Blog Posts

Moving to Northern Virginia? Some Helpful Websites

Moving to Northern Virginia? Some Helpful Websites

For those considering a move to Northern Virginia or those newcomers to the area, here are some helpful websites to learn more about NoVA, our local news and current community issues and discussions. (Note: These photos are of a few of the picture perfect homes in my hometown of Vienna, VA. The Sun Gazette is the local community specific weekly newspaper in the Northern VA area: http://www.sungazette.net/ The Patch is owned by AOL and is their local community based news…

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Dept of Justice Advises Home Buyers to Seek out Buyer’s Agent Rebates

Dept of Justice Advises Home Buyers to Seek out Buyer’s Agent Rebates

Advice from the Department of Justice on buyer’s agent rebates:   https://www.justice.gov/atr/rebates-make-buying-home-less-expensive Rebates Make Buying a Home Less Expensive       In purchases where buyer’s brokers are offered half of a 5% commission, they may compete on price by refunding a portion of their commission to the homebuyer. A 1% rebate on the median-priced home would save the homebuyer $1,843. Consumers can save thousands of dollars in commissions Calculate how much you can save Certain States Ban Rebates In…

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The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The courtship began years ago when I met her on an early morning walk in Old Town Alexandria. My fiancee and I had just moved into a beat up rental house, and she lived around the corner. The first time I laid eyes on her I was smitten. She was gorgeous, smart and oh, did she have style! She’d seem to give me a flirtatious smile each time I walked by. Soon, I made it a point to walk by…

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Vienna VA 22180: Home to the New Old House

Vienna VA 22180: Home to the New Old House

My home town of Vienna is a bedroom community of Washington, DC locally known for its small town atmosphere in traditionally transient Northern Virginia.  Money Magazine twice in recent years rated Vienna among the Top 10 Best Small Towns in which to live. Fifteen years ago, the housing stock in Vienna was typical of Northern Virginia:  mostly 1950s-70s era split levels, ranches and colonials.  Flash-forward to 2016 and unknown to most outside of Town, Vienna has quietly become a center of the…

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A Few Steps to Take BEFORE You Buy a Home

A Few Steps to Take BEFORE You Buy a Home

This article courtesy of houselogic.com gives some solid advice for those starting the process of buying a home: By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home. 1. Decide how much home you can afford Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to…

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Town of Vienna 22180: Where the Front Porch Reigns Supreme or The Rise of The New Old House in Northern Virginia

Town of Vienna 22180: Where the Front Porch Reigns Supreme or The Rise of The New Old House in Northern Virginia

A common criticism of Northern Virginia housing is that its housing is unimaginative and boring.  Even the newer homes are typical brick/faux stone McMansions seen everywhere.   While this may be true of much of  Northern Virginia,  unbeknownst to many DC area home buyers, the Town of Vienna–encompassing zip code 22180—is a notable exception.     Vienna has become the destination for many Northern Virginia families due to the its proximity to Metrorail (Vienna, Dunn Loring  & the new Silver Line…

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Updated FAQ: How Does the Cashback Rebate Work? Is It Taxable?

Updated FAQ: How Does the Cashback Rebate Work? Is It Taxable?

Ever since I’ve started this blog, I’ve been asked repeatedly how the rebate works.  I promise there is nothing untoward here at all! (Check my earlier post on the Dept of Justice’s explanation of buyer’s agent rebates.) Simply, the cashback rebate is part of the buyer’s agent commission (from the Seller) that is paid directly to you the Buyer of the property at settlement.   In my case, I rebate up to one-third (1/3) of the Buyer side commission to you…

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Home Seller No-No’s

Home Seller No-No’s

Advice from US News that still holds true today: List of 5 Home Seller No-No’s: “Home sellers today are under a lot of stress. It’s a tougher market, home prices have fallen a lot, and many are trying to get as much money as possible to recoup their investment.  Real estate agents feel sellers’ pain and we’re on their side. But sometimes, sellers do things that make it harder to for an agent to sell a home for what it’s…

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To Use a Buyers Agent or Not?

