Why We All Need a ‘Phil Dunphy’ on Our Side

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phil

Whether or not you’ve ever seen an episode of Modern Family, or know who Phil Dunphy’s character is, the concept of knowing that you have someone in your corner who is looking out for your best interests is something we all want.

When it comes to buying a home, whether you are a rookie homebuyer or have gone through the process many times, having a local real estate expert who is well versed in the neighborhood you are looking to move into, and the trends of the area, should be your goal.

For those who aren’t familiar, the character Phil Dunphy is a Realtor with a huge heart who always strives to do the best for his family and his clients.

In one recent episode, Phil even shared the oath that he created and holds himself to:

“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.” 

While this might seem silly, and it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above your own are not to be taken lightly.

Bottom Line

When you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process.

How to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar: Insider Tips

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Staging can absolutely bring a seller more money! I’ve seen this proven time after time. This is why we pay for every single one of our sellers to have a staging consultation with the best in the business!  (If your not convinced, just take a look at this wonderful information from Houselogic.)

If you are looking to buy or sell and want excellent service…please reach out!

staging

The best way to help buyers imagine themselves in your space? Staging.

Staging your house can make you money. Seventy-one percent of sellers’ agents believe a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® “2015 Profile of Home Staging.”

Both units were in the same complex. One hadn’t been staged or updated since it was built; the other was staged and had been slightly refreshed (a little paint here and there and one redone bath). Otherwise, both units were the same size and layout. The staged condo sold for about $30,000 more than the unstaged unit, she says. “People couldn’t believe it was the same model.”

Before your eyes turn into dollar signs, keep in mind staging isn’t guaranteed to get you more money. But it’s an important marketing tool to help you compete at the right price, which means you can sell faster. (A study from the Real Estate Staging Association bears this out.)

Helping buyers fall in love with your property takes more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows: It’s all about decluttering, repairing, updating, and depersonalizing, say real estate agents and stagers.

Houselogic has compiled this ultimate home staging checklist:

Living Room

Neutral decor in a staged living room

Embrace symmetry when staging your living room. Coordinated sets, like these pillows, are pleasing to a buyer’s eye. Image: Fluff Designs  

  • When placing anything from accent pillows and table lamps, go for symmetry, which is pleasing to the eye.
  • Light it up with lamps. Chic lamps provide both added lighting and appealing decor.
  • Make that fireplace glow. Scrub away soot stains and replace the old screen.
  • If you’re using staging furniture or buying slip covers, choose light colors for an airy, inviting feel.
  • Whatever amount of furniture you have in your living room, remove a few pieces to make the room feel spacious.
  • Use bright, coordinated accessories like accent pillows and throw blankets for a chic splash of color.
  • Help buyers imagine their life in your home. Set the scene by displaying a board game or tea service on the coffee table, and arrange furniture in conversational groups.
  • Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.

Kitchen

Kitchen staged with a bowl of fruit on the counter

Image: Wendy F Johnson, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer

  • Clear everything from countertops except one or two decorative items, like a vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, flatware, and cookware, and pare down all other cupboard and drawer items down to the minimum.
  • Freshen up and modernize those cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or stain and new hardware.
  • Seriously evaluate your appliances. Can they look new again with a good scrubbing? Give it the old college try or consider replacing with new models. The Real Estate Staging Association strongly recommends stainless steel. Tip: You can get the look of stainless for the cost of a cheap dinner with stainless films.
  • Remove those fridge magnets and give the door and handles a good cleaning.
  • Scrub dirt, grime, and stains from walls, cabinets, and backsplashes.
  • Clean cabinet interiors, especially under the sink.
  • Clean and organize the pantry, leaving some empty space to make it look bigger. Store items in decorative baskets and display a few jars of fancy jam and other upscale condiments.
  • Let buyers entertain the idea of entertaining. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
  • Strike a balance between overly formal and too casual with an attractive runner and a few fun, decorative elements — think small floral vases or short candle holders.

