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I Want To Sell Your House. Here’s Why You Should Let Me. November 22, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, Keller Williams Realty, Northern Virginia.
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Realtors(R) get a really bad reputation. Most of the time I think people assume we get into real estate because frankly, we couldn’t do anything else (or do it well, anyway).Honestly…isn’t almost every industry out there like that? How hard is it to find a GOOD CPA? How about a doctor who is good and you really like?

Whenever I meet with new clients, the inevitable question comes up: How did you get into real estate?

i promise

Here’s my answer: “I believe people deserve a higher standard of service for their experience when you’re buying or selling a home. There are too many people out there who really don’t know what they’re doing. I thought to myself: I could do this better.” A side note: the biggest challenge in our industry – is other agents.

But don’t get me wrong: I have met some PHENOMENAL agents all over of the U.S. since I got into real estate. These are highly educated, highly motivated, great people – both in real estate and all around.

I have an undergraduate degree in Statics and Economics, and a Master’s Degree from John Hopkins in Applied Economics. I didn’t get into real estate because I couldn’t do anything else. I chose to do real estate because I was bored and unchallenged by everything else I did.

So when I see listings with blatant disregard to very important things (and minor details too), I get angry, really angry. In fact, it makes me livid. I’ve worked with a lot of buyers this past year, and I have seen some things that really hit my hot buttons. I wrote a blog post about the “Top Mistakes Agents Make,” but the list continues to grow everyday.

I may not be able to single-handedly change your opinion of an entire industry,
but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

Condos Near the Clarendon Metro in Arlington, VA November 20, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington.
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So you want to live near Clarendon in a condo, huh? Well here are your immediate options for condos in Clarendon:

Clarendon Condos1.  1021 Clarendon

2. Station Square

3. The Hartford

4. The Phoenix

These buildings are 1-3 blocks from the metro, and are the most centrally located. The Hartford is the only building of the 4 that does not have a pool, as it’s a smaller, boutique condo building.

There is a slew of other buildings that are under a half mile away from the Clarendon metro (and frankly, may be closer to the VA Square or Courthouse metro stations), but are walkable to Clarendon. They are:

1800 Wilson
Astoria
Cardinal House
Charleston Condo
Courthouse Hill
The Monroe
The Odyssey
Virginia Square
Wentworth Place
Williamsburg

If you’re interested in seeing price differences between these building, please call/text me at 703.283.6120 or email me!

What Happens If My Appraisal Is Low In Virginia? November 19, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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Contract time!  Whenever I have someone considering buying a place, I always offer to meet them for coffee to go over the process from start to finish, and the details necessary to the process of buying and/or selling real estate.

A very important part of the buying process right now is the appraisal. An appraisal is an independent 3rd party opinion of the market value of a property (regardless of the type of property – condo, townhouse, detached single family home, etc.) If you’re getting a loan, you’re getting an appraisal. Your lender will “hire” a licensed appraiser to do an analysis of value based on recent sales, active listings, type of property, condition, location, etc. This is your reassurance that the price you’re paying for a place is in line with current market values.

Now, if the appraisal comes in equal to or above your contract sales price – you’re good to go! (Remember, if you’re getting cash back from the seller for closing costs, the appraised value must be on the GROSS price of the contract.) If it comes in above the price you’ve agreed to pay – congrats! instant equity!

However, IF the appraisal comes back low, you really have 2/3 options:

1. Approach the seller, provide them a copy of the appraisal, and try to negotiate the contract price to match the value of the appraisal.

1a. If the seller is unwilling to come down in price, and you’re not able to fund the difference, you can void the contract.

2. If you still want to buy the place, even with the low appraisal, you have the option of coming up with the extra cash to fund the difference. Banks will only loan as high as the appraised value.

2a. If you’re unable to gather the funds to make up the difference and the seller is unwilling to come down in price, you can void the contract.

3. If both parties come to some acceptable terms that is a combination of the above – either the seller comes down a little and the buyer comes up with the difference – then you can also proceed.

3a. If this is not a feasible option, you can then void the contract.
Feel free to take me up on my coffee offer, anytime. We go over the process in detail, and I promise, it won’t be scary or overwhelming.

Lyon Hall, New Restaurant Coming to Clarendon in April 2010 November 17, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington.
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The owners of Liberty Tavern are at it again. Construction is currently going on in anticipation of the grand opening of Lyon Hall, a new restaurant coming to Clarendon in April 2010. The restaurant will be located on the ground floor of the commercial building of the Phoenix Condo at 3100 Washington Blvd, Arlington VA 22201 – located across the street from Mister Days, and just 1 block from the Clarendon Metro.

Lyon Hall will feature over 20 different beers on draft, and Eastern European cuisine, which will be overseen by the head chef at Liberty Tavern, Liam LaCivita. Their tag line is “casual neighborhood brasserie.”

