Posh City Charm

Ever wanted to have access to the city without actually having to drive there?  This desire is what has sky-rocketed the real estate market in the area of McLean.  It has been a magnet for established and young professionals who want to escape the city commute and find a retreat for their hard earned cash.  Although, McLean has typically housed old money, its recent growth has encouraged those who have just acquired it or at least desire to, to plant some roots.

Locals find that they have a vast number of options for upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment.  With the beltway only a few minutes away, you still have the ability to get to all of the elements D.C. has to offer.  The interesting point is that the area has recently begun to eliminate the need to travel elsewhere to find what you’re looking for.  The Galleria mall has allowed access to upscale shopping.  Restaurants like Ruth Kris, Morton’s Steakhouse, and Capital Grill are all within minutes and are considered local luxuries.  Coincidentally, if you are a lover of the arts, you would be happy to know that Wolf Trap is around the corner.  Perhaps you are looking for a posh location without the hassle of the commute.   Then, McLean just might be the place for you.

Fairfax County and City of Fairfax – 6th Best Place for a Long Life

Fairfax County and City of Fairfax – 6th Best Place for a Long Life

Fairfax County along with the independent city of Fairfax was distinguished by Time’s Money in 2008 as the sixth “Best Place for a Long Life” due to a high life expectancy of 80.9 years. Fairfax County is generally considered to be one of the richest counties in the nation with its median income of over $100,000.

Several first-rate hospitals are based in Fairfax County including the Inova Health System, a nationally recognized network of hospitals, outpatient services, care facilities and healthcare centers. It serves more than a million patients each year and leads among the not-for-profit healthcare providers in Northern Virginia. In 2010, a member of Inova’s network, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital earned a Premier Award for Quality for its excellent healthcare. Fairfax County also houses the northern terminal for Amtrak’s Auto Train which specifically runs from Lorton, VA letting you take your van or car with you on the train to Sanford, Florida. This is the only rail transport in the United States offering this kind of service.

The county is home to the nation’s sole national park for the performing arts known as the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts or simply Wolf Trap regarded as the most striking amenity in the county. It brings entertainment to audiences with its theater performances, pop music, dance and opera staging in multiple park venues all year round right in Fairfax County.

Shopping Tips for Buying a Home Warranty

Home warranties can be attractive to home owners or buyers who are looking at purchasing a property. These service contracts can cover all of a home’s major systems, such as the furnace or air conditioner, and will cover needed repairs if the appliance breaks or damaged.

Some sellers are offering a home warranty to try to lure buyers.

But not all home warranties are the same. Experts say you should carefully weigh costs, policy allowances, and customer feedback before making a decision so that you ensure you’re getting the best deal. Home warranties cost about $250 to $500 a year.

Here are some more tips from experts in shopping for a home warranty:

    • Find customer reviews. Web sites, such as homewarrantyreviews.com, provide reviews of home warranty companies. You also might check how each company is rated with your local Better Business Bureau.
home in Belle Haven Estates
typical home in Belle Haven Estates
  • Check for extra fees. Will you have to pay a fee for service calls?
  • Check the coverage allowance. Are there any exclusions to coverage? Will the allowance cover the entire cost of a broken appliance or just some of it? For example, if you have older appliances and mechanicals, will the policy cover the full cost of replacing it or just the depreciated value? If the policy only covers the depreciated value when a 20-year-old furnace dies, for example, the reimbursement may not be enough to buy a new one. Also, verify what appliances are all included in the coverage. Some companies will allow you to add coverage for swimming pools, while others won’t.

“The biggest thing is awareness of what the exclusions are,” Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Chicago Tribune. “The mere presence of a warranty, by nature, tends to have exclusions. Being aware of that can aid in the decision-making process.”

Source: “When Home Warranties Are Worth It,” Chicago Tribune (Feb. 8, 2011)

Trees provide cool and calm atmosphere in Mount Vernon Park

Located near Ferry Landing Road and Forest Haven in southern Fairfax County, Mount Vernon Park sits beautifully under shade provided by mature trees. In fact, that’s how this community got its name: The trees give it a park-like feel.

