Bristow, VA Real Estate News

By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Be sure to check behind the furnace for possible danger.It was an older home with an older HVAC unit.The furnace was gas fueled, and needed attention.  When that is the case I always suspect the furnace flue and stack.But in this case it was very difficult to access and see.So I had to reach my camera around to do the seeing for me.It took a few tries to get things centered, but this is what the bottom of the exhaust stack looked like.Rusting, cracked, and visible holes was the verdict of the best photo.This is a serious issue!Often when I see an older, rusting flue system I tap on the bottom to hear it sound full of debris.  And it is!  That is debris that has fallen into the stack, either from rust or acidic condensation, and is clogging the bottom of the tube.This flue needs attentio...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Braemar Property Values:  March-April 2017 (Arista Series)Gray, overcast weekend days are perfect for getting things done.  In my world, being a full-time Bristow Real Estate Agent, that means taking time to run numbers for any one of my Braemar Property Value Reports.  This particular report focuses on recent sales in the Arista Series.  Arista Series homes are the large, single family homes built by Brookfield Homes.  The floor plans include the Allister, Buckingham and Canterbury. There was only one sale of a Braemar Arista Series home during the months of March and April.  It was a four bedroom, four and a half bathroom, three finished level Allister on a cul-de-sac lot.  It was located at 9535 Laurencekirk Place and listed for $499,000.  It was sold by an investor who had recently ...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
When a furnace blower door safety switch is taped.Your HVAC system comes with a variety of safety devices, and they are all there to increase personal safety.There is the flame roll-out sensor, the flame sensor (not the same thing), a limit switch and a serviceman's switch.  And all these are for safety.Another is the blower door safety switch.It's a simple device, one that is pressed on the close the electrical circuit when the front panel is removed.When the panel is in place the unit can run, and the blower will send air through the system.That little switch is important!It is intended to operate independently so that when the panel is removed to change the filter the blower mechanism pops out, opens the circuit, and the blower stops working.If a finger was to get into that high-spee...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
A tale of two ceilings.  When a seller tries to hide a serious leak.It was the best of ceilings, it was the worst of ceilings.  It was the age of freshly repaired and painted, it was the age of foolishness.  It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.Being able to reach 8' high, I always put my flashlight at a severe angle against ceilings to see if there have been drywall repairs.Often I find them.Virginia is a non-disclosure state - the seller does not have to say anything as regards the condition or the history of a house.  So the home inspection is a crucial part of the buying process.In this house the ceiling showed a couple of repairs, and one that looked very suspiciously like a homeowner had done it.  The repair was what you see, very sloppy, and the ceiling was...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Dunbarton Duplex First Quarter Review 2017If you were ever wondering what it might be like to live in the Pacific Northwest, I'm sure the last week of drizzly rain and consistent overcast weather has enlightened you.  While my husband would love for us to pick up and move to Seattle, it is days on end of weather like this that makes me love Bristow, Virginia.  This dreary weather is rare, and that's perfect for me.There is one thing dreary days are good for, and that is preparing market reports.  This one focuses on the sales between January and March this year in Dunbarton duplexes.  For comparison, we'll look at what happened in the first quarter of 2016. HOMES SOLD 4 duplexes sold in the 1st Quarter of 20172 duplexes sold in the 1st Quarter of 2016In all honesty, this is not what I e...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Ye olde duct tape dryer vent.And why not? Can you think of anything more longer lasting and flexible than duct tape?Well, except for a replacement dryer vent flap.But what's the fun in that?Who wants to be same old, same old?That cover has been there a while.  Obviously it's working!My recommendation:  it's funny how the same kind of repair can be seen over and over, like duct tape, and in so many different places and ways!  Yes, this post is tongue in cheek.  But still, we have all seen this kind of thing before!  Does this sort of repair surprise anyone?  If you want to read a little something on the history of duct tape, click here.  That guy is a great writer!  
