Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Official Name Change for Tysons Corner

For some time, we have been hearing talk of the "Corner" being dropped from the name of  Tysons Corner.  
The name change is now official.  You can read about it Here.

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help.

                                                         Thank you

                                                        Carla Brooks

Monday, April 6, 2015

Time to Update the Bathroom: For sale or for rent it must be done

Recently, a long term client asked for advice on a property that was built in the 70's.  Through the years many updates had been done to the property yet the master bathroom still needed significant improvement in order to rent or sell.

Here are the before pictures:

Nasty right?  What would it take to rejuvenate this bathroom?  Here's what it took:

A trip to the local hardware store:
  Dura Rock for the walls
 lots of slate tile
 a black marble threshold for entryway
 new towel bar holder
 tissue paper hold
 new light fixture
 new mirror
 new toilet
 soap holder for shower
 decorative glass tiles for the shower walls
 new tension bar for the shower curtain
 glue for the tiles
 spacers, shims
  I advised keeping the existing pedestal sink, faucet and shower plumbing (all redone in 2009).  The original cast iron tub remained in tact as well. 

Five days later and approximately $750 in supplies from the local hardware store and the bathroom was done.

Here is the result:

More importantly, a contract offer was received immediately following the update.  Mission accomplished!

Please note that slate was chosen due to the existing slate foyer and kitchen flooring.  Consistency in materials throughout the home was important to the seller.

If you need advice on home repairs/ improvements, call me today, I am here to help!

Thank you

Carla Brooks

Real Estate Values across the Country

Most areas of the United States experienced the lowest home values in real estate (in the last 10 years) in 2009.  Since 2009, the value of many homes across the country has steadily risen.  Here is an interesting report on the major metropolitan areas of the United States in regards to real estate pricing today.

If you are buying or selling a home, call me today for expert advice.

Thank you
Carla Brooks

PS photos are a courtesy of free digital photos 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Don't forget the Insurance

Remember to factor in the costs of homeowners insurance if you are planning to purchase real estate in the near future.

In addition, it is a good idea to check in with your insurance agent once a year if you already own real estate and have a homeowners policy.  You will want to make sure your agent knows of any material changes (such as a new kitchen or bathroom addition) in your property since the previous year.  You will want to inform your agent of any sheds, outbuildings, swimming pools etc. that have been added to the exterior of your home.

Here is an excellent article on the subject of insurance protection for your real estate.

If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future,  call me today.  I am here to help!

                                                          Thank you

                                                        Carla Brooks

Friday, March 6, 2015

What to do with an asymmetrical wall

One of the decorating challenges many homeowners/renters face: what to do with an asymmetrical wall.  How awkward the room can feel with one side of a doorway or fireplace twice as wide as the other side.  And how many years will the room feel awkward unless one consults a design specialist and or is particularly savvy in the world of design?

Ann Drake of the blog On Sutton Place featured her own asymmetrical wall in the recreation room of her home.  The post can be found here.  Pictures from the transformation are as follows:

Selling a home is about the feeling a potential buyer has when they walk through your door.  If they feel the warmth and potential to make the house their home, they will most likely write a contract offer.  

Call me today if you are planning on selling your home, I can assist with the market preparation.

Thank you
Carla Brooks

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Need a Bathroom refresh that can be done in one afternoon?

Perhaps you have guests coming for the weekend, are entertaining or just want to change the look in your bathroom.  Accessories can go a long way in adding life and current design trends to your bathroom.  Curtains, rugs, paint, and hardware can all be purchased at your local hardware store.

Maria Killam in her blog, Color me Happy, has a post today on updating a bathroom with dated shower doors.  The post can be found here.

Just love the results!

If you are planning on selling your home, call me today for excellent staging suggestions.

Thank you

Carla Brooks

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Relocating the First Time Buyer

Are you relocating to the Northern Virginia area and trying to find a place to live?  Whether renting or buying, the task can be overwhelming.