Bathroom

  • It’s de-grime time: Scrub and sanitize the walls, floor, shower door — virtually every surface that comes in contact with steam.
  • Spend extra time scrubbing that tile grout and re-caulk around the tub if necessary.
  • If your bathroom tile is dated, try paint instead of replacing it. Start with a high-adhesion primer and either epoxy or latex paint.
  • Remove clutter from the countertop, tub, and top of toilet. Clean surfaces until they gleam.
  • Pack up and hide all your personal products — from medicine to razors.
  • Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain, and a new bath mat.
  • Fix leaky or running toilets and replace toilet seats.
  • Remove hard water stains on faucets and shower heads. (Try vinegar!)
  • Take a daring sniff of the drains. Odorous? Clean them out, and deodorize with baking soda, boiling water, or vinegar.
  • Time for a new sink anyway? Try a pedestal sink to optimize precious bathroom space.

Bedrooms

Neutral bedroom design in staged home

Image: Fluff Designs 

  • Go gender neutral in the master bedroom. Ditch those dainty, floral pillow shams or NASCAR posters.
  • Pack up all but the clothes you’re wearing this season to make you closets look larger.
  • Swap out the motley crew of mismatched hangers in your closet for a set of wooden ones to create a classy, boutique look.
  • Put jewelry and other valuables in a safe spot.
  • Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office, sewing room, or another interesting function.
  • Remove televisions or video game consoles from bedrooms to depersonalize and create a serene setting.

Dining Room

Home dining room with farmhouse table

  • Let buyers entertain the idea of entertaining. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
  • Strike a balance between overly formal and too casual with an attractive runner and a few fun, decorative elements — think small floral vases or short candle holders.

 

Bathroom

Marble tile bathroom

Image: Stirling Home Studio

  • It’s de-grime time: Scrub and sanitize the walls, floor, shower door — virtually every surface that comes in contact with steam.
  • Spend extra time scrubbing that tile grout and re-caulk around the tub if necessary.
  • If your bathroom tile is dated, try paint instead of replacing it. Start with a high-adhesion primer and either epoxy or latex paint.
  • Remove clutter from the countertop, tub, and top of toilet. Clean surfaces until they gleam.
  • Pack up and hide all your personal products — from medicine to razors.
  • Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain, and a new bath mat.
  • Fix leaky or running toilets and replace toilet seats.
  • Remove hard water stains on faucets and shower heads. (Try vinegar!)
  • Take a daring sniff of the drains. Odorous? Clean them out, and deodorize with baking soda, boiling water, or vinegar.
  • Time for a new sink anyway? Try a pedestal sink to optimize precious bathroom space.

    Walls, Windows & More

    Neutral cabinet in staged home

    Image: Laura Schuchart of The Soulful House

    • Have a dark corner or hallway? Brighten it up with a decorative mirror.
    • Neutralize the walls. If any rooms are painted in dark colors, repaint white or beige.
    • Paint adjacent rooms the same color to make the whole space feel larger.
    • Fill nicks and holes in walls, and touch up with paint.
    • Sorry, wood paneling. It’s time. Paint over paneling with a neutral color. To really cover your tracks, use wood filler between panels and paint over the entire thing.
    • Make sure every switch plate and outlet cover matches and looks brand new.
    • Wash the windows, inside and out. Repair any holes or tears in screens.
    • Replace those family portraits with interesting art placed strategically throughout the house. Avoid leaving dead space on walls.

      Throughout the House

      Books packed in a moving box

      Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

       

      • Declutter! Consider it pre-packing for your move. Box up books, clothes, and personal items and place them (neatly!) in the garage or — better yet — a rented storage unit.
      • Don’t forget to include memorabilia in those decluttering bins. Family photos, diplomas, and the kids’ artwork should all go.
      • Keep closets, basements, and attics as empty as possible to maximize the appearance of storage space.
      • Transform underused areas of the house — the alcove under the stairs or the end of a hallway — into functional spots. Add a desk to create a mini office, or a chair and small bookshelf for a reading nook.
      • Swap dim lights for high-wattage bulbs.
      • Check every door, drawer, and cabinet to ensure they open and close easily. Swap out any faulty — or dingy — hardware.
      • Damaged or aging hardwood floors? Replace damaged boards with new wood, sand down the entire floor, and re-stain.
      • Do a deep (deep, deep) clean. Hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom — including carpets — before viewings.

