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Our Team Has Welcomed a New Member

Allow me to introduce our newest team member: Ashley Sears.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Today I’m excited to introduce you to our newest team member: Ashley Sears. 

I’ve known Ashley for a couple of years, and now she’s going to be joining us as a buyer and seller agent. But how did Ashley start out in real estate?

After spending three years in new home sales, Ashley decided it was time to move on to residential sales. This is how she’s found herself on our team, today.

"Ashley is a very hard worker, is very responsive, and has always had great results with her clients."

I am so thrilled that Ashley has joined us. She’s a very hard worker, is very responsive, and has always had great results with her clients. And because I served as Ashley’s mentor a couple of years ago, this praise is coming from a place of personal experience. 

“I’m really excited to join a team that has such a wonderful reputation,” says Ashley.

If you have any real estate questions or needs, feel free to give our team a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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What Home Renovations Should You Focus on Before Selling?

If you’re thinking about selling your home, where can your renovation money be used most efficiently? That’s what we’re going to go over today.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Today we’re going to talk about the renovations that are going to give you the most bang for your buck. 

What should you do first? In order to get the best bang for your buck, it’s important to focus on your kitchen and master bathroom first. Kitchens usually require the most work. If your home is 30 years or older, it might be time to consider replacing your cabinets and countertops. 

If you’re selling your home, consider how future homeowners would like to live in it.

The master bathroom is a huge eye-catcher for buyers, and they really like it when they know going in they don’t have to make any big renovations.

 

"The master bathroom is a huge eye-catcher for buyers."

 

The third place to focus on is the systems of your home. Home buyers want to know about the roof, windows, HVAC, and plumbing. If they don’t have to put that money in right away, they will be more attracted to the home.

Finally, look at your flooring. Buyers prefer hardwood so if that’s an option for you, it might be a good idea to replace your carpet. 

If you have any questions for me or want to know more about any of these renovations, give me a call or send me an email today. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Keeping an Eye on This Hectic Market

The Northern Virginia market is getting crazy this year. Here’s what buyers and sellers need to know about it.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

My team member, Amy O’Rourke, is with me today to discuss what is going on in the Northern Virginia market this spring.

Fairfax was a little crazier this year compared to last year. Active listings are down 22% year over year. Though fewer homes are being sold, the ones that are selling are doing so even quicker than in 2017, 19% faster, to be exact. 

Loudon is in a similar position. Inventory is down 22%, and the number of days the listed homes are spending on the market is down 18%.

Now, what should buyers in this spring market expect?

"If you’re planning to enter the market soon, all we can say is 'Buckle up!'"

In most situations, buyers will likely face some competition. Most homes that are showing well are receiving multiple offers. Many are waiving the home inspection or doing it for informational purposes only. A good majority of sellers aren’t offering any closing cost assistance. It’s competitive, yes, but it’s doable. Ours is a good market to be in.

Many buyers have told me that they’ve written offers for several homes but haven’t been accepted on any of them. A lot of the reason behind this occurring has to do with your relationships in the industry or your pre-approval. To get the home you want, you have to have all your ducks in a row. We can help with that—having someone competent and experienced to guide you during the transaction is critical.

On the other hand, sellers are in a very favorable position. They get to choose the best offer of the many strong ones they receive. Additionally, a lot of sellers in the market are also buyers, and I think they’ve learned how aggressive they need to be for the buying process.

Open houses have been extremely busy this spring. It’s not uncommon to have 25 to 35 parties come through without agents, but I’m also seeing a lot of agents themselves coming to open houses.

Overall, we’re seeing a lot of energy in the market and a lot of great homes for sale, though we still don’t have enough of them.

If you’re planning to enter the market soon, all we can say is “Buckle up!”

If you have any questions or need assistance navigating this crazy market, feel free to reach out to us. We can help.

How to Keep Radon From Building Up in Your Home

Radon is a gas that can build up in your home and be hazardous to your health, but there are ways you can test for and mitigate it.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

What is radon and how can you keep it out of your home?

