.

Arlington Housing Market Trends

Question: How has this year’s spring market compared to previous years?

Answer: I’ll provide an in-depth mid-year market analysis in July, but since we’re in the final weeks of the historically strong “spring market,” I thought it would be a good time to share County-wide market trends that represent what I’m seeing on the buying and listing side these days. Hint: Great for sellers, frustrating for buyers.

 

Owners Holding Out For Amazon

One of the big questions I had post-Amazon HQ2 announcement was whether owners would decide to hold onto their homes longer in hopes of higher long-term returns from Amazon or whether they’d accelerate their plans to sell to take advantage of a quick bump in prices and a faster sale cycle. The answer so far is that more owners are holding off on selling because new inventory is down significantly from last year, highlighted by a nearly 30% YoY decrease in new listings in April.

 

Low Supply Is Driving Prices To Record Highs

There has been a YoY increase in the average sold price since the Amazon announcement was released in November, highlighted by a 11.2% increase in April (chart #1). That increase led to an average sold price in Arlington over $742,000 which is the first time the average sold price broke $700,000 in 10+ years (chart #2)

The Average Buyer Is Paying Over Asking Price

For the first time in over 10 years, the average buyer is paying more than the asking price to secure a home in Arlington. In April, the average purchase price was .3% higher than the seller’s asking price.

Sales Are Going Through Much Faster

It is taking less and less time for a seller to find a buyer, with a YoY decrease in days on market each of the last six months, highlighted by decreases of 73% and 74.3% in March (median 10 days) and April (median 9 days), respectively.

If you’re interested in an analysis of how the current has impacted the value of your home or the value of the home you’re trying to buy, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com to schedule a meeting.

Who Is Responsible for Supply Lines?

Question: We bought an older home with original water and sewer lines. Who is responsible for the maintenance and replacement of these lines and how do I know if there’s a problem?

Answer: You are responsible for the main plumbing lines for water and sewage running between your home and the public lines. In most cases, the gas company is responsible for everything to and including the meter (attached to your home) and you’re responsible for the lines after the meter. The main lines are usually buried under your front yard and replacement costs (water and sewage) often start at a couple thousand dollars and can easily exceed $10,000. Costs vary based on a few key factors including: 

  • ·Distance from the public line to your home

  • Pipe material

  • Type of excavation/installation (difficulty in digging up old plumbing, # of turns in new pipe)

  • Cost to return landscaping to original state (this is on you, not the County)

 

In most cases, Washington Gas will return your property/landscaping to its original condition, including hardscape and your lawn (even your driveway), after excavating for repair or replacement. It’s not a bad idea to find out where your gas supply line is and plan landscaping with that in mind.

 

Identifying Problems

The life expectancy on many of the most common materials used for main plumbing lines range from 50-100 years, but tree root growth, unnatural disturbances like new landscaping, corrosion, and pressure build-ups can cause leaks, blockages, and other damage that you should monitor. 

The most effective and most expensive way to look for problems is to hire a plumber to scope the lines with a camera to see if there are any issues. The cost of doing this often exceeds $500 per line, but can give you peace of mind or early warnings of a problem.

 

If you don’t want to pay a plumber to scope your lines, you can monitor for signs of a problem:

  • Water Line: higher water bills, lower water pressure, flooding in yard when there isn’t rain

  • Sewer Line: slow drainage/clogs in multiple areas of the house, foul smell inside or outside, odd behavior from plumbing like bubbling sounds

  • Gas Line: if you smell a gas/rotten egg odor, hissing sound from a gas line/meter, hazy/cloudy near gas line, plants dying, issues with gas-powered appliances

 

Good To Know

Here are some other helpful tips regarding the main lines for water, sewage, and gas: 

  • HomeServe USA, through Dominion Energy, offers insurance protection for the water supply line, sewer line, and in-home gas lines

  • In most cases, you can expect the gas company to have a utility easement on your property which allows them the right to access your property for repairs or replacement as needed. Check your survey/plat to verify this right of access.

  • Polybutylene pipes (grey plastic) were used from the 70s-90s and prone to breakage. If your sewer lines is Polybutylene, consider replacing them now.

