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This week’s Q&A column is written by David Howell, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant market news, contact David at 703-855-5089 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How was the first quarter of the real estate market in Alexandria?

Answer: This week we look at market activity for the first quarter of 2024 compared with first quarter of 2023 for the City of Alexandria and South Alexandria (Fairfax County portions of Alexandria). The charts below show average available monthly inventory, new listing activity by price range, contract activity by price range, contract activity by property type (condos, attached homes, and detached homes), and the average days on the market. We have often discussed the continuing pressures of low inventory on our local market, and the data so far this year shows us how strong those pressures continue to be.

If you are interested in more information, every month on our website we profile the most important market indicators for Northern Virginia — contract activity, interest rates, inventory, affordability, and the direction of the market — in an easy to read and digest summary followed by supporting charts and data.

City Of Alexandria

Fully Available Listings by Price Range

  • Inventory is the number of available listings on the market at the end of the month.
  • The average month-end inventory for City of Alexandria decreased 24.0% for the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023.
  • Homes priced $500,000-$999,999 saw significant decreases.

New Listings by Price Range

  • Year-to-date, the number of homes coming on the market decreased 2.4% — which was 14 fewer homes — compared to 2023.
  • Half of the price categories we track had increases in the number of listings.

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Just Listed in Alexandria

Just Listed highlights Alexandria City properties that came on the market within the past week. This feature is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team (Licensed in VA) of McEnearney Associates REALTORS®.

Welcome Back!

Jen Walker here with The Jen Walker Team! We are a real estate group based out of Alexandria, Virginia. I, along with my rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky, Micki MacNaughton, Adrianna Vallario and Nancy Lacey, have more than 40 years of experience in real estate and sold over $145 million in 2023.

Welcome to 2607 Valley Drive in the desirable and friendly community of Braddock Heights! This beautiful Cape Cod is the perfect blend of traditional charm and modern updates featuring 3 bedrooms, 2 fully updated bathrooms, and a one car attached garage.

The front porch welcomes you and also offers a place to rest, reset, and watch the incredible Alexandria sunsets at the end of each day. Continue through the front door and enjoy a cheerful living room adorned with built-ins, recessed lighting, wood burning fireplace, and an easy flow to the rest of the home. Across from the living room, french pocket doors open up to a very versatile room, perfect for a spacious dining room, office, or playroom! A hallway leads to a main level bedroom, and a fully renovated and curated bathroom featuring subway tiled shower and hexagon tile floors. Continue to the updated kitchen with tall white cabinetry, quartz countertops, gas cooking, and stainless steel appliances. Enjoy the eat-in kitchen or dine outside on the stone patio overlooking a generous backyard! Walk upstairs to two more bedrooms and another full bathroom. The expansive primary bedroom features a large ensuite bathroom with a marble-top double vanity, bathtub/shower and tile flooring. Don’t miss the bonus room that would make a perfect office nook or dressing room!

Walk down to the lower level that offers a spacious laundry room, tall ceilings and a blank canvas to use as you’d like. Maybe a recreation room or exercise room fits your needs! This home has been meticulously maintained and updated to include the main level bathroom (2023), laundry room update (2023), new siding (2019), chimney liner (2018), Pella windows and sliding door (2017), full kitchen renovation (2016), and more.

Perched in the middle of Alexandria City, this home is conveniently located within walking distance to George Mason Elementary, playgrounds, tot-lots, St Elmo’s Coffee, Great Harvest Bread Company, Pizzaiolo, and more. Head down to Del Ray or Old Town for even more dining, shopping, Farmer’s Markets, and community events. Welcome Home!

Open Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 from 1-3 p.m.

2607 Valley Drive, Alexandria 22302 — $965,000

Click here for additional Just Listed properties in Alexandria and call The Jen Walker Team to schedule a home tour at 703-675-1566 or email [email protected].

Happy House Hunting!

In our highly competitive Alexandria market, the Jen Walker Team has the insider knowledge to connect you with homes that are not even public yet. With more than 40 years of experience, the Jen Walker Team has the expertise to answer questions, calm fears, and streamline your transaction. Want to see other homes not featured in this article? Contact our team today!

