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U.S. Median Home Price Increases in Q3 2018

U.S. Median Home Price Increases 4.8 Percent in Q3 2018, Slowest Rate of Annual Appreciation Since Q2 2016.

Housing prices in the Mid-Atlantic increased nicely in the 3rd Quarter of 2018.

MarketMedian Price%Change
Baltimore/Columbia $260,0007.0%
DC/NoVa/S Md$395,0005.3%
Virginia Beach$240,0002.6%

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Warren Buffet says not to panic yet on real estate prices

Warren Buffet says not to panic yet on real estate prices.  Of course, the degree of run up in prices varies dramatically, so there may be reason for concern in white hot areas like DC, Arlington, and Alexandria.  Prices in these high end communities have skyrocketed in recent years. Meanwhile, median home prices have not changed nearly as much in Fairfax , Price Georges, or Prince William Counties or in Baltimore City or County.

See the whole article about Mr. Buffets comments here.

Tips for First Time Flippers

As a lender we talk to new home flip investors regularly.  The following are some suggestions regarding that first deal.

  • Look for lower priced homes that with relatively reasonable renovation budgets.  Townhouses with ARV’s in the $150-250K range are easy deals to complete.  Think Baltimore, PG County, Newark DE, and Philadelphia.  Target homes up to 1,500 sq ft.  More than that and the costs of renovation expand substantially and you will need more cash to invest.
  • For your first deal, avoid major projects; renovations more than $100,000 require more involvement and money.
  • Interview 3 contractors.  Find out if they are experienced in working with home flippers.  At the lower end of the price scale, you will want contractor grade trims (especially for homes that may be rentals).   Your contractor needs to be familiar with what is needed.
  •  Avoid the lowest cost contractor, they likely will take longer and take shortcuts such as using tradesmen that are moonlighting from their regular day jobs.  The cost in delays will not be worth it.
  • Choose in stock product at Home Depot or Lowes or a local contractor yard.  You will not want to wait for custom order product.
  • Don’t renovate with your taste and price scale in mind.  The house should reflect the expectation and budget of the neighborhood and price point.  Neutral colors are by far the best.
  • Visit your site at least every other day to ensure progress is being made.  You can catch poor work, misunderstandings, and other problems early.  Your property needs to be close enough that you can do this regularly. Make sure your credit is in order.  Many lenders have a minimum FICO Score, (ours is 620).  Pay your bills, and if you have not established any credit history, get some credit cards and repay them on time.
  • Determine how much money you have to invest.  For first timers, you will need approximately 30% of the property purchase value to complete a deal.  You will need to show proof that you have possession of the funds to close a hard money deal.

Best of luck on your first of many successful flips!


Increase in Median Home Values in Region Vary Dramatically

Looking for big appreciation in home values, continue to look in the DC market where the increase is holding steady at 3.8%, or Richmond, down from white hot to just steaming (7.7% growth to 6.7%).  Baltimore value increases have cooled from 3.9% to 2.1%, Va Beach values are increasing at just 1.3%, and Philadelphia’s value changes are now in neutral at 0.2% growth.

Find out more here.

TOPA Regulations eased for single unit rental units.

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act in Washington DC was passed 30 years ago with good intent.  But as the saying goes, the road to creepy, government-enabled blackmail is paved with such intent.  The law gives tenants to endlessly delay the ability of a landlord to sell their unit but making bogus offers to buy the unit.  Often the landlord gives up and pays them money to go away.  This form of blackmail is rumored to be a $100M annual industry in the District.  The city council was fine with this condition, until homeowners stopped renting their basements or garage units, for fear that they would have to pay to get rid of unwanted TOPA rights bearing extortionists.

The new law cuts the time that the tenant can hold up owners of single family units in half.  All other landlords will have to continue to pay the tribute or face six months of baloney.

Check out the info here.