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Dunbarton Single Family Home First Quarter Review 2017Spring has finally sprung in Bristow, but the cold overnight temps over the last few days may have you going back and forth between your heat and a/c.  Does make for some great days to open up the windows and let in some fresh air.Right now, it's time for the first quarter check up on Dunbarton single family home values.  Let's get right to it and see how the first quarter of 2017 compares with the first quarter of 2016.HOMES SOLD3 homes sold in the 1st quarter of 20176 homes sold in the 1st quarter of 2016Clearly, the first quarter of 2017 is not starting out gang busters for number of sales compared to the previous year.  But is it affecting prices? SOLD PRICESHigh Sold Price:  $399,900 in 1st Q 2017; $449,900 in 1st Q 2016Low Sold...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Just Sold:  Three Level Kingsbrooke Townhouse for $345,000On March 4th (2017) I had the pleasure of listing 8843 Moat Crossing Place in Kingsbrooke for $340,000.  The townhouse had three fully finished levels, each with a bump out.  That gave it a ton of space.  The entire main level had been renovated to include hardwood stairs.  The hardwoods were continued to the staircase to the basement and to the Master Suite.  The entire basement flooring had been updated to large ceramic tiles.  The little carpet that remained was replaced and the entire home painted.  Every bathroom had undergone spa-like remodels.  Other renovations included a new roof, new HVAC, new windows and new doors.    Did I mention it backed to a protected wooded area and had a nice big wood deck?It wasn't surprising t...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Service-drop conductors way too low.  It's a drooping loop!Service conductor wiring brings electricity to the house.In older neighborhoods they are often above ground.  In newer neighborhoods they are underground.At this subject house the connection to the "telephone" pole had gotten lower and lower.The loop was only about 12' over the street.And about 8' over the front sidewalk at the street.On the front of his house there was a front porch, with a small deck extending out with a staircase to the driveway.From that deck I could reach up and only about 7' high was the service line!  And I could have easily grabbed it!Obviously the electric company needs to be called to rectify this and raise this drooping loop up.It's a wonder that a moving fan had not clipped the service conductors ove...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
As soon as I saw the dryer vent hood I thought it was clogged.Why? It isn't the proper exhaust hood for a dryer vent that discharges through the roof.That vent is made for a bathroom or kitchen.Aside from being the wrong kind of dryer vent hood, it is perched way up on the roof (that picture is taken with a long photo lens), hard to see and get to, and hard to keep clean.And I could see a little lint popping out here and there.When I showed it to my older, widowed client, she caught on immediately.  "How am I going to clean that?"I said, "You aren't.  You will have to hire somebody.  But we will look inside to see how clogged it is now."And we weren't disappointed.I was very clogged.  The lint is being blown toward the right side onto the roof sheathing and rafter.  And there is moistur...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Electric panel box access, or not.During a home inspection it is important to be able to get to everything.The idea is to inspect systems and components!Not only could I not get near to the electric panel box in this garage, but could barely get AROUND the garage!The furnace and water heater were similarly buried.The garage door opener did not turn on when I pushed the button, but I could not even get to the garage door to test it manually.Home inspections are for the buyers to see the condition of systems and components in the house.  Things need to be tested.So what happens now?  The sellers will be asked to have an electrician check the electrical system, an HVAC professional to check that system, and a plumber to check what could not be investigated by the home inspector.  They will...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Any Bristow, VA Real Estate Agent Can Get Your House Under Contract...Bristow, VA is facing a seller's market, not unlike a lot of markets across the country right now.  Inventory is tight and buyer demand is intense.  Truly, any agent could get your home under contract.  Do they need to be local to Bristow?  No.  Not at all.  Do they need to be full-time?  Heck no.  Stick it in the MLS and it will be under in a matter of days barring a completely unrealistic sales price that makes buyers think you are crazy and greedy, or horrible MLS photos that make the home look bleak.Getting under contract is not the hard part.  Making sure you understand what makes each offer different in a multiple offer situation is crucial.  The highest offer is not always the best.  Having a full-time Bristow ...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Historic house and moving brick.When I first saw the brick work on this historic 1808 townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia I was concerned.  Movement and bulging was immediately evident.The movement was a broad bulge that began between the two windows, and proceeded from top to bottom.The cement lintels over the windows can also be seen to have moved.Looking elsewhere there was similar bulging of the foundation wall on this same side.And the brick work was nicely painted with no cracking in the paint.While the windows were not original, obviously, they had not been damaged in any way due to the brick movement.  New windows were intentionally installed that looked "period."But also concerning, the mortar was generally very soft and I was able to get it to come off easily onto my finger.  Ce...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Braemar Reflection Quarterly:  January-March 2017 (1st Quarter)The first quarter of 2017 is behind us, which means more Braemar market reports.  This is the Braemar Reflection Quarterly, focusing on sales of the semi-attached homes located off of Tarvie Circle in New Castle Village.  These homes are attached only at the garage, located in the back of the home.It is no surprise that there have been no sales of a Reflection home in the first quarter.  Just like Braemar Courtyard homes, these homes make up such a small percentage of home in the neighborhood that sales can be few and far between.  And even going back one full year, from April 2016 to March 2017, there were only two sales during that time period.  The are listed below:9684 Tarvie Circle listed for $414,900 and sold for $404,...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