Radon is a gas produced from the radioactive decay of the element uranium. It can be found naturally moving through soil, water, or air.  After seeping from the ground, it can enter the building materials of a home through foundational cracks and/or sump pumps. From there, it can get trapped in basements (or main levels, if you live in a home built on a slab) and accumulate. 

Radon is measured in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L), and the EPA states that radon becomes harmful once it reaches or exceeds 4 pCi/L. 

There are a couple ways you can test for radon. If you already own a home, you can buy a radon testing kit at any local hardware store or big-box store. If you’re purchasing a home, I recommend getting it tested by a professional. A professional radon test costs around $200 and takes two days to complete. 

"If you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now."

In either case, if the test comes back positive, the mitigation process will typically cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,200. To mitigate radon, they simply stick a PVC pipe in the ground with a fan attached that sucks the radon out and releases it into the atmosphere. It’s not a hard fix, but it is something you should be aware of if you change your sleeping arrangements or a member of your household decides to live in the basement. 

If you’re curious how prevalent radon is in your specific area, Fairfax County provides a radon potential map on their website. In the video above, we’ve printed out a copy of this map to show you what it looks like. Officially, the EPA classifies Fairfax County as “Zone 1,” which is high. 

So remember, if you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now.

If you have any more questions about radon, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you.


 

2 Home Repairs You Need to Keep an Eye On

Some home repairs are more preventable than others. Here are two that you can easily snuff out by being proactive.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Today I want to talk about the two biggest repairs that you can prevent while you own a home. I see these all the time, and they’re completely preventable:

1. Wood rot. Especially on the outside of your home. The most common places to find it are around your door frames and exterior. This happens usually because you’re not keeping up with painting. Make sure any exterior wood is painted, sealed, and caulked so that water doesn’t eat away at the wood. Rotted eaves are common too.

"We were actually victims of gutter overflow."

2. Gutter overflow. We were actually victims of this. Water ended up seeping in through our foundation simply because we weren’t cleaning our gutters. Make sure you have your gutters cleaned at least once, if not twice, per year.

If you have any questions for me in the meantime about your home, the real estate market, or anything else, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy St. Paddy's Day. Here's an Update on Our Market

We may be seeing green for St. Patrick’s Day, but our local real estate market is red hot!

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, Amy and I decided to combine forces and become the O’Rougherty team for today’s market update. 

It’s a strong market out there in the Fairfax County real estate market. 

Active inventory is down 24% from last year and monthly supply is also down to about 2.5 months. This is a decrease of about 20% since last year.

Active inventory is also down in Western Fairfax, having decreased by 38% since last year. There are only 1.2 months of supply right now in the Western Fairfax market. This is a decrease of 40% since last year.

"Low inventory has been causing strong demand in our local market, which means now is a great time to list your home."

This low inventory has been causing strong demand in our local market, meaning multiple offer situations have become increasingly common. Buyers are making cash offers and offers that are well over list price, and many are also waiving contingencies. 

In other words, now is a great time to list your home. But if you’re a buyer, don’t give up. Just make sure that you put your best foot forward.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or visit our website: www.getkeyedup.com. We'd be happy to help.

 


 

Should Homebuyers Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved?

If you’re a buyer, a pre-approval is far more standard than a pre-qualification in today’s market, and it’s what you should much rather have.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

What’s the difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval? 

According to Terry Schenck, our preferred lender from Prosperity Home Mortgage, a pre-qualification is simply a letter a lender provides you that details your preliminary information you’ve given verbally but they haven’t verified yet. This includes bank statements, pay stubs, and W-2s. This letter isn’t very strong and is typically frowned upon by sellers. Sometimes pre-qualification letters come with a credit check, but often they don’t.

A pre-approval letter is standard in today’s market. With this letter, the lender actually pulls your credit and verifies your documentation. The lender also puts you through an automated underwriting system, which gives you a much stronger letter and allows you to go much farther in the marketplace. 

"A pre-approval letter is standard in today’s market."

Sellers in today's market prefer for their buyers to have a pre-approval. If you're in the market to buy a home, getting one is a no-brainer.

Prosperity Home Mortgage can also take your pre-approval one step further with their buyer advantage program. In addition to the pre-approval, they can also submit you to their underwriting team for a full review before you even start looking at houses. There is no cost or obligation with this program, and it can strengthen your offer tremendously. 

