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Archive for December 2014

Happy Holidays from Southerland Real Estate!

We at Southerland Real Estate wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Below is a recent testimonial from one of our current clients. We appreciate all feedback and it is our pleasure to serve you into 2015!

Dec 21, 2014


I am trying to catch up all the loose ends. The past several weeks weI have lived in a whirl wind. We wanted to just take a moment and say thanks for your support in the sale of our home in Eagle Point. As you know with all the new construction in our neighborhood the competition is steep in home sales. Many houses stay on the market for over a year. We know that price is a major component of any sale but without exposure one could be giving a home away and have not takers. You and your professional service were excellent in providing the exposure and support we needed to get our home sold. We think it took about six weeks to get it sold. We are confident your expert composing of our listing in the MLS was a key factor in the sale of our home. The picture you took and the way you put them together made our house stand out above many others in the neighborhood listed in the MLS. The folks that bought our house saw the listing on They contacted an agent that had sold them the home they were living in an asked her to set it up. They came in our house and were there for less than twenty minutes. We heard them say yep that is just like the picture, and yep just like the picture and again just like the picture. They did not call the agent and tell her to find them a house they had already done the research and contacted the agent to set up the appointment. The listing as published on with the way you put it together portrayed the house as it really is and generated the interest for someone to come and see. We just wanted you to know that we are so appreciative for your help and support. It was the time of day you recommended and the way you put the listing together that created such a quality listing. The sale went off without a hitch and we are now in a temporary home trying to complete all of our business loose ends before moving to Florida. From both of us we say thanks for all your help and support. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.


Gil and Libby

Real Estate Trends and Updates in Virginia Beach and Surrounding Hampton Roads Areas

According to Zillow, the median sales price for homes in Virginia Beach VA for Sep 14 to Dec 14 was $235,000. This represents a decline of 6%, or $14,900, compared to the prior quarter and a decrease of 1.1% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have appreciated 2.2% over the last 5 years in Virginia Beach. The average listing price for Virginia Beach homes for sale on Trulia was $387,084 for the week ending Dec 10, which represents an increase of 0.3%, or $1,129, compared to the prior week and an increase of 2.2%, or $8,343, compared to the week ending Nov 19. Average price per square foot for Virginia Beach VA was $149, a decrease of 50.8% compared to the same period last year. Popular neighborhoods in Virginia Beach include Northwest, North Central, Dams Neck Naval Air Station, US Navy Little Creek Amphibious Base, and Northeast.

Average price per square foot for Chesapeake VA was $126, an increase of 4.1% compared to the same period last year. The median sales price for homes in Chesapeake VA for Sep 14 to Dec 14 was $235,000 based on 409 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price increased 0%, or $0, and the number of home sales decreased 44.1%. There are currently 2,050 resale and new homes in Chesapeake on Trulia, including 3 open houses, as well as 242 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale in Chesapeake VA was $285,450 for the week ending Dec 10, which represents a decrease of 0.8%, or $2,397, compared to the prior week. Popular neighborhoods in Chesapeake include Greenbrier West and Great Bridges, with average listing prices of $242,924 and $320,736.

The average listing price for Norfolk homes for sale on Trulia was $246,103 for the week ending Dec 10, which represents a decline of 0.3%, or $634, compared to the prior week and a decline of 1.6%, or $4,099, compared to the week ending Nov 19. Popular neighborhoods in Norfolk include Larchmont/Edgewater, East Ocean View, Bay View, Ghent, Colonial Place/Riverview, and Park Place.

December Top Stories in Real Estate News

GSE’s Detail Low Downpayment Program
On December 8, 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released details on new mortgage product offerings that will provide access to qualified borrowers able to put down at least 3%.  Both of the entities will require lenders to use automated underwriting systems to ensure borrowers have additional compensating factors such as history of successful use of credit or cash reserves to ensure they will be successful homeowners.  Lenders will be able start offering Fannie Mae’s product on December 13, 2014, while Freddie Mac will implement the program on March 23, 2015.

FHA 2015 Loan Limits Released
On December 5, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2015 Loan Limits.  FHA’s calculation for maximum loan limits in high cost metropolitan areas of the country will remain at the 2014 level of $625,500. The standard loan limit for lower cost metropolitan areas will remain unchanged at $271,050. Any community that wishes to contest its loan limit must submit an appeal to the Santa Ana Homeownership Center no later than Jan. 5, 2015. An explanation of FHA’s loan limit calculations, FHA loan limit “look up” links and appeal information are provided in FHA’s Mortgagee Letter 2014-25.

2015 VA Loan Limits Released
On December 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its 2015 Loan Limits.  The temporary high cost loan limits, which are currently at 150 percent of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) loan limits, will expire on December 31, 2014.  The 2015 VA loan limits will mirror the 2015 FHFA loan limits.  The loan limits are the amount a qualified Veteran with full entitlement may be able to borrow without making a downpayment. These loan limits vary by county.

FHA Flipping Waiver Expires
On December 10, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced that it will not extend the temporary waiver of FHA’s regulation that prohibits the use of FHA financing to purchase single family properties that are being resold within 90 days of the previous acquisition.  The waiver expires on December 31, 2014.  NAR sent a letter to Commissioner Galante on October 3, 2014 urging FHA to extend the waiver because of the positive effects of the waiver where property rehabilitation and resale of these homes has increased the availability of safe and affordable homes.  In response to a recent a negative HUD Inspector General report, however, FHA decided not to extend the waiver.

