Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sellers: Seize the moment!


Currently, the National Association of Realtors is recognizing very low inventory on the market.  This trend is pushing sales prices upwards.  For any one in the market to sell their home, this is good news.

Some homeowners have adopted a "wait and see" attitude with the real estate market.   Would be sellers have sat on the fence hoping for a complete rebound in peak pricing from 2005-2007 ish.

While sales prices have not totally rebounded from peak pricing years ago, the Northern Virginia real estate market has a history of consistent  sales and pricing in 2012.  Steady sales are expected to continue through 2013.

If you'd like to sell your home, call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

                                              Carla Brooks
                                              703-577-4960
                                           brkslong@aol.com

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Do you have a Christmas Tree yet?

If you haven't yet purchased a Christmas Tree, The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna is selling fraser firs in the Giant Food parking lot on Maple Avenue in Vienna.





All the proceeds from this sale go back to the community in the form of college scholarships for seniors, financial assistance to local sports teams for equipment and so forth, awards for the elementary schools and their respective projects, awards for local law enforcement programs, hearing impaired essay contest winner awards and so much more!

All the trees are fraser firs from North Carolina I believe.  They are beautiful.  They each have a hole drilled in the bottom and are placed on spikes on the stands in the lot so you can see the shape of the tree.

The Optimist Club members that are working the tree lot will trim the branches on the tree for you and give the bottom a fresh clip with the chain saw.  A fresh cut will allow the tree to absorb more moisture and you must get that tree in water within an hour of the fresh cut.  Stands with spikes are available to purchase (small and medium).





 These stands are so handy for the tree--no awkward screwing in the three bolts that secure the tree on most stands sold in the stores.  Simply lay the tree on its side and insert the spike into the hole in the bottom and tilt the tree to stand up position--so easy!




I purchased my tree on Monday night and its halfway decorated--going with a gold and silver theme this year:)  My family room is small so I chose one of the pink tag trees ($45) not too tall and very slim.






Hope you have a great holiday season!

If you'd like to buy or sell a home call me today, I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!


                                                 Carla Brooks
                                                 703-577-4960
                                               brkslong@aol.com

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Attention Buyers!




If you are in the market to buy a home, the KCM blog has a very good post on the "cost" of a home.  They define the "cost" of a home as the amount of the long term expenditure.  When rates are as low as they are, now is the time to buy.

Here is the post: KCM blog November 7th post

Have a great day and remember to call me when you are ready to buy or sell a home,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.


                                                  Carla Brooks
                                                703-577-4960
                                             brkslong@aol.com

PS image a courtesy of free digital photos


Monday, November 5, 2012

Have Four Years Really Gone By?

                                         Wow, its time to vote in another Presidential election.







According to the news today, voters are turning out in record numbers compared to the last presidential election.  I hope this is true.  After all, the election and the issues are important.   I like to believe that the more people voting in our country, the more patriotism there is.  And its exciting to be around people passionate about their country and the issues confronting our society and economy.

While visiting Paris in 1998, I loved the feeling of passion of the French people.  The people seemed connected to life and committed to what makes them happy.  How could one argue with that?  I'm amazed at the number of American blogs devoted to French inspired decor and French Living and reading these blogs I know I'm not the only one who feels the passion of the French people.

I'm proud of the younger generations for being so interested in the political leaders.  They seem to understand that the decisions made today will have a bearing on their futures.  I don't recall having much interest in politics while in high school and college.

My 5 year old grandson came over the other day, sat down on the couch and proudly announced his Presidential pick!   Of course, his pick mirrored his parent's preference yet I don't believe I knew anything about the United States Presidents when I was 5 years old.  Part of this awareness is the exploding media coverage of political issues and events.  Some of might be more inclined to feel the way the 4 year old girl (on the u tube video) crying because she was so tired of hearing about "Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney".  How cute is that?

In any event, I bring out the old Ty Beanie babies every 4 years and let them duke it out in my kitchen until the results are in.  Anyone passing through my kitchen will remember to vote!



Hope to see you with your "I Voted" sticker tomorrow:)

And remember, if you'd like to buy or sell a home, call me today!

                                                      Carla Brooks
                                                      703-577-4960
                                                  brkslong@aol.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

"No more 'n a sock full"

Years ago, when I first started my career in real estate, I was so excited to get a call from a homeowner who wanted to sell their home.  The market sales were robust and I was itching to do get out there and  learn the business.

