Housing Inventory Snapshot – October 2016

This month the 30 Days Trend column for the Average Days on Market shows a stagnation in a timeframe that is historically active for Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties. Probably more interesting is the large number of properties on the market in Fairfax County across all price categories. This supports our anecdotal perception that through October there has been a lot of inventory and the buyers are being very choosey. It does appear that the end of the political season has resolved questions that were keeping buyers on the fence. In the last week listings of ours that were getting virtually no traffic in Great Falls, Fredericksburg, North Reston, Herndon, and Vienna have had a dramatic increase in showing activity, two of the six are now under contract and offers submitted or pending on two more.

Please let us know if you need our help with anything real estate related.

2016-1114-housing-inventory-snapshot Continue reading

USAA’s Movers Advantage Program gives their Members No Advantage

 

Blindly follow your loyalty at your own expense
Blindly follow your loyalty at your own expense

The internet is littered with personal accounts from buyers, sellers, and Realtors who have been burned by USAA’s MoversAdvantage Program, where brokers who participate pay a fee to “Cartus” (a 3rd party vendor). Continue reading

Housing Inventory Snapshot – April 2016

We hope you will find the following snapshot of April’s inventory statistics for the various regions and property types/values in our Northern Virginia Real Estate market informative.

This snapshot features new data points that we introduced last year. They show the trend of changes across several categories from 30 days prior. This can be a good way to lend some perspective to the numbers, bearing in mind that the natural life-cycle of the seasonal markets influence statistics heavily causing some months to be inherently more active than others as we have discussed previously.

2016-0511-housing-inventory-snapshot

Continue reading

Fairfax County Tax Increase puts a pinch on Residents

Residents of Fairfax County felt the impact of the, now common place, one-two punch of increased assessments Rising Taxesaccompanying a hike in rates. The property assessments go up and instead of dropping the rate to maintain a static revenue stream, they raise the rate too. In the last several weeks people have been getting their assessments in the mail only to find large assessed value increases, 6.54% on average, representing over $1,000 annual cost increase in many cases.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have released their advertised FY2016 Budget Plan raising the residential property tax rate by half of a penny per $100 of value to $1.09 in spite of forecasts that the value increases will continue. What they don’t indicate in the Budget plan is the $.0225 (two and a quarter cents) per $100 of value that they charge as a separate tax. In 2010 the Stromwater Service District was established, among a growing list of such “Service Districts” enabling the county government to obscure the landscape of tax rate increases.

Whether you are in favor of paying more to get more or feel like smaller more efficient government is best, clearly understanding what we pay and how it is used is the minimum expectation.

Home Improvement Projects with the Best Return on Investment

The characteristics that define a good Return on Investment (ROI) for your home meet these four criteria; Low-Maintenance, Good (not necessarily the highest) Quality, Energy-Efficient, and Relatively low cost.

The top ROI projects in order, one being the best, are as follows:

1. Replacing Your Front Door

2. New Siding

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel

4. Wood Deck Addition

5. Attic Bedroom Remodel

6. Garage Door Replacement

Check out the full article here: HouseLogic – The 6 Best Time-Tested Remodeling Projects – and the Worst

Halloween, It’s More than just Candy and Costumes

Halloween-21 Halloween began as “Samhain” a festival celebrating the end of the Celtic calendar year on October 31st throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. All Hallow’s Eve emerged from Hallowmas, a three day Catholic holiday honoring the saints that began on October 31st. Many believe that when it was created in the 11th century the intent was to convert pagans, offering an alternative holiday for the one they traditionally observed. The Celts believed Samhain marked a time in the calendar year when the barriers between the supernatural word and our world were permeable, allowing spirits or fairies to cross over. The practice of wearing costumes and masks was intended to deceive and repel the spirits. The name evolved over time, All Hallow’s Eve became All Hallow’s Even and by sometime in the 1700s a contraction became popular giving us “Hallowe’en”.

The Jack-O-Lantern finds it’s “roots” in Ireland where the pumpkin was not nearly as plentiful as the turnip, so fashioning the fabled Jack-O-Lantern or “Jack of the Lantern” from turnips was the natural choice. This talismanic vegetable phenomenon found its origin in the legend of a crooked blacksmith by the name of Jack who trapped the Devil and made him promise not to take his soul if he released him. Satan got the last laugh though, because Jack had lead a sinful life so he was not permitted into Heaven and Satan had promised not to take his soul so he couldn’t go to hell. He was left to wander the earth in darkness for all time, when he questioned Satan as to how he would see where to go, Satan mockingly gave him an ember from the flames of Hades to light his way. Jack carved a scary faced lantern out of a turnip and placed the ember inside it, to light his way for eternity. These lanterns have been believed to ward off evil spirits including the dammed soul of Jack of the Lantern.

2014-1023 - Halloween Post.1Though images abound of full moons on Hallowe’en they are actually quite rare. The next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until 2020 while the last one occurred back in 2001, and before that it was in 1955. Speaking of spooky icons for Halloween, who could ever forget about bats? Bats hold a special place in their association to Hallowe’en, the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire to drive away insects at the New Year’s Festival attracted bats who enjoyed their own feast in the insect rich area on the periphery.

And last but certainly not least, Trick-or-Treating! This custom was brought to America by Irish families fleeing the potato famine in the 1800s and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. After the rationing ended in 1947, children’s magazine “Jack and Jill,” radio program “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and the “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to re-popularize the tradition of dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door. By 1952, Trick-or-Treating was hugely popular again.

Please remember to be safe this Halloween while you are celebrating our nation’s second most commercialized holiday.

Oh, and don’t for get to set your clocks back before you go to bed on November 1st!

We have owned & operated Williams Realty since 2004 and selling real estate since 1987. The reason we started our own brokerage was so that we would have the flexibility to put money back into the pockets of our clients.

When you think of Northern Virginia Real Estate experts, think of Spike & Julie Williams and Williams Realty.

Williams Realty can be reached at 703-980-4045 or SpikeandJulie@williamsrealty.us  or http://www.WilliamsRealty.us we look forward to helping you assess your options and plan for your future.

Our Native Camel Cricket is Under Siege from it’s Asian Cousin

Invading Camel Cricket Species
Invading Camel Cricket Species

According to Wikipedia, “Diestrammena is a cricket genus in the family Rhaphidophoridae. It is native to Asia, including Japan.

The United States is currently undergoing a camel cricket census conducted by researchers and citizen scientists at North Carolina State University. Citizen scientists were asked to survey their homes for presence or absence of camel crickets such as those of this genus and return photos and/or specimens to the lab for further research. Researchers have found that introduced Diestrammena camel crickets were reported much more commonly than the native North American camel crickets of the genus Ceuthophilus.”

Check out this article from Discovery News to learn more about this species that appears to be here to stay:

Nightmarish Cricket That Eats Anything Is Now Invading the US