Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Staging Secrets for Your NOVA Home

Staging is a key part to the success of selling your home in the Northern Virginia area. Did you know even the little things like clearing clutter from bathroom counters, replacing catalogs and mail with a simple fruit bowl in the kitchen, and removing family photos from your living spaces can make a big difference to a potential buyer? They can! Below are house-selling secrets that you can use to maximize your chances of intriguing buyers and selling your home.

Start with the Front Door
Starting with the first thing buyers see when they enter your home, make sure all holiday lights have been removed if the occasion is over, chipped paint and window repairs have been tended to, and that dingy door in a bland color has been updated to welcome guests inside. Even adding new sconces can really intrigue buyers from the very moment they visit.

Take Care, Organize
Buyers don't want to see your struggling, unruly house plants or an untidy office corner. Take the overflow of books from the floor and put them into storage, replace those tall, hap-hazard plants with a simple arrangement on a dining table or desk, and hide that huge TV inside a media cabinet.

Want more storage options for your NOVA home?

Hide the Clutter
If knick knacks and toys are hiding behind sofas and armchairs, find a space for them to relax like a chest or storage ottoman. When a living space feels crowded, buyers will not want to stay for long. Add a simple vase of flowers or small sculptures on a mantle. The bathroom is a likely culprit too— remove toothbrushes and toiletries, even cleaning products, from countertops to ensure a visually appealing space.

Kitchen Chaos
In the kitchen, remove all unnecessary mail, catalogs, and papers and replace them with a fruit bowl or candle. If your table is the gathering space for all trinkets and keys, find a bowl and keep them secluded to one spot. When buyers can't visualize eating in the kitchen or on the table due to clutter and chaos, they lose interest.

Too Bare is Bad
Don't go so far as to remove too much furniture from the space. Clean and simple is great, but when a space is lacking room staples like a sofa, bookshelf, or chairs, buyers may find the space to be bland and uninviting. Add some colorful throw pillows if your space feels like it's lacking in decor or bold accents. Finding the happy medium is key in the staging of your NOVA home.

End with the Basement
Think how you would feel when touring a home— piles of junk and disorganized keepsakes are a major turnoff. Even if your basement is unfinished, add a bicycle or weight bench (if you have them in storage) to help buyers visualize other uses for the space.

Earle Whitmore
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easy Ways to Add Storage to Your Northern Virginia Home

Maybe you own a home on the smaller side, are getting a jump on your spring cleaning and organizing everything in sight, or simply desire more storage options to hide your belongings— these easy tips to add storage to your Northern Virginia home are the perfect way to spring forward into the new season ahead. 

Storage Bed
The bedroom is the place where most homeowners desire storage. A place to hide closet overflow, books, linens, and more. Purchase or craft a storage chest to place at the foot of your bed. It’s an attractive piece of furniture and a great alternative to plastic bins that allows you to store extra sheets, blankets, and other trinkets you’d prefer to keep hidden.

Mudroom Bench
A catch-all bench with shelves, hooks, and drawers is exactly what you need in the entrance of your NOVA home. As the first piece of furniture you spy upon entering, it will serve as the place to drop your keys, coats, bags, and shoes and keep them organized at the same time.

Multipurpose Ottoman
No longer just a piece to rest your feet upon, a storage ottoman can serve as extra seating, a coffee table, and a chest to store your odds and ends. A version with under-lid storage is the type to look for or if you’re in the DIY mood, make the piece yourself and customize the fabric to match your home decor.

TV Cabinet
Have you ever wished your television would disappear only to come out when you need it? Enter the TV cabinet. Large televisions can sometimes be an eye sore in an otherwise neat and stylish home. By mounting a TV cabinet on the wall and storing the equipment inside, you can hide all of the wiring and get back to enjoying your leisure time.

Desk with Cubbies
In a desk with built-in storage components like cubbies and drawers, you no longer have to keep your mail and other miscellaneous papers on the kitchen counter. Staying organized with a simple piece of office furniture will keep questions of lost items and catalogs at bay.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in NOVA

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us and there are several events happening in NOVA for you to celebrate. So grab your best green attire and head out to experience the fun in the Northern Virginia area.