One day, I got a call from a gentleman in Falls Church.   He was definitely selling a home and he wanted to speak to me about listing his property.  Yes! I thought, this is what I have been waiting for.

I arrived to the appointment on time and proceeded to tour the home with the seller.  When we got to the basement I could see it was unfinished.  I asked the seller point blank if the basement ever leaked.  He told me that as a general rule no.  On occasion, however, it has leaked yet "no more 'n a sock full" at one time.  Seeing my bewildered look, he further explained that when he has come down to the basement and seen water during a storm, he bunches up a sock and throws it in the corner and the water has never been more than a sock could handle.

Oh, ok, I thought.  Now how do I explain that to prospective buyers as a listing agent?

Well, the owner ended up selling on his own and I didn't have to be concerned with the proper disclosures to prospective buyers.  I'm sure the seller did his own explaining...... just fine:)

I'm wishing all of you safety during Hurricane Sandy and I hope none of you have any water issues and if you do I hope its "no more 'n a sock full" !.  God bless!

                                                  Carla Brooks
                                                  703-577-4960
                                             brkslong@aol.com

ps. image is courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Water Line Replacement Insurance

For years, I have been recommending the insurance offered by Dominion Power to clients.  Dominion Power offers water line replacement, resulting landscaping costs, and sewer line replacement  insurance to customers for a low monthly fee.

This past week I found out first hand how the reimbursement program works when I discovered a water leak in my front yard.  The first step was to call the Fairfax County Water Authority and have them confirm that a water leak existed.  If the leak is a slow leak then the water to the house can be left on without interrupting water service to the resident. Luckily, my leak was a slow leak and my water supply could be left on.

  Once the leak is confirmed by the Fairfax County Water Authority, the next step is to notify Dominion Power.  Dominion Power then sends out their contractor (American Plumbing) to survery the situation and decide what needs to be done and when a contractor will be sent out to do the work.

I waited over a week for the contractor to have a crew in place to repair the leak.  I was told that the customers with no water service would be taken care of first.  This made sense, yet did not make the wait period any easier.   I watched water build up in my front yard for over a week and felt concerned that somehow all this water might possibly damage my lawn.

Anyway, the repair date arrived and all went smoothly.  The repair can be done without digging up the whole yard since the new line (copper 7/8 inch) can be placed inside the old line (plastic 1 inch) and connected to the  house lines. 

After the installation, the Fairfax County Inspectors have to come out to approve the installation.  No one notified me that the inspectors would be out the next morning so the final inspection failed. The next morning an inspector showed up from the county.  I was surprised to see the inspector since again no one called to schedule an appointment.  The inspector told me that the county had so many water lines to inspect that they did not have time to call.  Ok....

Anyway, the work passed inspection and the copper line will be guaranteed for 10 years.  The catch?  There's always a catch, right?  Since the ruptured line was plastic the insurance covers only a like-kind line replacement.  The insured party has to pay for the upgrade to a copper line.  How much did the upgrade cost?  $610 !!!

So there you have the drill.  The insurance is well worth the monthly fee since a line replacement could run thousands of dollars. 

If you'd like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own. 

                                                           Carla Brooks
                                                         703-577-4960
                                                      brkslong@aol.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Appraisals

Now that the real estate market has more buyers than sellers, some properties are escalating in price with multiple bids.  Appraisers are scrambling to bring values in, at (or above) the sales price so the buyer can qualify for a loan.  The appraiser generally must provide 3 comparable properties in the general area of the property under contract that support the contract price of the property being appraised.

When an appraised value comes in low on a property under contract, there are a few options open to the buyer and sellers:

1. the seller can lower the sales price to the appraised value.

or

2. The buyer can make up the difference between the appraised value and the contract price by bringing more money to closing

or

3. the seller and buyer can negotiate a new price somewhere in between the contract price and the appraised value

or

4. the buyer can void the contract

According to statistics with the National Association of Realtors, 15% of contracts are negotiated to a lower price due to low appraisals and 11 % of contracts are cancelled due to low appraisals.

The realtor's role in the process is to keep the buyers and sellers informed at the listing stage of the property, the contract negotiating stage and the contingency period of the contract.

If you'd like to buy or sell a property call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own....