Pressure-treated wood can rot!People think their pressure-treated wood decks will never rot.Another urban legend  rears its ugly head.The first pressure-treated wood was invented by Dr. Karl Wolman in the early 20th century.  He developed a water-based process to infuse salts into the wood that would displace the sap and thereby preserve it.  And he tweaked his formulas and techniques for decades.From that start his chemical process went to a CCA liquid - Chromated Copper Arsenate - which was a mixture of copper sulfate and arsenate chromate dissolved in water.   Similar chemical mixes were used for decades.  In the United States the arsenate (a form of arsenic) was removed from pressure-treated wood formulas in 2004.This deck was built in the late 80s.  It probably used a CCA then.  Ho...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Braemar Piggyback Quarterly:  January-March 2017 (1st Quarter)Are you as happy as I am that it is sunny today?  Too many dreary days in a row bring me down.  Guess I should enjoy this sun while I can.  The extended forecast for Bristow had shown a lot of cloudy days coming up, but I just looked and it seems that some of those days are now showing as partly sunny.  We'll have to wait and see what Mother Nature gives us.  Predicting the weather may be similar to predicting real estate values.  You can say exactly what is going to happen, but you can have a pretty good idea.In this Braemar Piggyback Quarterly we will look at the most recent sales activity and how that compares the six and twelve month values compiled.  Of course, let me explain what type of home we are referring to when we...
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By Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
(Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC)
When sharp screws are used in electric panel boxes.I see it all the time.  The original screws that came with an electric panel box have been removed and replaced with different screws not meant for the box.Why can different screws be "not meant" for the box?For a couple of reasons at least:>  The different screw(s) might be too long (!!).>  The different screw(s) might have the wrong die (the male portion of the coupling) for the tap (the female portion) that was cut into the panel box hole.  A different die can change the original tap such that the proper screws will no longer fit or hold.>  The different screw(s) might have SHARP points, which are NOT intended for insertion into a place where there are electric wires!  Panel box screw points are dull for good reason!I can often see f...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Braemar Patio Home Quarterly:  January-March 2017 (1st Quarter)Another rainy day in Braemar.   That means no walk for me today, but I must hand it to the gal I saw braving this afternoon's heavier downpour, jogging along Tartan Hills Parkway.  That is dedication.  While I may not have that dedication to exercise, I definitely have it when it comes to keeping Braemar property owners apprised of their home values.  This particular first quarter report focuses on values of Braemar Patio homes.  Braemar Patio Homes are known to some as quads.  Each is attached at the side, back and corner to another Patio Home.  They have two levels, offering large bedrooms and a modest side yard.There was one Braemar Patio home that sold in the first quarter.  It was located at 12873 Rannoch Forest Circle ...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
Braemar Condo Quarterly:  January-March 2017 (1st Quarter)If April showers bring May flowers, May is going to be very colorful in Braemar.  It's been a pretty dreary stretch, but I'll take this rainy Monday to catch you up on Braemar condo values for the first quarter.  This report, however, we're going to do things a little bit differently to give you a more accurate view of what direction values are going by incorporating rolling six month and twelve month figures.There was only one sale of a Braemar condo in the first quarter.  It happened on March 24th.  It was an end unit townhouse with no garage, located at 10056 Moxleys Ford Lane,  that listed for $264,900 and sold for $260,000.  It was under contract in only 3 days and gave $5,000 in seller subsidy (a.k.a. closing cost help.)  S...
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By Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
(Long and Foster Real Estate)
We Would Like You to Show Us...While sitting in the office today, I picked up a call coming into the office.  A nice enough sounding young man identified himself and said he would like me to show him a particular property.  The first question I asked, "Are you working with an agent to represent you, or is it your practice to call from yard signs?" When he fessed up that it was he and his wife's practice to call from signs, he added, "But we decided we wanted a Long & Foster agent to show us this particular Re/Max listing because you are are closest real estate office."  Hmmm.  This sounded bizarre.  I took his number and said when I was able to research the property, I would call him back.When I did call back, I explained that the house he was inquiring about was a bank owned home and t...
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