Alexandria, VA

Whether you’re actively searching for your new home or are just beginning to consider making a move, open houses are the perfect way to start your search.

Open houses allow you to get a feel for things such as neighborhood, how far your budget will go, must-haves in your new home, and some design inspiration.

As the #4 expansion team in the country, HergGroup Greater Washington’s website has a comprehensive list of open houses and homes for sale in Alexandria and beyond. Here’s a sampling of the local open houses this week:

The preceding feature was sponsored by HergGroup Greater Washington and John Lam of Go Homeside Financial. Go Homeside Financial is located at 4000 Legato Road, Suite 550 Fairfax, VA. (571)212-4812, jplam.gohomeside.com.

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Address: 211 Prince Street
Neighborhood: Old Town
Listed: $2,579,000

This elegant house on historic Gentry Row was completed in 1784 by Captain John Harper and was once the home of Dr. Elijah Cullen Dick, physician to George Washington.

The home is a fine example of early American architecture and interior design, enhanced over the years with a three story addition, updated kitchen and baths, plus an elevator, while original features such as heart pine floors, period mantles and exquisite moldings have been beautifully preserved.

The entry hall opens to double parlors with stately fireplaces, beautiful china cabinets and glass door opening to the walled garden from the dining room. At the rear of the entry hall is a pantry, with access to the horse alley, elevator and kitchen, which offers a raised hearth gas fireplace, eat-in space and French doors to the walled garden.

The sun-drenched great room on the second floor of the house stretches across the front of the house, with a grand fireplace at one end. Also, on this level is the quiet library paneled in original pine and a guest suite overlooking the walled garden and fish pond.

The third floor offers the master bedroom and en-suite bath as well as a third bedroom and hall bath. Just down a hallway is a laundry/exercise room and elevator landing. The fourth level of this grand house offers an open bedroom with original beams, full bath and attic access.

Listed by:
Kate Patterson
McEnearney Associates Realtors
703-627-2166
[email protected]
www.katepattersonhomes.com

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This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Brian Bonnet, Senior Loan Officer (NMLS ID# 224811) of Atlantic Coast Mortgage, LLC (NMLS ID# 643114). To learn more about current mortgage rates and the home loan process, contact Brian at 703-766-6702 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How can the Lender I use give me a competitive edge?

Answer: To say home purchasers are experiencing a competitive market is far more than an understatement. The inventory of homes for sale in Alexandria and Arlington is down approximately 40% from this time in 2019 and that inventory was down significantly from the year before. Most prospective purchasers find themselves competing against others for the limited property which is available.

In order to be an actual buyer and not just a looker, you must be more attractive to sellers than those you are competing against. Obviously, your offer price is a big part of the equation, but assuming you are in the hunt in that regard, there are several other considerations which savvy listing agents suggest their sellers consider. Among them are home sale contingencies, the buyer’s proposed lender, and the proposed settlement date.

When sellers have options, they are almost always inclined to accept an offer that is not contingent upon the sale of another home as opposed to an offer which is. For buyers, the trick is to determine whether it is truly possible to purchase the next home without first selling the existing home.

To be able to do so often requires some sort of bridge loan scenario, and that is a type of financing not provided by most lenders. Generally, bridge loans are provided by a handful of locally based mortgage banking institutions who tend to understand the local real estate market more than much larger or nationally based companies.

Engaging a local company which provides special bridge loan products when you begin to think about purchasing a new home may make the difference between your contract being accepted over that of someone else.

In our local market most applicants are approved for the financing they seek, but not all. In too many cases, prospective purchasers are sent down a path to purchase a home only to be denied the financing they understood they would receive. Often that unfortunate news comes just before the expected settlement date. To avoid this scenario, it is imperative that lenders truly know whether a buyer is going to be able to obtain the financing they need before the contract offer is made.

Wise and experienced listing agents are generally wary of contracts where the proposed lending institution or loan officer is either not known at all, or worse, known to fail from time to time. With two offers on the table at the same proposed sales price, the purchaser who proposes to get their financing from Bank of the World or Skippy’s Mortgage.com will often loose to the offer where the lender is a local lender with a positive reputation.