Carla Brooks
brkslong@aol.com
703-577-4960

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Early Preparations for the Civil War


In December of 1860, it was obvious that great changes would be taking place in the country regarding the conflicts over slavery and states rights. South Carolina had given notice of its intent to secede from the Union and other states were certainly thinking in the same direction.

After many years of peace and tranquility, there were few armed forces to speak of in the capital. There was the Potomac Light Infantry(1 company), The National Rifles (1 company), the Washington Light Infantry (160 men) and a small group called the National Guard Battalion.

President Buchanan put his feelers out for the formation of a "union" defense team that would keep the capital safe. Lieutenant General-in-Chief Scott was summoned to Washington and chose Brigadier-General Charles P Stone to assist him in "rallying" the loyal Union supporters together. Letters were sent out to at least 40 respectable and well known District gentlemen to advise them that their support was needed to sustain the District. The responses were varied, some outright declining their services, some sarcastically retorting, and many enthusiastically offering their support.




While support for the District was being organized, support for the Confederate side was organizing behind the scenes as well.


Oddly enough, as General Stone was progressing with his volunteer army, he was incredulous to learn that President Buchanan has issued an order to the Ordnance Department not to issue arms. This was  on the advice of the District Attorney--Robert Ould.

Eventually, Mr President was convinced to issue the order to arm the volunteer army lest he lose the support of the citizens and the Union crumble... Here is Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy under President Lincoln:





As the inauguration of President -Elect Lincoln approached, many attempts to sabatoge the inauguration and assassinate Lincoln were averted. Most likely, President Lincoln would never have held office without the support of the volunteer army.  The volunteer army saw to it that the President elect arrived safely in Washington DC for his inauguration.





The military forces of the United States army in December of 1860 were comprised of 1108 officers and 15,259 men.

Who was running the country at the time the Civil War broke out?  Here are some of the leaders in the administration in 1861.


The Secretary of War from 3/4/1961 to 1/15/1862 was Simon Cameron:





The Secretary of State under President Lincoln's entire term was William H Seward:




General Winfield Scott was the General in Chief of the army when the Civil War broke out. At 75 years of age, 6 ft 5 and approximately 300 lbs, General Scott was not in good enough physical shape to lead the Union forces.   He was replaced by General George McClellan at the end of 1861.  





Salmon Chase was the Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln until July of 1864:







If you would like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today.  Your transaction will be treated as if it were my own.

                                                                 
                                                                 Carla

                                                           703-577-4960
                                                         brkslong@aol.com

ps.All pictures and sketches were taken from THE CENTURY WAR BOOK

                                                                 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall is here!



Years ago, my sister gave me a small piece of a vine to plant below my deck.  Since that time, this small "vine" has grown into a monstrous wonder of beauty.  Each September, there is rush of white blossoms that take my breath away.  I'm not sure what the name of this vine is yet I have seen it growing wild along nature pathways.




Enjoy Falls beauty!!

                                                                  Carla Brooks
                                                                703-577-4960
                                                               brkslong@aol.com


If you'd like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Supply and Demand

"The educated consumer is our best customer" was the mantra used by "Syms" Department store many years ago.  Who could argue with their logic?

If one has a good product, at a competitive price,then the educated consumer will be able to recognize it for what it is and be more apt to purchase it.

Likewise, in real estate.  An educated consumer should understand how supply and demand determine pricing in a local real estate market.

That's why I love the Long & Foster Market Minute reports.  One can search by zip code area and find out the latest statistics on the housing market.  Try it!

And call me with any questions you might have.  I would love to work with you to buy and/or sell a home...

                                                       Carla Brooks
                                                    brkslong@aol.com
                                                      703-577-4960

Friday, August 17, 2012

Great Flyer

Is the real estate market where we want it to be?  Not yet, most of us are thinking.  There is room for improvement.  Great strides have been made this year, however, and we should take a moment to celebrate the progress!  See this post by the KCM Blog to understand the current momentum in the real estate market.

If you'd like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                                       Carla
                                                               brkslong@aol.com
                                                               703-577-4960

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stay informed on the new taxes on real estate and other investments

Starting in 2013, the new health care law language mandates an additional tax on investments(including real estate) for certain taxpayers.  The National Assocation of Realtors has created a booklet explaining this additional tax. 

Click here: NAR to read first hand about this new tax.

