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Sacred Grove — Where People and Pets Heal and Connect!

“People usually reach out to me for help with behavioral issues, emotional issues, and end-of-life transitions. Since I’m also a medical intuitive and energy healer, I use all these skills to help folks’ beloved animals,” says local Animal Communicator Maribeth Decker of Sacred Grove.

Maribeth wasn’t born an animal communicator. She discovered her calling after she became a Reiki Master. That’s when her own dogs started communicating with her — some who’d passed and some still on the planet. This was her wake-up “bark” to shift to animals and their people!

Maribeth works with people locally and around the world. She recently worked with Hanne’s dog Brandy in Norway. Brandy withdrew emotionally from Hanne and stopped eating and drinking after a veterinarian visit. This continued for weeks. “Within 24 hours of Maribeth’s session, Brandy became her own self again, increasingly eating and drinking properly. Her cocker spaniel spirit was back, with the continuously wagging tail,” said Hanne.

Having worked with animals moving towards transition, Maribeth wrote her bestseller, Peace in Passing: Comfort for Loving Humans During Animal Transitions. In this book, you can find mindsets, modalities and real-life stories to help you navigate the last leg of you beloved animal’s life.

Learn more about the work Maribeth does and about her UConnect Animal Communication Class.

Sign up for her newsletter and receive Maribeth’s free report, “5 Things Your Pets Want You to Know“.

Welcome to The Landing: nurturing and innovative boutique-style senior living right in the heart of Alexandria.

Set in the cultural and intellectual hub of North Potomac Yard, The Landing rewards residents with magnificent panoramic views of the Potomac River and Washington, D.C, and all the diverse shopping, dining, and entertainment options they desire.

Combining the elegance of a luxury rental community with the extravagance of a best-in-class hospitality experience, The Landing creates a supportive and unique community where everything is personally tailored to help residents flourish. Our studios, one- and two-bedroom residences, premium suites, and penthouse-level apartments offer spacious floor plans featuring upscale touches and refined finishes, such as modern kitchenettes, high ceilings, open living spaces, and an abundance of natural light.

Our holistic approach strengthens four interconnected “circles” of wellness: physical, social, mental, and spiritual. Every resident receives just the right amount of individualized support from our Independent Living, Assisted Living, Bridge Program, or Memory Care lifestyle options.

From gourmet dining, our spa, salon, and state-of-the-art fitness center to our award-winning Watermark University and our professional concierge services, life at The Landing is exciting, comfortable, and exceptional.

Now welcoming new residents. To learn more visit LandingAlexandria.com or call (571) 814-5866.

 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: What does the 2023 Northern Virginia real estate market hold in store for buyers and sellers?

Answer: Let’s take a quick look back to 2022. In the first half of 2022 we were still riding a very strong seller’s market. Interest rates were in the low threes, inventory was scarce, and buyers were in abundance. We saw lots of multiple offers and very happy sellers.

By mid-June we had seen a rapid increase in mortgage rates, to the point Realtors could feel buyers slamming on the brakes. By mid-summer interest rates peaked at 7.4%. This meant buyers essentially had a 50% increase in their potential payments vs. what they would have seen at the start of the year.

By the end of 2022 interest rates had calmed down, closer to 6.5%. Not surprising, the fall market was significantly quieter than the previous couple of years. Buyers decided it was time for a break and were reconsidering if it was a good time to make a purchase.

Some interesting statistics comparing the real estate market at the end of December 2021 versus the end of December 2022:

  • Listings down 20.8%
  • 30-year fixed mortgage rates finished the year at 6.4%
  • Mortgage applications down 86% — 22 year low!
  • Sales down 24.4%

BUT, despite this, home prices were up over the year, and we still only have a 1.6-month supply of properties for sale. This is still very much a seller’s market. A balanced market supply would offer 4 to 6 months of supply.

So, what’s ahead? Industry experts are anticipating a fairly flat increase of less than 1%. Keep in mind real estate markets vary significantly from one neighborhood, city, state to the next. It is really important to know what is happening in a particular neighborhood vs. comparing it to any national statistic you may hear. Historically, NOVA has been somewhat sheltered from the drastic fluctuations seen in other parts of the country. This is where an experienced agent can advise you of current trends in the neighborhood you are considering.

