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Suggested New Feature for Activerain: Consumer subscribers! What do you think? - 05/31/11 07:39 PM
Reblogging this hoping it gets featured. AR really needs consumer subscribers! Curious to see if this gets some attention. Can anyone think of why this is not a good idea? Via Bryan Robertson, Los Altos REALTOR Los Altos Real Estate - Homes For Sale (Sereno Group - Los Altos): The whole purpose of having a blog on Activerain is to get business. Unless you have a points-fetish or just really like writing blog articles to make friends around the country, being here is primarily about getting consumers to use your services. So, if our primary audience is consumers, doesn't it seem like (5 comments)
Broker's Preview today 12-2, 4132 41st Street North, Arlington, Va 22207 - 05/31/11 08:35 AM
Come by and enjoy a delicious Lebanese Taverna lunch courtesy of Kamelia Sacks of Stewart Title. This contemporary gem is nestled on a hillside right before the Chain Bridge. A nature lover's paradise, this updated home is nearly 4000 square feet and features charming architectural details like vaulted ceilings, 9 foot ceilings, floor to ceiling book cases, a massive eat in kitchen, multiple balconeis and outdoor living spaces, hardwood and tile floors, wine cellar, 2 car garage and an elevator. Listed at $1,050,000, in MLS on June 2, Public Open house Sunday June 5, 1-4. The Mouse on House Virtual Floor (2 comments)
It's not always about winning. - 05/30/11 09:10 PM
Big news today from the Big 10 in college football. Jim Tressell, the incredibly talented and successful Ohio State football coach today resigned under pressure from a scandal that started last winter about his players committing various NCAA offenses, namely accepting freebies from local businesses and trading team memorabilia for services like tattoos. Tressel was tipped off to it far before it became public, and he was not the one to announce it. Accusations of a cover up ensued, and now here they stand with a firing labled as a resignation. DISCLAIMER: My husband went to University of Michigan, and there (13 comments)
If you are about to buy a house, don't make major changes to your finances! - 05/28/11 07:48 AM
There are many things you should have on your mind. One of the biggest ones is your money. I tell buyer clients, after you are ratified and have loan approval "Do not make any major changes to your financial situation." Can I get a new higher paying job? Well yes, that is allowed. But be prepared to prove it umpteen different ways. The bank is not going to take your word for it. And if you do anything with your money - tell your loan officer about it first, and make sure it's not going to blow your loan. Don't (12 comments)
May 27, the day I became a mom - 05/27/11 04:50 PM
May 27, 2003 is the day my darling Jackson was born. Today as we celebrate his 8th birthday, I think back to how much life has changed since I had him. I was still at my former career in advertising and knew it was not a job worth juggling with motherhood. I had always wanted to try real estate, and Jackson gave me the motivation to do it. A year after he was born I got my license and have never looked back. He's been with me through this entire real estate journey, has helped me with lots of house (6 comments)
Oh District Taco how much do I love thee? - 05/26/11 05:16 PM
Let me count the ways: 1) Location - you are a mile from my house with parking right in front. And although if I go at peak hours it might be hard to find a spot, that's okay since you are so close to home. And this North Arlington corridor along Lee Highway is desparate for restaurants. They are all packed! 2) Your Salsa Verde - I am not enough of a poet to desribe this stuff. It is greener than the other Salsa Verdes out there, and just better. 3) You have stuff for my kids to play with - (3 comments)
When the listing agent drinks the Kool-Aid - 05/25/11 10:27 AM
A buyer of mine recently entertained the idea of buying a house that was over priced and in very specific condition. Let's just say there was a lot of pink. It was not in bad shape, but pink is very specific and you either like it or you don't. A little bit of pink here and there doesn't hurt, but when nearly every room has it and the house sits on the market, as the lowest priced home in the community, with no offers after 5 months, the market is telling you something. Either the price is too high or (6 comments)
Helping out your neighborhood dog walker - 05/24/11 04:35 PM
Along my morning jog today with my friend who lives in Overlee Knolls in Arlington (the neighborhood next door to mine), she told me about this custom of neighbors wrapping their newspaper bags along light poles if dog walkers get stuck without a pick up bag along the greenway. Not being a dog owner or walker, I had never noticed this before. I will be on the lookout now for these bags wrapped around light poles. Is this something that is done everywhere? Goes under the "you learn something every day" category! What a great win-win for all residents. Dog (5 comments)
Rex Day Spa in Falls Church, Virginia - 05/23/11 09:47 PM
We girls love our mani/pedis. And if you are looking for a wonderful place to get one, you should consider the Rex Day Spa in Falls Church, Virginia. We've had a couple of our client appreciation parties here and these ladies are such a pleasure to be with and great at pampering! They have this new gel/shellack polish for fingernails that is amazing - it actually stays on for 2 weeks. The secret is out: Rex was voted "Best Nail Salon" by the Falls Church News Press this year, and their new Gel polish was featured on Channel 9 - it (0 comments)
Yes, son there is a Santa Claus. This story takes everything you think you know about the short sale process and throws it out the window: Investment property, check. Vacant, check. No proof of hardship, check and the best part, seller walks away with cash from the bank? CHECK?! Some banks are getting with the program and realizing short sales are better for everyone. Congrats to Broker Bryant, his seller and Chase - winners all around.