I have been working with relocation clients all through the winter months.  Coming into town and not knowing the "system" or a trusted agent to work with can result in wasted time on the road and making uninformed decisions.

Call me today for expert advice on buying or renting.  I can organize your itinerary and point you in the right direction! Here is an excellent article on relocation.  Asking the right questions of your employer is paramount.

                                                                Thank you

                                                              Carla Brooks

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Final Inspections: What you should look for

Whether you are settling on a home purchase or moving into a rental property under a lease, there will be a final "walk through" so to speak.  You may be wondering what this will entail.

Here is a link to a very informative article on final walk throughs.  Once a deal has settled or a lease signed, you will be responsible for the property as it stands.  Why not get the best for your money?

Thank you for visiting and call me if you would like to buy or sell a home.  Experience Counts!

                                                    Carla Brooks

PS photo is a courtesy of Free digital photos

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fairfax County Tax Assessments have arrived!

If you live in Fairfax County then you have most likely received your 2015 Tax Assessment.  I was surprised to see that the assessment on my personal residence had gone up 7.11%.  While it is good news to see real estate values increase, no one welcomes a larger tax bill!  How bittersweet is that?

News on the 2015 Fairfax County Tax Assessments can be found here

I generally receive 5 calls a year from elderly residents in Fairfax County who are struggling to pay their real estate taxes.  Yes, they have homes of value yet they do not have CASH.

There are classes offered by the county to educate the residents on the path to real estate tax relief.  Even if one falls into the "low income" category (<$52,000), one must also have personal assets below a certain threshold ($340,000) to qualify for real estate tax exemption.  A synopsis of these rules can be found here.

Examining the history of real estate taxes in Fairfax County is a real eye opener in terms of budgeting for retirement years.  Even if your home is paid off, there will be a monthly payment to Fairfax County for real estate taxes and chances are it will increase over time.

Interestingly enough, once one leaves the Northern Virginia area of Virginia, things are a little different so to speak.  The residents of Southwest Virginia are very protective of budgets and make it clear to the lawmakers that increasing taxes is a definite "no no".  There is something to admire about these Virginians!  They are budget conscious and hold their elected officials accountable.  I have spoken to several retirees that have joined the battle to keep real estate taxes at bay in Franklin County.  They found areas where money was being frivolously spent and corrections were made in procedure.  It takes time and energy to preserve our freedoms yet so worth it.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you have a nice day.  Remember, if you want to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help.

                                                                    Carla Brooks

Monday, February 16, 2015

Eight Renovation projects that will pay you back!

Want to spruce up your home over the long run?  Pick the improvements that will pay you back when its time to sell.  Ris Media's Housecall blog has a great post on home renovations on February 5th, 2015.  Check it out today.

Enjoy the coming snowstorm.  Its always interesting to see how much precipitation we receive (versus the predictions)...

                                                          Thank you for visiting,

                                                                 Carla Brooks

Happy Presidents Day!

                                                                 Enjoy the day.

                                                                 Carla Brooks

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day

One of my favorite Christmas ornaments,  I keep it around till after Valentines Day:)

Have a great day,

Carla Brooks

Thursday, February 12, 2015

January 2015 Fairfax County Real Estate Statistics for Single Family homes

Here is the Link to the January 2015 Fairfax County Statistics from Mris MLS.

For interpretation purposes, let go through the report together:

New listings are up 6.9 % compared to January of 2014 ( no surprise since most homeowners do not want to market their homes during the Holiday season) and the 5 year average listings are around 591 which is exactly what January depicts.  Some of this inventory is a "hold over" from 2014 since the market "softened" during the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2014.

New Pendings are up 28.9% from the previous month (December ) and up 18.9% from January 2014.

Closed sales is an interesting statistic.  I attribute the 7.8 % rise to pent up demand from a "softer" 2014 market and a milder winter than 2013-2014.

