Quarterly Real Estate Guide

Crystal Ball Time: Top Realtors Assess State of Market

(Monday, July 16, 2007 5:14 AM EDT)

Sun Gazette reporters and editors Kristen Armstrong, Dave Facinoli, Kaitlin Hartnett, Rolly Strauss and Brian Trompeter surveyed top Realtors from the local area, asking them for opinions on the status of the Northern Virginia real estate market in the second half of the year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, responses varied significantly - from strongly bullish on the upcoming market, to pessimistic on the future.

Here are excerpts from the responses.

Rafael Beltran, Realtor, Long & Foster: “We're going to have a very steady coming out of the red in real estate by the end of the year. Spring 2008 is going to be phenomenal. I do strongly believe that the turnaround and change in real estate is coming faster than we anticipated. We are not in the same time as we were in the 1980s. It is a different economy and a different geo-political state. We're going to be booming next year!”

Suzanne Fauber, senior associate Realtor, Buck & Associates: “I think sellers who need to sell and who price their properties appropriately will sell. Buyers who need to buy will get extremely good prices on houses they want to purchase, with a fair amount of contingencies. I don't think the prices are really going to go down any more, but within the contracts and within the deals themselves, there's going to be a lot of give and take.”

Erick Portillo, associate agent, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors: “Prices are going to go up by the next year. I believe it's going to be the normal market, with a seven-percent appreciation. Sellers willing to sell need to get their properties in good condition . . . that helps the market.”

Mike Flott, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors: “I see the market picking up, and I think I've noticed it recently both in sales and rentals. There seems to be more interest, and probably some incentive to go ahead and buy before the market really changes. Interest rates have actually gone up, but they've gone down a little bit recently, so that might provide an incentive for people to go out and buy.”

Terrie Dietrich, sales associate, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors: “[The market] will be wonderful. My hope is that it continues the way it is. I see it in an upward swing. I see more confidence in the market, certainly in the upper bracket. I haven't seen much falling out, as long as the house is well-located and well-priced. I've been doing this for 21 years, and even when the market is bad, it's good.”

Marshall Ramsey, Realtor, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors: “It's still going to be slow. I believe that house prices will decrease another five to 10 percent across the whole region.”

Mark Middendorf, Weichert, Realtors, Arlington: “I think the market is going to pick up. We've been through a long enough adjustment period, from the sellers' market that it was to a more even market where buyers aren't afraid to buy. Sellers are more willing to think about price. Good properties that are priced well are selling. Interest rates have remained steady and actually are up as of a week ago. I think that's giving buyers confidence.”

Maggie Earnest, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “There's been an increase in inventory. Some buyers will be motivated to buy now, because the prices are low and interest rates have gone up a little. Rather than wait during the second half of the year, we'll see them setting up to make a purchase.”

Susan Gassman, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “I thought we were at a point where prices had hit the bottom, but we have a ways to go. I still see buyers putting in lower offers. At the same time, I see sellers saying ‘this is as low as I'm going to go' and will take their homes off the market and wait until it gets better. I tell them it could be a couple years.”

Jenny Guinness, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “I expect the market to follow much the same pattern as last year, with an increase in sales in September and October, and falling off towards the end of the year. Overall, I expect some improvement over last year, building to significant improvement in 2008.”

Karen Chipman, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “The fact of the matter is that none of us know, because the market has been somewhat unusual and unpredictable. But I think the trend in the immediate future, for the next few months, is going to be kind of the same as it has been. It will continue to fluctuate in a narrow range. After that, I think the trend will be upward.”

Jennifer Harper Thornett, sales associate, Re/Max Distinctive: “I hope that it will continue to get better. Interest rates are slowly going up, and buyers get the message that now is the time to buy. Hopefully, we'll continue to bridge the gap between sellers and buyers, and get more deals done. I think the market is still in an adjustment period, but it's healthy.”