Via Bryant Tutas-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc: Yes it's true. I didn't think it was when a potential Seller called me in December to (4 comments)
Just Sold! 8459 Catia Lane, Springfield, VA 22153 - 05/21/11 07:33 AM
This lovely 4 bedroom 3 bath colonial just closed yesterday for $635,000 in The Forest at Southrun in Springfield. The sellers are troopers, orchestrating a complicated move into temporary housing while their dream home is built in Alexandria at Coopers' Grove. This was a joyful property to sell, the sellers were model homeowners and the wife an incredibly talented decorator - this home was not staged. The settlement went off without a hitch, except for the water being shut off during the walk through (buyers, remember to switch utilities IN ADVANCE of settlement day!). Other than that, it was (6 comments)
It's swim team practice time at Overlee! - 05/20/11 08:32 PM
The Overlee Community pool started its practices for the swim team this week and in spite of multiple storms, they fit in 2 for the Under 8s and one more is set for tomorrow. If you are looking for a great North Arlington neighborhood pool - check out Overlee! Located just south of Lee Hwy on the corner of John Marshall, it's a great centrally located pool for Tuckahoe, Glebe, McKinley and Nottingham district residents. There is a wait, so apply now for next summer (or the next?), and consider getting an August Pass to join the fun sooner. The waitlist (2 comments)
Texting while driving: at what cost? Remembering Bob King. - 05/19/11 03:46 PM
I do wonder how many people have to die as ar result of texting and driving before we will stop!? This is terrible reminder to pull over or wait until you reach your destination to send that note. How it must feel also to be the one responsible. Was that message worth a life? Via Anna Banana - AZ Top Banana! Phoenix Broker CRS 602-380-4886 (Phoenix Property Shoppe): Texting while driving: at what cost? Remembering Bob King. This past Monday, April 4th, my friend of more than 15 years, Bob King, passed away. Bob was visiting Florida in an effort to promote motorcycle (3 comments)
Make your home your happy place. - 05/19/11 09:16 AM
Because owning a home has been touted as "the biggest investment you'll ever make" and because of the years 2000-2006 saw double percentage increases in value, people are quite preoccupied with "getting out what they put into" their homes. I had a client ask me about this recently, if they should keep an eye on what they are spending on while improving their home because they might not get it back out, in other words, which improvements increase the value of my home. My answer to her and anyone else thinking of making improvements is this: Do it if you will (7 comments)
100,005 points today - wooo hooo! - 05/18/11 07:56 AM
Thanks to the May challenge, I've finally hit the 100K mark. Not that big of a deal really when so many are fast approaching a million or already there around here, but still feels big to me. I am a busy mother of two, juggling a steady stream of business and various kid activities. To have fit time into my life for blogging is proof that anyone can do it. The May challenge has taught me that blogging everyday IS possible. And today, as I was racking my brain for a blog idea, my log in screen gave it to me (12 comments)
A post on the whole "losing the home" part of defaulting on your mortgage. There is an increase of people not paying their mortgage, but staying in the house with "free rent" for as long as possible. Do two wrongs make a right? Yes, the bank was wrong and misleading in these mortgages so if a homeowner defaults and STAYS IN THE HOUSE, does that make it right? I'm torn. So many people have tried to fix the mess they are in and the banks won't let them.
Via Richard Weisser Coweta Fayette Real Estate: This might (0 comments)
"Get out of Jail Free Card" - what are the "ways out" of a home sales contract in Northern Virginia? - 05/17/11 07:07 AM
If you buy a house in Northern Virginia, there are ways out of your contract should things go south. There are contingencies both built into the Northern Virginia Regional Sales Contract and that are placed in as addendums that allow a buyer to release themselves from the contract if you find negative information out about the property, or just get cold feet. But these contingencies must exercised within the specific timelines stated in the contract. And there are others that are not "ways out" but contracts do crumble over these issues depending on what happens.
