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Fort Belvoir Neighbors-Gearing Up for the Big Changes - 08/29/08 01:13 PM
The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) team has continued to put in place the plan for moving over 21,000 military and civilian jobs to Fort Belvoir by 2011. Popular neighborhoods close to Ft Belvoir including Kingstowne, Lorton and Springfield are already beginning to see some of the changes to the infrastructure that will help accommodate the huge influx of new personnel. For buyers who are part of the relocation the opportunity to purchase homes in popular neighborhoods close to the base has never been better. With lower prices and the VA home loan program being one of the few 100% financing (6 comments)
Spring Hill in Lorton VA-Giving New Meaning to the Term Active Adult - 08/28/08 06:55 PM
You have to smile when you see it, a big children's playground right behind the community center in the active adult neighborhood of Spring Hill. Is there an expectation of some child like behavior among the homeowners in the community? Forget playing bridge or shuffleboard just hang out on the monkey bars and zip down the slide! In reality the developers of Spring Hill were smart enough to realize that homeowners in the neighborhood were going to be entertaining their grandchildren or great grandchildren and it would be nice to have a place for them to enjoy themselves without having to (4 comments)
Will the Builders Financial Woes Become Yours Too? - 08/27/08 03:46 PM
On the heels of my post "Will the Builder Deliver What they Promised" comes a Washington Post article on local builder Comstock Homes and their financial woes. According to the article "Comstock has received notices of default or demands for repayment from five lenders over the past two months, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company owes the banks about $86.5 million, according to the filings." Read the full Washington Post article here. This news is never good for a builder or their shareholders and it is unnerving for a buyer who has just settled on a new home in a (5 comments)
Spring Hill-Where Old and New Fences Meet in Lorton VA - 08/26/08 07:33 PM
Have you ever had one of those moments when you are showing houses that you are struck by something you hadn't noticed before? You are driving through a neighborhood you have shown dozens of times and landmarks that you pass everyday but for some reason on this particular day you suddenly see them from a different perspective? That happened to me today while showing new construction in the over 55 community of Spring Hill in Lorton. The community is one of the newer communities that grew out of the revitalization plan for the former prison grounds located nearby.. Today as drove (0 comments)
Lake Ridge-A Prince William County Community Goes to the Dogs - 08/26/08 08:28 AM
Located in Prince William County the community of Lake Ridge has been a favorite among buyers looking for a neighborhood with a plenty of housing choices, mature trees, easy access to DC and top of the line community amenities. However once a year the neighborhood tells the two legged owners to move over and make way for the dogs. On Sept 6th after the Tall Oaks Pool has closed for the season residents of Lake Ridge get a chance to let their dogs take over the pool. Two swim sessions are scheduled for your favorite four legged friend to get wet, (2 comments)
The Mailman Knows Where the Next Foreclosure Will Be - 08/25/08 08:43 PM
Think about it for a second. If you want to know who is having trouble paying their mortgage the mailman may be the person to ask. The mailman is the one that is delivering the overdue notices and demand letters from the lenders to the house. It seems they should be the ones we should be asking what's going on in the market. If all real estate is local then who is more local than the mailman? This might seem a bit far fetched but it is it anymore far fetched than what the national news is reporting? The balance of (21 comments)
Nike Missiles and Lorton Prisoners-Not Your Usual Cell Mates - 08/25/08 06:21 AM
My friends accuse me of making some of these little facts about Northern Virginia up. Nope the stories are all real....well okay the one about the hook hanging on the car door at Lake Accotink....not so much. However the story of the Lorton Prison being the site of the Army's premier showcase for the nationwide Nike program unveiled in 1954 is true. One of the big issues that the government faced when it was trying to build defenses against the threat of a nuclear attack was acquiring the land necessary to develop the missile defense sites. Most people think of the (7 comments)
Will the Builder Deliver What They Promised? - 08/24/08 06:46 PM
It is just another one of the many questions that a buyer looking at new home construction today has to consider. As a buyer wandering through a beautifully decorated model you may be swayed to overlook a few critical questions about the development and the developer.When the real estate market was red hot a few years ago many buyers camped out to try and get their number one lot selection in developments sprouting up all over Prince William County. Many were fortunate to snag just the lot and the model that they wanted. They patiently waited for the foundations to be (4 comments)
Fairfax Station-Clara Barton Slept Here - 08/24/08 06:55 AM
