Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Silver Line Update

I started my blog around the time the construction for the Silver Line Metro began.  I wanted to name the blog after the Silver Line Metro yet the name was already taken.  That is how I ended up with the Silver Lyne.

Originally, the Silver Line was scheduled to open in 2013.  Construction delays, cost overruns and so forth have moved the Opening Day further and further into 2014.  It is believed that the Silver Line Metro will open sometime in July 2014.  For a complete history of the Silver Line Metro Construction project, wikipedia has a nice recap of the timeline of events here.

It is an exciting time for the Tysons Corner area and sure to bring many changes to the lives of citizens who live here.

If you would like to buy or sell a home in the Tysons Corner area, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.  Thank you.

Carla Brooks

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Best Long-Term Invesment

The real estate market has improved steadily and slowly since the peak years of 2005-2006.  For years, real estate fell behind gold, stocks and bonds as the long term investment of choice.  Understandably so,  with the mortgage debt crisis threatening the financial stability of the country and housing values plummeting in the short term.

The KCM blog breaks down a survey on investment strategy with results by age group and percentage in an interesting post today which can be found : here  The survey shows that real estate is once again the preferred top long term investment of choice.

Luckily, there is a plethora of capital in the DC area.  Bank sales, foreclosures and short sales are rapidly snatched up by investors and home seekers.  That is not to say that there are not challenges in the real estate market in Northern Virginia.  Some properties, bought at the height of the market in 2005-2006, are not yet selling for their former peak prices.  The values are getting closer to peak pricing with each passing year.

For more information on the Northern Virginia real estate market call me today.  I can assist you in selling and/or buying a home and provide the guidance necessary to make informed decisions.

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne blog,

Carla Brooks

PS Picture is a courtesy of free digital photos

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Carpe Diem!

                                                  Enjoy the splashes of color!

Call me if you would like to buy or sell a home, or have a real estate question.  I am here to help.

                                                                       Thank you,

                                                                     Carla Brooks

Friday, April 25, 2014

Excellent Contrast Colors

Looking for some versatile paint color Inspiration?

The following colors have been utilized by designers to coordinate entire homes:

One way to test a color that you are not sure of is to cut some large squares of poster board and paint the color onto the board.  By holding this painted board up in the room, one can get a better sense of how the room & furniture will coordinate with the color.

Grecian Green is a very soothing and very neutral color.  Love this color with leather furniture!

Ceylon Ivory coordinates well with organic colors like light olive, earthy greens, and muted shades, used on ceilings, walls and trim;

This picture does not portray the true shade of Vanilla Ice Cream.  It is a wonderful, sunny, happy neutral...a very warm welcome in any room! 

Interactive Cream is a light capturing neutral, a very versatile paint color;

For a drastic change in any room, bring in a pop of color with a bold jewel tone like Blue Lake;

This color has orange in it, forever happy!  Pair this color with blue for a french country look or with grey for a trendier look or keep it as a very happy neutral.

Wheat Grass is spring and summer wrapped into one color. Pair Wheat Grass with reds, oranges, or corals or soften with greys and whites.

Stratton Blue is part of the Historic Color Collection, a timeless color.  Pair with White Dove trim to complete the look.  This color goes well with pinks, roses and corals.  Pair Stratton Blue with Chocolate and creams for quiet eloquence.

I must confess, I painted my family room at least 5 times until I found the shade that best suited not only the room, but the entire home.  A pre-painted color board really helps.  Most paint stores offer sample paint colors for around $7.  The availability of this paint sample makes painting a board super easy.  If the sample doesn't work, move onto another shade! 

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne, I really appreciate you stopping by...

I am here to help so call me today with your real estate questions,

Carla Brooks

Thursday, April 24, 2014


   Networking is a large part of the real estate industry and therefore a large part of my job.  LinkedIn is a wonderful resource I have been enjoying over the last several years.  More and More business professionals are joining LinkedIn.  The wealth of information is enormous and its right at our fingertips!

