I’m a little different…

I’ve never had the ‘Brady Bunch’ type of upbringing; nor have I been a Seaver, Huckstable, Keaton, or you name the family. I don’t remember any family traditions, my mother was religious, not a whacko (well maybe I thought she was). I do remember at certain times of the year we would have to do ceremonies.

One such ceremony I remember is Petar Pak (sp). It was usually around the beginning of the school year in September. The long and short of it was that the dead are ‘locked up’ and it is this time of year that we would go out in the morning and we would throw water (by hand) on a designated plant. While doing so we would call the names of the dead. We tell them to come and drink water, I believe this went on fora week and it would usually culminate in a ceremony at the house where A LOT of Indian food would be cooked, we’d go out and call them to drink and then there were plates of food left–which the neighbors cats would eat BUT aid you’re Hindu those are your relatives in their form coming to eat. right?

My mother has been gone 6 years now. I think about her everyday!  When I’m driving I talk to her which is ironic since we never really talked when she was alive. I mean we talked but never anything deep.  I feel like I have no traditions with her. When I talk to her I’m a little upset that she doesn’t talk back to me, a la ‘burning bush’ or some non-sense like that.

I heard her tell a story about when my father was killed in the 70’s, one day she heard his voice and he said ‘you better be careful,’ which as I’m writing this he never speaks to  me also  I am very literal, I can’t see something thru the trees and know it was them speaking  I need them to say it plain and simply to me.  I always get mad that she never really came back and said something to me.

As Mother’s Day comes and goes next Sunday I will miss her more yet again.  I will miss giving her slippers and taking her to dinner.  I know she is there somewhere looking over me–or I at least hope is.

I miss you so very much Ma…

Costly lessons learned while buying a home. Thanks Julie Ryan Evans. 

Here’s a great article written by Julie Ryan Evans @julieryanevans

4 Costly Real-Life Lessons Learned While Buying a Home
By: Julie Ryan Evans |

Buying a home is exciting for sure, but on the flip side, a whole lot can go wrong during the process—scary events that can quickly turn this American dream into an American horror story. As proof, check out these home-buying nightmares from people who want to share their anguish with the hopes that they can spare future purchasers the same fate.
Home staging … or hiding?

“We ended up buying what we knew was a nicely staged fixer-upper, but we had no idea really what we were getting into,” says April Daniels Hussar of Verona, NJ. “When we finally got the keys and moved in, we literally cried. There was a throw rug melded to the kitchen floor. And the entire house smelled like cat pee—something we somehow had never noticed until then. The sellers made very good use of candles and who knows what else! We had to redo all the wood floors.”

Lesson learned: Staging is supposed to enhance a home’s features, but it may also cover up its defects, says Colby Sambrotto, president and CEO of USRealty.com. He suggests going through a house several times before buying it.

“Accompany the home inspector when he reviews the house to see for yourself what may be lacking. Open windows, turn on every light, trace electrical and plumbing systems to their connections to the outside lines, and ask for receipts and proof of any claimed improvements.”

The house was great, but…
“We moved from an expensive housing market in Chicago to Knoxville, where we could afford a bigger house,” says Ali Wenzke of Chicago. “But just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it. We rationalized that this would be our forever home, so it was worth it. The problem? Our neighbors were all much older and didn’t have small kids like we did. We lived there for only a year and a half before loneliness forced us to move.”
Find homes for sale on

Lesson learned: When house hunting, it’s essential to look beyond the house alone.
“It’s about your access to all the amenities that make life enjoyable in your new neighborhood,” says Sambrotto. “Think about easy and convenient access to parks, recreational amenities like running trails, daily shopping, and your commute.”
That power line will go where?

After searching for a home for nearly seven months, Kiki Roten of Canton, OH, and her fiancé finally found a little ranch house they loved. Then just four days away from closing, everything came crumbling down.