        Exterior

        House with large house numbers

        Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

        • Brighten up your porch with fresh paint or stain.
        • Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door, preferably red, black, blue, or wood stain, so long as it complements the trim and doesn’t blend, says The Real Estate Staging Association. Steer clear of unconventional colors like purple.
        • Buy a new doormat to welcome home buyers.
        • Power-wash the house exterior, walkway, steps, driveway, and porch until everything sparkles.
        • Make sure the locks and doorbell function.
        • Make that mailbox look clean and welcoming, or get a new one.
        • Plant lots of colorful blooms in attractive pots and planter beds.
        • Trim back trees and shrubs from the approach to the front door.
        • Whip that yard into shape with fresh sod or new seed
        • Store yard equipment and children’s toys out of sight.
        • Repair shaky banisters.
        • Get a hammock (or bocce ball game or raised fire pit) to show off how fun your yard can be.
        • Dress up any imperfect planting area with mulch.
        • Make sure entryway lights function and are free of cobwebs and insects.
        • Hide trash cans, recycle bins, and garden hoses.
        • Don’t forget your outdoor living space. Stage your patio like a second living room, with fashionable furniture, accent pillows, an outdoor rug, and other patio-friendly decor.

How Contractors Scam You Without You Ever Knowing

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article from Houselogic

You’ll be ready when he says, “Take my word for it” or makes any of 4 other claims.

“Well, he seemed legit” is what many homeowners end up saying after realizing they’re out the $1,500 they handed over “for materials” and stuck with a job barely done.

While most contractors are honest, hardworking professionals, a few bad apples can spoil it for everyone. Here are five ways to identify if a contractor could be scamming you, and how to protect yourself:

Scam 1: I’ll Need the Money Up Front

This is the most common ruse reported to the Better Business Bureau. Your contractor explains that because he has to order materials and rent earthmoving equipment to get the job started, he needs, say, 30%-50% of the project price up front. Once you’ve forked over the dough, one of two things happens: He disappears on you, or he starts doing slapdash work knowing that you can’t really fire him because he’s sitting on thousands of your dollars.

How to protect yourself: Never prepay more than $1,000 or 10% of the job total, whichever is less. That’s the legal maximum in some states, and enough to establish that you’re a serious customer so the contractor can work you into his schedule — the only valid purpose of an advance payment. As to the materials and backhoe rentals, if he’s a professional in good standing, his suppliers will provide them on credit.

Scam 2: Take My Word For It

When you first meet with the contractor, he’s very agreeable about doing everything exactly to your specifications and even suggests his own extra touches and upgrades. Some of the details don’t make it into the contract agreement, but you figure it doesn’t matter because you had such a clear verbal understanding.

Pretty soon, you notice that the extras you’d discussed aren’t being built. When you confront the contractor, he tells you that he didn’t include those features in his price, so you’ll have to live without them or pony up additional money to redo the work.

How to protect yourself: Unfortunately, you have few — if any — legal options against your contractor because you signed a contract that didn’t include all the details. Next time, make sure everything you’ve agreed on is written into the project description. Add any items that are missing, put your initials next to each addition, and have the contractor initial it, too — all before you sign.

Scam 3: I Don’t Need to Pull a Permit

You’re legally required to get a building permit for any significant construction project. That allows building officials to visit the site periodically to confirm that the work meets safety codes.

On small interior jobs, an unlicensed contractor may try to skirt the rule by telling you that authorities won’t notice. On large jobs that can’t be hidden, the contractor may try another strategy and ask you to apply for a homeowner’s permit, an option available to do-it-yourselfers.

But taking out your own permit for a contractor job means lying to authorities about who’s doing the work. And it makes you responsible for monitoring all the inspections — since the contractor doesn’t answer to the inspector, you do.

How to protect yourself: Always demand that the contractor get a building permit. Yes, it informs the local tax assessor about your upgrade, but it weeds out unlicensed contractors and gives you the added protection of an independent assessment of the work.