Lack of inventory, and continued population growth in our area support a seller’s market. The shortage of home building and the growth of the population since the financial crisis in 2008 has left buyers with not enough inventory to purchase from. Even though interest rates have gone up, they are still below historical trends.

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Where can you find people smiling, praying, and cursing at the same time?

The gym! Especially a CrossFit Gym!

Today we’re showcasing co-owner Adam Murphy with Crossfit Neighborhood.

Adam and the coaches of Crossfit NBHD have a unique combination of formal education, professional certifications, and real-world experience. The coaches have trained CrossFit Games athletes, fitness newbies, and everyone in between.

Their goal?

They want each member to achieve their health and wellness goals. That may be getting a first pull-up, competing, losing a few pounds, or simply doing life better.

Classes run from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. There’s even an “open gym” you can visit 24/7. So, yea…no excuses!

To sign up for a trial class, visit their website at The-NBHD.com. You’ll be surrounded by folks who share a commitment to health, wellness, and maximizing performance. I’ll see you there!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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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 $175 million in 2021.

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

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

Question: Are there ways to lower my interest rate when buying a house?

Answer: The new year will shake up how everyone involved in the home ownership process as consumers, lenders and Realtors explore solutions to keep the housing market moving at a healthy pace. The days of throwing a home on the market and watching multiple offers roll in is probably a thing of the past, but there are still advantages available to both sides to ensure people can buy the homes that are available, even with rates at their highest in several years.

For buyers, taking an (honest!) inventory of finances and speaking with a lender is the first step. While it is advisable to have a healthy cash reserve when buying a home, the old standard of 20% down is rarely the case today. The National Association of Realtors 2022 study of homebuyers and sellers showed that the typical down payment for first-time buyers was 6% while for repeat buyers it was 17%.

But even with lower requirements for a down payment, buyers will still have to qualify for financing and bring money to closing. What are some options to make every dollar count on the pathway to homeownership?

Rate Buydowns

Buyers over the past several years were treated to historically low interest rates in the high 2-percentiles to low three-percentiles. With rates now in the low to mid six-percentile, diminished buyer power is leading to creative solutions in adjusting where buyers start out with their rate — and where they might end up.

Brian Bonnet of Atlantic Coast Mortgage shared insight into two buydown strategies — one that’s traditional and one that has been sparking conversation among Realtors looking for every option to help their clients. The tried-and-true rate buydown is where buyers lower their interest rate by buying “points” at the time of closing. The lowered interest rate is fixed for the lifetime of the loan and offer buyers a consistent amortization schedule.

The “2-1 Buydown” is a temporary rate adjustment where a buyer uses cash to lower their interest rate by 2% in the first year of their mortgage and 1% in the second year of the mortgage, coming back to their full rate at the 25th month of mortgage payments. For example, the buyer who would qualify at the loans note (which is generally slightly higher than the current market fixed rate — let’s say 7% — would pay to bring their rate down to 5% in 2023, 6% in 2024 and back to 7% — the rate at which the buyer was qualified — in 2025.

The benefit of this scenario is that buyers will have a cushion of two years before they start paying the fully amortized rate, and the cash can come in the form of a seller credit (see more on this topic below). Bonnet points out that consumers can’t assume rates will drop or that refinancing will be cheaper in 2025, and must think carefully about whether they will be in a better or worse position when the full rate goes into effect.

“Will rates be better after two years? Will you be in a better financial position to account for the increased interest payment? Will you be able to refinance if you aren’t?” Bonnet said the 2-1 buydown option is good for buyers who don’t expect to be in their home long-term, such as a military buyer who isn’t using their VA opportunity and plans to sell at the end of their assignment. “The typical buyer is not a 2-1 buydown consumer.”

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Address: 524 S Pitt Street
Neighborhood: Old Town
Type: 4 BR, 3 (+1 half) BA townhouse
Listed: $1,995,000

Noteworthy: Pristine 3-story townhome with beautifully landscaped patio and garden.

Located in Old Town’s southeast quadrant, this pristine 3-story townhome features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, hardwood floors throughout and exceptional natural light.