“We got the worst email you can imagine from our mortgage company saying our house suddenly sits in a ‘fall radius’ of an electrical power line, and we can’t buy it—even though we’d already invested over $1,000 into this house for home inspection and other fees,” she says. “By that point, everything we owned was packed up in boxes, and my bridal shower was two days away. I can’t make this garbage up. In one week, we went from on top of the world to crying in our bedroom, which was piled to the ceiling with boxes.”
Lesson learned: “Unforeseen circumstances do occasionally emerge to derail deals,” says Sombrotto. “Kiki’s situation underscores the importance of a land survey. For an existing home, you’d think that might be redundant: What could possibly have changed about a house that has been in the same spot for years? But even if property lines haven’t shifted, adjacent encroachments, like power lines, might affect the effective use of the property. A survey can also re-establish correct property lines if a neighbor has built a fence.”
Another way to head off last-minute surprises is with gap insurance as part of the title insurance coverage.
“This won’t go into effect until you’ve bought the house, but if any challenges to the title emerge in the few weeks that the deal is in process, gap insurance covers the fallout,” Sambrotto says. You’ll need a permit for that.
“I had an itch to find a little cozy cottage near the water,” says Melissa Shelby in Alexandria, VA. “Thinking I could handle things without a real estate agent, I examined homes and lots on my own, and found a cottage I had grand plans to renovate. Nevertheless, thousands of dollars and six months later, I still failed to obtain the right permits. And because of all these unforeseen costs, I resigned myself to doing much smaller interior renovations rather than turn this into the cottage of my dreams.”
Lesson learned: Shelby’s advice based on her own experience? “Find a trusted local real estate agent who is an expert in the area, as well as hire a permit runner or specialist who can give you very specific and accurate guidance on what to do to avoid permitting holdups that may decrease your budget for improvements,” she says. “Local zoning red tape can be unforeseen, costly, and, frankly, zap the joy right out of buying a home.”
Curious what can go wrong when you sell a home? Tune in tomorrow for home-selling horror stories that could happen to you, too!

Julie Ryan Evans is an editor and writer who has covered everything from politics to pop culture and beyond. She loves running, reading, cold wine, and hot weather. Follow @julieryanevans

Sometimes the Realtor DOES NOT do the right thing…

I just had to share this.  I just had a deal fall apart for my listing in Cameron Station.  We are currently in a seller’s market.  There are multiple offers for everything out there seemingly.  The long and short of it we had a deal done and the other agent sent over the counteroffer to be signed and she sticks in a $3000 seller concession.  Honestly, this was very unethical of her, she gave her client bad advice.  Being that the market is so HOT, sellers aren’t giving concession–THEY DON’T HAVE TO!

My seller rejected the offer because he felt she just snuck it in there.  As she put it, ‘we are arguing over pennies.’  I thought to myself well it’s easy to say that when the 300,000 pennies aren’t YOURS.  Basically the deal fell apart, my seller wasn’t concerned since we’ve had great showings and an offer in just 10 days.

I am confident we will sell the property within the timeframe I have taken the listing.  My client knows that I have his best interest and is a patient person.  The flip side of this is, I ask myself ‘will that be the only offer I get?’  What if the property doesn’t show well as the current tenant will have boxes all over the place due to her pending departure from the property.  These are all points I discussed with my client and he is confident (as am I) the property will sell.

My point being sometimes your Realtor may do something that may perplex you.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your Realtor.  99% of the time your agent is doing the right thing, but there is that 1% that may think they are outsmarting the other side of the deal.

SO, if you need a great townhouse in Cameron station don’t be afraid to reach out to me at 703-228-9788!

Is it me or the the market getting this HOT?

There were A LOT of clients and agents that were unhappy last week–bidding wars and multiple offer situations, on the flip side there were 93 agents and clients that were ecstatic. Although there were 90 new listings more clients were busy ratifying contracts!  90 new listings vs 93 ratified contracts (a ratified contract is a contract that both the buyer and seller have agreed on price and terms).  Over 50 of those sold had only been listed for a week or LESS!  The average days on the market is only 39. 

Interest rates saw a slight drop last week Prompted by domestic and international into 10yr Treasury bonds. That drove down yields and long term interest rates with concerns over the crisis w/N Korea. You can still get a 30 yr fixed rate mortgage for 4.11%. You should lock your rates in ASAP. 

Sales are HOT in Northern Virginia!