Home Inspection: This is an (4 comments)
McEnearney is having a shredding and food drive! May 21, 9-12 - 05/16/11 06:47 PM
Need to de-clutter, clear out old files? Please come by McEnearney's Arlington office on Saturday May 21 with your old bills, bank statements and whatever else you need to toss that needs shredding and get it done on us! Also, bring 3 cans of non-perishable food and we will donate it to Arlington Food Assistance Center's collection of food for hungry Arlingtonians. They most need canned meat, tomato sauce, cereal and canned fruit. We will be here with lots of shredders from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Come on by, be green, lighten up your load and donate to a good (2 comments)
Market update 2011 over 2010 so far - 05/15/11 05:11 PM
It's been said many times before that comparing this spring to last is apples to oranges due to the artificial demand created last year by the very generous Homebuyer Tax Credit. In spite of that inflated market last year, we are still doing great in Northern Virginia. A balanced market is around 6 months of inventory and we have 2.8. Multiple offers, contracts within 24 hours of list, even escalations and sales over list are common right now. If you are thinking of selling your Northern Virginia home, call a professional Realtor for a true assessment of (2 comments)
"Broom clean with trash and debris removed" - 05/13/11 08:23 AM
This is a line in Paragraph 7 of the Northern Virginia Regional Sales Contract about how the property should be conveyed. Many sellers ask me if they should have a cleaning service come clean their house after they move out. My answer is yes, unless you want to do it yourself. Although the contract says "broom clean" what does that mean to you? You can't sweep carpeting, so in order to "remove debris" it should be vacuumed. People have different standards of "clean." Very rarely have I been a part of a purchase where the house was left (10 comments)
Gorgeous Top Level condo just listed in Savoy Park, Falls Church, Virginia - $222,500 - 05/12/11 07:31 PM
Come home and relax in this serene retreat surrounded by lush foliage in the middle of it all! Savoy Park is an extraordinary community, with a very well run condo association, awesome on-site manager, lush landscaping that is well maintained, pool, remodeled gym and club house. Incredible security - each key fob is building specific, and recently upgraded. This 1 bedroom/1 bath unit has a supremely positioned under ground parking space, a huge storage unit, features hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows, gas fireplace, flat screen TV and speakers that convey, open kitchen with plenty of space, gas cooking, W/D (1 comments)
Coming soon: One of a kind property in a location beloved to hikers, bikers and dog walkers - 05/11/11 08:49 PM
Nature lovers take notice! Have your own piece of Marin County, California right here in Arlington, Virginia. 4132 41st Street is a home nestled on the side of a hill near the Chain Bridge, close to some of Arlington's greatest hiking and biking paths down to the Potomac River, minutes from Washington DC, Bethesda and Tysons. You may know this street because it is absolutely the last turn in Arlington before getting on the Chain Bridge. It is a stunning contemporary, with over 4000 square feet of living space, attached 2 car garage, elevator, lavishly updated kitchens and baths, multiple balconies (3 comments)
Order your tickets for the Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour - May 21, 2011 - 05/10/11 07:45 AM
One of the area's best home and garden tours is coming up at the end of this month - The Tuckahoe Elementary Home and Garden Tour. Each year the tour gets better and better, and this year should be no exception. We've got many new sponsors who are featuring amazing renovations of classic Arlington homes as well as beautifully landscaped gardens. The tour will be from 12-5 on Saturday May 21, tickets must be purchased prior to the tour from the Tuckahoe PTA, download the form here, and either mail or bring your payment into Tuckahoe Elemantary School at 6550 N. 26th (1 comments)
Standoff with a Golden Retriever in Mantua - 05/09/11 01:07 PM
You really never know what is going to happen day to day as a Realtor. When your profession requires you spend hours in other people's homes without them present, sometimes, things come up. Last week, I attended a 3 plus hour inspection for my buyer's soon-to-be new home in the Mantua subdivision in Fairfax. Mantua is a beautiful area, known for its 1/2 acre lots, towering tress and lush landscaping. If you are looking for a neighborhood that feels like paradise, but is only 5 or so minutes outside the beltway, put Mantua on your list. Homes range from mid (14 comments)
Happy Mother's Day! - 05/08/11 03:45 PM
My boys took me out to an amazingly good brunch today at Jackson 20 in Old Town, Alexandria. The food was amazing (grilled salmon with vegetables, 4 salads, omlette bar, pancake bar, deserts, eggs, prime rib, and more). And thanks to my Jackson who thought to ask, we got a lovely outdoor seat on the patio. The weather was 70 and sunny, and a mom could not have asked for a better mother's day brunch. It felt like we were on vacation, and I think next Mother's day, maybe we should just stay the night in the Hotel Monaco where (7 comments)
