Condo Considerations — Is a condo right for you?

There are many types of condominiums, some condos look like houses or townhouses, most look like high-rises or garden-style apartments. Even though a condo can look look like a townhouse or house, owning a condo differs from owing a fee simple property in many ways. There are aspects of condo living that some may view as advantages or disadvantages, and you should be aware of these before you buy.

Here are a few basic benefits and considerations of condo living to help you make your decision.

The City

Busy folk who love being close to the action often choose a condominium because condo developments most often occur in the city. In places like Alexandria’s Carlyle District, Arlington especially around Clarendon or Rosslyn, and in parts of Falls Church, land is at a premium. But in all these examples, your condo is well served by public transportation. These condos are also close to the culture and opportunities of the city.

Of course the downside to being in town is that you’re in the city—that means traffic, hustle and bustle and other disadvantages of living downtown. For example, the USPTO is crawling with people during rush hour. Crystal City is a pass-thru for many many commuters. Most homes and townhomes have a lawn or yard of some kind, but few condo owners have a yard or personal green space.

Community Living

A condominium owner is part of a community. The community lifestyle has many advantages. For example, the owner of a condo can leave things on a whim. There is no yard to worry about and the building is secure. Neighbors and condo staff will watch the property while you’re on travel or vacation. Most condos in Alexandria, Arlington, Crystal City and Falls Church have security features such as buzzers, a concierge or a guard service. If you travel often for business or pleasure (or if this is a second home), there are no worries while you’re out of pocket. Many condos have clubs, activities and the opportunity to socialize with neighbors.

But, shared walls and common areas mean that you are more likely to hear your neighbors. If you need your home to be a hideaway where you can escape from people, you have to deal with the fact that you might encounter neighbors in the hallway. Nosy neighbors are found everywhere, but it’s a lot easier for them to keep tabs on you as you come and go in a condo. The community will set standards and make decisions about common areas. For example, many condo association have rules about pets so that the common areas are not over-run with pets and pet debris.

The Association

You can take part in the decision making (by voting or by being a board member), but you must abide by the rules of the community. As you may know, condos are governed by a set of rules called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). This can include restrictions on noise levels, pet ownership, renovations, and even what kind of curtains you can put in your windows.

Every unit owner is a member of the condo association, which also has an elected board. The association serves to enforce bylaws, handles maintenance and repair issues, etc.Because the condo association is made up of homeowners rather than property-management professionals, the association may be weak and inefficient. Most associations oversee a paid management firm.

Also, if you want to make renovations to your unit or rent your unit out, you may have to get approval from the condo association.This purpose of this oversight is most usually designed to make sure that you don’t remove any load bearing walls or short circuit community electricity.


Homeowners have a lot to worry about, but condo owners on the other hand …

Condo owners generally don’t mow lawns. They don’t clean gutters. They don’t even have to hire or pay landscapers. In a condominium someone else takes care of the exterior, the common areas, the snow removal and more. Someone else makes sure there’s money enough to pay for the new roof.

Of course, that service comes at a price: the monthly condo fees. The association collects these fees to pay for maintenance and repair of the common areas. All homeowners pay for maintenance, but the owner of a single family residence can save money by mowing his own lawn. The owner of a single family home can defer payment a little longer if money is tight. Of course, by aggregating the fees of maintenance, condominium owners often have enough money to pay for amenities that are not common in a single family residence. For example, a swimming pool is pretty standard in a condo.


Some condos in Northern Virginia list are every bit as expensive as single family houses elsewhere. Condos in Crystal City, condos in Arlington and condos in Alexandria (especially in the Carlyle District) can be quite pricey. But some condos are surprisingly affordable. This makes a great option for first-time buyers and singles who may find single-family houses unaffordable. Condominiums are more sensitive to trends in the real estate market than single-family homes. Now that the prices have dropped there are some tremendous bargains for shoppers.


Most condominium developments offer a range of amenities in the common areas. It’s pretty standard in Northern Virginia to have access to a swimming pool, gym or tennis courts in most condo complexes.

Recent Listings

  • Julie Nesbitt

    Julie Nesbitt
    Julie Nesbitt knows the back trails and by-ways of Northern Virginia real estate.

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  • Enjoying Winkler Botanical Preserve

    We had a great time walking the trails. 

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  • Don’t take chances with real estate.

The Society of American Military Engineers is located in Old Town Alexandria VA

grey rowhouse style
Society of Military Engineers is located in Old Town Alexandria VA

The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), the premier professional military engineering association in the United States, unites architecture, engineering, construction (A/E/C), facility management and environmental entities and individuals in the public and private sectors to prepare for—and overcome—natural and manmade disasters, and to improve security at home and abroad.

Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., SAME provides its more than 27,000 members extensive opportunities for training, education and professional development through a robust offering of conferences, workshops, networking events and publications. With a membership that includes recent service academy graduates and retired flag officers, project managers and corporate executives, Department of Defense civilians, private-sector experts and everyone in between, SAME is bridging the gaps between critical stakeholders to advance the field of military engineering and help secure our nation. –

  • Julie Nesbitt

    Julie Nesbitt
    Julie Nesbitt knows the back trails and by-ways of Northern Virginia real estate.

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  • Enjoying Winkler Botanical Preserve

    We had a great time walking the trails. 

    Read More

  • Don’t take chances with real estate.

  • REDUCED: 7202 Churchill Rd, McLean

    Open House, Sunday, 1-4 BIG PRICE DROP! 7202 CHURCHILL ROAD McLean, VA 22101 6 Bedrooms 5.5 Bathrooms 6,752 SF $1,695,000

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  • [FWD: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures]

    We played a game at the office this Sunday. Lots of fun. Sincerely, Will Nesbitt Principal Broker   Nesbitt RealtyAlexandria VA licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland 703 765 0300 (main) 571 237 7902 (direct)888 783 6391 (fax) ——– Original Message ——– Subject: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures From: [email protected]

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historic plaque
The office of the Society of Military Engineers boasts a historic plaque.

Does the Commonwealth Require Agents to Make Certain Disclosures In Emails?

email iconIn the Commonwealth of Virginia, emails sent for the purpose of advertising real estate services must contain specified disclosures at the beginning or end of the message. Does that mean disclosures are required in all emails?

Let’s look at the case of Sally and Darrin. Sally lists her home for sale with an agent named Darrin. Sally is a busy gal and doesn’t like phone calls. Sally prefers email and thus she and Darrin communicate regularly by email. Late one night, Darrin replies to one of Sally’s emails but includes none of the required disclosures!

Has Darrin violated the rules of the Commonwealth of Virginia?

The answer is no. Sally is already Darrin’s client and thus these emails are not solicitations. Disclosures are unnecessary when dealing with existing clients and in any correspondence required by the ordinary conduct of business.

Here’s a good looking boy.

More Taxes for Sellers to Pay

Nesbitt Realty is licensed in Virginia.
Virginia House Bill 2313 which recently was approved by the Virginia General Assembly. Among other provisions, each designed to facilitate statewide transportation funding, the Virginia Grantor’s tax charged to all Sellers of real property will increase from $1 per thousand (in the greater of the sales price or assessed value) to $3.50 per thousand. Consider this a pyrrhic victory, as the original proposal called for an increase to $5 per thousand. Unlike a number of years, this Bill will not be struck down as unconstitutional. This change will take effect July 1, 2013, and should be factored into your seller’s net sheets for all transactions sent to record on or after that date.

  • Alexandria City Government

    seal of the City of Alexandria
    Alexandria is an independent city (Virginia cities have no county affiliation), which derives its governing authority from a charter granted by the Virginia General Assembly. Changes in the structure and powers of the City government are made by amending the Charter. This requires action by the General Assembly, usually upon the request of the City…

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  • Find a place to live near TISCOM / Coast Guard base at Alexandria, Virginia

    US Coast Guard seal
    Updated 10/10/15 The Coast Guard Telecommunication and Information Systems Command or TISCOM sets office just near Hayfield in Fairfax County Alexandria Virginia. The Command is the Coast Guard’s lead developer of voice and data communications systems by developing modern digital communication networks and integrating computer technology in the Coast Guard’s daily routine. TISCOM provides telecommunications,…

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  • Fairfax County Courthouse, in 1972

  • Alexandria City Hall- Historic Old Town

    Old Town Alexandria
    Alexandria City Hall was built on a site designated for the market and city hall when Alexandria was founded in 1749. The original City Hall burned in 1871 the current structure was erected in 1874. This City Hall wraps around a central courtyard known as Market Square. When first constructed Alexandria City Hall also housed…

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  • Department of Agriculture at Washington DC, in 1950

What Buyers Do—and Do Not—Want

With the U.S. housing market finally picking back up, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conducted a large study to pinpoint how recession may have influenced consumers’ lifestyle preferences and home wish lists.  Released this month, the survey found that Americans desire:

  • Energy Star appliances above all else
  • energy-efficient laundry rooms
  • high-end amenities such as kitchens with double sinks, French doors, and whole-house technology


What homeowners and buyers do not want, meanwhile, are:

  • elevators
  • golf course homes
  • laminate countertops

NAHB also determined that the outer suburbs are favored when it comes to home location, with just 8 percent of those queried citing a preference for living in a city center.  That is a departure from what those in the apartment sector believe: that recession and escalating gasoline prices are creating demand for urban lifestyles.