If you'd like to buy or sell a home call me today, I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

                                                        Carla Brooks
                                                       703-577-4960
                                                       brkslong@aol.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The role of a realtor

I'm on the run today yet wanted to reach out to all of you that are checking my lately (post-less) blog.  Apologies extended, I haven't quite gotten back from the power outages etc that threw off my schedule.  And, as I'm sure you've read in your local papers, the real estate market has been in full throttle this year so I must take care of first things first!

 In any event, I just read the current post on the KCM Blog this morning and as usual the information was very relevant to real estate and great information for buyers and sellers to absorb.

The topic of conversation is the difference between excellent and perfect.

Here is the post: The KCM blog

Thanks for visiting and enjoy the day!

If you'd like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today!

                                                          Carla 
                                                     703-577-4960
                                                 brkslong@aol.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scenes in Virginia 1861

Ever wonder about the visual scenes in Northern Virginia and Washington around the breakout of the Civil War?   Constance Cary Harrison recounts her observations in an article in the Century War Book:



Her family was the first family in the state to "manumit" slaves.  (I had to look this word up) It means to "free from bondage".  Her family lived in the same neighborhood as Colonel Robert E Lee.  In the holiday season of 1860, friends and neighbors were very reluctant to accept the notion of war breaking out in the Union. Holiday parties were scheduled as usual.

The annual Holiday (Christmas) get together in the neighborhood at Plantation Vauclause was held and the reality of impending war was observed yet the celebrations proceeded as planned.  Egg nog and apple toddy's were in ample supply and enjoyed by all.    All the youth attending the party eventually became a part of the Confederate forces.  A year later, Vauclause Plantation did not exist. Surrounding trees were cut down and used to construct a fort to defend Washington.

Once the war was declared imminent, the women and children were relocated to Manassas for safekeeping.   Constance observed one neighborhood family burying their family silver in boxes in their yard for fear the possessions would be stolen by looters.  After the war, she observed the silver lying loose in the soil, the boxes having long rotted away.

 The women and children that were relocated to Manassas, recalled saluting each passing train as the rail cars moved soldiers from one point to another in preparation for battle with Union troops.





On 7/18/1861 the first guns at Manassas were heard at Blackburns Ford.  As the day wore on no word arrived until the slow trickle of wounded soldiers began.  Some wounded soldiers were treated on site, others were taken to the hospital in nearby Culpeper.  Some soldiers appeared with notes attached to their clothing explaining the status of various soldiers to their loved ones.  One mother heard, in regards to her 15 year old son, that due to extreme fatique he lay sound asleep on the battlefield with guns blasting all around him.

Constance and her cousins were summoned to make the first 3 battle flags for the Confederates.  One flag was for General Johnston, one for  General Beauregard and the last for General Van Dorn.  When the latter died in Tennessee, the battle worn flag was returned to Constance.  Today the flag rests in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.


The Maryland Historical Society @ 201 W Monument Street, Baltimore MD (410-685-3750) has a 5000 square foot exhibition describing the three phases of the Civil War. (http://www.mdhs.org/)  $6 admission ($5 seniors, $4 3-18, free for those 2 and under


If you would like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today.  I am here to earn your trust and I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

                                                        Carla
                                                 703-577-4960
                                             brkslong@aol.com










Short Sale versus foreclosure

According to the latest business news, charts and graphs, the real estate market in Northern Virginia is on the road to recovery.  Sales are up and prices are up.

Still, there are many homeowners who owe more than their home is worth.  Even though the sales prices of homes have moved upwards, they are still not at the pricing levels of 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Some homeowners are prepared to wait out the storm and hold onto the property for as long as it takes.



Some homeowners, on the other hand, cannot afford to wait out the storm and are truly in distressed situations.  They need to sell their homes and they do not have the cash to bring to the settlement table to cover the difference between the sales price and the liens on the property.  What to do?

There are two options: Foreclosure on the courthouse steps or a bank approved "short sale".

Going through a foreclosure is a serious and credit-damaging event.  The foreclosure on the credit report will most likely prevent homeowners from purchasing homes anywhere from 5 to 7 years in the future.  The foreclosure is also an expensive procedure for the banks.  They will incur attorney fees and trustee fees.

In a  "short sale", the bank agrees to approve the sale of a property for less than the mortgage(s) owed by the homeowner.  The "short sale" will damage the homeowners credit yet for a shorter period of time.  In fact, some homeowners will be able to purchase a home within 2-3 years from the date of the short sale. The "short sale" will most likely not be as costly to the bank as the foreclosure in terms of attorney fees and trustee fees.  A win win for all concerned.

