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Northern Virginia Relocation-Will You Be an Innie or An Outie? - 12/31/09 04:40 PM
No, this isn't a personal question about your belly button. Buyers moving to Northern Virginia often see the phrase "inside" or "outside" the beltway in MLS descriptions and wonder where are these locations on the map. For those who have lived in the Northern Virginia most of our lives we have watched "outside" the beltway on the Virginia side expand far west and south of DC. Just as the term "slugging" started as a phrase to describe riders using counterfeit tokens, the term inside or outside the beltway started with a different meaning in our area as well. The phrase was (8 comments)
Our goal is to reach 3000 registered attendees to VirtualReBarcamp.com! - 12/31/09 04:22 PM
There isn't a much better way to kick off 2010 than learning from the best in Social Media. It only takes a minute to register and though you might already be looking for tax deductions for next year this event is FREE.Sign up today! Via Real Estate Tomato (Real Estate Tomato): Our goal is to reach 3000 registered attendees to VirtualReBarcamp.com! The event is free being presented by 28 of the top minds in RE technology and social networking. Currently we have 1500+ registered attendee. To reach our goal we need your help. Fortunately, we have a ringer in our pocket: The generosity of (7 comments)
Fortunately for the residents of Lorton (VA) the guard towers at old reformatory now stand only as a "decorative" element surrounding the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. When the prison closed Fairfax County and local developers worked together to save many of the original brick buildings while at the same time creating Lorton Station and surrounding communities. If you are relocating to Northern Virginia give me a call at 703-346-2213. Let me show you not only the Lorton area but properties througout Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William County. Put my "native" knowledge of the local area to work for (9 comments)
Take one house with closets already overflowing, throw in holiday decorations and a few deliveries from UPS and soon you have a house that is ready to explode. The holidays are a great time to put your home on a diet. A clean up of all of those items that have been sitting on the closet shelves for a year that you haven't used, clothes that you don't wear and old magazines gathering dust. Over the years I have become acutely aware of the clean up and throw out process. With my numerous moves as a military spouse, emptying out my (59 comments)
Northern Virginia Relocation-Learning A New Language To Get Around - 12/28/09 03:04 PM
Relocation is always stressful. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve made a move the minute you get the word to pack your bags you need to learn the “language” of a new area. In Northern Virginia part of that new language is deciphering the difference between our cities and our counties. Northern Virginia has a mixture that often leads to confusion. For example we have: Fairfax County and Fairfax City Alexandria City and Alexandria (postal address) in Fairfax County Falls Church City and Falls Church (postal address) in Fairfax County Once you have figured that out then you need to (5 comments)
As you walk down Waterman Way at National Harbor along the Potomac River you can't miss the beautiful mosac mural next to the staircase heading to the marina. The mural depicts life along the Potomac River with a sea captain, crabs, fish and sea turtles. The mosaic was created by a local Temple Hills MD artist Cheryl Foster and is one of two she created for the developer. If you are visiting the DC Metro area stop by National Harbor to see the artwork and enjoy a ferry ride down the Potomac River to Old Town Alexandria, (20 comments)
Military Families-Options if you are Upside Down on Your Mortgage - 12/26/09 05:40 PM
In a real estate market where prices have declined military families with PCS orders face a difficult decision. Do you hold on to your home and rent hoping for prices to rebound in another 3-5 years or attempt a short sale and hope that your lender will consider PCS orders a "hardship?"There are two other options that may be available for you to consider as weill. Military families stationed at Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon, Quantico and other Military District of Washington installations who purchased a home prior to July 1, 2006 may find that Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) may offer some (24 comments)
Christmas Construction Project-Keeping an Eye on The Builders Change Orders - 12/26/09 07:13 AM
Our family has a holiday tradition of making a gingerbread house. Usually there are multiple people who work on the project and sometimes there is a difference on decorating style. This year was no exception.Two people were working on the project and just as with any building project change orders were announced on the fly. As a result the house has two different roof styles.
Of course we love our wonky gingerbread house as it truly reflects our right brain left brain family. However if you are thinking of building a new home in 2010 this might not be the (14 comments)
Should We Consider Permitting for Short Sale and REO Sales? - 12/24/09 11:48 AM
Renee brings up an interesting point. There are many agents who are presenting themselves as short sale "experts" who have not developed any systems to handle the complexities and tracking of a short sale.Though I don't think the associations or the lenders will go to a permit system but an approval process within an individual brokerage could be implemented. In our area the associations have gotten together and compiled a short sale guide which should be required reading for all agents.
