RSS feed for Items tagged 'Washington Report'

Monday, January 25, 2016


Fredericksburg real estate is situated halfway between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, just below the falls of the Rappahannock River. Many homebuyers are attracted Fredericksburg City real estate thanks to the town’s many outdoor activities, such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Moreover, the city boasts an illustrious past: George Washington grew up on Fredericksburg City real estate, on Ferry Farm, a National Historic Landmark that still stands today. And a number of Civil War battles were also fought on Fredericksburg City real estate, portions of which have been preserved by the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park.

The main appeal of Fredericksburg City real estate, however, is its proximity to major employment centers along the mid-Atlantic coast. As a result, many Fredericksburg City real estate owners are commuters who rely on public transportation; the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provides access to downtown D.C., whereas the “FRED” bus route includes two VRE stations and several downtown amenities. You can learn more about the Fredericksburg City housing market, including timely statistics about active inventory and the median sales price of area homes, by contacting me at 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate. With Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO. The buyer who wants the best deal possible. The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer. The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country) The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house. The appraiser if there is a question of value. Your bank in the case of a short sale
2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers.  Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an extensive internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
3. Actual Results also come from the Internet.  Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased? 43% on the internet 9% from a yard sign 1% from newspapers The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult.  The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent.  Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the same commission. Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

 Bottom Line Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Board approves exception for Caroline High School setback

When the renovations to Caroline High School are complete, the school building will sit a little closer to the road.
At its Nov. 13 meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved the School Board’s special exception application to allow the renovated CHS a 75-foot setback in an area with a rural preservation zoning that requires a 150-foot setback.
Despite the zoning, CHS has never had a 150-foot setback and is considered a “nonconforming structure” because the school, which opened its doors in 1976, was built before the adoption of the last zoning ordinance in 1989.
The current setback for CHS is 118 feet. The School Board’s request would increase the current encroachment by 43 feet.
Importantly, as Director of Planning and Community Development Mike Finchum pointed out, setbacks are measured from the front of the building to the right-of-way line, not to the edge of the pavement. The distance between the right-of-way line and the pavement is 68 feet; consequently, the renovated school will sit 143 feet from the edge of the nearest travel lane on Route 207.
Finchum reported that the Virginia Department of Transportation had reviewed the setback plans and had no objection to them.
After much discussion at its Aug. 20 meeting, the Planning Commission on Sept. 3 unanimously recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the request, under the condition that an additional barrier be installed between the school and the road. Currently the only barrier is a row of large trees.
In a brief public hearing, School Board Chairman George Spaulding and Vice Chairman Nancy Carson urged the Board of Supervisors to approve the application.
“We would appreciate if we can go ahead and get this thing passed so we can get to moving on with our building,” Spaulding told the supervisors.
Because the site plan for CHS is currently in the review process, a denial of the application by the Board of Supervisors would have forced the School Board to redesign the entire renovation plan. Randy Jones, CEO of OWPR, the firm overseeing the improvements, estimated that a redesign would cost $1 million and add six months to the project timeline. Financed through the November 2013 bond referendum passed by more than 80 percent of Caroline voters, the CHS renovations were projected to cost $21 million.
The additions to the front of the building include a new secure front entrance and a new administrative area. Caroline building official Kevin Wightman stated that moving this area to either the north, south, or east side of the building would be impractical for reasons of either expense or functional flow.
“The design that they have submitted works with the existing condition at the school and expanding that and working within the dollars for the renovation,” he said.
Reedy Church Supervisor Reggie Underwood expressed some displeasure at the decision the Board faced.
“To bring this here before this Board in the 11th hour and say, ‘You make a decision without impacting this,’ I think is a disservice,” he said.
Nevertheless, Chairman Floyd Thomas stated, “We borrowed the money almost a year ago. … All I have to show for $25 million is two groundbreakings.”
Thomas expressed the opinion that the project could not be delayed any further.
A tentative timeline for the renovations on the CCPS website projected a completion date of Aug. 15, 2016, with the plans being advertised for bid in August 2014. Delays have dogged the planning process, however, pushing back the timeline for advertisement of the bids likely until this winter. The site plans for CHS are currently being reviewed by the Department of Environmental Quality, a process that can take up to nine weeks.
“We’ve already missed a perfect project on time and under budget,” Thomas said. “We’re obviously going to miss on-time. We have to do under budget because we don’t have any more money.”
The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the request. The Planning Commission will now be charged with approving the plans for the barriers.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why You Should Buy A Home This Winter

It's that time of year, the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family gatherings, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don't have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Your home is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the sign goes up in your front yard. Now what? Sit back 
and let the offers roll in. Of course, that's what every seller wants but that's not always what happens.  So, let's rewind a bit and see what can be done to make buyers want your home. The steps you take before you actually puy yout homr on yhr market can help to ensure interest in your home.
Next, clear away clutter. If you don't have any place other than your home to put your boxes and extra furniture that you're taking with you on the move, try storing them in the garage or on the side of the house. If you do this be sure that you don't stack your boxes so high that you block views to the outside.
When you block a view, buyers may think you're hiding something bad about the property or they may have a very closed-in feeling when they enter that particular room. Buyers do understand that you're moving and things may be a little out of order, but try to keep that to only one room or half of the garage. You want to make sure that buyers can see your entire home. Limiting them from viewing one or several rooms may discourage them. Tidy up and keep things packed away.
Always keep in mind that more room and more storage space are two things buyers really like. Create a feeling of openness and spaciousness by trading out, or removing entirely, bulky pieces of furniture that suck up square footage in a room. Instead find another piece of furniture that can fit into the room... maybe something from another area of your home. Even if it's not an ideal placement for you, do it anyway.
Remember, the idea is to show your home in its best light. More space is a huge plus. Another way to make a room look larger is to use mirrors. Strategically hanging a mirror on a wall can help open up the room.
Your agent may elect to hold an open house and prior to that list your home on the MLS but not allow any showings until the weekend of the very first open house. This can be an excellent strategy because you may end up with lots of buyers passing through for that first open house since they couldn't see your home sooner. You can then allow showings by appointment for a period of time. This strategy can generate a lot of interest and even start a bidding war. May the highest and best offer win.
Do your work and clean up before you open the doors to buyers. You don't always get another chance, so make buyers want your home by showing them that you've loved and cared for your home and now you'd like to see it go to buyers who will enjoy it like you did.