What Home Buyers Want,” CNBC Europe (Feb 25, 2013)
© Copyright Information Inc. 2013

60% of Single-Family Renters Plan to Buy Within 5 Years

Port Potomac is a great neighborhood with easy access to Quantico, Rt. 1 and the Mark Train

Renters of single-family homes are twenty-five percent more likely than apartment tenants to stay in their current homes fives years or longer, according to a new survey by Opinion Research Corporation. The finding suggests that “demand for single-family homes, the fastest growing rental category, will be more stable than multi-family demand,” according to the survey findings.

Renters also say they plan to become home owners one day, particularly among single-family tenants. Sixty percent of single-family renters and 44 percent of apartment renters say they plan to become home owners within the next five years.

“The near term interest in becoming home owners among single-family tenants reflects the new roles single-family rentals are fulfilling as a stepping stone to home ownership for first-time buyers and as a sanctuary for large numbers of families displaced by foreclosures but who plan to buy again when they can afford to do so,” according to the survey results.

The survey also found that single-family renters make more money and are twice as likely to have children as apartment renters, according to the survey. The survey found that the median income of a single-family renter is $75,000 to $100,000 compared to $50,000-$75,000 for apartment dwellers. Single-family renters also tend to be older, with the majority aged 35 to 44, compared to 14 to 34 among apartment dwellers.

Source: Opinion Research Corporation

New Home Buying Tip

Waterview condominiumsIf you’re thinking of buying a new construction, you probably already know that every new development will have its own sales staff. These people are often friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the new condominium or new house. However, the on-site sales people work to sell this property only. That means that the on-site staff of a new condominium knows the property as-well-as or better than anyone around and they are there to assist you. But that also means that the on-site sales staff works for the builder.

When in the market for a new condo or a new home, it’s a good idea to employ a buyer’s agent such to protect your interests. A condominium agent knows the entire area, not just one property. A buyer’s agent knows the pitfalls and benefits of buying new, and best of all it won’t cost you one dime more than if you use the onsite staff. You have a right to representation: exercise that right today!

[read more about Buyer’s Representation]

[new homes for sale]

Recent Listings

15793 Widewater Drive Is a lakefront 3-floor townhouse in the Southlake Landing subdivision of Montclair, VA.

15793 Widewater Dr

Just under 2,000 living square feet offers 3 or 4 bedrooms 3 and a half baths. A large deck that oversees the peaceful wooded boarder of Lake Montclair. The home has a new roof and newer HVAC with an open and spacious main floor plan.There are 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on the upper floor with vaulted ceilings and ceiling fans. A rec room in the walkout basement opens to a patio overlooking the lake. The lower level offers new carpet, full bath and office/den and/or an unofficial bedroom. The home is approximately 300 feet from the PRTC bus stop with commuter service to the Pentagon and Downtown Washington DC. One quarter mile to the Montclair Library.One half mile to Grocery, restaurants, Banks, Ice cream and Donuts. One mile to a good local Restaurant, Schools, Banks, Veterinarian, Dry Cleaners and Yoga. Montclair is a planned development of over 3800 homes surrounding a 100 acre lake. for the best information. Southlake Landing is a member of Southlake Recreation Center with a pool, Clubhouse, tennis, basketball courts, softball, and multipurpose fields. See ~for more details. Montclair Country Club is 1.2 miles away. A private Country Club with memberships for golf, tennis or social/dining. The community sidewalks and paths provide wide vistas of the lake and open spaces of the golf course. You will meet your neighbors strolling with their children and pets on the leafy paths or taking a break on the benches at the beaches. [Montclair/Southl - $309,000]

Townhome at a condo price! Soon you will be within walking distance of the new METRO STATION entrance at Sunrise Valley and the Toll Road! Just majorly updated with new kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, undermount sink, disposal, stove & dishwasher! New flooring throughout and painted from top to bottom plus updated baths: new vanities, faucets ,floors & lighting.

12126 Captiva Ct

Owner preference:RGS Title-Reston. Don't let this pass you by! [Reston - $299,900]

WOW!!! Rarely available top floor with storage unit in move-in condition.

