About the Saltbox

Saltbox
typical Saltbox

This New England Colonial style got its name because the sharply sloping gable roof that resembled the boxes used for storing salt. The step roofline often plunges from two and one-half stories in front to a single story in the rear. In Colonial times, the lower rear portion was often used as a partially enclosed shed, which was oriented north as a windbreak. These square or rectangular homes typically have a large central chimney and large, double-hung windows with shutters. Exterior walls are made of clapboard or shingles. In the South this style is known as a “cat’s slide” and was a popular in the 1800s. There are few examples of the Saltbox home in Northern VA.

  • 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.

  • 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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Find Love Where You Live

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are four rules for finding romance in a condo.

Happy Valentine's Day
Don’t forget your sweetheart!

1. Attend business meetings and don’t skip mixers. Stay until the last cookie and glass of punch is served. Building issues make great topics of conversation.

2. The two best places to meet are the laundry room and pool. Two things to remember: Don’t fold your undies while chatting and always bring some sunscreen to share.

3. An informal invite to dinner at the restaurant around the corner is convenient and no matter how things turn out, you’re close to home.

4. Look ready to meet someone. Don’t even go to the mailbox looking lousy.

Source: Apartments.com (02/09/2010)

Increase Home Appeal by Adding a Little Green

Eco-friendly homes are hot these days, and one way to make a property more saleable is to add a little green.

Real estate Web site HomeGain asked about 1,000 real estate practitioners to recommend low-cost green improvements. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Plant native trees and plants
  • Replace air filters
  • Weather-strip and caulk doors and windows
  • Install programmable thermostats
  • Install low-flow showerheads
  • Install CFL or LED lights
  • Repaint with low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint

Source: USA Today (10/14/2010)

A Financial Plan for Your Home

You probably already have a financial plan for yourself in place. Most likely you sat down with an advisor at some point to set up a budget and diversify your investments. Or maybe you did it yourself online or at the dining room table. Either way, smart move.

But what about your home specifically, probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life? Did you really take everything into account: repairs and upgrades, the mortgage, insurance, and taxes? Probably not.

Your house requires a financial plan of its own. Spend a weekend creating one. Once you have a handle on your home’s expenses you can devise a long-term strategy that’ll let you live there for years with maximum enjoyment and minimum anxiety. These are the four central elements you need to address.

The mortgage: Paying it—and then some

Yes, you already shell out a lot for your mortgage, but can you pay more? Even a little extra each month can add up. Let’s say you have $200,000 outstanding principal and a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5%. Your monthly payment is $1,319.91. But if you can manage to pay another $100 a month, you’ll save $14,887 in interest. Run the numbers for yourself.

Alan D. Kahn, a financial planner in Syosset, N.Y., likes the idea of early payoff because lowering debt leaves you free to spend money elsewhere later on. There’s an emotional benefit as well. It can feel awfully good to own your house outright as soon as possible. And don’t fret too much about losing the mortgage interest deduction come tax time. Toward the tail end of the life of a loan most of your payment is going to the principal, not the interest.

Nevertheless, the same extra $100 might also go into a retirement plan every month, or be put aside for the inevitable home repairs (more on those later). Michael Kay, a financial planner in Livingston, N.J., says while a debt-free life may be enormously important to your peace of mind, an extra $1,200 toward your child’s college fund every year may feel even better. It’s about what’s ultimately important to you, both emotionally and financially.

Insurance: Protecting your property

You’ll want homeowners insurance with full replacement coverage in case your house is burned to the ground. This sounds simple, but be careful on the calculation. Remember that you own a house as well as the land on which it sits. So even though you bought your home for $300,000, it may cost only $100,000 to rebuild it. Your policy limits should reflect this.

The differences are regional. Where land is at a premium, like much of Southern California, a higher percentage of the purchase cost is for the property rather than the structure. Where land is cheap, like much of North Dakota, most of the value of a new house is the house itself. Don’t be deceived by shifts in market values. You may have bought a $1.2 million townhouse in Florida during the boom that now may only sell for $600,000. But the replacement cost of the townhouse hasn’t changed much, so you can’t cut insurance costs that way.

Do, however, try to cut costs by asking your insurance agent about discounts. Making structural improvements, such as adding storm shutters, can lead to lower rates. Membership is certain groups, such as AARP or veterans’ organizations, entitles some policyholders to breaks on premiums as well.

Repairs and renovations: By choice or necessity

Throughout the life of your house, you’ll be making two kinds of changes. The first is the fun kind, like a marble floor for the living room. The second is the essential, behind-the-scenes change: a new water heater. You don’t have a choice about when you’ll do the latter, but you can prepare for it financially.

It’s a good idea to have a rainy-day fund. Start with the inspection report you received when you bought the house. Did the inspector indicate that you would need a new roof in five years? A new furnace in 10? Get estimates on what these repairs will cost and start saving. Consider ongoing non-emergency maintenance too. Do you live in New England? Price a snow blower and get bids from plow services. Resist the temptation to take care of everything with home equity loans, which defeat efforts to pay off the mortgage early.