Interestingly enough, the Median sold prices are up 4.6% from January 2014.  Amazing that the median sold price can be higher after a period of slower sales.

As it stands today, the market is very much a sellers market in the lower price ranges ($600,000 and under) and the upper price range properties are moving in the buyer's favor.  Interestingly enough, the average days on the market is 85.  Just about the time one thinks they can offer a bit lower than asking price on a property, other offers can appear on the table as well!

Hope this makes sense.  Call me anytime with questions.

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today for expert advice.  I keep track of the market statistics and inventory so I can point you in the right direction!

                                                             Thank you,

                                                            Carla Brooks

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Update from Dulles Metro Rail Construction

I will not be able to post the Fairfax County Statistics for January 2015 today, due to technical issues.  Hopefully, I will get to that tomorrow.

Let's talk instead, about the Silver Line....

Its always interesting to read what is happening with the Silver Line Metro Project which is now in Phase 2.  The newsletter is the best way to understand the latest in the construction project and to get a read on the ridership progress at Tysons Corner the Reston/Wiehle stations.

The newsletter can be read here.

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help with the latest in real estate technology and information.

                                                         Thank you

                                                        Carla Brooks

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Latest Market Statistics

Smart Charts is a feature (service) offered by Mris Matrix, the local MLS that realtors subscribe to.

The value in the Smart Charts is that the sales data in MLS is tracked, analyzed and presented in the form of charts and graphs.  This data is used by homeowners, professional realtors, appraisers and so forth to gain an understanding of our current real estate market.

These charts aid in compiling real estate appraisals, setting listing prices by homeowners and realtors and guiding buyers in their asking prices.

One can find a peek into the local 22182 market here.

One can see that new listings are up from the previous year (January 2014) by 36.8%.  New pendings (those properties that are currently under contract with a buyer) are the same as last year (January 2014).  There were 42.1 % fewer sales than last month than in January 2014.  Some of the decrease can be attributed to the cold weather.

The chart goes on to say that the median price sold is $819,000.  Now, keep in mind, this figure encompasses all sales in 22182 (i.e. condominiums, townhomes and single family homes).  The median price sold is $890,450 for single detached homes.   Quite a difference....

 Remember, also, that there are a variety of single family homes in 22182.   There are properties built from the 1960's to new construction today.  Most new, single family homes in Vienna are priced $1,299,000 and above.  They are state of the art construction with energy efficient appliances and HVAC systems. There is quite a variety to choose from!

I hope you enjoy the chart.  Call me directly with questions pertaining to this chart.

I will post the chart for Fairfax County tomorrow.

Call me today with real estate questions.  It is never to early to start planning your home sale/purchase.

                                                                 Thank you

                                                                Carla Brooks

Monday, February 9, 2015

Color Trends

Benjamin Moore is spotlighting the color trends for 2015 here.  Guildford Green is at the top of the list. I have used this paint in a bathroom with dark cabinetry.  The result was fantastic!

For the most part, it is a good idea to present a neutral palette to prospective buyers.  Painting  a room here or there in a popular color can't hurt however and will bring some excitement to the property.

If you are thinking of selling a property this year and need some guidance on paint colors, call me today.  I have a vast knowledge of the color trends and am ready to help.

                                                                 Thank you,

                                                               Carla Brooks

Friday, February 6, 2015

Where are people moving to?

Always interesting to see where people are moving.  The KCM blog has a map of the United States of America on its post today.  You can find it here.

In other news, it might reach 60 degrees on Sunday!  Wouldn't that be a treat?

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help and will make the transaction an enjoyable process.

                                                           Warm regards,

                                                            Carla Brooks

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How does America view Real Estate?

Americans attitude toward real estate is changing once again.  This time the attitude is in the positive direction!

This is really good news.  For the simple reason that a positive attitude toward real estate means more buyers of homes versus renters and more long term investors in real estate.

