Category Archive

Contract to Close in Six and a Half Months

Contract to Close in Six and a Half Months

It is always an honor to help someone who has known me my entire life buy or sell a home. In the case of my buyers who just purchased a brand new home in Carter’s Mill in Haymarket, one of them was actually my fill-in babysitter when I was a kid. When his sister wasn’t able to fulfill the duties, it was up to him. The giant age difference as kids to teens means nothing in land of fifty plus years.

He and his wife reached out to me in February. His mother had moved in with them and was having a hard time with the stairs in their home. While he had planned to retire and sell his home a couple years ago, mom moving in with them put the new retirement home in a different place. Retiring at the beach wasn’t fair to mom, taking her away from all that was familiar and her daughter. So they started looking for a home in the active adult communities in Western Prince William County. It didn’t take but a couple home tours for them to identify that they really preferred a new home and the location of Carter’s Mill, a Del Webb/Pulte community off of John Marshall Highway.

They went under contract to purchase their Carter’s Mill home in early March. They fully expected to be moving in at the end of the year. Pulte got the job done quicker than anticipated and today, they closed on their brand new home before the end of September. Everything they need is on one level and they have a fully finished, walk out basement as well. Pulte built them a great composite deck and were still tweaking the details midday today to make sure my buyers were one hundred percent satisfied.

One thing that my buyers were so happy they did was to hire home inspectors for both a pre-drywall inspection and final inspection before closing. And the great thing I noticed was that Pulte was not put off by this at all. Their construction manager welcomed it, went over the home inspection report and corrected issues found. It was never a sore spot for the builder, but a chance for them to rise to the occasion and continue to make my buyers happy.

For anyone looking for fifty-five plus communities in Western Prince William County, I would definitely consider Carter’s Mill. If you want representation while buying, feel free to reach out.

What Good is a Listing Brochure?

What Good is a Listing Brochure?

Anyone who has listed with me as a seller or been trained by me as a new agent knows that when it comes to listing brochures, I am not a fan. In an age where the answer to anything lies in the palm of your hand with just a few touch screen pokes, what possible good is a printed brochure for a listing doing except making your seller happy? Online brochures are all you need. Be visible online and the home will sell. Save some trees and cut down on the trash in buyer agent car floor boards.

A few days ago, during a home inspection, I found an outstanding use of the brochure the listing agent had in the home. As the buyer’s agent, I attend home inspections to take in the information the inspector gives. However, the inspection earlier this week was different. You see, the entire family was at the inspection. Mom and dad, who are my buyers, and their three children ranging in age from two to seven. One might woner, why would a child attend a home inspection? As it turns out, the family home my buyers were selling was also being inspected the very same day by their own buyers. They all had to be out of the home.

The kids were great for as long as you might expect kids to last in an environment with only the few toys mom brought and nothing else. They were growing restless and I jumped in to help. It was time for a game of brochure scavenger hunt. The kids all got a brochure. I would point to a picture and ask them to find that room. It was made all the more challenging by the fact that the rooms were vacant during the inspection. Talk about a lesson in observing details and spatial relations! We had to pay attention to window treatment colors, placement of windows, color or walls. It was interesting to watch their minds work.

After twenty minutes, the kids had found all the rooms pictured and then began to wonder why some rooms weren’t on the brochure. Good question with not a great answer that a seven year old would understand. Time for another game. This time, the seven year old had a great idea. Brochure hide and seek. He hid the brochure and we had to find it.

As it turns out, having brochures in the house that day was a life saver. I am still one hundred percent positive these things do nothing to get a seller more money or get a home to sell quicker, but at least it came in handy as I became a home inspection camp counselor to my three youngest clients.

Unanswered Prayers in a Relocation House Hunt

Unanswered Prayers in a Relocation House Hunt

In early June I had the privilege of meeting relocating buyers coming from the west coast. They were in town for one week for a house hunt. Their budget was more than enough for what they wanted. The issue was their existing home that was under contract, but not guaranteed to close. On two occasions during our week together they were convinced they had found the perfect home.