As for the discretionary upgrades, act prudently. Matthew P. Havens, a financial planner in Hingham, Mass., has seen too many people rationalizing lavish upgrades as an investment when they really were lifestyle decisions. According to Remodeling magazine, an upscale major kitchen upgrade, for example, could cost nearly $112,000, but only about 63% of that will be recouped in the home’s resale value. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t upgrade. If you can afford to redo your bathrooms, go ahead. Just don’t confuse your necessary repairs (new oil furnace—about $4,000) with your discretionary upgrades (Viking range—$6,000 and up).

Taxes: (Almost) no way around them

Taxes are an essential part of your home’s financial plan. The bank that holds your mortgage may already handle your real estate taxes with an escrow account. If so the expense is built into your monthly mortgage payment. Check your statements or call the lender. Otherwise create a dedicated fund for property taxes, which can run into the thousands of dollars annually.

You may be able to reduce your tax burden by getting a reassessment. Do your homework first. Are comparable houses taxed less than yours? Ask the local assessor what formula is used to set tax rates. Kay, the New Jersey financial planner, researched and then challenged the assessed value of his own home and got a 15% rollback.

If you’re in a special group, you might get some help from state or local programs. Check around to see what’s available in your area. New York State, for example, has its Star Program for giving senior citizens some relief from school-related property taxes.

Richard J. Koreto is a freelance writer. He has been editor of several professional financial magazines and is the author of “Run It Like a Business,” a practice management book for financial planners. He and his wife own a pre-Civil War house in Rockland County, N.Y.

Year in Review Market Analysis for Northern Virginia Real Estate

Here are a few interesting year end facts about Northern Virginia real estate

  • November’s average sales price is UP 1.3% from 2008 to $428,481
  • In January 2009, the average sales price was down 22.51% to $376,669

MRIS data indicates that the Total Sold Dollar Volume is up 44.3% over November 2008. Similarly the Total Units Sold is up 43.45% over November 2008. According the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and MLS data from the MRIS, “The market is shifting and slowly recovering; we’re coming back.

average sales prices for real estate in Northern Virginia

The average sales prices for Northern Virginia real estate is up from 2008.

listings sold in Northern Virginia

The number of listings sold in Northern Virginia is up to levels not seen since 2006!

Holiday Adventures around Northern VA

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Northern VA

I was born in Northern Virginia and have lived here most of my life, but I still find that there is no end of new things to do. When Christmas approaches in Northern Virginia, the Holiday Season is a great time to get out and see some of what the area has to offer. Julie and I have already started to enjoy some of the many sites of the season and I thought I’d share a bit with friends and soon to be friends who are considering moving to this area.

ICE

Just across the Potomac River from Alexandria VA is the National Convention Center at National Harbor. This recently developed area is home to many high-end shops and restaurants and makes a nice day-trip anytime. Julie and I visited ICE! a holiday display of ice sculptures. The attraction was billed as “a world unlike any other … a winter wonderland made entirely of ice. We explored ten different holiday scenes made from two million pounds of ice, including a life-sized Santa’s Workshop, a penguin village… and even ice slides that stood more than two stories tall! ICE! was created by a team of 40 artisans and sculptors.

ice tunnel

The tunnel had white branches that were covered in ice. Inside the exhibit the air was a chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit. All visitors wore special blue parkas over their coats that kept us nice and warm.

penguin goofballs

My son Stuart and I goofed around at the penguins near the glass-like ice igloo. National Harbor can be seen from Alexandria, but a few nights ago we took a short drive around the Beltway to the Washington, DC Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, also known as the Mormon Temple.

Mormon Temple

The grounds of the Mormon Temple are open to all visitors during the Christmas season. This impressive church and its surrounding grounds shine brightly with nearly a half-million sparkling Christmas lights. Each night, a different local musical group performs a live concert in a state-of-the-art theater. Best of all: all events are free!

It’s hard for my little picture to really catch the brilliance of the winter night, but in both of these pictures you can see a representative of the Star of David shining in the distance over a Nativity Scene near the visitors’ center.

lights at Mormon Temple

We grabbed some photos outside and walked the grounds. There were plenty of people there, but the crowds were very polite and nice. The Mormon ushers and parking attendants were very welcoming to all who approached.

It was a chilly night, so we came in the visitor’s center to warm up. There were Christmas Trees from around the area, and I took Julie’s picture near the Mount Vernon tree. I really liked the trees with contributions from nations around the world. Those trees were themed by continents so there was a tree themed with decorations from Africa, from South American, from Europe and from Asia.

Another great spot to check out is the National Christmas Tree near the lawn of the Whitehouse near the Ellipse in Washington DC.

Washington Monument

We parked in front of the Washington Monument and then headed across the lawn toward the National Christmas Tree and National Menorah. On the way we passed an enormous Yule Log burning brightly to warm visitors. There is a parade of free entertainment and there are trees representing all the states and territories of the USA.

The National Christmas Tree is between the Washington Monument and the White House, but very close to the White House.

