McEnearney

Spring Home Maintenance

Posted On March 25th, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Spring Home

We’re ready for spring! But is your home? After the long brutal winter, it will be time to give your home a tune up. Get your home in tip-top shape before spring hits with this handy dandy checklist.

How Rotten – The one area of the home we tend to overlook is the outside, so take a walk around the house to see what looks to be rotting. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.

Clean the Gutters – During the winter months we tend to go through a lot of freezing and thawing. This process causes the gutters to expand and contract, so make sure they’re not sagging or dipping from the roof. Contact professionals to clean the leaves out and inspect your gutters. Improper drainage can lead to infuriating water damage to the foundation or basement.

Raise the Roof – We know changing a roof can be expensive, but it can be detrimental if you don’t take care of it now. If you see your shingles curling up or clawing downward, then you could be headed towards a leaky roof. It’s recommended you call at least 3 roofers before committing to one for repairs.

Don’t Step on a Crack – We drive up and down our driveway who knows how many times, so make sure it’s properly sealed. Most wait until the fall, but it’s actually best to do driveway repairs in the spring. Fill in any new signs of cracks with a concrete filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.

Stay Cool – We want it to warm up outside, but not inside. Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance.

The Spring Market is already here with buyers out in full force. If you have been thinking of making a move, now may be the best time.

 
McEnearney

Be the Early Bird!

Posted On March 20th, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Early Bird

Prepare for the spring real estate market now, before it’s too late. Ever wonder why spring is the most popular time to buy and sell? Here’re a few reasons why you want to be an early bird and get the big worm.

Ahead of the curve. 
Home buyers and sellers have been waiting for the weather to warm up. It is estimated that an average of 60% of all homes, within a given calendar year, are sold between the months of May and August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of prime selling and buying season will put you ahead of the curve and help you snag the best deal or offer.

A hand from Uncle Sam. 
Aside from weather, people also get tax returns in the spring – making offers richer and down payments easier.

Summer is for vacation.
Sell your home now so that you can enjoy the summer. When the kids are out of school it is nice to go on vacation, not to worry about moving. Get settled in your new home before the summer is here and in full swing.

Good Day Sunshine.
Our clocks move forward an hour this month and that means more daylight. Rather than waiting for the weekend, people can enjoy seeing a home during the week. Mother Nature is again on our side!

The Spring Market is already here with buyers out in full force. If you have been thinking of making a move, now may be the best time.

 
McEnearney

Good News for New Home Buyers!

Posted On March 16th, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Home Buyers

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently reduced the annual mortgage insurance premiums charged on FHA-backed loans from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent. This action will help significantly lower monthly payments on all FHA loans. More than two million FHA homeowners are projected to save an average of $900 per year.

This was clearly a decision designed to spur home buying. In fact, 85% of leading real estate agents around the country surveyed by Credit Suisse shortly after FHA’s announcement said they thought the move would have a positive impact on sales this year. Lower premiums will not only reduce housing costs for those who use FHA, but it will also significantly expand qualified customers’ access to mortgage credit. And with FHA’s down payment requirements of just 3.5%, a loan limit in this area of $625,500 and more generous qualifying guidelines, these loans have become even more attractive with the reduction in the mortgage insurance premium.

Incredibly, interest rates for 30-year fixed rated financing are also averaging under 4%. A homeowner with sufficient equity and a loan with an interest rate as low as 4.5% might be in a position to refinance into a loan with an even lower rate and which doesn’t require a monthly mortgage insurance premium.

 
Sue Goodhart

Home of the Week: A Beautiful Home, Steeped in History

Posted On March 16th, 2015 by Sue Goodhart | No Comments

Benjamin Shreves

Location: 307 S. Saint Asaph St., 22314

Price: $3,995,000

Style: Townhouse on a double lot

Built: 1780 Exterior: Brick Bedrooms: 5

Contact: Babs Beckwith, 703-836-1297, babsbeckwith@aol.com or Sue Goodhart, 703-362-3221, sue@thegoodhartgroup.com. Agents with McEnearney Associates, Inc

 

As a rare, historic treasure on one of Alexandria’s prized blocks, 307 S. Saint Asaph St. is inarguably one of the finest houses in coveted Old Town. Built circa 1780, expanded in 1854 and upgraded over the years, this stately four-story Federal-style brick townhouse boasts a storied history and sits on a large double lot graced with manicured landscaping, mature trees and lush gardens.