The first one was everything they said they wanted and more. Acreage. Multiple garage bays for the car collector in the family. And the home was a California style ranch. Did I mention it had a pool? Unfortunately, they did not act fast enough when they saw it the first day out. They wrote an offer the second day we were together and it just wasn’t a strong enough offer. Back to the drawing board.

Then it was to another dream home scenario. A traditional home on over twenty acres in the northwest exburbs of DC. They were drawn in. However, the seller in this case wasn’t really ready to sell because they had decided, at that late date, to subdivide their property so their soon-to-be landlocked son could have an easement. Grrr. That was a frustrating loss. Why would a seller have an active listing when they weren’t ready, willing or able to sign an offer?

The buyers left empty handed at the end of the week. Their first day or two back on the west coast saw a false start on another home. Thankfully, faith in the process emerged over a couple conversation and when they moved into temporary housing as official residents of Virginia a couple weeks later, we were back at the house hunt. The first day back out, they saw two homes they loved. More importantly, one their kids loved.

A quick decision had them making an offer on the one mom liked best. Again, an unanswered prayer. The listing agent on house number one thought my buyers had FHA financing. They were conventional with no appraisal contingency. By the time that agent called to blow me off the next day, she realized we were a better offer than she thought. Oh well. Your loss. On to house number two, which was the home that had hit the mark for the entire family.

Mom and dad didn’t tell the kids right away when they got under contract. They waited until the day of the home inspection to tell them they were buying the house they loved the best with the pool, game room, sauna and wooded acreage. The house had been a vacation home for the sellers who had just put in the pool and a new septic system. The sellers had redone so much in the home. And they were the most gracious sellers I have encountered in a long time on a buy side. They left beds and arcade games for the kids, a table and outdoor furniture for the pool.

My buyers got an amazing deal. They LOVE their new home. They are so glad none of the other deals worked out. And since moving their belongings in, I have received pictures of their life in Virginia adventure. In a message to me after closing I smiled when they said, “Thank you once again for everything. You were awesome to work with and made life easy.”

How can I help you? It is my pleasure to make the transition in, out or in between homes, as stress free as I can. Reach out for your own consultation.

Bristow Home in Amenity Rich Neighborhood for $675,000

12607 Cessford Drive in Bristow Listed for $675,000 on July 19, 2022

Bristow Home in Amenity Rich Neighborhood for $675,000

When my husband and I were house hunting in Bristow, one of the homes that I personally loved was the Yardley model. It has all the right rooms in a configuration that makes it a little different that a typical Northern Virginia colonial. This listing at 12607 Cessford is a great example of a bumped out, four bedroom Yardley. And it’s on a great lot!

With no other home fronting to Cessford Drive on the west side, this home has no direct next door neighbors. A gas line easement up the hill and north of the home gives protected open space. To the south side, there just wasn’t enough room to put another home. That gives 12607 Cessford much appreciated elbow room. The back yard is not flat, but the slight rise in the yard itself is a built-in privacy buffer from the neighbor in the back. Enjoy rest and relaxation on the wood deck.

Inside, the floor plan is sure to please buyers. It’s not the most popular mid-sized home in Braemar for nothing. Check out the large family room and kitchen with breakfast nook.

The owner’s suite is another winner. Loads of space and double walk-in closets and bathroom with soaking tub, stall shower and double sinks.

Perhaps the best part of a four bedroom upper level Yardley is the size of the fourth bedroom. It rivals the owner’s suite in sheer size.

This particular Yardley has a partially finished basement to include a landing zone in LVP, large carpeted recreation space and laundry area. It’s a perfect setting for a home theater as there are no daylight windows. There is unfinished space you can finish to include a den and full bathroom, or you can leave it the way it is and enjoy an abundance of storage.

This home is located in Braemar, an amenity rich community in Bristow. Enjoy access to two swimming pools, multiple playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts. There are even walking trails that take you through the community. Patriot High School is located just a few blocks away, but Cedar Point Elementary and Marsteller Middle are located within the confines of the neighborhood itself.

Want to schedule your tour? Get in touch with me.

Buyer Success in Warrenton

Buyer Success in Warrenton

Ever wonder how buyers find the agents that represent them? In the case of most buyers I represent, it is a matter of being referred by a former client. However, when buyers are relocating from out of state and have no contacts in the area, how do they find a trustworthy, experienced agent? One way is by attending open houses.