Whitehouse and me

About the AuthorWill Nesbitt is the principal broker of Condo Alexandria and Nesbitt Realty.
Will specializes in condos, townhouses and single family residences in
Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Crystal City, and Kingstowne.
Will resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Alexandria VA in
Fairfax County.

Listings of homes and condos for sale in Northern Virginia

Are you searching for real property in Northern Virginia? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Condos
Condo Alexandria is Northern VA’s condo expert

Condo-Alexandria.com is the official site of Nesbitt Realty . Our real estate agents provide this site to help educate and assist home buyers with their real estate needs. Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our  comprehensive real estate guides, real estate news, mortgage calculators, links to real estate market conditions, and wisdom from our team of skilled realtors. If you’re in the market for homes for sale or if  you’re seeking a condo in Northern Virginia, Condo-Alexandria.com is the real estate website for you.

Condo-Alexandria.com puts real estate listings for thousands of homes and condos for sale at your fingertips in communities across Northern Virginia. We provide focused hyperlocal information taken about communities and condo associations right here in Northern VA. We also provide listings from one of the largest MLS providers in the country. Our listings from the Multiple Regional Information System can access every single home listed for sale or rent in Northern Virgina.

We are realtors and real estate agents that care about hour clients need and we believe in sharing (not hording) information.  As such, Condo-Alexandria provides the means to search by map, by community, by mls or just browse by text listings. We even provide a page where you can find condo listings and homes for rent. So whether you’re looking for Alexandria VA real estate or detailed Arlington real estate listings, look no further than Condo-Alexandria.com.

Each real estate listing provides comprehensive details about the property so you have a clear picture of what features and amenities are included. Condo-Alexandria.com goes beyond real estate listings, however, with access to real estate tools and resources such as calculators, moving guides, real estate buying tips. Our site doesn’t provide information for everyone.  We cater to folks who are interested in Northern Virgina, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Crystal City and Kingstowne. If you are moving to Northern VA, Condo-Alexandria.com provides you with everything you need to find the perfect home for you.

Nesbitt Realty
Nesbitt Realty sells homes in Northern VA

Walk Score includes public transportation!

Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score attempts to numerically measure how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking. If you’re looking for a walkable area, check out what Condo-Alexandria.com can do:

  1. Search by Walk Score. Now this is cool. You can decide what your minimum walkable criteria is when you search for properties.
  2. Sort by Walk Score. If you can search by Walk Score, you should be able to sort by Walk Score too. Just click in the “sort by” box at the top of the results and choose “Walk Score, Highest First” to order the search results from highest to lowest Walk Score.
  3. View the Walk Score in both the search results and property details. Every time you search for property you’ll find out just how walkable the area is!
  4. View the Walk Score tile. When you click on the “Walk Score” link at the top-right of the property details area, you’ll see the Walk Score tile that shows all of the amenities that are factored into the score.

We hope you’ll enjoy using Walk Score as much as we enjoyed building it into our system. We’re really excited to say that we’re one of the first providers of this type of functionality. We spent quite some time on the UI for this feature in order to make everyone happy.

And in case you haven’t heard, Walk Score just improved its usefulness. Previous versions of Walk Score did not include public transportation. That is to say, a property next door to a metro station had no higher Walk Score than a property far from public transportation. Well, that’s all changed now!

Our latest enhancement adds mass transit to the Walk Score calculations. See for yourself now.

Discover the woods at Mount Eagle.

Montebello is hidden behind a veil of foliage ensuring the peace and privacy of all residents. Montebello condominiums are within walking distance of the metro, but still offer a secluded private retreat for residents.

Montebello is well hidden behind a canopy of trees at Mount Eagle.

Views

The building site at Montebello was selected not only for its proximity to Old Towne and the Metro, but also because of the commanding views afforded on the hilltop. The four towers of Montebello are 16 floors tall–each with its own unique view.

North facing units look down upon Alexandria’s rich skyline.

To the west the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains

and a view toward Huntington Metro and Mount Eagle Park.

Watch the sunrise in the east and south over the Potomac River.

Parks & Grounds

Montebello is surrounded by beautiful parks and grounds.

In the autumn watch the leaves turn from your secure perch at Montebello.

All summer flowers bloom through-out Montebello.

The grounds are well-maintained and full of color.

I’m not complaining but …

Sometimes it sucks to be a realtor. I’m not complaining though. Most days are like this:

Will Nesbitt

On days like this, I love my vocation. I get to meet new people, look at interesting real estate and gossip with folks on my blog. I like driving around Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County. I like seeing people realize their dreams. The pay is not bad, but the hours are long. Still, I like what I do …

Except …

A couple of days a year, when being a realtor feels like this:

Will Nesbitt

Yesterday I was sick as a dog. But I had time sensitive documents that had to be taken care of. I dragged myself to the office and took care of business. I’m feeling better today … but yesterday was one of those days.


Will Nesbitt About the AuthorWill Nesbitt is the principal broker of Condo Alexandria and Nesbitt Realty. Will specializes in condos, townhouses and single family residences in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Crystal City, and Kingstowne. Will resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Alexandria VA in Fairfax County.