Please note: While The Jen Walker Team provides this information for the community, they may not be the listing agents of these homes. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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

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This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Hope Peele of The Peele Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact The Peele Group at 703-244-6115 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How do I make the home selling process less stressful with pets?

Answer: Selling a home can be a daunting task, especially when you have furry family members. Pets are beloved companions, but they can also present challenges when it comes to showcasing your home to potential buyers. Whether you have a dog, cat, or other furry friend, here are some tips to help you navigate the process of selling your home with pets:

1. Address Pet Odors

Oftentimes odors can be difficult to notice in our own homes. For pet owners, it is always a good idea to ensure your home smells fresh and inviting before going on the market. Deep clean carpets, upholstery, and any areas where pet odors or dander may linger. Consider using pet-specific cleaners and deodorizers to neutralize odors effectively. This will also help alleviate any issues with potential buyers who might be allergic to animals. Our team recommends vinegar or charcoal-based deodorizers to our sellers!

2. Repair Pet Damage

Any pet owner knows that those little cuties can sometimes cause damage to your home, such as scratched floors, chewed moldings, or torn screens. Before listing your home, take the time to repair any pet-related damage to ensure your property looks its best.

3. Maintain Your Yard

A well-maintained yard can significantly enhance the curb appeal of your home. Keep your lawn neatly trimmed, remove any pet waste, and repair any wear and tear caused by your pets. Removing visible signs of pet-related items like toys will also help to create a tidy exterior and a positive first impression for potential buyers!

4. Arrange Temporary Relocation

During showings and open houses, consider arranging for your pets to stay elsewhere temporarily. This can minimize distractions and potential allergies for buyers, allowing them to focus on the features of your home without any pet-related interruptions. It will also help to make the process less stressful for your pet — strangers in their home can be confusing! Our team typically recommends that our sellers board their pets, or go out of town with them, for the first weekend their home is active — when it will have the most showings.

5. Neutralize Décor

Finally, while you may love your pet-themed décor, it’s important to remember that not all buyers will share your enthusiasm. Consider removing any décor or pet accessories to appeal to a wider range of buyers. Be sure to clean up toys, and hide food bowls, litter boxes, or any other items that could be distracting to buyers.

Selling a home with pets may require some extra effort, but with careful planning and preparation, you can successfully attract buyers and achieve a smooth transaction. By addressing pet-related concerns proactively and presenting your home in its best possible light, you can increase your chances of selling quickly and for top dollar.

I love supporting the Alexandria community, especially when it’s a great event for families and dogs!

The Peele Group, Hope & Kim Peele, and Nancy Smith, are all longtime Alexandrians with over 30 years of combined real estate experience. When you hire us, you hire our record of success! We are competitive and results focused. Selling your home fast and for top dollar is our top priority. Our team’s listings have sold for an average of 104% of list price, and have an average on-market time of just 11 days. We are proud to work with McEnearney Associates, the Gold Standard in Alexandria Real Estate! Call for a consultation on your home by August 31st and receive $500 towards painting or landscaping when we sell your home for you. See you at Dog Fest!

Hope Peele is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. She grew up in Old Town and currently lives in Del Ray. As a partner with The Peele Group, Hope is dedicated to guiding her clients successfully through the many-faceted process of buying or selling a home. Contact Hope at 703-244-6115.

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. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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Just Listed in Alexandria

Just Listed highlights Alexandria City properties that came on the market within the past week. This feature is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team (Licensed in VA) of McEnearney Associates REALTORS®.

Welcome Back!

Jen Walker here with The Jen Walker Team! We are a real estate group based out of Alexandria, Virginia. I, along with my rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky, Micki MacNaughton, Adrianna Vallario and Nancy Lacey, have more than 40 years of experience in real estate and sold over $145 million in 2023.

Welcome to 228 Tennessee Avenue! This turnkey home is located in the sought-after Warwick Village just steps from the Warwick pool and playground!