If you are a buyer in the market for a home, short sales should not be overlooked as possible properties to purchase.  Unless, of course, your particular situation will not allow you to be at the mercy of the banks time table for settlement.

If you are in a distressed situation call me today for information on the short sale process.

                                              Carla
                                   brkslong@aol.com

                                     703-577-4960

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time Saver Tip





One thing I've enjoyed through the years is watching perennials re-bloom in the pots they were planted in the previous year(s).  This way, I don't have to go out and buy new plants and then plant them.  An instant garden of delight appears on my deck each year.

Here is some Yarrow that was planted 3 years ago:




Here are some Garden Phlox (paniculata "Laura")--they have the most delicious smell!!!








Here are some mums that were given to me as a hostess gift years ago, somehow I haven't been able to kill them along the way:




These "bunny ears" were given to me by a neighbor at least 15 years ago:





How about some favorite hosta?  I've had to remove some of  my favorite hosta from the yard and place on my deck since the deer were eating them to the ground.  I dare them to walk onto my deck!!  So far so good...







Here's a wonderful jade plant that I've had for 20+ years.  I bring it inside each fall and outside each spring:


Of course nothing can replace the fresh basil and potato vines that have to be planted fresh each year:



Hope you're enjoying the summer weather and if you'd like to buy or sell a home call me today!

Carla 
703-577-4960
brkslong@aol.com

Monday, June 25, 2012

The case for the dehumidifier

If you are new to Northern Virginia or have recently acquired a home with a basement you'll understand what a dehumidier is.

  If you don't, a dehumidifier is a small machine that removes moisture from the air and deposits that moisture into a pan in the machine.  One can either empty the pan when it fills to the top or connect a hose to the machine so that it automatically drains to the floor drain in the concrete foundation.

Northern Virginia has a very humid climate and leaving that moisture in the air can create a lower level living area susceptible to mold and damage from moisture.  Not to mention the fact that a moisture ridden basement is often times too cold and uncomfortable to spend time in.

Dehumidifiers can be purchased at any hardward store for somewhere between $100-$200.  Keeping your home dry and free from mold is so important.

If you'd like to buy your dream home call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

                                                                          Carla
                                                                   703-577-4960
                                                                 brkslong@aol.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Important is the List Price in Selling a Home?

The listing price in selling a home is extremely important.  If a home is priced too high,  the buyers often shy away from the property and don't make offers.  If a home is priced too low, the sellers might not receive an offer reflective of the true value of the home.

Once a home sits on the market for a bit with no offers, it becomes "stale" so to speak.  Often, the property ends of selling for less than it would have sold had it been priced correctly in the first place.

What is a home worth?  Supply and Demand determine the value of a home.  A certified market analysis by a local realtor is the best way to determine the worth of a home.  The data in the local multiple listing service is very valuable. It is used by local appraisers and realtors to compare properties and ascertain value.

If you are planning on selling in the near future, call me today for a free certified market analysis.  I hope to hear from you soon!


                                                         Carla Brooks
                                                                            703-577-4960
                                                                          brkslong@aol.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!




                                                        Happy belated Mothers Day to all!
                                  The apricots are from Costco and need a little help ripening...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is 2012 the year of the Short Sale?

Remember when the real estate market started cooling in the second half of 2005?  It seems like just yesterday...  In reality, it was 7 years ago.

In 2006, no one knew what the real estate values would do except  that they were declining.  It wasn't until the second half of 2008 when the banks announced that they were really in trouble that the cat was out of the bag.  Serious declines in home values had occurred overnight it seemed.

  Housing inventory was piling up, homes were being abandoned, sold on the courthouse steps, and some short sales were happening.  Many realtors did not want to participate in the short sale transactions due to legal liability and their experience with the banks in the previous housing downturn  (the late 80's and early 90's).  Nevertheless, the short sale has emerged as a viable and cost effective way for the distressed homeowner to release their real estate holding(s).

A short sale is defined as the sale of a property for less money than what is owed to the banks on that property.  Banks typically make 20% less on the sale of a foreclosed property than on a short sale property.  This is one of the main reasons that the banks are now willing to do more short sales.