Here is an article that I found today that is sure to be a pep talk for anyone in the walk of life:

Neil Steggal, Director, FAICD

The synopsis is:  

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – President Calvin Coolidge
In order to achieve complicated or difficult goals, persistence is the most significant factor. There are lessons to be learnt from the successful, persistent leaders in all walks of life who have overcome enormous obstacles.
  1. Hold Firm to your vision: Even when others tell you it’s foolish or unachievable.
  2. Train Your Mind to focus on your vision: This doesn’t mean be blind to issues but don’t allow the problems distract you from the objective.
  3. Grow Stronger: Constantly improve your skills and knowledge, constantly question and analyse especially after failure
  4. Change: Be prepared to change 180 degrees if you are wrong, accept your failures
  5. Be Reliable: Be there, be seen trying, be consistent, and demonstrate that even small steps are still results delivered and failures lessons learnt on the journey..
  6. Complete the Task: Finishing the job requires the courage to hold your vision, an ability to think through and overcome obstacles and to persist when others would walk
  7. Never Ever, Ever, Give Up: Keep at it despite the obstacles, despite negative comment, despite the odds

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by the Silver Lyne.

Call me today to discuss your real estate plans, I am here to help.

                                                 Carla Brooks

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fabulous low-cost bathroom update!

A great way to update on older bathroom without gutting the room and spending at least $8,000-$18,000 is to do the "shortcut".  If your bathroom floor is currently linoleum, this job is a breeze.  If your bathroom floor is currently an older tile, its a bit more tricky....

If the current floor is linoleum:

A contractor can easily:

lift up the existing toilet and set to the side

take out the current vanity  or leave current vanity in place
install backer board (purchased from local hardware store)
Install new tile with your choice of grout

reinstall toilet or replace toilet
install new vanity (your choice-- I have seen beautiful ones at Costco with granite tops for $199--this is a steal! I have also happened upon custom "oops" vanities at Lowe's and Home Depot just ripe for the taking at a very much reduced price).  A pedestal sink is a nice update as well.

labor: $300-$400 for backer board installation and tile installation and toilet removal and install
materials: tile (50 square feet times $2 per square foot) $100

grout: $ 30-80

backer board: $50-150

new toilet water hose: $15

If your current floor is older tile:

A contractor will have to quote a price to remove old tile.  Many older bathrooms were built with tile installed directly onto a concrete medium.  These floors are rock solid.  It is sometimes better to install new tile over these floors.

If the floor is not set in concrete, then chances are it is set on a material used years ago that doesn't give.   The older materials that didn't give were not enough support for the ceramic tiles.  Very often, the tiles cracked and/or came loose from the foundation.  If your floor was set on a poor quality medium, you will have to take up the floor tile and install the DuraRock just the same as if the floor was finished in linoleum.

Additional tips:

Replacing aging light fixtures and mirror will complete the updated look.

Adding a crisp shower curtain (or drape) will conceal any distraction from an older shower and/or tub.

The tub shower combo is being phased out in favor of a bigger shower with sitting bench.  It is always nice to have at least one tub in the house.  Its possible to use dead hall space or a small closet to put a shower and keep the tub.  The old cast iron tubs are pieces of "art".  They are difficult to remove and can be resurfaced for about $450-$500 with a guarantee.  The new tubs are fiberglass and they easily crack.  Why swap out an old cast iron for a new fiberglass that could crack?

A bathroom update is always recommended if your bathroom is aging and a new bathroom is not in the budget.

Call me today for specific information on what contractors to call and materials to use.   I can assure you that many of my clients have done the above "short cut" with incredible results and for a fraction of the cost of a complete bathroom "redo"!

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne,

                                                           Carla Brooks

Monday, April 21, 2014

Improvements that add the most value to the home

To make the most of the homeowner's budget, I recommend improvements that will always add value to a home.  Not all projects will add value.

A new kitchen will always add value to a home.  Quality cabinetry with durable countertops and energy efficient appliances are the ticket to winning the hearts of buyers.  The kitchen is the most used room in the house, make it special:)

Finish the basement!  An unfinished basement will hold back a homes value since it is a whole level that will, for the most part, not be usable.

Professional landscaping will give your home that finished look.  The yard is the "first impression" a buyer will have of your property.  Curb appeal can add 10-20% on to the value of a home.

Your roof is important.  It provides protection for the inside of a home and the outside drainage (gutters).  A new roof adds measurable value to a home.