It’s been a pretty busy time here in Northern Virginia.  I apologize for not personally writing this article but I just knew I had to get it out–besides I am extremely busy 🙂  Inventory is low and we have so many buyers out now.  We are seeing some Open Houses with 100 guests. Then w/our listings, we are seeing multiple offers!  If you’re sitting on the fence waiting to buy, you should get off of it as soon as you can…call me!

March Surge Contributes to Significant Growth in First Quarter Residential Market

The first quarter of 2017 illustrates another year of significant market strength. With particularly strong sales in March, the first quarter of 2017 outperformed the prior year first quarter by 7.8 percent (rising from 21,213 transactions to 22,859). Likewise, first quarter volume grew year-over-year, from $6.492 billion in 2016 to $7.287 billion in 2017. The 12.2 percent increase in volume resulted from both significant gains in pace and steadily rising median prices. Median price for the first quarter rose 4 percent from 2016 to 2017, from $249,900 to $260,000.

Each month of the first quarter outperformed its prior year benchmark in sales. Annualized pace, the sum of all transactions for the preceding twelve months, rose for the tenth consecutive quarter. Relative to the prior quarter, the annualized measure was up 1.4 percent.

Year-over-year, first quarter home sales increased in all price bands except the lowest, where limited inventory typically restricts market activity. Sales pace and median price increased in every region of the state.

Though 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage interest rates remain relatively low, they each continued to rise in the first quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank announced a raise in the key rate in March, acting on strong national jobs reports. The average rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage interest rates in the first quarter were 4.17 percent and 3.39 percent respectively. The prospect of rising rates may continue to spur greater activity in 2017.

According to 2017 Virginia REALTORS® President Claire Forcier-Rowe, “The start of 2017 has underscored the sustained strength of Virginia’s housing market and also illustrated the effects of evolving economic factors. Prices have inclined steadily as eager buyers enter the market and, with greater inventory in March, sales surged with their pent up demand.”

 

http://www.varealtor.com/sites/varealtor2.com/files/Virginia%20Home%20Sales%20Report.Q1.pdf

4910 Barbour Dr Alexandria, VA 22314

I’m very excited, I just got a new listing today.  It’s a 2BR 2BA end unit townhouse at Cameron Station.  It’s a really great location, immaculately kept.  Right now there a pretty cool lady and a gorgeous Golden Retriever that live there.  I so love other people’s dogs since I don’t have to pick up the poopies.  I was driving around there’s a pool. clubhouse, indoor basketball court.

Alexandria is an interesting town.  I really, really like the Old Town area, there are so many charming row houses.  It very nostalgic (as if I lived there in the 1700’s, LOL).  Unfortunately one of the things that I constantly think about while there is that there were so many slaves in this area, it leaves me melancholy.  When reading about how these poor people were bought and sold, seeing storefronts which are in a building that may be over 100 years old, I always wonder to myself ‘if this storefront could only talk.’

Speaking on we’ve been watching this show WGN, Underground, very compelling about the Underground Railroad, but I digress.

The area where the townhouse is, is moments from shopping and great little boutiques and the library.  It’s about 1 mile from I-395 which makes it easy to get into DC.  Well, I guess it depends on where in DC you are going.

 

N Rhodes Hill Square

I just saw a great unit at N Rhodes Hill Square.  It’s an interior unit, very nice.  I feel that the HOA fees are a little bit high for what you get, since there is no gym or pool as with theGaslight Condos a few blocks away, BUT the fees there are over $1100 a month for a pool and gym, I don’t know if that worth it in the end.  At $1100 a month that gives any potential buyer $200K more in buying power power for a traditional single family home or dare I say a multi-family home a little further in Arlington.

I consider myself somewhat of an expert in N Rhodes Hill Square because I have a friend who live’s there!  She has an end unit, with tons of natural light.  A large yard, she’d like to have all hardwood throughout as in the unit I originally referred to, but at a cost of about $18K, she will have to wait for a while before even considering to make the conversion.  I think her unit would be in the mid $900K should it ever be put on the market.  The problem is, if it’s put on the market and eventually put under contract, she’d still have to find something comparable, preferably a single family home with a HUGE back yard!