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5 Easy Ways to Keep Summer Rain Outside Where It Belongs

If you want to keep rain outside where it belongs during these intense summer storms, there are five steps you can follow to make sure your home stays dry.

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With all the intense weather we’ve been having lately, many of you are probably wondering when the rain will end. While you may not be able to stop these summer thunderstorms, there are steps you can take to make sure the rain stays outside where it belongs, instead of leaking into your home. Let’s look at five simple, inexpensive tips that will keep your home safe and dry during all these storms.

"While you may not be able to stop these summer thunderstorms, there are steps you can take to make sure the rain stays outside where it belongs."

  1. Clean your gutters. Even if you have no trees near your home, it’s still important to have your gutters cleaned at least twice a year. Those who live in wooded areas will need to have this done more often, of course. In any case, clean gutters can go a long way in keeping water out of your home. 
  2. Add gutter extensions. This will keep water flowing away from your home.
  3. Trim your trees. If you do have trees in your yard, make sure they don’t become overgrown. If they do, they will be more likely to tip over and cause damage to your home. 
  4. Have a battery backup for your sump pump. It’s important that your sump pump continues working even if your power is out. It’s also critical to periodically check that your sump pump still works in general. Unplugging the float and plugging it directly into an outlet every six months is a good way to test this. Just make sure you hear the motor running when you do this.
  5. Grade your yard. A lot of people stack mulch up and think this will be enough to control the flow of water away from their home, but mulch will settle. It’s critical that your yard is actually graded downward (away) from your home, so that water will naturally flow away from your foundation. 

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

7 Silly Mistakes That Might Ruin Your Home Sale

You might be ruining your home sale without even realizing it. Here are seven common mistakes that you need to avoid.

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 are going to talk about seven silly things that might be preventing your home from selling. When buyers are searching for homes, they can be very picky. Some of the minor items on this list can actually deter them from making an offer, so make sure you have them cleaned up before you go on the market:

1. Unsightly cords. A lot of people have mounted televisions with hanging cords. Buyers are unable to really envision how that space might look if there are cords strewn about, so I suggest taping them up behind the TV or getting rid of them altogether for showings.

2. An unkempt yard. It is important that your home has great curb appeal. Keep up with the mowing, weeding, and get a gardener if you have to.

3. A worn entryway. If buyers see dingy patio furniture or a porch with wood rot, they have a negative impression of what the home will look like on the inside before they even step foot inside it.

4. Cobwebs. Check all of your corners, light fixtures, and little-used rooms for cobwebs and small bugs. It is an easy, quick fix that can really pay off.

 

"If buyers are distracted by clutter, it is hard for them to get a good look at your home."

 

5. Poor furniture arrangement. The best way to live in your home is not necessarily the best way to show it. 

6. Overfilled drawers or closets. Clean those out and maybe get a storage unit. Clutter will not do you any favors when it comes time to sell.

7. Cluttered countertops. If buyers are distracted by your clutter, it is hard for them to see past it. The more your home looks like a model home, the better chance you have of selling it quickly and for top dollar.

If you have any questions for us about these tips or about the real estate market in general, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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It's Time to Flex Your Support for the Special Olympics

The Dulles Plane Pull is coming up in just a few short months, and we want your help in supporting a great cause.

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

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

Are you ready to test your strength for a great cause? We hope so, because we need your help on September 15 as we compete in the Dulles Plane Pull to raise money for the Special Olympics. Space on our team is limited, so if you want to join us for fundraising fun on the tarmac, you’ll need to send us a text, email, or a video explaining why we should choose you. Of course, helping us pull an 82-ton aircraft isn’t the only way you can show your support. You can also help us reach our donation goal of $2,500 by July 30. You can learn more about joining our team and supporting our donation goal here. To hear our full message about this event, watch this short video. 

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Get Rid of the Unwanted TenANTS in Your Home

You don’t have to call an exterminator to get rid of ants in your house. Here are a couple quick and easy tips that can get the job done.

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If you have ants running amok in your house, here are a couple easy tips that can solve this problem:

1. Spray rosemary oil. This is my preferred method. Put a few drops of rosemary oil into a spray water bottle and spray wherever you see any ants. Rosemary oil is what I use to wash my counters anyway, and whenever it comes into contact with ants, it kills them almost instantly. It might not prevent them from coming back, but it’ll take care of the ones already there. This is safe to use around food and is nontoxic to humans, so you don’t need to bother with buying a can of Raid. 

2. Lay down a few Terro® Liquid Ant Baits. Terro is an ant bait liquid that you can buy in pre-filled, ready-to-use trap stations. All you have to do is place one of these trap stations wherever ants accumulate in your house. The ants are attracted to the sugary, sweet liquid inside it, but the active ingredient is borax, which interferes with their digestive system and eventually kills them. Before it does, though, it gives the ants who visited the station enough time to share that lethal dose of Borax with the rest of their colony. 

"Hopefully these tips will keep ants out of your home."

Obviously, you can also hire an exterminator to take care of your ant problem. We use Suburban Pest, and they’ll come out to your home as many times as they need to between quarterly treatments. 

If you have any other questions about keeping pests out of your home or you have any other real estate needs I can take care of, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you.

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.

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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!

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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.