How quickly a buyer can close the transaction is often a consideration of sellers. If you are the seller, you generally want the transaction settled with the proceeds in your bank account sooner rather than later — even if you are not ready to move out of the home you are selling.

Successful buyers quite often propose settlement dates as soon as two to three weeks after the contract ratification in order to make their offers more enticing. Wise listing agents know that many, if not most, lenders cannot perform that quickly. Again, generally it is the well-known local lender that can process and underwrite an application and be ready for settlement in three weeks or less.

Some people enjoy the process of simply searching for a new home and writing contracts, but if your end goal is to be successful in purchasing a home, you truly need to consider every aspect of your offer and how attractive it may be to the seller. Purchasers should consider the reputation of the lending institution, the nature of the proposed financing and how quickly the lender is able to be ready for settlement. The seller likely will.

If you would like more information to help plan your next move, please contact Brian Bonnet at [email protected]mllc.com or call 703-766-6702.

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 current market is hot! A low inventory is pushing prices and demand up — bringing opportunity for sellers, and competition for buyers.

What does that mean for you? Whether you’re buying or selling, HergGroup Greater Washington will work with you to ensure you come out on top of any transaction. Our experienced team has the industry knowledge and understanding to help you in today’s competitive market.

Despite the hot market, sometimes properties get reduced in price to stay competitive. Here are some that were just reduced over the past week or so:

The preceding feature was written and sponsored by HergGroup Greater Washington.

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This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia have a number of forums for potentially filing a sexual harassment complaint.

First, employees must determine whether the facts in their case constitute sexual harassment. The general definition of sexual harassment, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is that it includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”

The harassment victim can be either a woman or a man. Additionally, the harassment victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. That being said, sexual harassment does not always have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s gender/sex. Harassing an individual by making offensive comments about his or her gender can constitute sexual harassment.

Additionally, when more minor comments or teasing are made on a continuing basis, a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment can arise. Additional EEOC regulations and guidance on sexual harassment can be viewed here.

Harassment Complaints for Federal Employees in Virginia

For federal employees in Virginia, the usual method of filing an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging sexual harassment is to go through their federal agency’s EEO office within 45 days of the date of the harassment. This very short deadline can usually be satisfied by initiating contact directly with a federal EEO counselor. Federal agencies will provide contact information for federal EEO complaint counselors to federal employees.

The formal complaint process involving the claims of sexual harassment will follow thereafter if the matter is not resolved. There are also other less common routes for filing a federal employee sexual harassment complaint, such as filing a grievance (where permitted, but not usually recommended) and/or a complaint though the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), but these are usually not effective when compared to a federal employee’s options for filing an EEO complaint.

Harassment Complaints for Private Sector Employees in Virginia

For employees who are employed by private companies in Virginia, there are a number of potential options for filing a sexual harassment complaint depending on where they live and the size of their employer. A private sector employee employed by a company with 15 employees or more may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the most common route for those employed by private companies. The deadline for doing so in Virginia is generally 180 days, which can be extended to 300 days due to a work-sharing agreement between Virginia and the EEOC.

A private sector employee can also usually file a sexual harassment complaint with the Virginia Division of Human Rights (DHR) if their employer has 6 to 14 employees, but less than 15. Additionally, if the matter involves a government contractor, a private sector employee can also file a harassment complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), but this complaint process is rarely used.

Lastly, some counties and municipalities in Virginia have enacted harassment ordinances, such as Fairfax County and Arlington County, which also have procedures for filing complaints against employers. The deadlines for county filings can vary between 180 and 365 days depending on the county. In sum, it is important to figure out the correct forum and to file a claim well in advance of any deadlines.

Harassment Complaints for State Employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia

State employees who are employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia have somewhat different sexual harassment complaint options. These include the possibility of filing a complaint with the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Services (OEES) or the EEOC. The current Executive Order governing state employees was issued in 2014.  State employees should consult with an attorney before deciding which forum is best for their sexual harassment complaint.

