Springfield, VA Real Estate News

By Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
(RE/MAX Executives)
                ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS FOR SPRINGFIELD'S POPULARITY IS THE VARIETY OF COMMUTING OPTIONS Interstate I-95  The major north/south route in the eastern US, it dissects the eastern section of Springfield.  It enables residents to travel north to Maryland and beyond as well as south to employment centers in Prince William County and beyond. Interstate I-395  Starting at the Capital Beltway where I-95 turns northward, this road continues on in for access to the Pentagon, Crystal City, Arlington and Washington, D.C. Interstate I-495 The Capital Beltway is approximately 60 miles long and circumvents Washington, D.C. It is at the northern end of Springfield and facilitates residents commute to Tysons Corner and Olde Town Alexandria. Fairfax County Parkway (Route 7100)  A limit...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
No, this isn't a personal question about your belly button.  I have some new buyers moving to the Northern Virginia area and they have been reading some of the literature that I sent them to look over before they arrive in the area.  Many cities have unique terms to describe different neighborhoods and those of us who live in this area have some unique ones as well.  I have written about our "slugs" before but realized there is another phrase we all use liberally that needed explaining to someone new to the area. We often describe neighborhoods in Northern Virginia as being either inside or outside the beltway. Neighborhoods in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and McLean are some examples of areas inside the beltway. Areas outside the beltway would include Burke, Centreville and Spri...
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By Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
(RE/MAX Executives)
For some of you it has already happened.  However, for most of us on Tuesday September 4th BIG YELLOW will start delivering people's "heirs and assigns" to and from school.  Being careful with our driving anytime is just another opportunity for us to serve our community responsibly.  Of course, BIG YELLOW alerts us to this at the start of the new school year
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By Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
(RE/MAX Executives)
Actually, there are slugs throughout the Northern Virginia area.  Slug watchers report that sightings are time and location sensitive.  Sightings occur during the morning rush hour Monday to Friday primarily at commuter parking lots. Harry or Harriet Commuter park their car and join the slug line formed at the bus stop just outside the parking lot - they are now officially  a slug Donna or Dan Driver need one or two people to enable them to use the HOV lanes legally They pull up to the bus stop and inquire who is going to the Pentagon, State Department or wherever. The first person in line who meets that requirement steps out of line and into the car It is courteous, practical, efficient and economical.  Of course it is - it's not a governmemt program. Is it safe?  In our 33 years as No...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Every month in Northern Virginia a variety of reports are published by the MRIS, NVAR, Washington Post and others to provide the public with information on recent market trends.  The reports focus on comparing housing prices in a user selected zip code from the previous month and the previous year.  When the local market was moving at a frenetic pace most of us didn't have time to look at the reports and we didn't have many reasons to question whether there was enough data included for a buyer or seller to make informed decisions.  Now don't get me wrong there are a lot of things I would rather be doing than digging through data in the MLS, however in a market where prices are not heading up daily and where buyers are looking to make "low ball" offers knowing the data is extremely impor...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Earlier in the summer I penned a blog titled Can you find me a good Foreclosure Deal?   In response to continued questions from buyers I decided to do a double check on some numbers in the 22152 zip code(slightly random choice).  First for those who are not familiar with Fairfax County VA this zip code is in the West Springfield area.  The area has mature neighborhoods with loads of trees, is in the popular West Springfield HS pyramid and has easy access to public transportation for DC commuters.  Currently there are 74 homes for sale in the area ranging in price from $407,900 to $948,500 and in those homes I quickly found 12 homes listed as "short sales" or in foreclosure.  I have visited a few of these homes so I can say that the condition varies from excellent to needs significant TL...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Fairfax County has been recognized by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties as one of the top digital counties in the US. Counties based on their population were judged on 100 different measurements including services delivery, county governance and technology infrastructure. For counties with a population of over 500,000 Fairfax County was ranked 4th in the nation and this is the third time the county has been in the top 5.With 24/7 access to critical information the county has eliminated citizens worrying about not being able to make it to a government facility during traditional business hours. Using a combination of IVR (interactive voice response), web services and kiosks citizens can get information of a wide variety of services. An example of ...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