  • Lead pipes (dull grey) were used in the early 1900s for water supply lines and risk leaching lead into your drinking water and should be tested or replaced

  • CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) became popular for gas lines in the early 90s and is often not property bonded which means a lightning strike can blow a hole in your gas line. Bonding your gas line is simple enough that most home owners do it themselves, although I must recommend you use a qualified Electrician.

  • These days, PVC/CPVC are the most common piping for the main water and sewer lines instead of the heavier cast iron/galvanized steel options that used to be the standard. Copper is still a popular choice for water lines, but more expensive and more difficult to install.

My Favorite Mortgage Programs

Question: Are there are loan options you’d recommend if I don’t have 20% or more saved up for a down payment?

Answer: There are an abundance of loan products on the market that cater to different professions, down payments, and financial circumstances that you should consider. “Rate shopping” is easy and moderately effective if done correctly (e.g. compare the APR not the interest rate), but “product shopping” can be much more valuable and something an informed real estate agent can assist you with. Here are some of my favorite loan programs and the lenders I work with who provide them:

 

Homeowners Buying And Selling:

Second Trust/HELOC Program from First Home Mortgage: Jake Ryon (jryon@firsthome.com, 202.448.0873)

This is a great program for current homeowners who will be buying and selling simultaneously. It allows you to use the future proceeds from your home sale to make a larger down payment on your new home, before selling your current home. 

Through First Home Mortgage, Jake Ryon partners with local banks and credit unions to provide you with a second trust that allows you to put as little 5% down up to nearly a $1,000,000 loan amount. The second trust finances the remaining amount of your down payment (e.g. 15% if you put down 5%). 

The second trust payment is interest-only, can be paid off any time, and can be used like a bridge loan so you can purchase your next home without a home-sale contingency.

 

Doctors:

Doctor Loan Program from SunTrust: CJ Kemp (cj.kemp@suntrust.com, 301.651.4189)

The Doctor Loan Program is a residential mortgage loan specifically created for licensed medical professionals to make obtaining mortgage financing easier and more hassle-free. It recognizes the financial toll of medical school and strong, stable future income post-graduation. The rates on these loans are also fantastic!

 

Eligible Doctors include:

  • Licensed Residents/Interns/Fellows in MD and DO programs

  • Medical Doctors

  • Doctors of Osteopathy

  • Doctors of Dental Medicine/Surgeons/Orthodontics/General Dentists (DMD/DDS)

  • Psychiatrist licensed as a Medical Doctor

 

Available financing terms include fixed and adjustable rate mortgages for purchases and rate/term & cash out refinances.

  • 0% down up to $750,000 loan amount

  • 5% down up to a $1M loan amount

  • 10.01% down up to a $1.5M loan amount

  • No mortgage insurance required!

 

Large Loan Amounts:

Non-Confirming Jumbo Loan Program from Wells Fargo: Email me for contact info at Eli@EliResidential.com

It’s not just Doctors who can find low down payment options without mortgage insurance for high-value (jumbo) loans. Wells Fargo’s “Professionals” Program lets you put 10.01% down on loans from $485,000 up to $1,000,000, and $1,000,000 to $1,250,000 with 15% down, without any mortgage insurance and the rates are incredible. They have options for fixed and adjustable mortgages as well. A high credit score and strong income are key factors for qualifying. It’s referred to as the “Professionals” Program because it’s popular amongst high earning, non-medical professionals like lawyers and consultants.

 

Low Down Payment:

Mortgage Insurance Payment Eliminator from McLean Mortgage: Troy Toureau (ttoureau@mcleanmortgage.com, (301) 440-4261)

This program enables you to put as little as 3% to 5% down using conventional financing (not FHA) and eliminate the monthly mortgage insurance payment by making a one-time more affordable payment.  This provides multiple benefits including a potential increase in buying power by reducing the Debt-to-Income ratio (lower monthly payment), allowing you to negotiate for the seller to make this payment by rolling it into closing costs, and ensuring that the entire payment is tax deductible (confirm with your tax advisor).