2655 Prosperity Ave #448

Spacious, sunny, and bright unit on quiet side of building. 2 COVERED GARAGE SPACES AND STORAGE UNIT! New stainless refrigerator and washer/dryer. Beautiful hardwoods in main living area. New granite in bathrooms match kitchen. GAS COOKING AND HEAT! Master with dual vanities and huge walk-in closet. HVAC 2013. Surrounded by restaurants METRO, & Harris Teeter right across the street. Secure building with terrific amenities include pool, gym, sport court, business center, and bar area with billiards. just blocks from Mosaic. Garage spaces G4-053, G5-303, Storage unit S56. Sellers need rent back through Nov. 30 [Halstead At the Metro - $479,900]


1500 S Barton St #585



7680 Tremayne Pl #302

OUTSTANDING VALUE! IN THE HEART OF TYSONS CORNER. MAKE UNIT 302 YOUR HOME. APPRECIATE THE TRANQUILITY OF THIS TOP FLOOR CORNER TWO LARGE BEDROOM / TWO BATH UNIT with TASTEFUL UPDATING! Just under one mile to McLean Station on Metro Silver Line on treed 28 acre campus where adjacent new construction is in $600K - $1 million range. New features are throughout the SPACIOUS open floor plan unit nestled in the treed, security gated neighborhood. Just painted and NEWLY carpeted with inviting neutral palette. Beautiful NEW Kitchen Cabinets with Granite Counter Tops, NEW sink and tasteful porcelain tile floor. NEW crown moldings and baseboards add a special finished touch. The two full bathrooms have been updated to include NEW vanities and sinks, lighting, porcelain tile floor and recently added raised toilets. NEW window blinds and some new interior doors were also included in the update. AMPLE closet space in both bedrooms plus bonus hall closets. The unit has one assigned carport/garage space ideally located near secure elevator plus lots of additional unassigned parking at building's entrance and side for guests. There's also an extra assigned storage area with the unit. 7680 Tremayne is Building 10 which has a welcoming new lobby and updated elevator. THE LOCATION IS UNMATCHED! Just under one mile to McLean Station Metro Silver Line, and part of Tysons Corner Lifestyle with Shopping & Restaurants and convenient to major commuter routes. Enjoy The Colonies many amenities including pool, tennis, tot lot, Clubhouse with party room, billiards and fitness all within the Secure Gated Community. [The Colonies - $345,000]

This is it! Renovated, updated, and move in ready are just a few words to describe this fantastic home in a sought after community of Fair Oaks Estates and it is priced to sell! This home offers the next owners exceptional finishes and the opportunity to live in a cul-de-sac in a location close to everything in the Fair Oaks area.

3801 Lieutenant Nichols Ct

The moment you walk in, this open floor plan with hardwood floors and intricate trim will feel like home. The elegant living room and dining room will fit any occasion adorned with board and batten wainscot and crown molding. The family room is awe inspiring with custom built in bookcase, cabinets, mantle, and stunning fireplace boasting hand laid mosaic tile. The gourmet kitchen will satisfy the pickiest chef, with beautiful white cabinetry, new granite countertops, tiled backsplash, under cabinet lighting, stainless appliances, and hardwood floors. The upper level of this home has 4 spacious bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and a laundry room that could possibly make washing cloths an enjoyable endeavor. At the end of each day retreat to the owners suite with plenty of space, walk in closets with custom built in cabinetry, and a full bathroom. The extensive lighting update includes recessed lights throughout the home, and multiple chandeliers for the perfect finishing touch. Enjoy nature on the huge rear deck for truly relaxing weekends or evenings overlooking the professionally landscaped fenced yard. Let~s not forget the remarkable location just 2 mile to all the shopping at Fair Oaks Mall, 3 miles to Fairfax Corner, 1 Mile to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, and easy access to West Ox Rd, Fairfax County Parkway, Rt 50, and Rt 66. This exceptional home is a must see and will not last long. [Fair Oaks Estates - $669,900]

Beautiful model home for sale.

9132 Power House Rd

Buyers will love this three level, 3 bedroom, 3.

12219 Allspice Ct

5 bath townhome. Freshly painted inside and out. Some new carpet. Eat in kitchen, walkout basement, extra room in LL backing to woods w/ fence. 2 parking spaces, Brand new roof and dishwasher. [Lake Ridge - Antietam - $299,900]

Relax and enjoy coming home to this Serene condo in fantastic North Reston.

11719 Summerchase Cir #A

Conveniently located and easy living with no steps from the parking area. Beautifully maintained. Just kick up your feet and move right in as this immaculate home has been upgraded for you including fresh paint, new carpet, lighting, bath updates, new windows and blinds..and more! You'll love lounging on the patio or in front of the cozy fireplace. Your sanctuary awaits....are you ready for a Serene experience? [Summerridge - $260,000]

Back on the market** buyers financing fell through ***Well maintained spacious and beautiful house, walking closet in Master bedroom, storage space in the balcony, Sunny Livingroom with fire place and balcony, many visitor parking space, beautiful community pool, condo association let the condo owner use the land for garden work, walking distance to shopping mall for grocery and restaurant.