Via Renee Burrows - Las Vegas NV Valley - Homes For Sale - SRES - SRS - AHWD - (4 comments)
Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge VA was built around 1725 and still stands today. Though it is not as grand as Mount Vernon Estate a few miles down the road, Rippon Lodge has a beautiful vantage point across Neabsco Creek and played a significant role in Virginia history. Prince William County has owned an maintained the property since 2000 and it is open to the public on the weekends May through October.View a photo of "The Cabin" on the Rippon Lodge estate. (16 comments)
Three Tips To Help You Present an Offer To Purchase With FHA or VA Financing - 12/23/09 08:43 PM
This is good information for anyone who worries that a VA or FHA loan has more restrictions on it than a conventional loan. Understanding your local market, working with an agent you can trust and a mortgage professional with experience with FHA and VA loans will get you into your new home in 2010.
Via America's #1 Mortgage Broker/858-777-9751: If VA home loans and FHA mortgages are great for buyers, why won't sellers accept them? Debbie Rumsey suggested as much when she commented on my post about VA condo complex approvals, here on Active Rain. Here is how real estate agents can debunk (5 comments)
A New Home for the Holidays-A Short Sale Miracle - 12/23/09 08:19 PM
Okay okay I know short sales are closing every day. However this short sale had a bit of a surprise. You see this home had not ONE, not TWO but THREE liens on the property. In fact the third lien, a line of credit with a significant balance on it was not discovered until the first two lien holders had already agreed to the short sale. So of course anyone who works with short sales knows this discovery could easily derail the deal. However today, my clients are moving into their new home. The story of how we got from the (9 comments)
Do You Sometimes Feel Like Your Just Standing Still? - 12/21/09 04:32 PM
If you live in Northern Virginia and you are sitting still then it could be because we have lots of traffic. In fact a recent study shows a significant portion of the Northern Virginia area ranks in the top 25 locales for traffic. # 7-Washington, D.C#9-Alexandria, Va#13-Fairfax County, Va#22-Arlington, Va With the completion of the Springfield Interchange and the Wilson Bridge Project drivers were expecting to see significant improvement in their commute times. However now the Tyson's Corner improvements, expansion of the Fairfax County Parkway and HOT lanes have slowed commuters down again. You don't have to be stuck in traffic (10 comments)
Not a single footprint on the 18th green of the Osprey Golf course in Belmont Bay today. With over 20 inches of powdery snow on the ground it looks like the golf course would make a much better cross country ski route than a place to play a round of golf.If you are interested in learning more about living in Belmont Bay give me a call at 703-346-2213. Let me show you why Washingtonian Magazine has called the neighborhood a hidden gem. (14 comments)
The "snowpocalypse" of 2009 dumped about 20 inches of snow in Belmont Bay (Woodbridge VA) yesterday. It had me humming "It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas" most of the day. To see more of what Belmont Bay looked like yesterday during the storm check out my snowy day in Belmont Bay video.If you would like to tour Belmont Bay during any season give me a call at 703-346-2213. Let me show you the advantages of living in a resort community only minutes to direct transportation to DC and an easy commute to Fort Belvoir and Quantico. (26 comments)
It is amazing the number of buyers who take the binder from the HOA or Condo association and don't bother to open it.Two critical factors to consider. The budget and the last 6 months of board minutes. Why be concerned about the board minutes? If a special assessment or raise in the dues are coming they will be discussed months before they actually happen.