We see the signs around Virginia that say "George Washington Slept Here" but unless you take a step often the beaten path you won't find some of the other signs of famous faces in history. One of those signs is hidden in Fairfax Station at the St. Mary of Sorrows Church just off of Route 123. St Mary of Sorrows Church was built from 1858-1860 with lumber milled locally by railroad workers living in the area. The only item that was purchased to complete the church was the bell installed in the tower. As the battles of the civil war moved (4 comments)
Give a Big Cheer for Northern Virginia Schools - 08/21/08 07:00 PM
One of the concerns that parents of school age children face when relocating to Northern Virginia or just moving within the area is finding out the reputation of the local schools. Fortunately for families moving to Northern Virginia the answer can be found in the rankings that come out every year in Newsweek Magazine. As in year's past the 2008 profile of schools featured a number of schools from our area in the Top 100. The only school not included in the ranking because "their students are too good" is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Grab a Ticket to Ride the Virginia Rail Express from Lorton & Belmont Bay (LOCALISM FEATURED) - 08/19/08 11:43 PM
When the Virginia Rail Express (VRE) first began operations along the I-95 corridor in 1992 there were questions as to whether the lack of housing near the train stations would derail the long term plans for the commuter rail. Since that time a new supply of "whistle stop" towns has sprung up close to the tracks including Lorton Station and Belmont Bay. The train has also made the older community of the Town of Occoquan take on a new life as well. Lorton Station was built around the Stream Valley Park a 100 acre site that is dedicated to the founder (10 comments)
The phone carried the message that every blogger likes to hear....."I read your blog and we'd like to meet you in person." We made an appointment to meet on Saturday morning in Belmont Bay. We talked and looked at properties. The next morning they called again and said "we really liked your honesty and knowledge of the area, do you have time to show us more properties?" Tonight we wrote an offer. This blogging thing really works! (14 comments)
The Painted Ladies of Occoquan Virginia - 08/18/08 07:22 AM
What do you do when you need to put new homes in a historic town setting? In some areas builders just throw them up and disregarding the integrity of the neighborhood. In Occoquan, the town planners, the builder, the architects and a Victorian color expert sat down and for months hashed through a plan that would create new homes that fit in with the setting of the old town. The result is Gaslight Landing townhomes on the "main" street of historic Occoquan. My first post about Gaslight Landing was in July 2007 when the development was just breaking ground. Now the (2 comments)
It is never a boring day when you head out to show Prince William County foreclosures. Without pictures in the MLS you aren't sure if you are going to find a gem or a horror story. Some days you get lucky and everything you show is in good shape. On other days you wish you had stayed in bed. Yesterday I only had two properties scheduled on the foreclosure tour. One house was relatively new and the other about 10 years old. My mold sniffing nose was on and so when we opened the door we were prepared to back away (16 comments)
Stop By One of the Hot Spots in Prince William County Today - 08/17/08 09:43 AM
Have you decided that it is time to live a more relaxed lifestyle? Are you ready to join a community that Washingtonian Magazine has twice named one of the great communities in the area and now has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the 13th hotest areas as well? Then come take a look at HarborSide Condominiums in Belmont Bay. With our marina front location, great waterfront walking paths and a Virginia Rail Express Station in the community our location is top notch. Our models are open on the weekends from 11 am to 4 pm and (0 comments)
Is Blogging Your Business? - 08/16/08 10:10 PM
Every day browsing through Active Rain and other Social Networking sites you see the question raised "will blogging bring me leads?" And the answers are as varied as the bloggers who respond. When you go back in time through the Active Rain archives you can see what may have stated as simple shift has turned into a major tipping point. Bloggers from 18 to 24 months ago seemed to be more focused on making connections and asking questions about real estate. Today there are more posts asking about SEO, long tail, keywords and hyper-local blogging.Blogging isn't our business. Real estate is. (20 comments)
The Washington Business Journal Likes Us and So Will You - 08/16/08 06:43 AM
The latest edition of the Washington Business Journal (WBJ) has named Town of Occoquan and the Occoquan River Communities in the top 13 communities to watch in the DC Metro area in the future. Having recently posted about New Urbanism in Northern Virginia it was interesting to see the WBJ cover some of the same thoughts expressed in my post. Stating that Gen X and Gen Y buyers are looking to finding live, work and play neighborhoods with good transportation options to Washington DC.Occoquan was selected due to its historic charm and it's location between Fort Belvoir and Quantico. In addition to the (4 comments)