This distinctive Neo-Classical home was originally constructed by shipping merchant Benjamin Shreve and occupied for most of the 19th century by Edward Stabler, founder of the Stabler-Leadbetter Apothecary. Its archeological designation from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, its association with the city’s prominent Quaker families, and subsequent use as barracks during the Civil War lends to the uniqueness and significance.

This timeless single-family masterpiece presents 11 rooms, five bedrooms, four full baths, two half baths, high ceilings, huge windows, hardwood floors, five wood-burning fireplaces, exquisite moldings and other classical architectural elements.

Brimming with charm and filled with natural light, this incomparable residence welcomes you in through a handmade solid mahogany door to a grand entry foyer and hall, and an ambiance of elegance that awaits beyond.

Click here for more details:

 
David Howell

Drilling down on neighborhood data can help in buying or selling in a hot area

Posted On March 13th, 2015 by David Howell | No Comments

Old Town 2

David Howell, executive vice president and chief information officer at McEnearney Associates, writes an occasional column about market conditions in the Washington region.

One of the questions real estate agents get asked the most is: “How’s the market?” However, the question you want to ask an agent when thinking about buying or selling is: “How’s the market for me?”

Think of it this way: If someone asked about how the stock market is doing, it would be accurate to respond: “It’s doing very well.” Since bottoming out in 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average has hit record highs, and it has been on a solid, upward path. Sounds a lot like the real estate market. However, someone who owns Radio Shack stock — currently trading for 30 cents after being at $20 five years ago — will have a little different perspective on the stock market than someone who owns Apple, Google or Disney shares.

[Editor's note: For more analysis of the local real estate market, check out the Real Estate section's Spring Home Guide on March 14, 21 and 28 and online sites Where We Live and washingtonpost.com/realestate during those weeks.]

Fortunately, the real estate market doesn’t see such wild swings in value, but there are significant differences in the real estate marketplace. For example, let’s look at the number of month’s supply of inventory. This number explains how many months it takes for all homes currently available on the market to sell given the current pace of new contracts.

The overall supply of homes in Washington is less than two months, and in some price ranges it’s tighter. D.C.’s sweet spot — homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million — is 1.4 months. In Loudoun County, there is a three and half month supply overall, but an eight-month supply in the $750,000 to $1 million price range.

While both of these markets are considered healthy by any historical standard, D.C. is a seller’s market while Loudoun’s is balanced. Conditions in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland are quite different from D.C. and Loudoun. And because of that, buyers and sellers alike will need to set their expectations and determine their negotiating strategy based on very local market conditions.

Buyers this spring in D.C. will have far fewer choices in a given price range than a suburban purchaser, and if they are serious about buying they had better be prepared. They should be ready to drop what they’re doing and go see that hot property that just came on the market and ready to come in with a strong offer quickly if they want it. That’s especially true for homes on Capitol Hill, in the U Street Corridor, Columbia Heights and the Southwest Waterfront. So far this year, 25 percent of all properties in the District have sold above list, so paying above the asking price or – something we hate to see, waiving appraisal or home inspection contingencies — might be what it takes to win in a multiple offer situation.

Some patience may be in order as well. For those buyers who don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy of multiple offers and fewer choices, sitting on the sidelines for a while may make sense. But the biggest decision to make is to weigh the benefits of waiting until the market is a little calmer against the likelihood of higher interest rates and higher prices in the future. For sellers in D.C., there are three words of advice: Don’t get cocky! An overpriced listing will get passed by even in a seller’s market. Almost a third of the available homes in the District right now have reduced their price since coming on the market, and 40 percent have been on the market for more than three months.

For buyers in the suburbs, areas closest to Metro are still hot, so the “be prepared to act quickly” guidance applies if you’re looking along the Orange Line in Arlington, or Rosemont and Old Town in Alexandria, Falls Church in Fairfax County or Silver Spring in Montgomery County. In communities like Ashburn in Loudoun County, Burke in Fairfax County and Rockville in Montgomery County, you’ll find a better balance between supply and demand and are less likely to be in competition with other buyers for the same property.

[To see an interactive map of your Zip code or other Zip codes, click here.]

For sellers, always remember that your home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it and how much you need when you sell isn’t important to buyers. There are almost 500 homes that have been on the market for more than a year in our suburban markets, but on the flip side, more than half of what is selling is on the market for 30 days or less. Your pricing strategy and when you first come on the market have a great deal to do with which side you’ll be on.

