Trading Suburbia for a More Rural Property

Trading Suburbia for a More Rural Property

In late July I was contacted by former clients that had sold a townhouse and moved into a single family home in a Bristow HOA community in 2016. The reason for the move back in 2016 was to get more space for a growing family. The prevailing sentiment in 2022 was that the HOA lifestyle and neighbors pushed in snuggly on smaller lots was not for them. With property values being high, they wanted to investigate selling their existing home and getting something with more separation from neighbors and privacy.

The hardest component of a move-up purchase is timing the sale of the existing home with the purchase of another. When you aren’t quite sure what you want, it means taking time and trying on different types of homes in different locations. While we spent weekends shopping from Front Royal to Bealeton, Catlett and Warrenton their existing home was undergoing listing preparation.

About two weeks before their listing preparation was complete, my clients find the one that was meant to be their home. A twenty-two year old single family home nestled on six and a half wooded acres in Marshall, VA. We crafted their offer on August 24th, a time when the market was beginning to shift. It was a toss up if the seller would be willing to accept a home sale contingency, but they did, along with every available inspection contingency. You don’t buy your first rural property without at least a home inspection, water quality test and septic inspection.

Anxiety about if their existing home would sell was in the back of their minds. Sure enough, it was under contract in record time. While Bristow HOA suburbia may not have been for them, it was still a hot button for many buyers. Of course, taking the time to truly finish the listing preparation and not going off half-cocked combined with my professional marketing was what got that home sale done the right way.

After some negotiation over necesary repairs, the seller agreed to solve some mjaor issues and even a handful of smaller ones. My buyers were able to close knowing they have no immediate concerns in their new home. They were also able to secure a mortgage interest rate that was below market through a special loan program that crossed my desk in the middle of summer.

Are you ready to sell your home and want to try on some possibilities for your next home? Or are you just ready to stop paying your landlord’s mortgage and invest in your own future? Get in touch and let’s talk about what the market has to offer.

Another Bristow Home Under Contract

12148 Formby Street in Bristow went Under Contract in 10 Days

On Thursday, June 24th (2021) I had the pleasure of making 12148 Formby Street available for showings. It had been listed as Coming Soon for several days beforehand. Given the real estate market that Bristow had been experiencing to that point, the sellers and I set an offer deadline for Monday, June 28th. Surprisingly, after five days on the market, over a non-holiday weekend, there were only about a dozen showings and no offers in hand.

Hmm. Seems the Bristow real estate market had changed.

Undeterred, knowing the listing preparation had been done to make the home move-in ready and that it was being professionally marketed, the sellers and I waited it out. Before the 4th of July holiday weekend was even halfway through, ten days after hitting the market, this home had two offers. Multiple offers? Check. First weekend on market? No.

While there are still more buyers than there are available homes, buyers are less likely to act as quickly or enthusiastically as they were just a month ago. My suspicion is that summer vacations are playing a role in the slowing pace of the buyer demand. July and August, with the exception of 2020 when no one could travel due to the pandemic, are notariously slower than the other months of the year in the Bristow real estate market in a typical year.

Another factor could be the changing high school districts coming up in the fall. Some buyers who wanted particular high schools, or are unaware of what the new Gainesville High School will offer, may be waiting in the wings. After all, the MLS is still autopopulating incorrect high school data for some properties in existing districts that will be going to Gainesville High School. And Gainesville High School isn’t even identified in the MLS as an option for properties that will actually be going there.

Does this mean it’s a bad time to sell? No. It’s still a seller’s market. This home going under contract in ten days after two offers is still a very fast time frame given the real estate experiences I have accumulated since being licensed in 2005.

Stay tuned for the final sold price on this three bedroom Bristow single family home. As a Top Bristow Listing Agent, I love sharing market experiences. Of course, if you are thinking of selling, you can put my experience to work for you. It starts with a friendly conversation and ends with the successful sale of your Bristow home.

But the Neighbor Said…

But the Neighbor Said…

As a Top Producing Bristow Real Estate Agent, I can’t tell you how many times I have been involved in giving professional advice when my seller-client has let me know that the neighbor has graciously offered another opinion. These things happen out of a neighborly desire to help and to be the one “in the know.”