An enclosed garage is a great feature in cold weather areas of the country.  It provides protection for cars, lawnmowers and such.  If you have an open carport, enclose the garage.  If you have no garage, check with your local authorities to see about a building permit for a garage.

If you would like to discuss upcoming projects, call me today, I am here to help!

Thank you for visiting the The Silver Lyne!

                                                                Carla Brooks

PS photos are a courtesy of free digital photos

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preparing for Home Inspection day....

As a seller what is required of you on Home Inspection day?

The ultimate goal of the home inspection is to provide the buyers with enough information to proceed to closing on the house under contract.

Here are some useful tips:

 *Sellers should vacate the home for the duration of the inspection (if possible).

*The Northern Virginia Sales Contract requires the sellers to have the utilities turned on for contract inspections.

*Change the furnace filter or make sure it is fairly clean

*repair all leaking plumbing items before the home inspection (preferably before the home goes on the market)

*replace all burned out light bulbs.

*Make sure your windows open and close.  Make sure all doors open and close and do not stick.

*Check the batteries in all heat and smoke detectors and make sure they are running.

*Clear the way for the home inspector to take a look in attics, crawlspaces, garages, closets and so forth.

*Make sure the house is clean and that the dishwasher and clothes washer & dryer are empty.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, call me today.  I can provide useful tip and suggestions to ease the process for you.

Thank you visiting the Silver Lyne blog.

                                                            Carla Brooks

PS all photos are a courtesy of free digital photos

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Best Neutral Paint Colors

So you have decided to move.   Deciding what paint colors to use on the walls can be a lengthy and tedious process.

If you want to take the guesswork out of the process go with a known color.

The following paint colors are the top recommended colors for staging properties for sale:

Benjamin Moore: Linen White--has yellow undertones--Looks nice with Antique White Trim (also Benjamin Moore)  a very sophisticated paint color

Benjamin Moore: Vanilla Ice Cream--by far the happiest paint color imaginable. looks great with kelly green accessories, oranges, purples, blues and blue-greens

Pratt & Lambert--Ceylon Ivory--Coordinates well with organic colors, light olive and other earthy greens

Sherwin Williams--Interactive Cream--a light capturing neutral that never seems to yellow or too gray--love the name!

Benjamin Moore: Ancient Ivory-- has yellow undertones--looks nice with any bright white trim paint--photographs very well

Benjamin Moore: Seashell-less yellow undertones-- I have read that this shade less yellow than Ancient Ivory and it provides a perfect backdrop for almost any decor

Sherwin Williams: Aria Ivory--very neutral, not too yellow and not too grey, looks great with blues and ironstone & seagrass rugs.

Now remember, if you have a color sample,  have your local hardware store prepare the same color  paint for less money than you would spend at a boutique paint store.   While you are at it, why not order the paint with the primer in it?   This is a very budget friendly & efficient way to get the job done and it eliminates the two-step process of priming first and then painting.

A freshly painted home is the one "must do" if your walls are looking tired and/or the paint color clashes with the carpeting.  The smell of fresh paint  says "we took care of our home" to the buyers.  Even if the buyers' plan on redecorating, they appreciate a freshly painted home.

Each homeowner should work within their own budget to prepare for a sale.  If your funds are tight then do the "musts" and nothing else.  Remember, the goal is to have a reasonably quick sale for a great price.

If you are planning on selling your home, call me today.  I have lots of great ideas to expedite the process of preparing your home for sale.

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne!

                                                         Carla Brooks

Monday, April 14, 2014

Before you call the plumber....

So your water bill is higher than usual?  And the water authority says its not their problem?

Before you call the plumber and pay for a service call here are two things to check on first.

1. Add a couple of drops of blue or red dye into the water tank of each toilet.  Do not flush the toilet.  If you see the dye enter the toilet bowl, then you have a leaking toilet and will need to plug the tank.  If you are not able to plug the tank, then  by all means call the plumber to change out the parts that need to be fixed.

2.  If the dye test is negative, turn off the main water valve to the home.  Wait 30 minutes, then see if the water meter is still turning.  If the water meter is still turning, then there a water leak outside the house.  The leak may be in the water line that runs between the house and the street.

