Alexandria, VA

Del Ray’s pottery queen Renee Altman has nearly sold enough of her work to pay next month’s rent.

“Support your local potter and buy your Christmas presents now,” Altman told ALXnow. “Everybody’s worried about the restaurants and there’s other small businesses that also need support, like that yarn shop fibre space, and kiskadee and Silver Parrot and all kinds of places.”

Altman’s shop, The Clay Queen Pottery, has been open at 2303 Mount Vernon Avenue for nearly 20 years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced her to cancel her four weekly classes, which bring in the bulk of her revenue.

She also gave her students clay to take home to make pinch pots.

“When I had to close the studio because of the virus, people were saying, ‘I’m gonna lose all my skills!’ and I smile and tell them, ‘You’ve got muscle memory, don’t worry about it,'” she said. “It’s going to be very interesting with COVID-19, and I will not have to teach classes and can sit here all by myself and make pots and see what the creative juices create.”

Altman started taking pottery classes at Eastern Market Pottery in the District in 1972, and, three years later, quit her job at the Smithsonian National Museum of History and Technology and became a full-time potter. For 25 years, she primarily sold most of her work at Eastern Market until opening The Clay Queen Pottery in 2001. The shop makes high-fire stoneware ranging from $25 to $175, which is fired at hotter temperatures to create a glass-like texture.

“Things will be all right, God willing and the creek don’t rise,” Altman said. “I just wrote the check out for the May rent, and over the last two weeks I sold almost enough pottery on Facebook, and I’ve pretty much covered it.”

First a gigantic thank you to everybody for sharing my posts and photos with so many people. I am deeply touched by the…

Posted by The Clay Queen Pottery on Friday, March 27, 2020

Photo courtesy of The Clay Queen Pottery

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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.

Our Just Listed property this week features this  beautiful 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home in the heart of Alexandria City! Loaded with space and a functional layout, this is the one you have been waiting for!

4628 Newcomb Place, Alexandria, VA 22304 — The Jen Walker Team

Enter into the foyer with a large living room to the left and formal dining room on the right — great for hosting parties and entertaining. Continue through the home to an updated kitchen with white subway tile and an oversized window with an amazing view of the treetops. This open room features an eat-in table space and a family room with a wood burning fireplace.

Exit to the large deck with stairs to the yard — ideal for enjoying spring gatherings and summer cook-outs. A garage entry with mudroom area and powder room round out this level. The upper level is sure to impress with four large bedrooms including a master bedroom with ensuite bath. The additional hall bathroom is spacious and is centrally located around the other three upstairs bedrooms.

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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. Contact the HergGroup for virtual tour options. 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 Jillian Keck Hogan Real Estate Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Jillian at 703-951-7655 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What is happening in the Alexandria real estate market during COVID-19?

Answer: As we combat the COVID-19 Pandemic here in Alexandria, along with the rest of Virginia, by closing non-essential businesses, the real estate market is still very much alive. Though it is hard to trend where things are going, we can take the last 2 weeks of data to share how our market has been doing since our city started taking action against COVID-19.

The first week that Alexandria and Northern Virginia was affected by COVID-19 was March 15-21, and contract activity overall was down 5.1% compared to the same 7-day period last year, and it was down 25% for the week of March 22-28. Contract activity continues to move swiftly at the lower price-points, while the $1 million plus market is moving slower.

In the $300-$749K price range, which accounts for more than two-thirds of home sales, there was a 4.6% increase in new contracts the week of March 15. But this past week, a 15% decrease was seen in contract activity compared to the same 7-day period last year. Homes priced over $1million are moving slower and contract activity dropped 33% in this price range the week of March 15, and 46% the week of March 22.

Our marketplace has seen more properties taken to “Temporarily Off Market” than previous months due to people wanting to wait to sell until a later date. As of today, in our Alexandria City market, there are 23 “Coming Soon” properties, 79 actively for sale, and 52 homes that are under contract or pending.

*We will continue to monitor the market trends and how the economy will affect real estate and we encourage you to email us for the most up-to-date information.

Should I Buy During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Echoing what the Executive VP and Chief Information Officer of McEnearney, David Howell, always says, “Buy when you’re ready to buy, and sell when you’re ready to sell.” If you are ready to purchase a home, whether it is your first time, second time, or you’re looking for a new investment opportunity, there is no time like the present.