While it’s in a peaceful, cul-de-sac area, residents have many options. The Potomac River, Mount Vernon Mansion and Mount Vernon Country Club aren’t far from the community. Plus, commuters will enjoy its proximity to the GW Parkway.

While many of these homes were built in the mid to late 1950s, they’ve been renovated to provide a feeling of modern yet classic charm.

Tips for Choosing Upgrades for a New Home

Most home owners opt to add some upgrades to a new home, which can be rolled into the mortgage opposed to paying for them later on their own. But the choices of what flooring, lighting, or other upgrades to choose can be overwhelming.

Designer Candice Olson, author and host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All,” says lighting and extra wiring are key upgrades new home buyers should consider.

“Adding lighting — or at least the wiring for it — means you’ll be able to have bathroom sconces instead of that one overhead light the builder gives you,” Olson says. “Your flat-screen TV can be where you want it. You’ll have a floor outlet for the lamp in middle of the open room. And you won’t be ripping out walls later to do all this.”

Also, she says home owners shouldn’t forget about the exterior lighting either. “Outside lighting, plus landscaping, will set apart your house from the others in the neighborhood where buyers chose from plans A, B and C,” Olson says.

As for flooring, Olson recommends hardwood floors for the main living areas, and cork floors for the basement, since there’s potential for water leakage in basements.

She also says the addition of taller baseboards, chair rails, crown molding, coffered ceilings, built-ins or a banquette also are smart investments for upgrades.

Source: “Decisions, Decisions: Add Character to Your Home With a Few Choice Upgrades,” Chicago Tribune (Feb. 4, 2011)


Manassas Farmer’s Market

The Manassas Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday from the 3rd of April to the 20th of November and every Saturday from the 5th of April to the 22nd of November at the Harris Pavilion located on 9201 Center Street in Manassas, VA 20110.

A wide variety of home grown products can be found at Manassas Farmer’s Market sponsored by Historic Manassas, Inc. All products sold are locally grown alongside organic meat and seafood.

Schedule as follows:
April 3 to November 20 (7am to 1pm) at Harris Pavilion
April 5 to November 22 (7am to 2:30pm) at the Visitor’s Parking Lot on West Street.

The Manassas Farmer’s Market is only open in November if weather permits.

The Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden

Boasting its Victorian architectural beauty, the Lee- Fendall House interprets the life and living of the Lee family from 1850 to 1870 with the well restored house and cared for garden. The Lee-Fendall House is situated in the Historic District of Old Town Alexandria on Lee Corner, at the junction of North Washington and Oronoco Streets within the neighborhood where other Lee Homes were located in the 18th and 19th centuries.

General Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee who was a revolutionary war hero, sold the piece of land situated at the corner of Oronoco Street to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall who later on built his family home on this land in 1785. The Lee family resided on this land from 1785 to 1903 even when the Union Army had taken over the property to establish a hospital for its soldiers in 1863. After the departure of the last Lee member from the property, Robert Downham resided in the house till 1937 when he conveyed the property to John L. Lewin, who in turn lived there till his death in 1969.

The half acre garden of the Lee-Fendall House is a well managed garden overseen by the Alexandria Council of Garden Clubs consisting of 24 garden clubs ever since 1974. A variety of heritage roses, collection of herbs, English boxwoods, Black Walnut Trees, Gingko, Magnolia Grandiflora and scampering squirrels along with the tombstone of Philip R. Fendall’s mother, Eleanor Fendall can be found in this cared for garden.

The Lee- Fendall House Museum and Garden is located at 614 Oronoco Street in Alexandria VA 22314. For more information about tours, events, rentals and the like, please call 703 548 1789 or visit www.leefendallhouse.org.

Virginia Aims to Slow ‘Drive-by Foreclosures’

Virginia lawmakers are fighting against “drive-by foreclosures,” saying the foreclosure process in the state is one of the fastest in the nation and needs to be slower and have judicial review.

Bills in the Virginia House and Senate will set out to slow the state’s fast foreclosure pace by increasing the time required for foreclosure notice from two weeks to 30 or 45 days. The goal is to give borrowers more time to challenge the foreclosure if needed.

