Renting Can Be a Good Option for Sellers

Home owners who have been trying to sell their properties for a year or more might consider lease or a rent-to-own option.

A lease option agreement gives the tenant the option to buy at a predetermined price for a rent that is slightly higher than market. In a lease purchase, a buyer commits to buying the property. In exchange, the seller credits a percentage of each payment toward the purchase price.

Either arrangement is likely to attract serious renters who would like to buy the property if they can. In exchange, they’ll take good care of it.

Negotiating these agreements can be tricky, and the owner should always get help from a real estate professional.

Do you really need a property manager?

Although hiring a property management company has many advantages, there is an expense associated with hiring a property manager. In addition to the cost of property management, there are other reasons why property management might not be for you. Consider the following factors to determine if hiring a property management company would be a good decision for your property.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will you live and work near your rental property? Northern Virginia is a very transient area. We have more than our share of military, diplomats, State Department, political appointees and academia.  If you’re getting transferred across the country or around the world, it might be a good idea to let a professional manage your rental. Even simple tasks can get complicated very quickly when you aren’t around to manage the details.
  • Do you want to handle the details of property management? Some landlords look forward to the challenge of finding good tenants. Some landlords find that maintaining a property and managing details is rewarding and enjoy taking late night calls. On the other hand, if you think rental property ownership is a chore and want little or nothing to do with the day-to-day management of your properties, you should probably consider hiring help to manage your property.
  • How busy are you? Even if you find hands-on management rewarding, you may not have much time to devote to your property management business.  If you’ve already got a full-plate, then the last thing you need is more to worry about, thus hiring a management company may be a good way to spend your money.
  • Can you afford the cost? Let’s face it. Hiring a property management company is much more attractive option if you can afford it.  If monthly cash-flow is not an issue, you’ll likely save money by paying a property manager and writing off the expense.  But if at the end of every month cash is tight, you might not want to hire a property manager.
  • Can you afford the risk? Do you understand the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act? Do you know the tenant’s rights? Do you know your responsibilities?  The more you know about property management in today’s litigious culture the more you’ll understand the value of having a professional in your corner.
  • Do you have access to a network of maintenance people? All properties require maintenance. When your tenant calls you in need of repair will you know who to call and what to do in a timely fashion?  If not, yo might want to consider hiring a property manager.

Learn more about our rental property management services in Northern VA

Thanks for the opportunity to serve your real estate needs. Your business is appreciated.

Median Price in Falls Church rebounds!

Falls Church median sales prices

Earlier this spring affluent Falls Church Virginia still showed signs of difficulty in the real estate market.  After posting continued gains in the median price of homes, the prices declined for three straight months. But that sharp decline was followed by a bounce that is back at the levels seen late last year.

Homes recently listed for sale in Falls Church VA

Properties in Falls Church

1 BR price per square foot in Arlington remains steady.

Arlington average price per square foot

Over the last year the average price per square foot of a 1 BR condo in Arlington VA has remain steady, with no statistically important increase or decline.  Interestingly, but for a bump last Fall, the price per square foot of a 1 BR close mirrors the overall market.

Recently listed condos for sale in Arlington

Properties in Arlington

Bountiful apples and history in Blue Ridge.

Lawn and apple blossoms

Named after the Blue Ridge Mountains and just above Piedmont, Blue Ridge is a part of the Appalachians. Many tourists patronize Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive in Blue Ridge.

“Memories of a Lewis Mountain Man” portrays how unique culture and life was for “hill-billies” or mountain people in Blue Ridge before Shenandoah Park.  Even today, remnants of the said “hill-billies” are being sought after by Appalachian hikers as they trek through the Shenandoah Park.

Apple Orchards are famous in the region but the industry is no longer booming as it was years ago. Yet again, White House Foods, a major apple juicer and product packager, still gets their supply of apples from this region.

Housing Expert: ‘The Suburban Century Is Over’

At a recent meeting of the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota, Senior Fellow John McIlwain said “a new normal” will be created in the housing market over the next 10 years, and he marked the end of “the suburban century.”