Are you looking for the relaxed lifestyle that comes from living in a waterfront community? Would you like to be able to walk out your door and stroll waterfront paths or get in a round of golf after work? Then you may be ready for the Belmont Bay way of life. Enjoy a worry free lifestyle in the HarborSide Condominiums directly on the Belmont Bay Marina. With over 2100 square feet the York model gives you the space you need and gives you the freedom to lock the door and go away for a day, a week or a month. All (4 comments)
Another Piece of Fairfax County History is Being Restored - 08/14/08 03:41 PM
Last fall I jokingly posted a picture and wondered what was for sale the house or the dune buggy. It was of course the dune buggy. The house was actually the old Country Store on Gunston Road and it is now being restored. The store went through a number of changes over the course of its history including being a Cracker Barrel in 1987. However the history of the store goes back much further and based on descriptions in local historical records it may originally have been the Church Vestry for the original Pohick Church now the site of Cranford Methodist (6 comments)
Meteoric Fall in Prices Leads to Scorching Summer Sales - 08/14/08 08:05 AM
Scientist around the world are studying the phenomena of global warming and wondering why the temperature around the world is rising. Perhaps they should take a look at the meteoric fall of prices in Prince William County leaving the county the hottest real estate market in Northern Virginia. Even though the press likes to focus on the negative on aspects of the market the buyers who are out today are not flip and run investors. It is also interesting to notice the distribution of price ranges. The majority of the sales aren't at the lowest price point of available homes but (8 comments)
Take a Seat on the Deck at Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant - 08/13/08 12:46 PM
We have had picture perfect weather the last few days in Northern Virginia and it seemed like a good time to escape and enjoy a few moments on the Occoquan River. So we headed over to Madigan's Waterfront Restaurant to have a leisurely lunch on the waterfront deck. Madigan's in located in the historic Town of Occoquan just off I-95 and Route 123 in Prince William County. It is one of those hidden gems in the area that many people drive right by without even knowing it is there. Madigan's has a prime spot in town right on the Commerce Street (4 comments)
Lake Barcroft Where Neighbors Meet at the Beach - 08/12/08 07:53 PM
Lake Barcroft in is one of the hidden gems that residents of the Fairfax County, Virginia can miss if they don't know about the area. The neighborhood was named for Dr. John Barcroft who came to Virginia in 1849 and built his home and a mill on Holmes Run. He was the community doctor in the area until the Civil War when the area was occupied by the Confederate Army. In 1913 the area was badly in need of water resources and a decision was made to build a dam on Holmes Run that led to the creation of Lake Barcroft. (7 comments)
Belmont Bay Rental Perched Between Three Military Bases - 08/11/08 03:21 PM
RENTED SEPT 1, 2008 CALL ME ABOUT OTHER GREAT PROPERTIES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA If you have orders to head to Fort Belvoir, Quantico or the Pentagon then this 2500 SQ FT (apx) end unit townhouse in Belmont Bay at749 Vestal Street may be just what you are looking for.Enjoy panoramic views of the Osprey Golf Course from the private master bedroom balcony or from the large living room. You can watch the golfers headed down the back nine or if you prefer a nature you can be guaranteed to see deer, osprey and geese wandering by as well. Belmont Bay offers (0 comments)
Fix Up Your Foreclosure and Support Habitat for Humanity at the Same Time - 08/10/08 06:48 PM
Did you just buy a foreclosure in Fairfax or Prince William County? Is your budget a little tight? Then before you head to one of the mega hardware stores stop by the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and see if you can’t find some of what you need. A stop at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore gives you the chance to do three things at one time. The first is to support the great programs Habitat for Humanity offers to low income families to give them an opportunity to own their own home. The money raised by the ReStores across the US provides (4 comments)
Putting the Pedals in Motion in Northern Virginia - 08/07/08 07:02 AM
For those of you who like to get from Point A to Point B faster than your feet can take you then you might be ready to get your bike out of storage and pedal your way around Northern Virginia. Though not as bike friendly for commuters as other cities, the recreational rider can cover a lot of territory with a variety of trials and places to stop along the way.
Back in the mid 90's my son and I cycled 300 miles through the Loire Valley in France for 6 days and you can get a bit (12 comments)
The Potomac Club in Prince William County Continues to Grow - 08/07/08 06:39 AM
Construction still continues on the Potomac Club one of the "new urbanism" communities growing in popularity in Northern Virginia. Located on located on 200 acres in Prince William County the neighborhood features townhomes and condos built by three recognized area builders, Pulte, Ryan and M/I homes.