In the case of the buyers pictured above, our paths crossed when I was holding an open at my listing 9477 Cromarty Court. They were investigating the area around Manassas and seeing how far their desired price range could get them. Not very much. In Texas, where they were selling their existing home, they had a much larger home for a similar price as 9477 Cromarty. They were disappointed, but we talked for quite a while about what they wanted. It would not be hard to make them happy, but they were going to have to up their price range. Thankfully, what they were qualified to buy was a heck of a lot more than what they wanted to spend.

Evidently, my experience in the marketplace is easy to spot. Just as easy as my honesty. That’s why they called on me when their home in Texas was scheduled to close and they wanted to get under contract in Virginia. They hand no desire to extend their rental on the increased month to month rate.

We saw only four properties together. However, there were many they saw during open houses. As they tried on various neighborhoods and homes, they did a lot of leg work themselves, registering me as their agent each time. When they happened on a property that hit the mark atyet another open house, I made sure to get out to see it myself the same day. By the following day, we saw it together.

Requirements of a roomy, well equipped kitchen was a must. Mr. Buyer is an avid cook. Generously sized bedrooms was another desire. Private outdoor space was on the wish list as well. The final requirement was being a reasonable distance from work and Dulles Airport. The Warrenton beauty above, just outside the town was a home run. It hit all the requirements and was one of the most solidly constructed homes I have ever toured. Turns out, it was custom built by the owner who is a builder.

They say buyers and sellers should only meet at the closing table. In this case, they met at the home inspection, which was great. Mr. Buyer had many questions about things he’d noticed in the home. Mr. Seller was happy to share all he knew. The relationship of cooperation between the parties could not have been better. The seller took care of issues out of pure pride and courtesy. The buyers were so thrilled to have their first Virginia home be cared for so well.

Are you looking for your next home? The market is tough, but not impossible. Get in touch with me for your own consultation and let’s see if the market can meet your expectations. My many connections from lenders to inspectors can make the process a beeze.

Brand New Price on a Charming Raised Rambler in Middletown

6717 Middle Road in Middletown is Listed for $299,000

Brand New Price on a Charming Raised Rambler in Middletown

If you only follow my blog to learn about what listings I have that are active, this listing at 6717 Middle Road is going to be new to you. Sitting on one acre in Middletown, this three bedroom/two bathroom home actually hit the market on June 16th. The price was $315,000. To be honest, I’m shocked no one has snatched it up at that price. With no HOA, a detached garage that allows for a large workshop and high speed internet at the home, this seems like a bargain.

Kitchen with Butcher Block Counter Island

It seems that a lot of folks displaced by the rising prices in suburbs of Northern Virginia are out shopping in more affordable rural areas like Middletown now. What those buyers don’t realize is the homes available at these affordable prices are older and have their quirks. This home was originally a much smaller footprint. As it stands today, it has two additions: an all purpose room off the kitchen with a bathroom and a family room.

Family Room with Wood Burning Fireplace

As the home has settled and tenants in the home did not extends downspout drainage, there is some erosion grading erosion around the home that had caused the basement to puddle a bit of water during torrential rain storms. We learned this during the severe thunderstorm that hit over a week ago. A 4′ by 4′ puddle alarmed buyers, but their agents were kind enough to share the discovery and the owner jumped on it.

The solution for a home owner who is out of the area is to get the local hands on deck to improve current drainage. Down spouts have been extended to get water futher away from the cinder block foundation that, at this point in time, is saturated. It is what happens to a cinder block foundation when the water it is holding has not yet had a chance to wick away before being faced with more water. The other solution is to improve the price. Today list price improved to $299,000.

If you are not afraid of the quirks of an older home and see the value in no HOA, one acre of land in a beautiful rural setting, this may be your opportunity. Get in touch with me for a tour.

Buying a Home From a Video Tour

Buying a Home From a Video Tour

When the market is full of buyers and very little inventory to choose from, what are out of state buyers to do when they have only one weekend to house hunt and everything they physically toured goes under contract? They rely heavily on their agent. One thing that I do with all buyers relocating to Northern Virginia is to get a glimpse of what they are coming from. Setting expectations is key. Before we ever went on a house hunting tour, I had already done a virtual tour of their existing home. Going in I knew that the homes Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket and Manassas had to offer were going to hit the spot.