It never seems to fail.  The end of the month is packed with closings.  The loan officers are scrambling, the settlement companies are swamped and the Realtors® are shuffling contracts to make sure everything is done.  But is closing at the end of the month all that important? The answer may depend more on your cash in hand than any other reason.  For many first time homebuyers an end of the month closing means less money needed at the closing table.  First you probably made your last rent payment at the beginning of the month and if you close and move at the end of the month you don't have to worry about another rent payment.  Secondly interest on your mortgage begins on the day the transaction closes.  So if you close on March 30th then you only have to pre-pay interest for that month...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Some architectural historians would like to say that he did.  Many of his prairie style homes incorporated a "split" design, however they were far larger than what the average family could afford at the height of his building days.  The split level homes that eventually followed did follow two key concepts that the Frank Lloyd Wright introduced in his prairie home: half-floors dividing family living space from private sleeping areas and a home that flowed with the contour of the lot versus being set on top of it.  Whoever is ultimately given credit for the creation of the split-level home the homes gained popularity in the 1950's and 60's and replaced the ranch homes that had been quick and easy to build in the 30's and 40's.  I happen to be a big fan of the classic split level home.  M...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
After 2 years of study the Army today announced that they would not be moving all 22,000 jobs originally slated for Fort Belvoir from Crystal City and Pentagon as part of the BRAC proposal announced in 2005. The impact on the local traffic and roads close to the base in Lorton would have meant many years of additional construction and upwards of $500 million in road improvements. The goal now is to use an abandoned warehouse area close to the Springfield Metro and VRE station as the new location for most of these jobs.  The hope is the site  within walking distance of the station will allow more of the employees to use public transportation instead of driving and lessen the feared gridlock on the Ft Belvoir area.  The lack of public transportation was one of the last hang ups in the pla...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Wow I don't know why I didn't think of this.  Selling your home is as simple as 1-2-3. At least that is what the Real Estate Journal on-line says. "To sell your home you only need to do three very simple things"•1)      Find out the value of your property•2)      Market your property•3)      Transfer the title of your property Are they out of their minds?  Where in the world did they come up with this idea?  Have they not read anything about selling a home?  Do they have any idea what type of market most of us are facing?  Okay lets head over to Zillow.com to determine the price of your home.  We all know the accuracy of the data provided by many of the on-line sites.  Home pricing is more than looking at data on the computer.  There are infinite number of variables that are not shown b...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Is real estate market suffering from a self fulfilling prophecy?  Have all the "experts" who control the press driven real estate into its current tail spin?  Are there any significant reasons why consumer confidence in the housing industry is so low? Let's take a look at a few facts about the Northern Virginia area. Mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed loan are almost identical to a year ago. Northern Virginia un-employment rates are almost identical to a year ago. The Dow Jones Industrials are UP almost 3000 points to record levels. When a local department store sends out coupons for a 20% off sale, buyers flock to the story to purchase clothing or household items.   If they use a credit card you might pay up to 18% per month on the unpaid balance.  When they get the item home it will d...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
If you live in Fairfax County then you may already know the answer to this little riddle.   It is the famous or is that infamous Springfield Interchange.   This intersection of 95/395/495 has been undergoing major construction for seven, yes that is right, seven years.  So what did this little $675,000,000 project accomplish?  Good question.  Reports have it that drivers will know be able to shave an incredible 30 seconds off of their commute from DC through Springfield.  Whoopee!   I grew up 4 blocks from where this little intersection grew into the monstrosity that it is today.  In fact, I learned to drive zipping 70 miles an hour crossing 6 lanes of traffic.  Personally I never saw the issue.  Step on the gas and get out of my way. In order to accomplish this little feat, homes close...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