Suzanne Simon, vice president and managing broker, Long & Foster, Arlington: “My hunch is the market will be better than last year, and the reason for that is because people have adjusted. The buyers are not as afraid to buy, because they're not seeing as much bad press about it not being the time to buy. Sellers have gotten more realistic. I think there will be somewhat of an improvement from last year's second half of the year. ”

Bob Clark, Long & Foster: “I believe the second half of the year is going to be quite good. The economy's prospects are good, unemployment is low, interest rates are still quite low. I'm very optimistic about it.”

Stephanie Barker Gréault, Realtor, Long & Foster, Arlington: “I think, as usual, the summer is going to be slower, and I think fall usually is slower, too. It's a time when the market, to me, is very stagnant. Last year proved to be that way. With interest rates inching up to going on seven percent, I don't think that's going to help.”

Ron Cathell, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty: “[The market] is just going to keep trucking, doing what it's doing now, which, in perspective, is simply outstanding. We are so blessed and fortunate to be in Arlington, where the real estate market is still vibrant. Elsewhere around the country, it is comatose. . . The market is doing fine, and I think for Arlington, the market is really at equilibrium right now. The pendulum has swung, and it is sitting at the middle right now.”

Carol Temple, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage: “I am seeing a lot of strength. I am seeing buyers paying asking prices. Now, that goes hand in hand with the asking price being valid. Buyers have to see value and when they do, they're paying it. I think I have seen a lot of strength all year long, but I'm seeing steady sales starting. I'm very optimistic that we're going to have a very strong second half of the year.”

Russell Arkin, Realtor, Re/Max Distinctive: “I am optimistic about the second half of the year, because I think, as time has gone on, there is a greater understanding of the market both by buyers and sellers. When there's a more common understanding of market conditions, homes tend to sell.”

Marta Roy, land and custom home sales, Long & Foster, McLean-Dolley Madison: “I think it's going to perk up, and there are already signs of the market starting to get better. But I'm really talking about the land market, not the house market. There's more activity and I'm putting more things under contract and settling on a lot. The first sixth months was absolutely quiet, but last month showed nice signs of picking up.”

Steve Wydler, associate broker, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “If interest rates hold, we're going to have a strong fall, frankly. And I think prices are going to hold. I don't see them appreciating too much, if at all. I think the market is at an equilibrium, and I think buyers and sellers are of equal mind set, and people are more reasonable these days.”

Bill Wright, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “I think that we're not going to be particularly active. I think it's going to be more on the slow side than on the fast side. From what I'm seeing out there, stuff closer to town will continue to sell well, and stuff farther out of the onion is going to remain slow.”

Steve Klintberg, associate broker and sales manager, Buck & Associates: “Inside the Beltway, prices have adjusted, so the market will be more stable. There is still a lot of demand for the high-quality, closer-in neighborhoods. Buyers who have been cautious and have not made a purchase due to caution may feel that the market has stabilized. The location and strength of community will be very important to them. Well-priced, well-maintained homes in the Arlington and McLean areas are selling in a good amount of time, and selling for the asking price.”

Billy Buck, associate broker, Buck & Associates: “I think we're going to do better than the nationwide market. The media plays up that the market isn't good, but looking locally, in Arlington and Metro-specific areas inside the Beltway, I see that they will be up three to five percent.”

Dotty Abt, associate broker, Buck & Associates: “I think interest rates are good for the remainder of the year, and I know houses are selling, and I think that will continue. The job market is great here. If the houses are overpriced and not in shape, they're going to sit there. But even million-dollar houses that are priced right are getting double offers, which doesn't tell me that the market is that far off.”

Denis Rose, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “I think that we, in the first half of the year, have seen some spotty changes, depending on where you are. If you're closer in to the District, you tend to have more stable sales, stable pricing and so on. As we go into the second half of the year, I expect to see a continuation of that. The biggest thing we have in the area causing an increase in sales and prices is the fact we have a very solid job market.”

