Alexandria, VA

This week’s column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual Q&A format. To learn about 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.

Instead of taking your real estate questions this week, we wanted to share details about an upcoming blood drive McEnearney Associates is supporting.

On Tuesday, December 15, stop by 301 King Street to donate blood for the Old Town INOVA Blood Drive. It’ll run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Go ahead and schedule your appointment online, and don’t forget to bring your photo ID and a face covering!

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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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: Should I list my home during the holidays?

Answer: At this time of year, we have many people asking if they should list their home now or hold on until after the new year? As always, if you need to sell, list it.

However, in most years, if you have flexibility, we would be inclined to wait until the new year. Many potential buyers may be thinking there will be more to choose from in the new year. This is generally true — we often do see an influx of listings and buyers in January. There is definitely a cycle of January shoppers that bring February contracts and March closings. Then the cycle is repeated in April, May and June.

However, 2020 — the year of COVID, working from home and social distancing — is truly a unique time. We have seen unusually high holiday season demand for detached homes, and decreased inventory. While not quite as “hot” as the pre-Covid market, there are more buyers than sellers leading this strong seller’s market. Multiple offers, while never assured, are not out of the question, and well-priced homes are selling quickly. For buyers, this is tough. For sellers, this is truly a “merry” circumstance. This year, in so many ways, is an anomaly.

So you decide to list… If you decide to list during the holiday period, you might wonder about holiday decor. Do you go full-bore holiday style, or keep the seasonal decor packed away? The answer lies somewhere in between: nobody expects sellers to ignore the season, but this is likely not the year to go all out.

Keeping decorations simple and somewhat restrained, while still honoring your family customs, is perfectly acceptable. Subtle and understated is the way to go, always keeping the staging guidelines in mind. Remember: accent the best features in your home. So, don’t put the Christmas tree in front of the window with the best view, or cover up beautiful mantles and railings with too much greenery. Use the décor to accent areas of the home that you want the buyer to see.

This time of year is fabulous to emphasize the warmth in a home. The smell of fresh baked cookies, glowing flameless candles and seasonal floral arrangements contribute to the ambience to make them want to linger.

Also keep in mind if you are launching your listing during the holidays when your home is decorated, photographs will include the seasonal items. If your home does not sell before the holidays are over, consider having new pictures done to promote the property. Note that seeing holiday decorations in mid-January will indicate to buyers that the home has been on the market for a while.

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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 $103 million in 2019.

This week, our Just Listed column features two properties throughout Alexandria that just hit the market for your viewing pleasure. First, this gorgeous Del Ray home that just hit the market! This home has it all. We will be featuring a Virtual Open House this Saturday, November 21, at 11 a.m. on our Instagram.

Fabulously updated 3 bed/2 bath home in Del Ray… This sweet home was completely renovated in 2014. Enter through the charming front porch into the living room. This space flows easily into the spacious, open kitchen/dining area. The kitchen features stainless appliances, mosaic backsplash, upgraded countertops and great storage with abundant cabinetry. The rear door off the kitchen leads to a small deck and private, rear yard with brick patio — ideal for socially distant dinners al fresco!

Head upstairs, and you will find two bedrooms and a full bathroom. The primary bedroom is full of light and has two closets for ample storage. On the lower level, a recreation room provides for additional living space — great for movie night. There is a bedroom with a door to access the rear yard as well as a full bathroom. The bedroom is a great guest room or could be used for a bright and sunny office space. Laundry and utility areas round out this level.

You will love living in Del Ray — walk to all the shops and restaurants on “The Avenue” with easy access to Potomac Yard and Crystal City. A short drive into D.C. and close to Reagan National Airport, this location cannot be beat. Welcome home!

3005 Manning Street Alexandria, VA 22305 — The Jen Walker Team

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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: Do you have any recommendations for ways to give back to other Alexandria residents during the holiday season and beyond?