As you enter, the beautifully renovated kitchen greets you with white marbled quartz countertop and gorgeous navy cabinetry. The kitchen peninsula overlooks the light-filled dining/living room area, creating a perfect space for entertaining or family gatherings. Don’t miss the custom cabinetry for added storage and convenience. Freshly painted in a neutral color, the living area is clean and bright, with the living room leading out to the fenced-in backyard. The backyard features bluestone pavers and garden boxes, providing a serene outdoor space for relaxation or outdoor dining. Upstairs, you’ll find 3 bedrooms and a fully updated bathroom.

Heading down to the finished lower level that features a versatile space, perfect for a guest room retreat, recreation room, or play room! Built-ins provide extra storage for books, movies, and more. Conveniently located on this level is another fully updated and gorgeous bathroom with a pearl-white tiled shower, luxury finishes, and built-ins. Behind folding doors are LG front-loading washer and dryer, as well as a pantry with shelving for added convenience. Notable updates include kitchen renovation 2023, interior sump pump 2024, basement renovation, including egress in 2022, windows replaced in 2021, Roof 2020, Electric panel upgraded in 2018, New boiler in 2018, among many other updates.

This home offers easy access to an array of restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment options on The Avenue, making it a perfect blend of comfort and convenience. Welcome home!

Open Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 from 1-3 p.m.

228 Tennessee Avenue, Alexandria 22305 — $774,900

Click here for additional Just Listed properties in Alexandria and call The Jen Walker Team to schedule a home tour at 703-675-1566 or email [email protected].

Happy House Hunting!

In our highly competitive Alexandria market, the Jen Walker Team has the insider knowledge to connect you with homes that are not even public yet. With more than 40 years of experience, the Jen Walker Team has the expertise to answer questions, calm fears, and streamline your transaction. Want to see other homes not featured in this article? Contact our team today!

Please note: While The Jen Walker Team provides this information for the community, they may not be the listing agents of these homes. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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

0 Comments

This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Is the cost of homeowner’s insurance on the rise?

Answer: Massive increases in insurance premiums are busting budgets and derailing some home purchases.

If you’re a property owner, you know you need homeowner’s insurance. And if you live in an area that’s been designated as having a higher risk for property damage — such as in a flood zone, an area of extreme weather, or a densely-wooded location — you might expect that your insurance rates will be higher. And, of course, homeowners know that if they file a claim or two over the years that they should pay more at their next policy renewal.

But many homeowners and would-be buyers are finding out that premiums are rising sharply through no fault of their own, if insurance can be secured at all. What was once a standard, perfunctory item on a homeowner’s to-do list has become a lot more complicated as larger insurance companies try to stem losses caused by an increase in claims in areas affected by major natural disasters like wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Those costs are being passed down the line to consumers.

“It’s problematic for our buyers and problematic for our sellers,” said Jillian Keck Hogan is a top-producing agent who works in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and has experienced how acquiring insurance can complicate a home sale. She recently represented a seller for a listing that the buyer couldn’t secure insurance for because there weren’t definitive records about the age of the roof. Multiple roof inspectors gave reports that insurance deemed inadequate because the roof, while in sound condition, was past its half-life expectancy.

Roofs can last around 30 years and the average life of most roofs is around 20 years. In order to secure their insurance and proceed with closing on time, the seller chose to split the cost of replacing the roof after closing. Jillian said that education for both buyers and sellers is key. She advises that sellers should gather details about the age of their roof, systems, and utilities before bringing their home to market and be prepared for buyers who may request fixes for big ticket items, while buyers should start shopping for insurance sooner rather than later, and to investigate multiple carriers for rates.

“It ends up being messy if you’re trying to get all of your insurance research done only days before closing,” she warned.

Susie Adib, Senior Producer with Commercial Insurance Associates, said there are many factors that are causing a spike in premiums — in many cases more than 20% — including an increase in severe weather and natural disasters, a carrier’s drive for profitability as set by their combined ratio, and complications from pandemic recovery, including inflation, labor shortages. Many things that are just now working through the insurance pipeline, a process that takes time because of regulatory review at the state level for any changes a carrier makes regarding premium increases. State agencies make sure there are sufficient and affordable options for consumers and local departments of insurance and their resources can be found here for D.C.MarylandVirginia and West Virginia.