Via James Downing - REALTOR®,GRI, ABR - DC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage): When purchasing in a condo, or a home in a Home Owners Association; the buyer received a huge package of documents (2 comments)
Snowpocalypse- A Unique Way to Describe a Record NOVA Snowfall - 12/19/09 11:17 AM
Normally my posts on Belmont Bay are with the sun shining and neighbors out enjoying the surroundings. Today I could only find two other people who were crazy enough to be out walking in the snow and cold. No one can accuse me of being a fair weather agent. The snow continues to fall and has gotten heavier since I was out. The news has nicked named this storm a "snowpocalypse" which certainly has a better sound to it than the Blizzard of 2009. Hope you are staying warm today. (8 comments)
Fort Belvoir Relocation-2010 BAH Rates Have Been Published - 12/17/09 05:18 PM
The 2010 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates (BAH) have been published for active duty military members. For those who are not familiar with BAH, the rates are based on the median rental rates in the area and may not cover what a service member pays in a monthly mortgage if they decide to buy a home while stationed in the area. The median rental rate includes not only the rent but average utilities and the cost of rental insurance. It is not uncommon in our area to have military members stationed at the Fort Belvoir choose to live in Prince William or (5 comments)
Julie Andrews and Blogging -What do They Have in Common - 12/17/09 08:07 AM
My family will tell you that if there is one habit they would like to break me of it is my ability to randomly start signing a refrain of a song for no apparent reason. This week while knocking out eight more hours of continuing education a couple of attendees approached me on break and said; "I read your blog." Sure enough within a few minutes, as I was mulling over the fact that we truly don't know who is reading our blog, a Rogers and Hammerstein Song (sung by Julie Andrews) popped into my head : "Getting to Know YOU Getting (14 comments)
Belmont Bay-A Wide Selection of Condominiums Waiting for You - 12/16/09 08:26 PM
My phone rings daily with prospective buyers or renters looking for information on condominiums in the Belmont Bay neighborhood in Prince William County Virginia. This on-line guide will provide you general information on the seven different condominium buildings* with available sales or rentals in the neighborhood.
Located directly on the Occoquan River, Harbor Pointe East and Harbor Pointe West were the first condominiums built in Belmont Bay with deliveries starting in 2003. Both buildings have an entrance lobby and two elevators that service the units. With 134 units total the buildings feature x number of floor plans ranging from the (1 comments)
Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Fairfax County is a 2200 acre established as a habitat for bald eagles in 1969. During the spring and summer bird watchers by the thousands come and spend time looking for eagles, blue herons and over 200 species of birds.In the winter time it is a great place to walk and enjoy solitude. The shoreline looks out across the Potomac River and Belmont Bay. The refuge is located just a few miles from Lorton and Fort Belvoir.When I took this photo I started humming the Mama's and Papa's song "On A Winters Day" "All the leaves are (14 comments)
Holidays are one of the hardest times for military families separated by deployment. It is also one of the best times for friends and neighbors to lend a helping hand. It isn't about money it's about a few minutes or a few hours to help with the little things that need to be done. Simple things such as helping put up their outside holiday lights or getting the Christmas tree in that pesky stand. How about volunteering to stand in line at the post office or UPS store for them. Does mom or dad need a few hours to get the shopping done? Then offer (10 comments)
40 Clear Reasons Why You Need to Register for Virtual Real Estate BarCamp. - 12/14/09 07:05 PM
If you don't have time for a full day of ReBar Camp then signing up for the Virtual ReBar Camp might be just the ticket.This is another opportunity to learn from gurus around the country and it is free so what do you have to loose? Via Real Estate Tomato (Real Estate Tomato):
A big change that we have made for this Virtual Real Estate BarCamp is to give the registrants the power to choose what topics they want to sit in on during 9–hour the event. For the January 4th event, we have 28 spots to fill for your entertainment and education. This conference (6 comments)
Take that HVCC-Fighting the Appraisal War and Winning - 12/14/09 01:13 PM
Over the course of the this year as agents lamented the HVCC changes my listings quietly went to closing with no problems. This week one of my new construction listings hit the dreaded appraisal snag. The original appraiser consider that the sales price for a water view unit with a big balcony and upgrades was worth the sales price of $370,000. However three desk reviewers disputed the value and were trying to push a lower value. The first phone call came from the original appraiser asking me for additional information to make sure he hadn't missed anything in his report. Then (10 comments)
When A Blog Post or Two Will Bring You Good Cheer - 12/14/09 07:18 AM
It all started with a blog post or two about the Springfield VA area where I grew up. Then I threw in a blog post or two about Military Relocation to Fort Belvoir and the Pentagon. When they were stirred together on the internet my phone rang from an owner of a home in the Townes of Orange Hunt with an idea. The owner was not interested in going the usual For Sale by Owner (FSBO) route but they also weren't interested in listing their home in the MLS. Instead they offered me an exclusive right to advertise their home and (38 comments)
Via Kris Wales - Macomb County MI real estate blog & homes for sale search site (Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center): People in Michigan who are attempting to participate in the Federal mortgage modification program are (3 comments)
Arlington National Cemetery at Christmas - 12/13/09 05:59 PM
I had posted a few photos from my perspective at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday at the annual placing of wreaths on the headstones of our fallen heros.Michael Bergin was also there and took some photos at the opening when the boxes of wreaths were distributed to the volunteers. Thank you Michael for your lovely photos and joining in honoring our heros.