Lynne Lilly, Realtor, Long & Foster, Arlington: “I think the market is going to continue to be relatively slow. I think it's going to continue in outer markets in the area, and maybe slow down even more. Closer-in markets will probably stay fairly stable. If houses are priced properly, I think they will sell within 30 days of listing.”

Janet Gresh, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Elm Street: “Now that the frantic heat of the past several years has left the market, we are back to a more typical situation. Appreciation will be at traditional rates. There are very solid values for both sellers and buyers in this market, especially for those who understand that the market has shifted gears.”

Clyde Lamond, Realtor, Armfield, Miller & Ripley: [The market] is getting better already. The market for the $500,000 to million is starting to wake up. We're beginning to see some activity in modest priced houses. We're getting calls and good showings. Our firm is reasonably on schedule for its possibly best year ever. I see this as a very positive year.”

Heidi Ellenberger Jones, Realtor, Buck & Associates: “I think the second half of the year will be strong. In the last month, I have seen a lot of movement in the upper brackets, and inventory has started to diminish.”

Mark McFadden, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, McLean: “The last six months of this year are going to be very consistent. The key for sellers is to continue to stay very close to market value, that means within 10 percent of what the market value is. We're closer to the comparables of 2004, because 2005 was unrealistic. All of our listings are selling, because we make sure they're in turnkey condition before going on the market. They have to be positioned correctly or they will sit, soak and sour.”

Karen Close, associate broker, Long & Foster, Arlington: “I think it is stronger than some people have determined. It is still very price-driven, but when properties are properly valued, there are buyers to buy them. Arlington is that warm little place with extra insulation, so I'm speaking about the Arlington market; Loudoun County is actually a different animal. For my area, it's still a very strong market.”

Lisa DuBois, Realtor, Re/Max Allegiance: “The rest of 2007 will definitely be better than 2006. The summer is starting off a little slow. I would expect the rest of the year to pick up, and it will be active this fall.”

John Stacey, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “It's just going to fluctuate a little bit until mid-September; and then will gradually pick up and stay strong through November. We have weeks now where it will pick up and then it will slow down. This summer is going to be traditionally slow, but we will see a gradual pick up and it will stay in place through next year.”

Cindy Jones, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean-Dolley Madison: “We're seeing continued nervousness among buyers. I'm encouraging my buyers to watch the market continually and be aware that our favorable interest rates won't last forever. So from that standpoint, it's a good time to buy. It's a tough market, but there are some real good buys out there - there really are some exceptional values out there and great interest rates now.”

Barbara Bubel, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean: “Those chaotic times are behind us. I believe sellers and buyers have pretty much reconditioned themselves to the condition the market is in. It's a solid market.”

Martha Williams, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “The confidence level is low ,and I think it will more or less stay the same. Some sellers may opt to rent. That will take some houses off the market.”

Claudette Schwartz, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean: “I'm looking forward to a very productive fall market.”

Sharon Hayman, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “I don't speculate, but location and condition are still the dominating factor.”

Tatiana Moody, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean: “I wish I knew. I expect it to be stable for Northern Virginia.”

Nancy Marsh, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “I think it will be stronger because we are starting to see more houses under contract with a lot of people moving into the area.”

Casey Margenau, associate broker, Casey Margenau & Associates, Re/Max Distinctive: “Basically, it will be a mirror image of the first half. We still have an oversupply of houses. Houses priced correctly will sell.”

Barbara Johnson, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “I'm optimistic and I think things will pick up in October, November and December.”

Linda Kleman-Minton, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “I think the market is changing quite a bit, because of the Internet.”

Hala Adra, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “I think the second half will bring more reasonable sellers, because they will realize the old-day prices won't work any more, and interest rates will make buyers act sooner.”

Nancy Harvey Steorts, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “I think it will be stronger, as long as sellers price their property right, it is in excellent condition, things are updated, and the house is repainted and the walls are clean.”