Harassment Complaints for County and Local Employees in Virginia

Finally, employees of Virginia’s various counties and municipalities also have options for filing a sexual harassment complaint. They may typically file harassment complaints with the EEOC, or if covered by their county or municipality, a local claim. By far, the majority of county employees take their cases to the EEOC and then to the court, if their matter is not resolved.

Talk to an Attorney to Determine the Best Forum

It is very important to speak with an attorney before choosing a forum in which to file a sexual harassment complaint since the correct forum for filing complaints can vary based on the facts of the claim, location and size of the employer, and nature of the employer.

If you need assistance with filing a sexual harassment complaint, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook.

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These winter mornings on the waterfront might be freezing, but at least Kaleb doesn’t have far to go. The 22-year-old wakes up early in his basement apartment in Old Town, throws on his green Alexandria Seaport Foundation uniform, runs down to the waterfront and clocks in every day at 8 a.m.

“It’s hard to grasp for me, but I’ve changed my life around. I don’t do anything now,” Kaleb told ALXnow. “I just be chillin’.”

It wasn’t that long ago that things couldn’t get any worse. When he was 19, Kaleb had already been kicked out of two high schools and even his own house. He recalls spending part of that first homeless night on the curb in the rain outside of a Fredericksburg church until someone called the police on him. The church ended up getting him a hotel room for a couple of nights, and then he spent the next two years moving from shelter to shelter and couch surfing with old high school friends.

A little more than a year ago, Kaleb joined the Seaport Foundation as an apprentice and things slowly started to look up.

“I’ve grown as a person because I feel like I’m not as angry,” Kaleb said. “Angry in general, just because of life, just stuff that’s happened. So, it’s just like learning to let things go and just let things be.”

Since 1992, the Seaport Foundation has trained hundreds of 16-to-22-year-old at-risk youngsters to become experienced woodworkers, boat builders and carpenters. Kaleb, who likes to make music on his computer with his co-workers after hours, became part of a team of a dozen apprentices who spend up to two years learning carpentry and woodworking, personal finance and budgeting, resume writing and interviewing, and other life skills.

Apprentices also have to earn their high school equivalency and take outside coursework. They’re paid between $8-$12 an hour for working Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last month, the foundation filed a special use permit with the city to build a second facility that would allow for more staff to work on-site. It would also double the number of apprenticeships. The foundation currently operates in the 1,200-square-foot McIlhenny Seaport Center (0 Thompson’s Alley), and was dealt a blow seven years ago when it lost its second location with the sale of Robinson Terminal South.

The city is looking at waterfront locations for the new, 1,740 square-foot facility, and a public hearing is expected before the Planning Commission in April.

“We’re doing this so that we can serve more kids and also have our whole staff on site,” said Seaport Foundation Executive Director Kathy Seifert. “I think it’s important to have all the staff, all the volunteers and everybody together.”

Former School Board member Helen Morris has been chair of the Seaport Foundation board for the last two years.

“Seaport can be a home, and can be that cocoon where kids can find out who they are and can have people who really believe in them. With every single one, somehow the system failed them,” Morris said. “The new location, it’s a beautiful kind of replica of what we already have… It has a big vaulted ceiling so that we will be able to do larger projects.”

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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 two rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky and Micki MacNaughton, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $103 million in 2019.

This week, we’re featuring this stunning Just Listed property in Alexandria that will be hosting an Open House Saturday, February 22 from 2-4 p.m. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to see it in person!

This two bedroom, three bath end unit features crown molding and hardwood flooring on the main and upper levels. The kitchen has granite counters and stainless appliances and opens to the living and dining area for a nice, open feel. Exit from the living room to the spacious, fenced-in yard. With a rear and side yard, there is ample space to entertain!

On the upper level, the master bedroom features an en-suite bath with shower and closet. An additional bedroom and full bath round out this level. The lower level includes a recreation/family room, full bathroom, laundry and a utility area. Walk to the newly updated Warwick Village Community pool and to the shops and restaurants along “The Avenue” in Del Ray

230 Aspen Street, Alexandria VA 22305 — The Jen Walker Team

Want to check out some Just Listed properties in the Alexandria area? The following properties feature a snapshot of what is new on the market. Click here for more 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

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Shirley Marshall-Lee has always felt relaxed in the water. The 84-year-old Alexandrian is widely regarded as the first certified female African American sport diver.

