jc advantage: March Madness: Basketball & Weather! - 03/17/14 05:41 AM

This is the most exciting month of the year for basketball fans and it's also has been the most unpredictable month of weather in Northern Virginia. The NCAA basketball tournament gets underway later this week with hopes for Virginia teams to prevail & more spring-like weather to appear.  Here are some highlights and updates on our Virginia teams moving on to the NCAA Tournament.
The University of Virginia, claimed victory over Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and will be the top seed in the East Region.
No. 6 Virginia, beat Duke on Sunday earning its first ACC tournament championship since … (0 comments)

jc advantage: It's March Madness in NoVA! - 03/11/14 04:43 AM

Fans in the Northern Virginia area are celebrating the fact that the Virginia Cavaliers have sown up the Atlantic Coast Conference title in regular season play! This is a really big win for the Cavaliers, because they're sort of a dark horse in the NCAA arena.
ESPN has moved the Cavaliers up in their Basketball Power Index from number 13 to number 7. This is a result of their having won 13 straight conference games. How does this translate as far as post-season play is concerned? Only time (and games!) will tell. Whatever happens, their fans will be there … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Thinking of Selling Your NoVA Home? - 12/23/13 11:02 PM
Are you planning on remodeling your Northern Virginia home? This blog lists the updates and renovations that may return the biggest payoff for you. Keeping these tips in mind can definitely work in your favor with potential buyers, even if you don’t plan to sell until much further down the road.
The number one feature buyers are looking for is privacy from neighbors. Everyone likes a place that is off by itself with no neighbors in sight. Even if you have other houses close by, using trees or shrubs, or even just a fence around your patio, can really increase a … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Crystal Ball for the NoVA Market? - 12/17/13 09:47 PM
With 2013 coming to a close, you may be wondering what we can expect in the real estate market in Northern Virginia next year. Looking back over this year, it’s clear that the market has made a comeback. In fact, the expectations of many economists at this time last year were actually surpassed when the combination of historically low interest rates and low inventories of homes for sale drove up prices. There’s no reason to expect these positive trends to stop any time soon, but the banks can see this as well. So expect mortgage rates to rise.
The beginning … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Holiday Fun in NoVA - 12/11/13 02:15 AM
Northern Virginia is a great place to be for the holidays! With so many special events throughout the region, it can be tough to keep track of them all, let alone decide where to go. Let this guide help you in making this a memorable holiday season.
Old Town Alexandria reminds you of the magic of the season by having street entertainers performing for crowds along brightly decorated historic streets with several wonderful events adding some Christmas cheer to your holiday shopping. Hopefully you were able to make the Tree Lighting Ceremony that took place in the Historic Market Square … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Holiday House Hunting in NoVA - 12/04/13 02:58 AM
Here in Northern Virginia, as in most of the country, the holiday season may be one of the best times to buy a home. If you can find the time between all of the shopping, parties, and feasting, it can be one of the most advantageous times for house hunting.
While it’s true that during the holiday season the real estate market often slows down, it also means that mortgage lenders slow down as well, giving you a chance to have your loan processed faster. Having fewer homes on the market doesn’t mean that you won’t find something you like, either. … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Black Friday 2013 in NoVA - 11/27/13 01:15 AM
The holiday season is here and that means Black Friday is almost upon us. We would like to help out those in Northern Virginia by showing you what some of the big retailers are offering. Early warning means easier planning, and these retailers are leaking ads earlier than ever to make your holiday shopping easier.
Walmart is offering a Vizio 60’ Smart HDTV for $688, and the 16GB iPad Mini with Wi-Fi for $299 along with a $100 Walmart gift card for their “Event 1,” part one of its three part staggered door-buster event. It all starts at 6pm Thanksgiving night. … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Bouncing Back in Northern Virginia - 11/20/13 01:17 AM
During the recent chaos in our government with the shutdown and the debt ceiling debate, many of us here in Northern Virginia, as in the rest of the country, had other things on our minds in addition to finding a new home. Pundits were sure that the shutdown would put a damper on the housing rebound. Fortunately, new data suggests that this is not the case. People are shrugging off the recent troubles and heading back into the housing market.
There have been many reports from various news media outlets and economists about how Americans suffered considerable damage to their … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Pro Properties Here in NoVA - 11/13/13 01:33 AM
Many of us here in Northern Virginia are excited about the start of the 2013 NBA season. In honor of this, I’d like to tell you about a couple of NBA players who have had some movement on their homes in the region.
First, we have the Washington Wizards’ point guard John Wall celebrating his new 5-year, $80 million contract by buying a $4.9 million Potomac, MD mansion this summer. Sitting on two acres, it boasts a full sports wing that houses an indoor basketball complex, tennis court, volleyball court, putting green, shuffleboard, fitness room, and a steam room. What more … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Northern Virginia Holiday Markets - 11/06/13 03:01 AM
We are officially entering the holiday season and that means it’s time to think about decorating, celebrating and gift giving. While there are loads of festivals and craft shows taking place all over the state, here in Northern Virginia we have enough to keep you busy shopping all month long.
The first event this season is the Northern Virginia Christmas Market, which kicks off on the weekend of November 8 through 10 in the South Hall of the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. The event is open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and on Sunday from … (0 comments)

