Post Content

Ask McEnearney: “It’s What I Do…”

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Ann Duff of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Ann at 703.965.8700 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What did life look like for a realtor in 2020?

Answer: Oh, you could write a job description for realtor, and it would be pretty enthusiastic and likely glowing, but it would miss so much of the “fun!”

“Lean on me” never had so much meaning as it did this year as we worked around the unusual circumstances of 2020.

Chasing tortoises’ paperwork: You may have seen it in the news, but I tried to help our former CAPS’ goalie get his family’s two little dinosaurs across the border into Canada by sending photos of shipping documents. Even then, he was still stuck in Billings, Montana, for a few days with a full truck and turtles before getting home to Vancouver.

Trying to move a Tesla: Out of town, my clients also needed their car stored, and I don’t know how to drive a Tesla. The technology is vastly different from my vehicle, and I feared I’d run into a telephone pole, so I chased around town to find a seasoned owner of that spaceship-style car and, HOORAY, we found a friend who got the car tucked away safely.

1-800-GOT-JUNK: Just like the ads where the actress hops around looking at stacks of unwanted stuff, I played that role for some sellers and WOW was that fun. The power of the pointer is real; I was able to fill an entire truck without flexing a muscle and simply pointing. Two strong fellows did all the real work.

Previewing while taking videos: Fewer in-person visits this year meant creativity with an iPhone; now I just need advanced tech advice so I am not sending 10 videos per house. Spinning around in living rooms, back yards, climbing into attics, etc. and taking the extra views to explain the flow of the house, while providing some commentary, we’ve been able to streamline the places on the tour list and test how a place might “live.”

Long distance rentals, sight unseen: Seriously, two military families leased large townhouses I had listed relying only on photos, FaceTime calls and descriptions. Yikes, they didn’t even have a friend or relative visit, but whew, they love their choices.

Research by phone: I’ve advocated digging deeply into the history of homes and neighborhoods, but little did I know how helpful librarians working from home could be with the libraries closed. Great thanks goes to Patricia Walker, the Local History and Special Collections Branch Manager of the Alexandria Library, for going beyond the call of duty when helping me this past spring.

Photography from afar: Like a movie director, I like to oversee the professional photography taken for sales and rentals, but the pro’s rules rule! The very best real estate photographer, Peter, takes bright, helpful photos, and I rely on him. But with immune-sensitivity issues, no one else can be in the house while he is working. Oh, I can sit in the car and come back in to lock up, but luckily I deeply trust his talent, and I will have run through in advance to move those ubiquitous items clouding the vision.

Picking the colors: Out-of-state investors need their properties spiffed up for selling, and they often grant me the power of the palette. With Jason, my favorite, experienced local painter and his team, we get the ultimate decision for which shade of hip new, trending color to paint the walls. Gleefully satisfying.

Hiring an architect as a seller’s problem-solver: They have lived with “the staircase from hell” for years, apparently hauling body and soul from the main floor to the expansive upper level up a 60-degree (or more), beyond steep staircase. More like a vertical ship’s ladder, my friend Cathleen Curtin, an experienced and creative local architect, has come up with two plans to offer safe ascent and descent — yikes, lives will be saved.

Order window blinds: Busy seller Julie knew that shades on her apartment windows was the way to go, but never had a minute of extra time, so I volunteered to “go shopping” on her behalf. She gave me her Amex card and permission to go crazy. Darn it, no plane tickets to Paris for me — I simply arranged for measurements, negotiated a great price and oversaw the installation of the sharp looking, beige honey-comb blinds. They look grand, and I’ve shredded her credit card number, but might remember it in a pinch — ha!

Walk and talk at the same time: Can’t complain, we all need to stay safe, however, I can’t easily see over the top of one kind of mask. Once it is firmly hooked on my ears, I can only look straight ahead, not down, which may be why I totally missed the bottom step and barely avoided a face plant on a brick patio last week, though my knee is rather purple now. I just have to be more careful and know you’ll wear your mask, too, won’t you?

It takes a village full of brains, talent and energy to present a great listing and take the transaction through to settlement; I’m your girl. Stay safe and be assured, on any given day, there is so much more to my job description — and I love it!

Ann Duff — Your positive advantage for residential and commercial properties throughout the area. Experience and energy, negotiations and knowledge — all with a splash of fun! Let’s get busy!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

Recent Stories

This past week saw 33 homes sold in Alexandria. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $120,000 while the most expensive was…

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is looking for suggestions from the public on how it should update its Student Code of Conduct. The Student Code of Conduct — an 83-page…

Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) is about to get really busy. From now until mid-August, it’s the strong season for the unpretentious Old Town staple that has graced the Alexandria waterfront…

Potomac Yard’s microbrewery Hops Grill and Brewery didn’t live to see the new Potomac Yard Metro station open, but the Washington Business Journal reported the location at 3625 Richmond Highway…

Are you seeking a confidential space where you can explore your emotions, overcome challenges, and find inner peace? Look no further than our dedicated psychotherapy service! We understand that life can be overwhelming at times, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

At Peaceful Mind Solutions, our passion lies in helping individuals like you navigate life’s complexities and find the strength to thrive. Our skilled and compassionate therapist is committed to creating a warm, non-judgmental environment where you can express your thoughts and feelings openly. With our personalized approach, we tailor each session to address your unique needs and empower you to overcome obstacles.

Through evidence-based techniques and a deep understanding of the human mind, our therapist will guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or simply seeking personal growth, we’re here to provide guidance and practical tools for lasting change.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Time flies when you’re having fun! The T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 will hold its 50th reunion July 21-23, 2023 in Alexandria. All graduates and their adult nears and dears are welcome. Events include a Friday evening icebreaker, Saturday dinner dance, and a Sunday brunch. For more information:, 770.789.3534.

Submit your own Community Post here.

Spring Fling at Rising Sol Yoga School

Join us for a day of FREE hot yoga. Experience our class styles and meet our teachers. Buy a bite at the Bake Sale to benefit The Carpenter’s Shelter, peruse some special vendors, take advantage of in-person only discounts on


Subscribe to our mailing list