Competition is fierce among homebuyers in our current market because of low inventory, so I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity. 

If you’re interested in this program or you have any other questions for Terry, you can email him at terry.schenck@phmloans.com or call him at (703) 408-3978.

(Terrence V. Schenck NMLSR ID 193123 Senior Loan Officer, Prosperity Home Mortgage 13135 Lee Jackson Mem Hwy, suite 100 Fairfax, VA 22033 Phone (703)408-3978 | Fax (703) 293-4298 terry.schenck@phmloans.com)

If you have any other questions or real estate needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my team. We’d be happy to help you.

 


 

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These 2 Inexpensive Home Products Are Absolute Game-Changers

Do you need a little help around the house? Today, I’ve got two devices that may just do the trick.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Do you ever feel like you could use some help around the house? If so, I’d like to recommend two great devices that can make your life much easier. 

First of all, if you or anyone in your family has long hair, you’re probably familiar with the problem of clogged drains. Well, as someone with this same problem, I saw a solution on the show “Shark Tank” that I knew I had to buy. For $10 on Amazon, you can buy the Drain Wig—a small device you hang down into your drain that collects hair, therefore preventing clogs.

This product has been super helpful for my family and me. I know this isn’t a glamorous subject, but it’s certainly important.

"These products have been super helpful for my family and me."

The second device I recommend is the amazing Watchdog Water Alarm. You can purchase this product for about $13 at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and I highly recommend it. When you place the product near a sump pump, washing machine, or anywhere else where leaks may occur, this alarm will alert you right away so that you can prevent a flood in your home. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Have You Been to Launch Yet?

Have you been to Launch Trampoline Park? If you haven’t, you’ll be visiting soon.

We’re back again to introduce you to another great local business. This time, we’re with Mike Heath of Launch Trampoline Park here in Herndon. Our family has been here quite a lot because there is something here for the whole family. Here are three things that you have to come check out at Launch:

1. The Ninja Warrior course. Based on the popular TV show, Launch has their own custom ninja warrior course complete with a foam pit to protect you from any falls. It’s a tough course, after all.

2. Extreme dodgeball course. They actually have two of them. A lot of trampoline parks don’t have these courses at all.

3. Nightly specials. For example, you can buy one hour of jumping and get one free on Monday nights. On Thursdays, a family of five can jump for one hour for just $40 bucks. That’s an incredible deal.

"Launch has their own custom ninja warrior course."

In addition to the state-of-the-art courses and nightly specials, The specials are subject to change at any time. Check with Launch for current specials. Launch also has great food, drinks, and even a full arcade.

Launch Trampoline Park is located at 13348 Franklin Farm Road in Herndon. To learn more about them, check out their website here. You can complete your waiver ahead of time as well, here. 

If you have any real estate related questions for us in the meantime, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
 


 

Do You Have Water and Sewer Line Insurance?

 

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

If you don’t have water and sewer line insurance, you need to get it from Dominion Power. 

You may be thinking, “Why is she talking about Dominion Power? They do my electricity.” It may seem confusing, but Dominion Power is the company that holds the insurance for water and sewer lines. 

You may have heard neighbors talking about getting insurance for water and sewer lines, especially after this horrendous weather we’ve had. A lot of pipes were freezing and water meters were freezing, so you should definitely get water and sewer line insurance. 

"$15 a month in insurance payments can save you from up to $5,000 in repair costs."

After you sign up for the insurance, there is a 30-day wait period. The water insurance is $4.99 a month, and the sewer line is $5.99 a month. You can add restoration to both of those for $1.99 a month.

If you get both types of insurance, an extra $15 a month gets tacked on to the electric bill. This insurance has really saved a lot of folks from expensive repairs. 

Before we bought our house, the water line broke and the previous owners had to pay $5,000 to repair it. We still carry the insurance. Just because the water line has been replaced doesn’t mean that there won’t be an issue again. 

This insurance is only $15 a month, so it’s worth it to set it up. You won’t regret it. 

Go to DominionEnergy.com for more information. As always, you can give me a call with any real estate questions you might have. I would be happy to help you!