The KCM blog has graphed the history of American attitude toward real estate here.  It is a fun article and more good news for our economy in general.

Have a great day and if you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help.

                                                               Carla Brooks

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Home Security

Gone are the days when Home entry doors are left unlocked and car keys left in the car overnight....

Privacy is a thing of the past in many respects.  One comment on Facebook regarding a day trip to the mountains can alert a potential burglar that you will not be home.   Home security, personal safety & electronic safety should be top priorities in everyone's life.

Not to be obsessed with it of course, yet, to give security careful consideration.

Here is a great post on home security.  A few tips to think about and possibly implement.

Call me today if you are thinking of buying or selling a home.  I am here to help.

                                                      Warm regards,

                                                      Carla Brooks

PS the photo above is a courtesy of free digital photos

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Economic Conference (Part 2)

The 23rd Annual Economic Conference with George Mason University and Cardinal Bank at the Tysons Corner Ritz Carlton was held today.  Stephen Fuller, Phd has been the main speaker for 22 conferences and did an excellent job of bringing the attendees up to speed on the DC Economy.  Dr. Fuller is the Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor, Director for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

Dr. Fuller's presentation can be found here.

It is an excellent presentation on the Washington DC economy, what the components of the economy are and what direction we need to follow to stay in the game.

It is well worth the read.

The federal government will play a smaller role in the regional economy in the coming years.  It is imperative that we have strong local leadership that understands the importance of  innovation and the wise use of our precious resources so that the Washington DC area economy remains strong and viable and competitive.

The following words really stood out as a synopsis of the conference:

Becoming a Global Business Center does not happen without:

*a strong public and private sector leadership and 
* increased investment  in public infrastructure, workforce development and private sector productive capacity reflecting new technologies

This conference was one of the most inspirational conferences that I have attended.

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today, I am here to help....

                                                  Thank you,

                                                 Carla Brooks

The Economic Conference

I attended the 23rd annual economic conference By George Mason University and Cardinal Bank at the Tysons Corner Ritz Carlton today.  Attendance was at an all time high and the presentation was excellent.

Lisa Sturtevant, PHD spoke in the early morning.  She is the Vice President of Research for the National Housing Conference.

Her presentation involved many information charts on the housing market.  Understanding the history of the DC Housing Market is crucial to understanding the long term direction of real estate.

The presentation can be found here.

It is well worth and reading.  The general trend for the DC housing market is for the construction of  less expensive housing preferably located closer to jobs and urban life.


If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I would love to sit down with you and develop a strategy for your home sale/purchase.

                                                               Thank you

                                                              Carla Brooks

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Interest Rate predictions for 2015

Wondering where interest rates are headed for the year?

Here is a round up of the mortgage interest rate projections for 2015 by Fannie Mae Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors:

This table was provided by the KCM blog.

Time will tell where interest rates end up at the end of the year.  One interesting thing to note is that an increase in interest rates does not mean a decrease in home prices.  Pricing is determined by supply and demand.  

If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.

Thank you

Carla Brooks

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Great Home Tour

Let's start the new year off right....with a great HOME TOUR from the owners of Tone on Tone in Bethesda MD.  

 Loi Thai posts regularly on his blog: Tone on Tone.  He and his partner (Thomas Troeschel) own Tone on Tone, a swedish antiques furnishings and accessory store in Bethesda, MD.

I'll never forget the day (3-4 years ago roughly) I saw this picture of their Swedish secretary (painted green) paired with white washed flooring and colorful antique birds in the Washington Post Weekly Thursday Insert.

This picture stole the hearts of anyone and everyone interested in home design and fashion.

  Their living room (former home) was equally enchanting with its subtle painted hues scattered throughout a room of seagrass and neutral fabrics.

So this is the perfect day to stay home and enjoy a cup of tea while scrolling through the home tour Part 1 at the Tone on Tone blog.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, call me today.  I am here to help.

Carla Brooks