 If so, the homeowner is responsible for fixing the leaks between the house and the street.  Dominion Power offers insurance  ($4.95 per month last time I checked) for this water line replacement. ( Its well worth the monthly cost to sign up for this insurance yet if you already have a leak its too late.)  If you missed the post on water line replacement and want to read it, go here

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne Blog.

 As always, call me today if you would like to buy or sell a home.  The spring market is starting to heat up!

                                                        Carla Brooks

PS Photo is a courtesy of free digital photos

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The one "must" improvement in the kitchen if you are selling your home this year

Suppose you are planning on selling your home this year.  Your home is updated is some areas but not in all important areas.  As its often been said "kitchens" and "baths" sell the home.

If your kitchen is an older kitchen (with original cabinetry and countertops) and a new kitchen is not in the budget moneywise or timewise, what is the one improvement that you should do?  Experience has shown me that a new refrigerator ( with all the bells and whistles) is your best bet.

  Number 0ne, the refrigerator is the largest appliance and the most expensive one.  It is a very important appliance since all members of the household use it.

 It is one less item that the new owners will have to spend money on.  If you can only do one thing in your kitchen, let it be a new refrigerator.  That new, sparkling refrigerator will speak volumes when your home goes on the market.

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne blog.

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

                                                                Carla Brooks

PS photos are a courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Open House Today in McLean Hamlet from 1-4

This lovely home is up for sale:

The address is : 8021 Agin Court McLean Va 22102

The list price is $978,900

This home features 4 bedrooms with 3 full bathrooms and a two car garage around back.  The garage is an add on, with a family room up above.  This spacious home has been updated inside, with new windows, a vinyl wrap on the outside, updated bathrooms and kitchen.  8021 Agin Court is located in the sought after McLean Hamlet neighborhood.  

Another gorgeous day is upon us, I had time to update the flower arrangement posted yesterday.

Here is a close up view, I added in yellow daffodils and forsythia...

and a few pieces of my fave ironstone:)

I appreciate you stopping by the Silver Lyne.  If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me at your earliest convenience.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

Thank you,

Carla Brooks

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Enjoy the Spring Day!

It is so nice to bring the outdoors inside:)

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

Thank you

                                                                Carla Brooks

Friday, April 11, 2014

Honey, our realtor said its "ok" to keep up with the "Joneses"

Did I really say that?  Haha, sort of...

The number one question I'm asked from homeowners is "What updates do I need to do to sell the home?"  Unfortunately, there is not one right answer to this question.  Each home is in its own state of repair and each neighborhood has its own resale threshold.

Should I install a whole new kitchen or paint the cabinetry & install new countertops?

Granite or Quartz? (if you missed my post on Granite vs Quartz you can find it here )
 Stainless Steel, White or Black appliances?
New bathroom or short cut makeover?
Should I remove the tub and install a shower?

New lighting? New Carpeting?

Wood floors or Wood laminate?
Blinds, Soft Shutters or Roman shades?

New windows? New roof? New gutters?

And the list goes on...

And yes, home improvements is one time when its ok to keep up with the Joneses.  The home is typically the largest financial investment that one has.  Why not make the most of it?

A well maintained home will sell faster and bring in more sales proceeds.  Upgrades are important and the buyers will pay more for them and have the peace of mind that they have purchased a home that has been cared for by the previous owners.

If you have a home that you are thinking of selling, call me today for suggestions on what to do before the property goes to market.  Preparation is the key to having a successful sale.

Enjoy the beautiful weather and thank you for visiting The Silver Lyne...

                                                Carla Brooks

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Update on the Silver Line Metro

Here's an informative video on the Silver Line Metro Construction.

 The Silver Line will open soon, the first step in providing a metro line service to Dulles Airport.  It has been a long road of lane closures, ramp closures, ramp relocations, dust, new turn lanes and so forth.  We are almost there!

If you have time, click on the link above and learn all about it.

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

Thanks for visiting my blog,

                                                     Carla Brooks

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lets Take Action Together

Yesterday I caught a short blurb on the morning news.

 Prediction: If we don't we something about the sugar levels in all our food, 1/3 of all US citizens will eventually have diabetes.

The truth is, almost all food we buy has sugar added.  The ingredients don't always say sugar, it can be high fructose corn syrup or another name.