How to prepare for your home to be inspected. - 05/07/11 07:26 AM
Home Inspections can be a daunting experience for both buyers and sellers. Buyers: If you are about to go through one, remember that it will be difficult to find out everything "wrong" with the house you are in love with. You know you love the flow, location, room sizes and updates. But now an inspector is going to go through it and make sure that everything is working properly (just 'cause it's pretty, doesn't mean it works) and make overall home maintenance recommendations too. But that's what home inspections are for, to tell you what is wrong, as well as to (52 comments)
The Great School Debate – A bromide for the score -obsessed parent: - 05/07/11 06:43 AM
This is a fantastic take on test scores and so-called "top schools." The author is a Realtor in Westchester, NY, but also a former academic. She's credible because as she states, she came from a "fair" high school and went on to get a Ph.D. at a "name" college, so she ended up okay. Test scores don't tell the whole story, and being in a school with lower ones, does not destine your child for a life of being a slacker. Via Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams Realty): Westchester county schools are known for their competitive nature. Now, in any competition there (1 comments)
Just sold 6401 Seven Oaks Drive, Falls Church, Virginia - 05/06/11 08:59 AM
My lovely buyer just settled yesterday on this spectacular end-unit townhouse in the Seven Oaks subdivision in Falls Church, Virginia. This closing has a great story and is another chance for me to praise one of my clients. We had just written an offer on another townhouse when this one came on the market on a Friday morning. She asked me to hold onto it becuase she saw this one come up in the MLS and it looked promising. However, we could not get in until late Saturday. So I held the other offer and we got into this one (1 comments)
Tuckahoe Park in Arlington, Virginia - 05/04/11 07:10 AM
Tuckahoe Park in Arlington, Virginia is located on the corner of Sycamore Street and Lee Highway at 2400 N. Sycamore Street, about 2 blocks from the EFC metro and adjacent to Tuckahoe Elementary School. It is an unusual park compared to others in Arlington, as it has a huge section of natural forest with beautiful walkways. A true nature lovers park surrounded by the hustle and bustle of major Arlington arteries, less than a mile to Falls Church City and about a mile to the Westover area and the Williamsburg Shopping Center. It's a nice bucolic getaway in a great (0 comments)
"I don't really speak English" she said in perfect English. - 05/03/11 06:51 AM
When I held open a new listing of mine a few weeks ago, we got quite a bit of traffic. I normally don't want to ask people to take 4 hours out of their Sunday afternoon to babysit me for safety reasons at an open house, but this day I was lucky to have my mentee along with me, as part of our training program is for her to shadow me at 4 open houses. This couple showed up at my open house through the back door. Red Flag #1. His body language was evasive, he would not really look me in (14 comments)
Do you mind if I borrow the phone to call my wife? - 05/02/11 10:19 AM
The reasons to not hold houses open seem to be piling up. Thank you Alan May for warning us of this latest scam - asking to use the phone and racking up 900 # charges. Open houses are tremendously popular in Arlington, Virginia and surrounding areas. But after a string of burgarlies in them a few years ago, the murder of Ashley Okland in Iowa and now this - I think they should be only held if two agents are in attendance and only for 2 hours, to reduce the chances of crooks coming through. Via Alan May, Coldwell Banker Evanston, (5 comments)
Happily sleep deprived today. - 05/02/11 06:57 AM
I know this is supposed to be a real estate and community blog, and I have all of these great blog ideas..... but...... Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S Special Forces yesterday, and I was up late last night and early this morning watching the coverage and know this is what will be on my mind and the conversations at work all day today. This is such a monumental event, and one I really never thought would happen! DC residents flocked to the White House last night in a wonderful display of patriotism like we've not seen in years. (3 comments)
Do I need a permit for that? - 05/01/11 07:22 AM
Depends on what it is, but it is very likely when making major improvements or replacements in your home, you will. You may think permits are only for new construction, but they are actually required for much more. Here's what Arlington County says about permits on their website:
"Permits are required to protect all people from the effects of the repairs, additions, or new construction which are in violation of the codes and which could cause harm to life and property. Permits are also required to ensure that federally mandated building related requirements, such as energy conservation and accessibility are (9 comments)
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