To Use a Buyers Agent or Not?

Though I’m a bit biased, some of the pros and cons of using a buyer’s agent from SmartMoney.com:  (One additional advantage of using the right buyer’s agent–getting cashback!) Home Buyers Go Hunting Alone After years of trepidation, home buyers are finally beginning to wade back into the housing market. But as they do, many are making the surprising choice to hunt alone, rejecting the assistance of what’s known in real estate as a buyer’s agent. For years, house-hunters have had…

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A Quick Guide to Real Estate Agency

A Quick Guide to Real Estate Agency

Not quite sure what real estate “agency” is all about? And why it’s a no brainer to hire a buyer’s agent if you’re looking for a home? Take a quick read of the following article from HouseLogic.com: Understanding Real Estate Representation By: G. M. Filisko Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to choose representation that meets your needs in the transaction. 1. Buyer’s agency When you’re buying a home, you can hire an agent who represents only you, called…

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Vienna VA Welcomes The New American Home

Vienna VA Welcomes The New American Home

Amongst the amazing amount of new home construction in the Town of Vienna, I’m seeing strong evidence of the very building trends discussed in today’s Wall Street Journal piece Blueprint for the New American Home: “The new American home is taking shape. Tough recent years are leaving their mark on home design, just as the housing-boom years sent square footage soaring and stamped a distinctive “McMansion” style on neighborhoods across the country. Big home builders, smaller architecture firms and even…

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The Problem With Online Real Estate Listings

The Problem With Online Real Estate Listings

Yesterday, I took a client to a house that was listed in the local MLS as having  2338 sq ft of living space while the tax records indicated 1660 sq ft.   Both were wrong.  In reality, the house was closer to 2000 sq ft above ground level (the 2338 sq ft included the basement which in this area is usually excluded from sq ft calculations) .   This is typical of the kinds of errors you’ll find in online listings–some benign…

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Buzzwords in Real Estate Ads EXPLAINED

Buzzwords in Real Estate Ads EXPLAINED

Have you ever wondered what such real estate ad buzzwords such as “cozy”, “lots of possibilities”, “motivated seller” and “minutes from…” REALLY mean? Well, this week’s Chicago Tribune Home Buying Guide includes an entertaining piece explaining those trite real estate buzzwords and many more: “How’s this for truth in advertising? “Pull up to a deferred maintenance property, complete with chipped and broken stucco, dry rot and peeling paint.” Draws you right in, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more in this…

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Wow…Median Home Prices in D.C. Area Hit Record High

Wow…Median Home Prices in D.C. Area Hit Record High

Generally, home prices in the Washington DC area have recovered all their losses and then some from the downturn that started in 2007.  Now this doesn’t mean all homes are worth more now than the peak.  Certainly home prices in the outer suburbs of Northern Virginia including Loudoun County and Prince William County and many condos continue to lag their pre-housing crash peaks.  However, many homes in DC and especially the close in suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria are reaching…

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Are First Time Home Buyers Missing The Opportunity of a Lifetime?

Are First Time Home Buyers Missing The Opportunity of a Lifetime?

  Linda Stern of Reuters recently wrote an eye opening piece about the phenomenon of many younger (and not so young) first time home buyers who are delaying home purchases and thus potentially missing out on an opportunity to buy homes at good to great prices with record low mortgage rates unseen in several generations. “Despite reports to the contrary, young adults haven’t given up on the American dream of homeownership. They are just biding their time. As many as…

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Tips to Improve Your Home Buying Decision Making

Tips to Improve Your Home Buying Decision Making

Tara-Nicholle Nelson of Trulia.com recently wrote an excellent piece on how irrational financial decision-making rooted in behavioral psychology can cause home buyers to do foolish things such as maxing out your financing limits and spending more than you can comfortably afford and, on the flip side, trying to use negotiating strategy tricks such as serial lowballing resulting in missed opportunity after missed opportunity while home prices continue to increase.   But her best advice on buying is this: “[B]uy when…

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