Why Fall and Winter are Prime Selling Months in Real Estate

Fall officially began Sept. 23, but that doesn’t mean you should scrap plans for selling your home this year. In fact, October, November and December can actually be good months to sell. Now is the time to plan for it if you’ve even considered putting your home on the market.

For decades, the conventional thinking was that if you missed the spring selling season, you missed the boat. Once summer rolls around and school starts shortly after that, families are more settled, the thinking went, and therefore less inclined to pick up and move (unless a job change or other

Spring is still the busiest time overall. But there’s plenty of action happening after Labor Day through Christmas….

circumstance forced them).

Also, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the January cold snaps follow the start of school. In the past, no one wanted to take time to drive around looking at homes when all of this was happening.

Things have changed. Today’s buyers aren’t necessarily timing a home purchase or sale around school schedules because people tend to settle down later in life and live longer. The result is urban expansion; more single, first-time and millennial buyers as well as baby boomers looking to buy (and sell). Also, a lot of home-shopping, at least initially, happens online and via apps. Buyers don’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to drive around — they can just sit down with a tablet on the couch.

As a result of the Internet, our hectic schedules and mobile lifestyles, the fall months are no longer a real estate dead zone. True, spring is still the busiest time overall. But there’s plenty of action happening after Labor Day through Christmas, enough to make it worth your while to put up the ‘For Sale’ sign.

Here’s why.

Buyers are still out there: As mentioned, buyers never stop looking. A serious buyer is looking at new homes online 24/7, even through the holidays. If the right home appears, they’re ready to move. In fact, it could be that buyers in the early winter months are even more motivated than buyers in warmer months because there is less going on. They have fewer distractions and are laser focused on finding a home.

There’s less competition: A lot of people still buy into the old thinking that real estate slows to a crawl by October and virtually stops from Thanksgiving until, say, Valentine’s Day. As a consequence, many potential sellers figure there’s no reason to go on the market during these months. So they wait for spring. And that’s good news for you, because less inventory on the market = less competition for you.

Even January can be a good time to sell: By now you’re probably thinking about all the disruptions to your life that selling a home during the holidays might cause. For instance, you’re in the middle of wrapping Christmas gifts when your agent calls. She wants you to leave the house right away so she can bring a motivated buyer by for another look.

If the potential for disruptions concerns you, put your home on the market in January. Inventory will still be very tight, and there will still be buyers out there looking. In fact, with the holidays over, there may even be more buyers out in January than in December. Also, January buyers may be more motivated. They’ve started doing their taxes and realize they need to buy. Or they’ve set a New Year’s resolution to buy a home within the next 12 months.

Ultimately, as we enter the final quarter of 2014, there will no doubt be plenty of motivated buyers in the market, searching for just the right home at a time when there’s less inventory. Doesn’t that sound like a good time to sell?

Courtesy of AOL

Holiday Home Decorating even the Smallest Space

Christmas is our most favorite time of the year! Even though your space might be outgrowing yourself, thanks to Zillow, there are a few great tips for decorating even the smallest space…

Do you live in a small space and feeling challenged when it comes to holiday decorating options? Just because that 8-foot Noble Fir won’t fit in your living area, doesn’t mean your vision of holiday decorating and celebration should be squelched. Check out these 10 decor ideas for the holidays, and you’ll be set for the cheer of the season.

Dress your door

Your front door sets the tone for what is happening on your interior. Dress your front door with an evergreen swag adorned in elements showcased within your home.

A bit of wired ribbon, branches and feathers can do the trick — and be scaled to an appropriate size for your space.

Leverage your side tables

Let side tables do their part by dressing them with decorative and functional elements. A dining sideboard can work double duty holding cheery napkins, small gifts and silverware overflow for your holiday guests.

Create a table setting

Mix and match holiday dishes with china and chargers. Layer in holiday napkins and table linens for a simple, yet beautiful addition to your decor.

Try setting the table a few hours before the party so guests can enjoy the sophisticated or whimsical look. Don’t forget to incorporate the dining chairs, too, by adding a greenery detail to the back of the chair or a patterned pillow to the seat.

Show off a garland

Your banister or railings can add to your holiday decor, too. Take fresh garland to new heights with a string of lights and wired ribbon. Simply blend in ornaments you may typically use on a tree, layering different colors and textures for depth.

Spruce up your bar cart

If space is limited, you might not be able to hang every ornament you own on a tree, but there’s no reason to keep them all boxed up, either. Look for unexpected places to add in the color of ornaments by trying them on a bar cart, kitchen bowl or over a bathroom doorway for added sparkle.


Begin a countdown

Walls and mantles can be an incredible asset for small space holiday decorating. The December countdown is easy with an advent calendar in the form of garland. Drape your wall or mantle with the numbered fabric piece and add in holiday goodies to be discovered each day of the month.

Create a sweet treat

When hosting guests, whip up desserts and drinks that reflect the holidays and your decor. Cupcakes with sprinkles or even a hot cocoa bar for kids can instantly create a reason for holiday celebration.

The trays, cake stand or plates you place them on can make a difference, too, so be sure to take that into consideration when displaying your treats.

Celebrate stockings

Stockings are a personal element that can add a festive feel to your holiday decor.  Monogram stockings for family, friends or pets so all feel included in the celebration.

Choose fabrics that complement your interior while adding interest to the season. Throughout the month, tuck gifts into each stocking to keep them guessing!