Scam 4: We Ran Into Unforeseen Problems

The job is already under way, perhaps even complete, when this one hits. Suddenly your contractor informs you that the agreed-upon price has skyrocketed. He blames the discovery of structural problems, like a missing beam or termite damage, or design changes that you made after the job began.

The additional fees might very well be legit, but some unscrupulous contractors bid jobs low to get the work and then find excuses to jack up the price later. If you’re unsure whether your contractor is telling the truth about structural problems, you can get an impartial opinion from a home inspector, the local branch of the National Association of Home Builders, or even your local building department.

How to protect yourself: Before signing the contract, make sure it includes a procedure for change orders — mini-contracts containing a work description and a fixed price for anything that gets added to the job in progress. The extra work, whether it’s related to unforeseen building issues or homeowner whims, can proceed only after the change order is signed by both homeowner and contractor.

Scam 5: I’ve Got Extra Materials I Can Sell You Cheap

This hoax is usually run by driveway paving companies, whose materials — hot-top asphalt and concrete — can’t be returned to the supplier. So the crew pulls up to your house with a load of leftover product and quotes a great price to resurface your driveway on the spot.

Even if it’s really a bargain (by no means a sure thing), taking them up on the offer is risky if you have no idea who they are and haven’t checked references. And if the driveway starts cracking next year, you can bet you won’t find this bunch again.

How to protect yourself: Never hire a contractor on the spot, whether it’s a driveway paver, an emergency repairman who shows up after a major storm, or a landscaper with surplus plantings. Take your time to check contractors out to make sure they have a good reputation and do quality work.

 

8 Fall Weekend Activities in Loudoun

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I just love the Fall season!  It’s a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful nature and change of seasons. Here are some great weekend activities coming up, courtesy of VisitLoudoun.com 

epic passkey

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and while it isn’t officially Fall (everyone start counting down until September 22nd) the end of the long weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the new season. While we are all looking forward to pumpkin spice lattes, scarves and Halloween costumes, plan a weekend getaway to Loudoun around one of these six Fall activities:

Lovettsville Oktoberfest – September 24th

The annual Lovettsville Oktoberfest is back during the last full weekend of September, the traditional time of year for Oktoberfests. Kick off the celebratory weekend with a home-cooked German feast, great music, beer and food. Oh and did we mention an attempt at the worlds largest Bohemian Rhapsody sing-along? Carry the fun into Saturday for the full Oktoberfest experience with over 120 street vendors, traditional music and dancing (don’t forget your lederhosen) and so much more! It’s a free event so plan your Lovettsville Oktoberfest weekend now!

shocktober beer

Shocktober – Weekends in October

Paxton Manor is the only real haunted house in Northern Virginia and they transform the manor into your deepest fears for Shocktober. The Carver family has been tormenting the guests of Paxton Manor for years and you can read all about the horrifying history here, but enter if you dare. You can start of your shocking tour by visiting Old Ox Brewery who made an “Oxorcist” brew with Shocktober in mind and then head over for the fright of your life. Tickets for the 2016 season are available now!

Fall Farm Festival – October

Great Country Farms invites the family for all of the Fall fun you can imagine. The list goes on and on with activities like wagon rides, pumpkin picking, pig races, marshmallow roasting, corn maizes, pumpkin cannons, crazy slides and so much more. Indulge in their famous Cider Donuts and meet the Pumpkin Princess. The festival is open all throughout the month of October on weekdays and weekends. It’s the perfect time for the family to enjoy some Fall fun together.

temple hall_CAPowers_112Temple Hall Fall Festival – September 30 – November 8

Celebrate the harvest at Temple Hall Farms Festival. Six weeks of autumnal adventures from bouncing on giant jumping pillows, watching pumpkins soar through the air, finding your way through a 24-acre corn maze featuring trivia challenges and a different theme every year. Don’t miss out on one of the largest fall festivals in Loudoun!

Waterford Fair – October 7-9

Return to a day from an earlier time at the Waterford Fair this Fall. The Waterford Fair started in 1943 and has thrived as a time-honored tradition in Loudoun. Tour historic homes, watch juried artisans demonstrate techniques of traditional craftsmanship, stroll through the Old Mill and vintage barns transformed into galleries for painting, crafts and more. Spend a weekend in olden times in Waterford!

