2020. A year for the ages.

Loudoun County, Virginia has always been an opportunistic location to plant family roots, but in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic, the lowest mortgage rates in decades, and low housing inventory made Loudoun even more of a hotspot for buyers looking to socially distance and embrace more suburban lifestyles.

At 15 West Homes, we were grateful to help more than 30 families either buy, sell, or rent a home this year, leading to more than $14 million in total sales volume. This was in great part due to the expansion of our team and continued support of our community.

Year in Review metrics graphic for 15 West Homes
  • Sales Volume = $14,147,000
  • Total transactions = 32
  • Buyers Served = 16
  • Sellers Served = 10
  • Renters Service = 6

In 2021, we look forward to once again serving families joining us, saying goodbye to, and staying put in Northern Virginia, in a year that’s shaping up to be one of the hottest seller’s market in Loudoun County’s history.

A graph looking at the 2020 real estate trends in Loudoun County, Virginia

The biggest challenge for buyers looking to move to Loudoun County in 2021 will be inventory. Over the last 20 years, there have only been 19 months where there were less than 800 active listings in Loudoun; 11 of those months were in 2020, and we can anticipate December being the 12th. This means buyers need to move quickly, while continuing to do their due diligence in terms of choosing the right home, making sure it’s inspected, and putting in a great offer.

On the flip side, sellers have a great opportunity to make some money on their real estate investments in 2021. Not only is inventory down and demand up, prices are soaring. Through November 2020, average sales price in Loudoun County was up more than $35,000 versus 2019; and in the second half of the year that number climbed to nearly $50,000 more. Additionally, offers are coming in quickly as homes are lasting a mere 18 days on the market on average in 2020 compared to 41 days in 2019.

All indications for the foreseeable future show that homes in Loudoun County will continue to sell. Low mortgage rates paired with the need for additional space in the suburbs, makes Loudoun an ideal location for families looking to move on from city life and take in the great outdoors.

Whether you’re looking to move to Loudoun County and enjoy the many things our community has to offer or you’re looking to move even further out of Washington, D.C.’s metropolitan region, 15 West Homes is here to help you whether you’re selling, buying, renting, or staying put.

Market stats provided by Dulles Area Association of Realtors®

I like to address topics in my monthly newsletter that come up when I’m talking with clients. This month, I’d like to talk about Zillow’s “Zestimates.” A Zestimate is Zillow’s term for their estimated value of your home. While sometimes it is pretty accurate (they give a range), other times it isn’t. In fact, the CEO of Zillow apparently said the Zestimate for his own home was not accurate!

It makes sense, if you think about it. After all…

How would Zillow know exactly what upgrades you have in your house?

They look at the zip code, the assessed value in the public record, the square footage, and what comparable homes based on those factors have sold for.

But there is no way for them to know if you’ve just upgraded your kitchen, renovated your Master Bath, or if your home has good landscaping and curb appeal (worth a lot, to be sure!).

Some zip codes (like ones in Loudoun and Fairfax County) often have multiple high schools — and certainly many elementary and middle schools. Some may be higher ranked than others, affecting property values, but Zillow doesn’t account for that.

Loudoun-County-homes

Other things Zillow misses: finished basements (since many weren’t properly permitted if done after settlement), busy streets, and desirability of a lot based on views, trees, privacy, etc. And last but not least, structural and systems improvements like a new roof, new HVAC unit, or new hot water heater add value to your home, but Zillow wouldn’t know about these, either.

As I like to say, “Friends don’t let friends rely on Zestimates!”

It’s important to get a more accurate feel from a local Realtor® if you’re giving serious consideration to selling your home. Call or email us if you’d like us to do a free analysis of your home’s value. We’ll take all the above factors into account.

One more caveat about using Zillow for home searches: Because they syndicate the information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that Realtors® like us have access to, there’s a lag of a day or two on new listings and in reporting homes that have already gone under contract. This makes a big difference when looking for a home in this competitive market. You also won’t always be able to see Coming Soon listings in Zillow. That’s why it’s always good to be working with a Realtor® who can set you up with a customized daily email of listings directly from the MLS that fit your criteria…and that contains the most current information to give you the advantage you need vs. other buyers. Let us know if you’d ever like us to set up a search tool for you!