When we met in person for the first day of their in person home tour, the buyers were not yet under contract with their home in Oklahoma. Without that all important contract on their existing home in hand, house hunting in Prince William County may have felt pointless to many agents. Not to me. We toured nineteen homes in two days. There was plenty of variety in location, lots, age of homes and in updates. Their preferences became clear. Somewhat updated was okay. Neighborhood locations with amenities were ideal with just enough yard to enjoy and not be a burden on their weekend family time. There were also two school districts they preferred.

By the time their home was under contract, they had narrowed down the area that fit the best based on what we had seen. When the house pictured above came on the market in the neighborhood of Braemar in Bristow, they were quick to make themselves available for a virtual tour. An offer followed the same day. They were under contract within twenty-four hours which was a huge relief having expected it may take some time to have success given the high level of buyer demand.

What played key roles in getting their VA loan offer accepted was working with a local, highly reputable lender and working with a full-time professional agent who is well known and well respected in Western Prince William County. Their relocation contact had set them up with a call center lender. I referred them to Jason Andrzejewski of Prosperity Home Mortgage. Turned out, the sellers had refinanced recently with Jason and his pre-approval letter was as good as gold to them. As for me, I was a known quantity to the listing agent who had done deals with me in the past and had worked in the same brokerage as me for years. Reputation of your real estate professionals matter.

The nerve racking moment for me came the first time the buyers walked into the home with their kids, which was about a week before closing. It was so wonderful to see the kids smile and say they loved the home. It was a personal pleasure to show them around the neighborhood amenities.

Navigating a seller’s market is stressful, but having the right professionals on your side with local market credibility and recognition makes all the difference. If you are looking for a home in Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas or areas surrounding those cities, give me a call. It is my pleasure to make my buyers home purchasing experience as stress free as possible.

Just Listed: Gainesville Townhouse-Style Condo

14443 Macon Grove Lane Listed for $325,000 on April 30, 2022

Just Listed: Gainesville Townhouse-Style Condo

In late January 2022, I listed a Parks at Piedmont South condo for $315,000 at 14530 Kylewood Lane. At the time, $315,000 was on the high end for what a condo there would get in a sold price. Imagine how delighted my sellers were to get $335,000 when they sold. That leap up $20,000 over list price in sold price got the attention of the seller of my latest seller at 14443 Macon Grove Lane.

With tenants in place through June 30th, the owners had to make a quick determination. Do they list before the lease is up, for fear that rising interest rates may hinder a future sale, or list with tenants in place? Knowing that no two scenarios in real estate are the same, I advised the owner that if they listed with the tenants in place, it would behoove them to somehow get the tenants to buy into the process. Tenants in a listing have nothing to gain and their residence to lose. How do you get them to help with showings and make the house neat?

After deciding to move forward with listing sooner, the owners took the listing preparation on themselves as any other seller would have to do in the sale of an owner occupied home. They went in and took care of patching and painting, decluttering and cleaning. Best of all, they graciously paid for the tenants to have a weekend in a hotel during the first weekend of showings. Buyers and their agents are able to see the home this opening weekend from 10am-8pm with ease.

This three bedroom condo is the same floor plan as 14530 Kylewood. The floor plan is simply reversed and with different finishes. The floors on the entry and main level are hardwood, with the exception of the kitchen. There you find ceramic tile floors and granite counters.

The open main level floor plan, located on the second floor of this Linden model condo is the top feature of this home.

The second best feature is the owner’s suite on the third floor. It is an expansive space, large enough for any size bedroom set. Attached owner’s bathroom offers double sinks, oversized soaking tub, separate shower and water closet.

The fourth level is where a loft living area separates the second and third bedrooms from each other. It also offers a second full bathroom.

With a one car attached garage and convenient Gainesville location, close to many shops, restaurants and major commuter routes, this condo is sure to please. If a buyer closes on this sale before June 30th, the monthly rent of $1,930 will be pro-rated or paid in full to the buyer, as they will become the temporary landlord. If a buyer does not to deal with tenants for even a month, the settlement would have to occur in early July.