While the key market indicators can give you sense of the overall market, remember that every neighborhood, every street, every price range and every home is different. Not every home in a hot neighborhood will sell quickly, and a home in a slower area can still sell the first day on the market. That’s why specific, local research and knowledge are so important.

Here’s a list of neighborhoods across the region that are poised for growth in sales and price appreciation in 2015:

Washington:

• Brentwood

• Bloomingdale

• Shaw/U Street

• 16th Street Heights

• Fort Lincoln

Alexandria:

• Rosemont

• Potomac Greens

• Seminary

Arlington County:

• Lyon Park/Lyon Village

• Ballston

• South Arlington (in general)

Fairfax County:

• Reston (because of the Silver Line)

• Franconia/Kingstowne (because of Springfield

Town Center renovation)

• Huntington Metro area

• Merrifield/Mosaic District

Montgomery County:

• Silver Spring

• Kensington


Washington Post
McEnearney Associates
March 12, 2015

 

 
McEnearney

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Posted On March 12th, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Cherry Blossoms

The nation’s greatest springtime celebration! The highly anticipated National Cherry Blossom Festival comes March 20 – April 12 and commemorates Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. The marvel can be witnessed when 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open. The average peak bloom date is April 4 – but be sure to mark your calendars for these signature events!

Pink Tie Party
March 19, 7:00 – 11:00 pm
It’s the unofficial opening to the party! The annual Pink Tie Party is a great opportunity to don your favorite pink attire in support of the cause. Tickets are available to purchase for this swank party at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. All proceeds benefit the festival.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
March 21, 5:00 – 6:30 pm
The official festival kick-off takes place at the historic Warner Theatre, featuring world-renowned artists in traditional and contemporary performances. The ceremony is a free event, but you need a ticket to get in. If the event is not sold out, walk-ins are accepted starting at 4:45 pm, but you better get there early!

Blossom Kite Festival
March 28, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
One of the most popular events, kite enthusiasts and spectators alike gather on the Washington Monument Grounds, between Constitution Ave & 17th Street NW, for a kite flying competition. Features kite fliers from around the world, special demonstrations, and kite making for children.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
April 4, 1:00 – 9:00 pm
Celebrate spring with a bang! Enjoy free music, family-friendly activities, cultural experiences, live entertainment and delicious foods at multiple outdoor venues stretching over three blocks at Southwest Waterfront. The fireworks illuminate over the water, with best viewing at the Southwest Waterfront promenade at 600 Water Street SW or from East Potomac Park. Entertainment begins at 1:00 pm, fireworks at 8:30 pm.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
April 11, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Marching bands, floats, dance troupes, giant helium balloons and special celebrity guests. The spectator event runs 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue.

Many events will take place over these three weeks. Visitwww.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for full details.

 
McEnearney

St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Posted On March 2nd, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

St. Pats Day Parades

Where’s me lucky charms? If you want to be kissed or are looking for a pot of gold this St. Patrick’s Day, try on a few shades of green on March 17 and head to one of the DC Metro Area’s famous annual parades. It is said the Irish know how to party, and St. Patrick’s Day is when the Irish and non-Irish alike join in the fun. Enjoy a fun parade with the family and some green beer or lucky libations with friends – and don’t forget to make a famous Irish toast!

Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 7, 9:00 am
The first parade in the DC area, Ballyshaners 34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in Alexandria on Saturday, March 7 and will feature a Car and Dog Show prior to the parade kick-off at 12:30pm on King Street. Classic car enthusiasts and animal lovers are encouraged to come early to enjoy these events.

Maryland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 14, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
The City of Gaithersburg will host its 15th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Rio Washington Center (I-370 and Washingtonian Boulevard). Spectators will enjoy Celtic dancers, bagpipe bands, clowns, fire trucks, and more. Live entertainment will follow the parade on the Lakefront Plaza until 1:00 pm.

Washington DC’s 44th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 15, 12:00 – 3:00 pm
This mile long, two-hour parade takes place between 7th and 17th Streets down Constitution Ave with marching bands, kilts and bag pipes, floats, military, police, fire departments and more. The grandstands are located between 15th and 16th streets next to the judges reviewing stand and are a great way to watch the parade for only $15 per ticket.

Enjoy the festivities this St. Patrick’s Day!