Answer: As we all know, this holiday season is unlike any other. Many families are not able to travel to be with one another, group gatherings are out of the picture and dining in restaurants is not comfortable for most. But a common thread with this holiday season and previous ones is the importance of giving back.

As a member of the McEnearney Associates team in Alexandria, I am proud to live and work in a community that I love. You see, there is an important difference at McEnearney… “It’s not about us, it’s about you.” Not only when working with our clients, but also in giving back to the community.

This is the year to toss aside the “this is the way we have always done it” standard and think of different ways we can help. McEnearney’s long-standing support of the holiday event at Hopkins House will still include fun gifts for the children, but instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, he will be speaking to them via video. Target Gift Cards for The Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria will provide an opportunity for purchasing gifts of their choosing.

Between delivering Meals on Wheels, holding community coat and food drives, supporting of organizations that help with home repairs, and getting involved with stopping child abuse, women transitioning from prison, homelessness, and feeding the hungry… There are so many opportunities to make a difference.

Check out sites like ACT for Alexandria, Volunteer Alexandria and ALIVE! for a sampling of the types of ways you can volunteer your time or money. Or Google a cause you are passionate about and reach out to see how you can help.

As a TWIG, it is my pleasure to be on the fundraising committee in support of INOVA Alexandria Hospital. With the need to cancel the Annual Homes Tour and to have the thrift shop closed during the pandemic, our annual fundraising has been drastically reduced.

Are you familiar with SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now)? Started by a local Alexandrian for a very important cause and like so many other organizations, their annual fundraising gala was cancelled this year, and they can use your help. For more information about SCAN, please visit scanva.org.

What about random acts of kindness? Do you know of someone who has been ill or could use a surprise? Drop off an unexpected little gift — you can always leave it on their front porch. The feedback I receive from my neighbors, friends and clients when I do this throughout the year is one of sincere appreciation no matter how small the gesture.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about any of these organizations or for help finding one that best fits your passions. I am also readily available to connect you with like-minded individuals in our community where you can make a difference.

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria.  Having had seven golden retrievers since moving to Alexandria in 1989, 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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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, our Just Listed property features this gorgeous Del Ray home that just hit the market. This home has it all. We will be featuring a Virtual Open House this Saturday at 2 p.m. on our Instagram.

This is a three bedroom, two bathroom end-unit townhome. The adorable, enclosed front porch leads to a light-filled living room. This room flows easily into a spacious dining room with glass French doors that take you to the rear patio and fully fenced yard.

420 E. Luray Avenue Alexandria, VA 22301 — The Jen Walker Team

The kitchen boasts an abundance of white cabinets and crisp tile. On the upper level, the primary bedroom is very large and boasts three closets — one cedar. Bedroom two is spacious and full of light. Bedroom three is ideal for an office or nursery. The lower level features a recreation room, full bathroom, laundry room with utility sink, loads of storage space and rear access to the backyard.

Leave your car in the parking area off the backyard and walk to restaurants, shopping and entertainment on The Avenue. Welcome home!

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].

Additional Just Listed homes in Alexandria include:

In this midst of COVID-19, we will not be hosting any in-person open houses. We will, however, be going live on our Instagram every weekend for our virtual tours. Stay updated with our virtual tours by following us on our Instagram page for updates.

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 Kim 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 703-244-5852 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future column

Question: With the pandemic and the recent election, when is the best time to sell my home?

Answer: As we all know, 2020 has been a year like no other. A pandemic. High unemployment. Low interest rates. An election year. Throughout it all, real estate has been steady and strong. Now we are on the brink of the holidays. With all of these factors at play, you may be wondering, when is the best time to sell your home?

First, let’s talk about interest rates. They are amazing — at an all-time low — and are expected to stay low for a while. This has had a huge impact on our real estate market.

According to the latest report by David Howell, Chief Information Officer for McEnearney, year-to-date 2020 sales in Northern Virginia have exceeded last year by 27.5 percent for homes priced at $750K and above. Homes under $750K have seen steady sales, as well, just slightly up over last year. Due to a shortage of available homes for sale, the average days to sell a home is 25.7 percent less in 2020 than last year. For the week ending November 8, contracts in the Washington Metro area were up over 30% over the same week last year. This is a great indicator!