There are advantages to the defaulting homeowner as well.  The homeowner usually stays in the home (rent free) until the short sale is complete and sometimes is given a settlement by the bank to pay for their imminent move.  They, in turn, take care of the property while the short sale is being negotiated.  This is good news for the bank since they are not in the business to be caretakers of real estate.   Short sales are not as damaging to one's credit (in most cases--if negotiated properly) as a foreclosure.

If you are a buyer or distressed homeowner interested in the short sale process give me a call today, I can point you in the right direction for advice on the process.

                                                         Carla 
                                                    703-577-4960
                                                                 brkslong@aol.com

ps all photos are a courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Save on energy costs by installing a timer on your Hot Water Heater today




Thanks to advanced technology, one can save as much as $30-40 a month on their utility bill by installing a timer on the home hot water heater.  Apparently, our hot water heaters do their job over and over whether we use the hot water or not.  So why heat water that we are not going to use immediately?


By installing a timer on your hot water heater one can regulate when they turn on and off.  If you rise at 6 am, for example, the timer can be set for 5:45 so the water is toasty for your morning shower.  If you leave for work shortly thereafter, simply set the timer for when you return in the evening.  And then turning it off again before retiring for the evening.

The type of timer that your hot water tank will need depends on whether you have an electric hot water heater or a gas hot water heater. So be sure and consult with an expert before you make a decision on what to purchase.

If you'd like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own...




                                                             Carla 
                                                      703-577-4960
                                                  brkslong@aol.com


ps all photos are courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Monday, May 7, 2012

Interest rates fall once again!





USA today reported today that interest rates on 30 year fixed mortgages have fallen once again to a new low of 3.84%.  This new low represents the lowest rate out there since mortgages came into being in the 1950's.  Less than impressive economic reports spurred the latest drop in mortgage interest rates.


Ironically enough, many homeowners that would like to take advantage of these wonderfully low rates will not be able to do so with the rigid mortgage qualification standards today.  Additionally, it is estimated that the rates will climb back up to 4.25%-4.5% very shortly.



If you are in a position to buy a home or investment property and/or refinance, look into the matter today so the opportunity to finance at  historically low rates does not pass you by.

If you want to make the most of your real estate experience call me today, I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.  


                                                    Carla 
                                                703-577-4960
                                                            brkslong@aol.com


PS pictures are a courtesy of:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How's the real estate market doing this Spring?

There is plenty of activity in sales of real estate for Northern Virginia.  Regular sales, combined with short sales and bank owned properties continue to be posted across the board.

This coming weekend is "National Open House Extravaganza" weekend.  So if you're in the market to buy a home then most likely most properties will be held open.  If you see something you really like and want a more private showing call me today and I will arrange one!

There were approximately 22 properties in 22181 and 15 properties in 22181 that went under contract between April 11 and April 25th (today).

 The spring market has been very active since January and part of the reason is the wonderfully mild weather.  Another reason is "pent up demand".  Many buyers have been sitting on the fence for a long time and now they are ready to buy.  Pricing is reasonable and the interest rates are ideal.

If you'd like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!


                                                         Best regards,


                                                          Carla Brooks
                                                          703-577-4960
                                                      brkslong@aol.com


ps photos are a courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Is is time for Spring Cleaning? (the dos and don'ts)

Its about that time of year for all of us to re vamp our closets with lighter clothing choices and to pack away all the winter gear (gloves, hats, wool scarves etc).  Its also a time when the warmer weather inspires many of us to "lighten" the load of "stuff" we choose to keep in our homes.

De-cluttering (as it is called) takes time and energy.  It also takes a plan to get it done successfully and efficiently.  I know I've had days that lead me to ask myself,  "Where do I possibly begin?".  Every room it seems needs to be gone over with a fine toothed comb.

Well, the best way to approach the situation is to tackle each room separately.  Set aside a block of time (at least 2-3 hours) to go through a room and decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away.   The items to be removed should be taken away that day and the room put back together.  That way there is a sense of accomplishment before proceeding to the next room.

 If you decide to reorganize the books or games on a new shelf or magazines in new containers etc. then make that a project for another day.  Its probably not the best idea to buy a bunch of organizational containers ahead of time.  Wait until you know what is staying and what is being disposed of.

Of course, each space will not be "totally done" since each space will require regular maintenance.  We continually need to organize and spruce up spaces as they are used on a daily basis.  Our needs change over time and our equipment will change as well.  So allow time in your weekly schedule for maintenance and attention to detail to keep your newly organized and decluttered spaces in tip top shape.