Carol Ellickson, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “We have a very healthy market. I've had a better market this year than all of last year, and I had a good year last year. It's a fair market and a healthy market, and if a buyer can find a good house, they should buy it. There are buyers out there, just waiting for the right house to come up.”

Nikki Ryan, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “Homes that are priced properly and in good condition will continue to sell.”

Robin Hill, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “My impression of the market frankly is that the buyers are out there. The showings are increasing all the time, more and more people are getting on the bandwagon. Still, the same four things are always going to be true to make things happen to get the property sold: location, (something sellers cannot do anything about, only adjust their price to compensate), condition of the property . . . having access to the property . . . and, four, having a good and experienced Realtor.”

Caris Erickson, Realtor, Long & Foster, Arlington: “My business gets better as the year goes on, so I'm hoping for more of the same.”

Patrick Evans, Realtor, Long & Foster, Arlington: “I would think things will chug along through probably September and starting September and October, we'll see a little bit of a resurgence. The second half of the year will be pretty good, but who knows.”

Andrew Markowitz, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “I think the market is fine. Sellers still need to understand it's not what it was three and four years ago. They're not going to get contracts in a day or two. Sellers have an expectation of what they want for their house, and the market always wins. So pricing your house right and listening to your agent is more important than ever right now.”

Marisa Zaneis, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “We're going into a challenging market, especially with July and August, because there's a lot for buyers to look at. It's hard for sellers to get the right buyers - the buyers who are ready to make a decision. But it's a great time for buyers because they have an opportunity to get a nice property and to get what they want.”

Shannon Frye, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “Short and sweet, I feel really good about it. It's picked up, the buyers feel more hopeful and sellers are seeing more buyers around.”

Jean Gorman, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “Many of the people who have been renting for the past year because they got priced out of the market feel they have a better shot now. I am seeing some nervousness - and the media is not helping - but the truth is that people have to live somewhere, and interest rates are great. The market is still busy if the house shows right and is priced right.”

Lou Muscarella, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “I'm still actively working with both buyers and sellers. Sellers should expect their houses to stay on the market three to six to nine months, and that will continue. And buyers are taking their time, they have more choice and will continue to negotiate for the best deal.”  

Barbara Farmer, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “It's going to be a good rest of 2007. There are a good number of buyers out there who are being cautious and looking for values in properties. In the fall, we're going to see a pretty good market.”

David Swartzbaugh, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “It will be continuing flat, as we've been experiencing recently. Inside the Beltway, as in Arlington, will be strong and only get stronger.”

Chris Fraley, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “What will the market bring? I wish I knew that! Usually, September picks up for me when everyone gets back to town, and just around year's end I will have people buying. And I hope that's going to happen again this year.”

Shelley McLaughlin, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “There's plenty of inventory and the interest rates are low, so that's a win-win situation for buyers now. I'm looking forward to a wonderful fall. With everyone coming back from vacation, I'm expecting an active real estate market as we approach the holiday season and the end of the year.”

Marci Allingham, associate broker, Re/Max Allegiance: “I think it's going to be a very solid year; and that it's going to improve gradually, and we can look forward to that.”

Barbara Fabiani, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Dolley Madison: “It's bringing more realistic prices, and I'm also seeing lot of traffic at open houses now. Summer is slower anyway, with people on vacation and not making any decisions. Everyone keeps saying buyers are still wanting to wait, but I think we'll see things moving in the fall.”

Diane Lewis, Realtor, The Lewis Team, Long & Foster, McLean: “There are some good opportunities for buyers right now. There's a lot of inventory, and I don't think it's going change much through the fall. But interest rates have crept up a tiny bit this past week, and some people think they will go up again in August, [although] in August, the D.C. market is dead. A lot of sellers need to sell, so it is a really good time for buyers to hop on good properties, and they are going to get a better rate now.”