“We simply don’t have enough time to stop a foreclosure because of the fact that it’s in 10 days or seven days,” Todd Condren, a title insurance lawyer from Vienna, Va., told the House Courts of Justice Committee.

The bills also set out to require lenders to face court review before foreclosing on home owners. Lenders will also be subjected to fines if it’s found that any foreclosure was based on fraudulent documents or documents that contained any errors. The proposed bills also will have a requirement that lenders maintain updated real estate loan records in county courthouses and give borrowers an opportunity to avert foreclosure by paying off any delinquency.

Virginia’s banking lobby officials argue that slowing foreclosures and requiring updated county land record filings would just prolong the already four year housing slump.

Source: “Bill Seek Judicial Review of Foreclosures in Va., Better Mortgage Ownership Records,” The Associated Press (Jan. 17, 2011)

Arlington County, Virginia

Situated directly across Washington DC’s Potomac River, Arlington VA is an urban county that covers a total land area of 26 square miles. The properties in the area are a varied mix of commercial buildings and residential units. The metropolitan district can be easily accessed both by car and public transportation.

Some of the urban villages included in Arlington County are the following:

Arlington real estate
We are Realtors serving Arlington Virginia.

Arlington Ridge – boasts of its mansion-lined boulevard and a picturesque view of surrounding areas including Washington D.C.

Aurora Highlands – offers cottages and homes close to Crystal City

Ballston – home to tall condominiums and modern apartment complexes on the metro

Clarendon – offers a unique combination of luxury apartments, townhouses, upscale chain stores, trendy bars and restaurants

Court House – where you can find the government administrative complex of Arlington County as well as high-rise business and residential buildings

Crystal City – where high-rise buildings extensively integrate residential and commercial units thus allowing residents to live, work and shop without literally going out

Fairlington – consists mainly of condominium apartments and townhouses

Rosslyn – numerous skyscrapers characterize the dense business section that also serves as the gateway to Washington DC

Shirlington – most of the residential buildings are middle-class but several upscale dwelling and commercial establishments are starting to rise in the Beltway

Latest Listings in Arlington County VA

Properties in Arlington

Crossroads of the Marine Corps – MCB Quantico

Located near Triangle, of Southern Prince William County, VA and established in 1917, Marine Corps Base Quantico or MCB Quantico is one of the largest U.S Marine Corps bases in the world with a replica of the USMC War Memorial structured at the entrance. MCB Quantico and the Potomac surround the town of Quantico meaning ‘by the large stream’, therefore only permitting access to the town via the base, Amtrak or the river.

MCB Quantico houses:

  • Marine Corps Combat Development Command
  • Marine Corps Officer Candidates School
  • Marine Corps Research Center
  • Marine Corps Brig.
  • HMX-1
  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy
  • FBI Academy
  • FBI Laboratory
  • FBI Hostage Rescue Team
  • Marine Raider Museum

Quantico experienced the first military presence during the American Revolutionary War, when the main naval base of the Commonwealth of Virginia was Quantico Creek village for the 72 vessel fleet. Quantico was built by the Quantico Company that brought in tourists and was highlighted as a fishing town. Quantico was then introduced as ‘The New Industrial City’ in 1916 while the number of U.S Navy ships being constructed at the Quantico Shipyards brought in profit.
Marine Barracks, Quantico was established in 1917 now occupied by the present base that consisted of 91 enlisted men and 4 officers. With thousands of Marines being trained during the World War I, Marine Corps schools were then established that then developed into Marine Corps University.

Highlights of MCB Quantico:

  • Development of the first Marine Aircraft Wing
  • HMX-1, the Marine Helicopter Squadron One is the Corps’s first helicopter squadron was established that provide efficient transportation for the U.S Presidents till today
  • Amphibious Warfare Doctrine for World War II was developed in 1934
  • Marine Corps Development and Education Command was changed to Marine Corps Combat Development Command in 1987

The Quantico Marine Corps Base Historic District along with a portion of the base is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.