“Water makes me comfortable,” Marshall-Lee told ALXnow. “I’ll think about the day, and I don’t have to worry about anything.”

Marshall-Lee, who worked 30 years at the Defense Logistics Agency as a computer technician, was raised as the eldest of two sisters in The Berg neighborhood in north Old Town. She was 13 when she learned how to swim. Once a week during the summer, she recalls, a bus would pick up neighborhood kids and take them to blacks-only pools in Washington, D.C.

Alexandria didn’t have any swimming pools for African Americans until the opening of Memorial Pool in 1952. Before then, many black residents swam in the Potomac River, and between 1931 and 1951, nine young African Americans drowned. The year it opened, the 16-year-old Marshall-Lee became a lifeguard at the city pool, which is located at Charles Houston Recreation Center.

Marshall-Lee graduated from Parker Gray High School in 1956, and two years later married Lovell Lee, her high school sweetheart. The couple have two sons and three grandchildren.

Lee used to visit her when she worked as a lifeguard.

“The pool was like a magnet for the community,” he said. “Back in the days of segregation, there were not many avenues for blacks in Alexandria, quite frankly, so people congregated at the pool in the summer.”

In 1965, she met Dr. Albert Jose Jones, the president of the Underwater Adventure Seekers, the first African American scuba diving club founded in 1959 and based in Washington, D.C. That same year she got her basic certification, and the following year became the club’s first female member. She’s a dive master, and her qualifications include Professional Association of Diving Instructors and Atlantic Skin Diving Association advanced diving and open water certifications.

Marshall-Lee’s diving and swimming have garnered awards, including first place in the 1972 Atlantic Skin Diving Council Rodeo, the free diving portion of the Middle Atlantic Spearfishing Championship and in the USA Swim for Fitness program in 2001 by swimming 44 miles in four months. She is a founding member of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, and has been featured in Ebony Magazine and a number of books.

Marshall-Lee has dived all over the world, including Fiji, Morocco, Mexico, Jamaica, Egypt, Bermuda and Haiti. She also participated in a well-publicized dive of the Henrietta Marie slave ship off the Florida coast in 1993.

“I love looking at the fish, you know, just going down seeing things in the water, picking up things that you ain’t supposed to pick up,” she said. “Getting a little seashell or starfish. You know, I have a whole lot of shells and I don’t know what to do with them. Right now they’re in the garage, so I need to give them to somebody. I hate to throw them away.”

The last time she dived was in 2006 in Malaysia.

“I’m 84 years old,” Marshall-Lee said. “I’ve seen everything I need in the water. I’ve seen sunken wrecks, I’ve seen sharks, barracudas, and I’ve seen people die. I’ll go snorkeling, but that’s about it.”

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Whether you’re actively searching for your new home or are just beginning to consider making a move, open houses are the perfect way to start your search.

Open houses allow you to get a feel for things such as neighborhood, how far your budget will go, must-haves in your new home, and some design inspiration.

As the #4 expansion team in the country, HergGroup Greater Washington’s website has a comprehensive list of open houses and homes for sale in Alexandria and beyond. Here’s a sampling of the local open houses this week:

The preceding feature was sponsored by HergGroup Greater Washington and John Lam of Go Homeside Financial. Go Homeside Financial is located at 4000 Legato Road, Suite 550 Fairfax, VA. (571)212-4812, jplam.gohomeside.com.

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This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Philip G. Matyas, Associate Broker of The Shannon Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. The Shannon Group realtors are your “Eyes and Ears for Old Town” and the residential real estate market from McLean to Mount Vernon. For more information about this article or the current Old Town/Alexandria housing market contact Philip at 703-507-8655 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How did home sales this January compare to January 2019, and what’s the forecast for this spring?

Answer: If you haven’t read my past two articles regarding a milder winter and the super opportunity for selling or buying into it, then read on and take the time to put your home buying/selling strategy into effect now before the traditional spring market (which I suspect will not be so traditional) begins in mid-March. Only once before in my 25 years of local residential real estate in Old Town have I witnessed such extended warm weather that produced the mix for such a hot winter market.

