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Northern VA Real Estate News - The BELT Way!

4 Tips For Downsizing


The Belt Team works with many clients who are downsizing. (We like to call it "right sizing.") So why do people think about moving "down" and how can you simplify the process? Here are the most common reasons our clients "right size" to a smaller home:

  • Travel - A smaller home is easier to maintain. And that means they can travel more - visit grandchildren - or take those trips they've always dreamed of. This is not uncommon with empty nesters.

  • Health - Sometimes their current home is just too much to take care of on top of whatever health concerns they are dealing with.

  • Financial Freedom - Some people bite off more than they can chew. Or their priorities change (or their job situation) and they don't want to be tied down to a big mortgage payment.

  • Commuting Time - Buying a condo or townhouse closer to the city might be enticing after commuting an hour each way in order to have that single family home.

  • Age - Perhaps it's time to move into a community where you can get the extra assistance you need and/or have more opportunity for recreation and cultural activities. And maybe it's time for a place without stairs.

4 Tips To Simplify Downsizing:

1. Plan Ahead

Schedule appointments with your financial advisor, your Realtor and your lender. Each one will walk you through a variety of things you'll need to either do or think about: cash flow, market conditions, important amenities, lifestyle changes, tax considerations & more.

And don't wait until you HAVE to move. As soon as the thought crosses your mind - start gathering information. This will make it SO much less stressful when the time comes. My parents moved several years ago. After 30+ years in the same town, the move was emotional. They didn't "have to" move at the time, but they were starting to think about things like stairs and maintenance of such a large home. Not long after they moved, Dad fell & became very ill. If they had still been living in the big house, his road back to "normalcy" would have been long extended. But since they were in their condo by that time, he was able to come home so much sooner. Looking back now, they are so happy they moved when they did.

2. Start Educating Yourself To The Market

Online searches are a great way to see what your money will buy AND see what range your current home might sell for. You may find you have to compromise some of your wish list or you might find your money buys more than you think.

3. Family Is An Easy Way To Simplify

If you have children (or grandchildren) who may benefit from some of the "things" you're ready to let go of, but you're not ready for those cherished items to leave the family; make family holidays a "shopping time". Send each visitor home with a (re)gift! You could also enlist one of the younger generation to help you sell unwanted items on Craig's List. Offer them a percentage of the sales - and you have a win-win. Less clutter for your home. And you're helping teach entrepreneurial skills & hard work!

4. Open House Instead of Garage Sale

When my parents moved, they had an open house. It was like a garage sale, except the items were free. They were moving from a huge house where they entertained a lot - to a smaller condominium, and Mom had so many lovely things she just didn't use any more. She wanted to know that they were going to someone who would enjoy using them the way she did. We set up tables and displayed all the items - silver platters, crystal, percolaters, linens. Mom invited folks over - a number of whom were friends in my generation. They were so excited. I still have a friend who talks about how awesome Mom's turkey roaster is! (They don't make them like they used to.) Not only did this help clear her house of clutter and make moving easier - it was also a nice way for Mom to connect with folks before she moved.

The Belt Team has helped hundreds of clients downsize. And some on our team have even downsized themselves! If "rightsizing" is in your future, call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We are happy to meet with you and walk you through all kinds of helpful ideas to help you make the RIGHT move!

The Belt Team's Mission Statement is "Changing Lives For The Better". if it's time to change yours, call (703) 242-3975 today!

3 Ways To Survive The Real Estate Jungle

An experience with a longtime friend got us thinking about the Northern VA real estate market and how it’s become a jungle out there. “Kill or be killed” as the saying goes.

Monday morning we got a Facebook message from our friend Tarzan that said “So Jane and I stopped by an open house yesterday just for grins . . . Uh Oh Chongo, we need The Belt Team!“. (Note: Names changed to fit the jungle theme – and to protect our clients.)

Apparently Tarzan & Jane had been debating over the past few months whether or not to renovate their current home – or whether to buy another home that was already updated. As part of their decision process, they had been stopping in to open houses to see what was out there, what other people had done and how much homes were going for. They weren’t ready to jump in to anything. Just gathering info.

But lo & behold, they walked into an open house on Sunday and fell in love. Hence the call to our team.

Well, if you have been following our Northern VA real estate blog, you know the market is crazy – with many areas (maybe even most areas) in a Seller’s Market. The home Tarzan & Jane were interested in had gone on the market the previous Friday. So, by the time they contacted us it had been for sale for 3 days. We reached out to the listing agent on their behalf and it turned out they had already received a contract and were close to ratifying it. Unfortunately, Trazan & Jane did not already have a loan approval letter (since they were not “serious” about buying until they saw this home). Jane works for a credit union and could make that happen quickly. But the Seller preferred the “bird in the hand”, did not want to wait and so their dream home home sold to another buyer.

Moral of the story? It’s a jungle out there! Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell now – or whether you’re just thinking about it – you have to proceed like animals do in the jungle. 

Read the 3 tips to survive the real estate jungle on our blog. (Hint - you have to "Act Like A Cheetah, Protect Like A Lion, Eat Like An Elephant"!)



Contact Information

Keller Williams Realty
The Belt Team
6820 Elm Street
McLean VA 22101
(703) 242-3975