 

Choosing The Right Lender

Choosing the right lender is a combination of selecting the program that’s right for you, getting the best market rates, and working with somebody who provides a high level of service. In 2017 I wrote an article with additional tips for selecting and comparing lenders. If you have any questions about the programs I summarized above, other lending programs like construction and rehab loans, or would like an introduction to one of my preferred lenders please reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com.

How To Rent Your Home Back From New Owners

Question: We’re preparing to sell our home and are concerned that we won’t have enough time to move out after it sells. Is there a good time to ask the buyers if we can stay a bit longer?

Answer: A Seller’s Post-Settlement Occupancy, more commonly referred to as a rent-back, allows a home owner to sell their home, collect the proceeds, and continue living in the home for a pre-determined period of time after closing.

 

The most common scenarios for a rent-back are:

  1. You have a need for the sale proceeds quickly; such as applying them towards the purchase of your next home. A word of caution on this strategy – make sure that you’ll be able to find and close on your next home before the rent-back period ends (or already found it).

  2. Moving out is burdensome and/or highly disruptive to your family and/or job that you don’t want to start the process until you’re under contract and all buyer contingencies have expired

  3. You need to remain in your home until the school year is finished

 

How Rent-Backs Are Structured

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors contracts (as well as other regional contracts) provide a standard form for a Seller’s Post-Settlement Occupancy Agreement so you don’t need to worry about hiring an attorney. It functions as a short-term lease including 1) how much the seller will pay the buyer for the rent-back, 2) how long the rent-back lasts, 3) a security deposit, and 4) a penalty for staying past the rent-back period.

Buyers will conduct a pre-closing walk-through before they purchase the home where they have all the rights provided to them in a normal sale. At the end of the rent-back, the new owners will conduct another walk-through once the previous owners move out, which is similar to that of a walk-through at the end of a normal rental period. If the previous owners caused damage during the move-out, the new owners can make a claim against the security deposit, generally held by the Title Company who handled the sale.

 

Not Without Risk

For the new owners, a rent-back carries with it some of the same risks involved in being a landlord. Disputes over security deposit, damage in excess of the security deposit, or trouble with the previous owners moving out on time are all realities that buyers need to consider.  As with many decisions in a real estate transaction, your willingness to agree to a rent-back is a matter of risk and reward. The risk of problems like I mentioned is fairly low in most cases and the reward for accommodating a seller’s request for a rent-back can be the difference between them accepting your offer or taking somebody else’s.

 

Free Rent-Backs?

The fee for a rent-back is usually calculated off of the new owner’s carrying costs (mortgage + taxes + insurance), but in our hyper-competitive market, I’m seeing aggressive buyers offer seller’s a free rent-back as a way to increase the competitiveness of their offer. A free rent-back isn’t worth much if the seller is asking for an extra week, but it certainly adds up if they’re asking to stay for 6-8 weeks past closing.

On both sides of the transaction, the use and structure of a rent-back is one of many important strategic decisions you may face in this market. It’s a good example of an area where an agent who understands the local market and how to maximize your risk/reward position can add real value. Whether you’re reaching out to me or not, I want to stress the importance of making sure you have the confidence in your agent to truly protect and maximize your interests through the entire transaction lifecycle.

Should You Sell Your Home or Not?

Question: I’ve read that home prices in Arlington are up since the Amazon announcement so I’m trying to decide if I should go ahead and sell my home now or if it makes more sense to wait for more appreciation when Amazon employees start to arrive. What is your recommendation?

Answer: Amazon’s decision to move HQ2 to Arlington has made an immediate impact on the local housing market and many home owners are asking whether or not they should sell or hold. As with most real estate decisions, the answer is…it depends. It depends on your personal goals and circumstances, but the good news is that you’re likely going to be happy with either decision. Here are a few points to consider that are relevant to the market we’re currently experiencing:

 

Why You Should Sell Now

  1. Highest One-Year Appreciation?: My guess is that 2019 will be our highest one year appreciation over the next decade barring some other major corporate news. While I do expect Arlington to experience steady growth over the next ten years from Amazon and the “Amazon-effect,” I don’t think the impact will be as extreme as many people fear/hope (see excellent analysis by the Stephen S Fuller Institute). If you’re holding out for 40-50%+ returns over the next 5 years, I’d reconsider your strategy.