I stopped by the grocery store yesterday and confirmed this as I shopped the aisles.  I could not find a breakfast cereal that did not have sugar added.  Ingredients are listed in the order of quantity contained in the item.  Sugar was not only added, it was the second, third or fourth ingredient.  Apparently, the food manufacturers want their products to taste the best, so they add in the sugar.  Because of  this added sugar,  our bodies are  becoming less and less able to metabolize the sugar.

Lets take action today and write a letter of concern to a food manufacturer and call on one representative in Congress to make the diabetes epidemic a top priority.

Here is my letter.  I chose Pepperidge Farm since I love their bread.  I read the ingredient panel this morning and sure enough, high fructose corn syrup is added in (and it not in the less than 2% ingredients)

Dear Pepperidge Farm,

I love your bread and many other products you produce.

I am urging you to stop adding sugar into your products.  I want food that is healthy for me, not food that will eventually cause me to become diabetic.

There is a diabetes epidemic in the United States and you are contributing to the problem by adding sugar to your products (except desserts).

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Carla Brooks

PS I have included my email address so that you may respond to this request.

Your local Congressional Representative's contact information can be found online on any search engine.

I hope you can find time to take action today.  Our health is our most important asset.  Without our health we will not have quality of life.

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

Thank you for visiting my blog

Carla Brooks

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Now that your contract has been accepted....

Okay, so you are ready to buy a home, your contract is accepted and you've made loan application...

Here is a list of things not to do while your loan is being processed so as not jeopardize the funding of your loan:

Do not deposit funds into your bank account.

Do not open or close a new bank account and/or credit line.

Do not transfer or change your bank account.

Do not pay off or close any accounts.

Do not make any large purchases (i.e. no new vehicles, furniture, boats etc)

Do not co-sign any loans

Consult your loan officer for any major changes you might be contemplating.

Looking forward to sunshine and warmer temperatures today so enjoy!

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

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Carla Brooks

Monday, April 7, 2014

The "Price" of a home and the "Cost" of a home

Sellers are concerned about the "price" their home will sell for.  The "price" is the gross proceeds they will receive on settlement day.  Expenses such as commissions, taxes, legal fees and such will be deducted from this "price" on the HUD 1 settlement sheet to arrive at the "net proceeds".

Buyers, on the other hand, should be concerned about the "cost" of a home as well as the sales "price"   negotiated in the sales contract.

This "cost" can be displayed in terms of the monthly PITI.  The monthly PITI is the principal and interest paid on the mortgage and the real estate taxes and hazard insurance as monthly costs.

It is projected interest rates will reach 5.7% by 2015.  The KCM Blog has an excellent post on this topic this morning as well as the wonderful chart below.  Simply click on the link to go directly to the post.

In the meantime, lets concentrate on 2014.  The interest rates are still low, in terms of the history of mortgage rates in this country.  It is an excellent time to buy and sell.

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

Thank you for visiting my blog, have a great day!

                                                           Carla Brooks

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tips for a Smooth Settlement

The March/April 2014 Review publication lists the top 10 tips for a smooth settlement. 

They are as follows:

1. Communication between the lender and the title company should be continuous once a contract is ratified.

2. All required Inspections(property, termite, well & septic) should be performed promptly to avoid delays in settlement.

3.  Schedule the walk through inspection early enough so any issues can be addressed ahead of time.

4. Any seller repairs should be completed as soon as possible with receipts forwarded to the buyers agent long before the final walk through.

5. Provide utility numbers to both sellers and buyers and establish the transfer dates by confirming with selling agent and listing agent.

6. The seller should keep their homeowners insurance in place until the transaction goes to public recordation.

7. Both buyers and sellers must have a picture ID on hand at the settlement table. The buyers and sellers should have a cashiers check for amounts due at settlement.  Personal checks can be used only to settle small issues.

8. Buyers and sellers not attending settlement must arrange in advance for a power of attorney.

9.  Estate sales require the signature of every beneficiary to the estate.  Prepare in advance for those signatures.

10. A court appointed attorney for a minor beneficiary must be present at settlement.

Preparation is the key!

If you are ready to buy or sell a home call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

                                                                          Carla Brooks