Adib said that much like credit scores, homeowners will have an insurance score that affects how much a policy will cost. This can include factors like how many claims you’ve made in the past, your credit score, and who you’ve been insured with in the past. For example, there many companies that won’t insure a slate or flat roof, historic properties, or homes built before 1900 and if you’ve had a previous insurance carrier that covered those items in the past, it will be a flag to a new carrier that there is a mitigating factor in the property.

What happens if a property is deemed uninsurable? Adib said there are still options. Again, much like credit companies, there is a market for substandard properties where premiums will be higher but at least the home will be covered. There is also the option to exclude coverage for a portion of the home that is at higher risk, for example a roof or liability for a pet. Lenders can also require force-placed insurance, whereby the lender secures the insurance and passes along the costs to the borrower via steep premiums in their mortgage.

“When it comes to insurance, there are so many options,” Adib said. “It’s so important to have an actual person you can talk to — not an #800-number — especially when a claim arises.” She advises homeowners to do timely research to make sure you have that person to go to bat for you when the time comes.

Here are some tips for keeping insurance premiums in check.

  • Review your insurance policy every couple of years, especially if you’ve made improvements or renovations to the property. Adib said that shopping for new coverage won’t increase your rate and it’s important to understand how different carriers might evaluate your policy and the premiums you pay. “It’s your policy so make sure it covers what you need it to.”
  • Don’t make small claims. The average homeowner makes one claim every seven years and anything above that could impact policy rates. For example, don’t file a claim if you have a $500 deductible and a tree falls on your backyard shed accounting for $700 in damages. Yes, you have insurance for a reason but not all claims are equal. The more claims on a policy the more likely it is to face a surcharge or be at risk for non-renewal.
  • Shop replacement costs of your home, which are different from the market value of your home which also includes the value of the land the property sits on. Replacement costs are the amount of money needed to repair a property or replace belongings at current building supply costs. Over time, automatic annual increases driven by roll-on percentages that are driven by inflation can increase expected replacement costs that may not be aligned with actual costs. If you’ve had your policy for a while, it’s worth looking at the suggested replacement costs and see how they compare with other policy quotes. It’s important to note that while a carrier’s premium rates are reviewed and regulated by the state, roll-on percentages for replacement costs are not, even though high replacement costs can increase the premium. A home with a current replacement cost of $500,000 with an annual roll-on percentage of 3% is going to have a lower premium over time than a similar home with a roll-on rate of 6%. “You could be paying a lot more in premiums for coverage you might not need,” Adib said.
  • A higher deductible can lower insurance rates, especially if you don’t have a lot of claims on the policy. Owners like low deductibles because they want to reduce how much they must pay out-of-pocket for damages to their property, but lower deductibles mean higher premiums, and deductibles only come into play when a claim is made. Over time, having a $2,500 deductible and a lower annual premium will save more money than having a $500 deductible and a higher premium. Another option is a percentage deductible, but Adib cautions that while this can lower premiums it will mean more money out of pocket if there is a claim.
  • Maintain your home in good condition. Look for trees around the property that could cause damage, check the roof for missing shingles or areas of leakage or water absorption, keep up with maintenance on big-ticket appliances like the HVAC and hot water heater. Insurance carriers do conduct inspections on properties they cover — including using spatial imaging to evaluate roofs — and your rates could increase if they find something of concern.
  • Consider a local carrier. National carriers have increased volatility in their rates because they cover the entire country, including areas that may be prone to natural disasters. To make up for losses in those areas they must be strategic about rates and be selective about the risk they will accept with new policies, while smaller and local carriers may be willing to take on that risk.

If you’re a current homeowner, take a few moments to review your current policy to check you have the coverage you need on terms that work for you now, as circumstances are likely to have changed if you’ve owned that property for a while. If you’re a buyer looking to secure coverage, pay attention to the condition of the property you’re purchasing and be prepared to negotiate with the seller to make fixes or shop around for an affordable policy.

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. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

3 Comments

Just Listed in Alexandria

Just Listed highlights Alexandria City properties that came on the market within the past week. This feature is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team (Licensed in VA) of McEnearney Associates REALTORS®.

Welcome Back!

Jen Walker here with The Jen Walker Team! We are a real estate group based out of Alexandria, Virginia. I, along with my rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky, Micki MacNaughton, Adrianna Vallario and Nancy Lacey, have more than 40 years of experience in real estate and sold over $145 million in 2023.

Fabulous end unit in the heart of Del Ray! Updated and move-in ready, you don’t want to miss this one. With over 1500 square feet over two levels, this home has generously sized rooms and is flooded with light. Enter the sunny living room that is open to the dining room. Gorgeous hardwood flooring takes you back to the renovated kitchen — with sharp subway tile, quartz countertops and tons of cabinetry you will love cooking for friends or making everyday meals in this stunning kitchen. The laundry area is located off the kitchen, situated behind a solid wooden five panel door.

Head outside through the kitchen to the large lot and great, private backyard. Rounding out the main level is a half bath for convenience. Head upstairs, where two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms await. With ample closets and convenient bathrooms, both of these bedrooms are well-sized and can accommodate king sized beds. Use one as a primary suite and the other as a guest room/office. With “The Ave” just a few steps away, walking to restaurants, shopping, Pilates, coffee shops, the Farmers Market and more will be part of your new routine! Leave your car in the driveway and walk to all that Del Ray has to offer. Welcome home!

Open House: Saturday, March 30 from 1-3 p.m.

113 E Windsor Avenue #C, Alexandria 22301 — $885,000

Click here for additional Just Listed properties in Alexandria and call The Jen Walker Team to schedule a home tour at 703-675-1566 or email [email protected].

Happy House Hunting!

In our highly competitive Alexandria market, the Jen Walker Team has the insider knowledge to connect you with homes that are not even public yet. With more than 40 years of experience, the Jen Walker Team has the expertise to answer questions, calm fears, and streamline your transaction. Want to see other homes not featured in this article? Contact our team today!

Please note: While The Jen Walker Team provides this information for the community, they may not be the listing agents of these homes. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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

3 Comments

This week’s Q&A column is written by Rebecca McCullough of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Rebecca at 571-384-0941 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Are all real estate companies created equal?

Answer: In the competitive landscape of real estate, distinguishing factors often set one company apart from another. Just like the type of car you like to drive, where you like to shop or vacation, you want to look for people and places that align with your needs and goals.

Purchasing a home will likely be one of — if not the most — expensive investments of your life. However, some buyers and sellers are looking for the most inexpensive (cheapest!) way to get this done.

You could view the recent NAR (National Association of Realtors) Settlement as a result of sellers feeling they overpaid their Realtor commissions on the sale of their homes because they did not realize they could negotiate their listing fee.

If you’d like to learn more about the settlement, this article explains it simply: The Lighter Side of Real Estate.

In short, though, the ruling requires two changes:

  • The first is that sellers will not be able to advertise a buyer’s agent fee through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
  • Secondly, Buyers will have to sign a buyer representation agreement to work with the buyer agent. This allows the buyer to negotiate the representation fee they are willing to pay their agent.

This has been true in Virginia for longer than I’ve been a real estate agent! However, only 14 states currently have that requirement. The lawsuit was filed in a state that did not have a buyer representation agreement.

As real estate agents, we understand that the public is not always truly aware of what we do to execute on a successful home purchase or sale. But this settlement has gone too far with the lack of explanation and understanding of the value of a great agent, and what the ruling will mean for buyers, sellers, and agents in this country. There is so much misinformation about the settlement that it’s hard to keep up with the truth!

One thing is certain right now, the settlement has not been finalized, so no one knows what the final terms will be.

So back to the question at hand, does the real estate company you choose really matter? Of course, the answer is a resounding yes.

When you buy a car, do you think “I want to get the cheapest car I can find?” If so, that sends you down a different path and different goals than the person who says, “I want to get the best value I can.” When you go to the doctor, do you want to see anyone who will see you, or do you want a highly experienced, recommended specialist? What you want — typically — is the best option, the best fit for your needs and goals.

It may appear they are all the same, but when it comes to real estate, each company offers their clients and agents something different. The people who really know how different each company is are the agents who work for them!

Great agents want great companies, and vice versa. At my company, the agents who work at McEnearney Associates are recognized for their unparalleled expertise and in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market. They have additional, high-level staff who support each agent, providing expansive marketing and educational programs, statistical and data analytics, global networking, and a renowned relocation department.

Many companies don’t offer any of this, and the net result is that their agents may get a higher split of their commission, as the company makes less of an investment in the client. But the best agents want more access to knowledge and resources, and they see the value of that in the bigger picture.

At companies like McEnearney Associates, agents have a keen understanding of market trends, pricing dynamics, and neighborhood characteristics, so they can offer invaluable insights to clients and empower them to make informed decisions. This expertise, combined with the company’s extensive resources and professional network, ensures that clients receive the highest level of service and representation. When I joined McEnearney I was so glad to have a team of top-notch marketing professionals who spent 40 hours a week promoting my listings locally, nationally, and globally so I could spend more time with my clients on their transactions.

McEnearney has been in business for over 40 years. It was never their goal to be the biggest, but they wanted to be the best. They are particular about which agents they hire, as their reputation is their most cherished asset. Integrity is at the core of everything. McEnearney Associates holds itself to the highest ethical standards, ensuring transparency, honesty, and fairness in all its dealings.

We always encourage buyers and sellers to interview more than one agent when searching for a real estate professional. But please, don’t call and ask for ‘a deal.’ Take the time to sit down and have a conversation with the agent. Is it a deal if you took a lower fee but sold for $50K less than you could have? You want an agent that you will consider your trusted advisor, similar to what you would want with your financial planner or medical professional.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: a lot of networking and advertising goes on behind the scenes between top agents. We often know of properties that will be coming on the market in the future and can strategize with our clients to be ready to make an offer.

So yes, the brokerage matters. Whatever fee you pay your real estate professional, you want to be getting a lot for your investment. Ask yourself, what is the best option, the best fit, for your specific needs and goals? Then make a few calls and do some interviewing.

Rebecca McCullough has built a successful real estate business in Alexandria and Northern Virginia by providing excellent service to her clients. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today’s complex market, contact Rebecca today at 571-384-0941 or visit her website RebeccaMcCullough.com.

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. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

3 Comments

Just Listed in Alexandria

Just Listed highlights Alexandria City properties that came on the market within the past week. This feature is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team (Licensed in VA) of McEnearney Associates REALTORS®.

Welcome Back!

Jen Walker here with The Jen Walker Team! We are a real estate group based out of Alexandria, Virginia. I, along with my rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky, Micki MacNaughton, Adrianna Vallario and Nancy Lacey, have more than 40 years of experience in real estate and sold over $145 million in 2023.

Charming farmhouse in Rosemont with an ideal layout — 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths upstairs! Main level with beautiful hardwoods, handsome built in bookcases, two living spaces, renovated powder room, open kitchen with stainless appliances, crisp white cabinets and striking center island. The charming front porch greets you to this beauty — a great place for evening cocktails, Saturday morning coffee or to just sit and watch the world go by!

The front sitting and living rooms feature soaring ceilings and a bright and airy feel. These rooms easily flow into the kitchen and dining rooms — the kitchen has great cabinets with rollouts for maximum storage. Just off the dining area, walk out to the two tiered deck which overlooks the manicured back yard. A gorgeously renovated powder room with great wallpaper, board and batten trim details, marble vanity and brushed gold fixtures rounds out this level. Head upstairs to three bedrooms and two full baths. The primary suite is very large and boasts double closets. The en-suite bath (just renovated) is a spa-like retreat with a double vanity, frameless glass shower with dark blue subway tile, and hexagon Carrara flooring.

Just off the primary, the private balcony overlooking the rear yard is perfect for morning coffee or working from home on warm spring days. Down the hall, you will find two generously sized bedrooms and a shared hall bath (also just redone). The basement is ideal for storage and houses the HVAC and water heater. Leave your car in the driveway and walk to Braddock Road Metro, King Street Metro, Old Town, Del Ray and more. Welcome Home!

Open House: Saturday, March 23 from 1-3 p.m.

27 E Maple Street, Alexandria, VA 22301 — $1,250,000

Click here for additional Just Listed properties in Alexandria and call The Jen Walker Team to schedule a home tour at 703-675-1566 or email [email protected].

Happy House Hunting!

In our highly competitive Alexandria market, the Jen Walker Team has the insider knowledge to connect you with homes that are not even public yet. With more than 40 years of experience, the Jen Walker Team has the expertise to answer questions, calm fears, and streamline your transaction. Want to see other homes not featured in this article? Contact our team today!

Please note: While The Jen Walker Team provides this information for the community, they may not be the listing agents of these homes. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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

2 Comments

This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What are Financing and Appraisal Contingencies in a sales contract?

Answer: It’s not always the offered price of a home that catches a seller’s attention; it could also be how quickly a contract can move to the settlement table. Factors like contingencies — addenda that allow a contract to be voided under certain specified conditions — are an important consideration for both buyers and sellers.

For most sellers, the fewer contingencies in an offer, the better. Every contingency comes with deadlines and terms that must be met and there’s potential for a contract to be delayed or derailed if the buyer doesn’t meet those terms. The reality of the current housing market is that many buyers are waiving their contingencies to appeal to a seller, including two of the most popular contingencies: Financing and Appraisal. But what happens when things go sideways and a buyer encounters trouble financing their loan or the home doesn’t appraise for the ratified contract sales price?

Brian Bonnet, SVP & Senior Loan Officer (NMLS ID 224811) for Atlantic Coast Mortgage, recently spoke with many of our Associates to run through different scenarios that buyers may encounter when using or waiving Financing and Appraisal Contingencies. While he noted that most of the contracts Atlantic Coast Mortgage is seeing have been ratified without a Financing or Appraisal Contingency, there are situations where a qualified buyer should be hesitant to waive one or both of these contingencies.

What do these Contingencies do?

The Financing and Appraisal Contingencies serve to protect a buyer during the real estate transaction. They are included in an offer that requires the buyer to “perform” according to the terms outlined in the contingency or risk defaulting on a ratified contract. If a buyer is not approved by the lender for their proposed financing, the Financing Contingency gives the buyer the option to cancel the contract without penalty (if they cancel within the terms of the appropriate Contingency Addendum). If a property’s appraised value — an amount that is determined by a licensed appraiser on behalf of the lending institution — doesn’t meet the contract sales price, a buyer has the option to void the contract if the seller doesn’t lower the contract sales price to the appraised value or doesn’t meet the lender’s standards required for the condition of the property.

These contingencies are available to conventional, FHA, and VA buyers while the latter two types of transactions may have additional restrictions on how they are used.

When might a Buyer waive the Financing Contingency?

If a buyer is considering waiving the Financing Contingency, beware of the pitfalls. “It is critically important that their financing is rock solid before they choose to remove that contingency,” Bonnet stressed. He recounted a recent experience with a buyer whose long-time work visa had expired and he therefore wasn’t able to continue at his current job until the visa had been renewed. Because the buyer had a Financing Contingency in place, the contract was voided. Had the contingency not been in place, the buyer could have been subject to losing their earnest money deposit (EMD) or other damages should the seller have elected to sue for defaulting on the contract.

When a Financing Contingency is put in motion, the lender will begin a “canceled, withdrawn, or denied” process and an Adverse Action Letter, also called a Rejection Letter, outlining generic terms of why the financing was denied which is then sent immediately to all parties of the contract. This will be followed up by the buyer’s agent with the required paperwork to void the contract, release the buyer from further obligations, and allow the seller to put the property back on the market.

A buyer may elect to waive this contingency if they are certain their employment is secure, are confident that their financial situation won’t change before settlement, or they are putting down a substantial downpayment that reduces the amount of their loan.

When might a Buyer waive the Appraisal Contingency?

An Appraisal is ordered by the lender to verify that a property is worth the amount of money that is being lent to purchase the property.

For example, if a home is under contract for $500,000 the lender will want to see an appraisal value of $500,000 or greater. If there is an appraisal gap between the contract sales price and the appraised value, an Appraisal Contingency will spell out what happens next: the seller can agree to lower the sales price to the appraised value; the buyer and seller can renegotiate the sales price and the buyer can add additional cash to their offer to make up the difference; or the buyer can void the contract. In the absence of an Appraisal Contingency, the buyer is obligated to bring additional cash to make up the full difference in the appraisal gap.

A buyer may waive this contingency if they have a good cash reserve and can make up the difference without the cash outlay affecting the lending underwriting. Another scenario might be when a property is in an area where there is potential for value growth. Even if the appraisal comes in low, a buyer may elect to make up the cash difference because they are predicting that a property’s equity may grow quickly.

What can Buyers do?

Work with a respected, local lender who will advise buyers honestly and clearly on their individual financial risk. Local lenders have a better understanding of regional market dynamics and can speak to factors that can affect the transaction better than most national lenders who don’t have ready access to local information.

Ensure that when waiving an Appraisal Contingency, the contract specifies that an appraiser will still have access to the property. Many loans may not be approved without an appraisal, regardless of whether a buyer makes the appraisal a contingency to purchase.

Consider the condition of the home before waiving an Appraisal Contingency. Even if the market value of the home is determined to be adequate, a lender may not approve a property deemed uninhabitable. Bonnet notes that while the “vast majority of homes meet (habitability) standards, you don’t want to be the lone property that doesn’t.”

Overall, Bonnet advises borrowers to go into any real estate transaction with “eyes wide open to make an informed decision.” Enlist a respected, local lender and an experienced McEnearney | Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties Associate to be the team that helps you land your next property!

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. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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What do I do if school doesn’t fit my kid?

That’s the question that so many of the parents and families ask when they’re looking at small independent schools like The Howard Gardner School. There are any number of reasons that their current school might not fit.  

  • “My son is surviving, but they definitely aren’t thriving” 
  • “My daughter stopped doing gymnastics, and doesn’t ride horses anymore. She just does schoolwork.”
  • “I don’t think the school ever really ‘got’ my kid… they’re just different”

These are quotes pulled from parents looking at HGS this year. Our families are a diverse group from all different backgrounds. Our students are just as varied with all kinds of reasons for being at The Howard Gardner School. The common thread is that school wasn’t working.

When school — as we think of it now — was invented, in the 1800s, it was in answer to the industrial revolution. Desks in rows and columns, classrooms with the same number of students as factories had workers in each shift. Even a curriculum contained by four walls and a textbook, set to a standardized approach for a standardized set of goals.  

A few things have changed in the last two hundred years  

Public school in the United States was and is a ground-breaking, crucial program with an audacious mandate: Educate every single citizen of the most diverse nation in the history of the world. Public educators are dedicated professionals seeking to do just that — but the mandate is virtually impossible. What works for one student might be antithetical to the needs of another. What makes one kid excited might make another kid anxious. As a result, typical schools seek to do the most that they can for as many students as they can. It’s a laudable and practical approach to a truly difficult circumstance.

But what if your kid doesn’t fit?

The parents, families, and kids who are exploring The Howard Gardner School are obviously considering a new school setting. It’s a wonderful truth that this region has an incredible array of top tier public and private schools. In particular, this area’s set of intentionally small schools is truly impressive. The Washington Small Schools Association and the Virginia Small Schools Association can provide interested families with information and ideas about how to find a school that fits. 

In fact, the admissions staff at these small schools will take the time and effort to help each individual student find and access the best possible fit for them. Because each small school can be a different place — with programs, teachers, even campuses that fit different kinds of kids.  

At The Howard Gardner School, we work with a very small number of students, in very small classes, designed around experiential programming. For instance, we take thirty-six field trips per year. Our students have multiple overnight travel opportunities each school year. And because of the needs of the teenage brain, we start the school day at 10 a.m. If sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, or slogging through another two hours of homework at night isn’t the right fit for your kid, HGS could help you find a better one.

Our mission here at The Howard Gardner School is to help bright, creative, non-traditional students use their unique strengths to thrive academically, intellectually, and emotionally. 

Please check out our website at www.TheHowardGardnerSchool.org, and call or email to learn more about how to find the best fit for your kid.

There is a place where each young person can find their fit and thrive. The process is a bit like being in a dark room — the hard part isn’t turning on the light, it’s finding the switch.

The Howard Gardner School
Serving bright, creative, non-traditional learners in grades 6-12
Alexandria, VA & Sterling, VA
703-822-9300

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