He noted that markets offering “a vibrant 24/7 lifestyle” will see the most robust activity, “net-zero-energy” units will become the norm, and the rental market will expand as homeownership rates fall to more historic levels.

Suburban town centers will gain popularity among those wanting an urban lifestyle without living in a big city.

Over the next decade, McIlwain said four demographic groups will fuel the housing market. He said older baby boomers increasingly are moving back to the central city, while younger baby boomers are finding it more difficult to relocate for jobs because they cannot sell their suburban houses. Meanwhile, millennials are more environmentally aware and will seek urban lifestyles, and immigrants who cannot afford large suburban houses to shelter multiple generations will increase demand for rentals.

With 1.5 million housing units per year needed to accommodate the shift to normal levels of household formation, McIlwain said zoning, financing, and regulations need to be rethought to meet housing demand.

Source: minnpost.com, Brad Allen (06/21/2010)

Homes for sale in Northern VA

What Schools Have the Highest Ratings in Northern VA?

Based on several local surveys and performance reviews, here are the schools in Northern Virginia that have been recognized as the cream of the crop when it comes to quality education:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
According to a Washington Post article, the following are the Top 5 elementary schools in Northern Virginia:

  1. McKinley Elementary
  2. School Vision: “The McKinley community envisions a strong and nurturing learning environment in which students demonstrate respect for self and others. Students meet established performance standards focusing on learning core subjects. The students have a variety of experiences that broaden their views of the world.”

    McKinley Elementary is located in North McKinley Road, Arlington, Virginia. It ranks on the top spot of top rating schools in Northern Virginia, because 79% of the school’s students rated as “advanced” (the highest among three levels). The rating was determined through a series of state tests.

  3. Key Center School
  4. School Vision: “Key Center School creates an educational climate where diversity and individuality are celebrated and respected, and where all staff continually strive to maximize the potential of each student through increasingly higher expectations.”

    Springfield City of Fairfax County is home to Key Center School, which ranks second on the list with 77% of its students in the “advanced” level (jumping from 64% in a span of five years).

  5. Churchill Road Elementary
  6. McLean, Virginia – along Churchill Road – is the location of Churchill Road Elementary, the elementary school snagging the third spot on the list with a rating of a 77% (from 55% in 2003).

  7. Greenbriar West Elementary
  8. Greenbriar West Elementary is located at Poplar Tree Road in the Chantilly Area of Fairfax County Virginia. It ranks 4th even as it shows a significant leap in its ratings from 47% in 2003 to 77% five years later.

  9. Louise Archer Elementary
  10. Located in Nutley Street, Vienna, Virginia, Louise Archer Elementary completes the top 5 list belting a 76% rating from 2003’s 64%.

HIGH SCHOOLS
According to a performance review done by Northern Virginia Magazine, the following are the Top 5 high schools in Northern Virginia:

  1. Thomas Jefferson High School – located in Alexandria, Virginia
  2. Langley High School – located in Mclean, Virginia. Click here for more information on this school.
  3. McLean High School – located in Mclean, Virginia. Click here for more information on this school.
  4. George Mason High School – located in Falls Church, Virginia. Click here for more information on this school.
  5. W.T. Woodson High School – located in Fairfax, Virginia. Click here for more information on this school.

Secrets of Sustainable Staging

With more home buyers interested in eco-friendly features, property stagers are placing more emphasis on the overall performance of green dwellings.

To give their listings a competitive edge, they can perform an energy audit and indicate the changes and upgrades made as a result to boost energy efficiency.

They also should provide a checklist detailing the benefits of the home’s green features, ensure cleaning products in cabinets are eco-friendly and food in pantries is organic, and include an aesthetically pleasing recycling center that goes beyond the traditional blue bins.