The restaurant will be 3 levels, with private dining upstairs, an 18-seat bar, outdoor patio, and open kitchen in the basement.

In a recent conversation with one of the owners, Brian Normile, he mentioned their idea for the name came from being located between Lyon Park and Lyon Village.

Scheduled to be open for dinner from Tuesday – Saturday.

Arlington VA Real Estate Market Update – October 2009 November 16, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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Time to bring out my statistician side again! Here’s the breakdown for Arlington County real estate sales in October 2009, for both North (22201,22203,22205,22207,22209,22213)  and South Arlington (22202,22204,22206).

Total Arlington Sales: 221
North Arlington Sales: 140
South Arlington Sales: 81

Studio Condo

North Arlington
Average Sales Price: $243,248
Range: $191,090 – $262,000
Average Days on the Market: 16
Median Days on the Market: 6

1 Bedroom Condos

North Arlington                                               South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $299,144                      Average Sales Price: $260,081
Range: $169,000 – $437,000                      Range: $123,500 – $337,638
Average Days on the Market: 33                  Average DOM: 40
Median Days on the Market: 15                    Median DOM: 14

2 Bedroom Condos

North Arlington                                             South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $487,708                     Average Sales Price: $325,294
Range: $208,000 – $730,000                      Range: $136,000 – $670,000
Average Days on the Market: 44                   Average DOM: 40
Median Days on the Market:  35                    Median DOM: 10

Townhouse

North Arlington                                              South Arlington
Average Sales Price: $702,524                    Average Sales Price: $380,269
Range: $427,000 – $1,130,000                Range: $130,000 – $670,000
Average Days on the Market: 36                  Average DOM: 29
Median Days on the Market:  15                   Median DOM: 9

Detached – Single Family Homes

North Arlington                                           South Arlington
A
verage Sales Price: $787,559                  Average Sales Price: $472,311
Range: $350,000 – $1,866,107                 Range: $175,000 – $900,000
Average Days on the Market: 66                    Average DOM: 58
Median Days on the Market:  27                    Median DOM: 33

graph_upAs a whole, Arlington had 9 short sales and 14 foreclosures (bank owned properties) that sold in October of the 221 units. Also, 43 of the sales sold at or above list price – thats almost 20%.

Volume and the number of units sold are both up in 2009, compared to this time last year. Average sales price is down by about 7% and the days on the market is down about 30% (selling faster!).

October 2009 Real Estate Market – Arlington, VA 22201 November 15, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington.
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Clarendon Courthouse

The market in Arlington, VA 22201 is moving QUICKLY. Check out these stats:

Total Sales: 40
Sold in less than 30 days: 26 (65%)

Sold between 31 – 60 days: 4 (10%)
Sold between 61 – 90 days: 3 (7.5%)
Sold in over 91 days: 7 (17.5%)

Shows you the importance of pricing the property correctly. Research shows that a property has to be within 10% of the perceived market value, by buyers, for an offer to be made. If you price right correctly to begin with, you’re more likely to get more for the house, rather than chasing the market.

Some overall statistics for 22201:

1 Bedroom Condos                                 1 Bedroom with Den Condos

Average Sale Price: $324,708                      Average Sale Price: $371,438
Average Days on the Market: 30                  Average Days on the Market: 45
Median Days on the Market: 8                       Median Days on the Market: 42
Range: $241,350 – $437,000                       Range: $295,000 – $459,000

2 Bedroom Condos                                      Townhouse

Average Sale Price: $516,248                          Average Sale Price: $781,000
Average Days on the Market: 46                     Average Days on the Market: 43
Median Days on the Market: 33                       Median Days on the Market: 22
Range: $451,900 – $543,000                         Range: $570,000 – $1,000,000


Single Family House

Average Sale Price: $801,086
Average Days on the Market: 82
Median Days on the Market: 11
Range: $499,000 – $1,440,500

$8,000 First-Time Home Buyer and $6,500 Move-Up Buyer Tax Credit 2009-2010 November 15, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington, First-Time Buyers, Keller Williams Realty.
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MoneyEnacted on November 7, 2009 – the $8,000 tax credit has been extended and expanded, and has added an additional $6,500 tax-credit for “move-up buyers.” Below is a synopsis of the new regulations:

First-Time Buyers

  • $8,000 Tax Credit
  • Must not have owned a principal residence for any part of the past 3 years
  • Income Restrictions:
    • Single: $125,000
    • Married: $225,000
    • For those who have incomes exceeding these, there will be a phase out or partial tax credit up to $20,000 above these limits
  • Maximum Sales Price: $800,000
  • Must have a ratified contract as of April 30, 2010, and close on or before June 30, 2010

Move-Up Buyers

  • $6,500 Tax Credit
  • Must have lived in the home sold or used it as primary residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years
  • Income Restrictions
    • Single: $125,000
    • Married: $225,000
    • For those who have incomes exceeding these, there will be a phase out or partial tax credit up to $20,000 above these limits
  • Maximum Sales Price: $800,000
  • Must have a ratified contract as of April 30, 2010, and close on or before June 30, 2010

I think, personally, this may cause a stir in some parts of the country, but I fear some “move-up buyers” may price themselves out of qualifying in the DC Metro area. I wish I had a crystal ball, but we’ll have to see what the market tells us to measure how much activity this causes.