jc advantage: What the QRM Means for Northern Virginia - 10/30/13 03:08 AM
Every year at this time, those of us in the real estate industry here in Northern Virginia, and all across the country, encourage prospective buyers to finalize their transactions before the end of the year in order to take advantage of the tax breaks. This year, we’re encouraging buyers to settle before the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act goes into effect on January 1, 2014.
The central component of the act, the QRM – qualified residential mortgage – will require that debt ratios on mortgages are limited to 43 percent, and loan fees are limited to 3 percent. … (2 comments)

jc advantage: How NoVA Millenials Shop for Homes - 10/24/13 02:45 AM
Maybe it’s because Millenials have had to wait longer than previous generations to get into the housing market, but here in Northern Virginia as well as in many other areas across the country, they’re making up for lost time. What’s more, they want to make this first foray into home ownership a good one.
This group of prospective buyers is made up of some 90 million individuals nationwide, and the oldest of them are just 31 years old. Yet, they are the driving force behind first-time home ownership.
Maybe more than the rest of us, Millenials understand that they’ll need to … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Selling Your Northern Virginia Home This Fall? - 10/16/13 02:49 AM
Spring and summer are traditionally big seasons for real estate, but especially this year fall is also a great time to put your Northern Virginia home on the market. At the moment, we have the best seller’s market we’ve seen in some time mostly because there are more buyers than there are properties for sale. When you add in the benefits of selling in the fall listed below, you may just get the incentive you need to list.
In any season, one of the first steps after listing your home is staging it. With fall’s cooler weather and shorter days, it’s … (0 comments)

jc advantage: The Haunting of Northern Virginia - 10/09/13 04:22 AM
Given both our geographical and historical location, no one can argue that we don’t have a lot of stories to tell here in Northern Virginia. Given also that this is the month for dark stories, it seems fitting to share one or two about Occoquan – a very small town on the Potomac, not far from Woodbridge, with an extraordinary number of reported hauntings.
Occoquan was settled by the Dogue Indians who gave the region its name. The earliest mention of the town appears in a record from 1734 in which the Virginia General Assembly directed that a tobacco warehouse be … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Coming Undone by NoVA Social Media - 10/02/13 04:59 AM
Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like – can be a huge bonus when buying or selling real estate in Northern Virginia. Unfortunately, those same quick bites of enticing information can also lead to your real estate downfall if not posted wisely. A recent post by a prospective homebuyer in California, “Found our dream house!” led to a bidding war that she eventually lost.
Social media is firmly embedded in most people’s lives, and most of us use it to comment on our experiences, and express our joys and frustrations. The problem is that most people don’t … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Valuable Hot Air in NoVA - 09/18/13 12:18 AM
According the National Association of Realtors, a typical Northern Virginia family wastes about $350 per year on air leaks – air we pay good money to either heat or cool depending upon the season. For just a fraction of that in costs, and no more than a weekend worth of labor, you can keep that air inside your home where it belongs with these simple tips.
Start at the top of your home – hot air rises – and work your way down. In the attic, insulate around recessed lights in your ceilings. Most of them vent right into the … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Owning a Home in Northern Virginia is a Good Idea...Again - 09/10/13 11:26 PM
The National Association of Realtors 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey released last month held some great news for Northern Virginia. More than half of renters surveyed said that becoming a homeowner is again one of their highest priorities. In recent years, there was a good deal of media attention devoted to a supposed shift toward favoring renting over owning, but the survey shows that in retrospect, this wasn’t necessarily the case.
From 2007 to 2011, Pulse survey results showed that the share of participants who thought that buying a home was a good financial decision dropped from around 85% to … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Mortgage Tips for Northern Virginia Home Sellers - 07/10/13 02:58 AM

With more and more homes on the market in Northern Virginia, sellers are fortunate enough to be receiving an abundance of offers. It can be tough to choose the best offer. Sometimes the one with the highest price isn’t the best choice! Rather than highest price, you want the buyer with the ability to pay cash or easily obtain a home loan. You want to choose a financially competent buyer; one you are confident will be able to close.
Cash-only buyers are tempting. You will be handed cash in a lump sum, which to many people may sound like an … (0 comments)

jc advantage: Celebrating the Fourth of July in Northern Virginia - 07/02/13 10:42 PM
Northern Virginia is a great place to celebrate Independence Day! Local events are often an important deciding factor when planning a move or relocation, especially when moving with young families. Northern Virginia has a wealth of events and festivities to keep the whole family busy. There are so many great ways to celebrate this patriotic day; from parades in Washington, DC to firework displays right here in town. The warm days and cooler nights make for a perfect day out too.
Parades are a Fourth of July staple. No matter where you’re located, you’re sure to find one nearby. Northern Virginia … (9 comments)

jc advantage: Quick Ways to Stage Your Home in Northern Virginia - 06/27/13 06:05 AM
With the market on the rise and more homes on the market, it’s becoming less of a seller’s market. The buyers have an increased inventory from which to choose in Northern Virginia. As a seller, you need to make decisions on how to make your home stand out above the rest. Home staging is a technique used to grasp a buyer’s attention. The goal is to have them imagine they’re living in the house. This is simpler than it sounds, and can be done in these easy steps.
As always, begin with the exterior, the first thing the buyer will see … (2 comments)