  2. Better Application of Equity: I think this is the most important, and most personal, reason to sell. If you can improve the quality of your life with the equity you have in your home (early retirement or larger home) or you have a more productive application of that equity (start a business or re-invest), selling now might make a lot of sense.

  3. Looming Economic Downturn: There’s always somebody warning of the next economic doomsday, but consensus seems to be building that we will face an economic downturn within the next two years. The potential for an economic shift is much more important if your decision is between selling now or 2-5 years from now vs selling now or 10+ years from now.

  4. Your House Needs Work: Supply is so low right now, and demand so high, that sellers can command premiums on their home even if it’s lacking in updates or curb appeal that may have made a sale difficult in the past.

  5. Condo/Townhouse Owner: Condo and townhouse inventory is down over 50% in each of the last two quarters compared to the prior year, a significantly higher drop-off than single-family homes. Over time, the County should be able to facilitate more supply of condos and townhouses through up-zoning so this may be the best time to sell yours, especially if you own a two-bedroom where year-over-year inventory is down about 60% the last six months.

 

Why You Should Not Sell Now

  1. Long-term Growth: It’s hard to imagine a scenario where there isn’t steady, long-term growth in Arlington and the surrounding communities over the next ten years as more private businesses file in behind Nestle and Amazon. Combine that with Arlington’s resiliency to economic downturns, it’ll be hard to find another real estate assets with a better risk/return ratio.

  2. Investment Property: Converting a primary residence into an investment property can be a great way to improve your investment portfolio as long as it doesn’t hinder your new living situation

  3. Net Gain or Loss: If you plan to move locally into a larger, more expensive home then it’s likely that the market forces allowing you to sell faster and for more money will work against you on a larger scale as a buyer. On the flip side, this may be the best time to downsize. Determine what the likely net gain or loss of a simultaneous sale/purchase will be.

  4. Amazon Isn’t Here Yet: This is probably the most obvious reason, but Amazon employees haven’t started adding to the demand yet and the true impact of their buying power, plus the impact of new development, probably won’t be felt for another 4-5+ years.

  5. Single-Family Home Owners: Yes, the single-family market is extremely competitive right now and we’ve seen some impressive prices, especially in South Arlington, but I don’t think this is the peak single-family market yet. Available inventory has “only” dropped by about 25% since last year, about half of the drop seen in the condo and townhouse market, and unlike condos and townhouses there’s nothing the County can really do to facilitate more single-family housing supply because we simply don’t have the space. While supply will remain the same, I expect demand for single-family housing to increase as Arlington’s wealthy Millennial population trades bar crawls for baby crawls and Amazon employees prioritize short commutes.

 

These are far from the only reasons you should decide to sell or hold a property right now in Arlington, but many of the reasons come down to specifics on your property and your goals. If you’d like to discuss this decision, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com for a meeting.

Avoid Gaps In Your Condo Insurance Policy

Question: My condo association carries an expensive Master Insurance policy, but my lender is requiring that I purchase my own individual policy. What coverage to I gain from the individual policy that the master policy doesn’t include?

Answer: Every condo association has its own (expensive) Master Insurance policy to cover the common elements, but there are substantial gaps between the association’s policy and what you’re personally be liable for without an individual HO-6 policy. Most people shop for the cheapest, fastest individual insurance policy and apply just enough coverage to meet the lender’s requirements, but that may put you at risk.

 

To explain common gaps between master policies and HO-6 (individual condo) policies, I’d like to re-introduce Andrew Schlaffer, Vice President at USI Insurance Service’s Community Association Practice . Andrew is an expert in Master Insurance policies and has helped multiple local condo association’s reduce their cost and improve their coverage since writing a column on the topic last year. If you’d like to contact Andrew directly to review your association’s master policy, you can reach him at 703-205-8764 or Andrew.schlaffer@usi.com.

Take it away Andrew…

 

Increasing Claims, Increasing Coverage Gaps

The condominium insurance marketplace is facing challenges that will impact homeowners in 2019. Water damage is leading this list of challenges—according to the Insurance Information Institute, about one-third of homeowner insurance losses are caused by water damage and freezing. The DMV is home to many aging condo buildings that struggle with mitigating water damage losses and their impact on insurance.