While you're at it don't forget to have fun.  Revamp a room with a favorite color or furniture item that makes you happy and comfortable in your surroundings.  After all, its your home and your life and your mood.....  Some ones elses color and furniture choices are not necessarily going to make you happy.  Maria Killam in Vancouver (Canada) is the owner of the wildly successful blog,  Color me Happy.  Yellow is her color of choice and she believes that each personal space should reflect the owners choices. 

And, remember, if your home is kept in a reasonably decluttered and attractive state, there will be less stress when it comes time to entertain or move!

Have a great day and call me today if you're planning on buying or selling real estate.  I am here for you and will treat your transaction as if it were my own. 

                                                               Best

                                                              Carla
                                                         703-577-4960
                                                     brkslong@aol.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Most Important Reasons to buy a home

It seems each spring a smattering of articles on Renting vs Owning appear in various magazine articles, blogs, and Web based news articles.

Last year in April, I published a blog post on this very topic.  Please reference the blog list by year and month if you are interested in reading this particular post.

As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I am a great fan of KCM 's blog.  (Keeping Matters Current).  Their latest article focuses on the statistics and the most important reasons to own a home.  Piggy-backing off of the recent article published by Fannie Mae on attitudes toward homeownership:  Here's the link:

http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-quarterly.html?

In spite of all the housing issues the country has experienced in recent years, its comporting to know that the general public still believes in owning their own home!

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

                                                             Carla
                                                          703-577-4960
                                                          brkslong@aol.com

New listings are aplenty!

Happy Spring to all--Here are the new listings as follows:

22181--single family homes for sale

9808 Oleander Avenue $575,000
2737 Sutton Road $1,050,000
10504 William Terry Drive $1,199,500
2602 Oakledge Court $685,000
2730 Oak Valley Drive $599,000
10701 Meadowood Drive $875,000
2451 Flint Hill Road $559,000

8 single family homes went under contract the last week in March through April 4th.

The new townhomes (for sale) on the market in 22181 are as follows:

9844 Sweet Mint Drive $349,900
9608 Scotch Haven Drive $487,000
9540 Daniel Lewis Lane $581,564
3080 Sugar Lane $325,000
9642 Sutton Green Court $499,900

2 townhomes went under contract the last week in March through April 4th

The new listings for single family homes for sale in 22182 are as follows:

9608 Pembroke Place $939,500
10498 Dunn Meadow Road $1,175,000
8203 Labbe Lane $719,000
9371 Robnel Place $715,000
9501 Clarks Crossing Road $750,000
9606 Podium Drive $924,977
1901 Whipping Post Way $724,900
1701 Asoleado Lane $694,700
1316 Colvin Forest Drive $875,000
1831 Grampoin Place $634,900
9467 Coral Crest Lane $1,319,000
9602 Atwood Road $1,700,000
1816 Prelude Drive $669,000
10316 Forest Maple Road $1,525,000

One townhome in 22182 is new to the market:

8004 Merry Oaks Court $604,999

18 single family homes and 3 town homes went under contract in 22182 through April 4th

If you're in the market to buy or sell a home call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.


                                                              

                                                                     Carla
                                                                 703-577-4960


                                                                 brkslong@aol.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This is a great time for buyers and sellers to get off the fence and make the move they have been dreaming about.

For one thing, interest rates are at an historical low point.  Pricing is still below the peak of the housing boom (2005-2007), yet pricing will probably not reach that level for years to come.  Northern Virginia continues to attract national and international firms to the area.  The % of people moving into Northern Virginia versus moving out is a positive one.  This demand for housing in Northern Virginia has made the real estate market one of the most stable markets in the country today.


The KCM blog recently provided some excellent graphs and a pie chart depicting the characteristics of the First time Home Buyer:

54% are married couples
12 % are unmarried couples
12% single males
21% single females
1% Other

The highest %  of buyers are in the Under $50,000 income range and the just under $100,000 income range.  This makes sense since many couple purchase when they get married and the single purchasers are roughly making half of what their married counterparts are earning per anum.

The link to this post is here:

http://www.kcmblog.com/2012/03/23/first-time-buyers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KeepingCurrentMatters+%28The+KCM+Blog%29

How can these statistics help you as a seller?