The National Association of Realtors(R) has prepared this handy chart with the information above.

Please Bear With Me! November 12, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington.
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I’m in the process of moving all of this content and MORE to my future blogsite:

www.ArlingtonRealEstateNews.com

There you’ll find a continuation of Arlington Condos, Townhomes, Neighborhoods, and my take on local market stats, industry standards, and local events.

I hope you won’t find this too much of a disturbance – the outcome will be a much simpler interface to find what you’re looking for. If you don’t see something you think I should include, PLEASE email me your ideas! I aim to provide you with content that you’ll benefit from, not just to hear myself ramble!

Sincerely,

Laura J. Rubinchuk

Weekend Getaway: Bluemont Vineyard, Loudoun County, Virginia November 9, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Events.
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A recent article in the Washington Post says that Loudoun County, Virginia has the highest concentration of 25 – 34 year olds with an annual income exceeding $100,000. The article also says that these 20-3o somethings, spend weekends at the local Virginia wineries. I decided to test this article and head up to Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, VA.

Bluemont Vineyard Entrance

Located at 18755 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, VA 20135. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes from Arlington, VA. But the ride is beautiful – Loudoun County has some beautiful houses on tons of land, trees, views of hills, and the occasional cow.

Bluemont Vineyard does $5 tastings of their wines with knowledgeable and friendly staff. Tastings in April through October are 12pm to 6pm, and during November through March from 12pm to 5pm.

Editors Note: During your tasting, there are 2 ceramic jugs in front of you – one for water (to clean your glass before the dessert wine) and another to pour your discarded wine and/or water into (if there’s a handle on the jug – it’s the one for water. Oops.)

You can choose to enjoy their wines by the glass or the bottle. They have cheese, fudge, apple butter, dipping oils, and fresh baked bread for purchase from Goot Essa with your wines. Goot Essa is a cooperative of Central Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonite dairy farmers.

Bluemont Vineyard Bread and Cheese

You can sit outside or inside and enjoy their live music and views. You’ll notice on their wine glasses, labels, t-shirts, and most other things with the Bluemont Vineyard label, has “951” printed on it. The Vineyard is located at 951 feet above sea level. The boutique winery says that on a clear day, you can see the top of the Washington Monument (as you can see from the picture  below, it was a beautiful day, but I didn’t see the monument…maybe someone else did!) My friend, and former client, Colleen, enjoyed the views with me. There were several dogs that were outside on the porch, the Vineyard is dog-friendly for friendly, vaccinated, and leashed dogs.

We had a great time and I strongly encourage those of you with a free weekend to head out to check out the vineyard. The article was right, there were crowds of people there the entire time we were there. However, it was certainly not limited to the age groups the article mentioned. In fact, there was a wedding at The Cellar while we were there.

Bluemont Vineyard Live Music Bluemont Vineyard Exterior Laura Rubinchuk Bluemont VineyardBluemont Vineyard View

What Is A Boutique Condo Building? November 5, 2009

Posted by Laura Schwartz in Arlington.
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Day after Day, as new condo buildings are being built in the Washington D.C. Metro area and nearby Arlington, VA, I read new descriptions that say “cozy boutique condo building.” But what does a “boutique condo building” really mean? Here’s my personal (i.e. others may have other viewpoints) definition:

Dictionary.com defines “boutique” as:

“1. a small shop or a small speciality department within a larger store

2. any small, exclusive business offering customized service

So how does that apply to real estate?

I tend to think of a Boutique building as a smaller building, with fewer than 100 units, under 5 floors. Sometimes they have a front desk, but often they don’t. They also usually have fewer amenities, as the feel/atmosphere of the building is much like a single-family home/personal residence; it tends to be a nice foyer/lobby and that’s it. Often times, this results in lower condo fees.

Examples of Arlington VA Boutique Condo Buildings:

1800 Wilson

The Berkeley Condo

Examples of Washington DC Boutique Condo Buildings:

Harvard Lofts in Columbia Heights

Adams Station in Adams Morgan

Of course, there are more than the few examples I listed above. Have questions? Feel free to contact me.

smallLJRGroupLaura J. Rubinchuk
Keller Williams Realty
703.283.6120
Laura@TheLJRGroup.com