Community amenities in Parks at Piedmont include a community pool, playgrounds, basketball courts and walking trails. Condo fees include snow removal, trash removal, road maintenance, exterior building maintenance and master insurance policy for the structure. Owners need only a condo insurance policy to cover everything from the walls in.

If you are interested in this home, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Coming Soon in Fairfax for $489,800

11620-B Cavalier Landing Court in Fairfax , Listed for $489,800

Coming Soon in Fairfax for $489,800

An end unit, stacked townhouse condo facing wooded common area is likely to garner interest no matter the location. In the case of 11620-B Cavalier Landing Court in Fairfax, the condo is in a community adjacent to Wegman’s, with a convenient paved trail between the community and the store. Just a couple blocks away are more shops and restaurants. And this Fairfax location is minutes to Route 29, Route 50 & Route 66.

Inside live comfortably on two levels. Main and upper levels are done in hardwood flooring. Living room is expansive and separated from dining room by a double sided fireplace. Kitchen overlooks the dining room and sun room, both with south facing windows that provide a tremendous amount of light on sunny days. Conveniently tucked away before you trek upstairs, is a main level powder room.

Upstairs the owner’s suite provides a generous amount of space with two walk-in closets. Two windows facing the wooded common area are window nooks that allow for a person, or pet to enjoy. Attached owner’s bathroom has recently been updated to include granite counters, dual sinks and a new vanity. Ceramic tile floors and updated light fixtures are a gorgeous sight.

Not to be outdone, the second full bathroom is also sporting a new vanity, new light fixture, granite counter top and ceramic tile floor. Cut outs for shampoos and soaps were included in the tub/shower combo.

Second and third bedrooms also have window nook seating, but enjoy that southern exposure. They are located on the opposite side of the hall from the owner’s suite with the second bathroom and laundry room between them.

Attached garage parking for one car enters on into the unit below the first floor. There is a storage nook under the staircase.

Condo fee is includes water, trash removal, snow removal, exterior building maintenance, road maintenance and also covers the HOA fee. Recreational amenities include a pool and tot lots.

No offer will be reviewed on this condo before Tuesday morning, March 1st (2022.) Stay tuned for open house information. If you have specific questions, get in touch with me.

Coming Soon in Manassas for $379,000

7664 Duneiden Lane will be available for showings starting 2/26/2022

Coming Soon in Manassas for $379,000

Tucked away in the Manassas community of Campbell’s Trace is 7664 Duneiden Lane, a piggyback style townhouse . You can’t drive by and see this home. It faces inside the community, attached at the back of 7662. Take a dozen or so steps down the sidewalk and over the bridged walkway and ta-da…there it sits.

Enter into the living room where an open concept floor plan greets you. The combination of dark hardwood floors and light gray paint complement each other perfectly. Dining area offers a view, and exit, to the privacy fenced yard. Kitchen has lots of counter space, dark gray cabinets and light ceramic flooring. There is even a half bathroom next to the front door, giving you access to a bathroom on every level….a must have in townhouse living.

The second level is devoted to the owner’s suite. An expansive bedroom with sunshine streaming through the south facing windows is a delight. The hardwood flooring is a welcome update. Attached owner’s bathroom is complete with dual sinks, over-sized soaking tub and separate shower.

Venture up one more level to find a carpeted, quiet third story with second and third bedrooms, second full bathroom and laundry room. Never worry about tile grout lines in the second bathroom. The floor is painted concrete and definitely gives this story the feel of a contemporary urban loft.

Parking consists of two assigned spaces near the townhouse and one visitor parking pass. HOA dues cover trash and snow removal, common area maintenance and playgrounds.

As for location, this is a great spot for commuters. Route 66 is only a few city blocks away. And there is a large variety of shops, restaurants and healthcare services within minutes of the townhouse. The nearest hospital in less than ten minutes away.

In the intense seller’s market that Manassas and the surrounding area is experiencing, it is unlikely 7664 Duneiden will last for long. Make sure you get your appointment booked. This townhouse will be available for showings starting February 26th (2022.)

© Zillow, Inc., 2006-2016. Use is subject to Terms of Use
What's a Zestimate?