Contemporary and traditional elements include high ceilings, columns defining living and dining areas, recessed lights, handsome built-ins and an enviable open floor plan with a spacious kitchen/family room featuring a gas fireplace and glass doors opening to the patio. Custom plantation shutters shield the natural light when you wish and allow privacy in the evenings. A stainless/granite kitchen with French door refrigerator, gas cooking, large island with overhang for casual breakfast seating, built-in with wine racks and sea glass knobs on wood cabinets will delight the chef.

The primary suite offers two walk-in closets, a gas fireplace and a generous adjoining primary bath with dual vanities. The laundry is conveniently located just a few steps away on the same floor. The 3 guest rooms are sizeable with large closets and updated full baths. Enjoy the outdoors on the professionally landscaped garden/patio with ample space for al fresco dining and a separate seating area with fire pit.

Completing this remarkable property are two off street parking spaces and a storage shed behind the rear fence.

Listed by:
Babs Beckwith
[email protected]
(703) 627-5421

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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: What is the difference between a VA loan and a conventional loan?

Answer: If you are considering purchasing your first home, you may have heard about the different types of loans available to buyers looking to finance their purchase. Let’s talk about two that are frequently used — Conventional and VA.

Conventional loans are fairly typical and are able to finance most types of properties. A VA loan, on the other hand, is available only to those who have served in a branch of the military. Their entitlement is determined by their years of service.

Conventional loans are flexible, and almost all properties are eligible to finance with a conventional loan. This means that even if you are purchasing a vacation home, or investment property, this loan is available to you. A VA loan, however, can only be used on a primary purchase of a home. You would need to take out a conventional loan for any second purchases you might make.

Many who have the option for a VA loan choose that because a VA loan allows you to purchase with either a zero down payment or a minimal down payment.

Also, a VA loan does not require monthly mortgage insurance. There is also no minimum down payment or private mortgage insurance. Conventional loans usually require at least a minimum of 3% down and often times more, and also, private mortgage insurance is required with a down payment of less than 20%.

For many, a VA loan is not an option. However, for those who do have eligibility, it is a great way to purchase your first home. VA loans can often be assumed by a future buyer on your home, which is another added benefit. It allows you to pass along an excellent interest rate, which can be a selling point for your home in future. Of course, there are other caveats and requirements, so this should be explored fully before attempting to utilize this VA benefit.

Mortgage loans are tailored to the specific needs of the buyer. Both VA loans and conventional loans are excellent products. For more information about these types of loans and other mortgage loans, we have great lenders who we can recommend to you.

Nancy Donovan (NMLS #483536) of Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group contributed to this article and many of our buyers have worked with her. For a more in-depth discussion on all the types of loans available to you, give her a call at 703-408-8252. And as always, please reach out to me if you would like to discuss your options for buying or selling a home in 2023!

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

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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Live Alexandria: Salon deZEN

Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Do you love your hairstylist?

I do. Angela does an amazing job with all her clients. Moreover, she’s part of a unique and fabulous culture that’s been created by Alexandria’s own, Maria Elizabeth.

Salon deZEN, this week’s featured business, believes “you can change the world by being yourself,” and that’s a message I can get behind! This full-service salon is one of my Alexandria favorites. Where else can you go to get great salon service AND a dose of positive self-affirmation?

The staff and stylists are so good they sweat glitter!

To book a service or learn more about their company philosophy, visit salondezen.com. They’ll help you discover, create and recreate your style while making you feel safe, valued, and appreciated.

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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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 $175 million in 2021.

Gorgeously updated end unit townhome in the popular and friendly Warwick Village neighborhood of Alexandria!

The main level features a gourmet kitchen with gas cooking, marble countertops, custom lighting and spacious island that overlooks the great room. This living space is bright and open with hardwood floors, built-ins for storage, and an access to the fully fenced backyard. Walk upstairs to 3 bedrooms, and a fully renovated bathroom with marble flooring, lovely sconce lighting, and great storage. The finished lower level features a large recreation/family room with recessed lighting and adjacent full bathroom. There is plenty of storage space in the laundry room and closet under the stairs.

Enjoy all the designer touches in this move-in ready home! Ideally located near shopping, dining, and year-round community events in Del Ray. Close to 395, National Landing, Amazon HQ2, Pentagon, D.C. and much more!

2938 Sycamore Street, Alexandria, VA 22305The 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

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