Via Michael Bergin, Northern Virginia Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - ABR - SRES ): This morning at 7:30am I joined thousands of volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our veterans in this Christmas season. From moving giant boxes (2 comments)
Remember the Fallen Honor those who ServeTeach the Value of Freedom to Our Children Those words are the mission of the Wreaths Across America Project
Yesterday on a cold Virginia morning thousands of volunteers from across the country arrived in one spot to honor our fallen heros. For the last 18 years the Wreaths Across America project has made sure that soliders buried at Arlington Cemetery are remembered during the holidays.My spot for laying wreaths was in a quiet section of Arlington Cemetery, Section 60 close to the Columbarium. A contingent of police from Portland Maine (35 comments)
It's Tacky Tour Time-Faifax County Christmas Lights Are Over the Top - 12/12/09 04:37 PM
It is holiday tacky tour time. Say that three times fast! Throughout Northern Virginia you can find a wide range of holiday lights. Every year our family heads out on the holiday "tacky tour" to find the houses that are just a little bit over the top. It is amazing the creativity that some families have and of course the electric bills that go along with it. If you don't have time to put together your own Fairfax County Tacky Tour you can follow the list and map prepared by Holly Zell. (14 comments)
This is timely information for Northern Virginia buyers. If you are working with an agent who primarily works in either MD or DC they may have a different idea of when you can move in to your new home.If the owner "offers" you a pre-occupancy settlement make sure you fill out the appropriate forms to eliminate any questions that might arise.
Via Chris Ann Cleland, GRI (Long & Foster, Gainesville, VA): Northern Virginia Buyers Want to Know: When Do I Get the Keys to My New Home? The Northern Virginia Regional Sales Contract contains one specific paragraph that is essential (0 comments)
Introducing the 2nd Edition of Virtual Real Estate BarCamp. - 12/11/09 06:30 PM
If you don't have the time or budget to travel to a ReBar Camp then here is a great alternative.Come and go as you need and have the opportunity to learn from Social Media guru's from around the country. Check it out now and register soon.
Via Real Estate Tomato (Real Estate Tomato):
We're Back!Introducing the 2nd Edition of Virtual Real Estate BarCamp. Our first event was such a success, we decided to parlay the momentum into the launch of another. January 4th - 9am until 4pm PST9 Hours, 28 Incredible Speakers, 1000s of Attendees! It's Free! What Is Virtual (9 comments)
One Warm Coat . . . or REALTORS nag clients to clean out your closet! - 12/09/09 01:52 PM
This is a great reminder to look through your closets and ask your clients to do the same. A warm coat can make all the difference to a child who doesn't have one. Almost any shelter, church organization or charity in Northern Virginia will be glad to accept your donation.So go through your closets and see what you can find. Cold weather is here and a coat can be a warm hug to someone in need.