Virginia Fall Races – October 8thevent photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 marks the 62nd running of the Virginia Fall Races. Middleburg is known as the capital of Virginia Horse Country and makes the perfect place to watch a unique equestrian event. Get out your big hats and pearls and enjoy this world class sporting event complete with vendors, family fun fair, cocktail receptions and lots of horse racing! Get your tickets and make it an equestrian-themed weekend in Loudoun.

Epicurience Virginia – October 15th

Epicurience Virginia is back for a third year. Held in the East Coast’s premier wine region, Loudoun, Virginia: DC’s Wine Country. Epicurience Virgnia is where insiders come to savor award-winning wines and seek out noteworthy farm-to-table cuisine. Taste the finest in Virginia wines, meet top tastemakers and master winemakers, sample cuisine prepared by celebrated chefs from around the country and so much more. Start of your Epic weekend with the Loudoun Wine Awards dinner to hear the announcement of this year’s winning wines and get a chance to wine and dine with the winemakers. Saturday is the big day with the Grand Festival where you can taste Virginia wines, local food and meet local chefs. Book the whole package including tickets and lodging on the website.

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Middleburg Film Festival – October 20-23

Save the weekend for the Middelburg Film Festival. This festival offers four days of fantastic films in a spectacular setting. This carefully curated selection of narrative and documentary films screen in intimate theatre environment followed by Q&A’s with world-renowned filmmakers, actors and other special guests. The Middleburg Film Festival includes festival favorites, world premieres, first-class foreign films and Academy Award contenders. Last year the festival featured 20 Oscar Nominations among the 25 films screened. get your advance ticket packages on the website!

Don’t miss out on any of these great Fall events in Loudoun. Check our events calendar to stay up to date on all of the happenings in LoCo.

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

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Fall

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. 

That is what is truly important.  If you are looking to sell (or buy) and want excellent service…please reach out! http://lauren.e4realty.com/

15-Minute Home Makeovers

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Here are 7 house pick-me-ups from HouseLogic that take about as much time as brewing a pot of coffee and fit your schedule whenever you have a few extra minutes.

easy home makeovers

Caught between your lack of time and the urge to give your home some spit and polish? Never fear. These ideas will add panache in no time at all.

1. Switch the Plates.

Upgrade your drab, plastic switch plates with snazzy covers that match or accent your décor. Even the most expensive brass switch plates cost less than $20 each. Or, spend a buck for a plastic plate and decorate it yourself. Use craft paint, or cover the plate with decorative paper. You also can switch outlet covers, but don’t get too fancy. Outlet covers should blend with the wall.

2. Touch-Up Boo-Boos.

A bit of new paint gives any room a fresh face, which is why you should keep extra color-matched paint after you remodel. Touch up banged-up baseboards, door and window trim, and wall marks that won’t wash away. Even spot painting requires care; use a drop cloth to protect other surfaces.

3. Change Out Drawer and Door Hardware.

Upgrade your kitchen or bathroom by installing new pulls and knobs. Be sure to measure drawer pulls so you won’t have to drill new holes. Home improvement centers have a large selection of inexpensive pulls and knobs.

4. Update Your Mailbox.

Bump up curb appeal by spray-painting your old mailbox. You can freshen the same color, or go wild with bright hues. Don’t forget to scrub off dirt and rust before painting with rust-proof paint ($6 to $12 for a 10-ounce can; lots of decorative textures and colors).

5. Play the Numbers Game.

Decorative house numbers and plates give your home a custom and classy look. Some numbers are quick peel-and-stick affairs; others you’ll have to screw in. They’re made of wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, and other materials; $6 to $30 each.

6. Embellish Your Throne.

A new toilet seat gives you a regal bearing. Plastic and enameled seats ($12 to $25) in a rainbow of colors add a dash of panache; a solid wood mahogany or walnut seat ($45-$60) makes an executive statement; cushioned seats ($15 to $20) won’t make a lasting impression — and that’s a good thing.

