There will be some effect from the elections on house sales, though not a huge effect. First, as Cindy notes, some senators, congressmen, and staffers are permanent (or semi-permanent) residents of the area. Not all of them, of course. Some congressional staffers will go home. And certainly the newly elected senators and representatives will bring some staffers with them. The same applies to politically-connected positions within the Executive Branch--not just the White House but Cabinet-level departments, too. And that'll apply whether Obama or McCain wins. (More for Obama, but even a McCain election will result in many changes of personnel.)
Having said all that, what's the effect on the real estate market? At best, a slight to moderate effect in some of the closer-in areas--District of Columbia, Arlington, and some areas of Montgomery and Fairfax Counties. Farther out, such as in Prince William County, I see less of an effect. People who work for the Administration--or for representatives or senators--put in long days. They need to be available on short notice. And so Prince William County isn't at the top of most of their lists.
In short, I wouldn't look to the elections to spur a big surge in real estate activity. And November is somewhat late in the fall, anyhow.
The fall isn't a bad time to put your home on the market, though spring generally is better. I'd recommend making your decision without attempting to factor in any effect from the November elections. That effect will be minor at best, and at the far end of the fall real estate season.
Hope that helps.
Fall is a good time to sell but is it a better time to sell than Spring? Not always. Serious buyers are out at all times of the year including holidays. The best way to sell your home is to price it right, make sure it is in great condition and market it well no matter what season you decide to sell.
The election this year brings an interesting twist to the Northern Virginia real estate market however there are a couple of potential pieces to your question. First the change in administraton does not mean a surge in home sales in our area. Many of the staff of the current administration whether they are congressman, senators or presidental are permanent residents of our area already. For those new staff memebers coming in rentals are big as how long they might be here is a question.
If you are asking whether a change in administration might bring a change to our current housing issues in PW County that is a different question. One thing to consider is at the end of this year the higher FHA loan limits are scheduled to disappear making a home at the your price point out of reach once again for FHA buyers. Conventional loans are getting harder and harder for a buyer with less than perfect credit to obtain and interest raters are currently inching up.
I live and work in PW County so am always watching the market here. Have you done an indepth price check on your home in the last 60 days?
I do not work on your market, so directly I cannot advise you. However, I do have a couple of suggestions:
1. Timing a market is very challenging at best. Very, very few sellers and buyers actually are able to accomplish selling at the peak or buying at the bottom because we buy and sell real estate to accomplish other things, like job changes.
2. Depending upon your flexibility in timing, my experience is that well-prepared homes always sell for top dollar. However, there is a large range of "prepared homes". Talking with a Realtor NOW about your plans will provide you with the maximum options.
3. No one has a crystal ball. However, great Realtors have insight into what it takes to make a listings stand out and show value, which is the name of the game. I have seen some great homes sell under value because they were not staged and prepared. I have also seen homes sell for over value because they were staged and prepped to a "T".
If you need help I would be happy, at no obligation , to put you in touch the one of the top Realtors in your area. Just give me a call at 1-888-284-2056.
I Strongly Disagree on the Fact that You should wait until this Fall(Presidential Election) to "List Your Home". The 1st Reason is Because, Congress Pass the New Higher FHA Limits to $729,750. only until 12/31/08. They are thinking about Extending it to $500,000. on a Permanent Basis for this High Cost area but, We cannot Depend upon that because they might Change their Minds once they get Re-elected! Also,
Congress Pass the New $8000. Tax Credit for a 1st time Home Buyer or to Someone who has not brought a Home in 3 Years! This 2nd Law May or May not be Renewed next Year. And Finally, I do not think that People who Live in Prince William County do not let Elections Guide their "Home Buying Decisions" like People who Live Closer to D.C. I Have Lived in Prince William County for 7 Years. I use to Work on Capitol Hill for a Congressman many Years ago. I am now a F/T Retail Branch Manager @ Jacob Dean Mortgage in Dumfries. I Have over 3 & 1 Half Years of Mortgage Experience. I do Loans in 26 States in the USA! I do Residential/Commercial/Hard Money. I also Offer CONV/FHA/VA, etc. Do Kindly Give Me a Call when You are Ready to Sell. I Have many Realtor Connections in Prince William County. My CELL Number is 571-521-9156. My Website:TheCannaeGroup.com Check It Out!!! I look Forward to Serving You. Also, I almost Forgot; FHA is Not FICO SCORE Driven which is Great for You because this Market is so Bad, that the Underwriters on the Wholesale Side(Lenders) are getting much Tougher to Approve of this Hard To Do Loans whether it is A/B/C/D/F PAPER!!! I also Have "Rapid ReScore"!!! Take Care.