Aileen Fauntleroy, Realtor, Century 21 New Millennium, Arlington: “If the house looks good and is priced right, it's still going to move. That's the key - everywhere. Pricing is hard to figure out, and houses that are clean but are looking tired are going to be hard to move, because buyers want everything fixed up. They can get that now, as there are so many houses to choose from.”

Alice Chambers, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Vienna: “The market is stable and has leveled off, and I see the real estate market continuing about the same as it is now. I don't see it increasing or decreasing. Houses that are priced correctly - and that means not exorbitantly - will sell. Buyers and sellers are realistic with what the market has to offer today. I am extremely busy, and I'm happy with the volume of business I am doing, and I'm very grateful and thankful for all of my business.”

Robyn Norbert, Realtor, Long & Foster, Vienna: “One is always looking for a pattern, but there's no consistency or pattern now. Things picked up last spring and now it's flat again in June and July. But good houses in excellent condition, desirable location, and priced according to what's recently sold are getting attention and are selling. When everyone gets back after Labor Day, activity will increase throughout the end of the year, and then slow down again after the holidays and that'll be it for the year.”

Carol Walker, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Tysons Corner: “The second half is going to be better. The buyers are still skittish between the economy, war, gas prices and interest rates. The interest rates are higher than they have been. It puts people on edge. During September and October, I believe the market will pick up. People get back to work and can concentrate on looking for a home.”

Francesca Gutowski, Realtor, Long & Foster, McLean: “For the second half of this year, I feel the economy is still strong and we still have job growth in this area. We have buyers. People are still out there looking. If sellers are realistic about pricing, then I think we still have a strong market and we have real estate that will be moving.”

Kate Ryan, associate broker, Long & Foster, McLean: “I think you will see renewed confidence on the part of the buyers, but from a very careful, evaluative point with respect to prices. My sense is that prices will still settle down a little bit. I think we'll finish the year a little bit lower than we are now, but I think spring will have good energy. I think we're seeing a return to fair-mindedness on the part of the sellers. I think that bodes well. Balanced markets are healthier for everybody.”

Tim Anderson, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “I can confidently say it's the best time that we've had for buyers for quite some time.”

Helen Flynn, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “What is priced well and marketed well and staged well is selling. But prices need to be realistic.”

Deneen Davis, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Great Falls: “I have a lot of investors who are looking to buy, and it's a good time for buyers to purchase foreclosures, a lot of good homes and deals out there right now. All my listings are selling really well, and I'm having a great year.”

June Crisan, Realtor, Long & Foster, Great Falls: “I think the next six months will continue to be slow, because we're coming out of our normal busy season. There are a rising number of properties and a smaller number of buyers. People are reading articles in the paper and seeing reports on CNN that property values will drop by about 25 percent. It's sending people into a little bit of a panic. I don't see prices dropping, and I see a recovery next year.”

Bill Alewine, associate broker, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, Potomac, Md.: “It will be very soft. It looks like it's a duplication of the early 1990s. It's going to be after the presidential election before it shapes up. We're already seeing a lot of foreclosures throughout the metro area. Virginia hasn't hit bottom, but they're sure sliding fast in terms of prices and time on market. There are a lot of people upside down in these houses.”

Kimberly Cestari, Realtor, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, Washington, D.C.: “As an agent who does business in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, I can say Virginia is much slower than D.C. or Maryland. It's a buyer's market. In Northern Virginia, there's so much more inventory on the market, both in single-family homes and townhomes. People have a choice and the time to make a selection.”

Fred Spurlock, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Vienna: “I think it will be very active. I'm busy as can be. I think the rental business is incredibly active. I don't see it slowing down. I would hope that the inventory is reduced as buyers find a way to move forward. It's an excellent time for buyers to be looking for a good value.”

Lynda Tews, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean: “Our local real estate market is not the same market as the one being portrayed by national media. In fact, many Realtors are ahead of their sales figures from last year. Our local economy remains very strong, which is key to keeping the local housing market strong. The closer a property is to the center of our market area, the stronger the market demand.”