Via Lori Cain - Tulsa Realty www.LoriCain.com (Chinowth & Cohen Realtors): One Warm Coat . . . or REALTORS nag clients to clean out your (10 comments)
This lovely little building is aptly named "The Cabin." It sits on the property of Rippon Lodge the oldest home in Prince William County. The property was originally part of an huge tobacco plantation that is thought to have encompassed 21,000 acres. Today the property is owned by Prince William County and is open to the public. It is just one of many terrific historical sites in the Northern Virginia area that have been preserved for everyone to enjoy. (18 comments)
Short Sales-Guidance for Northern Virginia Agents is Now Available - 12/08/09 05:56 PM
I am not a short sale expert. I don't play on one TV and I don't want a hundred short sale listings to manage. However I do list short sales and I do represent buyers who have contracts pending on short sales. I've experienced the same frustrations as thousands of other agents across the country and wondered when our associations would provide more guidelines for agents to follow.Recently five associations in the Northern Virginia area put together a Regional Short Sale Field Guide to provide guidelines for agents who are working with short sales and clarify those pesky questions about when is a (4 comments)
Fort Belvoir-Only Minutes from the Home of the First Commander in Chief - 12/07/09 06:30 PM
Just a few miles outside the gates of Fort Belvoir visitors and residents of Fairfax County can stop by and see the home of the first Commander in Chief, George Washington. A home that even by today's standards has one of the number one things you look for. Location, Location, Location! Sitting on the best piece of property that any one could have ipicture is Mount Vernon the home of George Washington. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to picture the prominent colonist in the 1770’s sitting on the back porch watching the large mast ships headed into the docks (12 comments)
Potomac Heritage Scenic Trail-Taking Steps Along the Occoquan River - 12/07/09 12:14 PM
Add up the miles and the Potomac Heritage Scenic Trail (PHT) runs 830 miles between the Potomac River and the Alleghany Highlands in the Ohio River Basin. Compared to the Appalachian Trail which runs 2175 miles from Georgia to Maine the PHST is just a small trail. In Prince William County (VA) part of the Potomac Heritage Scenic Trail runs through the town of Occoquan, Belmont Bay, Leesylvania State Park and ends at Quantico Marine Corps base. Currently only small portions of the trail are open to the public so anyone who wants to enjoy the trail has to figure out a (2 comments)
HarborSide Condominiums-Only Two Waterfront Units Remaining - 12/06/09 05:32 PM
HarborSide Condominiums in Belmont Bay (VA) is the only new construction currently selling in Belmont Bay (VA). Sales this year have been brisk with thirteen condos SOLD and only two marina view condos still remaining.The Occoquan model features 1515 SF with two bedrooms, two full baths and a large balcony overlooking the Belmont Bay Marina and Occoquan River. The remaining Potomac model features 1745 SF and both condos come with a reserved underground parking and same floor storage. Enjoy all of the great amenities that Belmont Bay has to offer including tennis courts, swimming pool and waterfront walking paths.Residents of Belmont Bay can (2 comments)
We have been sorting through family photos over the last few weeks and the ones of the family together for the holidays bring back a lot of memories. We spent many a Sunday singing in the church choir and one of the Washington Star featured this photo in cough cough...I'm not going to say the year :-) May you find family memories this holiday season that bring you good cheer. (7 comments)
Woodbridge VA-Santa Trains Are Ready to Roll - 12/05/09 03:25 PM
Mark your calendars now for the annual Operation Lifesaver Santa Trains pulling out of Fredericksburg, Woodbridge, Manassas and Burke Centre on December 12h. With the appropriate names of Santa's reindeer these special VRE trains head out of stations for a one hour ride with plenty of surprises for the little ones. Tickets for the train cost $5.00 and MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE at the following locations:
FredericksburgVisitors Center 706 Caroline Street Monday-Sunday: 9:00am-5:00pm (540) 373-1776 Woodbridge VRE Station Coffee Club Cafe Monday-Friday: 5:15am - 12:00noon and 3:00p - 8:00pSaturday: 8:00a - 2:00pSunday: 8:30a - 12:00noon BurkeSupervisor Sharon Bulova's Office9002 (4 comments)
Belmont Bay-Tomorrow is Auction Day for River Club 2 - 12/03/09 01:28 PM
Anyone driving through Belmont Bay this week has seen the flurry of activity around the River Club 2 Condominium building. A now defunct Comstock project the 19 remaining unfinished units in the building along with 84 development lots are being auctioned off Friday December 4th at the Prince William County Courthouse in Manassas. Many buyers think the auction is for individual condo units. It is not. The auction is for the entire remaining 19 units as a parcel and the development lots as a separate parcel. If a winning bidder is interested in buying both packages they will have that option to (4 comments)
Slugging-A Northern Virginia Phenomena That Won't Land You in Jail - 12/01/09 08:06 AM
That's right you can slug away in Northern Virginia and not spend a night in jail. When you hear someone in Northern Virginia mention slugging they are talking about just one of the ways that commuters in our area get into DC during rush hour. Our slug lines are famous around the country as a unique form of carpooling not often found in other major metropolitan cities. The term actually started with the local bus drivers who would find riders who had slipped in "slugs" or fake tokens into the token box instead of the real ones. The term stuck and became linked with (4 comments)
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