As water damage claims continue to rise and property damage costs increase, many insurance carriers are beginning to make changes to their coverage offerings that may increase your risk exposure.

 

Master Insurance vs Individual Insurance Policy

99% of master insurance policies in this area are written on a Single Entity approach which means coverage extends to general and limited common elements but also extends within individual units to fixtures, appliances, walls, floor coverings, and cabinetry, but only for like, kind, and quality to that conveyed by the developer to the original owner.

Items not covered by the master insurance policy and are generally not the association’s responsibility include:

  • Personal Property (clothes, electronics, furniture, money, artwork, jewelry)

  • Betterments and Improvements (demonstrable upgrades completed after the initial conveyance)

  • Additional Living Expenses (the cost to live at a temporary location, storage fees, loss of rents)

  • Personal Liability (provides protection for bodily injury or property damage claims arising from your unit)

  • Loss Assessment (triggered only if there is a covered cause of loss and the master insurance policy limits are exhausted; this assessment would apply collectively to all unit owners)

  • Medical Payments (no fault coverage available for injured guests within your unit)

 Condo owners should purchase an individual condo insurance policy (HO-6), which is also required by lenders. This policy can provide coverage for the items listed above.

 

Review Your Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling Coverage should be included in every HO-6 policy to avoid significant out-of-pocket expenses. Many condo associations can hold you responsible for expenses that fall under the master policy deductible that are caused by the owner’s act, neglect, misuse, or carelessness. Due to the rise in water damage losses, many insurance carriers are increasing their deductibles, which in turn spurs the need for homeowners to adjust their dwelling insurance limit.

In a recent instance, a condo suffering from significant water damage losses was required by its insurance carrier to increase the master insurance policy deductible from $10,000 to $25,000. In this community, each homeowner should have at least $25,000 of dwelling coverage to indemnify them for the deductible expense in the event a claim arises from their unit. If coverage is not available, the homeowner would either have to pay this expense personally or the association could put a lien on their unit.  

Dwelling coverage should also include a homeowner’s betterments and improvements (improvements made above what the builder originally delivered), including those completed by prior owners. Most lenders will require at least 20% of the unit’s market value insured under this coverage as well. 

 

What Information to Share with Your Insurance Provider

You should always review the condo association’s governing documents and understand the applicable statutory requirements (i.e. Virginia Condominium Act) and lender requirements to verify their individual responsibilities, including maintenance/repair and insurance. Along with sharing the association documents, homeowners should also provide their personal insurance agent with the following:

  • What is the master policy deductible? ($5,000, $10,000, $25,000)

  • What approach is used for the condominium insurance coverage? (Single Entity)

 

My Recommendation for HO-6/Other Individual Policies

Thank you, Andrew, hopefully this helps at least a handful of readers better protect themselves.

I find that most buyers go straight for the path of least resistance and cheapest premiums for their insurance coverage. Adding coverage to your existing auto policy in 5-10 minutes probably means that nobody actually reviewed your association’s Master Insurance policy and thus you’re at risk of coverage gaps. Personally, I’d rather pay a bit more to know that my policies have been designed with some personal attention and reviewed annually for gaps. I use, and recommend, Matt Deadrick’s team (mdeadrick@ddminsurance.com) at DDM Insurance.

2019 Interior Design Trends

Question: I’m in the planning stages of a home renovation, what are some of the new trends in interior design – and what should I stay away from?

Answer: Redecorating and home renovations are an exciting and fun task but you want to make sure you don’t make choices that date your home. Each year designers and architects release their favorite new trends, including what to stay away from when undertaking a home makeover. This week I have compiled the latest do’s and don’ts for kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces from Elle Décor, Houzz and realtor.com.

Color(s) of the Year

Each year people in the design world await Pantone’s announcement for color of the year. This year they announced the bright and fresh, Living Coral, but they are no longer the sole source for color trends. Recently other paint manufacturers started sharing their own selections for a color of the year, with Sherwin Williams choosing Cavern Clay and Behr announcing Blueprint.

 

Kitchens:

 

Bathrooms:

 

Living Area + Bedrooms: