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Ask McEnearney: Man vs. machine?


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: Man vs. Machine?

Answer: For many a successful Realtor, this recruiting call will sound familiar… “Technology will boost your business and make you a star.” (While I agree it helps, personal relationships and real substance mean the most to me. Signed, Ann D.)

For instance, I absolutely hate to throw out old files which, of course, can be scanned into my iCloud account, the company server or a system we have called “Skyslope”. But, much like holding a real book instead of a Kindle, I really prefer reaching for the old, ink-stained file with scribbled notes from your purchase on N. Fairfax Street or Mount Vernon Circle, or sale on Grand View or Prince Street, when it is time for me to sell or help someone buy that property.

What is so blasted precious? A wide range of hidden treasures can be found in those paper files — the first name of the scheduler for the unreachable master carpenter who put in the den bookshelves, the key pricing information for the French drain contractor, as well as for the contractor you didn’t choose and why, or the cell phone number for the talented electrician and his brother who can install fans in 14- to 20-foot family room ceilings (imagine the Flying Wallendas).

Oh, I’m not such a dinosaur that these people aren’t also in my personal Excel Resource List, but the context, receipts, paint colors and scribbles are often a huge help in getting onto a pro’s schedule.

Luckily, I have outgrown many out-of-date practices — heck, we used to have 25 copies of a photo made at Ritz Camera, then wield Glue Sticks to attach them to the front of cardboard brochures! Open Houses were heralded with waving helium balloons before we realized that helium is a non-renewable resource — made on earth via nuclear decay of uranium, and it is recovered from mines (TMI?) — we even had a tank here in the office.

And even I have graduated to creative tools — Saved Searches, instant alerts to screen and match listings, text flashes — though just last month I went “street walking” with a pen and notebook, like a flat foot detective, to find clues for commercial lease opportunities – unadvertised empty spaces, old signs, etc.

I also rely on the personal strength and human excellence of my full-time assistant. We take any situation and make it better with laughter and a nice dose of creativity.

Using the skilled, real people of our company’s in-house marketing staff means we can personalize each one of my listings far more effectively than using a standardized format in a technology-constrained data dump.

People are just better. We haven’t hired a robo-calling program to make cold calls as some firms have. Some vendors even use call centers to create lists of homeowners who don’t hang up when they are asked whether “they’d sell their home,” then sell those lists to startup real estate companies for targeted mailings or Meta blasts.

Yes, Realtors do grow with the new systems, but I just can’t give up all of my emails, text messages, or, yes, my own vice of using way-too-many Bitmojis with a character designed to look like me on a good day, with regular wardrobe changes!

Warm messages and hundreds of memes are found in my email and paper files, mixed with the real work of contract strategy, home inspection results, and eventual successes. Even today, I have 20,585 emails tucked in my new iPhone — to the shock of the Verizon tech guy — but heck, I can find my “people” quickly any time I need them or see their name pop up when they need me.

The future is great, but so is embracing our past, either for a laugh, a lesson or an experience. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” The Scout jingle of years ago applies as we weave the tapestry of our daily lives in these crazy times holding people, not machines, close.

These thoughts and years of experience are brought to you by Ann Duff, Realtor, with McEnearney Associates. Based in Alexandria, Ann is busy day-in and day-out in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, listing, selling, and leasing distinctive properties with and for wonderful people — and all with a splash of fun! Let’s Get Busy… contact Ann at 703-965-8700 or visit her website AnnDuff.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

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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 and Adrianna Vallario, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $107 million in 2020.

Fabulously updated and charming rowhome in the heart of Del Ray! Located on a friendly street near the Avenue, this 2 bedroom 2 bath home is ready for move-in! Enter into the living room with hardwood floors throughout, great natural light, and an easy flow into the dining room and kitchen. A functional and open kitchen boasts ample cabinetry, upgraded countertops and stainless steel appliances with gas cooking. Eat breakfast at the peninsula island or just enjoy the open concept while cooking with friends!

There is easy access from here to the backyard with a stone patio, perfect for grilling or gathering around a fire pit. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms (the primary being large enough to add a home office space!), and one fully updated bathroom. The finished lower level features a great recreation room, family room, or guest space with adjacent full and updated bathroom! There is plenty of storage in the laundry area, making this home so functional. 433 E Luray is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants and the popular Del Ray Farmers Market. Steps to parks, dog parks, grocery stores, coffee shops, the metro and more!

433 E Luray Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301The Jen Walker Team
Open house: Saturday, December 11, 12-2 p.m.

You don’t want to miss this fabulously updated 2 bedroom condo in the desirable Colecroft Station! This beautiful home offers upgrades, functionality and easy one level living. Enter into a foyer with 2 closets and a great hallway leading down to the living space. The kitchen features stainless steel appliances, including a NEW glass top stove (with air fryer function!) and dishwasher, upgraded white soft close cabinetry and granite countertops. There is plenty of storage with the built in coffee bar and spacious pantry!

Continue on to the great room offering tons of natural light, hardwood floors throughout, and an open concept layout for versatility. Don’t miss your private balcony with amazing views of the Masonic Temple! The spacious primary bedroom features great closet space with fantastic Elfa systems and unobstructed views of the Masonic Temple. The hardwood floors continue into the second bedroom which can also be used as a home office! Enjoy the updated bathroom with soft close cabinetry and granite vanity, and the convenience of an IN-unit washer and dryer.

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Neighborhood Spotlight is a recurring column covering both the City of Alexandria and Alexandria in Fairfax County. This monthly column is sponsored and written by the Seward Group of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Philanthropy — and having fun — are at the core of what many Alexandrians do on a regular basis.

Instead of focusing on a neighborhood we love this month, we have decided to share a list of our favorite holiday events and local non-profits so you can end 2021 feeling the joy our community offers this time of year — as well as discover ways you can give back to our beloved Alexandria.

Yes, it’s already December and the holiday season is in full swing! Don’t fret if you missed this past weekend’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade or the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. There are plenty of other festive events, both in and around Alexandria, to get you in the holiday spirit.

Here are a chosen few:

As we enjoy these festivities and look to 2022, we are reminded of how lucky we are to call Alexandria home. This is also the time of the year to remember how we can give so others may also enjoy some holiday cheer.

An end of year donation to one of your favorite local non-profits can make a big difference. Or explore a new one and learn how you can help them close out 2021 with a bang!

Here are a few popular ones:

…and so many more!

The Seward Group wishes you and your family a wonderful holiday season and hoping you can enjoy some of the magical events and the many ways of giving our area offers.

If you are thinking about selling or buying in 2022, we would love to hear from you. Email [email protected], call 703-298-0562 or visit The Seward Group website to set up an appointment with one of our local real estate experts. We would be happy to review the current real estate market in your Alexandria neighborhood and discuss how we can help you navigate your next move with ease.

About The Seward Group: We are award-winning real estate agents with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Lyssa Seward, Brittanie DeChino, Melody Abella, Anita Edwards, Laura Catron, Gina Wimpey and Elaine McCall make up our team. We offer our clients Full-Spectrum Concierge Real Estate Service at all price points, assisting with every step of the process from beginning to end. We are licensed in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Old Town Alexandria.

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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: Should I consider a home in an HOA?

Answer: When looking to buy a home, an important thing to consider is whether or not you are interested in having a home within either a homeowner’s association or condominium association. What is also important is understanding the differences between the two! While many have heard of HOAs and condos, not many understand exactly what they are. It is even a common misconception that the terms can be used interchangeably — however, they are actually quite different.

So, how can you tell the difference?

As a general rule, most apartment style homes and townhomes fall under an association and most detached homes do not. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule!

Differences Between an HOA & a COA

First of all, what is the difference between a Homeowner’s Association and a Condo Association? Condominiums usually exist within a building, in which owners own their own unit as well as a joint interest in the common areas. Common areas include community spaces such as patios and party rooms, as well as the roof and other exterior features, such as pools, tennis courts and more. Sometimes, they even designate windows and balconies to be common responsibilities. All owners in a condo building own equal share and financial responsibility for maintenance of these common spaces and responsibilities.

In a homeowner’s association, the ownership is a little different. Each member owns their own home and parcel of land. Common areas, such as playgrounds, pools, tennis courts, and parks are owned and maintained by the association. Sometimes the roads are maintained by the HOA, and sometimes it is the county responsibility. There is no joint ownership.

Both condos and HOAs have fees that the owners pay — typically monthly or quarterly. These are different from fines, which owners are required to pay if they break rules in the community. The rules for communities and associations can be vastly different from place to place. The majority of rules are in place with the intention of maintaining the integrity of the community and common areas.

Contingency Period During the Buying Process 

Once a contract is agreed upon and signed by both buyer and seller there is a required time period for the purchaser to review the association documents. In Virginia, the period to review is 3 calendar days from receipt. The documents will include meeting minutes, by-laws, rules, and other documents that can give a better understanding of the community and its financial stability.

The good thing about this contingency period is that it is required to be given to all buyers. In a competitive situation with multiple offers, buyers often waive contingencies such as inspection or appraisal. The document review period cannot be waived by anyone and puts everyone on the same playing field. All buyers have the right to know the details of the association they are joining, before they join, and will have the opportunity to cancel if they don’t like what they see.

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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 and Adrianna Vallario, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $107 million in 2020.

Welcome to 2943 Sycamore, nestled in a cul-de-sac in the desirable Warwick Village neighborhood. This move-in ready home features 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and three finished levels.

Enter on the main level that boasts a lovely kitchen with stainless steel appliances, dark granite countertops and crisp white cabinetry. Continue to the bright, sunny and open great room that offers plenty of space for dining and living.

Hardwood floors continue upstairs to 3 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, each offering great natural light. The lower level offers a versatile and cozy space for a family room, rec room or guest suite with adjacent full, updated bathroom.

Don’t miss the great storage space in the large laundry room. From this lower level, walk right out to your private, low maintenance backyard, perfect for gathering around a fire pit on those crisp evenings. Live near the amazing community of Del Ray, near shops and restaurants. A short drive to Reagan National, DC and more!

2943 Sycamore Street, Alexandria, VA 22305The Jen Walker Team
Open house: Sunday, December 5, 1-3 p.m.

Living room

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

108 N Donelson Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 — $600,000
100 E Reed Avenue, #1/2, Alexandria, VA 22305 — $469,900
1323 Queen Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 — $800,000
1023 N Royal Street, #106, Alexandria, VA 22314 — $550,000
6014 Lomack Court, Alexandria, VA 22312 — $549,900

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 35 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 Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: I have often wondered how real estate agents juggle multiple listings, numerous buyers, pre-listing updates and their personal priorities all at the same time. Would you mind sharing your strategy?

Answer: During this season of thanks, I value the occasion to recognize those who have truly helped me throughout the year. Whether in my business or my personal life, surrounding myself with amazing contractors, terrific service providers, wonderful clients, great friends, collaborative agents, supportive brokers, lovely neighbors and of course my fabulous golden retrievers, makes all the difference in my fast-paced lifestyle.

In 2021, I had the pleasure (and sometimes challenging) opportunity to list a number of homes for sellers who did not live in the area. In every situation, quite a bit of work was required prior to initiating the marketing plan. Over the years, I have accumulated an outstanding team of like-minded and dependable service professionals to take the pressure off me. My general contractors, painters, hardwood floor experts, carpet companies, electricians, plumbers, mold and water remediation specialists, cleaners, fireplace pros and landscapers have saved the day more times than I can count.

I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to my preferred lenders, settlement companies, inspectors and real estate attorneys. Knowing you can count on this group of real estate professionals for the many details associated with a transaction makes all the difference in a sometimes stressful situation.

Whether the sellers are living in the home or not, during the time that a house or condo is getting ready to go on the market, I have the privilege of working with McEnearney’s excellent marketing team to create my print ads and brochures, mailings and social media. Once the repairs are complete, my stager adds the finishing touches and my photographer takes professional photos, and produces a 3D Tour and video.

It always amazes me how so many moving parts come together according to a predetermined timeline. Hitting the market in time for the listing to be syndicated to hundreds of websites prior to the weekend so that open houses are publicized in order to attract the most buyers is always a top priority.

As my fourth career, I give credit for my success in real estate to the skills I acquired in my previous lives. My experiences in sales and marketing, as well as my problem-solving background and people skills, allowed for a natural transition into this industry. I am still working on getting my personal list of priorities in order but have made big headway over the last few years thanks to another team of professionals.

Many thanks to my accountant, bookkeeper, financial advisor, insurance professionals, and overall support team for your expert advice and service. Based upon your guidance, I was able to check quite a few things off my to-do list in 2021 and look forward to continuing to do so in the year to come!

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, or just need suggestions for updating your home, I am happy to provide ideas, or recommend contractors for your specific projects. I am a resource for the duration of home ownership, not just the buying or selling process. Feel free to reach out anytime!

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA. As an active member of the community since 1989, Lisa specializes in Alexandria, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with her friends, neighbors, former clients and their referrals.

In addition to enjoying the Old Town lifestyle and the art related events and activities, she is a member of a number of volunteer organizations. Having had nine Golden Retrievers, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

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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The Return to Earn initiative was launched in June of this year in an effort to support small businesses and organizations find and retain the talent they need while also helping unemployed Virginian’s transition back into the workforce.

What better way to retain new staff members, reward them for their hard work, and increase workplace morale than by providing a $500 holiday bonus?

Basic eligibility requirements for program participation are as follows.

Employers:

  • Must be incorporated in Virginia
  • Be in good standing with the state
  • Have 99 employees or fewer

For new hires:

  • Must have a hiring date that falls between June 1, 2021 — December 31, 2021
  • The position must be W2 and come with a wage of $15 an hour or more (tips can be included in wage determination)
  • Must attest to having been unemployed at the time of hire*

The SkillSource Group, Inc. and Virginia Career Works Northern is working hard to make this program available to the small business community and to make the application, enrollment and reimbursement process as simple as possible. Click HERE to access an online application.

*Length of unemployment is dependent on time of hire

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. I, along with my two rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky and Micki MacNaughton, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $107 million in 2020.

This week we’re taking some time to reflect on the past year; all the highs, all the lows and all the in-betweens. With all of the trials and tribulations these past couple of years have brought, having the opportunity to continue doing what we love the most — helping our clients navigate a new chapter in their lives — is beyond an incredible gift.

We are so fortunate and thankful this holiday season for you all. Thank you for trusting us!

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

613 Malcolm Place

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 35 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

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®.

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Ask McEnearney: Giving & thanks

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

It’s Beyond Selling Homes

When McEnearney Associates was formed in 1980, John McEnearney knew that he wanted to create a firm that went above and beyond just selling and buying homes for clients.

He wanted to give back to the communities that helped grow the firm to more than 350 Associates today. Every Associate that joins our firm stands behind a brand that invests in the communities where we live and work.

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, we would like to highlight some of the community organizations we have worked with over the years. Our individual Associates have also supported many more throughout the DMV. We offer our sincere thanks to these organizations who strengthen our communities and to all those whose donations of time, money, and resources make it all possible.

ACT for Alexandria

ACT for Alexandria is a community foundation designed to connect donors with causes and collaborate with nonprofit organizations to optimize resources and impact. McEnearney Associates is proud to be a main sponsor this year for Giving Tuesday on November 30. Please join us in donating to this wonderful foundation. To learn how we are matching donations, follow us @mcenearneyalexandria.

Arlington Realtors Care (ARC)

McEnearney Associates has joined together with other real estate firms to collect essential items for those in need this holiday season. Through December 31, items may be dropped off at our Arlington location, 4720-D Langston Blvd (Lee Hwy), during office hours. Essentials include canned and shelf-stable food to support Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and coats, hats, gloves and warm clothing for Path Forward.

Blue Ridge Hospice

With warmth and compassion, Blue Ridge Hospice provides expert services and care for those with life-limiting or advanced illness. Their services also help loved ones manage the challenges of being caregivers and the grieving process. There are 9 thrift stops throughout their service area where you can shop or donate items to help support the care they provide.

Capital Area Food Bank

Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) is the leading hunger relief organization in the DMV. Working with partners from food distributors and retailers to restaurants, farms and individuals, they help provide more than 45 million meals a year across D.,. Maryland and Virginia.

Dr. Bear’s Closet at Children’s National

A hospital stay is especially difficult for children and families during the holidays, so toys are often a way to make that time a little happier. We’ve always enjoyed collecting for Children’s National, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are only accepting items that are mailed/shipped to them or purchased through their online holiday wish list.

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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. I, along with my two rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky and Micki MacNaughton, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $107 million in 2020.

Welcome to this sophisticated 4 level townhome in the desirable Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington! This 3 bedroom/3.5 bath has everything you’re looking for, featuring great natural light, vaulted ceilings and a 2 car garage. Park in the garage and enter the main level from the garage area or the front door. Here you will find a foyer, plenty of storage and a great home office space.

With a great, open floor plan, you’ll love the next level — featuring a large kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances, breakfast nook, a living area with gas fireplace, a dining area and a half bath for convenience. With high ceilings and large windows, this space is flooded with natural light! On the third floor you will find the primary bedroom with two walk-in closets and an ensuite bathroom with separate shower, double vanity and soaking tub. A second bedroom with an ensuite bath can also be found on this level. On the upper level is a third bedroom and full bathroom plus laundry. This would also make a great office or gym area and has two closets for ample storage.

Walking distance from Courthouse Metro Station and close to Washington, D.C., this is a commuter’s dream. Close to restaurants, shopping, the Mount Vernon Trail and Roosevelt Island, you will love living here! Welcome home!

2318 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22201The Jen Walker Team

Click here for 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 35 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

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®.

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