Remember, if you are selling a home that will most likely be purchased by a first home buyers then it might make sense to tailor your staging items to the 25-34 age group since they are the ones that will most likely purchase your home.  Likewise, if your home is most likely in the price range to appeal to a move up buyer that should give you an idea of what staging items will most likely appeal to that particular group of buyers.

I can assist you with staging suggestions, color choices and so forth.  Call me today for expert real estate advice.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                            Carla
                                                                           703-577-4960
                                                   brkslong@aol.com


PS the picture above is from the My Bookhouse series by Olive Beaupre' Miller.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What new on the market for Sale?

Detached homes: 22181

9856 Hidden Estates  $799,000
9622 Verdict Drive $610,000
2310 Tanglevale Drive $759,000
9814 Brightlea Drive $499,000




Townhomes : 22181

8288 Roesh Way $565,000



Detached homes: 22182

1628 Crowell Road $985,500
1348 Hunter Mill Road $899,900
10305 Browns Mill Road $1,800,000
1431 Rosewood Hill Drive $799,900
1723 Abbey Oak Drive $899,900
1810 Batten Hollow Road $795,000
1822 Creek Crossing Road $735,000
10303 Hunt Country Lane $765,000
8204 Westwood Mews Court $949,900
1351 Verrier Court $2,500,000



Townhomes: 22182

8005 Gina Place $575,000

If you'd like to see postings of new listings in other areas please let me know what areas interest you.  I will gladly post in the zip codes requested.

Call me today if you're interested in buying or selling in Northern Virginia.  I continue to reinforce my knowlege of the local market and am here to assist you.  Remember, I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                           Carla
                                                                             703-577-4960
                                                        brkslong@aol.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Foreclosures by State

Its good to know that the number of foreclosures in Virginia are under the national average.  In fact, Virginia has one of the lowest national averages.  Yeah!! We are so lucky, truly.  I realize this does not help those that are underwater.  Thats a whole different issue.  Yet, think of it this way.   The shadow inventory is part of the reason prices are being kept as low as they are today.  Once the shadow inventory is eliminated, this clears the way for price increases!

The states that are above the national average in foreclosures are as follows: 

Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The KCM blog has a nice map showing the country and the rate in each state.  For more information please visit their site:http://www.kcmblog.com/2012/02/24/foreclosures-in-process-by-state/

If you'd like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today.  I am here for you and will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                                 Carla
                                                                                   703-577-4960
                                                           Brkslong@aol.com

What went under contract in the last 7 days?

Single family 22181:

10232 Vale Road
10024 Cody Court
2650 Five Oaks Road
2608 Meredith Drive E
2537 Meredith Drive W
2247 Loch Lomond
2428 Riviera Drive
2907 Langholm Place
9906 Snowbound Court
2567 Rambling Road
2311 Stryker Avenue

Townhomes 22181:

2730 Glengyle Drive
9873 Sweet Mint Drive
9814 Oakdale Wood Court

Single family 22182

8307 Wolftrap Road
9629 Percussion Way
9694 Farmside Place
8436 Reflection Lane
9003 Lupine Den Drive
1753 Nevar Court
2046 George Washington Road
8708 Westwood Drive
9824 Fosbak Drive
9306 Shouse Drive

Townhomes 22182

8016 Merry Oaks Court
7899 Tysons Oaks Circle
7981 Tysons Oaks Circle
8232 Goldstream Court

If you 'd like to make the most of your real estate experience, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                                                      Carla
                                                                                                            703-577-4960
                                                                               brkslong@aol.com

New to the market!

Detached single family homes in 22181:

2663 Oakton Glen Drive $714,900
10511 William Terry Drive $1,197,000
9802 Meadow Knoll Court $740,000
2019 Spring Branch Drive $1,125,000


Detached single family homes in 22182:

1819 Midlothian Court $739,000
10315 Hunt Country Lane $699,900
1411 Rosehill Drive $749,900
2359 Cedar Lane $550,000
1922 Byrd Road $749,000
1606 White Pine Drive $538,890
1740 Proffit Road $565,000
10415 Silk Oak Drive $650,000
9107 Ridge Lane $1,400,000
8402 Tysons Trace Court $1,010,000
10002 Cloverdale Place $989,000
9727 Cinnamon Creek Drive $819,900

If you'd like to make the most of your real estate experience call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.


                                                                   Carla
                                                                703-577-4960
                                                                                 brkslong@aol.com