7. Declutter.

You’ll be amazed how a 15-minute daily declutter can make a room look like new. First, get rid of stuff from your fridge door: that large, blank canvas will immediately brighten your kitchen. Corral mail and papers in decorative boxes with tops that can close and hide the mess. Organize school supplies in caddies. Every day, tame a new spot.

OPEN HOUSE – 46233 Allsbrook Pl. in Cascades

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This is how we do an Open House Pearson Smith Realty Style!

Come on out to see this Cascades Charmer!!

(click on photo for details)!!

Real Life vs. Reality TV: 5 Myths Explained

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We’ve all been there… watching entire seasons of “Love it or List it,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters,” “Flip or Flop,” “Property Brothers,”and so many more, just in one sitting. But here is what, sadly, they don’t always show on TV…

5 myths explained

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV ‘show hole’*? We’ve all been there… watching entire seasons of “Love it or List it,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters,” “Flip or Flop,” “Property Brothers,” and so many more, just in one sitting.  

When you’re in the middle of your real estate themed show marathon, you might start to think that everything you see on TV must be how it works in real life, but you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and make a decision to purchase one of them.

Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but more often than not the process of buying a home means touring more than three homes.

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.

Truth: The reality is being staged for TV. Many of the homes being shown are already sold and are off the market.

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.

Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy.

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the Open House.

Truth: Of course this would be great! Open Houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but are only a PIECE of the overall marketing of your home. Just realize that many homes are sold during showing listing appointments as well. 

Myth #5: Homeowners make a decision about selling their home after a 5-minute conversation.

Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their home and move on with their life/goals.

Bottom Line

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee that you can make the home of your dreams a reality!

*Show Hole – A side effect of binge-watching. Symptoms include a sense of emptiness and depression brought on by realizing you just wasted a good portion of your life watching several seasons of a TV show or an entire movie franchise all at once when you could have managed your time better.

Sometimes all a house needs is a little love…

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Ocean Blue makes waves in Sterling

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Can’t wait to check this restaurant out – it opens August 15th.  Sounds so unique.
This is the write-up from the Loudoun Times ….

After working around the country at restaurants such as Inn at Little Washington, Bobby’s Flay’s Mesa Grill and Be Our Guest Restaurant Group in New York City, John Kushner decided he was ready to return home to Northern Virginia.

He began developing a concept for an island-themed restaurant and searching for a location, one which would offer a unique space inspired by the sights, sounds and tastes of his trips to islands around the world.

Kushner said he found the perfect location at the new Cascades Overlook in Sterling, a development which he says is “stunning.”

Ocean Blue, located at 21438 Epicerie Plaza, will hold its grand opening Aug. 15.

The family-friendly restaurant, which seats 120 people inside and 70 on the patio, is the home to over 500 different rare tropical fish swimming in two 1,500-gallon tanks. The aquariums feature eels, lobster, rays, mollusks and more.

The aquariums are monitored by a marine biologist and are run on special machines, which intend to put as little stress on the fish as possible, providing a fresh and clean environment.

The aquariums will also serve as a learning and classroom space for local students to visit. The idea was inspired by his 4-year-old daughter and his own childhood experiences.

“We want to use this as a place to teach classes to students during the day so they can learn about the unique fish here. Unless you go to the Baltimore Aquarium, kids will not have this type of experience anywhere else in this area,” he said.

The restaurant also features a “very unique” waterway with small regatta boats sailing around the dining room, carrying fresh fish “right off the boat from Hawaii” and specials that change daily.

There are small plates for $4, $6 and $8 each. In addition, the menu features a ramen noodle bar with over 20 different toppings, a sushi bar with signature rolls, as well as salads, and customizable steak, chicken and seafood dishes.

The cocktail bar area, he said, has a “fresh fruit feel” with an island themed visual experience and “Jahawaiian-style” music playing in the background.

“It really adds to the atmosphere, we think it is fantastic,” Kushner said.

In addition to the bar area, there is a private dining room which seats 15 people.

Ocean Blue is currently hiring and looking for people who are passionate about the food and hospitality industry.

“We look forward to giving back to the community and providing a beautiful, relaxing family experience here,” Kushner said.