If you are looking at the higher price points over $1 million, recent statistics show that this price point has shifted away from being a “seller’s market”. Though we are still dealing with low inventory, buyers are looking at this downtime as a perfect time to find their next home. Settlements are still occurring and loans are still being underwritten (all while complying with the current CDC guidelines), although it is wise to allow a bit more time than the usual speedy settlement period to account for any delays due to COVID-19.

I Planned to Purchase This Spring. How Can I do That?

Now, more than ever before, having an expert real estate agent working for you is so important (we’d love to apply for the job). Our top priority is health and safety, and we have adjusted our standard practice to implement this priority. At this time, our Brokerage has halted all open houses to comply with CDC guidelines and Governor’s orders.

We are still touring by appointment only, and we are taking all the necessary precautions such as using Lysol wipes to open doors, wearing booties over our shoes, using hand sanitizer, and washing hands before and after tours. We encourage our clients to do the same, and we will not tour if anyone is feeling under the weather.

For the safety of our clients, sellers and ourselves, we encourage virtual tours and meetings utilizing Zoom or Facetime.

Whether renting or buying, always consult with your local real estate agent for advice. We’d love to help you with the process! Contact one our team members today — Jillian Keck Hogan, Kristina Eells and Adrianna Vallario.

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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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.

Our Just Listed property this week features this stunning 5 bedroom, 4 bath Beverly Hills beauty! A front porch area greets you with views of the neighborhood.

703 Chalfonte Drive Alexandria, VA 22305 — The Jen Walker Team

Enter into the large foyer with an updated light fixture and coat closet, drop your keys and head into the living room. This room features a wood burning fireplace, large windows and ample space for lounging, entertaining or just relaxing. The patio stretches across the back of the home, and French doors provide rear access just off the living room. The updated kitchen is a chef’s dream! Crisp white tile and stainless steel appliances complement the cabinetry and a spacious eat-in dining space. Plenty of cabinets allow for ample storage. Off the kitchen is a beautiful dining space with gorgeous light fixture.

Plenty of space to entertain and host holiday dinners! Upstairs, there are three very large bedrooms with a large, full bathroom. Hall and linen closets provide for loads of storage space. Head upstairs to a second upper level — here you will find a true master retreat. Built-ins with double desks and amazing closet storage can be found just off a beautiful master bedroom with updated sconces and an en-suite bathroom, complete with double vanity, private toilet and large shower/bath.

The lower level features a recreation room, den/bedroom, full bathroom and laundry area. A one car garage is situated just off the basement and allows for parking or tons of storage! Enjoy the private backyard with patio and tiered yard with playhouse and mature landscaping — all in bloom for spring! Walk to “The Pit” park — Charles Barrett Elementary! Asking: $1,200,000.

In this midst of COVID-19, we will not be hosting any open houses until the end of March. If you would like to see this properties first hand, please reach out to us to schedule a tour.

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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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. Contact the HergGroup for virtual tour options. Here’s a sampling of the local open houses this week:

  • 5106 Fillmore Avenue, Alexandria West — $835,150 (Open House: 3/27 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, 3/28 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM)
  • 4135 Seminary Road, Seminary Hills — $1,599,000 (Open House: 3/29 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM)

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 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: The ads are everywhere for online financing sources such as R—et Mortgage and Q—en Loans, what is your experience with these kinds of companies?

Answer: Out of State, Out of Our Minds

Todd,* my delightful buyer, was a sharp, tech-savvy businessman determined to get a great rate mortgage over the Internet. He logged on to a well-advertised website and sent along the details of our Sales Contract. Appropriately proud of his sterling credit, Todd pledged 20% down and started to plan his move to Old Town Alexandria. End of story?

NO SUCH LUCK! Enter Chaz* from the California-based mortgage brokerage which had received the loan form. “I’ve made loans for 30 years, little lady,” he boasted to me, “Don’t worry. Where are you calling from? West Virginia?”

Chaz:

1. Didn’t know any local appraisers and chose one from Baltimore.
2. Had heartburn about any home over 60 years old, let alone this 192-year old classic.
3. Promised 3.25% interest rate and didn’t lock it in as rates drifted higher.
4. Blamed Todd for not telling him the building could also be used commercially.