One of the reasons that I made the decision to leave behind a very lucrative corporate career, besides being very tired of airports and hotel rooms, was that I wanted the opportunity to put on my entrepreneur hat full time.  The last company that I worked for was an up and coming dot com business and though I was fortunate to be part of the "go public" success I still wanted something that I could build on my own.  But did I have the skills and ability to be successful?  A question that should cross the mind of any one considering a real estate career. Make no doubt about it.  When you consider getting your real estate license you are starting a business.   A fact left out of most real estate licensing courses.  Not only do you need the piece of paper that says you have passed your stat...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
My daughter who lives in the town of Fareham in the UK has been plagued by slugs this summer.  They are feasting on her vegetable garden and even have found a way to get into the house.  Being the kind environmentalist that she is she has been looking for "natural" ways to rid herself of these creatures.  When I was young it was the salt shaker and cups of beer that did them in but she won't go that route.  Here in DC when you hear someone talking about slugs they aren't talking about slimy creatures but our unique way of carpooling.  I like to think of it as safe hitchhiking.  Slugging is a great way for anyone to grab a free ride into DC from the VA or MD suburbs.  When I talk to people who live outside the area they are surprised to hear that people randomly pick up strangers and dr...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
    Ripples of anguish are running through the California wine industry.  For those of you who are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe's in your area you already know about the Charles Shaw wine sold in the stores as "Two Buck Chuck".  I've often wondered when I was in the store why I would see customers buying cases of the wine and figured as a snob of New Zealand and Australian wines that they just had no taste. Turns out that the Charles Shaw 2005 California Chardonnay has been named the best Chardonnay from California at the California State Commercial Wine Competition.  I am no longer questioning those smart patrons at my local Trader Joe's and will be in line today to grab my case of Chardonnay today.  So if discount wine can be accepted among the masses as good quality, then wi...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
First of all what is a McMansion?  Personally I think of it as a house that is built in an older established neighborhood of smaller "traditional" homes.  In many cases the home is not built to any particular style with cheaper building materials than were used on the original homes.  They are built only with the concept of build something bigger and not necessarily better. In a 2004 nationwide survey, the National Association of Homebuilders asked homeowners: "For the same amount of money, which of the following would you choose: a bigger house with fewer amenities, or a smaller house with high quality products and amenities?" Only 37 percent of the 2,900 randomly selected respondents wanted the bigger house. Sixty-three percent said they would prefer the smaller house with more amenit...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
  I'm wondering about the order of posts on Localism.  I'm sure there is an algorithm that I don't understand.  I would expect the reports and information would be in date order, with the most recent on the top but that doesn't seem to be the case.  Wouldn't consumers looking for information be checking for the most recent first? Can anyone enlighten me? "He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger"
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
Yahoo recently put out a little blurp on the on Top 10 DIY mistakes that homeowners make.  Since I am often asked by my sellers what can they do to get their home ready to sell I thought sharing this list might also let you know what not to do! Not taking out the required permits Starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies Inadequate prepartion of the job site Skimping on materials Using the wrong paing Improper preparation of walls for painting Unsafe job conditions Inaccuracy Working Beyond your limits Failure to get a clue I especially like #10.  I have a great list of handmen that I can recommend to my clients when the project is over their head. For more information on selling your home in Northern Virginia check out:Getting ready for the Spring MarketRealty CheckPrepar...
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By Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
(Integrity Real Estate Group)
  Sorry Kermit but actually it is easy to start the process towards green living.  A few inexpensive steps by everyone can lead to some big changes overall.  As more and more consumers become aware of the threats to the environment with rising energy prices and decreasing renewable resources they are looking at their homes as an easy place to start making small changes that can help lead to a bigger impact. Installing low-flow shower heads Replacing old toilets with water saving models Using composite lumber products to build decks, fences and roofs Buying natural installation made from recycled blue jeans Adding a programmable thermostat to your AC/Furnace Lowering the temperature on your water heater (and when it is time to replace go tankless) Composting your kitchen waste (no meat) ...
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