Even with these fantastic numbers, real estate has slowed ever so slightly over the last several weeks. Some of this is due to the election and some of this is due to the normal cycle of real estate. Buyers typically take a pause leading up to an election. However, there is also a normal real estate slow down leading into the holidays.

BTIG, a research and analysis company, has data showing that for the last 60 years, there has been a decline in home sales of 9.8 percent in November anyway, compared to October. In presidential election years, sales have dropped by as much as 15 percent in November. Myers Research and Zonda reports that “the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle.”

Here in the Washington D.C. metro area, the presidential election has a very short-lived effect. Once a new president is elected, there tends to always be some growth in the housing market in D.C. Combine this with the fantastic interest rates and limited inventory of homes on market, in my opinion, there is even more pent-up demand coming our way. So, depending on your unique selling situation, the best time to sell could be right now, or it could be in early 2021.

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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.

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].

In this midst of COVID-19, we will not be hosting any in-person open houses. We will, however, be going live on our Instagram every weekend for our virtual tours. Stay updated with our virtual tours by following us on our Instagram page for updates.

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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A month before she died, Martha Washington was experiencing some intestinal discomfort. On April 22, 1802, she sent away for a quart bottle of the “best castor oil” that Edward Stabler had at his apothecary.

A copy of the note that Washington wrote is currently on display at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum at 105-107 S. Fairfax Street. It’s just one of many historical treasures from the country’s very first family in the apothecary’s storied history, which also includes ledgers with orders from George Washington’s doctors while he was president, orders from Martha Washington’s daughter Nelly Custis.

The simple note reads: “Mrs. Washington desires Mr. Stabler will send by the bearer, a quart bottle of his best castor oil, and the bill for it. – Mount Vernon, April 22, 1822.”

The museum, which has reopened, also has records showing that Robert E. Lee paid off his account in 1861, after he was refused the command of the Union army, resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.

The apothecary was more than just a pharmacy. It was more like a CVS or Walgreens, and sold a variety of items, including paint, perfumes, cleaning products, pesticides and more. The company eventually owned more than 10 locations in Alexandria.

“The apothecary was the dealer in all things chemical,” Lauren Gleason, program coordinator and museum gift shop manager for the Office of Historic Alexandria, told ALXnow. “That’s why photography processing chemicals were sold originally at apothecaries. And we just continued with the practice of having our film developed at the pharmacy well through the 20th century.”

Edward Stabler founded the business in 1792, and it lasted for four generations, until his great grandson declared bankruptcy and closed shop in 1933. The original apothecary opened a few doors down, and moved into its present location in 1805.

The museum still has all of the original ingredients that were in the pharmacy when it closed in 1933, including cannabis, opium, Dragon’s Blood, Mandrake Root and Wolf’s Bane. Understandably, the list of items lines up well with the museum’s sold-out Harry Potter program.

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This week’s Q&A column is written by Karisue Wyson, Director of Recruiting & Agent Support at McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article, contact Karisue at 703-615-0876 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How can I plan for a successful real estate career?

Answer: When you embark on an exciting and challenging career in real estate you are not just signing up to show houses, write offers or manage your time autonomously. You are launching yourself as the CEO of a start-up company, with all the time, effort and expense that entails.

No successful CEO runs his or her company without having a clear and trackable plan for how to achieve their goals. Here are a few of the basics in setting yourself up for success as a realtor that should be completed before you register for your Principles of Real Estate courses and prepare to take your licensing exam.

