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Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose 5.5 percent between August and September, the largest increase in more than five years. Who might relish this news? Real estate agents twiddling their thumbs at open houses and praying someone walks through the doors. So, on Sunday, I decided to call a few of them, and see how they were doing at their properties, and more importantly, how they were feeling in general about the market:

13124 Kidwell Field Road, Herndon Original Listing Price: $369,999 (July 1, 2008) Current Listing Price $329,000 Year built: 1994 Description: two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms; 1207 square feet Agent: Elyette Conein of Long & Foster McLean

So, how many people showed up to your open house today? “I had six people that came through, and they are interested,” she says. “This is the first time that I felt something positive about it.” Three months ago, when the house was originally listed, it went under contract within a week. The home’s current owner moved to California, bought a townhouse, and then two days before settlement, the buyer withdrew the contract. The house went back on the market a month ago, and since then Conein has held regular open houses. When was your last sale? “Well, two months ago. I cannot complain. But, no, no, no. It’s not like before. If I had to live on what I was making, I’d have to sell my whole house! I’m a widow, and I have a pension, and life goes on.” So, why would someone buy this house? “It has a very expensive hot tub—very expensive!!! My seller would never have bought it if he knew he was leaving. Over $7,000 for that hot tub! When do you think prices will start to rise again? “Go up again? Oh, no, no, no, no, noooo. I will say within three years. It’s down to reality. It’s real. It’s really real. People think totally differently.”