The crown jewel of the neighborhood is the incredible $12 million dollar Potomac Club which sits at the entrance to the community. Featuring both indoor and outdoor pools, a rock wall, billiards room and casual lounge the clubhouse was designed as a place for residents to gather and relax. The club also (0 comments)
Got Butter? If Not You Can Make it At Mason Neck State Park - 08/06/08 07:32 PM
Yes Virginian's you can make butter on a hot summer day. Just come to the picnic area on any Sunday afternoon in August between 4-5 PM at Mason Neck State Park and you can churn yourself a little sweet creamy butter.Mason Neck Park is one the popular parks for residents of Fairfax County iand is located on the Mason Neck Peninsula just off of Route 1 and Gunston Road. The peninsula is formed by Pohick Bay on the north, Belmont Bay on the south and the Potomac River on the east. The Mason Neck area traces its history back to 1608 when it was recorded by (12 comments)
Catch the Reading Bug and Much More At Your Local Library - 08/06/08 03:30 PM
Throughout Northern Virginia you can find some pretty amazing libraries. The new library in Shirlington is high tech with computer stations and digital library cards that are well beyond the days of librarians writing the due date on the back of a 3 x 5 card. What many forget about the local library is that they are more than just a stack of books to be checked out. For instance visit a Prince William County Library and you will find an entire program of events scheduled for all ages. Story time is not just about sitting listening to someone read a book but (0 comments)
Words of Encouragement for New Bloggers - 08/06/08 12:53 PM
Most of us need to occasional hear or in the case of blogging read that the efforts that we put into our blogs will lead to connections with consumers, community leaders and other local authorities. Whenever a new blogger post on Active Rain it is always great to see the number of people who stop by and say hello. We read about the success that Active Rain has brought to the businesses of many of the agents, loan officers and stagers and I know in the beginning of my blogging days it helped me know that some interesting things could occur (86 comments)
Where Does All the Money Go? - 08/06/08 10:23 AM
Touring foreclosure properties can bring up a lot of emotions. Sometimes seeing what a family leaves behind can be sad and other times seeing the condition of a home can make you angry. Yesterday while showing Northern Virginia foreclosures we caught a glimpse of where thousands of dollars can go instead of toward the mortgage. Rooms full of discarding magazines. Suitcases full of magazines. Bookshelves full of magazines. With the cost of these magazines averaging about $6.00 a pop it didn't take long to see at least one mortgage payment that had been spent at the local bookstore. Looking at all of the (10 comments)
How to Work Your TV Remote - 08/06/08 07:31 AM
It really is quite simple. If you are a Baby Boomer then you call a Gen X'er and they fix it. Sadly my friends often call me to help them with minor computer problems or to set up a new software program so I'm not a complete dolt. I used to laugh at my mom who would ask me to program her VCR but not anymore. Last night it took my son about 2 minutes figure out why we were only getting half the channels we should from our local cable provider. Go figure. My son was in town on business for the (10 comments)
Mom’s Apple Pie and General Store in Occoquan Virginia - 08/05/08 08:17 PM
The smell of pies baking is not coming from my house. That is the good news for my friends and family The even better news is that we only have to go a few miles away from our home in Belmont Bay to the historic town of Occoquan to find Mom's Apple Pie Company and General Store. All of the pies at Mom's are made fresh with local ingredients. You can actually find someone peeling apples in the kitchen and you have your choice of the traditional two crust apple pie or the brown sugar crumb topping. Even though the store (8 comments)
Do You Disclose Mold in Your MLS Description? - 08/04/08 07:27 AM
This might be considered a rant by some but it could also be a serious issue for agents who are listing homes with “environmental hazards.” Last night was a miserable night for me with a severe headache and coughing. Today the symptoms include a runny nose and sneezing. But even worse is the fact that my clients are suffering from the same symptoms. The reason is simple. Yesterday we toured five foreclosure properties each of them with a wet and moldy basement.
None of the listings for these properties mentioned mold and there were no notices published on the (22 comments)
What Happened to the 50% Off House in Prince William County? - 08/02/08 07:46 PM
Back in May I discovered a house in Woodbridge was listed just a shade off the 2006 sales price listed in the MLS and Prince William tax records. The home was in foreclosure and after I toured the property I found both price that it sold for in 2006 and the price that it was listed for at the time of the post to be incredible.Buy a House for 50% off in Prince William County To me it showed how crazy the market had gotten and the fact that the house need considerable updating made my buyers take a pass. Today (8 comments)
Northern Virginia New Urbanism-Is it For You? - 08/02/08 06:00 AM
It doesn't take an urban planner or city designer to be able to tell the difference between a Northern Virginia neighborhood built in the 1950's and 60's with a neighborhood built in the last 10 years. In many areas closer to DC, infill communities have been built with a very different lifestyle in mind.The new neighborhoods don't have large backyards that used to keep families in the rear of their house and spending hours mowing on the weekends. In there place are front porches where neighbors interact with each other and smaller gardens that can be tended easily in just a few (6 comments)
I've never been shy about dancing in the rain whether it is a spring shower or a successful closing from Active Rain. Last night after an early evening closing I took a few minutes to reflect on the end of July and how had blogging added to my bottom line. If you think the bottom line is all about money it isn't. At least to me it isn't. Don't get me wrong money is required to be able to pay the bills and plan for retirement but it isn't the only benefit we can get from blogging. I've met some great (21 comments)
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