Real estate sales are always the source of natural curiosity. The comings and goings of neighbors often spark conversation. And just like the game of telephone we all played as children, the original message can be very distorted when handed down.

A great example is a seller I had counseled to take on some updates before listing his home. The neighbors saw him meeting contractors at the home, pulled him aside and advised him his agent may not be aware of the seller market conditions. They purported to KNOW that a neighbor on the next street over, with the same kind of home, had sold theirs”as-is” and for a higher price than the one my seller was likely to be hitting the market with. Needless to say, my seller got spun up about the situation and had a moment of second guessing my advice.

Over the years, I’ve learned that sellers aren’t going to absorb a word I say until I investigate the property in question, so I did. Turns out, the sales price was right on target. And the sellers in question did sell “as-is.” However, as the agent representing the transaction told me, “They sold as is because they had renovated the entire home in the last five years.” Getting into more detail, the updates these sellers did vastly outweighed what my seller was willing to do. Once the facts behind the neighboring property were presented, my seller was able to get back on track with what we had discussed.

Advertising a home in “as-is” condition is not a great plan if you want to get the highest price the market has to offer. As-is brings to mind a property with issues that makes people think nothing was done to the home and the next owner will need to deal with multiple issues.

Even in a seller’s market, the way to top dollar is building buyer enthusiasm. That still means preparing your home to be move-in ready for the next owners. You don’t have to renovate everything in your home, but you do need buyers to feel excited about your home when they see it online and in person. In general terms, new carpet and fresh paint go a long way to helping just about every home I have encountered. Of course, specific problem areas that could mean immediate expenditures for buyers should also be addressed for the highest level of buyer enthusiasm.

Combined with professional photography and top notch marketing that only an experienced agent in the marketplace can offer, a well prepared listing finds that that creating buyer enthusiasm is a breeze. Hitting the market is always in the best interest of getting the highest possible sales price. In the case of the neighbor’s property, they didn’t hit the market. The agent handling the transaction brought the buyers to the sellers. She told me if the sellers had hit the market, they would have made at least twenty thousand more.

The moral here is to take the neighborhood real estate gab with a grain of salt. When you hire me, I’ll track down the truth behind the neighborhood talk and help you set the course to pulling down the max the market will bear. Get in touch with me when you are ready to investigate the sale of your Bristow home.

Professional Marketing Involves Elbow Grease

Professional Marketing Involves Elbow Grease

Six years ago, in a very different market when only the hottest homes sold in a matter of days, it was not at all unusual for a single family home to take one to two months to sell. Looking back at the first six months of 2015, the average days on market was forty-five. It was during this time a couple called, disappointed their home hadn’t sold after seventy days with their former listing agent.

Based on what I was seeing online, it seemed the listing agent prior had put in zero effort into advising this couple on what to do to sell. The sellers were eager for advice and did the preparation I advised. Taking it one more step, I helped them edit their rooms to make the home show perfectly and do some staging.

My favorite contrast in how I market is a comparison shot between the previous shot of the hot tub and mine.


A little effort goes a long way. Simply removing the cover of the hot tub would have made a much improved photo. Adding a little fluff just elevated it that much more. It sells the luxury of having a hot tub and invokes a feeling of relaxation and enjoyment. And this wasn’t expensive. Every staging item was purchased at the dollar store or donated by the owner for the photo. The home was under contract in eleven days…in less than half the average marketing time of that period.

Back then I was still taking my own listing photos. Now when I remove hot tub covers to actually show a hot tub (always awkward and cumbersome, but so worth it,) the professional photos look even better. Selling a home is one thing. Selling the lifestyle of a home is what gets you the highest offers the market will bear.

Professional photos in this day and age are a MUST

Professional marketing is what makes a property get bid even higher than a competing listing, even in a frenzied seller’s market. Who you hire to list your home matters just as much now as it did when the market demand was slower. It shows more in your bottom line than in marketing time these days, but still creates that buyer enthusiasm that boosts your home above the competition, or most recent sales, like a rocket.

Get in touch with me when you are considering the sale of your home and find out how my professional marketing and attention to details will make you even more money than you imagined.

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