Just two months ago I wrote:

“I believe that the start of 2020 will begin with a housing market worthy of all the Old Town fireworks you will see explode over the Potomac River at the foot of King Street on First Night” and “It is quite possible spring-like sales could occur in early 2020.”

True to these words I have spent the past four weeks prepping an Old Town home to place on the market soon, having coordinated contractors to paint the exterior during the unusually warm days and interior spaces when the days were not.

As well, part of The Shannon Group’s concierge services included coordinating a staging expert, cleaners and window washers weeks ahead to take advantage of the perfect 2020 winter real estate storm — high demand (good for sellers), low inventory (good for sellers) and historic low interest rates (good for buyers to overcome the demand and low inventory challenges). Already this year, we have closed on 2 homes (with one taking only 16 days from ratification to settlement).

Have you or someone you know been thinking of making a move since December? The following are some healthy statistics to help in your decision making.

Alexandria’s “Perfect Storm” Market Statistics — January 2020 vs. January 2019*

In 2019, home listings inventories fell, the market tightened, buyer competition escalated and homes prices gently increased. In January 2020, the lack of available homes for sale resulted in a lower number being sold — 8.45% less than in January 2019 — but resulted in the average sales price increasing by 11.3% over January 2019.

For 2020, year-end Alexandria home sales prices are expected to increase by 5.6%.

By year’s end, The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors/GMU Forecast also expects 25.6% fewer units being put on the market than in 2019 and no more than 200 homes being added for sale in any month in 2020. (The NVAR/GMU Forecast is a consensus forecast developed by the Center For Regional Analysis at George Mason University in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and data from Bright Multiple Listing Service.)

If you have any questions, comments or desire more information regarding the 2020 Forecast for Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church or on the 2020 spring market, please email me.

With over 41 years of expertise, The Shannon Group has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the complexities of a sale. Our multi-level strategies for selling your home are designed for maximum exposure and financial gain. And our home buying strategies educate you along with way and produce winning results. We have properties coming soon to market and buyers looking to purchase in Old Town Alexandria, Rosemont, Del Ray and neighborhoods south along the George Washington Parkway.

Bring your home buying or selling needs to The Shannon Group’s Old Town experts, Joan Shannon and Philip G. Matyas. Contact us by email or call 703-507-8655 to set up an appointment to discuss your real estate needs and view homes from Historic Old Town to Mt. Vernon and beyond on our website Shannon-Group.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 Reduced in Alexandria: Feb. 18

The current market is hot! A low inventory is pushing prices and demand up — bringing opportunity for sellers, and competition for buyers.

What does that mean for you? Whether you’re buying or selling, HergGroup Greater Washington will work with you to ensure you come out on top of any transaction. Our experienced team has the industry knowledge and understanding to help you in today’s competitive market.

Despite the hot market, sometimes properties get reduced in price to stay competitive. Here are some that were just reduced over the past week or so:

The preceding feature was written and sponsored by HergGroup Greater Washington.

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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 two rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky and Micki MacNaughton, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $103 million in 2019.

This week, we’re featuring stunning Just Listed property in Alexandria that will be hosting an Open House Sunday, February 16 from 2-4 p.m. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to see it in person!

303 Monticello Boulevard, Alexandria 22305 — The Jen Walker Team

A beautifully built 5 bedroom/4 bathroom detached home from Windmill Hill Design Build has just come on the market at $1,585,000. This gorgeous home is bright and airy, with an open floor plan and custom trim details, lighting and fixtures. Enter into the foyer, flooded with light from the oversized windows, natural hardwood flooring and high ceilings. The main floor has a great flow — with an open-concept kitchen, dining room and living room.

The kitchen is a chef’s dream — marble countertops and an oversized island provide plenty of workspace and seating. The 36 inch, 6 burner Thermador range is situated under a custom-built hood with a natural wood beam accent. White shaker-style cabinetry with brass pulls surrounds the kitchen, allowing for plenty of storage. A pantry is tucked into the kitchen and built-in open shelving lines this wall as well, allowing for additional display and storage space.

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