WTOP's Real Estate Advice Doesn't Work Well in Reality

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

On my drive to show property to buyer clients in my western suburbs of Northern VA today, I listened to WTOP news radio to get caught up on recent events.  As a busy Western Prince William County Real Estate Agent, I can tell you that crawling out from underneath the mound of work can be tough.  This afternoon's rode trip was just the ticket to sit back and listen in.  

When the anchor teased a story about buying and selling homes at the same time, my interest was peaked.  Then came the story.  Ugh.  Let's just say, if you are buying and selling in the western suburbs, the advice is completely unrealistic.  They quoted an agent from my own very large brokerage.  I had never heard of him before, so that meant he probably knew nothing of my local market in Western Prince William County, and other points west.  His advice was to get a sixty day settlement date when negotiating to sell and a sixty day rent back.  During that time frame, I suppose, you are to find your home.  It was inferred, maybe edited out for time.  This agent made it sound super easy to get all your way, stay in your home for four months and then move on.  It doesn't work that well in the western 'burbs.  

For starters, any one-sided negotiation that dictates a seller won't be out of their home for four months from the time you come to an agreement and ratify a contract is pie in the sky.  Buyers looking for homes in Bristow, Gainesville and points west generally expect to be settled in their next home in two months.  SHORT rent backs are more normal, but not rent backs of two months. 

Sellers, who are also buyers, should get their exisiting homes under contract first, THEN go find their home.  Home sale contingencies are not well accepted in the marketplace right now.  The reason is that there are plenty of buyers that don't have a home they have to sell to buy.  So get yours under contract first if you can.

If you can't find a home you love, or can't get a rent back from your buyer, the name of the game is flexibility.  Short term housing becomes key.  Anything shorter than six months in the Gainesville area and you'll need to look at extended stays coupled with storage.  But having sold your existing home gives you the leverage you need to make acceptable offers to sellers.

Just because you can hear WTOP's broadcast, doesn't mean the advice they are giving about real estate is meaningful to you.  All real estate is local.  And yes, Bristow and Gainesville are vastly different markets than points inside the beltway like Arlington or even across the river to Maryland.  In this case, the agent they were quoting sells NO Virginia real estate...or at least none that I could see in the last twelve months.  His advice would be from his own experiences in D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Want advice on buying and selling at the same time in Bristow and Gainesville?  Give me a call.  This is my marketplace and I know it well.


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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

What, the real estate know-it-all from wherever doesn't know the local scene?

Who knew?

I've never heard the four months time frame...

Apr 24, 2016 10:52 AM #1
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Chris Ann, Reading this reminds me of all kinds of bad information out there that people hear and read ... and they believe it to be true.  YIKES !!! 

Apr 24, 2016 11:18 AM #2
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

This sounds insane, Chris Ann. The poor public listening to bad advice from some stupid radio show. If anybody wants the straight scoop on Bristow real estate, they should listen to a real professional with experience, like you.

Apr 24, 2016 11:23 AM #3
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Chis Ann - same story again. Real Estate is local. I had a few instances when wannabe investors pay money to a guru to learn how to make money in real estate using stupid real estate agents...

And then it is one surprise for them after the other. And soon they figure that all they learned does't get them anywhere.

And "stupid agents" who are supposed to be jumping of joy do not want to understand you...

General advice is general, often to nobody

Apr 24, 2016 12:07 PM #4
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Bad advice abounds out there, so I'm glad you're using a platform to clear things up for people that needs GOOD advice when it comes to buying & selling in their local markets.

Apr 29, 2016 08:33 AM #5
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

It's like two totally different world's from where you, Chris Ann Cleland ,practice and what that 'expert' told radio station.

Apr 29, 2016 11:14 AM #6
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192
BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Omigosh these "experts" make me sick.  The buyer is getting a loan . . . wonder how their lender feels about the 4 month rent-back.  They might consider it a rental property at that point and might not like it at all.  Is it considered income and have to be claimed for tax purposes?  

Apr 29, 2016 11:38 AM #7
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Chris Ann, in DC, buyers can expect long settlement dates and long rent backs - which they are usually willing to agree to without charging the sellers anything for their stay- all to make their offer competitive in a totally crazy market.  Or the buyers will agree to a pretty long "home of choice" contingency, which will leave the buyers without a solid contract until their sellers find what they want to move to.  Oh, and often I'm guessing the lender doesn't even see the free rent back!

Apr 29, 2016 01:16 PM #8
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

my primary market is second homes so this isn't something we deal with a lot, but on the last one we did we had back to back closings in the same office and seller/purchasers kept their old home for 3 days.  Bought now construction so it was empty.

Apr 29, 2016 01:21 PM #9
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

Is he also a guest blogger for Zillow, Chris Ann Cleland. I do not know if I have ever heard of such unrealistic advice and counsel in my life. I mean that adice is completely absurd. I bet that didn't help your commute, hearing this advice. BTW, former Reston resident and just had some Manassas people move in down the street, from a person in Arlington (selling their mother's home)!

Apr 29, 2016 01:30 PM #10
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Chris Ann Cleland we hear lots of things on radio and get lots of information when we Google it! To believe it or not is a tough job for consumer.

And that's where it's even more important for them to find a real professional in that area.

Apr 29, 2016 03:52 PM #11
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Chris Ann, For our local market it's rare to see sellers get more than about 3 days post closing to be out of the house.  In general, buyers are buying because they need a place to be NOW, not months from now. 

Apr 29, 2016 09:54 PM #12
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

Being a local station you would think they would check what they were airing and at least talk to a few agents. Hopefully not too many buyers will heed this unfounded advice. cheers cvc

Apr 30, 2016 01:59 AM #13
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

The problem is that the general public hears that and assumes that it works in their marketplace.  Your last line says it all.

Apr 30, 2016 07:47 AM #14
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

On the radio they have been playing a flip homes seminar. They teach you to use someone else's money to flip homes for a fee. 

Who is going?

Apr 30, 2016 01:06 PM #15
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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