Nihal Beidas, Realtor, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, a Long & Foster Company, McLean: “The real estate market will continue to improve, slowly but surely. More serious buyers and sellers are active now. Sellers have accepted the fact of pricing their property right if they want it sold. And buyers are more active in making offers as they watch how properties are selling faster - within 30 days, if the price is right. The market will be fairly active in the fall.”

Kim Sharifi, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Old Dominion: “The market has slowed down since May and I'm hoping it will pick up in September and October. I'm very hopeful for next year. I feel like we've been slow for two years, and it's time for things to get better.”

David Cooper, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, McLean-Old Dominion: “Historically, the market picks up in September. There's no indication that it won't do that. More and more people have been coming to open houses, which is a good sign, compared with last fall. I think the market will definitely pick up. The Washington area is constantly developing new jobs. There is always a need for housing. People want to live close to where they work. Because of that, the market inside the Beltway will be stronger than outside the Beltway.”

J.D. Callander, Realtor, Weichert, Realtors, Chesterbrook: “It's an incredible time for buyers out there. The interest rates are staying low. For sellers, their properties are moving, as long as they are realistic about pricing and the properties are marketed aggressively and presented appropriately. For buyers, don't be concerned about the short term. If you plan to live in a property for three-plus years, there's no doubt the market will go up in value. I look at continued growth in the population.”

Sharron Jones, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Vienna: “The market is going to stay stable, about what it is now. Properties are selling if they're immaculate and priced right. If people are not willing to have the house in pristine, perfect condition and price it at basically a drama price, then the house not going to move. As always, when there is a lot of inventory on the market, buyers are going to be able to find a picture-perfect house and be able to still do their home inspections, ask for closing costs and get a reasonable price.”

Joy Deevy, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Alexandria: “This area has the lowest unemployment rate nationwide, which is why the real estate market will always be strong around here. When the fall season happens, there's a psychological change for buyers. People decide they want to make a change with their lives. They decide to move. I've seen this trend for the past five years.”

Bret Brock, principal broker, Brock Realty, Arlington: “I think interest rates will recede a little bit. We've seen them rise in the last six to eight weeks. They'll probably come down by a quarter or half a point. I think that will allow buyers to gain more confidence, be bit more aggressive and able to afford more of a house. We've seen pretty good [sales] activity with houses under $1 million. Above $1.5 million it's been more difficult. I still think the condo market will be relatively soft, because there's so much supply.”

Erin Donahue, Realtor, Brock Realty, Arlington: “My suspicion is things will be fairly stable inside the Beltway. Farther outside the Beltway - for example, in Loudoun County - I'm seeing a further drop in prices and more days on the market. Typically, the things that move have been updated and remodeled. I'd expect that trend to continue.”

Ann Wilson, Realtor, Re/Max Allegiance: “I think the Arlington real estate market is going to be good. People have fallen prey to a lot of negative press. [The media] are in business to sensationalize news. It's definitely not a buyer's market, as people believe. I see Arlington continuing to be a strong market. It will become stronger. People will get over their fears of putting their home on the market. It may sit there a week or two longer, but it will sell.”

Eleni “Lena” Bonds, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Baltimore: “Virginia is saturated with houses on the market. It's definitely a buyer's market. Most buyers are hoping the bottom of the market will drop out and that they'll end up getting an amazing deal. I don't think that's going to happen. The markets are pretty neutral now. Things are not plummeting, it's just that they're not increasing as fast as they were in the past four years.”

Carol Temple, sales associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Arlington: “The first half of 2007 has been very, very strong and I expect the second half to be equally as strong, if not more so. I do believe it's crucial that sellers price their properties appropriately. That means no room for negotiation, pricing it where you think it will sell. The property also has got to be in top condition. The sellers with whom I work, who take my advice and direction with regard to staging the property, their properties sell for top dollar and in a relatively short time frame.”

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