After bragging about his California successes, “I’ve closed every loan I’ve gotten my hands on, missy,” Chaz demanded another 10% down, raised the interest rate to 5.25%, emailed a lame apology note and left early for a long weekend, three days before our settlement!

Epilogue: A local lender saved the day, jumped in, took the file and settled in four days! There are excellent area banks and mortgage brokers who know our Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland homes, offer very competitive rates and give hands-on service. Start locally, save your sanity.

Not convinced, read on…

Can You Look Them in the Eye?

Another out-of-state lender played “yo-yo” with a buyer’s emotions early last week. “We’re just so swamped,” whined Jimmy from his XYZ Co.* office in Plano, Texas, “with interest rates at a 40-year low, everyone wants to refinance. I don’t know why our regional office hasn’t returned your phone calls this week; maybe they’re busy, too.”

For the next five minutes I heard a string of unbelievable admissions. “I know we’re supposed to settle next week, but I have to tell you that I don’t have the appraisal in yet, somebody here forgot to send the condo management office an important declaration form and, oopsie, the figures I used for Mollie’s* Good Faith Estimate were based on California closing costs,” he said.

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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.

Government contractors, federal employees and military personnel holding security clearances have a duty to self-report security issues that happen between investigations.

Not reporting timely security concerns can lead to a loss of one’s security clearance in itself. Unfortunately, there are often uncertain about self-reporting and when and how it applies to a clearance holder.

The Duty to Self Report

The duty to self-report was best defined by an administrative judge from the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) in a 2001 case: “[I]t is the responsibility of security clearance holders to report events which negatively affect the status of the security clearance holder or the facility. [A]ny information… [which] reflects adversely on the integrity or character of a security clearance holder should be reported to security personnel to avoid compromising situations that make the security clearance holder vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or duress.”

Examples of What Might be Reported

A reportable security concern is an incident that falls under one of the Adjudicative Guidelines contained in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4). In most cases legal counsel should be consulted to determine how to self-report an issue. The following are just a few of the more common examples of security issues that could trigger a duty to self-report:

  • An individual uses illegal drugs (including the use of marijuana even in states or countries where legal locally). This can be a very complicated security concern given the intersection of criminal law and clearance law where legal advice will definitely be needed.
  • An individual is arrested. The timing and substance of reporting this incident will be important so legal advice will be needed.
  • An individual petitions for bankruptcy. Because filing for bankruptcy bears on financial considerations under SEAD 4, the individual should likely report the filing as soon as possible to his or her security officer.
  • An individual marries a foreign citizen. Because marrying a foreign citizen can raise foreign influence issues under SEAD 4, it most likely will trigger a duty to self-report.

When Should a Security Concern be Reported?

When an individual who holds a security clearance determines that a security concern requires self-reporting, it is important to do so as soon as timely as possible. The typical procedure for doing so is to notify one’s security officer of the security concern. The security officer may simply take note of the situation, report it or take other action.

The individual almost always feels embarrassed to self-report a security concern. However, not reporting an incident can lead to the loss of an individual’s security clearance. If an individual has questions about what should be reported, he or she should seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in security clearance law as soon as possible. There are risks to self-reporting, so it is important to seek legal counsel prior to doing so where possible.

Contact Us

If you are in need of legal representation or advice on the reporting of security clearance issues or any other security clearance matters, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.

Our Just Listed properties this week feature two stunning listings in Alexandria City.

First, is this gorgeous Del Ray bungalow! This 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home will charm you from the moment you step onto the screened front porch.

29 Rosecrest Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301 — The Jen Walker Team

Enter into the large foyer and expansive living room. Beautiful hardwood flooring and a wood burning fireplace enhance this space, which is light and airy — and feeds into a spacious dining room with an upgraded chandelier. This room is ideal for entertaining or large gatherings. Just off the dining room is a bright and sunny kitchen — complete with a built in cabinet with glass doors — this kitchen makes cooking a breeze!

From the kitchen, exit to the deck and large, oversized yard. Enjoy relaxing outside or hosting parties with this amazing, private space! Rounding out this level is a half bathroom. Upstairs you will find three beautiful bedrooms and a large, full bathroom. The lower level is unfinished but provides plenty of space for a play area and storage and includes utilities and laundry.

Enjoy using the detached garage for storage or tools. Leave your car in the driveway and walk to everything Del Ray has to offer! Welcome home!

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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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