My recommendations for the Best Pick Your Owns, Fall and Halloween Events for the Whole Family

The leaves are a changing, football is well underway and pumpkin and apple picking is everywhere. It is Fall again in Northern Virginia.

I have scoured the local news to find the best listings of Pick your Own Farms and Halloween Events for the kiddies. But I wanted to add my own picks.

Ty Pumpkin Patch

My personal recommendation is Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Virginia out in Loudoun County. It might be a drive for some but I would argue well worth it. There are enough activities to please all ages and tire out the little ones. (not to mention Pumpkin Chunkin) We also get a chance to go out to actual fields where the apples are grown and pick them off the tree.

Then I proceed to can the apples for apple sauce.


(Psst: There’s are two breweries and a vineyard nearby as well #vawine #vabeer)

Dirt Farm Brewing

Bear Chase Brewing

Bluemont Vineyard

Also the best part is that Great Country Farms is also open for business in the Spring and Summer as well a real gem.

Want something a little further in and get the sillies out of the kids? The Reston Farm Market off the corner of Barron Cameron and Route 7 is a great choice for bounce houses and buying a couple pumpkins if you live nearby.  There is a great BBQ Food Truck on site. Our kids like it so much we just bought season passes.

Have a blast out there everyone.


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

Loudoun County Taxpayers will be on the hook for the estimated $22.9mm per year contribution to Metro


A few years after ignoring the input from experts and concerned citizens who tried to prevent this project from getting a foothold in Loudoun’s operating budget, the first concrete signs have emerged making it clear that Loudoun’s annual commitment has just begun to rise.

Read the entire article on

Give us a call to discuss any of your real estate needs.

Spike & Julie 703-980-4045

Meals Tax Could Drop Your Property Value

Vote No on Meals Tax on November 8th

On your ballot Nov. 8th you will find a referendum vote on whether or not to add a 4% Meals Tax to the existing Sales Tax of 6%. Let’s examine how this can impact your life as a property owner or prospective buyer in Fairfax County.

It is commonly accepted that real estate values are fluid and tied to changes in the market. Of course there are still those who believe that their property has inherent value based on an array of anecdotal indicators such how much they paid for it, how much they have put into it, or even how much they love it. The truth is that the only indicators that will really determine the value of your home in a competitive sales market are Location, Condition, and a Comparable Market Analysis. The reason I point that fact out is to establish a baseline for my argument that a Meals Tax increase to a net 10% could effect property values and hence your return on investment.

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.


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