Create a Written Business Plan

To meet your goals, you need to DEFINE what you want your business to look like. This process will take some time and is a mix of practical, logistical and aspirational thinking. Have fun mapping out your dream company! But be sure to write your business plan in a way that is clear, measurable and adaptable as you progress in your first years as an entrepreneur. A simple plan will contain:

  • Your vision and/or mission statement — WHY are you in real estate and what is the purpose of the business you are creating.
  • A description of your company and your services — WHO you are: Are you creating a business entity? Are you working under your own name? WHAT work you will be providing: Are you focusing on residential or will you also be taking commercial clients? Will you offer staging services? Do you plan to host Open Houses? Will you work with rentals? Be specific if you are planning to specialize in an area of real estate like investment buyers, seniors, vacation homes, etc.
  • The target area you will do business — WHERE you are selling real estate: Will you be in multiple jurisdictions or focus on a specific neighborhood (often called a “Farm” area)? What are the average prices in this area and how quickly do homes sell?
  • An analysis of the current market where you want to focus and your competitive advantage — HOW you will stand out among the thousands of Realtors in the region, and WHAT is special about what you bring to the real estate experience.
  • An organizational chart — WHO will make up your company. Will you be a sole proprietor, or will you have partners or team members? Early in the process, it may just be you, but if you have plans to grow your business you’ll want to have a plan for when that expansion begins (when you hit $8M in sales, $10M in sales, are working 60 hours a week?) Think about what your “tipping point” may be and make a plan.
  • A marketing plan — HOW you will let people know you are open for business. The brokerage you sign with will have many options to assist your marketing efforts, and I will say that McEnearney has The BEST marketing vision, hands down! However, you will need to create a personal plan for what you want your personal brand to look like, a calendar of marketing projects, mailers or events and a budget for what you want to spend.
  • Financial Projections — WHAT income do you want to make and how many real estate transactions will it take to get you there. If you want to make $100,000/year, calculate how many homes at what price range with a commission range of 2.5%-3% will it take to make that $100,000. Also, create an estimated expense sheet that will be deducted from your income and be sure to set aside estimated quarterly tax amounts as you are now self-employed and will be paying taxes directly to the government.
  • There are many free online templates available, like this simple version from the Small Business Administration. If this one is not the right fit, a Google search should turn up the right one for you.

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of modern-day life, from the way consumers buy their groceries to how employees connect to corporate systems. Learning is no exception.

Since the outbreak, online learning has become more central to people’s lives. And many plan to continue the trend: More than half of American adults who expect to need more education or training post-pandemic say they would do it online, according to an August 2020 survey by the Strada Education Network.

Yet not all online education is created equal — and IT pros looking to invest in a program should compare and contrast options carefully.

Whether pursuing a full-time master’s degree to deepen IT expertise or seeking a certificate to boost content knowledge in a specific area, there are many reasons why Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology program (VT-MIT) is a superior choice for IT leaders.

The U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs report ranks Virginia Tech’s MIT degree the nation’s fourth best. The program blends coursework and offers twelve areas of specialized study for a diverse education.

Courses are taught by world-class faculty experienced in translating a robust academic experience to an effective online format. For nearly 20 years, the VT-MIT program has relied on a two-tiered system of master faculty and distance learning instructors who together deliver a superior online classroom experience that encourages peer-to-peer support, faculty-to-student mentoring and real-time engagement, making VT-MIT a leader in the online education space long before COVID-19 forced other programs to go virtual.

Students can also expect to reap these advantages:

  • Increased Flexibility  Students can choose their own timeline and toggle between full- and part-time schedules, depending on employment status and current workload.
  • Greater Convenience –– A combination of synchronous and asynchronous online classes allows students to learn anywhere, anytime — ideal for remote workers unsure of when they may return to the office.
  • Enhanced Value Students can earn a VT-MIT degree at a universal tuition rate (no residency required) from a well-respected public institution.

Today’s IT professionals must act fast to keep pace with a rapidly evolving IT environment. Experience and specialized IT skills are critical to making the right technology decisions, at the right time. With the flexibility of an online VT-MIT degree or graduate certificate, IT leaders can strike the perfect balance: earn a respected credential that will help them confront the technological challenges of the 21st century while accommodating new realities.

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