Washington, DC— St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 17th, NOON to 3 PM

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a parade down Constitution Avenue— 7th to 17th streets NW. Including Irish musicians, dancers, and singers, this parade is meant to celebrate the culture of all things Irish.

Fredericksburg— St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 16th, NOON
Spotsylvania County Business Park, 3300 Dill Smith Dr.

The 11th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off at noon with fire trucks, classic cars, high school marching bands, and even Irish dancers. If you've got the time before the parade, come listen to Irish songs beginning at 11 AM. There will be shamrock face painting, a craft table, a magician performance and the typical Irish fare of corned beef and cabbage from 10:30 AM to 2 PM for $5. Proceeds from the meals benefit local volunteer fire and rescue departments. The event is happening in the Spotsylvania Business Park, a mile from downtown Fredericksburg; the parade finishes at Blue & Gray Brewing.

Fairfax— Natalie MacMaster St. Patrick's Day Concert
March 17th, 7-10 PM
George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive

You will not want to miss this musical Celtic celebration with Natalie MacMaster who is known for her step-dancing, fiddling, and Celtic, bluegrass, and folk music. MacMaster has released 10 solo albums and even done collaborations with such artists as Alison Krauss, Yo-Yo Ma, and Carlos Santana. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, come listen to the Celtic sounds of this Grammy-nominated musician in NOVA. Admission Fees: $34, $42, $50.

Purcellville— 2013 Taste of Ireland
March 15th, 6-10 PM
Notaviva Vineyards, 13274 Sagle Road

Great Irish food, music, and fun is planned at this St. Patrick's Day event on March 15th. There will be cheese samples from Kerrygold Irish Dairy Board and an authentic Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage, Colcannon, and grasshopper parfaits, all served with Irish soda bread. Live music included with Danny Burns and Aine O'Doherty who just opened for Gaelic Storm at The Birchmere. Tickets are $29 per person.

Gaithersburg— St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 16th, 10 AM-12 PM

Parade begins at the Corner Bakery and ends at Kohl's. Participants include The Duffy School of Irish Dance, Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers, Maple School of Irish Dance, McGrath Academy of Irish Dance, and more.

Have fun this St. Patrick's Day in NOVA! Be sure to let us know which event was your favorite.

Earle Whitmore
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Future of Home Values in NOVA

As a Northern Virginia real estate agent, a large part of what I do is monitor the latest trends and updates in the local housing market. When a seller client comes to me and asks for advice about whether or not now is the best time to sell their NOVA home, it’s up to me to be educated about the state of the market in order to give them the most sound and accurate opinion that I can. Now that March has arrived, many home sellers in the NOVAarea are thinking about listing their home in the spring or summer market. This has lead to many questions about what home values will be in the next few months.

As a Northern Virginia real estate professional, I can say that this is absolutely difficult to project. What I’ve found is that typically, the answer comes down to supply and demand. Similar to the common economic principle, in real estate supply and demand refers to the current month’s supply of homes available on the market in relation to the number of home buyers who are looking during that same month. Typically, although not always, real estate supply and demand follows a pattern: 
  • 1-4 months’ supply of homes creates a seller’s market, where home values are guaranteed to go appreciate. Sellers are more confident entering the market at this time. 
  • ·      5-6 months’ supply creates a balanced market, where home values appreciate at a level that coincides with inflation. Both buyers and sellers are confident at entering the market in these conditions.
  • ·      7-8 months’ supply creates a buyers market. There are more homes listed than buyer demand, which means that homes often depreciate in value.
So, where is the Northern Virginia real estate market at with regard to these patterns? According to the National Association of REALTORS:
  • ·      Raw unsold inventory is at the lowest level since December 2009.
  • ·      Houses going into contract reached levels last seen during April 2010, which was the month the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit expired.
  • ·      This has created a 4.2 month supply at the current sales’ rate.
Based upon the above information, it is safe to say that right now, the market is leaning more favorable towards sellers. That means that right now is a great time to list your home in the NOVA real estate market. Spring often brings an influx of buyers, and with a lower supply that originally suspected, demand will likely be high, meaning that your home’s value could actually appreciate.

As always, if you have any questions about buying or sellinga home in the NOVA real estate market, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask! I’d be happy to help give you advice and guide you throughout the process. I hope to hear from you soon.

Earle Whitmore
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
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