Additionally, chemical odors should be eliminated from the home, living plants should be added a to help enhance indoor air quality, sustainable upgrades should be encouraged, and eco-friendly landscaping like vegetable gardens and native grasses should be chosen over lawns that require a lot of maintenance.

Source: RISMedia (06/16/10)

Barcroft Park

Barcroft Park

Barcroft Park is 65 acres of highly-maintained family oriented recreational facilities. Barcroft supports a variety of sports and family activities.  Barcroft is the home for several baseball leagues as there are 5 baseball diamonds with bleachers here. Four of these fields are for youth; one is for one adults. There is a batting cage to support the baseball community.

Barcroft has a a lighted rectangular playing field for sports like soccer, football or rugby. This field has a synthetic surface, concession stand, restrooms, and goals. Other sports are also supported by:

  • a basketball court;
  • two new tennis courts (opened in 2007);
  • a volleyball court;
  • a handball court;
  • and horseshoe pit.

At this location, Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center has a gymnasium to support several indoor sports. The gymnasium has everything needed for a boxer to train. This includes a boxing room with speed and punching bags, sparring ring, and floor exercise area. The gym can also host basketball, floor hockey, and indoor soccer. On-site, there are a variety of classes such as

  • aerobics,
  • boxing/kick boxing,
  • and gymnastics.

For the benefit of picnickers and visitors the park has three water fountains, a rental picnic shelter, picnic tables, charcoal grills. There is also a paved path throughout the park to walk, jog or bike. That path has a bridge, and stream.

Hours for the park are sunrise to half hour after sunset except on lighted facilities. The facilities are open Tuesday, Thursday and weekends.

4200 South Four Mile Run Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 228-0700

Park Map (PDF)

Baseball field at Barcroft Park

Barcroft is a part of what makes Arlington such a great place to live. To search condos in Arlington or property of any type in Northern Virginia, try our fast and free database of all available properties. Barcroft is located not far from Skyline Square and Skyline Plaza.

How does number of bedrooms impact price if square footage is equal

Question:

All homes listed have 1.5 baths, are close in square footage (1200-1270 sq feet), historic, built in same time period (1870s-1880s), and located in the same neighborhood:

Home #1: Sold for $517/sq ft this month. Three bedrooms. Two of three bedrooms are small but would accommodate twin bed, nursery, or office.

Home #2: Sold for $518/sq ft this month. Two bedrooms. Renovated kitchen with granite, cherry, stainless.

My house, home #3, sold for $480/sq ft one year ago. One true bedroom. Also has a large room (but no door) that is used as informal living space or could be a home office. A third small room is used as a laundry/walk-in closet. If the closet fittings were removed, it could be used as an office or nursery (it has windows). For listing purposes, it was counted as a second bedroom. To access the “laundry” room and the full bathroom from the rest of the house, you must walk through the bedroom.

What is Home 3 worth now relative to Homes 1 & 2?

Answer:

The prices of residential real estate are often “notional”. That is to say that notions in the buyers and sellers of real estate will impact the price in ways that we can’t always quantify. In a large market like Alexandria, real estate is a commodity in the sense that it is difficult to find something the market hasn’t already rewarded or punished. But is it not a commodity in the sense that you can tally a square footage price and add an amount per bedrooms or multiply the price by a certain factor based upon the number of bedrooms.

Are they at the same address? In the same building? In your example above, what is the view from these units? Is the condition of these properties identical? Even a licensed appraiser with answers to all these questions would be hard-pressed to give you an answer without know the tax assessments and the contract price on these properties.

In the end, a home is worth exactly what a buyer will pay for it, if the seller will sell for that amount.

Will Nesbitt

Will Nesbitt is the principal broker of Condo Alexandria / Nesbitt Realty.

Elementary Schools of Northern VA

Find homes for sale by school district in Northern Virginia

One of the most import decisions you’ll ever make for your child is where they will attend school. Northern Virginia prides itself on many fine public schools and our website empowers parents to find homes . If you need help finding a home or would like suggestions that will fit with your commute, please feel free to call us at any time.

Cameron Station school