14302 Rosy Ln #24
  • Julie Nesbitt

    Julie Nesbitt
    Julie Nesbitt knows the back trails and by-ways of Northern Virginia real estate.

    Read More

  • Enjoying Winkler Botanical Preserve

    We had a great time walking the trails. 

    Read More

  • Don’t take chances with real estate.


8 Steps to Selling Your Home

Advice from Northern Virginia’s littlest agent.
  1. Define your needs. Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move or a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home. For your goals, write down if you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Work with your Nesbitt Realty real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.  Continue reading

Meet our Newest Agent At Nesbitt Realty!

Actually, he’s still studying for his license, but we’re darn proud of him anyway!

Nesbitt Realty is a real estate brokerage serving Northern Virginia. Locals trust us because we provide the same services as a national chain realty but with a hometown touch.

  • Our Agents

    Here are some of our top agents:
    • Will Nesbitt -- principal broker licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland
    • Julie Nesbitt --- top producer with proven results and strong educational background
    • Ronald Ginyard --- retired USMC recruiter and technical sergeant, more than 15 years experience as a real estate agent
    • Stuart Nesbitt --- a local agent with deep community connections.
    • Andrew Patton --- a native and graduate of East Carolina University .

    [read more about our agents]

Nesbitt Realty

Equal Housing Opportunity

real estate brokers in Northern VA 1451 Belle Haven Rd. #222
Alexandria VA 22307

703 765 0300

888 783 6391 (fax)

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.
  • How I met my wife.

    One of my friends when I was a Defense Language Institute in Monterey California was a fellow soldier named Jay Cook.  Jay Cook always reminded me of Clark Kent. He had broad shoulders and brown hair. Jay was a big strong guy and was the type of guy that I thought should have no problem…

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  • One of the worst things I ever did …

    Will Nesbitt
    Recently my blog has focused on personal memories and family stories. Most likely I’ll soon return to real estate tidbits or arguing politics, but I wanted to tell a quick Royal Village story. Royal Village is a subdivision of Front Royal Virginia that was built in the shadow of the sulfur-spewing smokestack that supported the…

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  • Walmart and Costco shopping during 2016 blizzard

    Julie Nesbitt checks out at Costco
    The blizzard was in effect and my parents took me to Costco and Walmart for groceries and other products. It is so very nice having everything I needed provided for me. I remember purchasing a vast array of essentials. Will and Julie Nesbitt, get me to the stores and make it so easy, to sit at home…

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  • Will and Julie Nesbitt

    Will and Julie Nesbitt
    The pictures were taken outside the church just before a friend’s wedding. It was a lovely ceremony, beautiful church and we had a great time at the reception.

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  • Nesbitt Realty Monster Mash!

I want to look at houses before sitting down and talking about searching for homes.

On the roof at Waterview in Arlington VA

Fairly recently the Commonwealth of Virginia implemented new laws requiring an agency relationship prior to showing homes. (Effective July 1st, 2012, the Commonwealth of Virginia required an agency agreement prior to showing homes to clients.)  This can be frustrating to some folks who “just want to see houses”.  Once you’ve signed an agency agreement we can run out to look at houses, but we’ve found this to be generally ineffective.

Instead, we prefer to take a little time to answer your questions, give you a copy of all the documents you’ll be seeing, and put you in a position to make better decisions. The choice is yours, and I think you will find the second way extremely valuable.

Properties in 22310

  • Julie Nesbitt

    Julie Nesbitt
    Julie Nesbitt knows the back trails and by-ways of Northern Virginia real estate.

    Read More

  • Enjoying Winkler Botanical Preserve

    We had a great time walking the trails. 

    Read More

  • Don’t take chances with real estate.

  • REDUCED: 7202 Churchill Rd, McLean

    Open House, Sunday, 1-4 BIG PRICE DROP! 7202 CHURCHILL ROAD McLean, VA 22101 6 Bedrooms 5.5 Bathrooms 6,752 SF $1,695,000

    Read More

  • [FWD: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures]

    We played a game at the office this Sunday. Lots of fun. Sincerely, Will Nesbitt Principal Broker   Nesbitt RealtyAlexandria VA licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland 703 765 0300 (main) 571 237 7902 (direct)888 783 6391 (fax) ——– Original Message ——– Subject: The Empire Strikes Back Pictures From: [email protected]

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