 
McEnearney

Property Alert

Posted On February 26th, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Property Alerts Large

Alert! Your dream home has hit the market. Taking the time to search and look for a property can be exhausting, especially when you feel you are looking at the same inventory every day. In order to serve you better, McEnearney Associates offers Property Alerts. Now you can be the first to know when your dream home hits the local market.

Property Alerts allow you to completely customize and automate the search process. In a quick and easy setup process, you can filter alerts to find homes that fit specific criteria, including price, location, schools, and more. Being notified of price changes and the ability to share properties with your REALTOR, family and friends are also added tools. Not to mention, did you know that our Property Alerts feature ALL listings currently on the local market? Our search is not limited to homes listed by McEnearney. Our search engine has new listings appear nearly every hour.

Simplify the buying or selling process by signing up for Property Alerts today! Let us do the work for you, and pretty soon you will find a place to call your dream home.

 
McEnearney

Good Things Come In Small… Houses?

Posted On February 23rd, 2015 by McEnearney | No Comments

Small Living

Don’t let home costs scare you. So maybe you can no longer afford that two-car garage, large yard, and need to downsize. The price tag may be high on owning property in Washington, DC, but there are plenty of positives to this city, including museums, great culture, excellent schools, decent climate, and job opportunities to name a few. We can tell you the DC Metro Area is great to live in and so can small space living! Here’s a few tips to help you downsize and break the rules of traditional small space decorating.

Go Big! – People tend to think that only small furniture will work in tight living quarters. However, this can make your home appear even smaller. Instead, get a few full-sized furnishings to fill the space, and it will actually appear larger.

Lighting is Everything – When you want to add light to your small space, keep two things top of mind: choose lights with different styles and purchase light fixtures that illuminate in different directions. This design technique will help divide the room naturally, so it looks spacious.

Bathroom Oasis – An area feared most in small space living is the bathroom. If you are working with tight quarters, add a floating vanity or wall-mounted faucet to drastically free up space. Another easy-to-do trick is to invest in open shelving and extend your counter space over the toilet.

Paint Bigger – The ceiling is the forgotten fifth wall in our homes, and choosing the right paint can make a big difference in your space. It is recommended that you choose lighter shades to expand the room and keep a similar contrasting color on the ceiling to create an open and airy feeling.

Eat-In Kitchen – When was the last time you ate at the kitchen table? We usually eat at the counter or in front of the television. A better use of space would be to get rid of the kitchen table, and build an eat-in counter. This is a great way to conserve space and entertain.

 
Sue Goodhart

Holy Smoke! It’s Time To Inspect Those Chimneys

Posted On February 21st, 2015 by Sue Goodhart | No Comments
broken_chimney_insert_by_Bigstock

Chimney caps, flashing and mortar can all be damaged or deteriorate over time. Be sure to get an inspection.

Chimneys in our area have suffered quite a bit of damage in the past few years. The exteriors have been assaulted by the earthquake and long, tough winters. The earthquake in 2011 caused quite a bit of damage that is still being uncovered.

The harsh weather in recent years has also taken a toll. Chimney caps, which keep the animals and other debris from getting into the chimney, have been blown off or damaged. Flashing, which is placed around the chimney to prevent water from getting in between the chimney and the roof to prevent leaks can be damaged by the heavy snows and rains. Mortar, the substance that holds the bricks together, deteriorates over time.  Inside the chimney there can be missing tiles as well as a build-up of creosote.

Bottom line, if you have not had your chimney checked out in the past few years you may want to have a thorough inspection by a reputable licensed chimney sweep.

The good news/bad news is that they now have cameras that can see the interior of the chimneys. That means they can be quite thorough but they also can uncover defects that were previously undetected and the cost to repair can be quite steep.

My advice is to have someone inspect. If the cost seems high, then get a second and third opinion. Then, schedule the work as needed.

The exterior work would be prudent to tackle immediately. You may wish to push extensive interior work to the summer when prices may be lower. If you are selling your home anytime in the near future you will want to have the inspection now so there are no surprises on the home inspection.

Because of the cameras, we are finding that more and more buyers are asking for the extensive work on the chimneys to be completed by sellers.

Should you have any questions or need advice please don’t hesitate to contact Sue or Allison Goodhart at sue@thegoodhartgroup.com or allison@thegoodhartgroup.com.

- See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/02/06/holy-smoke/#sthash.o6PxoyB6.dpuf